Monthly Archives: November 2022

Celery

We had a good Thanksgiving weekend. Every year is just a little bit different, and this was the year of needing help with the groceries. By the beginning of last week, it was like my brain had temporarily short-circuited. Everyone else has a full plate too, but between school and a few extra church things I’m also involved with, I couldn’t focus as fully on Thanksgiving as I have in past years. Add to that that planning is not my strength and the conditions had formed for me to be overwhelmed.

My parents and one of my sisters pitched in. Honestly everyone pitches in somehow. By the middle of last week I was able to take some of the food shopping back. I made the list and sent it to my husband and daughter who were out running errands (We had planned for me to do this). Physically I felt quite well over the weekend, and still do now in the two days after. Every day I give thanks for good health, if not directly, then in some sort of pondering as I’m going about the day.

Tonight is another night of class. I’m still very much enjoying school, even as it causes me and others some stress at times. There is thankfully a fridge full of leftover food, which the family can eat for most of this week. Today we had leftover lasagna for lunch. There is a bunch of lettuce that didn’t get eaten, as well as several pounds of onions and celery that I still need to cut up and put in quart bags to freeze. It will be handy to have them on hand for soups with the turkey bones.

Traditions

If the Lord were to bless me with grandchildren I would hope to be the grandma with a
stock pot of bone broth ready on the stovetop to be dished out to sick ones during fall and winter months. Every so often I get these visions of a small brick home, humbly kept and one-storied. The rugs would be vacuumed regularly, giving them a soft cozy look that makes you feel like you could take your blankets and pillows and make a fort underneath the table.

I would be a quiet woman, subdued by the storms of this life. My joy would be evident not by dancing in the kitchen, but in playing music softly and sending cards to the neighbors. We would have Jesus Time in the living room where we’d play and talk about our flannelgraph stories. They’d come with me to the herb gardens in my affordable back yard, where I’d show them how to weed and plant. The afghan rack would hang with blankets our children would recognize.

If they couldn’t make it home for the holidays, we’d catch up someday soon. Gifts can always be sent in a box, and I’d enjoy putting special holiday boxes together. The family at church would get one too. Dad and I would travel in a comfortable vehicle, realizing by now how converting a van into a traveling home was a fun idea, but not realistic. We would’ve never talked about that season in life he started calling me mom, when I noticed but apparently didn’t mind.

Abundance

“The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little.  And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”
~Exodus 16:17-18~

My family is visiting for Thanksgiving weekend. My siblings and their families arrived yesterday evening and my parents arrived today mid-morning. This is the sixth year we’ve hosted thanksgiving at camp. We are typically together anywhere from Thursday evening to Sunday after lunch when the families leave. Two families have to leave early this year to be back by Sunday.

My in-laws are coming to join us for lunch tomorrow. Throughout the years, it’s been a blessing how the parents of my siblings spouses become part of the family in their own certain way. If nothing else they are regular characters in our stories. For the oldest siblings especially, our in-laws are people who have been in our lives anywhere from 15-20 years and even longer.

I keep wanting to put words to so many experiences, particularly those related to being a woman and a mother. I have become like Martha who is anxious and worried about many things, and it seems like the woman’s destiny to become this over her lifetime. But I wish not to give voice to my despair in the making. God made us, he loves us, and guides our lives with each new day.

Hills

“Look at the heavens, and see;
    and behold the clouds, which are higher than you.”

~Job 35:5~

I found myself praying in the early morning hours, “Heavenly Father, please meet my needs.” I said it again, several times, without analyzation. While the mind was going a mile a minute, it somewhere occurred to me I ought to start praying. I take the presence of God for granted, assuming at times that since he’s there, I’m automatically operating from a state of inner peace and tranquility.

Even now as I write I want to return to the to-do list, to cover up with a blanket and sleep through the weeks, through the rest of my life if it’ll spare me this churning. The words of a different preparation meet me humming, offering freely a song from congregations afar, “Let us cast aside the sleep of idleness, and with vigilance of soul let us sing to Christ, who is born of a pure Maiden.”

