Hello lovelies! Come in and have coffee with me. I made a fresh pot a bit ago because John decided to set up morning coffee last night and I know it was a kindness, so no complaints over it, but my husband and I have a different idea of what constitutes a proper morning cup. He uses the same amount of ground coffee whether he's making 4 cups or12 and it's never enough to give me that big oomph I need in the morning, though I don't like the sort of strength that jangles nerves and makes me feel I'm in my own personal little earthquake either. I've had a tendency of late to leave my coffee sitting by my side while I do something else, either reading or writing or work and when I do drink it, it's gone lukewarm which is the absolute least appealing temperature for coffee. So I made a new pot and am drinking my cup while it's properly hot. Mmmmm!
We were in the kitchen sitting area early this morning, a habit we acquired last summer when the kids were living here. John usually eats and reads at my desk and I go sit in the little chair in the corner just across from him and sip my morning coffee and try to come fully awake. These days I open the blinds too, so that I can watch the morning lightening of the sky since it comes so early.
The little sedge wren on the back porch was singing her heart out. I might have stood outside the wailing wall petitioning God with my prayers but that bird sang all the same and the sun rose, too. It's prone to do that no matter what our heart cries might prefer.
I suspect this nest of eggs has been successful. She's finally gotten a spot high enough up to be out of the vision of cat and dog. I see her coming and going constantly and hear her singing frequently. It's a rather nice thing really to hear her. I shall most definitely put up a shelf on the back porch because though John may loathe the holes in the siding, this is obviously as much home to that wren as it is to us and I'd like to make a spot for her next year's nesting.
So John is off to work today and I am too drained to do all I'd planned. I've decided that a day of puttering around the house, doing whatever odd jobs strike my fancy, will be what I do today. It's not so much that I am physically tired, as that I have a stress knot in my shoulder that is plaguing me at present and heart full of prayer and I know that yanking bulky appliances about is not going to do me any favors at all. I'm going to settle for a halfway sort of cleaning under them and cleaning surfaces and call that good enough this month.
I like my gas stove right well but I know just what I don't want in my next stove and that is a broiler on the very bottom of the stove. What a pain in the midsection that is! I can't clean it except to lie flat on the floor and I can only light the oven pilot by lying flat on the floor and though I have far more agility than in days past, with a knee that is acting up, the fact of getting up again is questionable even if I use all my tricks and strength. I used the vacuum to get under the broiler pan and that shall suffice. I've lifted the top and cleaned under it. I had two very sticky messes that I left soaking with a damp cloth over them to loosen up and then scrubbed the top clean.
I have also cleaned the outside and under and behind the fridge. The top was surprisingly clean. I must have done that sometime in the past month or so. I've also stripped the bed and got the sheets on the line while the mattress pad is currently washing. It will likely go in the dryer since there's no more room on the line for it and it's so heavy with humidity I'll be shocked if anything gets dry for several hours outdoors.
So while I rest a bit we shall talk some more. I'm having a glass of icy cold water now that I've warmed up...Would you care for some? Honestly I don't know just how much further I might go today in cleaning but I'll for sure remake my bed and sweep and mop the kitchen floor because John left his usual tracks across it and the cleaning under things brings it's own mess.
I had this week all planned out and planned especially heavy for today and Friday on my own. And then yesterday I went to help out Katie with a fruit basket turnover situation in her house and did nothing at home and John informed me he has Friday off and I realized with a sort of sinking feeling that most of my plans for this week were shot. I am not disappointed but I do have limited time to call my own and only so much stamina to push myself through these projects and deeper cleanings. I'm not frustrated either but I am ... I don't know how to explain exactly what I am. I'm learning more and more to accept what is tossed my way but I do want my own way at times, you know? I want to plan to clean and shop and plant. I like being at home and I like seeing things come together and I do feel impatient at times to just be doing what I want to do. Yes, I think impatient is the best word for what I am experiencing. Yet I know that time is always fleeting and I'd much rather spend time with John or do something for one of the kids than to pass on it.
