Quick Takes Friday

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Image1. Happy Spring! As of yesterday, the calendar says it is spring. It is still colder than usual here in Michigan but with some warmer sunny days, the snow is beginning to melt. I’m probably down to 50% snow coverage in my massive yard- which I haven’t seen without snow since early January. It also means my road becomes a mud hole. A delightful, country-ish mud hole that I love living on.

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2. I hadn’t seen our local yard-wandering deer in awhile and yesterday they were back, gracefully wandering through my yard. One, two, three (the dogs go nuts, of course, and the deer stop to stare), four, five, six! What? That’s double our usual number. This does not bode well for garden season. Not to mention there are bound to be some fawns born too. Hmm. I am now soliciting every wives tale on how to keep deer out of your garden. Feel free to overload me with deer / garden advice. And until the garden is in, I shall enjoy their graceful presence.

Image3. The first year in any new house is always the one of discovering all the nuances / oddities / issues. And my house is doubly so because it is an old house that wasn’t well maintained. I knew when I bought it the garage floor was lower than the driveway and that would undoubtedly have some flooding issues in the future. What I should have done was put a bunch of pallets on the floor before loading all the boxes still waiting to be unpacked in there on moving day. Alas, “should have” is the operative word. In the fall, during a particularly strong thunderstorm, I observed a small stream coming in under the garage door and heading toward the low point (the far back corner of the garage). I knew it would be a problem so I kept that area box free and loaded up the other side of the garage. Fun story, huh? Well, a couple weeks ago I noted some icing on the far side of the garage (yeah, the side loaded with boxes) and noticed the rocking chair I was trying to bring inside at last was frozen to the floor. Uh oh. Last night I spent some time out there and discovered the problem is far worse than I thought. There are 1-2 inches of ice along that whole side of the garage. A few boxes have been ruined (nothing to cry over). My other frustration is that the basement occasionally gets damp, so I can’t in good conscience just move all the boxes down there because we’d just be running into the same problem down there. Not to mention to easily get boxes down there I need to remove the door (which opens up to block the basement stairs). Anyway, it all feels entirely too complicated. Tomorrow I will build some garage shelving, transfer boxes onto it, and if it melts some more, maybe shop vac up some of the water / ice. It isn’t some kind of tragedy and it isn’t even a huge surprise, but it feels a bit defeating. The reason I haven’t unpacked all the boxes is because I am trying to finish rooms to unpack them into permanent homes… and now the garage floods. So I’m breathing deeply, embracing the poverty (and the mess) and asking Jesus to somehow use this to make me holy. (I know it is funny but last night, after discovering the extent of the issue, I heard myself ask “Jesus, use this mess, this frustrating situation to make me holy!” and then I giggled, it sounds so silly and yet I need to remember that He has a plan and that He cares about even the little details like soggy boxes and a flooding garage).  (And wow, nothing quick about that take- sorry).

Image4. I should probably mention that in spite of the millions of projects and the flooding and the occasionally damp Michigan basement and the mud hole road and the ridiculous cost of propane, I LOVE LIVING HERE. It is a lot sometimes and sometimes I feel so entirely alone in the mayhem and sometimes I get discouraged, but I have no regrets (well except wishing I’d put the boxes on pallets). This house, this place has been such a gift in my life and I am so thankful!! It truly is home. So I’ll pull up my big girl panties and soldier on with the rest of it, not regretting the decision to move here and learning my way through this next rash of projects and oddities. May it all be for His greater glory!

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5. Somewhere in the midst of a much too busy life, teaching Religious Ed, spending time with my grandparents, working a job and trying to stay on top of the dog hair situation, I managed to make a quilt for my new nephew. I will have to post pictures and the idea behind it later- but I FINISHED IT (wonders never cease) and it is adorable (though far from perfect) and I cannot wait to meet this new guy (who is currently making his way into the outside world). And it reminded me how therapeutic doing something creative can be in the midst of a crazy life. There’s nothing like a quiet Sunday afternoon with some sewing to make me breathe deeper and get in touch with my creative side.

6. I have been going to the Parish Mission at my Church this week, which has been marvelous. Very time consuming and exactly where I need to be right now. All the talks are posted on the parish website so if you are looking for some great talks here in lent, I invite you to join in. Ralph Martin is an incredible teacher and I believe he is a prophet for our times. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Here’s where to find the talks (and there are lots of other good things to find there too).

7. I’ve got a lot of thoughts bumbling around this brain of mine that I’m trying to get down and figure out if this is the right place to share them. I am a writer. Writing helps me process things and I realized recently I need to get in the habit of writing more regularly and working through some thoughts. Not to mention my favorite blogs are the ones where people share the nitty gritty of what is going on in their lives and I feel like I’ve gotten away from that kind of sharing because sometimes it seems too vulnerable and raw. And then there’s that feeling that blogging can be a weird medium for that since you can’t control who sees it. So I’m working through a bunch of things and will try to share some snippets in the coming weeks.

Happy Friday! Happy Lent! Happy Spring!

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