Coffee Chat: Winter, Where Art Thou?
Hello all. Coffee or Iced Tea? Yes, I said "Iced Tea"! Temperatures have been in the 80's this week! Isn't that just like February? Katie cut grass and got sunburned doing it. Yet I know that as much as we might feel spring has sprung upon us, it is February. It will be cold again. It will likely be frosty at least three more times before Spring finally arrives and perhaps even once after that. It is this time of year when some of the impatient sort make false starts with their gardens and regret their haste.
For us here in the South it's an iffy time. Plant now and, unless you're just starting seeds indoors or have a green house, you'll find yourself starting all over again come mid April. But I confess my fingers are itching to DO something outdoors. Fortunately, while I was gone muscari (grape hyachinths) bloomed their little hearts out and look just lovely. The old white iris Debra gave me from her great grandmother's garden is blooming. The pansies have perked up and some of the Kale (purchased at the pricier warehouse store) is doing well and some of it is not.
But my how my dreams have turned to Spring and Summer and the promise of flowers and vegetables! It's the weather, you see, a regular Pied Piper of sunshine and warm breezes luring me to play in the dirt. I can't help thinking of the months to come, when today we've a gorgeous day outdoors and open windows and I can hear the birds singing and see the bluest skies just outside the window.
I am home once more and no I didn't immediately go to work in my own home. John is a very good housekeeper in his own right and there was little for me to do that first day. I call it the 'refining touches'. You know...I put on the pillow shams and put away the dishes he cleaned and folded the quilt on the back of his chair just so. That's what I mean. Mostly I just enjoyed John's company and he enjoyed mine. We slept like rocks the night I came in from south Georgia, then we got up and went out for breakfast. It was such a pleasure to do that. I regret that we no longer have a nice place nearby to go to breakfast as we used to do. The local diner has space and the food is good enough but it's not quite the atmosphere we want. So we went to IHOP where ambience is also slim but the excellent food makes up for it. I love the whole grain and nut pancakes. This morning I asked for a fresh banana sliced atop and boy was that good!
We began making lists today. Lists of shopping for cleaning supplies, for summer mowing needs, for replacement parts, for house wants and wardrobe wants.
It's in the air...Katie was telling me of her plans for her master bedroom today. Bess is still happily planning nursery and boy rooms. Something about Spring just makes you want to move on to feathering the nest somehow. I've got my own vague plans. I am still just a tad discombobulated from my time away from home. My mind is almost blank where my home doings are concerned because I've been thinking in the realm of what I could do to make another home pleasant for the occupants and so I must reorient myself to my home.
John asked yesterday morning if I'd like to do any shopping and how my life was going and I just laughed and told him I needed to get myself centered here once more before I let him know about any of those things...but I did manage to share my little insight that as much as I enjoyed time with Josh, I have reconciled myself to being grandparent and not parent where small children are concerned. I did find I could do it well enough and with more energy than in my past, but admittedly it's not the life blood for me it was once upon a time. This was a major revelation to me, considering how hard I grieved when those days with Katie were over!
But today....today with John off at work and the birds screeching their heads off, I decided I might as well...Oh these might as well days! I might as well open the windows, and while I was at it, I might as well strip the bed and toss the sheets and towels in the washer and hang them out to dry. And I might as well just go right on and move those boxes of books and take up that rug I don't care for...I might as well load the dishwasher, give the house a nice little going over, work up the bill box, boil the chicken carcasses from the freezer, plan meals for the weekend. I might shred those zucchini I'd bought that we never had time to eat and boil a half dozen eggs and make that lonely overripe banana into a half dozen muffins. I might as well pull out my March vintage magazines and I might as well clean bathrooms. Oh it's been a full day and I figured I might as well make it count. And I did.
So I've had some time to do some thinking over the past week. It's safe, I think to sort of share what occurred because I don't believe any feelings will be hurt by it now. I came in last Friday with the clear idea that I was going to have to go back to South Georgia and stay at least one more week and maybe more. I was tired and weary after traveling and we sort of hurried through the sunset hour to Shabat. I sat down at long last in my comfy chair and put my feet up and settled in to read emails which were mostly comments which mostly dealt with your prayers and thoughts and were so very sweet.
