Coffee Morning Chat

Oh come on in!  I've got gingerbread this week.  Do you like it?  I love it dark and slightly sticky, so I always use dark molasses in mine.  Gingerbread is a wonderful treat in autumn to me.  That's when I enjoy most spice cakes the best.  In my school years, gingerbread came to the lunch table with a clear lemon sauce atop.  In my school years, you might also need to know we ate REAL food that was freshly cooked daily and was delicious.  Later years, when I married, Gingerbread was a common dessert.  I served it with homemade applesauce as often as not and the kids ate it up.  Now we're on our own here, just two adults and John prefers it with whipped cream.  I resort to my childhood taste combination and spoon over a little warm lemon curd.  Not quite the same but close enough.  Oh and for the record, this time of year I love a Gingerbread latte when I treat myself to coffee.

What a lovely day last Sunday was weather-wise.  It was quite cool in the morning, even at 10am.  Despite the need to do a lot of housework that morning I came indoors and opened the windows then sat down next to the window and just ENJOYED.  The breeze was downright cool blowing in the windows.  It was lovely.

I got a good bit of housework done prior to our eating dinner that day.  I made a yummy meal of Pot Roast and Apple Brown Betty.  Oh! how good the house smelled with the aroma of cinnamon and apples, and Pot Roast wafting on the breezes that were blowing through the house.  I cleared up the dishes and settled in my chair with a cup of coffee, planning to get back to housework but the fresh breezes, football game and John snoozing in the chair next to mine sort of just sent me off into a nap.

We woke about the same time.  We were chatting when the AC came on.  I asked John what the temperature was set at.  He had turned it up to 78f.  I knew that meant we'd better shut windows and let it run a little while.  Our home gets awfully stuffy any time the interior temperature goes over 78f and it takes forever for it to cool down again unless you run the AC.  So I got up to close the windows.  We have double windows, a storm window and an interior window to be shut.  I was shutting the interior window and somehow dropped the thing on my finger.  I said something along the lines of "Monkey Poo", and from there determined I'd say nothing more, but that finger hurt so badly that saying nothing meant I had no outlet...except crying.  Call me silly but I cried like a broken hearted two year old over that owie.   It wasn't dramatic and ridiculous but I couldn't stop crying for a good little bit, not even long enough to tell John more than that I'd smashed my finger badly.  I think I alarmed John a great deal, because he completely skipped the whole "Oh but won't it feel better when it quits hurting," routine and simply looked helpless and said "Oh Baby..."  It's funny, a little bit, now, but I think I was a little worried myself at the spate of tears.  It is so out of character for me to cry over an injury of any sort no matter how much they hurt. Well I was soon all right again but I have a nasty little bruised nail now to show for my stunt.

After John left Sunday evening, I played about doing more housework but it was as much fun as it was work.  I rearranged the dining room and then put it all back and changed the living room seating and put it all back and then I made up the guest bed with fresh sheets and changed out the comforter for one that is more suited to cool autumn/winter weather.

I worked on October goals and looked over the October calendar, and the household budget sheet...because a new quarter begins this month (Yike!).  I was glad to see we were in pretty good shape despite how very tight we'd felt things were in June and July and a goodly portion of August.  Gosh but it was tight!  Despite that we managed to pay a little extra on the car loan each month, put a small amount into savings and held our own with the grocery budget.  It took a lot of will power, a couple of "meet the budget" conferences and an absolute halt on all spending except bills at one point but it was worth it.  I'm not saying the month's ahead will be loads easier, but they certainly shouldn't be any more difficult and I think we'll do all right.  Electricity will drop a little, there's a small amount of overtime here and there, we've got money in reserve for the property taxes and have started setting some aside for the car tags.  Which is all well and good...Remember when I managed to find a lower rate car insurance?  Just in time as the house insurance just rose, sigh, as it happens.  There is no negotiating this one.  The company that covers mobile homes is the ONLY one our agency has, or any other agent in  Georgia as it happens. 

We've at least talked over Christmas funds this year.  I don't know just why we discuss it.  We've spent the same amount for years on end.  The number of recipients goes up and we cut down on how much we give individuals, then the number goes down and we increase a little for each.  This year, numbers are UP.  Gifts go down.  So be it. 

