Thursday, November 29, 2012

For Today, More than Enough

I wrestle her.  She seems to outwit me and break the rules by trying to choke the life out me.  The breathing, living hope sputters for air and she comes again with her steely grip.  The dogged determination I have to hold hope, to win this battle over creeping discontent, to find things to be thankful for.  She comes at me with running force and knocks the wind out of me.  I come up with breath of newly dawned day, and whisper a begged plea.  

I push her out the door, out with the cat food.  She grabs hold but I push her hands off.  No strength of mine, this battle I cannot win.  "Mercy, Lord, mercy.  Grace, Lord, grace.  Double doses today.  I need them." I swallow them like a starving man half gulps down his meal without chewing too much.  This medicine, this food, it satisfies.  Give thanks, eat and it is more than enough.

Little boy hands reach and touch blue frog, little boy body creeps backwards across the kitchen floor and bumps into legs that tower over him like the great granite pillars.  He touches toes, and continues his trek, scratching tile grout along the way, collecting treasures with his excited eyes.  "He isn't mine," I remind myself.  He's like a new library book on loan to me.  His long fingers explore, little replicas of mine, tiny little wrinkled knuckles.

He tells me it is a heart posture, this learning in all things to be thankful.  It is more than a prayer whispered over a meal.  The life attitude that everything I have I do not own, and what I have is pure gift.   A gift, what we have been given, when our eyes choose to see what we have not been given.  A gift, when with camera like clarity we choose to focus on what we have and the background becomes blurry.  Stewards of life, of joy, of hope and what we've been given.    We'd like to package things up, and put a number on them, file them away in place.  But life is a conglomeration, a book that bleeds ink page to page that describes what we have relates to stewardship and relationship.  It isn't the ten percent we give, it's the hundred percent that we have. And we unpack these little boxes, and choose not to live a sham.

And yet, some days I still wake up wrestling with her.  With trembling, hungry hands I'll drink this overflowing cup I've been given.  It spills and satisfies, reminding me of the more-than-enoughs and the abundantlys. Today, that is enough.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Where the Warmth Is

"Strange to say, the luminous world is the invisible world; the luminous world is that which we do not see. Our eyes of flesh see only night. "-Victor Hugo
Jack paints the grass white, and trees watch on with naked arms icy with wonder. I look out and my breath whitens the pane.  Inside the kettle whistles monotone, and fire glow casts itself over objects in the room.  I see his eyes look on with wonder as the light plays in his eyes.  He bangs on silver pots with his yellow toy. We long to go out, but we are in.  We stay where the warmth is. 

I weave stories, read, and look at books with him. He rubs his tongue like a little wave against the two white little chicklets of teeth. His little hand finds the patch of hair that he rubs when he's satisfied.  We'd walk together but it's too cold.  I long to go out, but I stay in.  I stay where the warmth is.

"Home is not four walls and a roof," I remind myself.  I long to go out, and I go.  Alone with a cup of coffee and a computer I make lesson plans.  A dog sits on my feet, and on cold days I long to stay in, but I go out to watch people. Home becomes a very fluid concept during these days.  Grey is the color of loneliness, with snowflakes falling.  Inside, I'd put up a tree with lights.  I stay.  I stay where the warmth is.

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step," they say. But do they know that each step takes courage?  Each step leads closer to home, the one where I will stay.  I long to go, but I am here.  Memories fling themselves across the canvas of time.  I'll stay where the warmth is living, breathing,  while I grasp the life-giving hope of eternal spring.  Contentment in the here and now, peace in the present.  I long to go, but I'll stay where the warmth is.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

What Different Creatures

"Evidently according to the radio show I heard today, most women don't feel good enough," he says.
The corners of my mouth curve.  "Do you feel like you need to be validated, because that was what the radio show was saying."  I smile with a sigh.  "No, I don't need to be validated.  But yes, what he said was generally true."

We live in a culture in which we can't keep up.
We can't be as slim. 
We can't be as athletic. 
We can't be as crafty. 
We can't get as many things done in a day.

And the problem mainly is that we can't be who we are not.  Usually the temptation is to compare ourselves with another woman who seems like she has it all together.  But we've been created to be ourselves.  Bumps, flaws, and bad hair days, we are who we were meant to be.  Growing and stretching into what we will become takes time.  But we can't be who we are not.

Awhile back, I gave away all my yarn to a friend.  She asked if I would need it back.  I told her, "No, because I won't use it.  I got it at a time when I thought I would be good at crocheting.  I've tried.  It hurts my hands.  I'm not that great, and I'd rather spend my time doing something else." This being who you are also takes admitting to yourself who and what you are not, and accepting with open hands who you are.

I tell my hubby that we women need to know we are loved the way we are.  That we are cherished (in spite of what we are and are not good at).  He looks at me and says, "I would have never thought that women go around with these kind of thoughts in their heads everyday." I smile at him, "Well, Honey, they do."

He sighs.  What different creatures women are.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kitchen Cupboards

The drawers pull out now!  Yeah!

Phew!  Just in time for Itty-bitty to figure these doors and drawers out. But not quite yet.  Still working on crawling.

Huge thanks go to my fantastic cupboard husband.  We're on a roll now, so I'm guessing a few more throw away/organize projects are in the works.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Small Space Kitchen

Welcome to the need of a little organizing help.  Excuse the overflowing trash can, please...

