Scattered ideas for November

I’m not too hopeful I will see the scene above played out here on the homestead this winter, at least not with the snowy ground cover anyway, but it seems a bit fitting for November. I may not get much of a winter down here, leastwise not as early as November, but I can dream 🙂

I have kicked my own schooling up a notch with a few courses I found online. Nothing fancy, just a short 6-week midwifery course discussing the historical and modern skill craft. I’ve always been interested in midwifery, and I would like to direct my herbal studies more toward women and childbearing, not that I expect to do much with the knowledge, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

I’ve also signed up for an anatomy and physiology course. I’m just auditing the course, but it can’t hurt to get a better foundation and I’m not concerned with credits and certifications. There is another one starting this week on nature illustration, again, just an audit, but seeing as my botanical drawings look like stick figure plants, it can’t hurt, right? LOL

And a short 4-week course I know will be well worth my time…a 28 Day Gut Reset with Aviva Romm.

So, with all of this going on, on top of the children’s schooling, all the animals here to tend to, and a grandson to watch, why on earth would I even look at NaNoWriMo? I have no idea. I scribble, I don’t write. Truth be told, I barely scribble anymore, between schoolwork for the kids, schoolwork for myself. Still, I don’t know why,  but I got a notion one day and there I was signing up. What will come of it, who knows? And there’s the whole “you really should have a plan in mind” if you’re going to write something as ambitious as a novel, especially in 30 days time, lol. We shall see how this tree blooms I guess.

Here are some ramblings…nothing at all developed by any stretch, and it’s all off the cuff so to speak…no fleshed out plan of action, zero idea where the story is going really. Just scribbles…give me your ideas if you want. I’m no author as you will see, lol.

As the sun dipped below the range, Annie watched the last remaining bits of daylight slip away. The storm had been moving in slowly all afternoon, but she knew, with nightfall, it would pick up some speed. She looked down the long road that ran north from the cabin as if she could will the buckboard and horses to appear.
“He won’t be much longer. Must have stayed visiting too long is all,” she said quietly to herself. She knew he wasn’t just picking up supplies and the mail, but would surely stop in to see Reverend Black on the other side of town. The older gentleman had been the town minister for a decade, and a close family friend for the past year. He had been ill lately, and the hard years of being a circuit preacher before the town built a proper church home for him were showing heavily on him these days.
She edged the wick on the lamp up higher and pushed it closer to the window, hoping it could be seen from outside. “Just in case the snow picks up,” she breathed quietly.
As she headed back across the room to the bed, she checked on the fire in the stove and added a couple more sticks of wood to it. Pulling the coffee pot to the front, she checked to see how much was left, then set it to the back corner. She wrapped her shawl tightly around her shoulders and climbed back into the warmth of the quilts on the bed. Then she waited, straining to hear the sounds of anyone approaching the cabin, but the wind howled even louder and soon she drifted into sleep.

As the first gray light began to show against the window, Annie stretched and opened her eyes. “Morning!” she exclaimed as she scooted out from the quilts and tugged at her shawl. The cabin was cold, and the oil lamp flickered a low glow from the window across the room. She quickly opened the stove and stirred the ashes to reveal the few bits of glowing embers hidden there. She tossed a few pine cones into the ash and watched as it caught and sparked a nice flame. Adding some kindling she waited for it to take hold before adding the larger bits of wood. Once the fire was rolling, she closed the box and opened the chimney damper while scooting the coffee pot back to the front of the stove. She looked at the wood box by the side of the stove and was thankful Jacob had thought to fill it yesterday when the first clouds began to grow thick and heavy.
Turning her attention to lighting the other lamps, she began her usual morning chores…tucking the quilts in around the bed, getting dressed, combing and braiding her long dark hair and twisting it into a low knot at the back of her head. Reaching for the broom to sweep the floor, she turned to look at the window but saw only frost-covered glass. She didn’t know when she had fallen asleep, but she was sure no one had been down the road all night. She tried not to think about what the storm had brought overnight, or where her husband might be.
“Worry isn’t going to change a thing,” she chastised herself. “He most likely saw the way those clouds were moving and stayed in town with Reverend Black. Once daylight gives him the OK, he’ll head home.”
After tidying the cabin for the day, she bundled on two pairs of thick socks and the extra boots left by the door. Thankful for the heavy chore coat Jacob had hanging on the hook, she worked the buttons, grabbed her pair of work gloves, and unbolted the door. As she pulled it open, snow fell into the cabin at her feet. There was a good-sized drift along the full length of the small porch, almost knee high. She reached to the side of the door and found the barn shovel Jacob had brought to the porch. Struggling to push into the drift, she threw small bits of snow off to the sides of the porch. Once she cleared a space she could stand in, she pulled the door closed, wrapped her shawl more tightly around her head, and continued working the snow out of her way, heading toward the barn across the yard.

