Magic in the Mundane

Today….as I stood and viewed the pile I so affectionately call Mt. Laundry…a temptation crossed my mind…just the sweetest and smallest of temptations. To leave the mountain of stinky socks…dirty under garments and sweaty workout clothes till tomorrow…or perhaps the next day.pile of clothesPerhaps just a peek at how many people liked my last post on Facebook or just a not so quick look on Pinterest for Christmas present ideas. After all Christmas is soon to come!

But then I walked back into my kitchen….I stood and viewed the piles untitledof dirty dishes on the kitchen counter…remnants of breakfast that needed cleaned up and put away…..sighing….the temptation was shifting from small to great. I looked at the clock. Thirty minutes until our scheduled time to start a new week of school.

Walking back to the  laundry room, I pulled up my self control and started a load of smelly garments. School, underway shortly after….no stopping until it is complete…except to replenish my cup with a fresh brew of “Heaven’s Goodness”. And then the clock struck 11:30! Time for a run!! My children didn’t seem to respond with the same enthusiasm that I felt. But three miles complete…thirty minutes later….sweat…and a good stretch seemed to make everyone in a better mood.

As I walked back into the laundry room to switch loads from washer to dryer….I began to think. You have already read my thoughts on schooling and being at home, but I feel as though I am in a fairly constant state of adjusting my priorities. Growing up as the youngest of four, I recall my mom always seemingly being content with being at home…cleaning….cooking….doing laundry, and then still having time to sit and read and snuggle with me. Her home and her kids were her only priority during the day, and then add my dad to the mix in the evenings. She managed to have on nice clothes, hair nice and lipstick on when my dad walked through the door. She always said she didn’t want him to have to be tempted to look else where for beauty. Now lest you roll your eyes, thinking I am living in a fantasy memory, it probably was not all that straight forward, and mom probably had her itch to get out and do something “exciting” at times.

This simply prompted me into further evaluating my heart in my priorities. I can always make a to do list and through shear will power muscle my way through that list….not making anyone feel particularly valued and making myself exhausted from the stress of it all. Or I can adjust my heart to have value and JOY in my priorities…..this seems to be a lot more rewarding and a lot less exhausting in the end. Joy is strength, in fact, in the Bible, the only way to get strength is to have Joy! But there are days when I don’t feel joy. I want to thrust my responsibilities aside, looking for a distraction from what truly will be fruitful.

In today’s society, structure, discipline, mundane….almost seem to be dirty words. Everywhere we look, individuals are looking for fun, excitement….”out of the ordinary” experiences. I am not against fun and having adventure, but when it is used as a drug or an escape from the real of life it becomes problematic. The simple, sweet temptation of Facebook and Pinterest, are simply time sappers and escapes from the mundane. But actually, in the mundane, magic happens, the magic of accomplishment, there is magic in real life. Discipline in excersize allows me energy and health. Structure in the mundane facilitates an orderly home, happy children, a husband who is happy to come home and be with me! To me that is magical. Often I hear others longingly wish for a bigger house or to have far more money than they possess, or wish for vacations and all that seems glamorous. Yet these same wishers would rather sit and watch hours of TV or play on the computer rather than clean what they already have. Wanting more money rather than stewarding the little they have to create a lot. Perhaps this seems a little critical, but it is not meant to be, I have been having get real moments with myself and these are some areas that I have had to work on. Wishing for the more rather than stewarding the bit I have. Going shopping for new clothes, rather than wash the ones I already have. Eating out instead of cooking what is in my refrigerator…lol….. Going out with friends, instead of creating relationship and intimacy with my spouse and my children. Yes, I could go on, but you get the point. I am convinced, that in eternity we will be rewarded for how we stewarded our time here on earth. Time is a non-renewable resource, yet we or maybe I should say…. I, have wasted so much on it looking for something that brings momentary magic and a break from the mundane. But from here on out….I am going to start looking for the magic and beauty in the mundane…in the structure….in the discipline….I will choose Joy in the boring, so that I will be full of strength for the ordinary, because so much of our time is made up of the ordinary, and time is to short not to be extraordinary! 268b0976a4614eaa57d724af9830c21f

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She Is Free

Dark spaces, corners actually, corners of the heart that rarely get a glimpse of the soft glow and warmth of light. Spaces…. that one would rather stay hidden in darkness, but knowing freedom only comes from the warmth of light. As if hidden in the long corridors of a castle dungeon, out of sight, out of mind, one would have to purpose to visit such a place. There is no welcome mat left out in front of the door beckoning visitors to come in. Rather a “KEEP OUT NO TRESSPASSING” sign hap-hazardously perched upon the door, complete with a small window with cell bars running straight up and down, as if to say……”Behold, the resident of this cell has been tried and found guilty.” A small trap door sits towards the bottom of the door, for the keeper of the jail to slide food and water through…enabling the guilty one within to “survive”….rather than live life in thrive mode….in the clarity of light.

But then, almost in one miraculous moment the guilty verdict is over turned…..the sounds of the declaration “NOT GUILTY!”echoes through the corridors of the castle dungeon. The echo of those words unlocking the jail cell door, the vibration of freedom knocks the “KEEP OUT NO TRESSPASSING”sign from its precarious perch, as doors swing wide open, the light of freedom comes pouring in.

