A house spoke to me last night.
At first I thought that it was the smell of the summer night or the cicada serenading, that brought me to such a receptive state that is needed when listening to the sounds of life.
We are vaguely familiar, this house and I, but yet she wanted to share with me.
It seemed she had so much to say and needed to spill it all out to me because she knew I was interested.
So many things she shared with the lifts of excitement and heaviness of grief. Childhood giddiness and elderly woes- it all came out...
This house will celebrate it's fortieth year this summer. I clearly remember it being built and the excitement of watching it unfold as each crossbeam structure lifted into place and rooms became clear. I remember Move In day and all the joyous chaos that it brought. But there was so much more that the house had to recount.
The House stated that many children tromped up and down the stairs. Sometimes the cry of a newborn in the night made the house sigh but how she enjoyed the giggles. She told of merry holidays and the aroma of many menus. The House wondered at her strength when groups of people would gather, warmed by her hearth and welcomed by tables laden with food. There were so many words spoken, much laughter and the inevitable tears when a family of seven dwell together.
This night, the House wanted to share it's heart. She gave me a glimpse of every day life, some of which I was familiar. I do remember when babies came home from the hospital to this home. I do remember family gatherings. I do remember remodels and updates. The normal stuff of life this house, this night, she let me feel.
But then, she reminded me of the Sad Day. She spoke of the time when grieving came in torrents and silence. When the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and unalterable change, came to her. The horrible day when the house stopped it's normal function and it paused as it's family, as it knew and loved and protected, would be forever changed as it's owner left this earth to his eternal house.
That day had a profound affect on the house and all who entered it in the days and weeks and now years to come. No amount of tears seemed to compensate the loss. The weeping and pacing and comforting absorbed into the very wood of the home and remains to this very day.
But the House wanted to remind me to keep remembering the joys that made up the majority of the forty years that the house let them call her home. She told me clearly that so much life took place within her walls, that it was hardly fair to draw such attention to the Sad Day. Still, she needed to speak of it, needed to make sure we knew how much it took out of her and those she called family. She wanted me to feel the void.
So, I laid in a bedroom of some child, teenager, young adult, who dwelt there for years, reflecting the sounds, smells, sights of a house well lived in and viewed, ever so briefly, the silent days when grief was born at the speaking of a single word: Cancer.
I drifted off to a dream filled sleep, accompanied by the history of the house and it's story, the sounds of summer and the comfort of family.
Bless and keep all of us as we expose our homes and our hearts to this thing called life...
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Friday, January 27, 2017
I have a thought.
I am going to start a Virtual March for Humility; Proverbs 31 Style.
What with all the marching that's been going on of late, I believe I can get my idea to fit in nicely.
stay in your jammies. Agoraphobics will not be excluded since they can accomplish this march in the safety of their own home. In fact, everyone, from sexual orientation, race, gender and political leanings can join in. No hats required either.
Here's what's involved:
We shall take all the biblical admonitions regarding womanhood, all the downright practicalities of Proverbs 31, and march it right into our hearts and see what we can do with it in our day to day. See what we can do to accomplish a life modeled on peace, confidence, strength, humility, respect, hard work and family care.
Let us assume that you have read and maybe reread Proverbs 31. It's the last Proverb in that particular book. Saving the best for last, let us say. Before you sign on to the P31 March for Humility, let me zip through some of the principles that we will march in our hearts for:
Verse one shows us that a king's mother taught him about women and which ones could be detrimental to his reign.
Verse two through seven, lets us know that to get drunk might get you in trouble with the press. Keep the heavy stuff for those that really need consoling, like the dying.
Verses six through nine has been a driving force in much of my ministry and just in general moral living: Speak for those that can't. Take care of the poor and helpless. Plead justice for all.
Ten through the end gives us some guidelines for being a wife and mother. In general, womanhood.
What can we learn from these verses?
A great wife is more valuable than anything else. Beyond riches.
If she is trustworthy, she will enrich others.
She will bring others no harm in any way. Always.
She works hard and long.
She owns a business and runs it with dedication.
