Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Home Is

Home Sweet Home. Home is Where the Heart is. Home. This morning my thoughts go to what home is for me. I watch the home improvement shows when Burton is not around. Just ask him about Love it or List it and he will tell you a sad story of his wife hurting his feelings when he attempted to join her when she was watching it one day. Apparently I wasn't welcoming. The poor man has feelings you know. Anyway those home improvement shows are all about making homes nicer, upgrading, improvements. My home is not perfect, far from it and if cash came along I can think of some improvements I would make for sure but I love my home. Burton and I built this house after two years of living in a little shed, followed by five years of living in a trailer that we put on the property when Megan was two months old. I was so sure I could keep living in our 12 by 12 shed with two kids but I caved. After settling into the trailer we began building our house. We had no idea what we were doing really but build a house we did. We built a cordwood house . The stories of building it are plentiful and entertaining . Lots of learning and mistakes and challenges. We raised four children in those years of continual building and thirty three years later we are not done yet. But within the walls of my imperfect house there is a home I would not trade for any of the homes I see on those home improvement shows. I love my house and my home. This week we welcome Caleb and Ashlie home for awhile while they build their first home. They are building a garage and plan to live in it for a few years before they build their big house. Chapin and Brianne live across the road in a small house they moved onto the property the year they got married and have now begun building their big house. Houses , homes, beginnings , building lives. That is a tradition Burton and I began on this property and it fills us with joy and pride to watch our boys doing the same thing. Meg and the girls will come visit next week and be a part of what home is for them living so far away. Grampie has a small bucket waiting for Paige so she can carry feed to the pigs and she is very excited about that. I will prepare meals in the pantry I love and fashioned after the one I loved in my great aunt Alice's home. We will also get to enjoy Ashlie's cooking which is a real perk to having them here. I will continue to watch those shows and see the wonderful transformations designers create but take such pleasure knowing that when I walk through the doors of my imperfect house I am home and no amount of money can improve on that.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mid September

September is moving along at the same fast pace all the months seem to go. We are past the midway point and I am still swimming. Last year the last swim day was September 16th , the year before the 29th. Both of those last swims were run in and run right back out. The swims of my last three days were run in, power through the cold and stay in until it becomes bearable and then keep swimming until the glorious kicks in. Then I get out reluctantly, hoping it's not the last time. Today's temperature is supposed to be in the high twenties so I expect to get back in the lake today. I have written every day this week , stopping at around 4:00 to cut up or cook pickles. I have a quota to meet and am about three batches short. Our corn is being depleted with about two rows still ripening and the rest of the rows pretty much picked by the humans or picked at by the roaming chickens. I have had one wood road walk and will soon work that back into my daily routine. I am thankful for the harvest September brings and the changes to my routine. I will gradually let the summer joys go and replace them with the blessings of fall. I look ahead to the wonders of winter too but hope they are a long way off. My thoughts today are with a family that this week are dealing with the sudden and tragic loss of a father, grandfather, uncle, brother, cousin and friend. A regular day ended in tragedy and has left a family with a new reality and a deep sorrow. Mid September for the MacFarland family will always echo the loss they have been given to face.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Growing Toward the Light

I have said in many entries how amazed I am at the potential a tiny seed holds. A sunflower seed is large in comparison. I dropped a seed in an indent about every two feet along a row and waited for them to grow. I watched the first sprouts break through and hoed up around them. I kept a watch as they grew, standing beside them and measuring their progress ( up to my knee, my waist , etc.) I kept them hoed and gave them lots of soil to support the stalks as they grew. All of a sudden they were as tall I was , then taller, then taller than Burton. Their leaves got huge and the plants once so well spaced all of a sudden had created a wall. Then the blossoms formed. I noticed the main blossom and then many other smaller ones up and down the stalk. Then the yellow burst through. Before too long the main blossom had expanded to a large happy face with smaller faces poking through the large leaves. All the while this process has always headed toward the light. This morning as I gaze up at this wall of sunflowers I think about writing a book and again compare gardening to writing. A small seed began the book I started writing last week. The seed came months ago maybe a couple of years ago. I tried to plant it in January and the time was not right for it to germinate. I dropped it again letting it just sprout in my head as I went about the tasks of summer. By the time I sat down at my desk I knew it had taken root and had the potential to grow. Now each day I turn it toward the light and watch as it keeps growing. I hope to eventually step back and see just how it grew, what came to the light, what forced its way to the surface and what its existence has to show us about the gifts life gives us when we stand tall and strong and grow toward the light.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Like Chocolate Cake

