Monday, January 31, 2011

As The Washer Turns

There is something soothing about the sound of my washing machine.   I love the constant hum of the washer as it turns and spins.  Saturday I was extremely tired and decided to take a nap.  The washer was running and I remember slipping off to sleep so easily....comforted by the fact that even though I slept, progress was under way in the laundry/house keeping department.  Chuckle if you must.  

I am home today with a sick child.  I hate it when my children are sick.  I am glad to be here with her, though.  She is quiet and in need of some TLC as well as liquids and lots of rest.  I love tucking the blanket under her feet and making her feel cozy.  She is eating grits (as every good southerner should).  The warmth is good on her throat, as well as the texture that will help the discomfort in her throat also.  Soup is good, grits are better.  A nap for her is just on the horizon. 

The washer going is a great kind of quiet for me.  Total quiet is almost loud.  I hear more things in the total silence that distract me.  The silence of white noise allows my mind to concentrate, pray, think, read, and of course nap when necessary.  My dad often talked about working third shift at Goodyear Tire plant years ago while he was in school.  He would come home in the early morning and go to sleep to the sound of the vaccum cleaner.  I don't have the same affection for the vaccum cleaner as my dad does.  I associate the vaccum cleaner with unrest.  When I was a teenager and sleeping late on Saturdays, my mother would often wake me up by running the vaccum cleaner outside my bedroom door.  If that didn't work, she would hit the door with the front of the vaccum....eventually making her way into my bedroom and vaccuming right there while I tried to sleep in peace.  Hahaha!   Someone vaccuming means I'm not up working and therefore I feel guilty.  So, I don't like the vaccum cleaner noise. 

Today has been quiet.  I've done some work, planned some meals, given medicine, fixed lots of hot tea and sick foods and loved my girl.  Looks like we may be doing this again tomorrow.

Well, the washer has stopped.  I must go start it again. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Blessing Beyond the Wall

This morning I was listening to the morning announcements and heard that there would be a time of worship during the high school lunch time.  They also announced that it would be in my room.  Surprise!  I had no idea....not that I minded, but I was very surprised.  I had no idea who organized the lunchtime worship.  The day progressed and I forgot about it.  Lunchtime rolled around and I went to my office to check email and eat a quick sandwich before the rest of the day descended upon me.  I finished returning some emails and then got my lunch bag out to eat.  It was then that heard the sounds of the piano coming from my choir 
room through the wall.   I knew the tune.  I knew the words.  All of them.  A few minutes later, I heard the singing. 

"This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long!
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long!"

Really?  Were my ears deceiving me?  I was transported back to a place in my life where I found such joy.  Singing hymns in church as a child is one of my most vivid and precious memories.  It is these same songs I sang while rocking my children to sleep.  It is these songs that I sing when I'm in quiet time with my Lord.  These are the same songs that many teenagers (and adults) have never heard.

I got up from my desk and walked down the hall.  I didn't know who was in my room or how many I would find, but the sounds coming through the wall were beckoning me to come.

"Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blessed;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness lost in His love.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long."

The honesty and adoration I heard in the voices of the ten high school students in the room touched me deeply.  I worshipped with them.  I could not hold back the tears.  I listened to them read scripture and then I slipped out the door.  This was their time, and I did not want to intrude.  I don't think they would have thought my being there an intrusion, but I still wanted to give them their space, their independence, and their sweet time of fellowship with their God and their peers.

Before I left, a couple more students came in.  One slipped in quietly.  The other student looked a little uncomfortable and said (out loud), "I really don't think this is where I want to be right now."

As I slipped out the door I thought to myself, "But this is exactly where you need to be." 

The walls in my modular are thin.  Many times this is irritating and makes teaching difficult for all of us out there.   Today.....those thin walls were a blessing.

Blessed assurance!  Jesus is mine.....and theirs.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lolly

Meet Lolly.  I assume most children have a special "friend".  No bedtime is complete without this friend by their side, comforting and soothing them to sleep.  This friend gets dragged through the house, taken on sleepovers, packed in suitcases for vacation and ride-a-longs in the car.  Sometimes nothing can make a child stop crying except their special "friend". 