There was a season in our lives when we were very active in church. If the doors opened at any time we likely were there working. And because of that we missed a lot of time we might have spent with family. We skipped birthday visits because we 'had' to be at church and we skipped special family dinners because we 'had' to be at church. Eventually Amie had moved away during those 'have to be at church' years and all those memories I might have made with Josie and Lily and Amie's were finished. I am a voice on the telephone, a social media presence, a stranger who drops a card in the mail every so often.
And then four years ago I had that health care crisis and it was touch and go for a bit. I made up my mind then that I was going to make my family a priority. Not in the sense that I wanted to let them take over my life because even the most loving family will if you let them, but in the sense that I felt time was limited and time once past is gone. Indeed, I had no clue at the time of the crisis of how much life would change for a season. Sam and Bess moved to the southernmost end of Florida and my oldest son's life took him to California again and visits with him and his children were once more rare.
I often wondered what sort of witness for Christ I had really been in my absolute dedication to church all those years when I so neglected any sort of familial connection with my family. I am not saying God wasn't first in my life, but that the leaders of the churches we attended seemed to feel if I wasn't at church then I wasn't showing the proper dedication and I believed them. What a fool I was to not pray about it and listen to the heart tugs I felt at the time! But lying there in that hospital bed, I knew I'd never get those missed occasions back. They were once in a lifetime things and would never return. I decided in those long reflective hours that if I could spend time with my family for the once in a lifetime occasions then I would and if it meant I was present in their lives but absent from church, I would have chosen the better thing.
I made a second vow while I lay in that hospital bed in June 2015: all those years I'd spent biting my tongue and not saying the things that ought to be said were done, as well. There are times we are called to speak out and say the hard things. Not in a harsh and hateful and condemning manner but in love and kindness. Gracious goodness! The depths I had to go in prayer to learn that lesson. I try to speak the truth to my children now about situations in their lives but I am not judging them. If I am pointing out a failure it is not because they are failures but because I want them to see why they are where they are at the moment and to understand that failure is a temporary thing, not a life sentence. It is a time to step back and assess what we might do differently. It's giving us a moment to make a choice. It's an opportunity! I realize too well that failure is painful and it feels like a good excuse to quit and lie down in the place where we've halted, but it shouldn't be that at all. Failure is meant to bring you to a stop, but we do not live at the stop signs do we? We look and listen, we use reasonable caution and we move, hopefully in the direction that will best suit our life purpose. That is all that failure is. It's not a life sentence.
This is not to say that I always get it right. I don't. I've always said I am a far better writer than I am a talker. I can go back and edit and re-edit my words until my meaning is clear when I write. When I speak I am often clumsy. I step on toes hard and say things that offend, or explain things badly, or hurt another though it's not my intent. I can rabbit trail and lose the point. But I do pray before I speak of certain situations I see, and I pray for opportunities to speak about them. I sometimes fail to check in with God if the words are the right ones or if the timing is true. I sometimes get ahead of Him. I have sometimes failed to speak when the opportunity presented itself and missed that chance altogether. I have said my piece and had to wait for an extended period of time for those words to bear seed and become a fruitful harvest. That is the hardest part. I want it to be instant mashed potatoes but its too often a very long process, something more akin to planting, growing and then bringing them in from the garden to wash and prepare.
Well I said all that about speaking out and how it was a sort of life changing goal for me. I also made up my mind during that time that intentions are fine but doing is far better. I've read that thinking over someone's needs and troubles and triumphs is a sort of free form prayer for them but that is generally between us and God. There's also a time to listen to that inner urging to do something for someone. To take that meal, cut the flowers and carry them over, to send that unexpected but much needed gift, to drop a card in the mail.