Startled, dazed, and overwhelmed by the brightness of light infiltrating the darkness of the guilt filled cell….the prisoner sits….not sure what to do next. The echoes and whispers of “NOT GUILTY” still bouncing off the cell walls like a rubber ball bouncing out of control. The prisoner….who in the beginning…knew she was not guilty, forgot what freedom looked like and began living life as if the guilty verdict was her identity. But as the warmth of light soaked into the skin, warming it, as the chills of darkness became saturated and soon to be forgotten, She remembers who she is. Stirring from her sedate position, she rises feeling strengthened by the light.

Leaving the cell, she turns and takes a last look at where she has spent a good portion of her years. She asks herself, “How did I get here? Why was I locked up for so long?” Images pass in her minds eye….the should be’s…I should be taller….I should be thinner…I should be kinder….I should be, I should be, I should be. A pang of guilt pierces her heart, but then she remembers….she is not guilty. Then the pictures of the you should have been’s  dance across her memory…You should have been a doctor, you should have been popular, you should have been more glamourous…stinging her soul. Shame tries to come with its hideously heavy blanket….but then… She remembers she has been declared free!

Her lock up, she realizes, came through ever so clever little lies….I should be, is a nasty lie that locks the heart right up…padlock…security lock…on top of the strength of chains. Shame might as well be the key of should have beens. She realizes that it was a team effort taken to lock her up tight, seemingly never to be free. Some of the fault lay within herself, telling herself she should be something other than what she was  created for. Some of the fault lay with others….society, friends, enemies, all having opinions of who she should have been created to be. But then the “NOT GUILTY” verdict, the light…it came.

She turns to wind her way through the passage way to complete freedom. Her foot knocks something and it skids across the floor…looking down she sees the “KEEP OUT NO TRESSPASSING” sign that had once been the banner on her cell. She pauses, bends over, picks up the sign. Realizing that in the dimness of the surroundings,099fe0484d7264cb8b8982275881936a the sign actually had something else written on it in bold print. “KEEP OUT NO TRESSPASSING” was simply written with a finger through the grime that time had built up. She wipes the layers of dirt off….LOVE….in big bold letters!!!!! It said, LOVE….His banner over me is Love. She throws her head back and laughs. His love came and unlocked the chained up, dark places of her heart. The Light of Love came and warmed her….LOVE FREED HER!!!

Tapestry of Legacy

It was raining. The air was chilled, rather cold. The kind of Spring day one might find a blanket, a book, a corner, a fresh brewed cup of “Heaven’s Goodness”, and curl up and get lost in a story.

“Could you make this into a keepsake?” came the request.

The Aunt, a delightfully, warm, generous woman in her seventh decade, hands over a bag. Inside, a well used beautiful collection of fabric pieces crafted into a quilt.

I shall take a rabbit trail for just a moment, to say, I LOVE QUILTS!!!!! As silly as it sounds, they make my heart happy. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. As a child, at the county fair, I would walk through the 4H building gawking at each of the quilts, longing to touch each and every square, each telling a story.

My love for quilts was fueled as well by the Amish. We would take trips to their stores, bakeries, and quilt shops. I dreamed of learning to make a quilt of my own.

After I married, The Husband’s Grandmother came for a visit. We had many cups of “Heaven’s Goodness” together, having good conversation as we cut, stitched and quilted my first quilt.

I suppose my love for quilts is because of what they represent: history, time shared, meaningful conversation, joy in crafting, warmth, comfort, and beauty.

I am fairly confident that the quilt The Aunt had placed the request for was not necessarily crafted for eye candy. It was a collection of random pieces sewn together; perhaps they used to be a shirt, pants, skirt, dress, or some other functional item, reworked for a functional purpose once again….a blanket….warmth.

There it was in all of its oldness and glory, some pieces more tattered than others. It was beautiful!

The request for the three keepsakes to be made out of the quilt was an order for The Aunt and her two siblings to have a piece of their family history. The quilt had once been their mother’s and even their grandmother’s. This quilt had served as warmth for over nine decades, three generations of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Who would have thought piecing together old, tired shirts, skirts, dresses, and pants would provide comfort and warmth for nearly a century.

Solomon The Wise, sitting on the front porch, rocking in a rocking chair, with his grandmother’s quilt on his lap, pen in hand, coffee in the other, wrote these words, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” Proverbs 13:22

Inheritance is not just financial, but spiritual and emotional as well. While “re”haberdashering the old, worn, beautiful quilt into three rabbits, I began to think.

Will my life, like the quilt, a collection of pieces, be a collection of seasons? Joyous, difficult, quiet, restorative, sad, grieving, victorious all pieced together by the thread of time, bringing warmth and comfort to my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, leaving them an inheritance. Nearly a century from now, will I be remembered for warmth and comfort, forged by the seasons that perhaps looked rough and tattered, adding texture and beauty to multiple generations? Or will I be remembered for trying to be polished, a shelf novelty only to be looked at, not being used for its’ intended purpose?

My prayer is that no matter the season, I would see it as simply another piece of history to add to the quilt of life, allowing God to use the thread of time to stitch it all together, leaving a tapestry of legacy.