Thursday, November 29, 2012

Donna and Inge are feeling a bit more limber lately

That title, by the way, is a play on the line from Butler of the Aremis Fowl books.  Butler, with his lilting Irish accent, was "feeling a bit more limber" once he started doing pilates.

My friend, Alyssa, came over today to do pilates.  We've been trying to do them together once a week.  We take turns at each other's houses and our littles play together no matter where we are. 

When we're at my house we've been using the first half of Ana Caban's Cardio Pilates.  The first half is basically a mat workout.  It's not as intense as her Intermediate Mat Workout, but slightly more difficult than her Beginning Mat Workout

After we finished today, and after Alyssa and her twins headed out the door, my girls wanted to "do pilates."  So I started the video for them where we moms had left off, and let them go to it.  It was pretty funny to watch the girls try to work out the steps as I sat nearby and stitched at my crochet project. 

The second half of the Cardio workout, which is the part my girls did first, is basically gentle dance steps with a reminder to focus on the core muscles and hold in the tummy, in line with traditional pilates. 

Joe stepped in a took some video.  Our camera is old, so there is no sound.  You'll have to imagine Ana Caban doing her encouraging instructions.  I like how the girls so intently watch the video and attempt to imitate the moves.  They do pretty well, really, for not having seen it before today.

I especially love Donna's outfit.  Her little princess dress up dress and those big clunky boots of Stella's.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Thought Indeed

Many of my readers will recognize the title of this post as being Lizzie's response to Mr. Collins' predictably overwhelming praise of Lady Catherine in suggesting the very arrangement of the shelves in the guest closet.  Although this line does not actually occur in Jane Austen's original novel, Pride and Prejudice, it's an example of the wonderful job the writers of the 1995 BBC film adaptation did in changing Austen's descriptions of situations and conversations into actual dialogue. 

It's a wonderful line, "Shelves in the closet?  Happy thought indeed."   Those simple words, or a variation on them, have brought a smile to my face and the faces of my family on many occasions, when we reuse and recycle them for various situations around our home.

Today it refers to the refueling I need to do some days.  I still struggle some days more than others in this journey, this walk, through the illness of clinical depression and my recovery from it.  I've described previously the image I use of a bank account with withdrawals and deposits.  I can feel so keenly, so actually, the level of fuel I have in my account.  And I'm low today.  For a variety of reasons, which are unimportant to this post.  Just little things, really, but enough of them to drag me down a bit.  To deplete the stores of happy and tip the scales toward down.  

I'm exited today, though, because I have just the thing to refuel the happy.  My missing needlework book is found.  I knew who had taken it, and I suspected where it would be found.  And it was.  Under a bed.  The culprits may remain nameless.  The important thing is that the lost is found.  There are several crochet stitches in that book I've been wanting to use, but I couldn't remember exactly how to do them.  Nor could I find them online anywhere. 

But today I get to get out some of the yarn I've been saving for these particular stitches.  I get to open my book and review the stitch patterns.  I get to sit and produce something lovely out of mere strands of yarn.  It's amazing.  And fun.  And therapeutic.  And happy.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

So much to write about: Louisa, Thanksgiving, the Quiet Joy of family time together

Wednesday morning we woke to a lovely frost.

I have been falling short on my writing.  Not becasue I have writer's block, or because I have nothing to write about.  More the opposite.  I have so many things to write about that it's been hard for me to focus on any one thing.  I've been trying hard to stay busy around my home, so that equals less time at my computer.  Which is a very good thing!  But the writing has been hard.  The ideas build up and when I finally sit down at my computer, there is a glut of ideas and no focus.

One reason that things are backlogged in my brain is because I have in my head a lovely post dedicated to my oldest daughter who is studying in Italy with a highschool exchange program.  I want to include some pictures.  But that task of finding and loading images always seems to take much longer than anticipated.  I want to talk about Louisa's adventures.  I want to express a little bit of what theMom has experienced in allowing her teen-aged daughter to embark on such an adventure.  So always, when I get to the computer, I think to myself, "It's too much for today.  Later."

