Sunday, March 6, 2016
Coffee Chat: March To A Busy Beat
Come in dears, do come in. And let us sit right down and rest, shall we? The week has not been tedious but it has most certainly been busy and tiring as a consequence. It does seem when John has a week off we end up being far busier than we might be otherwise. Four days running I was out of the house and I realized on our way back home on the fourth day that I was done, weary, and ready for a good rest. Could I rest? Of course not. There was all the housekeeping I hadn't done all week long. And I'd made big plans for Friday so, of course, I must work all day Thursday and get six days worth of work done. I started by making out a list...Always the best place for me to prioritize and determine what must be done. I soon had a plan.
So I worked and when I rested I made out a list of things I mean to look for at the yard sales/thrift shops. I worked more and played about with that wall of art in the bedroom. I worked and finally I was done and somewhat rested as well. It was a good, productive day. Dare I say that the best part of being home on Thursday was that we could eat a home cooked meal? It was simple and not at all fancy but gracious goodness it was delicious, as home cooked food is when you've relied upon fast food too often.
Thursday night I watched television, being too tired to consider writing, or reading, or even historical research. I watched Big Bang Theory, one of the shows John and I discovered in re-runs first and then picked up the local station to watch shows in season. I only watch about three modern day shows at present but recently I have found JLTV (which is Jewish Life TV) and they have some wonderful vintage programming. I watched Gracie Allen and George Burns, and The Dinah Shore Show. How refreshing it is to watch these old programs!
Watching Dinah Shore, I saw a favorite piano duo, Ferrante and Teicher. Growing up as a teen I borrowed records from Mama. Among them was a Ferrante and Teicher album. The most hauntingly lovely song is on that album, "Negligee". Oh my gracious. In an era when others of my age were listening to Bad Company, Steely Dan and Aerosmith, her I was listening to the likes of Ferrante and Teicher as well as Xavier Cugat, Ray Coniff Singers, Andy Williams... Can you tell I was a romantic even in my youth? I really enjoyed watching these two pianists play live the other night. Oh there is a wonder in old film footage, isn't there? I suppose that is why, when faced with a box full of albums, I flipped through them at the yard sale on Friday. I found an album by Ferrante and Teicher and brought it home.
I tried to read some of my current book as well at times on Thursday. I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I'd love to tell you I'm enjoying it. It's a book I feel it is necessary to read although I disagree mightily with some of the view points. I also feel alarmed by what I'm learning about the modern agricultural industry, after watching the demise of the small farmer come about in the last century. I feel more passionately than ever about eating seasonally because of the book. But yes, I am irritated by it and challenged by it and that does not make for a 'soft' read by any means. I feel rather testy about it overall if you must know the truth, but I mean to keep reading it.
When Granny and Granddaddy bought this property it was '63 acres more or less' per the deed. It was entirely possible at that time to make a living off a farm of that size. One could not only grow their own foodstuffs but raise cotton, peanuts, oats, soy beans, corn and chickens. They sold eggs and they sold the crops. They had cows which they both slaughtered for meat and sold as beef cattle.
Granny and Granddaddy both worked outside the home because it was their intent to pay off the deed on the property as quickly as they could. But eventually Granny was a stay at home wife and general farm hand while Granddaddy continued to work to build up their savings. The farm provided the living. The job provided the savings for their old age. Or it was meant to, but that is neither here nor there. The point is that 63 acres, while hardly a big farm, was still considered a living farm. You'll not find it so any longer. Now a farmer must have thousands of acres in order to make any sort of living.
On Friday, we headed out to the previously mentioned yard sales. There were two advertised that I was especially interested in going to check out. I was pretty bummed when it clouded up Thursday afternoon and began to pour rain. It had been a brilliantly sunny start to the day with a warming southern breeze...and by early evening it was thundering and lightning and flooding the yard. I held fast to the hope that it might well be another of those evening showers with a clear day to follow, as it had been Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Well yes, and no...It was still cloudy and windy, but it was a northwesterly sort of wind with a lot of chill air. I seriously considered that we might well end up picnicking in the car as I looked about at the first yard sale.
I found only one item on my list: a picture for the living room gallery wall. It's brighter than I'd thought I might buy but it's old fashioned and I like it right well. I have it hanging now and I'll keep it. Not so sure about some of the others I've used there but will definitely keep the 'new' one.
The real story isn't about yard sales and treasure, limited as it was. No, the real story is about going to the mountain. I can't name the last time we were there though I know we've been since last June, at least once. I've wanted to go for the longest time but we haven't had time enough to do all that was needed much less to jaunt over to the mountain. Well we were a good ways closer when we got to the second yard sale. I'd packed the loveliest cold picnic lunch...with plenty of ice to make sure it stayed cold. It seemed a fool's choice as the day got no warmer and the sky remained deeply overcast.