She has helpers and treats them well.
She invests and reaps the rewards of that.
With her talents, she helps care for the needs of others.
She is no dowdy chick. She dresses well.
She is respectable and makes sure that her husband is respected by her actions.
She sells things she makes.
She is fearless.
She is confident.
People listen to her because she has a proven record of wisdom and kindness.
She makes sure the cat is fed and the dog is up to date on his shots.
She knows when it's her turn to speak at her children's class and when to make cookies for the Christmas party.
Without prompting, her kids and husband, sing her praises. They really like her.
She will grow old gracefully and will not embarrass her family by not.
At her funeral, the lines will be long and their will be many testimonies of her amazingness
Not too much to ask, right?
Simple. Be kind. Treat others like you want to be treated. Know we will have differences and get over it. Pray for others in so doing, you keep from getting overly consumed with your own concerns.
Be respectful to everyone, including yourself.
Can your heart and spirit march to the rhythm of the good sense mentioned in this dear chapter of this Great Book? If so, then do this. Watch how you respond to the next controversial thing that pops up in your news feed. Heck, for some of you, this post could be a pot stirrer. How does it make you feel? How does it make you want to react? Search out our hero, Proverbs 31 Woman, and see how this lady would respond. Chances are, if you wish to emulate this well respected woman, you might reflect just a bit longer, sieve your thoughts another moment and speak as if your daughter was hanging on to every word. Because she is.
We have a very brief time on this earth, relatively speaking. Let's make it kindly count in our little square.
Monday, December 22, 2014
It never ceases to amaze me how unique each person is.
It never ceases to continually amaze me how different children born forth from the same womb can be.
I shall always rejoice in the individual imprint that each child possesses.
That said, let me relay a Story of Individuality of one of my progeny.
My thirdsie, my younger son of two, third of four, has always had a distinctive mark upon him.
He was the one that challenged my patience as a mother, the one whose bent was a bit left of center. He was the one that wrote his own script amongst his siblings and caused me to shrug my shoulders when others would ask questions as to his own drummer kind of thinking.
It took me awhile to adjust to his own way but once this was accepted by his father and I, we grew to appreciate and enjoy his unique way.
This son eschewed the usual way. Not one to enjoy 'normal' childhood activities, I remember distinctly the day that I gave up on Little League and organized sports in general. He joined teams in junior high merely because his brother was involved in the same team and he was at an age where that was important. I know he would have gotten along quite nicely without the experience however. YS would beg me to remove him from AWANA and Sunday School. He would point out, rather accurately, that they were places of noise, i and organization that he, as a matter of fact, did not need. After informing him that he would have to attend our adult Sunday School class, sitting absolutely quiet without the entertainment of drawing or match box cars, he seemed rather pleased. Turns out, he enjoyed our class and was often raising his hand, answering questions, usually accurately. I knew then that his level of intellect might someday challenge my own and it looked like it might happen soon. He stood by as a toddler, listening to the home school instruction of his two older sibs while seemingly playing with the assorted super hero, G I Joe kinda figures. To my amazement, when the day came to begin him on phonics and number assignments, he was able to zoom ahead as he had heard it before and equipped with an audio modality, he was already entrenched in the basics.
This interesting young boy spent lots of hours reading encyclopedias. A fount of trivia knowledge began to build up and soon his conversations could broach the span of generations, completely able to speak well with most age groups. As a teeny guy, he would carry a large copy of Wind in the Willows around with him, stopping and perusing the book for hours. His love a books grew and expanded and currently the walls of his tiny cottage are covered in books.
Once he left us for college, we knew that he would probably experience it differently that others. This is a fearful and wonderful thing. We knew his bent could border on the dangerous so we spent many an hour praying for God's protective hand upon him. Once graduation was completed, he parked himself nearby while he considered his future. We observed him contemplate several different options and plans, all while keeping him close and relatively comfortable.