Jacob had been awake for hours. He had a small fire going and was digging thru the supplies packed under the canvas cover, looking for the bag of coffee. He found the tin of tea Annie had asked for. “That’ll do. I just want something hot,” he muttered.
He pulled the small metal pan from under the buckboard seat and filled it with fresh snow, setting it over the fire to melt. Reaching for the feed bucket, he used his foot, scrapped away some snow from in front of the horses, and dumped the grain on the ground. He packed the pail full of snow and set it on the fire as well.
The night had been cold, even with the boulders as a wind brace. He knew the horses wanted something warm in them same as he did. He looked around and tried to gather his bearings. From town, he had headed down the familiar road toward his homestead, but somewhere along the way, he had drifted off into the prairie. When he had realized what happened, he knew it was getting dark fast, and the snow was blowing too heavy for him to try getting back on the road. The rock outcropping was several miles long through this area, so he headed toward it for what shelter he could find.
“I should have left earlier. Jim and the boys were doing a good job of building the back wall onto Reverend Black’s lean-to. They didn’t really need my help.” He cursed to himself.
“Annie probably didn’t sleep at all with worrying over where I was.” He kicked at some sticks he had near the fire.
After watering the horses and getting some hot tea into himself, he pulled at their blankets and shook the snow out of them, folding them and placing them on the buckboard seat. He tightened the ropes down over the canvas cover and climbed up to grab the reins. “Let’s get out of these trees boys and find our road,” he urged the pair on, fighting the drifted snow along the edge of the stand of young pines.
Clear of the rocks and few trees, Jacob could see the faint outline of town to the far north. He turned toward the south and crept the wagon slowly through the least of the drifts. Somewhere out in this blanket of snow and drifts was a road. A road that would get him home.

Annie made a narrow path to the barn, pried open the frozen doors, and headed inside. The warmth from the two dairy cows and their calves, and the handful of chickens she had locked inside overnight was welcomed. Pulling the door behind her, she headed to the shelf and found the lantern and some matches. Once lit, she hung it on one of the posts and checked on how the calves fared overnight. Only a few weeks old, she found each bouncing about in their own stall, not a care in their world. She stroked the tufts of hair on the top of their heads and turned some hay into the stall for them. Moving to collect her milk bucket, she saw the chickens nestled along the beams of the loft.
“Get up ladies,” she called, scooting the handle of the hay fork in their direction. They clucked their displeasure at being disturbed, but flew down and started pecking at the handful of grains she had scattered on the barn floor. Dumping the rest of the scoop into the first stall, she unlatched the door and walked in to begin her milking. Devin, a large striped tomcat, walked in with her, nearly under her feet, watching for his own treat. Pulling off her gloves, she tucked them into her pockets and stroked his soft fur while he rubbed against her leg and purred for more.
“I won’t forget your milk old boy,” she told him as he sat back on his haunches near the milk pail.
As she milked, her mind wandered to Jacob. Did he stay in town with Reverend Black or had he tried to get home ahead of the storm? Was he now preparing to make the drive home, or had he been lost to the storm overnight?
With the milking done, and the soiled hay moved into the wheelbarrow, she broke the ice cover from the water buckets then grabbed her shovel and headed outside. The morning was growing brighter as the sun started to come up. She could clearly see that a great deal of snow had fallen during the night, creating large drifts against everything in its path across the prairie. After clearing the route to the privy, she stopped and glanced toward the direction of the road, hidden completely under drift upon drift of snow.
God, bring Jacob through this snow and back home safely, she prayed quietly. She placed the shovel back into the snowdrift along the porch and cleared as much as she could, uncovered the stacked wood they kept along one end, and grabbed an armful to take inside with her to top off the wood box.
Setting the wood on the floor just inside the cabin, she shook the snow from her shawl and coat, and kicked the packed bits of ice from the boots she wore. She closed the door and laid the coat on a chair she had pulled up near the stove, the boots were set behind the stove to dry. Stacking the wood into the box along the wall, she placed a log into the firebox of the large cook stove and started getting a bowl of dough worked up for fresh bread. Setting it aside to rise near the stove, she grabbed her Bible and sat down at the table.
And Ruth said, entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for wither thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest, I will lodge…