Louisa with a view overlooking her town of Belvedere, with the sea in the background

Another factor in this backlog is the jumble.  The convoluted nature of my mind these days.  A hundred times a day, I compose bits and pieces of blog posts.  While washing dishes or folding clothes.  Taking a shower or watching my kids play.  During all of these times my brain is busy thinking of things to write and ordering those things into sensical patterns of words.  But when I sit down at my computer, either the thoughts don't come at all, or there are simply too many to choose any one about which to write.

So today is a mish-mash.  A mish-mash of thoughts.  A digital convolution of words.

We had a very nice Thanksgiving.  The kids and I, with Joe's help too, got the house mostly presentable for company.  Joe's parents came on Wednesday afternoon.  We had homemade soup and freshly baked gluten free bread for supper.  The soup was a mix of my homemade beef broth that Joe had canned for me, and various leftovers.  Warm and good and sustaining.

Joe had a service at 5:30 at Mt. Olive.  We all went to church at Oak Park at 7:30 that evening.  Then we came home and settled in for the evening.

Joe and I (mostly Joe) got the turkey in the roaster for a slow overnight roast.  It was a free range bird.  They tend to be a bit drier and somewhat tougher than the commercially raised turkeys, so they warrant a little finesse in preparation. 

On Thanksgiving Day, Joe had two morning services, St. Petri  and Nazareth. 

I mostly putzed around the kitchen, and the kids entertained Grandma and Grandpa. 

Apron-clad Joe after carving the turkey; Donna, Grandma, and Grandpa

Besides the turkey, the mid afternoon dinner included roasted sweet potatoes (I had forgotten to buy marshmallows, so that was a disappointment to the kids), mashed potatoes with gravy, cooked carrots, stewed cranberries, and three kinds of pickles (cucumber, green beans, and milkweed pods).  We had pumpkin custard for dessert.  This is simply crustless pie.  But this time there was a twist, since I used some cooked squash Joe's mom had brought, rather than thawing pumpkin.  It was very sweet and creamy, with a delicate buttery flavor.

Jeremy's friend, Peter popped over in time for dinner.  That was a nice surprise.  Peter is kind of part of our family.  He's a friend from the charter school Jeremy attended in southern Minnesota, who now lives up here.  His late mother was Joe's prom date one year during high school.  His uncle, who helped raise Peter, was one of Joe's late brother's best friends.  The families have known each other forever.  And there are many fond memories and sentimental ties.  Peter is fun to have around.  My kids love him like a brother.

Jeremy, Peter,and Elsie washing dishes

After dinner, I set the kids to washing dishes and I sat down for awhile.

I had many contented Mom moments over the weekend.   Really, content is too weak a work.  What I experienced is a feeling of utter happiness and peace and thankfulness to God for the gift of the family He has given me.  Not any single moment, but the blessing of a great couple of days with my kids, in-laws and husband.  I love the moments when my kids play together wonderfully, and we, all of us, are happy and calm in the same room.

We don't have an extra large living room.  It's plenty big, mind you, but one of the smaller rooms of the house.  We have two couches and two easy chairs and a wooden rocker.  We have a piano bench and various other cushions and pillows.  One of the couches is currently occupied with the remains of my ongoing sorting project.  My apologies to Joe's parents for not getting that hidden away out of sight.  But I think they would agree that in spite of one occupied couch, the house is much, much more presentable than it has been for many visits.

The floor is picked up.  And vacuumed, even.

Much of the weekend, the little girls played with their princesses and ponies on the living room floor.  Joe's mom sat reading, Joe's dad did his Dad things (dozed, fixed, looked at newpapers), I crocheted, Joe napped and worked.  The middle kids were in and out, visiting or reading, playing with the littles or doing various of their own projects.  Sophie finished up a ruffle scarf she had started knitting last week.  Stella and John played Legos, and they are each working on their first embroidery project.

Stella's embroidery pattern. 

I love looking across the living room, and seeing all of the kids strewn about, but quiet and peaceful.  It hits me every now and then, what a strange thing it might seem to some, to have this number of people lying about a room.  And it seems a strange and blessed thing to me when they are all doing so peaceably.  Much of the weekend we had seven or eight or even ten of us sitting together in a room with available seating for only six or seven. 

