Friday, January 29, 2010

Hemming My Day with Quietness

H[er] thoughts said,
What if I have not much time to gather my portion?

His Father said,
Hast thou only one minute?
Hem it with quietness.
Do not spend it in thinking how little time thou hast.
I can give thee much in a minute.

~~ Amy Carmichael ~~
His thoughts said . . . His Father said
[emphasis mine]

Lately, it has been less than quiet around here. Storms and power outages joined by a phone outage (dare I admit that I actually enjoyed that outage?) took us by surprise last weekend. Then sunny skies made an entrance and I spun such wonderful plans of being in the gardens each and every day with plenty of time available for my regular baking and yogurt making and marketing and all the rest . . . but . . . SURPRISE . . . another power outage in the clearest of weather (How inconvenient!) just as Gary and Rachel and I made off for a trip in to “The City” an hour away for a re-supply mission. We stopped, returned home, set up the generator and awaited the return of the grid. I grimaced. I fretted. I had a timeline and it included a youth meeting for Lydia at 6 pm. How could we manage it all?

I plunked down in my favorite chair and stared out the window, a pout creeping over my face. I reached down into my reading basket and picked up a little blue volume of Amy Carmichael’s thoughts/prayers. I read the quote from above. I paused. I read it again. I set the book back in the basket and kept the furrowed brow. Gary came in to announce that the power outage could be an extended one. Either power or another update would be along in a few hours. Grrrrrr . . .

I gave up thoughts of making my Costco run. I resigned myself to a misaligned day. I made myself a cup of tea and a sandwich of butter and cucumber with a dash of dill. I slunk back down into that favorite chair. Gentle music emanated from the armoire, which cleverly hides all of my 21st century entertainment gadgetry in an antiquated cabinet now powered by another new-fangled gadget – the generator, but I barely heard it. I sulked as I sipped. Slowly my feathers unruffled as I began to taste the tea and sandwich basted in strains of Mozart and Grieg . . . slowly the bile receded.

One by one the children came through the sitting room, plopping into this comfy chair or that as we carried ourselves away on conversation and laughter. I completely forgot about my powerless situation as we spun ideas for the springtime gardens and delighted ourselves with plans for all the rest of the sunny days that would surely come our way as Winter passed the torch to Spring.

Refreshed by the nibbles and tea and laughter, we all set about preparing for another prolonged power outage. I set a soup pot to simmer filled with potatoes, rutabagas, carrots, and more. The girls made off to practice music and fulfill duties that require light. The day began to take on a new shape . . . a nice, peaceful shape hemmed in quiet rather than worry.

All at once my husband ran through the house at an excited pace. “Power’s back up!” he called in passing. “If we leave now we can still do the shopping but there won’t be time for a restaurant stop.” I jumped up, satisfied by the recent repast and thus willing to forgo the planned visit to the Olive Garden, and prepared to dash about in frenzy; but just as I began to wring my hands and wonder if we could manage it all, the words of Amy Carmichael’s Father echoed in my heart:

I can give thee much in a minute.

I had just enjoyed a timeless moment of tea and chat with my children that had found no entry in the To Do list. Then my carefully segmented routine for the day flexed most generously, just as He promised, and dinner had been prepared. I sighed. I paused to thank Him for the generous minute and I handed over my anxiety in exchange for peace.

The drive through the beautiful Sierra Foothills on a gloriously sunny day after days and days of rain, the fun of playing “merchant ship from afar” with Rachel, the joy of a trip to a BIG craft shop for a fresh supply of origami paper and yarn, and all in the company of my dear husband who set aside a pressing workload to join us . . . well, need I say more?

We arrived home in plenty of time for Lydia to make her evening meeting. Elizabeth had tidied the house most thoroughly and folded all laundry while here in charge of Wisteria Cottage. The pot of soup I set upon the stove had simmered into a delightful dinner. Matthew greeted us with a smile. All felt in order, leaving me with the peaceful gift of a free evening and plenty of time for more hemming of the day in quiet.

And so today I sit at the window, watching another storm roll in; but I’m not worrying, I have my basket of devotional readings, my teapot at hand, and a generous moment for stitching quietly. And I do.

* * * * *
The recent spate of power problems has flummoxed my internet repeater, thus I have sporadic and limited internet with a very weak signal. I had hoped to post the much-requested tutorial by Rachel regarding Claymation, but will hold off until I have proper internet access for including pictures. (You probably noticed this post arrived without an accompanying pic.)

Stay tuned for an exciting adventure into the mind of an 11-year-old, a blob of clay, and a camera. It’s fascinating!


gail said...

Hello Debbie,

Don't worry about not having pics, it was just so nice to read your post today. Things have not been so peaceful around our place lately and your note today was a good reminder that the Lord wants us to live in peace and enjoy every moment he blesses us with.
Blessings Gail

Flea said...

Your post today really touched my heart. Thank you. And I can't wait to see into the mind of your 11 year old!

Tricia said...

I love that quote. May God bless you and encourage you today, dear friend.

Ruth MacC said...

This is a very hopeful post Debbie and I like what Gail said. I just had breakfast in my pj's in the kitchen, with my back to a warm radiator (it's sunny and frosty outside) on my own, Niall & Sean are still in bed and Reading your post just added to a beautiful and slow start to my Saturday. I feel better equiped to face the day! Btw, what is rutabagas?

sukipoet said...

I love "hem it with quietness." what a lovely day you had in the end. Isolated from modern inconveniences we fall back on old fashioned ways for a time. Look Fwd to the video ahead.

Karen Deborah said...

Awh yes, Amy can say so much so well as do you. Sounds like the rearranged day worked out so much better. This is a word I need to KEEP as I try and hustle all the work on the home front before Monday the 8th. I'll do what I can and what doesn't get done can wait.
Please write your commenter back who doesn't know what a rutabaga is!!
I was thinking homemade soup today. We are out of bread again so that is on the list for this week to!