Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jumping in where we left off

 When I don't know where to start I just jump in. 

Yesterday in the shower I had that sort of thought that starts a writer down a leafy path of light and shadowy ideas. Determined to remember, I rinsed and dried and turned the idea over looking for its brightest reflection. Then, someone needed cookie dough and whatever was on my mind whirled away with each rotation of the mixer. It happens.

This month we celebrated the new year. We celebrated Laura's fifth birthday. We celebrated the arrival of seed catalogs and the installation of the children’s bathroom floor. That’s Laura with the cutting implement to trim the black-and-white vinyl. Grandpa lets her do the most amazing things.

I am scheming and plotting for the day when my bathroom is then all mine. A-hem.
If you had a daughter like Laura, a son like Salvador, and maybe you do, you’d know that moments of consideration, minutes devoted to development of an idea are precious.
I should spend more time in the shower.

This morning Madeleine is out mucking stalls because (drum roll) it is not raining. When it is raining, and it has been often, the horses are in the stalls and don’t appreciate being kicked out for a thing like a wheelbarrow.

Two Spot had a bad limp on Tuesday. I noticed him in the pasture as we were driving to tap class in the afternoon and then of course I couldn’t breathe for the entire drive-drop-off-turn-around segment of the afternoon.

While the girls were dancing I went out in the pasture to where he whinnied for me, his pony mares already running in for a treat. He stood still and called to me.My breathing was hardly better. This gentlemen Arab, this painted horse of mine, he is more than a horse, more than a friend, and I. Am. Not. Ready.

So I trekked nearly to the pond and fought the ponies for the carrots in my pocket and prayed that he whose registered name is “Colorful Gentleman” (who does that?) was just playing possum at the far end of the property.

To save you the suspense I’ll say that there are no cuts, no infections, just a bruised hoof likely from overconfidently descending the stony hillside. He is already much better. Pretty sure it was the carrots.

So this morning Madeleine is cleaning stalls for the arrival of two new friends for our herd. Even though it is a puppy I crave, these Morgans coming to live here will be good medicine for Two Spot and me, because change is a good thing. Or so I keep hearing.

In renovation news: The kids’ bathroom has framed walls, installed flooring, sink, cabinets and toilet. The tub would be in and the walls finished if I could make up my mind about the tub. Pesky decision-making gets in the way of, well, a lot of things.

We have a whirlpool tub/shower combination in my bathroom, a stand-alone shower in the second bathroom. I want a simple soaking tub for the children’s bathroom but the previous owner left us a brand new, expensive whirlpool tub – not the choice I’d make for my preschool and toddler children. I have two cast iron clawfoot tubs (because I’m a hoarder?) but they cannot be installed upstairs in this farmhouse so they languish for the day I tear out the whirlpool tub in my bathroom (what do I have against these poor tubs?).

So I went on the hunt for a simple soaking tub and then decided that a tub is not worth a mortgage payment.

And the bathroom is unfinished. But since I do my best thinking in the shower, and that shower/tub is currently shared with Mr. Suite and our five children (the other shower is Grandpa’s), you’d think I would get with it.

You’d think.

But most days I just jump in where I am.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolution shmesolution

 I used to love "year in review" articles. I'd eagerly await the big fat newspaper and relive the highs and lows of a year gone by. I still adore Christmas letters even while recognizing their general rose-colored tint and careful skew toward the positive.
I want to remember the good, the best, the beautiful. When I think about the low points and hardships I want to, in that same thought process, to point myself toward some small (or huge!) redeeming glimmer that perhaps brightened a dark time.

Just before Christmas my girls had the beautiful privilege to lead a ballet party for a 5-year-old with Leukemia.Her sister and her friends donned tutus and twirled for two hours to make some memories that we dearly hope will sustain her through a difficult round of treatment.
 Four years ago, for more than a year, our Sarah was so very sick. I didn't see any shimmer and I didn't, to be truthful, want anyone's encouragement that it would turn out alright. I was overwhelmed with doctor's opinions and hospital visits and test results and the need to remain upright for most every day and a lot of the nights.The weight of seeing other families' babies in danger and pain at the children's hospital was too much. My crushing fear made it impossible for me to be comforted even by anyone else's healing miracle.
I know for sure that God made us each unique and I was reminded of this once again when our new little friend's mother wanted Sarah to talk to her daughter, the brave tiny ballerina, about Sarah's illness and recovery. About how the idea of ballet got Sarah through her worst pain. It did, you know; when she was the brave tiny dancer, Sarah asked all the doctors, nurses, phlebotomists and imaging people: "When this is over, can I go to ballet class?"

Somehow in goodness and grace, our miracle comforted someone else.

So even though I don't prefer year-in-review stories anymore -- the difficult year our world has just left behind had its horrors that I don't want to recap -- I will listen to your miracles, your rose-colored remembrances and your victories over hardship. I am willing to be encouraged by the way you were brought through and over and around. And I hope in some small way I can offer you a glimmer of hope that emerges from my life's less-than-wonderful moments.

God is Good.