Iced Tea Chat:

Hello dears...Do sit down and let's just relax a bit, okay?  I'm tired.  I mean that I've worked hard and studied hard and I'm weary but more that the world is too much with me, and that makes me tired.  I find today especially that bad news makes me wanta weep  but good lovely things make me feel a sob rise up from way down deep...

It's not the world I want to be in at the moment and it's not a world I can embrace.  I've never been an 'all is sunshine and love' sort of person, but I am a positive person.  I SEE things, same as anyone with half a mind can see if they only look.  Life can be hard enough if we only focus on our lives but it can be awfully difficult when we see the world through news reports and television and facebook posts.  That's chaos and confusion and drama and a horrible tangle of nasty things.  The day to day world I live in, is much the same as it's always been.  Young men hold doors open for women and it matters not if we're black or white.  People still smile and wish one another a pleasant day.  I cannot reconcile the world I see on the television set with the world as I know it, but I doubt my world these days.  I wonder if I'm not seeing rightly.  And I've seen how it affects others, too, when someone across the aisle from me looks warily upon me for a moment and then tentatively smiles.  A smile is a big thing these days.  Especially when one is black and the other is white.  What a messy thing life has become when we cease to be people and see color first.   We had come so far.  Now we're back slidden.

The television is on far too often with things I'd rather not see.   I have to find my moments of peace as I can take them.  The mornings have been blissfully cool.  I've been waking very early.  I go to the porch.  Prayers are said and coffee is sipped and pets are loved upon.  Birds sing.  I let my thoughts dwell for a little bit each day on how it would feel to go sit on Granny's porch and drink in her calm steadiness.  She, more than anyone I know, truly had Shalom peace.  Shalom peace means 'Nothing missing, nothing broken'.   But I cannot go sit on her porch and I can't sit with her any longer.  I have had to learn to wait for the peace to come fill me instead of taking it from another.  Thank God, it comes.  Oh it comes!  Then I can work and write and do all that I have set myself to do each day.

At the end of the day, when the peace has worn thin, I've 'hidden' myself away.  I read.  I dig into the family genealogy.  I text/chat with my girls, all four of them and drink in their love and joy in being family with one another.  And when John isn't home, I turn off the television and listen to the quiet, the so lovely quiet.

This past week, I opened windows in the early mornings after John left for work.  I put on praise music and listened to sermons.  If there's to be any noise at all, it will be the noise of praise.  I feel sure it can saturate the very pores of this house and I do my best to assure that it does.  It can saturate the very core of my being as well.   Just as a body craves certain foods that contain needed nutrients, my spirit is craving additional time with God right now.

And just as I think it will be all right, another horrid thing happens and my peace is shattered again.


Let's have this time be pleasant and chatty and full of homey things.

Three fat rabbits, lovely velvety brown ones, meeting in the shade of the tree at lawn's edge and then daringly playing on the lawn caught my attention the other evening.  I was standing at the kitchen windows watching them and thinking back on the long ago days when we ate little meat, not that I care for eating rabbit, but John and I used to play a sort of game as we drove about in the country.  I'd spy a fat brown rabbit and would say "That one would make a nice bit for the stew pot." lol.  It was a silly game but not one likely to occur in reality in my life.  I don't think of those days often, but yet I can't quite forget them, when a rabbit looked like a promise fulfilled. 

But I don't eat rabbit...I was once very ill with a migraine that lasted well over a week and all I wanted was utter silence, utter darkness and to be left alone.  I was so sick to stomach with the thing. The three of us were staying with Granny and she was beside herself as I'd never acted in such a way in all the years she'd known me.  Mama and Daddy were away on a trip of some sort. 

So there I was in bed, feeling as though I were too ill to live and to keep the two boys occupied, Granny took them out with the shotgun or rifle or something and taught them to shoot.  Every morning they went outdoors and hunted rabbits and every day Granny fried those rabbits once the boys had skinned them.  I am still sickened at the memory of the aroma of frying rabbit, no fault of Granny's.  I'm sure they were quite tasty, she'd certainly had experience enough cooking them in her lifetime, but nevertheless, I couldn't stomach them.