It makes me happy, for instance, to see Clara and Matt sitting together on the piano bench, without even a second thought.  Even though a few minutes earlier they might have been bickering aggressively over dishes chores.

It brings me joy to see my kids all piled up together on the couch.  Littles and bigs and mediums all in a heap.  It brings me a special kind of joy when this occurs in a calm and loving manner.

John's embroidery.  He's starting with the square with the snagged boot.

It brings me a wonderful sense of accomplishment and peace to see my little ones learning skills.  Working with their hands to produce something functional, that will make the world more pretty or pleasant. 

I like to see my Matt in and out, working on his car, in the kitchen helping Joe process the deer that have been hanging to age since hunting season, or heading off to his job at Pizza Hut in Thief River Falls.

I even like it (on occasion) when Jeremy invites the younger kids downstairs to watch or play his many electronic devices.  Yesterday, after Joe's parents left, the kids spent all morning down there.  Quietly playing the games or watching his videos, or whatever.  It was a nice "down time" after the busyness off a holiday visit.

I am so very thankful.  Thankful to God for my family.  Thankful to God for preserving them through my many flaws and failings.  And preserving me through theirs.  God is good and faithful.  He has given Joe and me this great and wondrous gift of ten children.  There are times when the responsibility of it threatens to overwhelm.  But we need not fear.

Moments like the many I had this weekend bring a welcome balm.  A reminder to me of the many, many promises of God.  Both those promises surrounding our temporal well-being and preservation; and also the more fundamental promises of eternal life through salvation in Jesus' name.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Of Moms and Men: the Bear Facts

We had Winkel here today.  Here, as in at Oak Park.  Winkel, as in the monthly meeting of the circuit pastors and guests, for further education, and mutual support and encouragement.  Many times the wives and kids come, too.  But today was just me and my girls.  There was a time when most of the pastors' kids were homeschooled, so we used to have a pretty big gathering each month.  These days the circuit has evolved as some pastors have moved on, and others have moved in.  The kids who are still here are older.  Some, like mine, are in public school full time, others are in a handful of activities through the public school system in their community.  It's a bit unpredictable each month, which wives will make it, and whether or not they will have kids along. 

The Winkel day opens with a worship service, and then a quick Minnesota Lunch.  I have to call it that, because people in most of the US mean something quite different with the word, lunch.  In Minnesota, lunch is a snack.  A between meals snack.  But it's never just a quick snack.  It always involves coffee and if kids are present, milk.  Usually bars or sweet rolls, banana bread or pumpkin muffins; sandwiches or pickles, or a little of this and a little of that.  Salad, pie, bread and butter, pickled fish, nuts and candy.  Could be anything.  It's most always called a little lunch, as in "Let me get you a little lunch," as your hostess opens the fridge and starts to pull things out. 

For more Minnesota-isms you could read, How to Talk Minnesotan, by Howard Mohr.  But probably you wouldn't get it, unless you live here or have listened to years of Garrison Keillor.  Many years ago, at a Mother/Daughter luncheon at Joe's parent's church, Howard Mohr was the guest speaker.  Most people enjoyed it immensely.  I was a bit lost, since I had not lived in Minnesota long enough, nor even been affiliated for enough years with Minnesotans to appreciate the cultural humor.  I'd probably enjoy it now.  It's hard to believeI've lived in Minnesota for almost 20 years.  And sometimes I still feel like a foreigner! 

But on to Winkel.  The day starts with a worship service and the forenoon lunch.  Then the men meet and the ladies meander up to the parsonage to have their own little visit.  Then we have dinner (the noon meal) sometimes at the hosting church or parsonage, other times at a nearby restaurant.  The men then continue their meetings into the afternoon, and the women return to the parsonage.

Here at Oak Park, since we are quite a distance from any eateries, and the men don't want to spend most of their lunch hour driving, we generally eat at church.  Sometimes the Ladies Aid provides the food, other times I do it myself.  Really, for me, it's not too big a job, simply because of the volume at which I generally cook for my family.  Today, Muriel M. provided the treats for lunch and a dessert for dinner.  I made a Tex-Mex hotdish for dinner, and served it with lettuce, Mexican flavored rice, and taco toppings.  I thought that made an adequate lunch.  Oops.  I mean dinner.