Her mind drifted back to Jacob. It had been just a year since they married and headed West with several other families. Their families were from the same area, though different towns, back east. They had shared a church and a schoolroom for most of their lives. She had always liked Jacob, even as a young girl. He had the biggest brown eyes she had ever seen, and his spirit was gentle toward everyone and everything. He would give you the shirt off his back and his last dollar if you truly had a need. When they started spending time together at the barn dances and church picnics, she knew her future was with him. Jacob was always out with her Pa and brothers, working in the fields, helping to build the barn after a fire destroyed it, stopping by for some of Ma’s raised doughnuts on Saturday afternoons. Having Jacob at the house among her family was as natural as having her own brothers there. They sat together at church services and shared family events together. He was a part of the family long before he spoke of marriage to her.
Noticing the bread dough spilling over the bowl, she put the Bible back on the night table near the bed and took the dough to the table. Tossing a handful of flour on the tabletop, she began working the dough and shaping the four loaves to be placed in the bread pans. Checking her fire once again, she laid a thin cloth over the bread pans to rise, wiped the remaining flour from the table, and grabbed her shawl. Heading back to the barn, she opened the roughly carved door in the floor of one corner and climbed down the short ladder to the root cellar Jacob had dug for them. She filled a basket with a couple of potatoes, several carrots, an onion, and a small dish of butter. Climbing out, she closed the door looked around the barn for the hens. Seeing them still scratching at the ground near the hay, she quietly walked over and looked into the pile of loose hay. There sat a fat hen and her three eggs. Shooing the bird off the nest, she collected the eggs.
“Sorry girl, but I’ll let you keep a few eggs this spring to hatch out. These,” she said as she placed them into the basket, “I want for a cake.”

Traveling was slow with the snowdrifts to fight. Once Jacob figured he was near the road, he turned the horses toward home. Still kicking himself for staying in town too long to make it home yesterday, he grabbed the shovel from the back of the buckboard and got down to lead the horses rather than ride. As they came to the larger drifts, he cut a path through for them to make it a bit easier.
“That storm came in from nowhere,” he said. “I guess it was blowing harder than I realized for us to lose the roadway altogether like that.” The conversation was more for himself than the horses, but they seemed to be listening while he talked, agreeing with a low neigh every so often.
“Annie is going to have my hide for making her worry like this. Being gone all night without word is bad enough, but to have all the morning chores to do in this snow, she’ll be fit to be tied I expect” He threw a shovelful of snow off to the side and guided the horses forward.
Inch by inch, snowdrift by snowdrift, he made a path along the frozen ground. Stopping to catch his breath and rub his hands together for warmth, he glanced over his shoulder behind him. There was no sign of the town now, not that his eyes could see at any rate. Ahead, he thought he could make out the copse of small trees that marked the fork in the road where he would turn and continue along the south road toward their cabin. Shoving his hands back into his gloves and tugging his hat down over his ears, he gave the reigns a pull and urged the horses forward again.
“Looks like the drifts are a bit less here,” he said to his team. Stowing the shovel on top of the canvas cover, he climbed back onto the seat and clicked the reigns. “I think I’ll let you two carve the path a while.” he told them as he settled back on the seat, still eyeing the tree grouping in the distance. “Let’s get home fellas.”

