Good morning dears. Come on in and let's have one more chat this year. I've been busy trying to refresh my home once more. Well I pretty much finished two days ago. It took me far less time than I imagined it might. That's not to say there's nothing to be done. I expect should I go room by room I could quickly fill my To Do list full of things to organize, purge or just plain clean. I know this is true because I LIVE in my home. But I felt I'd gotten a pretty good refreshing done to the house early this week and I have felt restive once more. I even managed to go out yesterday afternoon and prune the roses and that one lantana I've tried hard to kill that simply won't die
The trouble with the lantana is that it's one of those very old fashioned sort that grows tall and huge around. And it hangs over the edge of the flower bed and slaps John viciously when he's mowing. It has prickly sort of branches and they hurt, as I know too well from having worked around them. It mars the view of the best of the spring blooming roses and what's more it mars their aroma which is heavily perfumed. Lantana has the aroma of three day old cat pee and cuts the scent of the roses entirely if you happen to brush against it. So I trimmed it down to the ground and am hoping for a deep hard freeze to halt it in growing any further. We've attempted to dig it out at least five times and the roots are pernicious and deep. Even with the main root ball out of the way, any little bits left will send up new growth. About the only no no in caring for a lantana is to cut out the dead growth prior to new growth showing in the spring, hence my great hopes that I've made it truly, most sincerely dead.
I did the roses after we returned from a lovely ride over to the mountain. We've not been in some months. In fact, I can't remember the last time we did go over. It was cool enough for a jacket there and cloudy but there were literally dozens of hikers and families about. Every place we went was purely crowded. We stayed in the car and skipped praying deeply but talked deeply which is kind of the same thing, isn't it? John talked about retirement days and I talked about this growing loneliness I experience when he's gone these days. He was afraid he'd be in my way, impede me in what I enjoy and I agreed that it was possible he might but that I was finding I needed just a little of some regimented scheduled time and just a little alone time and that I sincerely found myself longing for him to return home, deeply regretting his leaving at all. It's a change and one I hadn't expected but there it is. It's change and changes occur sometimes when we aren't looking. He seemed relieved because while his retirement isn't imminent it's getting nearer and the way years slide past us of late it won't be very long at all.
We talked about the only thing we're for certain will happen in 2017: the birth of our tenth grandchild before winter is done. That led us to briefly talk about the children as all parents are wont to do. And then we did pray, just short sweet prayers and our voices were full of tears but we held ourselves together.
What we didn't talk about at all, because that too has changed, was the feeling of being dissatisfied or feeling we'd missed something somewhere along the way. We didn't speak with longing for a home in St. Augustine. Somehow this year we've connected with our home in a way we've never done before. It's been ours for 20 years now and paid off about 10 years, but it's been this year that we really began to take real ownership of it on a deep level. I've always loved the land here, but the house was just a house. It was comfortable and good shelter and it was home in the sense that it was where we returned at the end of a day or a trip, but it wasn't OURS despite making changes to it. I can't really explain it more clearly because it isn't exactly all clear to me yet, but I FEEL it in a way I've never felt it before.
John and I poked fun at a commercial this morning. "I wanted MORE..." the thing began. He said, "I wanted more, too. Did I get it?" "Yep," I replied quickly. "You got me and more kids than you ever thought you'd have..." He laughed. "Yes, and a more tight budget than I'd ever had, and more grandchildren than I ever thought I'd have..."
I was over on Pinterest over the weekend, doing research for some posts over the next few months and I kept running across these "How to be less stressed", "How to discover who you are," "How to be happy," posts. I tended to do a lot of self analysis in the past and was always looking to discover who I was, how to keep calm and carry on, how to find happiness, etc. I haven't had any of those thoughts or desires or needs in the past two years now. Again, change has occurred. Was it the health scare? Is it maturity? Is it spiritual growth? I can't honestly say yes or no to any of those questions but I do know it's changed. I am leaning more towards spiritual growth but I think it's all a mixed lot. I have matured. I'm a little less concerned about some things than I was in my 20's, 30's or 40's or even the early 50's. I've stopped letting people and situations push buttons. I've become more accepting of seasons in life rather than thinking this moment in time equals a forever outlook. Perhaps this is the gift of late 50's this knowledge that no matter how gut wrenching NOW is, it never lasts forever but continually shifts and changes.
Hard to believe that this weekend ends and begins a New Year, isn't it? I must say that 2016 was a far better year than I'd hoped it would be in nearly every way. There were areas that held no improvement at all but there was more acceptance on my part that I couldn't change a thing and so I was better able to set my worries aside. As I told John earlier with one situation, "It's a train wreck, but I am incapable of stopping it. I don't have any control in this matter at all. I'm not even aboard the train and so I can only stand back and wait for the inevitable wreck." Sad but true to say, there is a great measure of peace in realizing that you can do nothing but wait something out. And so we took what peace would could gather from there and let the rest of it go.
Some years ago we had a wonderful year. The children were healthy, finances improved slightly, we didn't experience any losses or disasters in that year. It was without event. Years like that don't come about very often, but 2016 was nearer that year than not. That's why I've dubbed it 'Sweet '16'. The hard places weren't devastating. Some of the things we'd not planned upon were huge blessings, like having Bess and Sam move back to Georgia and stay with us for two months. We accomplished more here at home than we have at any other time in all our years here. We spent far more time with our family than we did the previous year and for that I'm glad. It was just a pleasant year in so many ways.
I am looking forward to 2017. I have a few projects in mind, some of which I'd put on hold these last months of this year. We will finish the carpeting installation at the end of January. I'll be glad to have those last two rooms done. It's important to me to have carpet that matches consistently through the house. I'm far less concerned about the tile in the kitchen and baths being the same. I don't know of any other major projects but we've spoken of several different jobs we'd like to have done. I just don't know at this time which of those we'll be able to do.
I have a loose set of resolutions. I haven't written them down formally yet but most of them are focused on learning new skills to improve my home or money saving ways. I've resolved that in 2017 I'd learn to make bagels and English Muffins. I want to learn to get my whites truly white. I have a few antique pieces of linens and just our usual lot but my whites soon get dingy and stay that way.
I have a list of needs for my home: two chairs and a rug for the kitchen sitting, a new desk and chair for my work area in the kitchen. Then I can push my chair back to the craft area to be used there once more. I want to continue my landscape work about the house. I want a headboard for our bed even if I make it myself.
I'd like to find ways to earn a little money each month. I miss having that bit extra from surveys and
Swagbucks and the occasional good month at the booth.
I want to spend time in depth study in several areas, including Bible scripture. I'd a notion last year of sort of 'homeschooling' myself, extending my education in history and social studies and a few other areas. I'd still like to do that. I find winter a lovely time for pursuing heavier reading and seeking knowledge. I don't hibernate, but I do dig in and delve.
I know this is short and sweet but I really must end for now. The day has simply gotten away from me!