Friday, September 23, 2011
In the big blog world.
Please be advised that the human grossness factor is high in this post.
For those with stomachs of iron……… by all means proceed.
Today was an ordinary day, and I was getting my ordinary shower at the ordinary time of 10:30.
This is because I spend a lot of ordinary time cleaning in my frumpy night gown and Medussa hair.
I do this because I somehow believe deep down that a clean house means well behaved children.
This has never happened.
But I still believe that someday it magically WILL happen and so I continue.
And this cleaning becomes a woman whom you would believe was in the nesting phase of pregnancy, mopping and scrubbing like there is no tomorrow.
And I wonder if I did not get enough of that out during my pregnancies…….or just because of the sheer number of children it never leaves entirely?
These are questions I will never answer.
And so I just keep cleaning.
Until my shower at previous stated time. I say this because even I am too ashamed to acknowledge it again in print!
So, the shower is my think tank.
I can feel world peace in there I tell ya.
I can feed my family on 50 dollars a week if I had to, find way too many ways to hide one chicken breast in casseroles, make my own laundry soap and fuse the previous sliver of soap in the shower to the new sparkling bar, somehow believing that this makes me a good saving person.
BUT, I do NOT save money when it comes to the econo shower.
Nope. And I have never tried.
I figure if I took military showers I could save the difference and actually go to a real spa, but for now home sweet home has become my spa sweet spa.
I think in there. I think in there until I am a prune.
And be sure that two things will snap your inheritance, slim as it may be, clean away:
1.Talking while Mom is trying to roll out a pie crust and get it in the pan…in one piece.
2. Interrupting Mom’s shower unless you are becoming disemboweled.
That’s it. Otherwise I am Mother of the Year.
Well ok now I just lied so that totally takes me out of the running….. I digress.
So, ordinary day, ordinary cleaning spree, ordinary shower.
Then I go to brush my teeth.
And I grab the wrong toothbrush.
I grab someone’s who will remain anonymous, but will tell you that they are of the little sort barely in school.
And apparently they do not have strong feelings regarding rinsing………..anything.
Yeah. No hoorays for me who thought it swell to buy toothbrushes in bulk packs thinking how clever I was to have them match.
Next to YooHoo drink, possibly the worst decision ever made.
And I literally wondered as I quickly brought the brushing disaster to an end if this was indeed what “Shock and Awe” feels like.
I then realized that I had most likely eaten all of the food that pervious stated child had consumed and had hanging in their teeth from the last week…..
And in the midst of my body shuddering the Lord showed me just how foolish I am to take anything of anyone else’s and try to use it for my own.
You KNOW I HAD to check out friend’s homeschooling tips and ideas, and read about what this family does and that one.
ALWAYS to my detriment.
Several months ago I may or may not have mentioned this story so indulge me because I am too lazy to scroll back months to reread my banter. (And I am still queezy enough….. )
I was on facebook. I know, I groan too these days.
SO, I was on and posted about how I had made a couple of loaves of bread.
Now did I write that to seem “All that” and show a glimmer of “Martha Stewartishness”
Well to those questions I plead the Fifth, or the Eighth? Anyhow I plead the First through the Fifth. That should cover me.
And a happy go lucky friend commented.
SHE makes bread too. SHE makes whole grain breads. By hand.
I used the bread machine.
(enter Whistling music from an Old Western gun shoot out scene)
I wrote back.
I grind my own wheat…..
(eyebrows saying, “So there!”)
And I ALMOST hit ENTER.
But the Holy Spirit hit DELETE.
Really? Again I compare myself with someone else?
Why must I be the biggest and brightest star out there?
Now this was a while ago and yet recently I have fallen into the pit of comparison again.
I really should just make a Vacation cottage there I visit so often…..
So and So is using DVD’s to school their children.
So and So is using “Myster y of the Next best thing out there” History curriculum.
So and So had to grab take out because they were too busy finding fossils in the backyard while they were geo cashing and leaf rubbing.
And on it goes.
I am home waiting on visuals to come in that I forgot to order, while my kids do workbook pages and while I try to hide the fact that every time The Sweet Man (Joel) goes over the teaching part with me I have to excuse myself to the restroom because I am so dog gone nervous.
There ya have it.
I DO realize that letting you know what we do may have caused some deep jealousy wanting what we have and for that I am sorry.
Trying to be someone else, use someone else’s schedule, fit into their mold for their family is as sickening as using someone else’s cruddy toothbrush.
Use what you have. Go to the bathroom several times while preparing if you must. (that was for me) But know that teaching your children to love the Lord, having a loving atmosphere for your family to live in, your husband to come home to, for visitors to be welcomed, is more important than keeping up with the facebook Jones’.
My kids will not remember their curriculum.
They will remember me.
And several bathroom breaks.
We are not cookie cutter families.
We are individual families, placed with the children God wanted us to disciple, in the place where we can shine the brightest in the world for Him.
Embrace honey sandwiches because It is close to payday.
