When life gets as hectic as it has lately, when there's too much rumbling around in my head, when my body is weary from going and going and going, and when my soul is thirsty . . . the comfort and renewal that can come from doing quotidian things at home never ceases to amaze me. Puttering. The mundane. A simple folding of a dish towel in slow motion.
Washing dishes. Sprucing up something in the house. Mowing the lawn. Working with my hands and not my brain for awhile. It's nourishing and peaceful. Brings me back to myself.
Kathleen Norris wrote in her book The Quotidian Mysteries ... "[God's] divine presence is revealed even in the meaningless workings of daily life. It is in the ordinary, the here-and-now, that God asks us to recognize that creation is indeed refreshed like dew-laden grass that is 'renewed in the morning' ..."
Today I said good-bye to my mother as she got ready to play Bingo. She's never played B-i-n-g-o before in her life, not that there's anything wrong with the game. A lump crowds my throat each day when I leave her in the Care Center where she lives right now. While hope remains that she will return to independent living, I know that may not happen, and it's hard to adjust to the idea. It's difficult to accept that we may have reached this point in her life.
Time slips by quickly when I visit. Other residents besides mom love attention and hunger for any contact.
Great fun it was when Little One joined me in a visit to her Great-Grandma (who she calls "GREAT-grandma"--with emphasis on the "great", yes she does!) She brought much joy and many smiles, not just to mom, but to all the residents. Every single person noticed and enjoyed her. And it was amazing all she found to see and do ... from hiding her dolly in G-Gma's mailbox to driving the walker here and there and making it into a hiding place. She was not nonplussed at all she saw, taking it in stride.
The next day Great Grandma and I discussed the visit and remembered all the details again. Joy!
I was standing by the hospital elevator having a conversation with a grandson of my father's college roommate. As we said good-bye and I walked away, I thought to myself, "What a moment." To think that some 65 years later, old friends' offspring would happen to meet more than a thousand miles from the college connection. That's the sort of thing that gives me kind of a thrill. One of those rare, random encounters. Later that day at dinner with my brother and his wife, I related the incident. My sister-in-law piped up, "I know exactly what you mean. I always wonder when I'm in an airport or in a large crowd, if I'm passing someone I know, or someone related to someone I know. Those possible just-misses are fun to think about."
"I think about that too, in similar situations," I continued, " What if I just passed, say, the son of an old college prof? Who knows how connected we all really are?" The Gardener and my brother looked at each other, totally stymied.
"Must be how a woman thinks." Or, at least these two women.
Photo: My dad (front right) and some of his college buddies (before Mom arrived on campus). They apparently had many formal events to attend. I just found a letter my dad wrote his parents his first year of college in which he informed them he had purchased a tux because he knew it would be cost effective.
Reposted from three years ago this month. See Chari's Happy toe Design for more Sunday Favorites
A baby snake on our patio. Probably the rain brought him in. I believe my greatest tangible fear is snakes. Since the gardener is an ocean or two away, I felt I needed to face my fears and pick him (or her .. but from now on to be referred to as "him") up and toss him to the wind, a wind far from our house. But when I bravely stooped down and tried to get him on the stick, the little guy coiled, put his head up, tongue out, and showed his fangs while trying to strike (Of course he was scared). I was convinced he was a copper head (yes we have them here).
I just couldn't handle it. It was too "up close and personal." I took off for the inside of the house like a scared rabbit. Then I contemplated how worms and such can slide under our screen door. I could see this little guy doing the same thing ... and then growing up to a big guy in a corner behind the chair. So I did what any level headed, clear thinking individual hysterical female would do ... I taped up the screen door.
Sometimes when life is stressful and busy, a little diversion brings respite ... even if it is just taking a photo of each side of my button jar while taking a break at my desk. I do love color, and there's a bunch here. And I admit I'd much rather photograph buttons than actually sew one on a garment.
3 15 1/2 oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 C drained canned chopped tomatoes
1 1/4 C. chopped onions
1/2 C minced shallots (didn't use)
4 garlic cloves minced
1 Tb and 2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 stick butter
4 C chicken broth
1 16 ox can pureed pumpkin
1/2 C sherry vinegar (sometimes I just use white wine and a dash of vinegar).
