Of Candles, Cars and Cups of Tea

April 24, 2012 | My Jottings

Have I ever mentioned that I don’t care for the word busy? Well if I haven’t, I’ll say it now — these last weeks have been incredibly busy ones, and the next two months are bound to be even busier, and although my dislike of busyness is interspersed with much gratitude, I’m liking busy less and less.

When one moves a foster care home, there are so many things to address. Cable television has to be installed in our gals’ rooms. (I do not need cable and lived happily without it until we began doing foster care.) Phone lines have to be run in their rooms since they each want their own phone number. Hard-wired smoke detectors have to be installed rather than just the battery-powered kind. The State Fire Marshal has to go through the house before even one resident moves in. The county foster care licensor has to inspect the house. Many change of address forms have to be filed with the post office. And there’s more, but I just can’t think of them all right now.

I think once we move and have unpacked the last box and hung the last picture, I’ll feel better. But this year I will be 55 years old, and I’m pretty much feeling 55 years old. I crave time at home and quietness. I am already picturing myself in the new house, sitting in our master bedroom in the late mornings, with a cup of tea and my reading, and my ever-more-quiet husband by my side. Our new smaller house has a beautiful, close view of Lake Superior, and there’s nothing that soothes my soul like our big lake. Like Ember, I will be “looking at the blue” as often as possible. Our profession requires that we stay active with the women we care for, and I do enjoy that. I love to see them happy and excited to get out and do things. We are tentatively planning a trip to DisneyWorld within the next fifteen or twenty years and the thought of their glee and delight about that makes me glad. There are always many doctor’s appointments and various banking, haircut, out-to-dinner-and-a-movie type outings, and Michael and I enjoy doing this with them.

But when I come home….aahhh. I love to be home. I think I have the teensiest bit of agoraphobia or something. I’m not exactly afraid of wide open spaces, but sometimes after being out running errands for the better part of a day, the agoraphobic me kicks in and says, “Get home. Now!” And I usually obey.

This morning I got up at 5:30 and could still smell the onion and garlic from last night’s dinner. I make Chicken Tortilla Soup every few weeks and every time I hear everyone’s mumbly-yumbly sounds at the table I wonder why I don’t make it more often. It’s easy, uses just a little meat, has lots of vegetables, and is absolutely delicious. I like the smell of garlic and onions sauteing in olive oil when it’s time for dinner, but when I get up in the morning I prefer the scent of my favorite candle in all the world, a Thymes Frasier Fir that makes the whole house smell clean and nature-y in about ten minutes. I know the environmental engineers of the world would probably tell me I’m polluting my indoor air with a scented candle, but a girl has to choose her pollutants. And I choose this one.

If you look closely at the photo you can see that a few dishes were not done last night before I went to bed. Most were, but instead of cleaning up everything, Michael, Sara and I watched a movie together. We loved it. It’s called Arranged, and is about a young Jewish woman and a young Muslim woman who meet each other teaching at the same school, and who form a bond because they’re both facing arranged marriages.

As of yesterday, we have no car. My husband has an older truck so we do have transportation if the need arises, but the dealer where we got our Honda almost three years ago kept calling us, wanting to know if we would be willing to sell our car back. Apparently used Pilots are in demand and since ours didn’t have many miles on it, they wanted it. We finally decided to let them have it, and bought something just a little smaller. Something not a Honda. We still need a mid-size vehicle because we transport so many people, but the one we bought (which we will hopefully pick up later today) gets slightly better gas mileage than the Pilot did, and has a name I like better.

My mother told me years ago that she wasn’t sure she could vote for Gerald Ford for president of the United States because she didn’t like the shape of his forehead. Even back then, when I was nineteen years old, I knew there was something absolutely terrible about that kind of political reasoning. Can you imagine? So today when we bring home our new car, I’ll be careful about telling people that what swayed my vote regarding which vehicle to buy out of all the ones we test-drove, is that its name reminds me of my favorite place in Scotland, a country I love. If our new car had been named The Ukraine or The Inland Passage or even The Alpine, I couldn’t possibly have bought it. The car is nice and hopefully will meet our needs, but the name is what eventually made it stand out from the others. Any guesses on what we bought?  🙂