I let those old memories flit through as I watched those sleek looking rabbits on the lawn.   I loved watching them 'freeze' and wait when they heard an unfamiliar noise or something moved in their line of vision.  It reminded me of a silly game we played on the playground called Sling the Biscuit in which we had to freeze in some foolish pose after being spun about and let go.  The rabbits didn't strike silly poses but their sudden stops and their incredible stillness made me remember that old game.  Funny how all those memories came to surface in just a few short minutes of looking out the window.

Big Mama's sewing machine is now mine.  John repaired the front drawer of the cabinet.  I've plundered in the drawers and found old spools of thread and buttons and zippers and belt buckles.  Big Mama was a great seamstress, sewing for the neighbors and all her family and always making her own clothes.  She quilted too...

I wept a little with sentimentality as I told John how I recalled seeing the machine in front of the bank of windows in her bedroom, always open, always a dress or apron or something lying upon the open machine.  It was amazing really, how clearly that little scene came back to mind and I could see her big room with the iron bed on one wall with the oak dresser next to it and the fireplace on the inside wall and a big old trunk at the foot of the bed.   

I found a piece of tape inside the cabinet lip where the machine rests when it's set up.  It said "This goes to Myrtle, Mama's wishes".  I did think to ask Mama this past week how she came to have it, after telling her about the taped message.  "Did Aunt Myrtle get it?"  "Oh yes, but when she moved from the old house to the apartment she had to let go of so many things.  She knew her grand daughters would care nothing for it, so she asked if I'd like to have it."   Mama has had it many years and it's in worse shape for it.  She'd set a plant on the top of it which often enough overflowed when watered and it messed up the veneer a bit. 

I'm awfully glad to have it and glad that it brought Big Mama back to me for a few moments so vividly. 

I've been busy getting rid of clutter again.  There's something very freeing about letting go of things.  I really don't want to hoard things but it's true I love pretty things.  I guess I broke a barrier recently.  I know I can't possibly bring home every single item in my booth, much as I like it all.  So I stood back and looked hard at what I have there.  So many of those things came from my home.  I reminded myself they were there because I didn't use them here;  they were hidden behind a cupboard door or gathered dust in the shed.  That helped a lot in how I felt about them.  I found it far easier to part with those things I had purchased for the booth.  Yes, I was attracted to them for various reasons but they held no sentiment at all, I hadn't lived with them.  In the end, I emptied a whole shelf unit at the booth.  I brought home the things I knew I'd regret donating and packed up for donation those things that I just didn't want.  I took them straight to the donation center.  No lingering about.  I also culled things here at home.    I had already loaded things from the shed and house that I meant to donate, so it was a lot less painful to go on and take the first of the booth things to donate. 

I was so inspired that when I got home I raided my two hiding spots where I tuck pretty things I don't want to give up just yet.  I let go of a few pieces more. I dug out the things I'd been holding to place in the booth.  Three boxes more of things to go to donation and then I cleared out the jumble of things I've held onto in the craft area.  I collected a bag of trash and a small bag of items to donate.  Then out to the shed where I was ruthless in sorting out things.  I'd held onto so many pretty bits of broken creamers and sugars and birds and such.  All so much rubbish in the end and so out it went with the trash.   I dug down deep and asked myself sincerely, when was the last time I used this in my home?  Does it have any sentimental value at all?  If the answer to the last one was "No" and the answer to the first was that I couldn't remember then I placed it in the boxes for donation.  I emptied two shelving units of things.

The house and shed are feeling lighter and better organized.  Not to say that there's not other places to work upon but the guest room is truly looking nice once more, the pantry is so well organized it's a little unsettling, and I've carted off  TWO carloads of things to donate.  TWO carloads!  Incredible that someone who has decluttered routinely could come up with that much stuff.  And I may as well mention the four big black trash bags of trash that went out as well.  There's a bag of clothing in my bedroom, and two or three boxes yet in the shed to go.  Another car load for next week.  And then I can stop for a bit and reassess where I am until I completely unload the shelves at the booth the last week of this month. 