My entry this morning may take several turns but it all began with a thought about chocolate cake. There is a cute commercial on TV(I have no idea what it is advertising) where a little girl recites all the things she loves. I feel like that almost every day. First thing in the morning I walk outside ,usually to go down to get Nellie and I take in the day. Actually several times a day I walk around outside and try to truly take in the blessings around me. I love my home, I love my life , I love my people... Yesterday while I was picking corn for our lunch and walking down the long bountiful rows and gazing up at the gigantic sunflowers just about ready to blossom I was filled again with gratitude for my surroundings. I know sometimes I must sound like a broken record but seriously isn't raving on about how lucky I am better than complaining about everything I don't have? That is when I thought about chocolate cake and I will get back to that. My best friend's sister died when she was just 51.At the time I knew 51 wasn't old but I was much younger then and didn't really see just how young it was. Many people commented at the time just what a tragedy it was because Lynda loved her life so much. She had worked hard to get to where she was in so many ways. For the next few years we grieved about what she was missing. Yesterday I thought about how much I would hate to be told that this was almost over. My son died instantly and had no warning that his time on earth was over. My brother in law Leonard who spent his final six weeks with us last year saw the end coming. I know not what my end story will be but it hit me yesterday that life is like chocolate cake. If you like chocolate cake (that is the other direction this entry will take) you enjoy eating it. You might eat it quickly or you might slow down and savor each bite. Either approach the chocolate cake will be gone. When it is gone the most important thing is that you enjoyed it. My son Chapin is turning 30 tomorrow. For many years I would bake him a chocolate cake for his birthday and top it with boiled icing. A few years ago he told me that he doesn't like chocolate cake with boiled icing. The other profound ( at least I think so ) thought that came to me in the corn row yesterday was if you don't like the chocolate cake, don't eat it. Choose something else. We just get the one dessert so to speak. 51 years , 55 years , 20 years whatever we are given goes so quickly. This is all there is. This is what we get. Don't settle for the dessert you don't enjoy. Pick the one that every bite you take is amazing , delicious and fills you with wonder and gratitude. I know sometimes it takes awhile to know which dessert you really want and you might have to try a few, but if you are given the same one over and over and it doesn't measure up, do what you have to do to get to the one that does and then take the time to really enjoy it..

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

This Day has Come

The day the title refers to is actually yesterday. It was a big day . Firstly it was the day Emma started Grade One. Of course she was in kindergarten last year but there is something huge about entering grade one. Grade One is seriously getting down to the business of growing up. And that business happens so quickly. I remember each one of my kids starting grade one(yes even Chapin whom for some reason I can't seem to remember any of his firsts) (third child )Grade one. So much is taught and learned in grade one. Off goes our precious Emma and out comes a grown up young woman. In the meantime we will enjoy all the years in between. Brianne went back to school yesterday and in her experience I re-live my own. For twenty nine Septembers I expended the energy and optimism that going back to the classroom required. Yesterday,I closed my summer journal and opened my regular journal and listed my September goals. I also felt the autumn air as I walked down to get Nellie. I anticipate my wood road walks while I continue to take my lake swims. Yesterday's plunge felt colder and the water a bit choppier as the winds have changed. Yesterday, I got back to work and spent the day beginning a new book. I wrote until 6:00 and really didn't want to stop. Knowing I was coming back this morning helped me to shut the computer down and walk away from a work that fills my thoughts right now. After supper I mowed until it was becoming too dark to see. It is getting dark so early. The air was still so warm and I hated going inside. By the time I finally sat down I just wanted to let the day settle and watch TV.I stumbled on to a movie made in 1965. I almost went right by it thinking that it would be corny. A Patch of Blue. Shelley Winters at her best nasty blonde bombshell self and Sidney Poitier who by the way was way more handsome than I ever noticed before. And the story! The story was deep and heart wrenching and despite the corny music they used in those days and the choppy cinematography(I sound like I know what I'm saying)the story was gripping. At the end of my perfect day I was reminded of the power of story. Story transcends time, story reaches out and gets told, and story matters.I have been given the time , the opportunity and the gift of once again getting to tell a story.