I give voice to Christ first, the rest can come later. I haven’t the strength now to shout it, but somewhere, someone else does. “Listen, mountains and hills, and lands around Judea, for Christ is coming to save man whom He fashioned, since He loves mankind.” My heart perhaps is stilled there, quickening at the thought of love to fill the whole earth, and once again we are carried.

~

*quotes taken from Meditations for Advent by Vassilios Papavassiliou

Tea

My step count has been abysmal this week. Last night I tried to go out and get something, five or ten minutes of walking the lane. I don’t even keep track of my steps anymore, but every so often I will take a look. Today hasn’t been much different in that sense. I do wonder if there will again come a day where I am not making decisions based on shortness of breath levels or feelings in my torso. It sounds so ridiculous.

It’s chilly here again today, below freezing. My aunt commented it feels more like January. She and I have been talking on the phone more lately. We’ve started a routine of Friday phone calls. She calls me on her lunch break or after work when she’s finished. She talks to my grandmother twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. I don’t remember how this new tradition started, but it’s been good. She lives in Kansas.

Dad and the kids spent the morning cleaning the garage. Everyone was bundled in coats and gloves, which apparently they found themselves. I’m afraid today I haven’t been much use in tending to the laundry or comforts of others. I’ve spent much of the morning and afternoon hours working on my latest paper. This one isn’t hard, it’s just a matter of sitting down and doing it. Tonight my daughter and I have evenings plans.

Processed

The leaves in town are still on the trees. The boys say it’s because the wind can’t get to them as easily, and I think I agree with them. One of them keeps a nightly journal before bed, and every once in a while I will ask if I can read it. Last night I visited his room while he was writing and asked. He doesn’t get super personal, just talks about his day. He handed it to me. I smiled as I read the words about our morning ruteen.

I had a counseling appointment today. I’ve never really known how to refer to her when I’m talking about it. I don’t think of her as my counselor. I don’t think of her as my therapist. One of my pet peeves lately is the way people talk about their therapists on Instagram. They’ll just casually say something like, “My therapist said…” I don’t like that for some reason. I understand they want to normalize people getting help, and I support that. But too it often starts to sound like everyone is in therapy these days.

It’s been almost a year to the day since I started. I’d wanted to do at least something the doctor said. I really didn’t think I was depressed, and still don’t think that. I still have heart palpitations and shortness of breath and the weird shaking in my legs if I’m stressed. I still have limitations I never had before. But she thought I was well enough today to be done. I was grateful too to know a fellow servant on the journey.

Applied

The boys are outside raking leaves. I knew we weren’t going to get to it yesterday. Between an assignment and lower energy levels, I rested, then slept, before heading to class. Josh texted me around 9PM saying to be careful on the way home because the drizzle was supposed to start turning to snow. A little after ten when I was back in the van, I typed in “aging” to the podcast search bar and found two moms talking about the empty nest. They kept me awake on the quiet ride home, and thankfully the roads were clear.

The snow that was supposed to fall last night didn’t amount to much. We had a few flurries again this morning, but nothing that stuck. I’ve wondered lately about my latest propensity to talk more about the weather. It’s something I find easy, dare I say interesting to write about. It’s part of our lives and keeps us guessing. I want to write something and I’ve got to start somewhere. I do find joy in the changing seasons and familiar rhythms. Having always lived in a four season environment, it’s what I appreciate and know.