I did take time this week to go in to the booth and bag up another lot of things to donate and look hard at what is left.  There are things I'd genuinely prefer come home with me but there are others that I will happily donate and no regrets when I do.

I've made good progress on my goals for July, even I am astonished at all I've done.  And with all the work I've managed to read four books for leisure, in addition to those read for Frugal Boot Camp.  I've been busy, dears, truly busy and I woke last Thursday morning with a deep sense of weariness despite another excellent night's rest.  Boot Camp may well continue but this girl is going to slow down her pace a bit and recover on all other fronts. 

I went out with Mama last Monday.  It was a long day, in that we had lunch in one town which was a goodly drive away and then drove to a farm stand that Mama feels is 'the best'.  I personally don't agree that it's the best at all, but I had only the one day to give to her this month and so I drove the extra distance.  Besides she was buying things for herself and I'd made up my mind I needed nothing, so it was just a long pleasant drive and cost only time.

When we arrived at the place, there were three ladies from our town.  The youngest of them was just a few years younger than Mama but the other two are in their 90's and early100s.  Yes, one of the ladies is 101 years old and she is still quite energetic.  The woman in her 90s reminds me so strongly of her mother who attended our little country church when I was a child.  Each time I see her, I am struck nearly speechless thinking she is her mother's ghost for a half second.  Mama chatted with the ladies a bit and then we had peach ice cream.  It is my annual summer treat to eat  homemade peach ice cream once each summer.  I may eat a smaller portion these days, but it was every bit as delicious. 

For a brief moment I was transported back to Granny's and Grandaddy's back porch where the ice cream churn was steadily turned by each of us in turn.  Peach season was always heralded by a churn of homemade peach ice cream.   The impossible wait between churning and curing was agony.  

The week from there went on, as week's do.  Housework and work on planned goals and reading and meals.  It's an endless round isn't it?   Laundry and dishes and meals, and laundry and dishes and meals.  This week has been especially easy upon me where meals are concerned.  We've eaten leftovers all week long, and suppers have been very light affairs.  Even breakfasts have not been very complicated.  It's the summer lull of appetites I suppose which is as natural as that craving of hearty foods come cold weather.

I've been careful to try and balance my busyness and work with plenty of pleasurable leisure pursuits.  I've been reading Miss Buncle's Book by D. E. Stevenson.  I'd started The Two Mrs. Abbotts by the same author but found it was one of four books in a series and so I wanted to start at the beginning.  I knew I had the first book on hand.  I ordered the other two in the series after I realized they were connected.  Yes, I did really and what's more I've ordered two or three more books besides.  If it seems spendy to you, I'll admit it does to me, as well.  Once upon a time I allowed myself one book a month but for many months now I've gone without.  I'm not trying to make up for lost time but I am most certainly planning to enjoy myself.

I had a lovely two evenings of running down a genealogy rabbit trail.  I did not discover what I was hoping to find but I did make an unrelated discovery which is usually what happens.  It's another area to explore a bit further sometime soon.   One of those sorts of things that suddenly brings a relative into a clearer perspective, makes them seem more known somehow.  It was a many times great grandfather who was excommunicated from his church.  I'm not sure what he did to warrant it.  The vague minute notes read 'for unchristian behavior'.   Since he was in the Primitive Baptist church that could relate to most anything, including minor offenses hardly worth mentioning.  Having been excommunicated myself, (because I visited other churches than Primitive Baptist),  I suddenly felt a connection to this so many greats grandfather of mine.  I wondered if he hurt the way I did, if he'd been lost but not found despite all those years of church going, just as I'd been.  I hoped this led him directly to God, the way it did me. 

I was alone for Shabat this past week, for the first time in the longest.  Bess and Sam often joined in and occasionally Josh was up late enough to be with us.  It was a sweet time to share with my children and grandson.  I haven't had a solitary Shabat in quite a long while it seemed. 