And yes, The Slippery Slope to Becoming Your Mother gets just a little steeper with every passing year. Sharon, Carolyn and Sara….don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I’ve been trying to pack three to four boxes per day, thinking that if I keep up with that, by the time we move in late May I’ll have most of the house done. So far I’m not too overwhelmed, but I know the last week will be hard. We’ll go to the real estate office on May 31st, will close on our house at 9:00 a.m., move into another conference room to close on the house we purchased at 10:00 a.m., exchange keys, and will not be able to go back to finish anything up in our old house because the new owners will be moving in right away. So every person and dog and jug of milk must be packed and ready to leave early that morning.

But….when we’re all done, I’d like to have you over for a cup of tea. Can you make it, do you think? Let me know when your schedule permits a leisurely visit on the deck of our new home, which looks out over the biggest freshwater lake in the world. If you’ve been needing negative ions for brain health in your life, we’ll have plenty to share.

Thank you so much for stopping by….I hope you have a blessed day!


  1. Jodi says:

    Did you buy a Highlander??? I’ve never been to Scotland, so I’m at a disadvantage here, but it sounds like a possibility. I’m glad I’m not the only one who occasionally leaves dishes. How about posting your soup recipe sometime? Thanks for blogging Julie! 🙂

  2. Just Julie says:

    You are an excellent guesser, Jodi! Yes, I love the Highlands of Scotland so the name appealed to me. Silly, maybe. 🙂 I will put the soup recipe up soon! I hope you like it…blessings…

  3. Marcia says:

    If that’s agoraphobia, Julie, then count me in too! But I think instead it is simply natural. After being out and about and busy and social, my home calls me back to be quiet and, hopefully, to recharge. No apologies for that here!

  4. Just Julie says:

    You’re right about recharging, Marcia. Very good word for it. The older I get the more I get very happy about blank spaces on the calendar…I guess my batteries run low quicker and the recharging time takes longer. I don’t mind though… God bless your week Marcia! xxoo

  5. Ember says:

    How steadily and sensibly you are approaching this mammoth task! Do you fosters really need designated landlines? Cellphones would do, no? God bless and strengthen you as you work towards your new home. What a journey it’s been – nearly there! xxx

  6. Just Julie says:

    I will email you to explain the phones. 🙂 Thank you for encouraging me all these (yes) years now.

  7. Helen in Switzerland says:

    You sound so like me Julie….I can so relate to what you write. Hope you enjoy your new car, whatever it may be!

  8. Just Julie says:

    I take that as a high compliment, Helen!

  9. Elise Daly Parker says:

    Hi Julie,
    I’m stopping by because of the story you shared at Lysa TerKeurst’s blog today. You have an incredible encouraging story of hope and restoration. Thanking God with you that He restored your sense of smell. Enjoyed your blog too. God bless you!

  10. Just Julie says:

    Thank you for visiting Elise! I will now go check your blog out! God bless your day….

  11. Ginny says:

    You are moving and we are “fluffing up”. Living room carpet was put down yesterday and I am tuckered out! Having the living room stuff in the kitchen and dining room is not my idea of a good time. Peter was a trooper, but I know inside he was screaming, “what was wrong with the way it was?!?!” I had to keep him focused by saying thread bare is NOT a “look”! Now we have to tackle the basement because the pounding and uproar shook loose stuff in the rafters and it looks like Mt. St. Helens blew again!!! Yuk! The joys of an old house!!! You are blessed to be moving into such a clean well crafted home, kiddo!!!
    I get to listen to hours of 90.5 talk radio and it seems they speak to whatever I am dealing with. Recently, with all this fluffing going on, I was driven like a mad woman to get every drawer, closet, container WHATEVER, cleaned out…I think it was blogeffect… So, some lady addressed being too busy and being obsessed with getting ‘er done. She emphasized that it will be there tomorrow and to take time off. I did it!!! I argued with myself, but I ended up chilling! The sun still rose, birds still sang and I sat in my swing. The mess is still in the basement, but if you don’t tell, neither will I!!!
    PS… From the brown shoe entry… I have total anke envy! Your ankles are total Barbie Doll!

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