Ms. Lynda gave Janey her special friend before she was born.  This little cloth doll was waiting on Janey when she came home from the hospital.  We called her Janey's "dolly". 

"Where's your dolly?"
"Can you find your dolly?"
"I'm gonna get your dolly!"

When Janey started talking she tried to say "dolly" and it came out "lolly".  Once she started talking, she called her doll "Lolly" and has ever since.  I am sure every mother out there knows the lengths you will go to sneaking in your child's room to find the special friend in order to wash them.  As Janey got older I would have her help me wash Lolly.  She would put the soap in the washer and turn it on the delicate cycle.  She would patiently wait for Lolly to finish washing and then she would place her gently in the dryer and once again wait until she was clean and dry.  Then.....all was right in her world.

As Lolly got older, she lost her plumpness.  She also lost the cute yarn tassel on the top of her head.  Janey used to carry her around by the yarn.  My mother found another doll just like Lolly and gave her to Janey.  We thought she might like to "swap her out".  That suggestion didn't fly.  So Lolly now has a nice, new, plump friend named "Molly". 

Tonight, I found Lolly on my bed.  Apparently Janey brought her in when she came up for bed. 
How do you resist a well planned out request?   Not many mothers can.  So, out came my sewing basket, needle and thread.  I mean, the child even provided the stuffing!  So, Lolly is now a little more plump than she was yesterday.  I have to close now and go and reunite Lolly with Janey. 

Oh....my friend's name was Leo.  Leo the Lion. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Finding my balance

Last night I found myself off balance.  My children were invited to a sleepover and that left the evening free for my husband me to go on a date.  My days are quite noisy.  I work in a school full of wonderful, energetic, smart, and noisy students.  I have grown quite tolerable of the noise level that a school brings, though I find myself longing for quiet every now and then.  Yesterday afternoon my children came to bring me their backpacks and school treasures and exchange them for their sleepover bags.  They were so excited as they skipped along with their friends for their evening of fun.  I went back to my classroom and cleaned up from the chaos of the day, did a few things that needed attending to prior to the weekend and week ahead, and then gathered my bags and coat to head home.  My husband was going to try and come home early because he had been in meetings all day every day this past week and was quite tired.  As I walked to the car, I stopped.  I looked to see that I had all my bags, coat, keys, computer, the cord---which I often forget, and then started toward the car again.  What did I forget?  I walked slowly to the car because I knew I was going to remember and turn around and have to go back.  As I reached the car and began to load my items in the back it dawned on me what my problem was.  My children were missing!  The constant babble and chatter, the tons of book bags, lunchboxes, violin, music books and coats weren't there to load.  It felt very odd.  Almost unsettling.  I drove home in silence.  That in and of itself is a beautiful thing on any given day, yet specifically on a Friday afternoon after a week of school  it was so strange.  I arrived home to find my cat sitting at her food bowl giving me "what for" about it being empty.  She weighs less than  6 pounds soaking wet and yet she gets very feisty when her bowl is empty.  I fixed her some supper and then my husband came in.  He had a little bit of work to finish upstairs on the computer so I went downstairs to catch my breath.  I sat on the sofa and closed my eyes for a minute.  After sitting there for a few minutes I heard the strangest sound.  I sat their trying to figure it out.  Was it dripping?  Was it tapping?  After several minutes of pondering what this unusual sound was, I figured it out.  It was the paws of my cat walking across the floor!!!!  The house was so quiet I could hear the cat walking across the floor.  My husband finished his work about an hour later and we went to dinner.  We had the best time.  We walked right into P.F. Chang's.  That was a first.  Tables for two are easier to come by, I suppose.  We talked and had the most tasty dinner.  Afterwards we went to REI to find me some snow boots.  Everyone is sold out of snow boots.  I neglected to get myself some when they first came out.  So we ordered them at the store to be shipped to the house.....for the next time it snows.  (Now that I have boots, it won't snow!)  After that we did a bit more looking around and then we headed home.  We got in our warm p.j.'s and settled in for some TV.   We had a very nice evening and enjoyed each other's company so much.  It was very restful. 

I still missed my children.  I told my husband that I really like the feeling of everyone under my roof and that I feel strange when the kids are gone.  I asked him if he felt "lost" as well.  He said, "no...it must be a mother thing."  haha    Don't get me wrong, he loves his girls!  I do, however think that it is "a mother thing" as he put it. 