No dishwasher, and a lot of counter clutter. I haven't learned any trick to help other than to do dishes regularly (as in after mealtime), and try to find everything a home.  Problem is finding everything a home right now, but I'm working on that.

Thankfully, I have a rather large pantry space. It cannot be seen in this picture.  The kitchen is a part of our living and dining room.  A three person table is at the end of the counter top, and the kitchen is open to the living room.  Compost bucket on the end...we don't have a garbage disposal so the chickens get to have the scraps! Lucky chickens!

Tackling the Cupboards

Good grief, I'm a mess...
HELP!!! I can't get anything without an avalanche.
Hubby built me these nice shelves that pull out in our cupboards.  Since we both tend to be cheap savers, he figured we could buy the unfinished cabinets and finish them ourselves.  We used polyurethane and a pretty wood stain to make them stand out.  On the inside, however, they've become kind of a mess.  My Mom would probably tell me everything would fit better if it nests.  In practicality, I know this.  In practice, my hands can't get anything to nest well except the Rumis  game.  I rock at that game.  How come kitchen cupboards don't work like board games?

This project is two-fold:  I'd like to get some shelf protector down, and I need to organize the cupboards.  

As of this evening, we, yes WE finished this project.  I sorted stuff into order, and my ever-so-great at packing husband fit what needed to go back into the cupboard neatly.  Maybe this is how you organize a house?  Teamwork...doing what you are both good at!  On the up side, we threw away a trash bag of cupboard clutter.  Pictures to come of the new organized cupboard tomorrow.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Work Together as One

"It is, I think, that we are all so alone in what lies deepest in our souls, so unable to find the words, and perhaps the courage to speak with unlocked hearts, that we don't know at all that it is the same with others." - Sheldon Vannauken

I don't have anything to say that isn't like the person next to me.  No claim to fame, no edgy writing to shock you out of your seat.  But I, like you, have seen everyday mercies new.   The whispers of my past are just like passing wind that blows through bare tree branches.  It whistles for a time, and then is still.

This getting to know someone may take a lifetime.
I remember when we were dating and I said I wanted to get my master's degree.  He asked why in the world I would want to do that, and it was like a little part of me died.  The irony is that when we told this story this week, he confessed, "I'd NEVER say that to her now.  I  KNOW her."  Is it possible, I wondered, to explain to someone who doesn't understand?  Will he understand?  How long will it take to make him understand how important this is to me?

4 months after we were married
And here we are.  He's doing something he was pretty adamant about NEVER doing.  Books tower over his laptop as he studies.  This work of studying is time consuming.  But oh, the discoveries he is making about topics he always wanted to know about.  I see him growing, I see him becoming, I see him sacrificing.  "We'll get you through this," I say.  And right now the only way seems to be through.  There are no easy answers, only perseverance.  

He tells me I'm next.  I think of my baby, my lack of time  and  of that girl riding in the car with him a few years ago trembling and wondering if she would ever feel herself or if she would be giving up all she ever was for the sake of a union that would seemingly take away the freedom she'd known.  (She did feel herself after some counseling, and she didn't lose her freedom, only gained new responsibilities and more freedom.)

And you know what?  She found that the greatest freedom was being known and loved.  She found solace for those dreams that were accepted and not silenced. Conversations over meals with laughter.  It took knowing and understanding.  The answer was on the other side of two lives becoming one in two lives working together as one. 

We quiet our souls.  It is enough to sit quietly and to know in the still we are known and loved.  Blow, winds of our past.  It is enough to remember and then be still.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Small Space Living

I've been contemplating sharing some small space ideas, and my actually progress of weeding out stuff in our small space.  I have a few projects I need to get done like the kitchen cupboard space, the baby bedroom storage space, and a general weeding out of our closet and dresser.  This sounds like it should be easy, right? 

I've come to the conclusion that I have to get rid of some stuff.  It's nice stuff, but it is hard to store and maintain.  It needs to find a home where it can be used and loved since at my house it is just gathering dust and taking my time up to organize.  A friend referred me to a site called  I love it because it has a small space section.  (And I'm talking it finally has a small space that is similar to the one I live in and not over 1000 square feet.)  It sure has some useful ideas! 

So welcome to our small space on the prairie.  I'll be sharing some before and after pictures of projects, and of finishing jobs we've done on the inside of our house.  Welcome, take up a seat, and come learn to organize with me. 

Row, Row, Row

"Row, row, row your boat," he continued, "gently down the stream.  Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.  Life is but a dream."  He paused, looked down and half-joking whispered in Itty-bitty's ear,"It's a nice rhyme, but that philosophy is all wrong."  I giggled to myself at the sink since he seldom reads the correct words and because he was thinking about the words as he was reading them.  A child's rhyme, and philosophy all in the same breath.

We want you to know little one that you are safe and loved.  Life out there isn't a dream.  In fact, sometimes it is more like the next page in the book that states, "Rock, rock, rock your boat gently to the shore, if you see a lion, don't forget to roar. " Because life will roar in your face, your boat will rock, and sometimes you will wonder if the water will submerge the little boat.  And we pray you have the courage to roar back, and to weather the storm.  But for now, little one, know the innocence of this rhyme.  We hope our home it is a shelter for you.  A place where you know you are incredibly loved, little miracle.  A place where we will teach you, help you, and soon let you go so that you can test your boat in those storms.

But for today, row, row, row.  We love you, little son. 
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