But nope.  I found out that it was, in fact, not enough.  It was missing the most important menu item. Joe had to show off his manly prowess and serve some bear chops along with the Tex-Mex meal.  "Fine, Joe," theMom replied with the barest hint of an eyeroll.  "It's a novelty thing.  I'm sure the guys will get a kick out of it.  As long as your prepare them, though, please.  I'm going to be plenty busy with the other items."

Everything went fine.  Really.  The dinner was wonderful.  The bear was well received and made for good conversation.  I think even Pastor Longshore may have had a nibble.  (I told him afterwards that the meat in the Tex-Mex hot dish was venison, too, so he really had some culinary adventures today.)  Pastor Longshore is the newest pastor in our circuit.  He's from the South, and bigger towns.  Cities, really.  So he's still experiencing a bit of that culture shock that can awe someone new to the area.)

After we finished eating, I closed the window curtain divider thing for the kitchen, and pulled shut the doors, to enable the men to have their privacy while they continued their meeting.  And I washed the dishes.  Am I a good pastor's wife, or what? 

As I was cleaning up, I noticed that there was a big black smear on the white and shiny, usually pristine, surface of one of the flat topped stoves.  "Shoot, did I do that?  I didn't even use the stove.  What might I have set there?  I'm very sure The Ladies would not have left it like that, so it must have been us somehow."  These and other panic stricken thoughts ran through my head as I washed the rest of the dishes.  I was a bit fearful, wondering what it might have been and how easily (or not) it would come off.  I know the standards The Ladies expect to be followed in the hallowed domain of the Church Kitchen.

As I got to the last few items of dirty dishes, it dawned on me.  The bear.  Joe used one of our cast iron pans on the stove.  Yes.  One of the well-seasoned cast iron pans that sometimes leave black greasy smear marks on surfaces.  And there is was.  The blaring black grease smear.  Baked onto the Ladies' Aid's stove.  Yes, it is the church's stove.  But only in name.  We all know it really belongs to The Ladies. 

(When you read this, you have to think in a somewhat somber and frightening kind of voice every time you read the words The Ladies.  It's not meant in any unkind way.  And it's not any one or couple of individual ladies.  It's simply the collective power of The Ladies to strike fear into the hearts of those unsuspecting individuals who tread wrongly.)

Terror was striking my heart during those minutes.  I know how hard those smears can be to remove from a solid surface stove.  Much to the chagrin of The Church Ladies, I don't really scrub off the parsonage one all the time anymore.  Dare I say it?  Stains don't bother me.  As long as the crumbs and chunks are scrubbed off.  as long as the surface grease is wiped up.  But I know it bothers The Ladies.

I knew that smear on the church stove simply had to come off.

I must admit that about this time, I did lose my battle against a few more eyerolls, directed at the whole bear thing.  Such a Man thing, right?  I mean, it's OK for us women to show off our quilts or crochet, or to even to leave our filled canning jars sitting on the counter for others to notice.  But it is pretty ridiculous for a man to want to show off his accomplishments, right? 

"Such a guy thing!" Eyeroll.  Right?  Isn't that how we are?  Well, maybe not you, but I am. 

Oh, and the did come off with a little elbow grease and a dab of CeramaBryte.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Beautiful Rest

In the last several years, I've been a big proponent of the idea that creating beautiful things is an emotional need for people,  But it's especially a need for stay at home moms, whose many daily accomplishments are less tangible and more fleeting.  Such creative endeavors might be simple or complex.  Anything that makes the world a prettier place according to any of the senses, and brings pleasure and relaxation to the doer.  I think of things such as singing some songs or playing piano; baking cookies or bread; crocheting a scarf; quilting; redecorating a room; or even scrubbing a well soiled wall. 

But it has to bring refreshment.  It can't be something on that "to do" list.  I mean, if baking bread is something you have to accomplish, it can't count for refreshment, no matter how much you enjoy doing it. 

Lately I've been crocheting.  Mostly scarves.  I love it.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  And I think it's good for me in some deep way that I can't quite explain.  Except to say that the sense of accomplishment at creating a thing of beauty is healthful.

