I hate to make a big pronouncement of the fact that this is the last week I'll be blogging (but it is, and, no, this is not yet my last post), as if I'm communicating something important because that feels really, really silly. So let's just move right along...
I'd like to fit in one more Monday Morning Daybook, so let's get down to it, and let's make it a long, rambly, stream of consciousness one:
Outside my window...
I enjoy the view out across the meadow as I sit at the computer drinking this morning's bold, black French-pressed coffee from my favorite round handmade-in-Poland mug. It's a bright, lovely morning. The rising sun shines lovely pink light on the western hills. Birds fly busily and cheerfully about, twittering and singing, as in a fairytale. The sky is vivid blue, and the morning air is crisp and refreshing, as always.
It's supposed to be in the upper 80's here today for the second day in a row, but the nice thing about the high desert is that, even when days are very warm, temperatures drop considerably in the evening (is it because of our elevation? 4500 feet?). The thermometer had dipped into the upper 30's this morning-- a nice, cool way to start what will should become a very warm day. We don't have an air conditioner to cool us on hot afternoons, but I've long been of the persuasion that it's not necessary to feel perfectly comfortable every moment of one's life.
Around the house...
The big push begins. My goal is to have every single thing in the house, except for the daily essentials (like my coffee press), packed today. And I want everything to be in storage or on its way to our new home by this weekend. Then I'll come back here to have the sale that was necessarily postponed last weekend and do a bit of final cleaning up.
It's a busy mess around here, but somehow there are still spots of order, and even little corners that are pleasant and pretty.
Paula Huston's The Holy Way. I've really benefited from this book. Some of Paula's insights have been timely and helpful. I've just discovered her blog, and I hope she'll be posting regularly.
That beautiful book by Tessa Kiros, Falling Cloudberries, though I must say I avoided it for two days when food, for maybe the first time in my life, repulsed me.
Jane Brocket's book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity, again, just because I am, you know, an incurable domestic. Jane is the kind of domestic who makes lovely things with her hands and admits to not caring much for cleaning (although her home is clearly very clean). I'm the kind of person who actually finds peace in the rhythms and order created by daily housework, and I even think of it as a holy task, but I'm with Jane when she says that a house should have the appearance of actually being lived in. Actually, I'm with Jane on just about everything. I think her book is great!
When I think about my domestic ways-- my inclination to tend to matters of house and home-- I realize it started when I was a young girl...
I was the type of young girl to want to make my bedroom happy and cosy. I loved playing house more than anything else, and when I was in third grade or so and got a cardboard corner cupboard for Christmas, I was in little girl domestic heaven! I placed the brand new transistor radio I also got for Christmas on one of the shelves and let carols serenade me as I quite happily puttered around cleaning my bedroom on Christmas morning.
I must admit, though, that "cleaning" my bedroom in those earliest years was often done in the fashion of piling all messes and clutter in the corner, covering it with a big blanket, and pulling it all into a tight ball, loose blanket ends tucked neatly underneath. (There! Doesn't that look nice?) In fact, I remember setting the corner cupboard up on one of these nicely covered piles of stuff-- they were actually sort of like miniature, indoor landfills! Apparently I didn't have much of a decorator's eye.
At any rate, while I was quite the domestic-minded little girl, I could tear around the neighborhood, on bike or on foot, with the best of the boys (and my sisters). We all loved playing sports, climbing trees, racing bikes, and building forts. (I suppose I was the most domestic tomboy ever.) When I was involved in fort-building, it was always with an eye toward making it a domestic haven. There would definitely be a kitchen, some place to sit, and a nice entryway. I would make sure there were wildflowers or greenery inside. And there would be a broom-- whether it was an old one Mom let us use or one we fashioned from a tree branch-- and I would happily and industriously sweep, sweep, sweep. When a fort has a dirt floor, there's never-ending sweeping material. Nary a pine needle or a leaf rested long on the floor of any fort I inhabited!
I can't say for certain that I keep my house as well as I kept my forts (I know I don't sweep that obsessively), but I was, still am, and will continue to be, I'm sure, an incurable domestic.
In the kitchen...
