Monday, April 20, 2009

Rambling and Musing

Mr. Bingley Rambling

Toulouse Musing

It’s Sunday morning and the sun has gently slid up over the mountains and splashed rays of brightness down into my little valley.

Out of the north comes golden splendor;
Around God is awesome majesty.
Job 37:22

I know I have posted this on Monday morning, simply because I have dedicated my Sunday posts to God’s Word (not mine) and I hadn’t seen this particular splendid moment until just now. I didn’t want to wait until next Sunday, nor crowd out this Sunday’s post, thus . . . I hastily scribbled this down and saved it on blogger’s handy schedule plan. (You know I LOVE options!) But I digress . . .

. . . ummmmmmmm . . . I believe this whole post will be a digression. Like a newly-sprung freshet, my mind wanders and meanders all over the place today. I fell asleep last night before 11 pm for no other reason than I felt tired out. The past few days of gardening and cooking and experimenting and a wee bit of battling with Matthew (prayers still appreciated), wrapped up in a luscious Swedish massage courtesy of dear Elizabeth, made for one tuckered gal. I crawled into bed to read another chapter in this fascinating book of interviews with monks at a nearby monastery (title info and author escape me just now . . . but I’ll find it), tucked a fragrant pot of lavender aromatherapy in bed with me and promptly fell drowsy . . . and asleep. I awoke refreshed and so ALIVE in my quiet household.

The girls arose and readied themselves for church – big girls now need little more than topsy-tail assistance now and again – while I brewed a pot of tea and set aside a leftover biscuit for my tea. I used to hustle and bustle around on Sunday mornings with all the bathing and prep and primping before scurrying off to church, but of late I stay home with Matthew (who’s pickle-ish behavior changed our routine). What began as a “loss” for me has become a true gain. I find myself quiet and alone with my Lord on Sunday mornings. Sometimes I sing or pray on my knees or stroll the gardens in conversation, other times I merely sit in pure silence . . . but always, I sit at His feet.

At first I missed the hymn singing, the sermons, the corporate prayer, the chatter in the halls following worship, and the hastily formed “dates” to get together with friends at a local café or tea house. For years I couldn’t “join in” on all the church games because of my home duties, and I always felt a longing to be part of the hub-bub. Amy Carmichael oft expressed an Indian saying, “Children tie the mother’s feet.” A dear friend shared this with me years ago when I fretted about missing a church function and thus failing to serve God fully. Kathleen looked deeply into my eyes and shared the quote; she then prayed that I would see how much more God valued the home duties he had placed on my agenda than the church tasks I longed to place on my list. Understanding flooded my heart like golden light in a valley . . . God refreshed my agenda and I smiled as I stayed home on Bible Study days and many others.

The past few years have found my life opening up to so many opportunities. When Andrew went home to Jesus I came into possession of so many more hours in the day . . . hours that had previously been filled with his care. I ached in those empty hours, but slowly and gently the Lord opened doors for me to walk through. I took mission trips, met friends in cafes, served on committees, and became quite involved outside the home. After a fashion, events called me home again. Parental issues threaded with sorrow required attention, a college-bound daughter called me to aid, a son on the entrance to manhood balked in fear and needed more support, and so much more called me back home. When I turned back my agenda and focused on the homefront I found more than duty, I found great joy in recapturing the home-made lifestyle . . . full from-scratch cooking and more. My busy social agenda had necessitated trips to the deli instead of the pantry, one-gallon plantings rather than seeds, and a deficit in quiet tea-times in the afternoon. God’s carefully inserted thorns in my schedule revealed a peace and joy in moments I forgot to miss.

Like the US economy, my life took a sharp turn. In the beginning I chafed a bit at the return to a “tied” state, but soon I flourished in the beds enriched with possibility. For starters Gary saw the economic writing on the wall and asked that we return to our goals of self-sufficiency. In days gone by we lived in Felton (near Santa Cruz, CA) and dreamed of a self-sufficient life. We deemed our beloved Willow Cottage the "wrong" place and I went in search of the "right" spot. After countless hours in the car with the kids, I found a plot of land with a “house” (rustic but cute, if far too tiny for our growing clan) near the coast in a little town called Bonnie Doon – a smattering of acreage in need of a dream and some tending.

We hatched plans for growing lavender, raising bees, making soaps, and baking bread. Gary’s crazy round-the-clock work schedule demanded too much of him and the family received far too little. We prayed for self-sufficiency and I spun plans accordingly. I read voraciously and practiced each evening while Gary worked away from home building lasers, testing lasers, tweaking lasers. He worked; I worked. I found that lavender required dry and we had wet; that whole wheat bread in quantity taxed my mixer and exceeded my muscle-power; that my lavender soap smelled wonderful but without home-grown lavender for essential oils the cost of production exceeded reasonable resale; and so the list grew in failure ( . . . um, I meant “The learning curve continued”).

I had to let go the dreams I had spun with such delight – we didn't move to Bonnie Doon. We didn't get off the grid. We didn't find the open doorway. I wept from exhaustion and disappointment.

Little did I know that the Lord had opened another doorway, one leading Gary to run a high-tech consulting/manufacturing business from our very home. I’d never thought of that! When that opportunity presented itself, I switched gears and prayers. We excitedly ventured right into a difficult and VERY dark period in our life of business partners, betrayal, near-bankruptcy, and failing health on our son Andrew’s part. It didn’t just rain on us, it POURED and hailed and nearly washed us away in brokenness. (I’ll save that story for another post sometime down the line when I feel strong enough to revisit those unsavory memories).