But now I have a real, honest to goodness, medical reason why this is so.

My good friend, Lisa, who is also a professional family counselor, explained it to me.  I probably can't explain it all well.  But in a nutshell, it is because of how the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems work together. 

When a person does quiet refreshing hobbies, it gives the parasympathetic nervous system quiet time to do what it's supposed to do.  Active endeavors use primarily the sympathetic nervous system, which somehow overshadows the parasympathetic.  The parasympathetic needs down time.  So when a person is always busy and active, the parasympathetic doesn't have a chance to perform those things it needs to do, in order to keep a person in optimal mental health. 

Isn't that interesting? 

Lisa, if you wish, please leave a comment giving any additional info that explains better for my readers what you explained to me last night.  Thanks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gotta love the "small town he said, she said"

Really.  I know Jason Aldean used the phrase to refer to the negative side of it, but there are good things about, "small town he said, she said," too.  People know each other's troubles and can support and pray for each other.  We rejoice in the exciting things our neighbors and friends have happening.  We are much more inter-connected than those neighbors living in many urban and even suburban areas.  But yes, everyone knows everything about everybody else; and sometimes half of what they think they know is not an accurate portrayal of the situation.

So there's good and bad, as with most situations on this earth.

But today we were blessed by a little of the good side of, "small town he said, she said."  It helped us sell a car.  Here's how it happened. 

I was sitting and reading while having my coffee.  The phone rang, and Donna picked it up before I could intercept her.  As she was trying to figure out how to answer, or what to respond, I whispered, "Let Mama talk, please." 

She then said politely into the phone, "Here's my Mama."

The man on the other end of the line started out with this, "I just talked your boy at the Cenex."

"Oh, dear," thought I, "what now?"  But then I thought a bit further, "He didn't introduce himself as law enforcement, Mary, so it's probably not too bad."

He explained that he was looking for a cheap used car and Matt said we had one.

"Cool, come on out and look."

When he got here, he poked around a bit in the '92 Olds 88; and I tried to remember all of its foibles.  There were three things that were somewhat basic repairs, but Joe did not feel up to tackling them with our disordered and somewhat meager "shop."  And those three things, as I remembered, would have maybe come to $100 to do ourselves, but quite possibly less.  But to pay someone, each was potentially a $150-$250 job.  We didn't want to put possibly upwards of $500 into a car with very, very high miles and for which we only paid $500 three years ago.  So basically it's a decent car for getting from point A to point B.  But it needs some TLC.  We stopped driving it last spring when the wires from one of the tires started poking through and scraping the inside of the rim.  The other thing I remembered was some sort of tie rod, ball joint, or front end steering kind of thing.  But that third thing...I just could not remember.  Until after this man started the car.  Then I remembered.  The deep reverberations rumbling from underneath instantly gave it away. 

"The exhaust system needs work!"  I explained rather loudly.  "That's what the third thing is!" 

"What are you asking?"

"My husband thinks he can get $300 at the scrap metal place, but it's also extra time and work for him to get it there, so with that in mind, make an offer."

"I'll pay you $300 today.  Let me go get my trailer."

Wow!  Easy!  Very cool!

We got to visiting a little bit and I asked how he happened to get talking used cars with Matt at Cenex on a school morning.

He explained that he is the cousin of Scott G., who runs the service station area of the Cenex in Oklee.  Scott has worked on our vehicles a number of times.  And Scott's son, Zach, is one of Matt's buddies.  I don't know if it was out at the gas pumps, or at the pay counter; or perhaps Matt was in the shop before school checking with Scott about something on his Dodge Charger.  But regardless of where they were, Matt, Scott and John (for that's his name, I found out later) were present when John told Scott he hadn't found a car.  John was looking for something other than his truck to get back and forth to work.  (Keep in mind that we have big open spaces around here, with many miles to drive in any direction before getting to most places of employment.  When the price of gas goes up, people notice a big difference.) 

After hearing that John was looking for a car, Matt spoke up, "We've got a used one.  My dad's hauling it to the scrap metal recycling this week, if we don't find a buyer."