Last year when I was struggling so with anxiety and panic attacks and the expectations of too many and doing far too much, a dear soul I've never met in person but have called friend for years, sent me the sweetest gift. It was a big box of coffees and chocolates. That gift, coming as it did at that hard space of time, was like being wrapped in the biggest deepest hug and meant far more than I can ever tell. It was a gift from soul to soul and goodness how I needed exactly that at that time. Another dear one sent me a lovely framed print that exactly suited that place in my life and I hung it on the wall next to my bed where it was the last thing I saw at night before I turned out the light and the first thing I saw in the morning when I awoke. It was a message of encouragement that I needed to lean upon daily.
Neither of these ladies had to do what they did. Yet both felt an inner urging to do something and they did. While I'd struggled with making intentions real, those two women each taught me the power of moving from intention to action.
Doing is far harder at times than you'd think. Sometimes the things we do go unnoticed. Sometimes they are so taken for granted that you find yourself a bit resentful. But there are also moments when you do something and immediately you are rewarded with the happy tears, the joyful reception, the heartfelt thank you. Give the little gift, pay the compliment, send the note. It can be life changing for someone and you'll never know how impactful that simple little gesture might be.
Occasionally we mean to do one thing and inadvertently find ourselves going a little further than we'd anticipated. I had such a situation arise not too long ago. I was merely planning to be helpful but the recipient took it as a gift and I found myself in the position of having to make it a gift or embarrassing her and creating a very awkward situation. Well it wasn't a huge thing, it cost me little and honestly wasn't even a sacrifice. But the reaction! The response was immediate and genuine and I heard how it had made the day of this person who'd just suffered a wrong at the hands of another and had been experiencing a difficult day. She wept which moved me beyond words, too. Such a simple little thing and it had turned around her day altogether and quite incidentally having been witnessed by a co-worker who'd seen her troubles earlier, also made her day. The recipient said "You've restored my faith in people." Golly gee! It really wasn't anything, or so I thought. But I was humbled beyond words. Why, I asked myself, why hadn't I thought to do things in that way instead of the way I'd started to do it? Why had God needed to prompt me to change the way in which I carried out that particular thing?
It was proof that if a word in due season was powerful, then action in the right moment is just as powerful. There's good reason why that old saying about good intentions paves the road to... Intention is nothing without action. Intention is never life changing, but action always is.
It is pouring rain now as I sit and type. I've run and pulled the mattress pad from the dryer and tossed the sheets and towels from the line in to finish off. I got them in just in time and they were so very close to being fully dry! Maddie was on the front porch panting and attempting to sneak indoors which isn't like her at all. At that point, I'd noticed only the dark sky, not heard any thunder, but I knew it was soon on it's way by her actions. I went through the house to the back porch and pointed out her doghouse to her and she climbed right in and then right out again. I'd decided it was worthwhile to put my two potted plants and the fern down on the doorstep so they could benefit from the rain water and she had to see what I might be up to. I hurried up and headed back indoors because storms are misery to her. This is only the second dog I've had in my life that does not like a thunderstorm.
Bear was the first.
I received Bear while I was living in town, in the little house where I started life over again after my divorce and where John and I began our lives together. A former neighbor asked if I'd take him and I agreed. We had a big fenced in back yard and I liked dogs, always have.
For all that he was looked big and bad, when he did occasionally escape the fence he would only come home if John went after him...and he only came then, if John carried his big old self up the street. John would be panting and out of breath because Bear weighed 80 pounds or more. Bear would grin from ear to ear.
He was a gentle giant for the most part. He adored baby Katie and would take a cookie from her tiny fingers as though he were a polite and delicate little old lady taking part in a tea party.
But yes, he was a cowering pup when it came to thunderstorms. When we lived in town, one of the kids opened the back door and in flew Bear. He ran down the hall straight to Katie's nursery and shivered under her bed until it was past and he did so every single time it stormed thereafter. When we moved here he was an outside dog and would dive into the dog house.
Well dears the rain is past, as is lunch time and I've clothes to fold and bills to tot up before I can call my day finished. It was a lovely visit. Talk to you again really soon!