A day at home

October 2, 2021 | My Jottings

It’s almost my bedtime on this first Saturday night of my favorite month — October. The leaves are blazing and causing me to marvel as if I’ve never seen orange and yellow and crimson before. The only tiny problem with today is that it was super humid, and I just don’t think that’s right for October. We’ve had unusually tropical weather for months now, so we look forward to cool, dry air that makes us so invigorated we have to walk and cycle and put on turtlenecks.

I had plans and a few errands to run today, but ended up scrapping them. I have had a few sluggish days as my body is hopefully healing from a dark foray into iron-deficiency anemia and resulting symptoms, but this morning, I woke after a decent night’s sleep with a determination to get a lot of things done at home. I made a long to-do list before I went to bed last night and I’m feeling grateful that I crossed every task off except one. And there’s still time for that if I stay awake long enough.

I did two loads of wash, paid bills, balanced my checkbook and reconciled my account from the statement to the ledger, cleaned the kitchen, cut up a huge watermelon into planks and put them into containers in the fridge, washed out the kitchen trash container with hot soapy water, dealt with some recycling, cleaned the inside of my car out, did my Community Bible Study lesson (so good, on Daniel), put Millie out and brought her back in about seven times, got art supplies divided and ready for my granddaughters’ fall art class that began today, ordered groceries and put them away after they were delivered, wrote out two birthday cards and mailed them, wrote in my prayer journal, prayed, cooked grassfed beef and cut up a whole bunch of vegetables and made Harvest Soup, and after it cooled, put it in storage containers and put it in the fridge.

Now, I’m tired. And achy. Probably because I had corn chips yesterday, which 100% of the time make me feel like I’ve been beaten with a baseball bat the following day. So why isn’t that a deterrent, you ask? I am asking the same question.

I’ve started a wonderful book by Mary Marantz called Dirt — she’s a gifted writer and I highly recommend it.

Later this month Lloyd and I will celebrate our second wedding anniversary by driving up the North Shore of Lake Superior and staying in a wonderful place so close to the lake you could almost reach out and flick the frigid water if you weren’t on the second story. We hope to hike in the brilliant woods as long as I don’t eat any corn chips to poison myself and set my joints on fire beforehand. Each time we go to Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail, I hope and pray we’ll see some moose. We see deer and foxes and other critters, even black bears, but so far no moose.

My three daughters are so busy with happy pursuits lately. My oldest daughter Sharon just signed a book deal with Penguin Random House and has to have it written by June of 2022. That will be a big undertaking, especially since she also hosts her own podcast (Sharon Says So) and that alone is a huge job. Sharon and Chris and family bought a new house and moved in recently — it’s set on 10 private, wooded acres and they love it. Just driving down their driveway feels like you have to breathe an exhale of peace. Their three dogs love it too. Rosy the chocolate lab dunks herself in their pond a few times a day, Lucy their mutt is the patroller of the property boundaries, and Molly, the tubby yellow lab (also known as Vicious Malicious) fearlessly runs to greet all delivery vehicles and people, hoping to make new friends.

My middle daughter Carolyn and her husband Jeremy and their family just moved into a different house too. Their place is a beautiful old brick mansion with a green tile roof and the most gorgeous floor to ceiling windows, set on a little over three heavily treed acres. The house was built in 1915 and sat empty for a few years, so a significant level of dilapidation has occurred, but that hasn’t daunted them. They are busy every day peeling old wallpaper, installing new toilets, tearing down cabinets, putting in working electrical outlets, and so much more. Carolyn is documenting it all on her TikTok account (which I’m not on, but I still look at it, and you can too if you like) under HomeSweetVictoria. There are lots of pictures on Instagram too. I’m so happy for both families who love their new homes.

My youngest daughter Sara has begun nursing school and is in the thick of difficult studying and tests and presentations, and she shares with me a lot of what she’s learning, which is mind-boggling. The things they are supposed to know already, after only five weeks of school, is pretty advanced. She also has two other jobs, so she’s occupied from early morning until late at night. I’m happy for Sara as she moves toward her career goals. She has lots of ideas about what kind of nursing she might want to pursue once she gets her RN.

I think about retirement once in a while, but I’m still not ready yet. I love my job and my foster care resident is happy living with me. She’s been with me for 13 years now. We do so well together and she has worked hard and made so much progress and come off of so many meds these past years. It’s wonderful to see her thrive.

I took this picture of my house the other day when I was coming home from Lloyd’s cabin in Bruno. Home. It has come to mean so much to me. I love my white corner house with views of Lake Superior from almost every room.

I have lived in 17 homes in my life, owned the last three of them, and hardly a day goes by when I’m not overcome with gratitude that I own this comfortable and well-built place. It was built in 1948 and the previous owners did a lot of renovations in the early 2000s that bless me every day. There isn’t much yard, but at this age (I just turned 64) I don’t want a big yard to think about mowing, or lots of places that need shoveling in the winter.

When I get up in the morning, and that seems to be earlier and earlier lately, I do several things. I light a beeswax candle in my bedroom, pad quietly down the hall to get my Stok cold brew coffee and my 20 ounce Yeti with water and ice, then return to my room. After I set my mugs down, I turn on a little quiet music, hunker down in my plaid chair, wrap my always-cold neck in a prayer shawl Sharon knitted for me years ago. I do my CBS lesson, pray for my family and friends, write out prayer requests, thoughts, dreams, scriptures and ideas in my beloved Leuchtturm, and prepare for the day. If I don’t have someplace to be on a given day, I might sit down in my chair around 5:30 a.m. and won’t be done until 7:00 or so. Not that I spend that much time praying, but it has become a vital and nourishing time for me that I hate to deviate from. I do skip when I have to, but the day never feels quite right if I begin without that time. My chair is placed in my bedroom on exactly the spot where Michael’s hospital bed was the week he was dying. It seems very sacred to me to sit in the same place where my husband left this earth to meet his Savior.

What are the things about your home that you like best? What would you change if you could? I love my view, my spacious bedroom that feels like an oasis, the deep bathtub, and my attached, heated garage. I would like more kitchen cabinet storage if it were possible, but that’s such a small thing.

I’m still slowly going through things, filling up bags to take to the Goodwill, and paring down at a glacial pace. Books are very difficult for me to sort through and donate — they feel like faithful friends who are very content living on my many bookshelves. It feels right and good for me to keep simplifying and getting rid of things I have too many of. I watched a short video recently of a professional organizer I like on Instagram, and she asked her followers how many towels they thought were needed in their homes? She suggested that only two towels per person are needed and I was shocked. I have towers of towels stacked and crammed in my bathroom closet. I went to that same closet after considering this, and decided three each was a better number for me, and I donated all the extra towels I’d been keeping for years. The space it freed up in my closet made me feel like I wanted to choose another area right away and do the same. Why did I think I needed twenty towels?

Well, this was a lot of random rambling on this Saturday night. I hope you are able to see some lovely fall colors where you are. I hope you have a good book to read, and that you have a place to call home you love. I pray you have a friend who is a soft place to land, and that the Lord reminds you of how deeply He loves you and how trustworthy He is. We need reminding, I think. I know I do.

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