The bread was cooling on the table and Annie was just finishing the batter for an applesauce cake when she thought she heard bells outside. Grabbing her shawl from the chair she opened the door and rushed out to the porch. As her eyes scanned the snowdrifts, she saw a wagon set on runners coming down the road from the side. Disappointed it wasn’t Jacob, she watched as the driver turned beyond the barn and headed in the direction of town. Maybe they’ll see Jacob on the road and if he needs help…
She stopped her thought there. “Jacob is perfectly fine,” she spoke out loud and turned back into the house to finish her baking.
While the applesauce cake baked, she pulled out her mending basket and worked on some patches for Jacob’s pants. The project didn’t take long and soon she was back at the window staring toward the barn and the road beyond.
Soon. He will be home soon.

As the horses edged closer and closer to the trees, Jacob could see what he thought were trails of smoke from several chimneys across the expanse of flat land. If he had made his trail in the right direction, theirs would be the middle farm, with the Skott farm closer to town by several miles, and the Bill Latner’s place well beyond. He snapped the reigns and urged the horses to pick up the pace. The drifts were almost nonexistent right now and he saw the chance to make up some lost time.
Ahead, off to the right, he thought he could make out something coming toward him. With everything cast in white and the sun shining, it was hard to be sure, but it looked like it might be another wagon.
“If that’s a wagon fellas then I know we’re on the right road,” he said to the team as they kicked up fresh powdered snow with their hooves. They neighed, as though agreeing with him, and picked up their step. “We’ll be home in no time and you’ll have the comfort of a warm barn and fresh hay tonight.”

The day lingered on slowly, with Annie checking the horizon toward town several times. She had baked, mended, cut some scraps for her quilt, and finished a set of thick socks in her knitting basket.
“It’s not as though I can will him home by staring out the window,” she chided herself as she stood at the window yet again, straining to see past the barn and off into the distance.

If Jacob were home on a day like this, they would be working quietly side by side, he on some random project of his own, like oiling some wood, cleaning his hunting rifle, or scraping some bits of leather. She would have her knitting or her quilting in her lap. They might make light conversation about something he’d seen while in town, or talk of the garden and crop plans for the spring, but mostly, it would be a quiet day and they would simply enjoy being together in their snug cabin.

There was always work to be done on the homestead, even in the winter, but some days brought a stillness to the work outside, and Jacob could spend his time indoors with Annie. She cherished these days and silently prayed for more of them. She knew Jacob grew more restless in the winter, needing to feel the dirt under his feet, longing to be outside at the hand of the plow or hay fork. He found his serenity outside among the fields, surrounded by the sounds and smells of the emerging land as spring brought on its new life.

For Annie, the work of spring was good, too…getting outside after the long winter months, feeling the sun on her face as she worked at her tasks, the busyness of getting the kitchen garden prepared and planted, finding new chicks following their momma from a secret nest in the barn, and the sunsets that seemed to bathe their homestead in pinks and oranges. How could you not enjoy those days?

 

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August Notes…

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August hasn’t been busy in the sense most think a homestead should be. I haven’t got anything in the way of a garden, so there’s no mad rush to put by the harvest as things ripen. I do have a watermelon plant, lol. One watermelon rotted and split earlier in July, but we managed to save the other one (yep, 2 watermelons. be jealous of my garden.) and it was decently delicious. The tomatoes were killed in what I can only describe as a strategically planned attack by a crew of cut-throat tomato worms. We picked them off and disposed of them with the chickens (who were quite impressed, to say the least), but they kept returning with reinforcements. They finally prevailed and the tomatoes were lost.

Such is the life of the garden around here most years. What the intense heat doesn’t dry to a crisp under the deepest of mulch, or the dry, cracking clay doesn’t pull into its depths, there’s constant hard rains, flooding, and the handful of staunch scavenger bugs to kill. All in all I’d have to say Mississippi has a pretty fool-proof plan to ensure gardens are not very productive. My neighbors, the old timers anyway, all have large gardens and they do fairly well from my vantage point. Of course, they aren’t planting anything more serious than a small group of tomatoes really, maybe the handful of crookneck squash. Everything else is done up in greens….turnip, mustard, etc. That’s it. No corn, maybe a hot pepper or two, might even see a short line of purple hull peas, but that’s about it around here.