I went to bed and slept until 8:00!  We had coffee and breakfast together before he set out to pick up the girls and the three of them took our dear 14 year old friend, Lucy to the vet.  She weighs 5 lbs 13 oz...same as last  year.  She eats.  She is playful.  She is cuddly.  She's just very very small.  Even her "meow" is small. 

So thankful for a restful night with my husband.  It was quiet.  It was needed.  It was strange.  It was a glimpse into the future when we are "empty-nesters".  I am so glad I am married to my best friend. 
I am glad my children are home.  I am also glad they have sweet friends to spend the night with. 
I know that others are experiencing the incredible emptiness of children growing up and moving away.  I know that I have more years to look forward to.  I plan to cherish this time. 

One is playing.  One is asleep.  Husband is studying.  Washing machine is humming.  All is well.  All is well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Bee Bee" and "B"

Mrs. Bible's "Kitty Cat" stitch afghan.  A cherished wedding gift.

My BeeBee's afghan.  A cherished heirloom.
Both these blankets are cherished items in my house.  The first blanket is on my bed almost year-round, especially during the fall and winter.  I use it on my side of the bed on top of my comforter at night.  It is so soft and warm.  It is also a fabulous nap blanket!  Mrs. Helen Bible, "B" to her family, made this for me for a wedding gift.  "B" was my first grade Sunday School teacher and a faithful Vacation Bible School teacher in our church for years.  When I got to be a teenager, I helped her in VBS in the summers also.  She was a nurse during her working years and traveled as our nurse on church trips after she retired.  She lived with her son and his family in town and was loved by all who knew her.  This blanket has a unique stitch called the "kitty cat stitch".  If you look closely at the blanket you can see each color row looks like a row of cats sitting with their tales hanging down. 

The second afghan was made by my maternal grandmother.  Pearl Story Parrish was a wife and mother of three.  My mother was her middle child.  She had many talents, one of which was crocheting.  She baked cakes all the time for her friends.  She always had a fresh cake on the table.  She also made jewelry.  This blanket has special memories to me.  I grew up in Florida and where cold weather isn't very common.  There were a few weeks in the winter time where the temperature would dip low enough to actually turn the heater on in the house.  It would come on and we would smell it.  It rarely ran, so when my parents would turn it on to "knock the chill off" it would smell for a few minutes.  I remember my mother coming in my room in the middle of the night to put this blanket on me to keep me warm on those few cold nights.  It is very heavy.  She would lay it on me and I would feel it drop on me and I would snuggle down and go back to sleep all warm and toasty.  Great memories.  Now this blanket is on my daughter's bed and she loves it.  She loves it even more after I told her the story about who made it and how my mother put it on me on cold nights. 

Each blanket is very different, but it wouldn't be "home" without them.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And the stream is still flowing.....

My stream of consciousness has been in full swing over the last two days.  I have flitted from one thing to another simply because I could.  If I had a hankerin' to clean out a drawer, I did......then I went and made a cup of tea or coffee and curled up on the sofa with the cat.   I never did clean out my closet.  There are two that need attention.  I couldn't decide which one to go with, so I didn't do either.  A friend also told me no one would believe I'd cleaned it out anyway, so why bother?  That was the cowardly way out, I guess.  I did many other little chores over the last couple of days.  I can see some improvement in little places.  I made a date with my bathroom baseboards.  We cannot go that long without seeing each other again.  I washed all the bathroom rugs in the house and put everything down on a clean floors. 

I took a roast out of the freezer and prepared it to cook later.  I also had a pound of lean ground beef and had the desire to make a meatloaf.  I've always wanted to try and make a meatloaf without any bread, oats, or bread crumbs to see if I could make it low/no-carb.   Now I didn't know which one to make.  I had all day to decide.   I couldn't go anywhere.  My driveway is one solid sheet of ice and any hope of a shovel would not come until this evening.  (That's another story.  We are Floridians who prepare for hurricanes, not snow and ice storms.  I have plenty of batteries and water....but no shovel or scrapers.)   The hardware store assured us they would be in by noon today....along with the sleds that we did not have either.   So, I was stranded at the house....not that I was upset about this in the least.  I have enjoyed being snowed in.  It has been a blessing.  So, what did I cook for supper?  The roast?   The no/low carb meatloaf?  Why, I made them both!  I used a grated zucchini and Parmesan cheese with an egg as the binder.  It was pretty good.  I think I need more Parmesan cheese and maybe an additional egg.  It was a little to crumbly....tasty....but crumbly.  I served a salad, green beans, and creamed corn. 

