gravel road girl

Archive for the month “June, 2013”

Hidden Treasure

I live in an old house.

No. I mean a really old house.

I’m talking 1880’s old house. Slanted ceilings and crooked floors old house. Creaky stairs no sneaking out old house. Small kitchen old house. Bad electrical, poor layout old house. No heat upstairs or air-conditioning anywhere old house.

Granted, when we moved in it was ugly-as-homemade-sin-updated-to-the-80’s old house. Thankfully we have, over the past 15 years, eliminated horrendous sponge painting, nasty sculpted carpet, homemade knotty pine cupboards, and a dumpster load and more of bad windows, cheap trim, and trashy light fixtures. Yes, we now have heat AND air-conditioning throughout this old house—ahhhh. We have updated the electrical and are no longer in fear of overloaded circuits. All of the rooms have been reimagined into lovely spaces.

And so, this old house isn’t such a homely misfit anymore. It has transformed into a crisp, white farmhouse on our bit of Iowa black dirt. Now you would think with all of this tearing out, ripping open, moving of walls and exposing of beams, we would find some really cool stuff.

Nope.

Nada.

Zilch.

No bags of family money found forgotten in the walls. No ancient love letters tucked up in the rafters. No Civil War weaponry worth thousands to parade onto Antiques Roadshow.

Nothing worth much, except. . .
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Yep, this old sink (in my really creepy basement! See, I told you it was creepy!) Now, to the untrained eye, this doesn’t look like it’s worth anything either. I’m sure it’s the original farmhouse sink. Fortunately, the previous owner, who seemed to think that anything older than 1980 should be torn out of this house and thrown in the trash, decided to haul this behemoth down to his basement. I’m not sure why because it’s solid cast iron and weighs as much as a prize steer. Anyway, I’m thanking the good Lord that it didn’t land in the dumpster because I’ve had plans for this baby. For a long time, I’ve had plans.

But as you know, in a marriage, timing is everything.

So it’s taken a good, long time for me to just TELL my hubby of my brilliant plans for this beast. One lovely, warm day I lured him out to the yard. . .

“Do you see this ugly cement slab by the garden shed?” I quipped.

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“Yesss. . .” He knows the ‘honey-please-hear-me-out-tone.

“I’d like to put a potting table there,” I smiled sweetly.

“Like what kind of potting table?” He seems to think this is a reasonable idea.

“Um, like the old, white sink that’s in the basement.” I say as fast as I can.

“What?! You’ll never get that out of the basement. How are you going to get that out of there? That thing weighs a ton!”

“Oh, it won’t be that bad. Just let me think about it.” I trail off knowing I have planted the seed. Oh, and I have some secret weapons. . .

Did you wonder why, when we’ve been in this house 15 years, it’s taken me this long to get that sink out of the basement and out to my garden shed? Well, besides a gazillion other projects taking precedence, I knew that hubby and I couldn’t get that tonnage out of the basement. I have the patience but not the strength; he, on the other hand, would be quite the opposite.

These are my secret weapons.

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My guys.

I’ve had to wait a few years for them to gain both the strength and patience to work my plan. But I’m a woman with a vision; I can wait.

So early this May, all the finals were done, the college stuff was home and tucked into every possible nook and cranny available, and the sleep deprivation of too many all-nighters was dreamt away. Today was the day.

We will move the sink.

I will talk sweetly and ply them with homemade goodies.

And so the process began.

It was not so pretty as I thought—the process, not the sink. I have one son who is a problem solver and a believer that all things are possible.

I have another who thinks a little more like his father.

“Why do you need this sink out there? Just buy a table!”

“That, my son, is not the point. It’s the aesthetics of it! And it’s enameled cast iron—it can take the abuse of the weather. C’mon, it’ll be great.” Again, the momma’s sweet smile.

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They got it this far with much grunting and groaning before they had to take it back down the stairs and remove the legs. I stood helpfully by handing them wrenches and other such manly tools as they needed.

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Ah! Sweet success! Up the stairs, out the door, and on its way to the garden shed!

 

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And there it is—perfect! That spot was just made for it. And I’ve potted up all of my doorstep beauties right there. The mud and mess washes right down into a bucket with each rain shower, and then I scoop out the rainwater to water all my plants.

See! It was my hidden treasure. All it took was a little vision, a little patience, and, well, a lot of manpower.

Happy gardening!

Laundry on the Line & other thoughts

Clothespins-and-sheets-on-laundry-line-1

I hung laundry on the line the other day. Sheets billowing in the warm, southerly wind. Hanging laundry on the line says something about my life. I have time. I have a moment. I’ve chosen to take the time to hang laundry out to dry.

There is no hurrying as you hang laundry out.

My raggedy clothespin bag dances a windy jig on the line as I bend to gather my first shoulder-load of damp clothes. Shorts, t-shirts, track uniforms. Shaken out, untangled from the mass, and flung over my shoulder, I grab a handful of clothespins and begin. A clip at this shoulder, a clip at the other shoulder, next piece. Turn it right side out. Clip. Clip.

I pause, cool shirt in hand, and look for that bird. The wood thrush. I know it’s close by. It’s song changes and mimics other birds. Bluejays scold because I’m too close to their feeder.

Clip. Clip.

The breeze through the wet clothes makes it feel air-conditioned out in this almost summer-like sun. I am six again growing up in an old house with dusty wood floors and no air-conditioning. Curtains swell and deflate in a hot wind, and we bathe ourselves in the humid breezes of window fans. But at six years old, sweet relief came with bare feet in cool grass as I darted in and out of the icy laundry hanging on the wire lines. I danced between towels and my dad’s work pants and soft, cotton t-shirts–a world only a six-year-old with summer stretching before her could stop to enjoy.

Clip. Clip.

Clip. Clip.

There is time. Time to do this simple act of caring for my family.

Time. In our effort to save it, we often sacrifice so much more.

The dryer would be faster, more efficient. That is the mode in which I usually function. Clothes in the washer, out of the washer and into the dryer, more clothes in–clip, clip, clip, clip, clip–life needs to move. It needs to move fast and efficiently to get everything in and done that needs doing. I realize that often is the way of life; it almost MUST be out of necessity. But eventually, it wears you down. Your soul stamps its foot and demands attention.

“Stop! Look at something besides the dirt to be swept, the papers to be sorted, or the news where only locale and names change but the tragedies and injustices don’t.”

We feed our bodies; we educate our minds; we corral and evaluate our emotions.

But our soul. . .

How do we nurture it? How do we feed it? When do we stop leaping after the ever-elusive carrot long enough to realize the carrot isn’t REALLY what we want anyway! Our soul is hungry for more than ‘rabbit food.’More than the completion of daily tasks. More than the accolades of co-workers. More than the remodeled kitchen. More than the job, the kids, the house, the stuff!

Stop.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all this is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits.”
Psalm 103:1-2

That. That is what we need. That is what I need.

Stop. And bless the LORD.
Stop. And remember all of His benefits. “Forget none” of them! That takes some time.

God, how have you blessed me? Father, remind me of all that you are in my life. Lord, from my very soul, I bless you. You are my Creator-God and the God of all creation. You are the God of all compassion, mercy, and grace, and all of that rains down on my soul–daily. You are the Maker and Keeper of life–my life. You are the Knower of all things–my yesterdays, my today, and my tomorrows–and yet You love me, deeply. You are Joy-giver, Grief-carrier, Peace-maker.

You are Lover of my soul.

That is what satisfies my soul. That is what feeds my soul.

That. . . is what my soul hungers for.

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