All of this unpleasantness forced us to sell our beloved Willow Cottage and move to Grass Valley in search of a new start and a larger home (we’d added two more babies by now – sweet joy in the midst of so much slog). I found our future home on the internet and never personally laid eyes on it before moving in (God knew . . . Gary knew . . . and my feet were tied to home). We left Felton at midnight one Friday in July and arrived in Grass Valley at 5 am. The first rays of morning light had just broken through and bathed our new home and the barren dell around it in “golden splendor.” My eager gaze filled in the barren red land with dreams of gardens and grasses and beauty under the spreading branches of towering pines and mighty oaks from days gone by. Sure, I missed my majestic redwoods and darling cozy Willow Cottage, but new dreams were to be found here at Wisteria Cottage, my English Cottage-styled dream home, and my heart swelled with thanks to my God and His agenda.

Ah, I see I have rambled hither and yon on this golden morning. The sun has shone her full face and the white blossoms on the cherry tree call me like a beacon. Matthew still sleeps, as does Elizabeth (readying herself for another grueling 8-week schedule of massage training – with all that delightful homework . . . I can hardly wait!), and the other family members remain away at church. Since I have finished my tea and heard a heart-felt call to the gardens, I shall sign off for now and go check on our newly planted beds of veggies. I’ll be back later to tell you all about the building of the raised beds, the filling of them with fresh soil, the pick-up truck that sank into the lands (being a wee bit overfull of “ripely-manured” soil), and more fun stories of our latest venture in our back-to-the-land plan. I will also have an update on those instant refried beans I mentioned in an earlier post. I think I’m onto something wonderful!

Oh, I could babble away forever with you, my sweet friends, but I truly must be out of this chair and into the gardens . . . but I’ll be back later . . . ; D


Flea said...

Sounds like you had a fantastic day on tap. And like God has you just where He designed you to be. Be joyful, friend!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

beautiful day and wonderful plans God makes for us if only we will listen and follow :)

Kat said...

Oh how beautiful! And how well written!
Thank you for that reminder. That God's plan always exceeds our own.
Wonderful, wonderful!

And yes. Continued prayers! :)

jojo said...

what a wonderful way to start my day...thank you ;D

Anonymous said...

I was uplifted by your story - but I am afraid I need much more faith to accept events that come to me. Please pray for me for faith.

Taking care Susan is challenging - especially in the morning - which used to be my best time to think and organize - now seems that I am alwas in a hurry and endless task to to go. Lily

June said...

I am thankful for your post today. So well written. And so many of the things I feel. Raising Landon has brought me gifts I could only have imagined several years ago. I first needed to let go of the unimportant. The things I could no longer have in my life. It was a time of mourning for me. My life however is fuller and deeper now. Letting go was good for me. I too, am not able to go to church as much as I would like to now, but caring for Landon is like saying a prayer. I know that I am doing a little of God's work in my own little way.
Hugs from Idaho, June

Sit-N-Chat said...

I hope you had a worshipful Sunday. I enjoyed reading your words. We had a great day at our little church. We baptized a sweet 9 year old girl. Our church is 12 miles from a small town, 45 miles from our town. In the country. But one of our members has a remodeled mission building where she has an antique store, open only when someone drives by, reads the sign, and calls her. A couple of years ago, another lady started serving Sunday lunch in the store. She quit that after a while but has started serving again in her own home. Not a large # come out in the country for lunch but it is a good time for those who do. We have around 50 at church and many of these visit and eat together. Some live in the country, some in the small towns nearby. Brian and I stay at the church building on Sunday afternoons and read or rest. A room is furnished with a recliner and a couch. Our evening service is at 6:00. That was our day. The weather was nice but windy. We love the people. God is working with us.
I hope to get out in my yard tomorrow at least to water the thirsty plants.
I enjoy reading about your days and do pray for you. I haven't been writing much for my blog but that is a plan for my future days. We will soon have our study organized and the computer moved and both of us can be out there "working" together.

On my way to dreamland,

gail said...

Hello Debbie,

Thankyou for sharing that with us today. I enjoy reading your thoughts and find your writing very calming.

Blessings Gail

Elizabeth said...

I enjoyed learning more about you today...I need to be more of a from scratch kind of person myself! Not taking the easy route, but the more savvy route instead! Thanks for sharing yourself with us again :)

Shelby said...

I just listened to almost all your playlist!! Love the music and the theme of your place here.. happy day!

LadiesoftheHouse said...

I loved hearing about another portion of your life. I can so relate to wanting to homestead, to spread my wings and return to the land. I know we are capable, it just doesn't seem to be in God's timing right now. With one daughter graduating next month and the other entering the teen years I know we are not far off from realizing dreams of our own that don't involve schoolwork!

Also, I too feel sometimes that I can worship more fully sometimes at home. It took me a while to realize that, without feeling guilty for not being in the church everytime the doors were open.

Have a wonderful day and know that I keep you in my thoughts and prayers concerning your son's growing independence--something I struggle with on a daily basis with my younger daughter. Just last night I declared to anyone that would listen that heaven surely will be free of ARGUING WITH MOM! LOL

Karey said...

Thanks for sharing more of you Deb. I can't believe our similarities! Your rememberings remind me of my journey. I posted a bit of it here:

I have a book I want to write: Homemaking Beyond Maintenance (the title is preserved at Amazon, but no book yet), but it's message, originally from a workshop, keeps changing with time. A big piece of it is knowing what's beyond maintenance in a life before busyness, and the need to understand or 'name' what created that lifestyle, and then return.

I am an introvert and learning more about ME and what causes me to go crazy has helped me learn how to say "no" and what's important.

We're working at returning to those 'first loves' of lifestyle choices.

noble pig said...

I'm so happy you found your way and without looking back...which is always the best way to arrive.

Karen Deborah said...

oh friend, it is so sweet. I know the story and yet I love to read the story; and more than that so grateful that God allowed me to be a part of the story.