I miss my northern garden. Tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, several summer and winter squash, onions, potatoes, corn, zucchini, cucumbers, beets, a variety of bush and pole beans, english peas… the list goes on. What we didn’t grow on the homestead there, we harvested locally…apples by the bushels for putting by into pie filling, sauce, jelly, berries of all kinds, peaches, more corn than I could grow on our place.

I miss that. I’ve tried recreating that here, but all my Square Foot Gardening, southern gardening, hugelkulture and other resources haven’t helped my clay crud much yet. I keep pressing on. I mean really, folks have always lived in in The Deep South. They have all been fed by their own resources. This clay crud has always been a part of that process. Just because I’m a *spoiled-with-rich-black-nutrient-filled-soil* northern transplant doesn’t mean I can’t learn how to grow a decent garden here in this *red-clay-stays-flood-stage-wet-most-years-or-ground-cracking-dry-despite-mulch-so-deep-you-lose-your-hoe-in-it* soil.

Right?

Sigh. Going on 12 years. If I didn’t have just enough stubborn in my DNA, I’d concede that the South has won in this effort. But, I’ve still got lots of forest composted leaves, barn gleanings, and chickens here to continue the battle.

 

 

And there’s been a few other things going on here…we’ve been roaming the mountain collecting the wild goodies for our tincture making and salves. I have some Mimosa tincture now (split the batches into brandy/honey, scotch/honey, and straight vodka), as well as a restock of our healing salve and some black drawing salve. The elderberry glycerite is doing its thing in the herb cabinet and will be ready in a few weeks. No Fire Cider yet, but I do need to get it going for the season. I ran out last year, so I need to make a larger batch this time.

I’ve been working on destashing some odds and ends in the yarn basket and what better way to do that than to replenish the dishcloth basket right? I have several of the standard Peaches & Cream/Sugar & Cream cotton cloths in there, but my hands-down favorite is made from Bernat Handicrafter Cotton thread (similar in style and weight to the Aunt Lydias threads for doilies and the like…but way nicer to work with!). I’m not a great knitter, so I’m doing these in a simple half double crochet. I use 2 strands of whatever colors I grab, and with the half double, the resulting texture and weight is perfect. Soft and drapey enough for tight spaces in glassware, but sturdy enough to offer great scrubbing power. Definitely my go-to dishcloth.

 

There’s been a lot of dehydrator action here as well. I’ve been clearing out the freezers and getting all the frozen veggies dehydrated and into the pantry before I restock. I love having dehydrated veggies in the pantry to add to just about everything we make, especially during the winter cozy comfort food season. Everything dehydrated nicely, from mixed soup veggies, to broccoli, to onion and pepper blends. I did attempt to do a couple bags of slaw mix, but dang…that cabbage scent is not what I want for my air space during the day, LOL. We did Egg Roll in a Bowl and enjoyed it “scent free” as it were, LOL.

With the dehydrated veggies, I also made a gallon jar of Cream of… mix. I found it, as well as several other recipes in my stash at 21st Century Simple Living. We use a lot of cream soups, especially during the cooler months between casseroles and other meals. Of course they are easy to make on your own when needed, but there’s nothing wrong with having a whole large batch ready at the waiting in the pantry for even quicker use. This is truly as convenient as a can or two from the store, but far more healthy an option. I did the Cream of Chicken option, but even with the bouillon added, I can turn it into several soups by simply adding this or that. I expect it to be made often and used a lot.

I’m about ready to make another batch of the concentrated castile soap for our cleaning needs around here. I made it simple…a couple bars of Kirks Castile, grated and slowly melted into several cups of hot water. I poured it into a half gallon jar, added some peppermint essential oil for scent and let it set up in the pantry overnight. The results were a thickened gel-like concentrated soap. We’ve added this to buckets of hot water for scrubbing the floors, counters, you name it. I think I’ll stick to the peppermint in these batches…we’ve kept the ants at bay this season quite nicely.