On a side note, my dear husband came home at lunchtime with two shovels and two snow disks.  The girls played all day in the snow and ice.  They had so much fun sliding around everywhere.  By tonight it was too late to try and shovel the solid driveway.  Don't really know how that is going to play out tomorrow.  We shall see since we have to venture out to school and work tomorrow. 

I have really enjoyed my two days of house ahrest.  Yes, I spelled it correctly.  AH-rest. 

I've read.  I've cleaned.  I've cooked.  I've tried to create a new recipe.  I have loved being a mommy all day for two days!  I've smiled a lot.  I've made brownies.  I've made hot lunches for my children after playing in the freezing cold until their noses were solid red.  I've made hot chocolate after the second round of snow play.  I have bundled them up and found a new movie to watch.  I've made them practice their instruments.  I have listened to them laugh and play together in their rooms. 

I'm looking forward to seeing my students tomorrow.....but I will miss my home.  
I will miss my afternoon tea.
Maybe I will take a bag with me and try and make a cup sometime tomorrow as a reminder of these last two days. 

I look forward to another chance to wander in the snow.....and take a ride down the stream.

Until next time......

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wandering in the snow...

My mind has done a lot of wandering today.  There is something so peaceful about a cloudy day after it snows.  It allows you to move at a pace where you can actually hear your thoughts.  Sometimes I move so quickly through the day that I don't have time to listen to my own thoughts and really hear them.  Today is one of those days where it is okay to live in "stream of consciousness".  I'll never forget when my 11th grade English teacher introduced us to "stream of consciousness" writing.  I remember thinking...."There is a name for this condition I have!"  I have embraced it ever since.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and noticed the glow coming from my window behind my blinds.  I walked over to the window and pulled back the blinds and saw the beautiful ground covered with snow.  There was a faint peach colored glow coming off the snow from the moon and I could actually see the entire backyard and around the neighborhood.  Usually it is so dark at night you can't see, but because of the blanket of white on the ground I could see everything.  It was a glimpse into what it might be like to live in the extreme north where they have "white nights".  It was so peaceful.

Today I've been home with my girls because the roads are icy.  The fire has been going.  The girls played outside with the neighborhood children and spent hours sliding down the driveway across the street.  It has the perfect slope for sledding.  Thankfully, there was not traffic on our street today, except for one four-wheeler....and my poor husband who had to go to work today.  I have cleaned drawers, gone through books to give away, sorted lonesome socks who have lost their mates, baked brownies, made my children a hot lunch of chili and hot grilled ham and cheese sandwiches after playing in the snow, worked on grades, and washed a couple of loads of laundry.  I am sitting here now and I can look out my window and see the tops of the houses behind me covered in snow.  Smoke is rising from the chimney behind me, and the neighborhood is so quiet.  I heard the teenager across the street as he scraped and shoveled the snow off the perfectly sloped driveway.....no more sledding I suppose.  There is a delay in the morning also for school to try and allow the streets to dry.  There is so much to be done at work, yet, this unexpected respite in the middle of a week is such a blessing.  It calms the soul, gives me time to look out the window and enjoy God's artwork.  It is quite beautiful to watch the misting rain fall and the wind blow the snow from the few remaining leaves on the trees in my backyard.  I even hear a bird outside.  I feel sorry for it.  Suppose it's lost?

So thankful for this blanket of blessings.  I hope it won't be the last of the season.  I love how God slows us down and allows us to enjoy life.

