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Thursday, December 29, 2011

A wonderful poem written in 1880, but still relevant today!

I was struck when I read this how relevant it still is to me today.  When you think of women of old, you think that they somehow had it all together and never dealt with the same frustrations that we do today.  Read this, a poem by Faye Inchfawn back in 1880:

Within My House

FIRST, there's the entrance, narrow,
and so small,
The hat-stand seems to fill the tiny hall;
That staircase, too, has such an awkward
The carpet rucks, and rises up on end!
Then, all the rooms are cramped and close
And there's a musty smell in rainy weather.
Yes, and it makes the daily work go hard
To have the only tap across a yard.
These creaking doors, these draughts, this
battered paint,
Would try, I think, the temper of a saint,

How often had I railed against these
With envies, and with bitter murmurings
For spacious rooms, and sunny garden
Until one day,
Washing the breakfast dishes, so I think,
I paused a moment in my work to pray;
And then and there
All life seemed suddenly made new and
For, like the Psalmist's dove among the
(Those endless pots, that filled the tiny
My spirit found her wings.

"Lord" (thus I prayed), "it matters not
at all
That my poor home is ill-arranged and
I, not the house, am straitened; Lord,
'tis I!
Enlarge my foolish heart, that by-and-by
I may look up with such a radiant face
Thou shalt have glory even in this place.
And when I trip, or stumble unawares
In carrying water up these awkward stairs.
Then keep me sweet, and teach me day
by day
To tread with patience Thy appointed
As for the house . . . . Lord, let it be
my part
To walk within it with a perfect heart."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In an ideal world...

A few months ago, Brian, Liz, and I went to Chicago for the day. I had just started crocheting, and Liz and I wanted to check out a yarn store. It was amazing and beautiful and pleasing to the eye. It had nooks and crannies and beautiful colors and amazing textures. The only problem was, the majority of the yarns there were around $25 for a small ball of yarn. In order to make something with the yarn, you would more than likely need to buy 2 balls. $50 for a handmade scarf? Maybe in an ideal world...

That got us thinking... If we lived in an ideal world, what would we do? I honestly don't remember what other people's responses were, but I know mine was, "I would live in the city, use all organic products, make my own clothes, grow my own food (in an urban garden), and, in a lot of ways, be a modern day hippie!" It's funny, but, aside from living in the city, I am pretty much doing all those things without even realizing it!

Today, I was with my friend Mary Ann, and she helped me remake some of my clothes that were nice fabrics, but fit all baggy and didn't make me feel amazing. One of the things that she kept saying was, "What is your immediate response? If you don't absolutely love it, why should we go through the trouble of making it if you won't wear it?" Through a lot of pinning, a lot of trying on, a lot of measuring, and a lot of stitching and then cutting, we were able to transform a shirt that was too baggy on me and a dress that was too revealing into an amazing dress that I can wear to a Christmas party on Friday. I am honestly so pleased with it, and it didn't take too much to make it happen!

I feel like the season that I am in right now is a lot like those clothes. I like the fabric and the way it feels, but the fit is not quite right. So, if what I am doing right now isn't working, why don't I just change it (like the clothes) to make it better? I have felt trapped in my laundry area and desperately wanted a room. So what did we do? We made a room for me, and I love it. My small, awkward kitchen is way too cluttered. I need a new way of storing things, so I am going to make it happen very soon. I'm not completely satisfied with my body the way that it looks right now, so I joined a gym and am trying to go. Basically, there are things in my life that I am not absolutely in love with, so why do I keep them? I just need to alter them slightly to make them fit me and my personality.

I feel like this next season is going to be a lot about change, and I'm excited about it. Finally, my life is going to "fit" with the rest of me. God, give me the strength to make it happen!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dream Come True, or Just Another Place for Clutter?

5 years ago, when we first moved into our house, I had an idea for a laundry room. A place where I could go, wash, dry, and fold my laundry, and live in peace. A place where I could go away from the hectic mess of the rest of the house. An oasis. Someplace that I could go to get away.

The reality of it was, it was cold, a little damp, dirty, and surrounded on every side by horrible clutter. Clutter that I had made. Clutter that Brian had made. Clutter that was made by decluttering our upstairs living spaces. When I would go down there, especially when I was in a rough place about 3 years ago, I felt trapped instead of set free. One day, on a whim, I was so tired of looking at the clutter in the rest of the basement that I got the staple gun, a couple of flat sheets that we weren't using, and made "walls" to shut out the clutter. It felt better, but still not complete. I tried emptying out my shelves and painting them a different color. I tried organizing all of my laundry into specific bins that would go into each person's room. I tried so many things, but try as I might, the laundry "room" still felt like a trap. I wanted walls.

The opportunity for the possibility came last year when we had a girl move into our basement. When she got her life straightened out a bit and could start paying rent on a regular basis, we would build her walls down there instead of the sheets that surrounded her "room." Building her walls meant that I could have walls, at least in a small part. Unfortunately, it never worked out, and she left without the walls being built.

When another young lady moved in with us, Brian promised walls would be built. Sheets were obviously not enough, especially when the winter cold blasted through the concrete walls. Brian promised walls by the first snow, and almost made it by a couple days: They were finally built a year and a half after they were promised to me. As long as they were putting up walls in one part of the basement, though, what if they extended the walls just 7 feet to build me a real wall so that I could have my laundry room? They agreed, and my laundry room was created! Sheetrock was placed up last week, followed by pegboard, and right now the guys are putting up shelves for me. I can't even begin to explain how relieved that I am. Relieved that I have a place to fold my laundry. Relieved that I don't have to do it on the couch where people who walk in might feel embarrassed that there is laundry all over the place. Relieved that I have my own space that I can organize however I want without it needing to be presentable at all times.

An argument has already ensued about me wanting my room to be my room and not a place for his tools and other stuff to creep in. But, after some prayer and me leaving the guys alone to do what they do best, I now have 2 out of 4 shelves up. The rest will come sometime next week. Then, FINALLY, I will have my room. My safe haven. My oasis. My place I can call my own.

I pray that it will not get cluttered again. Or, at least, that I will stay motivated enough to keep on top of it. I know I can... I just have to keep positive! Good stuff is in store!