John told me on our way up the parkway that he meant to head to the ranger station for bathroom breaks and coffee. That sounded good to me, but oh how I dreaded it. I don't know what it is about state park restrooms but golly molly they are frigid freezers in cold weather. And boy was it frigid. I couldn't quite sense any warmth in the store area of the building either and was not surprised every one seemed to want to linger in the office behind the store. I'll bet there was an additional electric heater in that spot! Let me just say that I sincerely applauded my husband about the coffee idea!
We drove back across the ridge and stopped at Dowdell's Knob where there were picnic tables on a slope above the main parking area. Cold wind down the back of my neck, cold concrete bench and table...I was half a mind to tie that pretty vintage tablecloth about my shoulders and wrap one of the cotton napkins into a kerchief for my head. As it was, I had on one of John's jackets over my own sweater and zipped it all the way up. I took my pretty infinity scarf and figured out how to drape it over my head to help prevent all body heat being lost. And it wasn't just me thinking it was cold. John zipped up his jacket and pulled the hood up over his ball cap! You can just imagine how great that well chilled cold picnic lunch went over with us...I told John I had thermoses on my list to look for but might just break down and buy them wholesale. I said "Wouldn't hot soup have been about wonderful just now? And more coffee?" and he nodded. I think he chose not to speak because his teeth were chattering. After we'd eaten, I got up and went around to sit as close by him as I could because I needed extra body heat.
We never did go over to the edge of the mountain as we'd normally do. We just sat there at the table, huddled together and said our prayers there. I looked up at the rock outcrops and into the trees and later when I was praying a flock of bluebirds flew in and lit on the branches of various trees. I cried when that happened. I am especially fond of the Easter Blue Robin and to see a flock rather than just one or two is something. The sun came out and I felt I'd had God's blessing on my prayer.
John and I really do appreciate that place as a prayer tower, so to speak. It's not that we feel we can't pray anywhere else, because we pray just about everywhere and over every thing, for ourselves and other, from praise for blessings to requests for needs. We firmly believe in taking time to talk to God every day. But somehow, there is a sense of peace and rightness and a sort of hushed awe there on that mountain that we don't sense consistently in other places, not even home. Our prayers this time were not so intense or deep as they have been at times there but that same feeling settled over us, as always. That we pretty much had it to ourselves, besides the one couple who stayed warmly in their car sensible critters that they were, helped create that feeling of a private sanctuary.
We recalled our first visit there when we cried out asking God to show us what we needed to know. And we've found the same lesson repeated time and again, in various ways over various things. "Trust me." "Trust me" when you're broken and don't know where to turn. "Trust me" when you're caught in that in between time of waiting for things to change, even when the wait seems to be especially long. "Trust me" when you don't understand what is wrong but know that something is. "Trust me" when your head is reeling and your heart is pained. "Trust me" when the money seems to be running out and bills coming due render you speechless they are so large. "Trust me" when you face a loss and your children face heartbreaks of all kinds. "Trust me" when you're really not sure you're going to make it through this frightening thing. "Trust me" when you can barely lift your eyes and you're weary with fighting. "Trust me" in all things. "Trust me" in every thing. "Trust me". There have been times when we've cried out "We don't understand....but we trust you!"
Sometimes we gasped with pain at the time...like the day when Sam called to say "You know we've been looking for a house...but I've just been offered a job in Florida." Oh I put my head down and wept that day. Bess and I'd just been talking a couple of days before and she'd told me she was hoping to get to move nearer us, say within an hour's drive. "But I want Your best for them, Lord, and if this is it, I'll let go of this dream, too," I wept at the time. It was another large disappointment, another broken dream, just as it was when my girls lost babies, but God does know best. I have to trust him.
And while it's not all financial blessings, John and I were left shaking our head when we did taxes this past month. To see in hard figures what we'd made, what we'd given, what we'd paid in insurance premiums and in medical bills, we were astonished. Somehow, despite all these big extras, we'd managed and survived what was already a damned hard year to put it mildly. I told John if ever there was a doubt of how Jesus fed 5,000 with the loaves and fishes and had the disciples pick up baskets of leftovers afterwards, I couldn't help but believe it was possible seeing what he'd done with the 'leftovers' in our lives this past year! There was no extra room, nor any extra income, and though we'd been promised a substantial amount of help, it wasn't forthcoming. Maybe God meant it to be so that we'd see how we could trust him in this, too.
I've been trying to be diligent in my efforts to finish projects...Not so much luck on that front I'm afraid. I worked at it this morning only to find that things didn't work, needed mending, all items weren't at hand, etc. I gave up after frustrating myself for an hour. In the end, I had a clean railing on the front porch (the cat's favorite pacing spot was soiled with dirty paw prints), a swept front porch, the uppers of two windows at the back cleaned, one hanging basket's chain was repaired and hung from the old plant hanger I couldn't budge, not the decorative hangers I'd bought and wanted to use. The planter hasn't a thing in it but it's hanging anyway at the moment. That was that. I might manage to sweep the back porch today but the railings won't even think of responding to the same cleaning treatment used on the front porch rail, sigh. I tried and it was mighty useless.
