Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Just For Fun


 We are STILL waiting for spring here in Wisconsin. Snow covers the ground and Brad continues his daily firewood chores.
To keep from feeling trapped in a time warp of winter I brainstorm and plan spring cleaning and decorating. The girls brought packets of flowers seeds home last week. Perfect addition to the table center piece.

This  morning at the used shop these two remnants were stacked in separate places. It didn't take me but a few seconds to see that they belonged together and will make lovely throw pillows someday. So they came home with me. I also found six yards of very heavy pebbled cotton to become a clean, new slipcover for the couch.

 Crocheting embellishments just for fun lately. Maybe for the new batch of beach bags that girls are always creating. Or on a little girl jumper. I want big brown wooden buttons. That was the main reason I went to the used shop this morning. They had no buttons at all.

While the earth remains, the Bible says, there will be summer, winter, springtime and harvest. Keep believing, everyone.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Perspectives of the Aged

My Dear Grandmother: "What was it I was to yesterday? Was it a funeral or a wedding?"
Me: "Funeral."
My Dear Grandmother: "I get funerals and weddings mixed up."

I find this disturbing. Highly disturbing.   - Francis Graber

But it makes me wonder. Mom is 87 years old. Most of her friends and family are already in heaven. When she attends a wedding or a funeral she sits quietly, not hearing most of what is being said during the service or the afterward fellowship.  She watches  people from her place on the road. Her perspective has to be quite different from ours. So many things that we fret and worry over in our relationships and responsibilities do not even cross her mind. They are not relevant anymore.

If we were thinking, we'd spend a little more time visiting with her than we do. She might have wisdoms to offer. She is a lot closer to heaven than most of us and her thought patterns and words might actually reflect something of the knowing of that, like the first rays of dawn on the hills in the morning.I wonder if it is easier for her to distinguish between the really important things we should be doing and fretting and the petty things we waste our time on each day.

Maybe weddings and funerals are not so different as they seem. Both events mark a place in our personal eternities. Both of them bring together our most important loved ones to help in the pounding of a stake. Both of them are celebrations of life and living... at least for Christians.

I think Mom must see things that we fail to take into account at the moment.It must be kind of like standing at the last point of a line of segments in a straight line. Looking back across the line it is hard to tell which point is a baptism or a wedding or the death of a loved one. Each segment brings us a bit closer to that last point and it hardly matters at 87 what those points have been as long as they lead to heaven.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Finish Well

 Though everyone is talking about spring coming, it is snowing this morning.The county even "slapped" the road bans on today, which is premature and unnecessary if you ask the loggers who wanted to haul those last few loads of logs to market. We have had a few glimpses of spring, but not mud, yet. Perhaps we ought to settle down here and finish winter properly.

 The forecasters said we could get up to six inches today. The added precipitation that comes in the form of snow every March ensures that spring planting will not be in vain. So why not enjoy this weather? It is exactly what we need, after all.  

My mom always tells us to "finish one project and clean up your mess before you start another".  The advice applies. While the falling snow freshly whitens the world outside, get out that last bit of sewing or crafting and finish it. Who wants to have unfinished projects on the conscience all summer anyway! 


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fresh Bread

It tastes good. Nobody is more surprised than I am about that. In the two years that I have been learning how to bake, cook, and eat gluten free the possibilities have improved. Most grocery stores carry the basic GF flours and mixes these days. Take heart all you newbies to the GF world. It ain't so bad after all. :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Writing Woes

              I have been the nervous, temporary possessor of The Writer's Packet for too long. I will not tell you how long because I do not want to figure it out and be any guiltier than now. The Writer's Packet itself is not scary.  It contains four or five written pieces submitted by as many different writers for our mutual enjoyment and critiquing. It is supposed to be an informal way in which amateur writers, like me, learn to write.
               This time when the TWP arrived in the mail, I laid it on my desk without the usual delight in having excuse to sit down with a cup of coffee to see how many red marks Mary had put on my paper this time. I simply could not face it. I like Mary's ideas most of the time and I always wonder how I missed that silly typo or this terrible grammatical error. It is horrifying how many marks I can accumulate on one small piece of writing.
   But this is not my reason for procrastinating. It is simply that I have nothing worthwhile to submit. At first when I joined the writer's group I had a story cooking about a family who moved from Switzerland to Pennsylvania in 1737 to find freedom of religion and a farm. My story was progressing like a house afire when I bumped into a snag that I have not solved.
             In fact, there are a few snags. The first is that I have never been where my story takes place. I have never been in any of the places my story takes place. It would be so much better to be able to write what I personally know about the settings at least.  Another  snag is that I had my story family traveling north on the Rhine River in a sailing vessel when to my consternation I discovered in my research that they could very well have floated up the Rhine on a flatboat. So I am stuck with going all the way back to where they got themselves and their few possessions on that ship, that is, flatboat and start over. So, how do you suppose it would be, to take a group of families onto a flat boat/s and travel for miles on a wide, slow river? I guess the three year olds could fall in a couple of times, and they could get miserably rained on to add realism. But still, I feel stumped.
             My sister April says that we need to write what we are passionate about.   I really do not have anything new to say or write. All has been said and written. I tell myself that at least I ought to be reading more. How else does one go about having a pool from which to draw ideas?
            So, I have been reading Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. If only I could write as convincingly with the same passion and clarity about a current social problem. Her characters are real folks. You can see them as "plain as day" and hear them. You can almost smell and touch them. Ophelia's starched, crisp apron crackles and her keys jingle merrily while she works to educate that poor little waif of a Topsy girl. Here is an excerpt to prove my point.  The first morning of her regency, Miss Ophelia was up at four o'clock; and having attended to all the adjustments of her own chamber, as she had done ever since she came there, to the great amazement of the chambermaid, she prepared for a vigorous onslaught on the cupboards and closets of the establishment of which she had the keys.  The store-room, the linen-presses, the china-closet, the kitchen and cellar, that day, all went under an awful review. Hidden things of darkness were brought to light to an extent that alarmed all the principalities and powers of kitchen and chamber, and caused many wonderings and murmurings about "dese yer northern ladies" from the domestic cabinet.
   Thus, Stowe weaves a tale of education, inspiration and entertainment.  This simple paragraph catches the eye having a variety of descriptive nouns such as: linen-presses, china closets, kitchen and cellar, and keys.  She successfully uses scriptural idiom adding weight to the scene, without being sacrilegious. And it passes the read aloud test. Janice Holt Giles, author of These Enduring Hills, Miss Willie, and more captivating stories of ordinary people living ordinary lives, says that not only should a well written story hold a readers attention; but it should be music to the ears of listeners to whom the story is being read aloud, as well.
  Since I hope to be able to write someday, I continue to putter about putting words together. Elv says he did not know before that it was possible to run an ink pen dry. I do it regularly, covering pages in a journal with my scribbling. Will it ever yield worthwhile reading for others? And I wonder, how many of Jack London's one thousand words a day were actually published?