And so we sold the car.  Very quickly and smoothly.  And got $300 for it.  As John said, it's harder and harder these days to find an inexpensive used car.  And for someone who's got a little time to work on it himself, it's a pretty good deal.  But also considering that he said he put $150 in gas into his truck each week, it wouldn't take many weeks to save enough to make up the difference, even if he paid someone else to work on it.

But, oh!  Joe!  You owe me.  You owe me BIG!  I cannot believe how much trash I picked out of there.  Ugh!  And chew bottles!  Gross!  About six of them!  I apologized profusely for all the little stuff I couldn't pick out.  And the gravel and sand that was deep on some part of the floor.  But John seemed cool with it.  He just kept saying, "You don't get much for $300.  I'm happy to have found it."

And the car is no longer sitting in our driveway in that "Rio Linda" kind of way.  Oh, wait.  That's Matt's Sunfire that makes our yard look like Rio Linda.  It's even up on blocks with the rear tires off.   But probably, since the cars we buy are so near the end of their lives anyway, probably any of our vehicles might make a yard look kind of run down. 

But it works for us.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wonderfully Restful and Productive Sunday

Roads were surprisingly good this morning, after a couple of days of sleety yuckiness sitting over our area.  We got to have church this morning here at Oak Park.  Mt. Olive yesterday (20 miles south of here), and St. Petri this morning (35 miles north of here and at an early 8:00 am) cancelled.  But Nazareth and Oak Park (which are at 9:45 and 11:00am, and both right here in the neighborhood) were able to have services.  It's always a bit stressful to Joe to have to help decide when to cancel and when to venture forth.  I'm glad we had opportunity to be fed with God's Word.

We came home to homemade soup made with bear bone broth, home canned elk, a variety of left-overs and some fresh vegies, and herbs and spices.  It was accompanied by two loaves of freshly baked GF bread, along with raw honey, some pepper jelly from a friend, and some of Joe's choke cherry jelly. 

An extra bonus that added to the "feel good" impression of the meal was that the left-overs in the soup, too, were fun.  They were so filled with homemade goodness.  I used remnants of two hotdishes.  The meat in one was a corned venison roast Joe cured two falls ago.  The meat in the other was the meat pickings from the beef bone broth we cooked up last week.  I bet there were 40-50 beef soup bones in that batch of broth.  So even just the pickings was enough for two hotdishes.

All in all, it was an excellent lunch.  The kids all ate the soup without complaint; and we filled in the edges with many slices of the still warm homemade bread and toppings.

At the end of the meal, Sharol Johnson came over with Clara's deer, so Joe excused himself to help hang it in the garage.  When the men returned, sure enough as he is wont to do, Sharol had a bag of candy for the kids, so everyone got to choose a piece for the afternoon.  Then we put the rest away.  Sophie had made some fudge-like concoction yesterday from which we all also had a nibble.

After lunch, the kids did some outside chores.  Matt came home from hunting with a load of left-over food stuffs that was apparently his portion from what got divvied up. 

A little while later, Sharol returned asking which of the kids wanted to go out and sit with him in the deer stand.  Clara had gotten hers the other afternoon hunting with him, and Sophie had yet to get one, so she went with him.  Elsie and Joe headed out a little bit later.  We have only three deer hanging in the garage right now.  One is a good sized doe; the other two are yearlings, a buck and a doe.  So really, that meat will not last us very long.  North of here, in the area of Joe's St. Petri church, the firearm season goes another week yet, so it's possible Joe, or Joe and a couple of the kids, could find someone's land up that way on which to fill out their limits.

Brief Update on my depression

I don't want to ramble on about this too much, because I have several more detailed blog posts rattling around in my head that one day I may or may not put to the virtual paper.  But I do want to rejoice a little bit, and ask you to join me in thanking God.

Really, it's so amazing to me how different I feel than I did six months ago, or even six weeks ago when I had a little "relapse" precipitated by all the stress and busyness of the last weeks of August and first weeks of September.  It took me about four to six weeks to get my feet under me after that physical and emotional drain.   But when I stop to think about things, when I compare myself to my last winter's self, or even the winter before that, really, I praise God for the healing He's allowed me. 