Speaking of Christmas, I looked long and hard at my 'mantle' here in the living room, the one I'd meant to sand and stain and make nice but haven't.  There was my oldest son, who told me about a month ago that he was getting antsy about a new wood working project and nothing lined up and there was my so called mantle.  I asked him Thursday night if he would strip and stain and makeover that piece for me as their gift to me for this year.  I couldn't think of a thing nicer than having his handiwork displayed in my home.  He will surely improve the appearance which will relieve me of the guilt I feel when I look at it as yet another of my 'ideas' that has gone nowhere beyond thinking.

JD has been doing all kinds of home improvement projects and has altered furniture or made it from scratch for their home as well.  So I feel sure he can better my vision of that mantle and make it into something nice.  I've told him I want a wood finish and from there he's to do whatever he feels will make it look its best.  We have a chest of drawers his great grandfather, two bench/tables his grandfather made and I thought it would be nice to have three of four generations handiwork in the house.

So I removed the mantle.  John said he'd dismantle (ha pun intended) it and then said he might not be able to do so after all.  And that's when I remembered that the only way I could get the thing home in the first place was through prayer!  It would not go into my car no matter how I turned it and so I said a quick prayer and asked for a truck, at which point my brother came driving up the road and brought it home for me.  Now, my current car is a little larger, I'll try to see if it fits, but I am pretty sure that no amount of prayer will move my brother to drive that piece five hours away to my son's home, lol.

I didn't push hard on Monday.  I had plenty to do, but the day turned off quite humid.  Not ideal for drying our floors without the windows open and it was cooler outdoors so the windows were open.  I decided mopping could wait for another day.  Instead I pulled out all the curtains and bed skirts and pillow shams that I've stored in various places, looking for the shams that match the comforter I put on the guest bed.  No luck on that end, but as I dug about I found a bed skirt I bought last winter at the thrift shop and I thought it and a set of old curtains would be just the thing for this year's master bedroom look. Even though it was marked on the handwritten tag as FULL it most certainly is a queen skirt.  I put it on my bed Wednesday and hung the curtains that day too.  It looks so nice with my Cathedral Window quilt on the bed.

I do love that quilt!  I like it so much I probably ought to find another and put away for when this one wears out, lol.  I've had it for five or six years I guess and I've used it for all that time.

Oh Monday I had a bit of luck!  About 10 pm I decided it was time to stop work/writing and meant to watch House Hunters International, but I pushed the wrong buttons and ended up on Georgia Public Television where I found a new program:  Genealogy Road Show.  It's a take off of the Antiques Roadshow apparently and they do online research for individuals, going from city to city.  I love this sort of thing and think I'll enjoy the show.  Do check your Public station listings if you're interested.  Unlike "Who Do You Think You Are?" it is based upon regular folks and not celebrities.

Tuesday morning I got up early and John was a bit late.  That is a nice combination for me.  If I can get a shower, a cup of coffee and Bible time before the day must start, then my day just swings right along and I get loads accomplished.  If I don't...well the day turns into a prolonged holiday.  This morning I got all three of those things done before he arrived home.  I had time to just stand and gaze at the glorious October day.  The goldenrod was highlighted by the sun, dew sparkled, a few wisps of fog and smoke hung in the air over the fields, I could smell wood smoke and the unique aroma of autumn and the special smell of cold air that is unlike the musty, warm aromas of summer air.  It was quiet except for birdsong.  I can't tell you how peaceful and wonderful it all seemed to me.  I think my Bible study took on a deeper quality just because of the morning view.

Tuesday was also Harvest Day in our home.  After we'd paid bills and I'd done a little housework, I started out to run my errands done then return and cook dinner at home, but things didn't go that way at all.  I got to the back steps and heard a definite hissing sound.  I wasn't just sure what was wrong but I knew something wasn't right.  I thought it was the heat pump but I quickly realized it was the water faucet.  I couldn't for the life of me figure out why it would be on, but my grandson has played with the faucet handles before.  So I checked just in case...Turns out it wasn't on.  The spigot had developed a pinhole leak and water was being forced out of the hole, hence the hiss.  Boy oh boy...and here I was with a tired husband who had to be told that we had a problem...Yuck and yuck!

