Sweet Reminders

     I’m working my way back into normal routines again.  After such a long season of illness for us, it’s so sweet to be enjoying good health and renewed energy.  Especially the renewed energy!  We had a glorious early spring that was way too short.  April arrived with the recurrence of winter temperatures, lots of rain and a return to the daily keeping of a fire in the wood stove.  This California girl is eagerly anticipating the return of flip-flop season!
 
        Today, though cool, is definitely spring-like, and I am taking full advantage.  My windows and doors are thrown open wide for the fresh, cool air to make its way in.  My boys are enjoying the last, official day of spring break and are doing what boys do best.  Fort building!  In their case, the fort is being built with a bit of an underground foundation which makes for lots of dirty, muddy jeans and shorts coming through the laundry.  I’m so glad that I don’t have to wash my clothes on a wash board in a big tub.  It’s much easier to let boys be boys when I can simply whisk things into the washer, add some detergent and walk away! 

    

      The days, years, for their enjoying working together on a fort are quickly coming to an end.  In this case, Aaron is adding some expertise to his brother’s attempts.  It’s been a good long while since Aaron has built a fort for his own use.  It won’t be long before he’ll have little boys of his own to build forts for.

     Yes, I know, he’s only sixteen; but can I tell you it’s just been a heartbeat or two since my Corin was sixteen?  She’s now a grown woman, expecting her sixth child this summer, and anticipating one of those milestone birthdays this next week.  When we older gals tell you to enjoy your kids now, and to not fuss about the muddy jeans or the spilled milk or the seemingly endless cries for mama’s help, believe us.  The days are so very long, but the years fly by! 



     It’s been far too wet to till and put in our garden, but the seeds Dani started in the house a few weeks ago needed to be transplanted.  Dani weeded our single raised bed, which is close to the house, added lots of good, sweet, homegrown compost and transplanted all the lettuce, spinach, broccoli and cauliflower plants.  Those yellow daisies behind the raised bed have burst into blossom in the last week, and they make me smile every time I see them. 

     I’ve been working on the deep cleaning of my kitchen, dining area, back hall and laundry for the last day or two.  Today found me, sitting on the dining room floor, washing all the dried splatters off the front of my hutch.  We clean messes up as they happen, of course, but over time a splattered drop of milk or two (or dozen), or some other such thing, are missed on the front of the hutch only to be discovered after they’ve dried.  I scrubbed the doors down well, as well as the side of the hutch next to the high chair.  I wiped down the drawer fronts, too, along with the china pull knobs on both the doors and drawers.  When I was done, the whole thing was polished with orange oil and a soft cloth.  I cleaned and polished my big table, too.


      This sort of cleaning is always an exercise in nostalgia for me, bringing many sweet memories.  The big, farm house table, was Copper’s mom’s, along with the bench in front of it.  The chairs, which do not match the table or the hutch, were my own mother’s.  The hanging scale was a gift from one of Copper’s aunts and uncles.  The high chair was a hand-me-down from another of his aunts, whose grandchildren outgrew it at just the time that my William came along!  Will, of course, was followed closely by the first of my own grandchildren.  The high chair has been in fairly steady use for many years now.

     Cleaning these things, wiping them down, polishing them, reminds me so clearly of the blessing that is family and the things that fill my home with such heritage and love.  The big table, filled as it is with dents and scratches, is such a testimony to the family meals, children spending nights with their “Memom”, and sewing and crafting that have happened on it before it ever came to my home.  I love that the table’s story continues in much the same manner, with my own family gathered round it daily and my own grandbabies seated their often. 

     It’s a bit of a central location for all things family.  We gather here for our family meals, of course.  When the boys need my help with school, we sit side-by-side on the long bench at the table.  When fabric is being cut for a sewing project, it’s done at this table.  When the grandbabies work on a craft at my house, it’s done right at the table, glue, crayons, markers and all!  I remember, so well, that the table’s original owner never, ever fussed about a scratch on that table, or a spill.  Messes were just matter-of-factly wiped up and cleaned up and life went on.  Such a blessed, sweet memory and reminder for me as my natural tendency would be to allow these things to bug me.

      The hutch also belonged to my beloved mother-in-love.  I remember the day it was delivered to her home, but I cannot tell you how many years ago that was.  My now-grown girls were little then.  As I polished the hutch today, I reveled, as I always do, in the things that might seem to be imperfection to another.  The finish along the bottom of the hutch is gone, washed and worn away by years of mopping the floor in front of it.  You see, Lola, my mother-in-love, had a housekeeper for many, many years, and I’m sure it was she who mopped the finish away.  For the many months that Lola lived with us, during her final illness, she continued to pay this gal to clean her home every Friday, even though no one was living there.  The housekeeper, you see, was a refugee from Vietnam who attended Lola’s church.  Though Lola eventually arranged to have her come every two weeks instead of weekly, she would never have wanted to cause this gal to lose part of her income.  Polishing the hutch, and seeing that “imperfection”, speaks volumes to me about how Lola showed Christ’s love to others in a very real way.  What a heritage she has left for me!

     Deep cleaning the dining area also meant taking down the last of the Easter things.  Will and the three oldest grandbabies made these a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve enjoyed having them up.  I absolutely love the way they all chose to decorate their paper eggs and arrange them in the baskets; but most of all I am smitten with the way my five year old granddaughter pasted her basket onto the paper at an angle!  Unique!  Different!  And very, very her!

     I’m bringing an end to the last of the Easter ham.  Last night I prepared a big dish of Ham It Up Spaghetti , which fed us well and yielded plenty of left-overs to put into glass freezer dishes for my husband to take to work.  Tonight I’ll start a pot of my Ham and Bean stew, letting it cook all night in the Crockpot.  We’ll enjoy a bowl Saturday evening, with some crusty French Bread, which we’ll repeat Sunday evening when we get home from our long day at church. 

      The weekend is gearing up to be a full one.  We’ll enjoy a home Bible study with several families from our church this evening.  We are thrilled to enjoy this study at the home of sweet friends just minutes from our own home.  Tomorrow will find us taking care of the normal Saturday yard work and preparing for the Lord’s Day.  Since Corin’s family had a tough, virus-ridden winter and spring, too, three of my grandchildren’s birthdays passed without a party.  Corin is changing all that beginning tomorrow evening with a fabulous birthday bonanza, featuring a birthday party three Saturday evenings in a row.  Party time!  Then, of course, will be our full day Sunday at church in worship and fellowship and service, and the hour’s drive each way. 

     I am so blessed to be surrounded with so many daily reminders of the Christian heritage and family ties that have come my way via my husband’s family.  I thank God for my husband’s being raised in the church, and I’m especially thankful for his faithful, faithful mother whom I loved as much as my own.  Thankful especially today for the sweet reminders of that faith and heritage that I can enjoy every day as I look well to the ways of my own home.

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27
 

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