Stowe, Harriet Beecher (2012-05-17). Uncle Tom's Cabin (p. 183). . Kindle Edition.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Rainy Day In March

Somehow a rainy day in March does not have the sense of spring and charm as does a rainy day in May.  We started our day with snowfall, but that was soon over taken by a "wintry mix" which is mostly rain slanting down past the windows. The tree trunks are darkened with wetness. Occasional sleet hits the window panes.  It is "miserable" out there.

Inside the prospects are much improved. It is warm and dry. The living room lamps pour golden pools of light over each the favorite sitting spots The gray day outdoors can only make our cozy places seem more cheerful.  We have been sewing, visiting, and tidying. It has been a good Saturday.

 The most lovely Tea magazine came in the mail for us this week.    

 One of the newest evening crocheting experiments. What I want and what I am getting are still two different things. It is fun to keep trying.

                                           Accomplishments List

* Dresses sewed.
* Someone got well enough to go home to Canada.
* A lunch with friends one day.
* Carolyn learned how to crochet. (This was really fun, because not only did she learn it quickly, she finished two projects and started a third. I ought to have taken pictures.)
* She started seeds in covered  seed flats. Must remember to water them.
* Practiced our (Kristine and I) duet for chorus.
* The young people around here went to Duluth to eat out at a Thai restaurant last night.
* My mom had her second hip surgery this week. She is doing well.
* Elv and Lance worked a logging job on a swamp without tipping into the 8 feet of bog underneath. I think this is quite remarkable.

In March this year we begin Daylight Savings and have Easter.  Spring breakup is almost here. Road bans. Snowmobile trails have gone rotten. The rivers are going out. The lakes have water both under and on top of the ice.

Nobody should get excited about spring yet though, because we could still get three feet of snow and subzero weather.  Wisconsin takes her time. True spring where the early woods flowers bloom is still weeks away. First we must have mud.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sunday Morning Processing

     It has been a long quiet morning at home this Sunday morning. The sunshine streams in on a cleaned living room.  Carolyn's carnations from Noah stand in a  glinting crystal vase in bright clean colors. The stove radiates steady warmth.
    As the family was leaving for church, Dru and Lisl sent pictures of a baptism they had at the new Thai church a short twelve hours ago. I have my own praise and worship with tears as I look at the pictures. At Grace Bible this morning someone will show them big on the white chapel wall with a digital projector.
    Yesterday, Amy initiated our first clearing out for spring housecleaning. Old puzzles came down from the stairway wall. Don't ask, girls, they are gone. There were corner pieces missing and lots of dust embedded in them. We also emptied a whole book case to be able to have shelving for the sewing room things we want to have organized. We now have a big box of "give away" books and another box of books for the bookcase at the cabin. And some are in file 13. Others to individuals. I hope we own a hundred fewer books now.
    We are STILL...maybe again, trying to get rid of the cough/flu/sinus stuff around here. Elv says that warm spring weather will help. Bring it on, soon. Thank God for ordinary blessings like new boxes of tissues.

   Here is a piece of domesticity that I enjoy. Amy hates the term 'domestic' in reference to home making and the arts thereof. "I am NOT a cow!" she says. But I like the idea of creating our own beauty and refinements at home for ourselves and for others. Domestic, as opposed to uncivilized and homeless is the thing.
    I remember reading about Corrie ten Boom's sister, Nollie, who used the only things they had in a prison cell with five other women to create home and beauty. She hung their coats in a row, then she took one arm of each coat and placed it around the shoulder of the next coat, so that they hung in a friendly row like playful children arms around each other. It doesn't take money or matching possessions to make it home. Just hearts and hands that create, will do.

     One day, the curtain for this window caught fire from the lit candle. We have very deep sills and I love candles and stacks of books and lots of other things with which we clutter our lives...shelves. Elv was horrified in the first place to see a lit candle on this sill even though we conscientiously use candles only on or in glass holders. So when he discovered that the curtain sustained a very large burned hole; we were charged to not put a candle there anymore! I suppose it grated on his firefighting sensibilities. Since this is the bathroom window; we had to have the curtain for privacy so I have only lately replaced the scorched thing.  Yes, it is a neck scarf with dried roses pinned on to it to hold it on the rod.  The clock replaces the candle and so I am satisfied. Ok, now you may laugh at my eccentricities.

    And here it is Tuesday evening and I think I'll post this the way it is.

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