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…

10 thoughts on “Homework”

  1. fantastic post today my friend!

    How I wish we could get together & make applesauce or quilts or something…There’s nothing that makes fingers fly than good friends talking.

    Jessica’s last blog post..Read Me a Story

  2. This probably why I am also a huge fan of historical novels.

    I shudder to think of not having doctors, or not calling my mom everyday. We have become such a spoiled society.

    Those pioneer women would probably shake their heads and “tut..tut” us for all of our “luxuries.”

    Come to think of it, if I had been pregnant in the old days, I and Luner would have died in child birth. What a frightening thought.

    Leticia’s last blog post..The Rapture, ARE YO READY???

  3. Exactly, MIn!!! That is the GOOD NEWS! πŸ˜‰

    Leticia, I know! Losing children was a part of life back then…I think of the large numbers of children people had back then…wow…

  4. I get the same kind of things sometimes. The other day I was thanking God for indoor plumbing and running water in my kitchen. Its the little things…

    Bethanie’s last blog post..weight

  5. What an amazing post Mary! This started my day off well…made me think of all the simple things in my Life I have to be thankful for and there are tons of them. My Lil’ Man is 2 years old now and in the next month or so he will have a little brother or sister to play with. My husband went out elk hunting with my Dad and they got an elk so we will have meat in the freezer through the winter. I have my “other” baby-my 3.5 yr-old rottweiler who I should show my love to alot more than I do, but no matter what he still loves me to pieces. My sister just had a baby girl. All these things are such Blessings and nowadays most people take them for granted. We send our children off to daycare or school; we buy our food from the grocery store…you have no idea how much I have noticed this pregnancy that people nowadays think of children as less of a Blessing and more of a burden. When asked if DH and I plan to have more children and I say “if we’re able we’d like to have at least a few more” people look at me in shock like I am insane. My DH has been ridiculed and teased at work because he “allows” me to be a stay at home Mom. The guys there think that once the Baby is weaned that the Mom should be off to work and the Baby off to daycare to be raised by someone else. These simple joys have so much to offer us too. Look at the sad state of the world today; so many of these problems weren’t here when one parent always stayed home with the children. Sure there were still problems but not of the enormity and quantity that are out there nowadays. So I will thank God that there are some precious people out there like you all that realise how precious these simple things in Life are. One day hopefully there will be more of us out there that take Family Life as a number 1 priority.

  6. I don’t know what I was thinking-or not thinking-lol I forgot to say how thankful I am for my husband. I married an amazing man who loves and cherishes me and never fails to show it.

  7. Jessica, I really didn’t miss your comment the first time around…it was being held in moderation for some strange reason!! Sorry! Thanks for the encouragement, and wouldn’t it be the best if we could someday sit in each other’s kitchens and have a good heart to heart! You’re right…there’s nothing like kitchen work and good friends to share it with! Some of my favorite times for sure! It doesn’t even feel like work. Today I’ve been hitting the rest of my apples hard and have had no help! So I turned it into time to listen to a batch of Mailbag tapes from the Pearls…fascinating topics. Time didn’t fly, but it didn’t creep either!

    Oh Bethanie…running water is SO taken for granted, isn’t it? It’s hard to believe there are plenty of women out there still walking miles each day for whatever water they can carry home by their own muscle power. I’ve been without running water PLENTY enough to appreciate it…our well seems to go through pumps quite often–thankfully hubby is SOOO good about replacing them ASAP. And the funny thing is, these pumps are all guaranteed for three years…so we’ve had several free replacements. Anyhow, I so identify with your comment! That attitude of gratefulness is like a tidal wave affecting our outlook. Just as an automatic cynic can find things to be bitter about in everything good.

    Geri, I saw in my sidebar that you’d commented and my heart did a flip-flop! It’s been so long, girl! I’m so glad to see you here and hear how things in your life are going! One month to go!!! And your sis had a girl! Now if you have one, won’t they have fun–the same ages almost! I loved your heart-ramble, it’s so good to chime together on these things. And it’s amazing these wonderful guys we married who cherish us and our children, and are willing to go outside the cultural box in how they view providing for their own. What those other guys at your dh’s workplace are missing out on! I know not everyone can stay at home and raise their families…but I think more people could afford it than you’d think. It’s a sacrifice of material proportions, but it’s a BLESSING unparalleled!

    SOOOOO good to hear from you again! Take care, sweetie!

  8. Yes, that’s what my DH tries to explain to those guys-that you can’t have all the material things, that maybe you can afford only 1 cell phone or none at all (we keep one cell so if I need to get a hold of him if labour starts lol), maybe we won’t have the biggest nicest house or the fastest sleekest car, but none of those things matter. I would rather give up on some things than lose out on my Family Life. With elections coming up here in Canada, my husband and I have noticed every candidate stating how important on their list childcare is. I agree that for single parent families childcare is extremely important for them to get free of charge. But personally I feel that for the little bit extra a person makes after paying for childcare now…why are they trying so hard to be away from their child anyways? I can’t imagine going back to work ever, as long as my children are home. If it got hard enough that I needed to provide money for my family I would rather try working around the home to provide money or try my hand at gardening to provide food, or whatever was needed.

    Anyways yes it has been a terribly long time Mary hasn’t it! I check in here every so often but have rarely had actual time to post anything and I do miss it so! I miss the emails from your site letting me know there are new comments, etc. But my Lil’ Man has been keeping me busy and then things have been busy within my entire “other” family. My sister having her Baby, my Mom and little brother went to stay with her so my Dad and I are taking care of my other little sister. While my Dad and husband went out hunting I had to go and stay with her and make sure she made it to school, hockey, and volleyball on time and feed her, etc. It’s been great because I haven’t had much time to bond with her since I moved out (there is 9 years between us so she will be 17-tomorrow!) and I think she feels since it’s only her and my littlest brother at home now that she needs some older sister presence in her Life.

    I hope everything has been going well for you Mary! Looks like everything on here has been good and hopefully we can catch up more in future. I will send you an email when I have my second little one! Miss you!

  9. Well, really, the more stuff you buy, the more time you are obligated to spend paying it all off! Would we rather have time with our family or more stuff? I am still way too materialistic for my own good. I just wish we could live off our own land and not have to pay taxes or anything. Self-sufficient! It’s easy to be satisfied with little until people around you begin to pity you because you don’t have cable or cell phones or new cars. It’s a strange mix, because if anyone pities anyone, I pity them!

    I understand you being super busy–it sounds like it’s all good things in your life keeping you so. Same here. We are having a hum-dinger of a good school year…it keeps us busy all day long, but we’re having a lot of fun. I’m getting a better education this second time around, b/c I actually care and am interested in what I’m learning. It’s pretty cool! You BETTER email me when that baby arrives! This next month will fly by, on my end anyway.

    (((Hugs)))

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