But one reader hadn't made it to the current posts and didn't know what was going on (or so I believe) in my life at the time. She was upset at a post I made last month and upset over others' comments upon the post and offended that I shared an opinion that was clearly not her own. She was decent, don't get me wrong. It was not an ugly outraged post but a statement of her opinion. And I shared with her why I felt as I did in what I thought was a nice way but had John read it to insure I wasn't being snarky, which I can be when I'm really worn down. He felt it was courteous so I published her remark and my reply. When a post is over a week old, I get a moderator's notice to publish or delete the comment. I felt it was respectful of the reader's opinion to post her comment.
Well she wasn't happy. I don't know why she wasn't happy. I'd posted other opinions that varied from my own and she certainly hadn't put herself in a bad light. But she was not happy. And so she began to attack (for lack of a better word, as my brain is still addled, but again she was quite polite enough) my faith walk, questioning how I could hold my opinion and call myself a Christian, shared that her background was similar to mine, etc. I replied again. And again had John read through my reply to be sure I was as respectful of her as I could be. I didn't discuss the Christian question but assured her that I respected her opinion and that was why I'd published it and while I didn't feel I wanted to reconsider my opinion, I was glad to know we had other things in common.
Sunday, when I was packing my bags and feeling bluer than blue about leaving John and spending the week alone in an area that is not my home and facing that long drive back, I decided to rest at the computer and read emails. And there was another note, continuing to be upset about my opinion but mostly being upset that I was a Christian and this time it was an attack in that she pretty much let it be known that her opinion of any and all Christians was extremely low and I'd fit the mold just perfectly. And then, long time reader though she'd been, she told me she'd unfollow me. And to add salt to the pain I was already feeling, she told me her daughter had been following the exchange and now was ready to admit that her mother's opinion of Christians was correct. Ouch, ouch, ouch! It hurt. It made me feel awful. I wept. I questioned my calling to write this blog and my ministry. Had I been a poor witness? Had I misrepresented my faith? Had I been wrong to share an opinion that most obviously caused offense?
Now here's what I really want to share. All that story above is background and I don't want or need anyone rushing to my defense. Obviously this woman was mighty hurt by church folks and my opinion also grated hard on something that wounded her mightily. I'm sorry as can be that happened. I deleted the whole exchange from comments because at that point it was just ugly and gone well beyond an expressed opinion.
I've read back over that post and I see where I might have taken more care in saying what I did and how I said it, but no I wouldn't have changed my opinion, just my wording of it. My opinion remains the same and I can't change it to be hers, although I have a better understanding than I was allowed to express about why she felt as she did. I'm sorry for the mash-up and sorry to lose a reader under those circumstances.
Will I stop expressing my opinions here? No. I'll work carefully to say what I mean in as nice a way as possible, but I started Blue House Journal because Penny Ann Poundwise was mostly too perfect, too pat, and too artificial. She wasn't me. I stumble often. I get tired and weary and say things in a thoughtless manner. I can try to do better. I've been hurt by church too and it made my faith stronger, rather than turning me aside, but I can see how others might not have the same experience. I've experienced some of the same frustrations that reader had in the work world and yet I still formed an opinion that was opposite hers despite those experiences.
I am grateful that she wanted to share her opinion with me. I'm grateful she made me stop and examine how even the written word might hurt others at times. I'm grateful that she let me see myself through her eyes for a moment because it humbled me and I think we all need that sort of glimpse at what another is seeing now and then. The exchange made me rethink my decision to stop following another blogger whom I mostly enjoyed because I disliked an opinion she shared. I needed that jolt to make me see rightly in that matter. But no, I won't stop sharing my opinions despite the brouhaha sharing this one caused. I don't share for validation of how I think but because I think things through from my experiences in life overall. I share because occasionally it might help someone determine where they stand or whether they even care to take a stand in the same way. And that's my say over coffee.
Water under a bridge.
I sat down this morning and made out my March goals list. February tends to go mighty fast right here at the end and I want to be prepared for the coming month. It is this month of the year when I really gear up and start to work on projects and get things accomplish and I don't generally slow down again until mid-November. I made out a list of possible outfits to put together and came up with nearly 2 dozen from just what I have in my closet at present. I planned but for cold weather and warm. It seemed best to do so based on past March experiences!
I do realize this isn't a very long chat but I've a few more tasks to attend to before sundown this evening. I hope to be back to routine blogging this coming week despite John having another long stretch of time off. He won't go back to work until Sunday week so there's just no telling how much I'll accomplish, but I am eager to get back into all my routines, including writing ones!
Have a wonderful weekend. Relax. Enjoy it. That's just what I mean to do myself. And then Monday morning I shall hop right back to working hard and enjoying it!
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