Embrace visuals coming late and workbooks and art projects consisting of yarn and glue because you cannot find the crayons.
Embrace dinners of chicken casserole because chicken is all you have left in the freezer.
If you need me to write you a permission slip just send me a note. I will gladly excuse you from the latest and greatest.
And while we are at it,
Write one for me will ya?
Thursday, September 15, 2011
And no curtains.
Seems like a small funny thing but it makes me look out the window more. The trees in Western New York are just beginning to turn color and light up the mountains surrounding our Great Valley.
It is a sweet, cool, lovely, lazy day at the Royalty house.
Yesterday we got Farmer Boy from the library and I cannot wait to pile the kids in a heap and sit and watch my husband read to them.
When he reads to the kids it settles the world and gives you that wonderful, "dinner is in the crockpot and the porch is swept clean," feeling. It is one that I could bottle and sell to the many frazzled Moms I pass almost daily, wishing I could bring them home with me.
Is our home a place of refuge? Absolutely. Is it free from chaos? Never. Organized that is.
And isn't a little chaos good? I read somewhere in my self-help frenzie that if we did not have any stress we would just die.
Some days I would like to test that hypothesis.
And some days I am enjoying the clutter and dirt and clatter and barefeetness.
The country has been good for me.
For all of us.
Today I am thinking of all of those I love who are in the midst of a battle.
Then again aren't we all? A battle of seeing the glass as God has intended it. Not just half full, but full to overflowing whatever our lot.
God is good.
At a conference lately I made a point to reach a speaker just as he stepped off the platform. I just had to speak with him. I know God prompted me to do it.
And so I did. And he began to ask me some questions and the answers began spilling out and at in the middle of it all he looked me dead in the eye and told me that God loved me. He told me that I needed to know just how much God loves me. He questioned me again,
"Do you know how much God loves you?"
And I did the unthinkable. My pen stopped the furious writing of all that he was telling me, enlightening me, and I wept.
With people standing by to ask him questions, with my little still in the nursery, with my husband gathering all the other kids.
I couldn't help it.
I think I just saw a glimpse of how much God really cares for me.
He DID die for me. For even me. He DOES live to make intercession for me and my needs.
And today as I look through a glass darkly at fading beautiful trees, a beautiful creation, I am reminded that this is all for me.
For He and I to walk together and commune, and for me to worship Him with the sacrifice of praise.
When life is going smoothly or not.
I love these windows and this crisp day, and my family and friends who pray for me.
We were home a week ago and My FIL is just the best of men. He and I talked about life, about my kids and I told him that one is so so close to understanding what God truly has done for him and I asked him to pray for him and he looked me dead in the eye and told me that he does...
He prays for us every day.
For me stubborn in my kitchen,
For Joel leading wounded people,
For children so close to the heart of God.
And I even now just cry, in the library, with people seeing me look a mess.
God is good.
I have all that I need.
I have his love.
God LOVES you friend.
Friday, September 9, 2011
There are apples.
And there is no one in sight to help me crank.
By that I mean turn the crank to the strainer we use that conveniently chews the apples, skin and all, and spits out the skin and spits the sauce into my pie plate.
Which just happens to be the only plate low enough to catch the good stuff . Not my favorite set up mind you, but it works.
If you have someone to crank.
Because while they crank I am:
Keeping the apples from boiling over
Feeding the hopper to the strainer
Scraping the applesauce into the pie plate because the cranker is faster than what the strainer can hold
Dumping the sauce into the large stock pot as the pie plate overflows
And most importantly I am listening.
To the cranker.
Not normally on my list of jobs when making applesauce.
Not until today.
You see, I called out to Dad for a cranker. See we use this language with each other and some how understand what we mean. And he sent me someone.
I sighed. Really? I thought. I wanted to fly through the apples not hear about every inch of my son’s day and all the neighbor’s days also.
Don’t look at me like that, you have a child like this too.
One whom you adore, whose jokes have an hour long punch line, who’s favorite book of the Bible is Revelation….. you know the type.
So off we go, him cranking away, talking as fast as he can crank.
Talking so much that the strainer begins to separate from the table and spill sauce and peels on the floor.
We talk about apples, space exploration, husbands, his favorite shirt he is wearing, and too many things for me to remember.
We spill, we fill, we transfer
I am constantly thinking about my new glasses which are small, and thick and make me look funny and make me think I see more apples than what I really see.
He is thinking about life, what he will be, where he will go, and what it would be like to travel half way around the world in a sailboat as a family. (yes he really said that)
I smile. He is trying my patience and I am trying to get through the apples and we are making a horrible mess and the madder I get the more fun he seems to be having.
At my expense.
We fill a pot and then some. We have never made so much sauce before. We get out a new pot and the Lord speaks,
Out of the overflow of your life, you give to your son. You give to everyone.
What is overflowing from my life?
We sweeten the sauce.
It IS good.
He smiles and feels such accomplishment. I feel exhausted and so thankful that he has not noticed that I want to squelch his ever dripping enthusiasm.