Puree beans and tomatoes in blender. Cook onions, spices, and butter. Stir in bean puree. Stir in broth, pumpkin, and sherry. Season with salt and pepper. When you serve, garnish with a dolop of sour cream (and pumpkin seeds if you'd like!)
I know, I know––I'm sure I've reposted this before since I first wrote it in November 07, but it's just that good. A hearty, healthy fall soup. Connecting to Chari's Happy to Design for Sunday Favorites.
As I was dumping the "white load" from my new washer to my new dryer (my 25 year old faithfuls died a few months ago) I felt incredibly blessed at the ease of my wash days. For quite a few years, doing the laundry was a "thorn in my flesh."
1. First there was the laundry mat. I dreamed of doing laundry at home.
2. Then we bought an apartment-sized washer and dryer. It was quite a process: dragging the machine to the sink to fill it and empty it, and running the dryer two hours to get the stuff dried. But it was at home!
3. Sometimes the washer would shake like crazy on spin. In one second story apartment I draped my body over the machine during spin cycles to try and calm the intense spinning in order to keep the downstairs landlady from coming up to ask about the house shaking. And always at attention during the drain cycle to be sure the return water did not overflow the kitchen sink!
4. Living in Africa: a new wringer washer. I would load the washer with the hose. When finished I would place each garment through the (electric) wringer, watching my fingers carefully. It would go into a metal tub filled with rinse water. The boys used to love to help, catching the clothes as they came through the wringer and sloshing them into the rinse tup. Then through the wringer again, into the laundry basket. Then out on the line it would go. I always hoped things would dry before afternoon rains came up. Sometimes the wash would hang for a day or two, getting extra "rinse cycles"--and great bleaching in the African sun. (And that laundry included cloth diapers for our baby!)
5. When the power was off we'd do wash by hand, in a bucket, or better yet, agitating it with our bare feet in a bath tub.
6. In recent years, I've enjoyed a "normal" wash situation--that is a regular washer and dryer. Except--a poor hook up in our current house led to overflow floods of the drain system ... spoiling our floor.
7. Thankfully with our newest machines, the installers finally figured out how to fix that, and ... I think we're good! Finally, after so many years. I always felt God was teaching me things through my turbulant wash days. But I'm sure there will be new ways for lessons to be learned!
Photos: our boys playing in the rinse tub many years ago.
There's a mesh curtain that flight attendants are very careful to keep closed during flights, even though it's a pain to unfasten it as they move about the plane. It separates the first or envoy class from the "common folk." You can see through it, but I guess it's a barrier/reminder NOT to use the envoy bathrooms. That's against the rules. But, apparently, tourist feet by themselves are okay to go through the "great divide." When we waited in the "preferred flyer" US Air lounge in Gatwick this week, the young woman behind the desk worked her craft to get us into Row 8, the "bulkhead"(with my very tall husband's medical history he has some "clot clout"). She claimed she got us the "very best seat." (Was God reserving it for us? Where were the babies that needed it for their cots?). The deal is, with four seats across, the row end seats in the bulkhead have nothing but space in front of them. Ah, stretching room! Right under the curtain and into first class went my tall husband's feet. No complaints from any sensitive envoy noses either. His feet rode first class the whole way across the Atlantic! Does God have a sense of humor or what? I first wrote this just over four years ago. I'm thinking about this as the Gardener flies to the other side of the world later this week and again we're praying for good seats for his long legs on a very l o n g journey. Connecting to Chari's Happy to Design for Sunday Reposts.
I'm not much for writing these days while helping with my mom's care ... life is
more busy than ever it seems, and the thoughts just aren't there. At such times, it's
good to stop. take a deep breath. gaze out a window for a minute vacation.
And focus on God and all He does for us each day.
I made this collage a while ago ... it contains some windows that just caught my fancy,
and some windows that are quite dear to me. Take a guess which is which.