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Just Like That

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Just like that, the cold winds are blowing in on us and winter is fast approaching.  Early Autumn is my favorite season, but lately, late Autumn is my least.  All of the sudden, the looming shadow of all of the things that are not yet done seems to be threatening to swallow me up.  As I sit and listen to the wind howling tonight, and survey the forecast of suddenly dropping temperatures, I feel disappointment in my heart.  I wanted to be done with the house.  I know, it has only been three years, but I just wanted to be done.  I want to spend time with my kids, play games and watch movies. I want to have time again to sit and talk about the world with my husband.  I want to focus on educating my first grader without having to interrupt his schooling for more and more projects.  I want to be present.

We had not been to church in months, since the finish house marathon began again in earnest, and my oldest son was asking to go.  I loaded everyone up and drove into town for the evening service.  Funny that the pastor had a message just for me.  I do not remember the entire sermon, but several things popped out at me.  He was discussing part of Nehemiah and the people rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.  He talked about the things that he saw from the story that get in the way of our relationship to God and in the way of listening to God.  The first thing he listed was a loss of strength, and the second was a loss of vision.  I absolutely cannot remember the third, and the fourth was a loss of security.  We are experiencing these three things in totality!  We have lost all our strength to keep moving forward on this project.  We look around at all that needs to be done and find ourselves just not caring.  Vison?  We have definitely lost that!  What exactly are we doing here?  Why did we want to build our own house, and a rather small one at that?  Why did we leave the comfort and security of our last home to literally camp in a field in Minnesota?  As for the loss of security, that has happened as our tensions mount and we begin to snap at each other.  That has happened as more and more money gets poured into these four walls and more and more debt threatens to overtake us.  His message  did provide solutions, and very much provided a sense of hope to me, but I have to dig deep to find the mental reserves to do anything about it.

Tonight I spent about three hours moving things downstairs in anticipation of having carpet installed upstairs.  I am sitting on the sub-floor as I write this.  It is the last real reminder of how we have lived for so long, and I am overwhelmed by the mountains of stuff that I still have to move to get ready.  Five people living in a space that is under 900 square feet, and we have stuff packed into every available space.  All that stuff has to go somewhere, and while my husband is dutifully studying for a large math exam tomorrow, I have to figure out how to get it all downstairs and still manage my flock.  I feel so weary.  In the sermon, the pastor gave three specific things that we can do to get back on track, and of course, in my fatigued mom-brain, I cannot seem to remember what they are.  I know one of them was prayer.  One of them could perhaps be perseverance (or patience).  Since I cannot really remember what they are, I will stick to prayer!  Praying that I will find the strength to get all of this stuff moved downstairs while somehow managing to make my children feel loved, cherished, and cared for.  Praying that I will be able to get it all moved back before returning to work.  Praying that we will be able to finish up the trim, baseboard, and stair railing despite the challenges that winter brings when hauling materials and painting.  Praying that we will somehow be able to head into winter, into the oncoming wind, with our heads up, our hearts ready, and our Spirits renewed.

 

Garden Harvest in Spite of Madness

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We had a good year in the garden despite my serious lack of attention.  We planted early (the middle of May in Zone 3b) and promptly left to go on a two-week vacation.  We eagerly strained our necks coming down the driveway to see if anything had survived the lack of daily watering and attention.   Everything but the strawberries survived and thrived.  Days turned into weeks and I often found myself neglecting the garden when I should have been mulching, weeding, loving.  I was too busy, though, weeding, mulching, and loving my own three little people plants.  I wandered out into the garden every now and again to see what was happening, but I did not spend the hours upon hours that I used to spend.  Somehow, in spite of my attention, the garden provided us with an amazing abundance of food.  We have canned salsa, canned spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, frozen beans, carrots, and zucchini ready for making relish.  The cupboard has onions, potatoes, and oodles and oodles of roasted sunflower seeds.  The still plywood counter top boasts butternut squash, and the pumpkins are on the stairs awaiting carving.  There is applesauce, spiced apples, pineapple zucchini, and zucchini lemon pie filling.  A bag of still crunchy carrots sits in the fridge, ready for little hands to grab and munch.  The crisper drawer is full of the last of the corn, ready for boiling and rolling in butter and salt.

The garden looks lonely now, covered in brown leftovers and a few remaining pumpkins.  It is hard for me to believe that the garden could have provided us with so much food, for so little work.  It seems a little bit wrong.  Autumn is my favorite season, and this year is no different.  I love to see the last of the produce going into jars, bags, or boxes.  This will be the first year that we will get to carve pumpkins from our own garden- the kids have already picked out their favorites.  I will not say that I am ready for winter, but this year, for the first time, I look around and see what we have done and do not feel so overwhelmed by  all that still needs to be accomplished.

The kids are in bed after a late night by the fire, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and watching the stars and northern lights.  The downstairs is almost done, the upstairs just awaiting carpet and trim.  The scented candle burns on the newly installed cherry windowsill.  Our little house on the edge of the field is finally starting to feel like a home.

 

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