We also did up some homemade liquid laundry detergent. I used Fels Naptha bar, plus a bar I still had of the Kirks Castile (feel free to sub a bar or 2 of Zote, or even 3 or so bars of Ivory for a sensitive skin option), washing soda (not baking soda…though I do add that to laundry to help with the hard water here), borax, a cup or so of liquid OxyClean (for the powdered soap option you can swap the regular OxyClean powder), and some orange essential oil for a fresh, sunshine scent. I did a full 5 gallon bucket and poured it into several containers I had on hand from previous liquid soaps. I still grab a bar of Fels Naptha I keep at the washer for wetting and pre-scrubbing stains. When this runs out, I may give the powdered version a try again. It’s been several years since I’ve made any so I need to find my niche again.

Another recent adventure was traveling from the homestead to Kansas/Missouri line to pick up Matt’s girlfriend for a week’s visit. I made the 16 hour round trip one Saturday (ok, it was more like a 22 hour round trip. I was a zombie for a couple of days.) and then Dewey and I made the return trip the next Saturday. His run only took us 21 hours, LOL. In our defense, we did stop for a 3 hour visit with an online friend and her family. They drove down about an hour and a half to meet up with us for lunch. And we drove thru the mountains of western Arkansas, so plenty of slow-down, curvy windy roads. The views were absolutely beautiful. I say we live on a mountain, and technically we do, but trust me, Mississippi doesn’t know MOUNTAINS like western Arkansas does. I could totally live there among the Ozark and the Ouachita National Forests and be in heaven.

 

My future plans revolve around a lot of deep prayer for a good solid winter hereon the homestead. I want long dark days with snow and cold. Crazy thinking to most of you I’m sure, but after 2 full months of nothing but 105* temps, rain, mud, and more rain, I really need some deep cold and some days of snow. I’d even settle for the threat of snow…you know, where the sky gets that certain gray-blue hue and there’s a cold wind moving around. You just know, if you’re up north, there will be heavy snow before the day ends. I would love a few of those days here. It doesn’t happen often at all, but maybe this year, after all this heat and all this rain…maybe…

Long gray days of woodstove heat, pots of soup simmering slow all day, fresh baked bread and rolls, quilting and yarn work by lamp light.

Definitely the course my dreams and prayers will be taking. Call me crazy. It’s how I roll.

What color is your wrapping paper?

I read something the other night and honestly, it both encouraged and discouraged me. I’m sure I’m not the only one who reads something and finds a peace and calming to the words and ideas, but then a sort of reality (real or imagined) creeps in and you feel a sense of loss, of sadness over those same words and ideas.

At least I would like to think that perhaps I am not the only one who does this.  Maybe it’s just crazy hormone stuff at my age, lol.

Here’s what I read…

                      If our hearts are right with the calling we as mothers have from The Lord, we can have great joy in the mundane, everyday tasks we have to do. I cannot think of a more pleasant feeling than sitting down to eat with my family around the table and everyone digging in and polishing off the food set before them and joining in  all the important family discussions. Our conversations range from belly-busting fun to very serious. Then we wash dishes and we sweep the floors. One day, then the next day. Again and again. That’s exactly what The Lord wants us to do, and what a wonderful, blessed, simply satisfying calling we have.

I have believed that sentiment for so many years of my life. Almost since I was first married. Honestly, it was there, in parts, long before that time. It’s in the family time, the caring for the home, eventually in the caring for the children that come. There’s just something special there, a gift The Lord has given us as mothers, as wives, as caregivers, that is almost magical in its core. Of course we’ve all heard the saying bloom where you are planted and while that’s true, sometimes it can be hard to keep in the forefront of our minds. We are children of God, yes, but we are also full flesh and susceptible to the whims and varying winds of the natural world we live in. There are situations that we walk thru daily that can bring us joy, or bring us depression of spirit. We are not immune because we are children of God, maintain a deep prayer life, strive our hardest to walk The Walk and live it to its fullest degree. If anything we are more susceptible to the air of discontent that thrives in our society because we have a constant enemy fighting to push us onto that side.

I am definitely not immune on any level to that discontent. I’ve bemoaned my lot in life [too] many times when that spirit of depression has taken my joy and walked away. It isn’t that I have a bad life at all…I have a husband who works hard to provide and take care of us, I have a home, I have my children and now a grandchild…it is a good life by any standard. Our homestead isn’t all I had dreamed it would be, but I also haven’t put my heart into all of the work that needs done here. My husband works hard to provide for us, but with this comes his being gone from the homestead, from the family, for lengths at a time. It causes suffering in the family, around the homestead, and most of all, in my spirit.