John came out and looked over the situation and thought he might have a fix for it.  He had to turn off the water at the pump.  And here is one of the oddities about our house that puzzles me no end.  Indoors, we have cut-offs on every pipe.  They seldom work...I mean John can cut them off, which is supposed to shut them down, but water continues to run anyway.  I've no clue why.  I asked, rather hopefully, if he couldn't just cut off water to the outdoor pipe?  Nope.  No cut-offs outdoors. Silly house builders!  Were they just that convinced their work was life time lasting work, overly optimistic or just that interested in looks rather than actual works?  Never mind.  We know better now than to think we can turn off water anywhere else except at the pump.  THAT job was done right!

John had to go into town for parts.  I stayed home instead of going on to do my errands.  I'm not really sure why I stayed home, but it seemed to make things better somehow in John's eyes, so I stayed.  Thankfully it took about 5 minutes to fix once he returned and I was on my way to do my errands.  However, an hour had passed since I'd started out the back door...As my errands took another hour and half, I realized cooking dinner was not an option.  John wouldn't be able to eat until nearly 2:30pm if I prepared dinner.  Take out from our local diner was the solution.

Wednesday was not really remarkable. I piddled about doing the usual things. Thursday was grocery day and that was remarkable because it was such a lovely day.  We went to meat market and chatted away for the full hour of driving down there and we chatted all the way back, too. 

You know I can recite all I've done all day long every single day.  You'd probably find it as interesting or boring as you find your own life at the moment.  There are days when I think I'd like to live my life in a high and holy sort of way.  I've read of missionaries who do.  They spend HOURS each day lying on their faces praying.  They minister to orphans and widows and the poor and needy.  They study and write out their thoughts and publish them and they go on speaking tours.  I always wonder who is dealing with the day to day details?  Who prepares the meals and cleans up after, who does the laundry and makes the beds?  Who shops for groceries and pays bills?  Who is sitting up at night nursing sick children or seeing they are schooled?  I guess that's wrong of me but those are the things my life focuses on.

You see, I can get caught up in that sort of thinking and feel really...not bad, nor exactly guilty...inadequate I guess is the word I want,  in my own Spirit life.  I was having one of these sessions with myself Friday morning.  The day started out well enough.

I opened the curtains early Friday morning and was surprised by the eyes and ears  that turned my way.  Three does stood on the upper hill looking towards the house.  After a moment they put their heads down and began to graze the lawn.  John and I watched them for a good fifteen minutes or until Maddie suddenly discovered they were there.  I watched as they turned and ran down the old wagon path a little ways and then they stopped and one by one, they leaped over the barbed wire fence and ran off.  The sheer muscle it takes to leap effortlessly over a fence that is 4 1/2 feet tall amazes me, yet they looked as though it were effortless.  Such graceful beauty. It made my heart sing, truly it did.

Two hours later found me in tears at my kitchen desk...Why?  Because of that sense of not doing enough, not being enough, not having a real purpose.  I thought of the small group of people in the 'real' realms of my life (with no slight intended for all you ether friends) and wondered if I had made any impact at all on even one of them.   Now I wasn't feeling sorry for myself.  I am a pity party participant of the first quality and I know how to milk that.  No, not a pity party.  Just a good hard self-examination.  The age old question of "Who am I?  Why am I here?" sort of reverie and John happened to be playing the most awesome praise session in the music room.  It just seemed to me that I was mightily blessed to be hearing it and at the same time, that it was such a waste to be heard only by inadequate, back roads rural housewife me.  And there's more to that story about why I feel so that I can't share, but let's just assume it all got tangled up with what I was already feeling.