Over the last seven years as he contemplated, we had the pleasure of sharing his life as an young adult. We have shared many meals, long walks, evenings in the garden, watching the most interesting movies and sharing our ideologies and philosophies and political leanings Respectful and smart, he knew not to be forward about our differences since a home cooked meal and laundry service is something always handy to have near by. Many times I knew I was being played but it didn't really matter much - his company is just that lovely.
The time has come. YS has accepted a teaching job in another town and his time of launching has arrived.
It was his slow revelation of something that I have seen in him for a long time. Even when he chose a non teaching degree, I knew in my heart of hearts, that it wouldn't be long before he would see what he was designed to do. His enormous heart and generous spirit coupled with a vast knowledge encased in his no nonsense frame, has prepared him for the task of mentoring, teaching and caring for high school students in the important subject of literature. Unlocking doors of the mind and heart by teaching them the importance of reading and writing, will aid beyond the year that he will have them in his care.
As a mama of a nearly thirty year old man, I am over the moon that his time has come. As merely a mama who has had the most delightful companion/son so nearby, I would be a liar if I denied that he will be sorely missed.
I can only imagine where this journey will take him. He shall never get rich as a teacher, but I believe the richness will be in the hearts of the children that he inspires with his heart and his knowledge. Years from now, I can picture his students referring to sophomore year English, and that eclectic, fun (but stern) teacher that they had in Mr. Cory.
And my heart shall be blessed....
Friday, November 29, 2013
In the early 80's, God provided for this Young Mama, a neighbor, a confidant, a helper, a friend in the shape of an older mama, (just two years older than I am now), to come along side me to help me adjust to being away from my family for the first time. Due to a job change, my young family packed up and moved three hours north from my home town. I had a three year old and a nine month old in tow and felt lost, discombobulated and overwhelmed. At the exact same time, my neighbor had just retired and was wondering how to fill her days.
My, my. Did we ever cover that nagging question!
This needy young mom clenched onto her loving, caring ways with a firm grip.
This Wonderful Woman babysat my children, taught me how to paint on china, shared her vast life learned wisdom and encouraged my creativity. I was known to ask her over for supper and have her bring the main course. And she did with a great deal of entertainment and enjoyment.
We were embraced readily as her buds could see what a blessing our rag tag group was to her.
Before she met her devastating fate, she handed off to me, a legacy of her talent.
As a young woman in the 1930's, she pieced a quilt top and like most of us quilters, she packed it away, 'for another time'.
Why she deemed me worthy to complete this quilt, I have no idea but I am ever so glad she did.
I probably got through two rows of hearts when my Baby Girl arrived and the reality of caring for four children prompted me to, once again, fold up the quilt and store it for another time.
Then I remembered the very vintage quilt tucked away in my stash and my memory.
I showed Baby Girl the unfinished attempt at the heart applique that I attempted for her and she liked it. She acquired fabric scraps from her mother in law's fabric stash from her grandmother and added some checked flannel from BG's grandfather's pajamas, and we were set to begin.
There was just enough fabric from the stash to complete the bindings on this quilt.
I pieced what I could salvage, determine to use the memorable fabric to it's fullest.
Then, this week, this holiday week, I worked on hand stitching all the bindings to finalize this long awaited project.
Last night, Thanksgiving Evening, seated amongst my dear ones, in front of the fire, I completed this quilt, started over 80 years ago by a woman who entrusted me to the task.
Quilters, keep an eye to legacy when creating a quilt. Quilters, understand that your talent has merit and the memories created with a quilt is worthy. Remember to entrust others to projects that will be seen to fruition....someday... and that your story will be told years from when you started your project and that is okay.
Quilts are stories in fabric and quilters weave the story.
See to it that you find or create your story for yourself and your family.
Monday, November 4, 2013
If you have been patiently following this blog, you might notice that I am quite enthralled with the kismetian aspect of life. I enjoy those 'chance occurences', those 'coincidental oddities', those 'only we could have this happen to' moments.
And this past birthday has proven, once again, that my little family certainly flies close together while we are miles apart.
Many years ago, my sisters and I would laugh, long distance, about how we managed to send our parents the same or very similar card for some important occasion. We often sent each other the same cards for holidays. Fun, family stuff.