Therein lies the trouble. It isn’t that I can’t bloom where planted. It’s more that there are days where my spirit aches too deeply and won’t bloom. Those days I simply don’t find much joy in blooming anywhere, least of all where I’m planted. I used to. I would wake up with a joyful heart and start on the tasks of the day. I wasn’t Snow White, singing along with my chirping birds and forest creatures, but I wasn’t the Evil Queen either. I didn’t mind getting up to start laundry (even the hand-washing of all the laundry for a homestead of 11 people). I had no problems getting up and starting the same work, day in and day out, over and over…baking bread, prepping the meals of the day, sweeping and scrubbing the floors, dusting, etc. There was satisfaction in all that work. According to the section in my reading I shared, I had a right heart.

That is something I seem to no longer have in my life. And it shows.

I find nothing of satisfaction, of joy, in waking thru these mundane tasks each day. I still get up at an early hour, I still start in on those tasks and complete them, but there is nothing of joy in them. My spirit isn’t in them. I am merely on a sort of auto-play with my day. I do these tasks because I have to, not because I want to. I am not interested in playing my role in the family structure anymore. That obviously makes little difference as my role is still just that, my role. I am still a wife, still a mother, still a keeper at home. That isn’t going to change. My heart, my spirit, have changed though and I need to get those joys back.

I do still have some joy tucked away here and there. Sadly, it is most often found in tasks that are not related to my home or my family these days, which in turn, causes me to feel even more discouraged, disheartened, even guilty. How can I not find some joy in my family? I can see being bored somehow, needing more of some perceived excitement or something similar, but to just not find joy? How does a mother not find joy in her family and her home, in her calling that she has believed in for the length of her life?

You can see the spiraling affect this sort of thing has, right?

Sigh. Some days I simply want to let loose with some primal scream of utter rage and frustration. Some days I just want to cry for a good long while. My usual reaction however is I just get up, do the tasks, and feel the headache of it all. My spirit grumbles all the while. There’s nothing I can do in those moments to move beyond it, so I simply keep moving. I don’t like the phrase it is what it is but in all honesty, that about sums it up. My life is what it is. And a good deal of that is of my own making. It is truly a frustrating circle of existence. You do what you do because it’s all you can do in the day to day, which leads to more of those days where all you can do is keep moving on auto-pilot. There isn’t a resolution in sight because you have crafted the circle without any resolutions. I pray, I have my quiet time, I have just built a wall around myself to the extent I can’t see over it. I see nothing of fruit from those times. Of course my mind, my heart, knows that doesn’t mean there aren’t fruits there, it just means I have clouded my own vision to such a degree I no longer see beyond the wall around me.

Now lest you think I am spiraling into some deep depression, trust me, I’m not. I mean, I suppose I am on some level, but this crazy train is how my mind works. I have days where I can so clearly see the wall around me, where I need to acknowledge it and how it got there. Some have told me by doing that, by having that pity party of sorts, I am strengthening that wall myself. Some jump on the name it and claim it wagon and cheer my realization on. I tend to do a little of both I suppose. I see the wall, know that I built it pretty much on my own, start removing the blocks and open my view up a bit, and I continue along. It’s the same path in the end, bringing me back to that same wall, but I keep going because I know that 2 steps forward and 1 step backward will still move me ahead, and one day that wall will lose its last block and the rebuilding will take much longer.

If our hearts are right with the calling we as mothers have from The Lord, we can have great joy in the mundane, everyday tasks we have to do.

That’s the work of my part. The gift of that calling is from The Lord, but there is work on my part to pick it up and keep hold of it. There will always be tasks in our lives that will be looked upon as mundane. It’s in His Gift that we find the joy and blessing of that calling. The work is the same, with or without that Gift, but it’s up to us to see the package as wrapped in plain brown paper or some pretty, colorful wrapping. I am working on seeing more pretty, colorful wrapping…but I can find joy just as easily if I see plain brown paper.