Homework

I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been so thankful for a good stove this week. For instance, on Tuesday several good friends came over and apple peels and paring knives flew as we processed several gallons of homemade applesauce and a big batch of pie filling. Every burner on my stove had a big kettle in action, we were cookin’!

Earlier that day I’d baked home-made bread, and that evening for supper I mixed up a double batch of biscuits. The poor stove really got a work-out, but it made the grade. What would I do without it? I shrivel up at the thought!

When I think of household appliances that I can’t live without, I usually think of my refrigerator or my washing machine. I can hardly imagine the pre-electricity era, perhaps that’s why I love historical fiction…my fascination with the nuts and bolts of everyday living in the pioneer days and beyond. Those women had more reason than any of us to be depressed and despairing at circumstances, but weren’t afforded time for that “luxury”! So far from home and no neighbors to speak of…just their husband, children and the prairie winds howling in the draws. Dirt floors, big gardens, hauling water, no doctors, no post office, no internet, no grocery store or microwave to thaw last minute supper ideas…no antidepressants or Excedrin Migraine.

I think the hardness of life was their salvation. I mean, really. When you have the immense challenge of staying alive and providing for your family, you relish the job. Those women were survivors. Would they understand our pitiful excuses for credit card debt, messy homes and unruly children? Doubtful. When we can do all of our housework at the push of a button, housework that nubbed our ancestors’ knuckles to the bone? Touch-tone convenience at our fingertips, and we feel so unfulfilled with life. So worn out and exhausted by minor details.

Why not be exhilarated by the mundane in our lives? Sure we do so many loads of laundry a day and it does seem pointless at times…but there’s nothing like that fresh laundry smell and knowing your husband rolls out of bed each morning to crisp, clean-scented clothes. He may not say anything, but you can bet he appreciates it! For every mind-numbing chore, there is a blessing to be found. I’m convinced. My point is, look for the amazing and you’ll find and cherish it. Every time. It’s a mindset worth cultivating. Your children will thank you, because, hopefully, they’ll pick it up from your good vibes!

As I grow older, I’m seeing how precious this life is to me. Maybe this awe of life hits everyone in their thirties, but I feel so humbled by the blessings surrounding me–this year especially. Maybe God is working the knots loose in my soul, but whatever it is that causes happy tears to come at a moment’s notice, I’m reveling in the richness of life. A strong good man at my side, three thoughtful and loving children, an awesome extended family…this country life that has me wrapped around its every wild and rambling rocky way.

Strangely, a new part of me has come to life, one that is half afraid that this dewy morning dawn perspective of life is God’s way of spoiling me before tragedy strikes. I don’t know, but whatever the future holds…

I’m going to smile at my four year old’s sleepy “good mornings”…

I’m going to swell up right alongside my children’s achievements…

I’m going to sing to my chickens…

…and coo at my flowers

I’m going to embrace every shake of the apple tree…

I’m going to enjoy new and old friendships, be awed by God’s miracles, be amazed at His repeated grace in my fumbled outpourings.

And I’m going to do my homework. Because I find that the older I get, the more pleasure there is to be found in keeping things simple. Caring for me and mine and doing whatever the day and God requires of me…that’s my great commission.

Never underestimate the power of contentment, kindness and grace. With these three in your apron pocket, life can be full indeed…