Not much, I'm afraid. First, I was too sick to eat. And on that note, let me interject a free tip here. When you've been too ill to eat for two days, do not start off again with a few bites of chocolate mousse, no matter how much you love chocolate and even if it's healthy avocado-based chocolate mousse. Not a good idea. By yesterday evening, though, the green lemonade tasted good. I think I'm on my way.
And suddenly, this morning, things like chocolate chip cookies sound good. Why? I haven't made them in ages, though I mentioned once before that I do believe I've made more chocolate chip cookies than any other person in the history of the world. I used to keep a continual supply of them in my home, and with my four kids, one hungry husband, and a constant stream of neighbor kids and visitors moving in and out of our home, the cookies didn't last long. Today, if I'm feeling well enough, I shall take a break and bake some cookies (and then I'll pack my baking sheets).
How much different my life is going to be when I leave this country home for life right in the midst of the city (yes, that's right, and I'll say more about this later this week). Pretty much everything will be different. I'll be able to walk or use mass transportation almost every place I'll need to go, which I love. I'll have no yard (but I will have window boxes, and there are parks right at hand). And my living space is, oh, more than six times smaller than the space I have now (!).
Did I mention my life will be a lot different when I move? But I really don't mind. In fact, I look forward to the challenges and blessings of this as I attmept to continue living quietly and simply in a very busy, bustling place. I've wanted to live a smaller life. I've wanted to develop a life of less being more, and here's my chance! Here's an opportunity to grow and learn and find joy exactly where I am. I know it won't always be easy, but I believe it will all "work together for good." So, I really do embrace this change. Home is wherever you make it. Home is wherever God leads you. And I know that where we're going is where we're supposed to be for now.
So, as I pack, I'm decluttering more than I ever have, and I've done a lot of it. I'm packing some things away for storage, and I'm taking just enough with me when I move. I've measured every bit of wall space in our new apartment, and have calculated what things will fit inside without leaving me with a cluttered jumble of stuff. It's been sort of fun to think what I want to take the most (or what will fit), and narrow things down to what is useful or beautiful (right, Lucille?!). And most meaningful.
What new things will I need there? Do I have those things, or can I use something I already have in place of it?
Which brings me to another thing I may as well ramble on about. If I need to buy something, I try first to buy something used, usually from a thrift or antique shop. I actually prefer older things because they have often have more interest, history, character, and charm than what is new. Plus, they're usually constructed of better quality than a similar new item, at a fraction of the cost.
I've always been draw to the plain beauty of vintage things. (These are not mine, though I have some utensils like this. I got the photo from a favorite blog, Vintage Living.)
But I'm not buying whatever strikes my fancy at either the thrift shop or the antique shops since I'm trying to live with less, not more. (And, at the same time, I'm trying to live more with less!) So, instead, when I need something in particular, I'll pop in to Goodwill or the antique warehouse to see if they have what I'm looking for or at least something I can creatively use in place of it. I guess you could say that, instead of hobby-thrifting, I'm Intentional-Thrifting.
In the midst of writing this, the boys woke up and wanted their "Mama," who had left just a short time before to take their dad to town. I took both boys to the couch and distracted them by pointing out birds and all of the pretty and interesting things we could see outside. I put their attention to looking and listening carefully so as not to miss anything. As always, it worked, and soon the bird-watching became so engaging that we were snuggled together, reading through the boys' favorite bird book. Roman decided that he is a Mountain Bluebird and Jayden is a White-Breasted Nuthatch. Jayden nodded enthusiastically in response and said, "I a nuthatch!" We watched the swallows move back and forth from their nest colony they built onto the side of our house to the surrounding countryside in search of food for their noisy babies. This faithful, relentless work by the adult birds to feed their babies amazes me. I'm thankful I'm not a bird. I'm too lazy. But maybe I should learn something...
Glad to be human, I lazily sipped my coffee and sat on the couch with the best two little boys in the world and enjoyed observing God's gift of nature that is around us. And finally, we got up and had ourselves some cereal.
We'll be leaving in town in a short time to stop by the bank, pick up the mail, and gather some more boxes for packing, so it's time to close this daybook.
Have an extra lovely day.