But my little gang really did it this time.
This past summer, during one of our rare visits as a group, Eldest/Administrator and Baby Girl and I, stumbled upon a most delightful booth at our local Farmer's Market. Pam Voorhies http://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/LittleRedPorch has put together a 'little' business of making signs with all sorts of heartfelt, whimsical sayings on them, expertly combining colors and fonts to please the eye and to decorate your abode. Needless to say, E/A, BG and I were smitten. E/A found a sign perfect for her Hazel Jane's bedroom and I. Found. Mine.
Those that know me, know my love for my porch. ALL of my porches from each stage of my married life.
I plan each winter as to the layout of each year's porch, that important summer room. I have utilized the tiniest of screened in porches, rejoiced in a windowed in porch in my first married apartment and now glory in my broad eaved veranda that has been our seasonal perch for fifteen summers now.
Life slows down on the porch.
You are out there for only one reason: to relax. There are no dishes to do on the porch. There are no bathrooms to clean on the porch. There are only cooling breezes, books and magazines to read and people to draw into this lovely.
At the time of the discovery of Little Red Porch and it's goodness, I could not justify the expense for such a treat that I really didn't know where it would even go in my already overladen walls. And E/A so wanted a sign as well. I sighed, put my little covetousness on the shelf and went on my way.
But I kept thinking about the porch sign.
Every week at Farmer's Market, I visited 'my' sign. One week, I saw where she had come up with another one that stated, 'Life is Better on the Farm'. PERFECT for BG's in laws. I quickly messaged BG and her MIL and let them know that they had to get that sign toot sweet. And they did. And I was just the teensiest bit jealous at their good fortune.
Several times, I visited LRP's etsy and several times I was tempted. But Hubby and I are on limited income these days since Retirement visited our home. So I would acquiesce.
Then one day, I had a brilliant idea. As you know, my family has a Code Word that is just for us. LYSMICETY will show up on our notes, cards and banners. (http://sonowiknow.blogspot.com/2012/02/lysmicety.html ) Love You So Much I Can't Even Tell You is our slogan, our motto, our family solidarity. I thought it was highly appropriate, for Christmas, to tell each of them and their families in solid, colorful, wood. Something that will survive the years and remind them each of their importance in this family. I could envision cousins being comforted in knowing that they belonged to each other as they visited each other's homes...
Quick as a bunny, I sent LRP and the lovely Pam a message and the process began. I told her I was in no hurry as Christmas was many weeks away.
in lands far away, some Birthday Gift Planning was taking place, unbeknownst to me.
The time came when the signs were dry and ready to be picked up at Pam's Little Red Porch in a little town nearby. I looked at my burgeoning schedule and tried to figure out how to pick up all of the signs in a timely manner. (I do not drive and thus the arrangements.)
LRP contacted me that she was going to be headed my way and would I prefer to just meet her at the local MickyD's to make the exchange of goods and services. I was gleeful at the ease of it and the prospect of viewing the ordered signs.
Halloween Night came with a chill, so Hubby and I decided to kindle the fireplace so that we could roast hot dogs for supper as we answered the door to the ghoulies and ghosties of Halloween. We informed Youngest Son that this was commencing in the Big House and he could not resist a good inside weinie roast with the prospect of viewing costumed little ones at our door.
In the course of our fireside chat, I mentioned that I had an early morning meeting at McDonalds. YS was very intrigued as to the reason: 1 Why I would have an early morning meeting. 2. That it would be at McDonalds. I noticed that for a fireside chat, he was awfully interested in his cell phone, but in this day and age, it's not terribly unexpected. I also couldn't help but notice that he asked me Three Times why I was going to McDonalds at 9am.
Being the kind of mother that I am, I replied to his queries, 'None of your business.'
When I refused to tell his nosy self, he responded to me (after much consulting to his cell screen, communicating with E/A, that I really needed to tell him since HE had a 9am meeting at McDonalds as well......
The roar of laughter that emitted from me was epic.
I could not believe the coincidence regarding the whole situation.