My mind has wandered in the snow today.  In my mind I pretend I am in a cabin in the mountains....and the fire burns all night...real wood, not gas logs.  I wear flannel and warm socks and am sitting in an over stuffed chair with my cat.  I have a great book and a cup of coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.  No television.  Just music and books.  I know I have to come back, but for just a little while longer........I will wander in the snow.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cleaning in circles

Not a deep post today...just some random thoughts.  Today I decided to clean out the bathroom cabinets.  This is a prime example of why I dread deep cleaning.  I can work for over an hour and accomplish a tremendous amount of cleaning.  I cleaned out all the bathroom drawers and cabinets by throwing away anything expired or that I haven't used in over a month.
Two garbage bags later (large ones, I might add) I was feeling quite clean and organized.  I kept my good facial cleansers that I use daily, I have one travel bag that has a lot of small travel sized items in it, I have my drawers with toothpaste and contacts, and a few shelves of lotions and other things I use almost daily.  As I walked out of the bathroom feeling very proud of what I'd accomplished, I stopped and looked around the bedroom at the clutter.  Immediately I felt defeated.  It is a never-ending battle. 

I am not a hoarder.  I watch that show on television sometimes and sadly I feel HORRIBLE for the people who have that sickness, and on the other hand I feel grateful I am not living like that.  But then I look at my bookshelf and wonder why I can't throw anything away.  I don't need to keep those books.  I can't think of anyone who would want them.  I have tried to sell them to the used book store for store credit and the store doesn't want them....so why can't I throw them away?????  Something about books makes me feel so guilty for them sitting on the shelf, yet worse if I were to chunk them!  If I had written a book and saw it in the garbage can I would be totally offended!  Yet, they are just taking up much needed breathing room in my house and spirit.  Someone please give me permission to throw away some books or tell me what to do with them so I won't feel so guilty! 

Today helped.  That bottle of lotion that smelled so good in the store, but yet I NEVER use it because ....well I really don't know why.....I threw away.  Two garbage bags full of those scenarios makes me a free woman.  But the sinking feeling comes when I realize that I need to do this EVERYWHERE under the surface of my home.  It's the things you don't see.  The cabinets, the drawers, the closets.....they all need a big dumpster waiting outside to haul off the things that I think someone would want, but of course they don't.  It's like driving around in circles....it seems I never get anywhere. 

I want to feel great about the bathroom...and yet I throw my hands up in despair because the rest of the house needs attention, too and I just don't want to spend the entire day throwing things away.  Maybe I can muster up enough will power to do one more drawer.....or not.

Onward.
Maybe I shall take a nap. 
I'll decide later. 
Haha

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Time well spent

What is time well-spent?  I guess it is different for each person.  Some people feel that if they are not accomplishing anything in the way of work, tasks, "to-do list" items, cleaning, etc....then they have "wasted" time.  It has taken me a few years of making many mistakes to realize that each person has to determine what is a good investment of their time. 

On some days, accomplishing those needed tasks is definitely time invested wisely.  It feels so good to put that last load of laundry away, look at a spotless kitchen, see clean closets and sit outside looking at your freshly mowed lawn.  It makes life so much more enjoyable when you have tasks completed.  There are other times when simply resting is the best use of one's time.  These past two weeks of Christmas I have done just that.  Sure, there were many tasks that needed doing, many closets that needed cleaning, and lots of neglected areas of the house that needed attention.  But this time we chose to just be with family.  The girls and I left on a Sunday morning before Christmas and traveled to Florida to visit my parents and my husband came right before Christmas with the car.  We had to have something to transport all the Christmas gifts back in!  We slept late, had coffee, ate way too much, had coffee,  baked, played games, watched movies, had coffee, talked, visited with friends over coffee, read books, celebrated Christmas, shopped, drank more coffee, and basically accomplished no major tasks at all.  But, I feel like the investments will reap tremendous rewards in the future.  My girls have great memories of getting in bed with their grandparents, snuggling and reading, taking cart rides in the yard, swinging on the tire swing, making s'mores and roasting hot dogs by a fire, putting on "shows" (daily!), playing with the animals, making cookies, wrapping presents with no help, going to the movies, playing games, laughing until their sides hurt, sleeping late, staying up late, watching the lunar eclipse with their Noni until the wee hours of the morning, Janey playing violin with Papa on the harmonica in church, singing a duet on Christmas eve, eating Mother's homemade chili after the service, and so much more.  Time.  Simply put.
Uninterrupted.

Thank you, God for uninterrupted time.  Thank you God for family.