What I managed to finish to completion in February was freshening our master bath. I moved some pictures from the bedroom to the bath, removed what I'd had in the bath previously of course, and just dolled up the place a tiny bit.
Work In Progress seems to apply to far too many areas at present. How many projects have I started? Outdoors, there are two porches and a fairly neglected patio. There is a new flower bed, and two old ones that need desperate work. Indoors the master bedroom walls are incomplete. The living room gallery wall has been pulled apart and needs work. The guest room has never been finished nor has the craft area. Heck even the pantry needs work! The entryway is in transition, the dining area needs a tad of fluffing. I think the only finished areas at present would be the kitchen and the master bath, sigh. Sensibly, I've left utterly alone the two areas I'd meant to make my projects this year. They might not be pretty yet, but at least they aren't in pieces and half done!
I feel the need for change and haven't nearly enough stuff to promote it. I've determined that I have a lot of pieces that almost, but not quite, make up a theme of sorts. I start to collect pieces to execute those ideas and then get sidetracked with pieces for other projects. I run out of funds midway through purchasing items. So I end up with a little of this and a little of that and a little of these and never really see a vision through. I'm really rather tired of working in that way. I'm nearly broke again this year as far as my personal funds go and have too many calls upon my allowance at the moment to even think I might go out to spend anything. So I'm just going to keep putting things I already own together and edit and edit and edit again until it's right.
I've been having a difficult time of late and am very near shutting down my facebook page. The only thing that keeps me from it is that my children often post videos and photos of the grandchildren there for me to see. The problem I'm having is two-fold. First there is the current political season. I know who I believe will make a good president and who I think won't and why. Character is everything in my opinion and the characters running for office leave something to be desired. However there are one or two that I feel comfortable enough about to consider casting my vote their way. You won't catch me saying who. I'm registered as a Republican and have been for years, but I pray about my vote and vote the way I feel led. To be perfectly honest with you, I'm about as unhappy with all the current parties as can be. Years ago there was a conservative Democrat party and I belonged to that. When the words 'conservative' and 'Democrat' became mutually exclusive I changed parties. I'm not seeing a whole lot of conservative Republicans of late either. If there were other viable options I'd certainly consider them. I don't at all buy into the passive "Oh we don't vote," and then spend the next 4-8 years being upset and grousing over the current candidate. In fact, happy or not, you'll not hear me say a whole lot about any president. I took my duty voting seriously and whether my candidate wins or loses, I will air my opinions overall with my husband and that's about it.
What I loathe above all else on facebook is the idea that we shall post derogatory statements about whole political parties, not just a candidate, but horrid things about Democrats or Republicans and set out to draw blood with those remarks as well. My opinion, my vote, doesn't make me more or less smart nor stupid than anyone else. It does mean that I carefully thought about the candidates and I voted the way I felt I needed to in order to share my point of view. I don't consider anyone else's vote my business. I don't consider anyone else's party my business. I don't consider any ones ideal candidate my business. I may not agree with you but I'm grown up and I can assume you put the same care and thought into your choices as I have mine. That I do or do not think the same as you shouldn't be pertinent. If you want to publicly voice your opinions and resort to name calling and smearing my character and anyone else who disagrees with you, go ahead. Just exclude me from receiving your post.
And yes, I do understand I can adjust the settings on Facebook myself. I've done it. I keep doing it. Facebook and I have a loathe/hate relationship when it comes to settings. My settings are correct for my intent. Katie's gone through them. We're puzzled why I continue to see posts from people whom I've unfriended and see nothing at all from some who are family. It still does not hurt us, every one of us, to be certain what we're about to post will not be offensive or hurtful to another. Good manners seem to be just as important, maybe more so, in places like Facebook.
The other thing that has turned my stomach is the insistence some have of posting absolutely horrid photos of maimed and injured and beaten and bruised animals and people. It might seem to you a great way to get across a message about violence but for someone like myself (and there are others just like me) to look upon horrid things like that does not just make me feel physically ill, it can rob me of sleep. Images will haunt me for days and trigger anxiety and panic attacks for weeks. The horrors of it seem to sink deep into my psyche. It's not that I deny that these things happen, it's that I personally cannot handle the imagery of that sort of thing. I can't even take the fake stuff on television and in movies! Think about others before you post such. If you're going to share such images, then for heavens sake take my name off your list of friends.
I well understand why Dee has started cultivating her own Facebook group and tries to post positive, uplifting, and beautiful things. It's wonderful to create an atmosphere that nurtures who you are. I know this because I've tried to do much the same with my blog and in perusing the blogs that I do. I want an atmostphere of peace and harmony about me. I see no need of allowing others to spoil my day (or night!).
Well I suppose I've rambled on quite a bit and really should stop and try to do something else that will hopefully be as productive as this chat with you has been. Thanks so much for stopping in!