I was frustrated by the day, which is enumerated in my post of last week.  Projects failed in an epic way, I wasted money, forgot major things...ack.  I came to Shabat with a heavy heart and a weariness that was no less than it had been when I awoke Thursday morning.  I didn't even start my prayer in the usual ways.  Instead I simply lay my face in my hands and sobbed.  I prayed first for family members.  Amie's partner was in hospital again and I thought of his weariness of living with chronic heart condition and pain.  Katie's husband is deeply ill and that was a concern.  A friend's husband has had a hard diagnosis in the past month and they've lived at the hospital since mid June.  My girls have all had to be strong women, facing parenting and household duties alone and without reprieve.  Sam was out of town yet again, separated still another time from his family and his home.  I prayed that God would help me lift up each one...and then the dam truly broke as I explained that I simply hadn't the energy to lift up all those killed in the past week due to terrorists and so called activists.  I explained how weary I am of the world at times. 

I prayed over the grape juice and the bread and something in me broke open.  "I choose, Lord, to choose you, in face of these troubles.  I choose you, to bring me strength.  I choose you, to heal us.  I choose you, to help us pray when we can't.  I choose you over and over and over again.  I choose you."    Later, as I put away the things, I realized that I didn't have to lift up the hurting all by myself.  I simply had to  be a tiny part of a greater number of prayers lifted on the same matters.  But I had to do my part.  We all have to do our part.  Prayer changes things.

I think I went to bed that night with as deep a sense of peace as I've had in a long time.  I never, all day Friday, turned on the TV nor listened to the first bit of news.  I didn't even turn on fans.  The silence was so deep, I could hear the crickets outside the bedroom window as they chirped away.  And that was my lullaby that sent me off to sleep.  I woke on Saturday morning at day break feeling rested, right side up and at ease.  Restoration had taken place.  Thank you, God.

We went to church yesterday and I struggled in the worship service.  I simply couldn't get myself off the ground and in the spirit of praise.  But a little later, I realized it didn't matter.  I was worrying over things that are of no consequence.  Mass worship and praise is a wonderful thing but in the end, we come to God, one by one, individuals who must face him all on our own. 

There's corn waiting in the kitchen, brought in by a friend unexpectedly this afternoon.  I need to 'put it up'.   There are sheets to be folded, smelling fresh and feeling crisp the way line dried sheets smell.  And it's nearly time for supper.  I find with surprise that I am hungry.  John would like corn, lol, so that will be easy enough to provide.  But I must get up and get busy once more. 

Bless you all!  Oh and please pray for Katie's Matt and Amie's Ben.  Neither one are doing very well at the moment.  Matt is at the doctor again, still unable to get his feet under him. Katie had to take him as he's too weak to go on his own.    Ben's had to have another stint put in.  Amie spent the bulk of her weekend at hospital with him.  I would so appreciate prayers for both these men!

Talk to you later, dears...


Mimi said...

Dear Terri. Yes, it has been a hard week in world events, hasn't it. I find that shrinking my world to my immediate loved ones helps me deal with that. Be at peace in your heart. There's not much else one can do. Mimi xxx

Anonymous said...

Yes I will keep them in prayer. Seems so many around us right now are hurting physically.

I have been trying to clear an area and doing a pretty good job...yet there is still much to do. I am so weary though trying to get so many other things done in this heat {and at this age. :) } that it is hard to add this to the list. You sound like you are going gang busters. I know once I am done I will have another go round of it all and throw out more.

We are enjoying the many fruits of the season but hubby still is leery of having what I know is ok each day. Naturally when he does his numbers are higher the next morning and he blames it on that. His numbers are low and even high is basically low..but not tooooo low. Always with in his range for good numbers. We are still working on learning. Since his numbers are always so good he does not want to rock the boat and do anything different! :) I am looking forward to any new things you can tell us from your magazines or studies this year. Your comments have meant so much.