I could not believe that two orders headed to the same house without any pre planning, landed at the same early morning drop off by the same innocent artist who HAD NO IDEA THE TWO ORDERS WERE IN THE LEAST CONNECTED!
What fun it was to pick up the orders and have a good giggle with Pam as to her unsuspecting complicity!
What fun to see my children ban together to get their poor mama the sign that she kept referring to and whining over!
What fun to see what the whole scenario means to us!
What fun to see O'Henry sacrificial giving in action!
What fun to now have my beloved sign on my wall and all the fun filled meaning that it has to me!
Thank you Pam at Little Red Porch for your talent and time!
Thank you, dear children, for making your mama's 60th memorable and sweet - you all are the best....
(ps. Baby Girl's birthday card came in the mail today - compare it to E/A's...Similiar? I think so....Love. It.)
Sunday, July 28, 2013
The planets aligned this weekend.
Three crazy busy families were able to share probably the most beautiful weekend of the summer together.
At my house.
In my garden.
Into my life.
And I am refreshed and encouraged and grounded by two lovely young women; one I gave birth to, the other I 'adopted' into my heart. Both of them came toting the younger of their children. A special treat for all involved. While the absence of the elder children was felt, it was also a good, good thing to get some one on one with the youngers. It was also good to see how dependent the youngers are on their older sibs for modeling and companionship. Did our hearts good to see them miss their brother and sister in their own ways.
If I had just one reason for learning to sew, it would have been to be able to meet my beloved Pretend Daughter, Kris.
Because of her keen styling sense, she approached my daughter in their Bradley Classes in regard to the bags that my daughter carried, made by my hand. The normally subdued, somewhat shy PDK, asked my daughter about the bags that she carried and thus began our adoption process. PDK and I are kindred in many areas and 'get' each other. PDK's mama left this earth far too soon and as my relationship with PDK develops, I find that her mama and I would probably had been very good friends. It is with great pleasure that I care for this young woman in a minimal, long distance kinda way that I believe her own mama would have been pleased with.
I just love this child bearing, droll humoring, garden hugging, book reading, crafting, husband loving, organically influenced, gourmet chef, pie baking young friend of mine.
Did I mention pie?
I have no skill for pie.
I am too scared to make it work. I overwork and over heat to make it any good.
I have to make up new names for the mess that it ends up being just to justify the effort.
When I found out that PDK puts together a pie at the drop of a hat, I swooned. I do so admire pie bakers.
I had her attend my first mama's collection retreat to instruct us other not so nimble bakers, all her skills. I took notes and watched and then later experimented. And it got more comfortable. I could even say that perhaps I can now say, with the right recipe, courtesy of Cook's Illustrated and freezing cold vodka, I can now make an acceptable pie.
When PDK noted on Facebook that she had collected buckets of blueberries recently, my little taste buds suddenly wokied up with dreams of fresh, blueberry pie.
The confluence of events came together when a mid summer visit was planned with Eldest/Admin and PDK and the Two Youngers.
After a bit of suggesting and begging, I was assured that berries were coming my way.
I did have to build up quite the gumption to bake a pie for my Pie Idol. But because of her acceptance of me and all my flaws, I pursued on to Pie Nirvana.
Yes. In my very kitchen. And with the resounding approval of the one that I would like most to impress.
The ladies came into the kitchen as I was putting the Epic together and I listened to the story by PDK about the day that she picked the bountiful blueberries. Her two children accompanied her to the berry ranch. She told of their childlike stamina and of the fun that such a jaunt provides. She told of the chance meeting of others in her family at the same blueberry ranch. While she spoke, my mind started unfolding the passion and love that this humble pie was beginning to represent.
Here I was, on this most temperate day, listening to the young ladies resting in my vintage lawn chairs as their children slept and they kept watchful ears to the monitors turned to their precious babes. I listened as they shared their lives and hopes and thoughts. I mixed and rolled and cooked, doing the very thing that I love most in the world - making my lovelies comfortable and comforted.