Sunday has always been my Day of Rest.  Besides the opportunity to rest and refresh my soul with the spiritual gifts of Word and Sacrament, I have made it my own little personal tradition to do next to nothing on Sundays.  I try to have dinner started or at least prepped before church, so it can be put together quickly afterwards.  After dinner is done, I'm done.  That's it for the day, except a bare minimum of parenting responsibilities.  Occasionally when I have energy enough, we might do a family activity such as an outdoor outing, or jigsaw puzzles, or games, or crafts.  But anything like that is very rare the last several years.  I simply ran out of oomph.

But today, TODAY!  I have folded three loads of clothes and switched the wash; I will soon do the lunch dishes for my kids, since I agreed to do that so that they could get the outdoor chores done.  And I have energy for it.  I don't feel wiped out.  I even feel rested!  Isn't that strange? 

And I made bread this morning. That in itself is amazing.  I had oatmeal soaked for breakfast, so after my first cup of coffee, I got up and turned the oats onto medium-low heat, to come slowly to a simmer.  While that was heating, I was able to think clearly enough that even with the kids buzzing around my feet  and kitchen, I was able to double a recipe; and convert the basic ingredient, GF flour blend, to correct proportions of separate flour and meal components, since I currently have no GF flour mix done up.  Things in my brain have been so muddled that concentration is difficult to achieve and fleeting once I can manage it.

That may not sound like a big deal to anyone who has their head screwed on straight.  But it's been years since I've been able to do that.  Really.  At least two years, since I was able to double, convert, and mix up a recipe if my kids were around.  Or if I had to summon the energy to accomplish something that took such thinking, I was wiped out afterwards for half a day at least.  And here I am this afternoon, still energetic and clear headed!  Truly, this is a gift of God.  I cannot suitably express my excitement at this landmark! 

So praise God with me,friends! 

And if you are struggling through a low spot, take heart.  God can and will bring you out, according to His will and timing; with or without medicinal intervention, natural treatments, or depending upon whatever course of action you prayerfully decide.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  And He indeed knows when best to give His gifts. 

I can't help but exclaim inwardly with the Psalmist David,
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.

He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;

As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.

For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Small Story

I say small, but knowing me, I'll not manage to keep it small.  Somehow I get into the spirit of a story and can't seem to stop.  This started out to be three separate stories, two memories and a recent happening.  But, alas!  It's now only one memory and no recent happening, since, yes, I can't remember the other anecdotes I was going to share.  Isn't that  silly?  I remember something long enough to think I want to post it, but then, POOF!  it's gone.  You may read it here yet, another day, another post.  But for now, content yourself with the following.


That's probably what my Mom was thinking the day I told her I wanted to see the movie, American Gigolo

Did I know anything about that movie?  Nope, not one bit.  Nor did I know what the term gigolo implied until much later.  But I did know that my favorite song of those 8th grade days was Blondie's "Call Me," the theme song from that movie.

I was grooving to that number yesterday, while doing my dishes, and Jeremy wandered through the kitchen preparing himself some lunch.  I got to thinking about this song, and what the words meant, and how I hate when such cool songs really mean something totally not cool.  I was feeling relieved that Jeremy is at an age for which I don't have to be hyper careful about the content of songs to which I listen in his presence.  I no longer have to worry quite so much about him repeating something inappropriate, without realizing what he's saying.  He might still say inappropriate things now and then.  But I think he usually realizes fully what he's saying.

So as I was washing dishes and singing out, "Call me (call me) on the line, Call me, call me any, anytime," loudly and energetically along with Pandora, and scrubbing away on my plates and glasses, suddenly the memory of this conversation with my mom popped into my head.  I don't remember where we were at the time, and I certainly hope, for Mom's sake, that we were not standing around after church visiting the church ladies, or in some other public setting with the potential for major embarrassment.  I suspect it may have been in the car on the drive back and forth, to or from school.  We usually carpooled with other families, so there was generally at least a small crowd of us yackety-yacking all the way home.  I wonder sometimes if this is the primary way Mom got to know us kids, by overhearing all of our friendly and sometimes quite shocking conversations among our peers.

And really, Mom.  I'm sorry.  I had no clue what I was saying.  I just really liked that song.  Still do, in fact.