Since we have read the end of the book so to speak, I wonder if things will get better or not in this world.
I know we are better off with the tv off from time to time. Not knowing something has happened again does not stop it from happening and the news is always repeating the details. Once we do plug in we know instantly what happened and when. I still keep wondering how God can stand all of this. He knows all and loves us so. When people say God Bless America I now think.. He has so many times over.... it is us who have stumbled so many times and done wrong. He hasn't changed. We have. And how could it unravel in so many places with so many things and people in such a short time? From the loss of manners to the loss of innocence to the loss of closeness and obedience to God. Laws that are not enforced,hate that is exchanged, fear that is growing and where is our calm still? In God. Who do many people run from? God. Enough. I didn't mean to sound like a tv newscast. Sorry.

I have been totally worn out and in need of rest but lately even taking a day 'off' hasn't resulted in much actual rest. I think I need to unwind with some alone time and get into the garden with God too. Sarah

Kathy said...

Praying for Matt and Ben!

Some friends and I are praying every night at 9pm eastern for one minute, for our country and peace.
'The idea was developed in Britain in the Second World War, initially from an idea by Major Wellesley Tudor Pole. People were asked to devote one minute of prayer for peace at nine o’clock each evening. He said:

“There is no power on earth that can withstand the united cooperation on spiritual levels of men and women of goodwill everywhere. It is for this reason that the continued and widespread observance of the Silent Minute is of such vital importance in the interest of human welfare.” [1]'

Lana said...

Praying for Matt and Ben and their loved ones caring for them.

We were at the lake when all the horror started and did not know about it until we were actually home. Then nightly demonstrations started in a nearby town where a dear friend's son is a policeman. He was beaten and choked by a demonstrator. Too much, too much. We go to a biracial church and all love each other and do not see color. It is a blessing to be there and love on each other in the middle of all of this.

Please pray for us. We got back the appraisal on our house n Friday. Then the house we had tried to buy a month ago came back on the market and we put the contract on it. Yesterday we found that there was an error in what we were told our house is worth but we already have the contract on the house. We are just sick about it and don't know which way to jump. The house we have the contract on needs a good bit of work before move in but we have to have the funds to do that. God knows and we rest in that or are trying hard to at the moment.

Colleen Gold said...

I too feel we are going backward. I was alive during the 60 and saw the good DR. King brought.We live in a racially diverse neighborhood and live together peacefully. I oray things settle down and the candiates don't try and cause problems just for publicity

Melonie said...

I'm usually just swinging by to read and don't take enough time to comment any more, but felt that you deserve a cyber-hug and a big thank you for being so raw and honest in this post. I feel much the same as you do and appreciate that it's being said, both by you and the ladies who have commented as well. I have a bad feeling that the closer we get to the election, things will get worse even as politicians stir the pot of division. *sigh*
Hoping and praying for swift healing for your loved ones. <3

Karla Neese said...

Terri, this post has done my heart and soul so much good - more so than many I've read all month long in various places. What an amazing reminder of all we have to do - one-on-one with God. Your words so accurately described my heart - the ups and downs, the prayers of earnestness, the weariness and joy, the honesty with Him and ourselves. But this one portion stuck out to me so much and I shared it with my good friend Cindy who has a Front Porch Ministry. "The television is on far too often with things I'd rather not see. I have to find my moments of peace as I can take them. The mornings have been blissfully cool. I've been waking very early. I go to the porch. Prayers are said and coffee is sipped and pets are loved upon. Birds sing. I let my thoughts dwell for a little bit each day on how it would feel to go sit on Granny's porch and drink in her calm steadiness. She, more than anyone I know, truly had Shalom peace. Shalom peace means 'Nothing missing, nothing broken'. But I cannot go sit on her porch and I can't sit with her any longer. I have had to learn to wait for the peace to come fill me instead of taking it from another. Thank God, it comes. Oh it comes! Then I can work and write and do all that I have set myself to do each day."

She went to South Carolina a few years ago and fell in love with idea of porches. She asked Jesus for her own front porch where she could meet Him and bring others to His feet. She got home and He started showing her that behind the big bushes and plants, she actually did have a porch. It has come a long way and is now a lovely porch with rockers, bibles and so much of the Lord's presence.

I'm ever grateful that He meets us on the porch, no matter how humble it may be.

Praying for your family.

Diary for July: Week Two

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