We press on and finish up. He is dreaming of selling applesauce and I am dreaming of a green comfy lawn chair and some ice water where I can watch my husband work on the shed.
He is wishing he was a few years older.
I am realizing I have just a few years left.
To crank and talk and think with him.
He offers to get my chair and knitting bag for me. I give him a squeeze and head outside. As I head out the door he sees his sister and tells her, “You missed it. Mom and I have been having fun in here!”
He follows me out and gets me all set up to relax and then asks, “Hey, can I help you with dinner?”
Today I am tired.
I am thankful for hands that can work, thumbs that heal from being burnt, a mind that can think and the stamina to face mounds of fruit that needs canning.
I am thankful for the apples, tomatoes, green beans and peaches that God has allowed us and the zillions of jars church folk have found in their basements and garages and graciously given to us.
I am a little put out that they did not offer to wash them.
All 100 plus jars.
And while I wash jars and make simple syrup and sautee onions and search for more rings, I think of all that God has given to us through others.
It was the peaches from the worker who showed us hoards of boxes her employer was giving away for free. Good peaches, just small.
Too small to sell, but just right for canning.
Thank you Lord, you encourage me. YOU had us at the right place at the right time, with the right worker.
It was the chief from the fire station down the road who had a fireman drop off apples.
Beautiful apples and I mean bee-you-tee-full.
Just because he thought of us and our six kids.
Thank you Lord. YOU were thinking of us. Thank you for remembering me and my six kids and thank you for letting him stop by when my hair was half decent.
It was the neighbor who watched some hoodlums so I could run hoodlum number five to the ER for chin stitches and greeted me with dinner and delicious butter beans for a meal and then some. She also gave me swiss chard and lettuce enough for the feeding of the five thousand. We will use it for the feeding of the eight…..of us.
Thank you Lord! You gave me those. YOU knew that sweet husband forgot to grab veggies ( off of his list) when we split, each taking kids, to conquer the grocery store.
So tonight, my hands are sore. I find a new sticky spot on counters, elbows and floors each turn of the head. I dream of a tree that produces regular sized jar seals. I fear an earthquake breaking my 70 plus jars of saved produce, and the story of the man in the Bible who had to build bigger barns. I wonder if his wife canned…….
I laugh at things that are not funny and can be caught pretending to stir and staring out the kitchen window…..
I am thankful.
I am being fed by the mighty hand of the Creator of Earth.
Who loves me…..
Who wants me to love others
Apparently with canned goods .
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Today I am studying.
I have a speaking engagement in less than a month.
I HAVE been studying for weeks, months now, listening to what God is saying, when He lights a scripture passage to my eye and when my littles teach me an invaluable lesson.
Now I am attempting to grab all of these scattergrammed thoughts and compress them for a group of ladies who have quite possibly (gulp) paid to attend and hear…..me.
And I want them to hear Him.
And today I am studying.
I am observing why He loves, how He loves, how it changes us, how the world is made just for us to have communion with Him.
And my observations lead me to Mrs. F.
She is a farmers wife. She tells me she has never been one for fancies and fruveloughs. She always covers her mouth when she laughs, which is too cute for words. She always wears boots and bright socks with her culottes, and donnes a smock all day as she works among the flower beds and such outside.
The farm equipment is rusting. The front door is held open with a tack and an old piece of clothing elastic. The flowers in a huge bush cluster almost cover her front door and she is always cutting and offering them to whomever wants them. They are precious like her and it is amazing to her that many folks take clippings and can never get the flowers to grow like she can, and smiles at me telling me it must be the soil.
I smile back, knowing it is indeed the soil. The rich soil of a heart overflowing with gratitude.
I thankful, refuse a clipping, telling her that I will take some sometime.
When the soil is ready for planting.
We drink from mismatched cups, and she talks about nothing in particular, and I tell her I aim for her calmness.
She covers her mouth and giggles.
It is so contagious that I giggle too.
And the sun warms on us and the flowers smell deliciously lovely and I am thankful for this moment.
Her daughter is recently married, and I look at Mrs. F’s wedding set on her left hand and cannot even see a stone among a square setting.
My own set seems too big all of a sudden.
As she motions with her hand the engagement ring slides slowly around her finger and I wonder if she has ever wanted more.
Has she ever wanted a bigger stone?
A bigger house?
Matching cups and plates?
And when I tease that now that their only child is married they should take a grand vacation, to Hawaii perhaps, she giggles, hand over mouth.
“No.” she tells me in more of a sigh than a sentence.
And then without warning she continues,
“I would never want to be anywhere but here.”
Here, I think?
Here. I understand.
“I’m content here.”
And with that I am overcome. She IS content. Content to reuse paper, stickers, string and elastic.
Content to walk slowly, giggle often, be still, do what is needful, and relish the moment of a fine afternoon.
Content to let the world go by, the roof get old and squeaky, and see God in finding a new place to store the hay wagon.
And I smile and go on my way to my busy busy life and without warning it sneaks up on me…..
And she turns to tend the flowers.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. I Timothy 6:6