I laid my head down and prayed and sobbed.  Then I dried my tears and got on with the work of the day because as I've said many times and will say over and over again in years to come: the world can be falling apart but someone wants a meal, clean clothes, the bed made and this was hardly world shattering stuff.  Later I sat down at the computer and trolled about reading emails, looking at Facebook and there I was sobbing all over again.  All because one of those 'real' people in my life, one of those I'd been thinking over and praying about earlier, wrote me the sweetest little note, short and to the point that said in essence, "You've made a difference in my life.  We love you."    Yep, there I was.  Just plain old me, in my back roads rural home, being touched by God.  That's kinda high and holy isn't it?

Saturday we went to synagogue.  This week Rabbi related to us that he'd had a sermon all prepared and ready to go when he found himself reading the Torah Parshah for this week, the portion of the Torah that we study as a group in every home, Messianic and Jewish alike.  This week's study was about Noah.  Wow oh wow, did he ever teach me a great deal about how Noah and his story relate to the story of Moses, and to Christ and God's great desire to save His people.  It's really a story of hope, if we'll only listen and repent. 'Turn to Me..." He says over and over again, the way any parent with a heart for His children will plead with them to do the right thing, think the right thoughts, make the right choices.  It was message that left me in tears at the beauty of it.  I am deeply grateful my Rabbi made these connections and wrote a new sermon!

Well dears.  There wasn't much to Saturday after that.  Home, pizza for dinner(semi-homemade) and football.  I cheered for the home state team in a rather tense game.  It had to be tense to make me pay any attention to it.  I can drown out a football game without any concern, lol.  John made us a supper plate of fruit and peanut butter sandwiches.  The day ended relaxed and easy.  The week ahead is fresh and new.  Let's all make it a good one!


Karla Neese said...

Funny, I just got through making two gingerbread cakes. My friend gave me a box of Pumpkin Spice Pudding at care group on Tuesday and said my culinary challenge was to bring something this next week using that pudding. So, I immediately began brainstorming and knew in minutes what I'd bring - a Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle. I'll mix the pudding with some whipped cream and layer with gingerbread. Top with more whipped cream and sprinkle with crushed ginger snaps. Yum!!

Oh my dear friend, how we women so often struggle with our identity and purpose. God has been teaching and emphasizing my identity in Christ lately and I pray that the same will be for you. May you be blessed with deep encouragement in your soul/spirit. Much love my friend!

Anonymous said...

I imagine even the women we read about and admire in biographies and books have days when they feel inadequate and unneeded. I find myself some times in tears all of a sudden in the middle of my shower or at the sink washing dishes. Blogs that are respectfully honest like yours win our hearts because we can see ourselves through their writings. We know we are not alone. We have a connection. We are not the only one either who have felt such emotions. I heard someone say we will never know how many people we have influenced but God does. All we can do is try to follow His example and do the best we can. At this time in my life you are my connection on the net. I turn to other blogs i like but few can draw me in like you do. Your writings are not dull at all. Your life has purpose and I am so sure many around you have gained from knowing you and your husband. We are human. God made us like we are. He alone is perfect. I have had talks with some of the people around me I very much admire. I thought they had it all together. They though told me they felt very inadequate and intimidated by life. They looked so confident but inside were no more confident than I feel. The missionaries who are so pious are doing what they feel is right for them. They would not feel right leading our lives. God put them there and us here. I am trying to figure some things out as I write this. I am talking to myself as much as to you. I even have sisters who have less than we do and busier lives too. Yet they seem to me to have done so very much more for our Lord. Things I wouldn't even know how to do or who to go and get to help me do it. I feel certain that they have done far more than I even know about. What I do know others have told me of as they do not toot their own horns. It amazes me. I feel I do so little in comparison. Yet God tell us not to compare ourselves to others. He has work for each of us to do, our own work...but am I doing enough at all?? We all have doubts about something I guess. My sisters and I all lead different lives. Yes I do have more of the daily details you speak of to do and so on. Well, I best end this and not ponder on paper any longer!!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us... Sarah

Deanna said...

Isn't it wonderful when we receive some sort of confirmation that we have made a difference in someone's life? I've had a couple of those recently and it made my heart sing.

Spicy Apple Cake - I FOUND IT!

While sorting though Mama's cookbooks the other day I came across a Family Circle magazine cookbook that looked familiar.  I brought...