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 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!


Lana said...

I hate it that you had to deal with the dissension in the middle of everything else. I guess that is what has always held me back from starting a blog. I think that people don't realize that Christians are sinners too, just forgiven ones.

Spring has really sprung here but we are to have a freeze this weekend. I learned a long time ago not to jump the gun on the frost date here in SC. The last two years we have had a hard freeze right at or after the frost date. Neighbors up the street put in their vegetable garden early every year and lose every bit of it. They never learn.

It is wonderful to have a great breakfast spot. For years we have eaten at a family owned Greek restaurant on Saturday or Sunday mornings. In the winter months they have the fireplace going and the table right there at the fire is almost always available on Sundays. The food is really great and reasonable, too. AND they have good coffee. We are never rushed through and the owner has known us and our kids as they grew up so he calls us family in his booming Greek accent. Makes us feel welcome and smile every week.

We plan to completely strip our bed and wash every bit of it and flip the mattress this weekend. We have a new mattress pad and box spring encasement and all will be fresh and comfy by tomorrow night. This usually gets done for the new year but we are just now able to do it.

Have a great weekend!

Kathy said...

Welcome Home! There is no place like home!
So glad that baby Isaac is doing well, and I'm glad that you were able to help with Josh.
My kids are teens now, but honestly I am glad my baby days are over. :D
Your blog has been a blessing to me. Thank you for your ministry. I'm sorry that someone had a problem. I missed what happened, but we can't make everyone happy.
Hope you have a relaxing weekend.

Wendi said...

I only have one child. My Megan is now 10 and there have been times when I have felt sadness that I only have one child. Recently I watched a friends baby for a few hours. Once she was gone I realized I want to love on other peoples babies and I no longer have that desire to have one. Babies are a ton of work! Funny how over time we tend to forget that. My ten year old "baby" is plenty for me.

There is a little restaurant up the street from us where we enjoy breakfast. When Chuck is off on a weekday we will often stop in. It's small, friendly and not super crowded on a weekday. Oh, the food is good too!

I am glad that the baby is home and everyone is settling back into their routines. There is no place like home!

Sally said...

Your blog is lovely and sincere... That's why I enjoy your posts so much! I believe that you bring much glory to God through your ministry in blog land...keep up the great work:)

Anonymous said...

There is a very popular blog that I follow which has become slightly hysterical and shrill due to recent political events. However I took the time to make a kind non political comment because I could almost feel the bloggers pain and anxiety.

We are all different yet all the same. Belittling or ridiculing another's life choices accomplishes nothing.

Myself I am suffering the where has my life gone? syndrome. I do try to practice being grateful.

So glad baby Isaac is home. Of course you know that his name means "he shall laugh"

Best wishes from Best Bun.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

It's wonderful that baby Isaac is home. I know that it must feel good to you and your husband for you to be back home again, too. It's great that you could spend time at their home taking care of Josh and doing some home cooking, and all kinds of other activities for them, too.

My time for having a baby in the house full time is just a memory now. I don't think my bad knees would be able to manage it. Even when we babysit for our six year old grandson, we are usually tired afterwards. In fact, normally, me, my husband, and even our little old dog go to our various comfy places and all take a nap for a while when he goes home. Our grandson is no trouble, I think it is just being out of our usual schedule and doing things to continuously entertain all of us is why we get a bit tired.

I enjoyed reading Anonymous (Best Bun's) comment that the meaning of Isaac's name is "He shall laugh". I didn't know that...but I know he will.

Susie D.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Terri! ( I am catching up on your blog this morning) ! As always.

I'd like to share a few thoughts/observations about the comment episode you mention. I missed the comment(s) so I don't know the details but I'm sure of one was NOT your doing. As you're probably aware, there are some people out there who enjoy trolling and baiting others, for whatever unhappy reason. (Some in fact are paid for doing it.). It's been my humble observation that it seems to happen on blogs that are spreading useful information and inspiring good. One example. When reading your story about the chain of events, I immediately thought of the blogger who used to write "$1000 Dollars a month". (You may be familiar with it.) She was a young woman who truly was making the very best of a meager situation and doing an amazing job of it...and sharing what worked for her...and INSPIRING her readers...including me. She wrote about her religious point of view on occasion but not in a preaching manner at all...only in a way to honestly/ transparently let her readers know that her religious philosophy informed her decisions and that was the path she and her family had chosen. She never tried to convert or argue, only to help and uplift. Much like your blog. Sadly, she was harassed by a few trolls and folded her blog. She was young (in her twenties) and probably took things very much to heart as good souls often do (blaming themselves first). However, as a third party observer it was a pattern I recognized and understood (and not only from my own blogging experiences). On a personal note: The way I handled such things was, once I realized that comments such as these were a "poisoning of the well" tactic (some done deliberately, others unconsciously) it was much much easier to let them go. I simply didn't engage...and didn't publish them. (Some bloggers even have little signs on their blogs saying "please don't feed the trolls" haha). After a while they (trolls) pretty much go on to an easier target...making only occasional appearances. I just look at them as being just part of life, online and off. I say a quick prayer for them and move on.
And speaking of moving on...I Love love love your "might as well" story in the above post and am off to read more and begin my good day on a positive and inspiring note! I need some of that might as well attitude today!


P.S. Sorry to ramble on but felt compelled to share my little observervations with you my kind friend!

Terri Cheney said...

Wendi, Thank you for your comment. I am too old thankfully to even consider the wanting of a baby but I did grieve far more than I ever dreamt I should over Katie leaving the nest. Now I find I am quite content to love on the grands and to send them off home once more (or come home myself!)lol. It's a nice balance for me at this stage of life.

Sally, Thank you. I mean that sincerely, just Thank YOU.

Best Bunn, Thank you for your kindness to the other blogger.

Tracey, I like that expression 'poisoning the well'. I knew the comments needed to be deleted once the reader said she was going because I felt it was leaving something rather ugly behind to exist where it oughtn't any longer. I guess I knew instinctively that the well here needed to be fresh and clean.
And Thank You for your lovely kindness and generous spirt. I never dreamed 20 years ago as I sat in my car at work at lunch time reading your lovely book that I'd 'know' you a little later in my life. You are truly as beautiful as I thought you must be way back then.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Awww made my year. Thank you for the beautiful compliment (s). I'm not sure that I deserve them but I will definitely work hard to live up to them. The feeling is truly mutual. Yes,your instincts are right do very well in keeping your water fresh,clean and re-freshing. I am so glad we've become friends over these years.

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