I thought about the love the berries represented. How PDK gathered and picked and carried three hours in ice to get to me fresh and bake worthy. I thought of the love of my E/A and her willingness to share her mama with this wonderful friend. I thought of the tutelage of many a pie from my ever watchful Hubby. I thought of the loving, detailed God that I serve, allowing this kismetian weekend to occur, custom made for me.
We oohed and ahhed while the perfume of this masterpiece permeated the air. We patiently waited for it to cool properly by walking the dogs and babies. We tested and guessed and proclaimed it Ready.
Hubby had hustled off the store to get just the right vanilla ice cream to accompany this gastronomic event.
I cut into it.
It did not run.
It did not stick.
It was golden in just the right places.
The steam from it was just the right temperature.
The ice cream melted just the right amount.
And I presented PDK the first piece, the silence of reflection and our anticipation was palpable.
And then it happened.
It was pronounced the Best Pie Ever.
I'm sure it was because she was in my presence and I had just fed her the Ultimate Summer Supper that encouraged her enthusiastic statement, but it melted my heart as easily as the ice cream on that very warm pie.
Even her three year old son appreciated the yumminess of the event. Leaving barely a morsel and essentially nothing on his face and clothes and looking for more on his mama's plate, made this eager to please Mimi, euphoric.
We sat for awhile extolling the virtues of pie. I pronounced it an act of love. I pronounced pie making a gift, beyond just a dessert. I pronounced it a wonderful way to end an amazing day.
Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of friends who arrive bearing more gifts than they are even aware of.....)
Friday, July 12, 2013
Let me get this straight. I am not a crier. Ask my family. Ask my friends. Hubby is the designated crier in our family. Commercials, movies, news reports, sermons, the sight of his grandchildren, a low balance on our Discover card, you name it - he cries.
Nope, hard hearted Hannah this girl. Years of callous built up on this heart and I can stare down a bully at 2 feet and win.
Lately, I have found a bit of Crying Karma visiting my squishy heart these days.
Lately, I have been known to excuse myself rather than be caught up in the throes of a heavy duty cry.
Why is this?
Hormonal imbalance? Overdose of real life?
Who knows. But I do know that it has knocked me on my keister. Having no governor on my previous reigned in emotions has made me vulnerable to all sorts of breakdowns of late.
I blame it on grandchildren.
Yep. That is the start of it and I'm pretty sure the undoing of this previously very controlled lady.
It is the progeny, the fruit of my loins that has me all in a dither.
It is the realization that these people, that formerly lived in my home 24/7, not to mention my womb for nine months, that has me over the top.
And then, and then, they have children. They become these people that you love to visit. These people that make you laugh, make you proud, make you glad that you gave birth to them. These people are highly functioning, amazingly friendly, witty beyond belief, servants of God. And it truly has nothing to do with me.
Hence the tears.
I am a peripheral observer in these homes. Sure, I have a place in their hearts. Sure, I have served my time as their priority, as it should be. My time with them as influence and advisor is over. And they are doing quite well without my daily input, thank you very much. They have lives and circles of friends and futures in continuing generations. When Maddox, the little angel I just spent time with, is a mere 20 years old, I shall, Lord Willing, be 80 years old. Reality Check. I am quite alright with the fact that I am mortal. I am quite alright with the idea that my prime has passed and that I shall be peripheral in most things from henceforth.
But the overwhelming emotion I feel when I see, I feel, the amazing joy, in the result of the hopefulness many years ago, well, it gushes out into submissive sobbing at the goodness of our God and how He works. He took a crazily dysfunctional girl, placed her in the life of just the right boy and what comes forth, can only be credited to our Lord.
I weep for the joy, I weep for the heartache that young people face while raising families, I weep for the pain of challenging situations that only make you stronger but painful to watch. I weep for all the joys ahead of them; some of them with me in the picture, some of them not. I weep for their futures, for the depth of the love that they will experience as they add years to their marriages and as they watch their own children please them in the way that they have over the top pleased me.
I weep in my humanity and in God's goodness...
To God be the Glory and He will dry my abundant tears in due time...