But then I wonder too if I haven’t somehow been avoiding the harder work of writing differently. In our Basic Skills class from last quarter, we learned there are different levels with which you interact with clients. There is the skill of reflecting content. The client says something and you repeat it back to them, perhaps in slightly different words. Then there is reflecting emotion. This goes beyond asking the client, “How do you feel?”, though that is acceptable too. But reflecting feeling is more the action of noticing something in their words, tone of voice, demeanor, and saying, “You mentioned the surprise of meeting your biological father…”

They’ll let you know if you’re not getting it right, and your number one job in that room is to listen to understand. Only then can you get to the next level of meaning. I admit that I still don’t fully understand it, and they say it’s more advanced and goes beyond basic skills. But somehow we all attach meanings to things, to people, to places, to words, to experiences. These meanings affect what we say and the emotions we feel. When the meaning itself is somehow uncovered and changed, everything else also changes with it.

Somehow I feel like this can also apply to writing. There are levels I avoid, and have been avoiding for whatever reasons. Some places I simply do not regularly access, or even can’t. I feel in some way like this lets people down, like I am not inspiring others or building them up in the Lord. Somewhere I got the meaning that that’s what a blog is supposed to do. No one ever asked that of me and I never promised that to anybody. I am still just really needing, learning, to accept myself where I am at, even as wherever I am at still fully shows.

After

These are pictures I took after coming home from a church meeting. I drove down to main camp to see if I could get a picture of anything. If I don’t post them tonight, they’ll stay in my phone and become outdated. It isn’t much, but it’s all I had.

Autumn

Fall has officially come and gone here. November is more of a rainy, cold, wintry month. Looking ahead we’ve got temps in the teens and 20’s for the lows, and 30’s to 40’s for highs. You could definitely feel the difference today. I looked outside several times and saw flurries, very faint ones. They had our first snow in the forecast for next week, but now when I look they’ve taken it out. It surely looked like it could snow today.

The big kids spent the morning and part of the afternoon up north. The volleyball girls have been playing in the 1A state tournament. Today they played in the championship game and placed second. Another mom and I (the in-town grilled cheese mom) had considered going up for the game, but we both ended up deciding to stay home and do mom things. I watched the game from my phone and was glad to have seen it.

Before that I spent the morning getting caught up on laundry. Half of it was washed, it just needed to be folded. If I am folding laundry, I have a certain way it needs to be done. I take it back downstairs and put it in the dryer for 1-2 minutes until its warm. Then I carry the basket back upstairs and fold the warm clothes, which I find to be cozy and more enjoyable. Laundry is one of those house chores I gravitate toward and find peaceful.

Dad and the boys spent the day outside. They had the fall work day today, where volunteers come and help get things put away and ready for winter. We have a new maintenance shed, so they moved most of the stuff from the old shed to the new shed. They put away the kayaks, canoes, and picnic tables. After that people cleared brush and raked leaves. When the boys came home, I had one of them run over to get some vegetable oil.

I needed oil for pumpkin muffins. They were ready by the time the big kids got home, and though I didn’t have the mudroom picked up or candles burning, the house smelled good and there was something warm on the stove. They’ve slowly been disappearing throughout the evening, which makes me happy. Dad had to go back and preach tonight in Springfield. I told him when he left that there’d be food for him when he came home.

Pencils

These window pictures always feel so dramatic, but really I just like the light. It’s like you look up and all of sudden the LEGO book is there in color, and the blankets shine with the light of the sun. The only thing that showed up with the bloodwork in the summer was low Vitamin D, which is something that’s been low for the past almost four years. He wanted to check it again in three months, which ended up being more like four.

It went up by three points, which makes me wonder, was it always low? Is there something that keeps my body from absorbing it? The chiropractor tests from way back last April said I was immunosuppressed and that my batteries were only charging halfway (his words). They’re not like actual medical tests, so I didn’t know how much confidence to place the conclusions. One of the tests we’ve never redone. The other I requested to do over last November, which came back almost unchanged from the first.

I talked to my sister on the phone this morning. She said she was coming out of her cave and was ready to talk to humans again. It’s a definite thing, the pulling away and going silent, the withdrawing in order to come back free. Most of the leaves have fallen now, with the exception of the honeysuckle and a version of oak trees which always hang on longer. I rested a bit this afternoon, before heading out again tonight for class.

(Sometimes I just don’t know what to title these)