Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving Day

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I woke up this morning with this wonder of what I would be doing today and talking to my Lord about it as well as all the times He has guiding through the tough times. I thirst for His reassurances. I have done this probably much of my life except for those times when my thoughts were taken hostage too immediately by an overpowering gloom left over from the night before...or several nights. It has been many nights, so many that this air has an ancient familiarity, yet also feels awkward.

Today, though, I awoke in a reflective state which I would describe as normal for me as if this is my default mode. So, I am enjoying the golden hour of the morning with a voluminous harvest moon setting in the west  and the dawning sun in the east as the my home planet slowly rotates with a cup of Sweet Harvest Pumpkin tea on my left and the glare of technology in front beckoning me as blank canvases would an artist.

It is such a sweet feeling and I wish to savor it. A sip of tea...savor all there is in this quiet moment.

Today is Thanksgiving Day. I barely had an awareness that we were in November—well, I knew that it was November because the first week of it my husband and the Princess were on the retreat. I mean, for me time stopped from the weekend when the rest of the dominoes fell immediately after the retreat. I was stuck there. The moon and the sun continued their dances across the sky, but for me time had no real impact.

I found myself, more than once or twice the past month, still in my pajamas past noon. Now, I have nothing against people who stay in their pajamas long into the day, but it is not me. I like to dress as soon as I can without disturbing my husband, who might have had a later night than I. Pajamas still seen on me past daylight is often an indication that I am ill or in pain. I have been both, although the pain was in my heart.

My husband is now up and preparing in the kitchen. Thanksgiving is usually his day. Early in the week, I may have made a homemade pie and our Holiday Red Cabbage Cole Slaw, fondly called "the purple stuff" by a friend, but usually the only thing I might have my hand in the kitchen for this day is a sweet potato dish. My husband loves to cook, he loves to plan meals, and I am more than happy let him have this day as cooking is something I appreciate far more when someone else does it. This time around there will only be the three of us and the meal will be simple.

The turkey was in a brine over night and it will be smoked on our grill outside. Sometimes my husband fries the turkey, which is a Southern thing; Southerns fry just about anything they can stick a fork into seems and it is an indication that we have lived in the South a long time, even though originally I was a Yankee and my husband from the West. I have a store brought cherry pie and vanilla ice cream, a breech in protocol for us not to have homemade of both. Sweet potatoes will be baked with butter and brown sugar on hand. A salad and/or a simple vegetable side dish will be plenty.

It is not as fancy as we like but then our house is in a state of repair and remodel inside due to the replacement windows and yet-to-be-completed work on the outside—mostly left is painting the front door and the shutters. Add to that the events of since school started we, are emotionally worn and my husband has been away, except on the weekends, for the past few weeks. We have a way of adapting to the situations of life and we know that leaving some unclaimed space between all this and our limits is the best way to retain our civility...and quite possibly our sanity.

A friend asked us to join their family and in years past, we have shared a few holiday meals together, but with her mother, father-in-law, and two adult nieces living next door now, I felt that would be too much for me. Too many people, too noisy, and too much of all the things that can overwhelm a highly sensitive empath at her best. I have not regained confidence in my emotional stability just yet.

This morning after my daughter joined us for a breakfast of tea and sweet bread, our traditional holiday breakfast, I opened up a discussion I have been wanting to have us all to brainstorm for several months. We have several challenges in our home:

  • The Princess and I both need an art and craft studio area that is functional. She is drawing all the time and writing when not doing that with reading pushed into third place.
  • The Princess has no room in her bedroom making it difficult for her to have a guest sleepover.
  • The Princess' digital piano, our birthday present, is crowding my dining room. (My keyboard is downstairs in the office area and the acoustical piano is in the living room.)
  • For Christmas this year, the family gift is a big gun safe which is going in the basement room under the living room, which is also the room that houses our pantry and art and craft studio and storage currently. (The garage is the same level as the basement so no steps.)
  • We have too much furniture and not enough functional spaces in the basement rooms.

One of the solutions I thought about last spring was to give the Princess both of the bedrooms, one she is using and the guest room. That would be ideal for us all at this stage. She could have the digital piano and even maybe the keyboard on a stacking stand in her study room along with her bookcase and desk.

The downside is we have a lovely honey oak country bedroom set that I really like and do not want to get rid of in the guest room and we do not have the space to store it—back to that later.

My husband has suggested a few times before to move his desk into the art and craft studio area and move all the art stuff into the office area. He also suggested building a wall of shelves on one end of the office area for all our books, which is a significant collection considering that we homeschool and just love books. Lots of incidental things get moved and changed, but these would be the major ones. The main thing that holds me back is the guest room furniture.

Maybe there is such an attachment because the guest room was the first room I redecorated in this house and the first furniture we bought so that friends from where we moved could visit as well as family. Even though there is just walking room at the foot and sides of the queen size bed and the matching armoire is in the Princess' room because it does not fit in with the guest room with the dresser and night stand, it has a old fashion inn quality with its faux painted walls in subtle old rose, peaches, cream with touches of gold, and decorations of roses and angels. It would sell better that way though if there was room for a rocking chair and a reading lamp on a side table with hardwood floors and homemade rugs, but I did what I could with the space that I had.

If we move, the main criteria would be a larger room for the Princess and an art studio area as well as a workout area, a large kitchen, and a mud/utility room with at the very least two usable acres, ten in all would be better but two need to be cleared and relatively flat. The house would be preferably less than 15 years old or remodeled, but with the ability to hide asbestos concerns, I would rather it be a newer home.

So, we are between fixing our house to sell or fixing it to suit ourselves or maybe both? We were hoping to move closer to the school to which the Princess was going, but that is no longer a concern and I have not received a clear word from the Lord yet about trying to move. I wonder if the reason we are to wait is because we would want to move closer to the college our daughter would be attending, if that is God's will for her, in just a few years. However, that puts homesteading off to the point we might not want to start such an endeavor.

All these ideas and yet I still have the walls around the windows to repair and paint, the interior of the windows to paint, the shutters and front door to paint, the dining room and kitchen to finish preparing from removing the wallpaper and to paint, and my bathroom to also paint. And the worse part is most of this would still have to be done even if we would like to move!

I was seeing our house as falling apart, even though we are fixing it up. It just reminded me of how everything rots in this world, everything needs maintenance and repair. However, when my home, that is, my family, began falling apart, that is when my perspective of what is most important focused on what it should be, not the plaster and paint, but the connections of love between my daughter, my husband, my friends, my Lord and me. All of them are my world, the house is just a place where they can find me. Still we have plans to change liabilities into assets in our living spaces because the house should serve our lifestyle not become our lifestyle. So, the Christmas tree we pick tomorrow will be probably be placed in front of a unpainted window with plaster still showing on the wall around it. It will not be perfect (as I so hoped to get it done before this day), but Christmas coming will be what we make it.

Thank you, my Lord. Just thank you for everything.

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.