Thursday, October 28, 2010

Time's Limits

Sometimes life seems simple and spacious, and I begin a project to fill my leisure hours.

Like at the beginning of fall, when summer's crazyness is winding down, and my mind wanders ahead to the dark quiet evenings of winter, and the cozy, restful kind of work that can fill the two hours between the kids' bedtime and my own.

This fall I taught myself to knit. Inspired by Amanda Soule at Soulemama and her inspiring goal of knitting each of her family members (even her husband) a sweater for Christmas, I decided my first knitting project would be a white button down sweater for Raindrop. Something to turn short sleeved dresses and shirts into winter-ware, something that matches any outfit and makes it cozier. I chose a baby sweater pattern from my "Teach Yourself to Knit" book, and worked the stitches over and over again with the same piece of yarn, knitting it, unravelling it all, and knitting again until I was satisfied that I had the stitch figured out. If I'm going to spend all the money and time on it, I want to be happy with it when I'm done.

The problem is, my real life is neither simple nor spacious, and I don't have hours of time waiting for me to fill it. I have a myriad of projects and interests all clamoring for my time, all the more so since I began first grade with Christopher Robin in earnest at the beginning of September.

I have potatos and carrots and rutabagas to bring in from the garden before the ground freezes, I have squash to bring in and cook and freeze, a new pile of wood to stack, a book to read for the book club, piles of laundry waiting for me to fold at the end of most days, bills to pay, friends and family to keep in touch with, and soon, Christmas preparations to begin. And I'd like to fit blogging back into my life somewhere in a regular spot.

To my chagrin, I forgot about my basil patch (it was so lush and healthy, and I was so excited to try making pesto and having it on hand all winter to flavor pizza and pasta) until the frost had killed it. I hoped to add bulbs this fall, too...more tulips and darling crocuses and a patch of gladiolas, and now the time for that has nearly passed me by, too.

But the most imporant things, beginning my days in the Word, setting my mind on Christ, learning to live by the power of the Holy Spirit rather than in gritting my teeth and willing myself to do what's right, educating my children, reading scripture to them, learning to see them as people and respect them and hear them, those things have not been neglected this fall. The rest, my projects, my goals and hopes and dreams are just icing. If I don't get more bulbs planted this fall, I won't still be regretting that in 20 years (I may regret it if I don't get any apple trees planted this spring, however, because those could be a wonderful resource in 20 years), so I reach the end of my day and I choose. Tonight I'll blog for a little bit while three full baskets of laundry wait to be folded, and after this I'll turn on the gubernatorial debate, pick up the little white sweater, and knit. Not full of regrets that I can't get everything done. Just quietly thankful that I have so many good choices for how to spend my time.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gifts I've found on vacation in Illinois...

308. Sweet niece just my daughter's size, cooing, "Oh, so cute!!" about her little cousin. And sidling up to her with her head tilted lovingly towards her, and directing endearing smiles in her direction all evening.

309. Chili and corn muffins and fresh vegetables and pumpkin squares generously baked for us by our sister-in-law's mother

310. Experiencing for a few hours the home and town and life of my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and niece (and a very good life it is)

311. Warm evening walk through the pretty little town they call home, savouring the last few minutes with them before piling back into the van for 3 1/2 more grueling hours of travel

312. The Farm in October...pumpkins, cornstalks, giant metal towers full of kernals...riding in the combine, feeling the grind of the amazing machine beneath me while it pulls in whole cornstalks and spits the millions of individual kernals into the bin

313. Coyote, sleek and golden, running reluctantly out from the last of the corn rows as his hiding place is swollowed up

314. Rabbit, jumping out at the last possible far still surviving coyete's hunt and combine's blades

315. Two boys in the pickup with Grandpa

316. Apple cider

317. Raindrop's new word, "Windy". "It's windy, Mom!"

318. Reunion with best friends from college...nine years since we were together, picking up where we left off, wishing the hours would stretch a little to allow more time together.

319. A whole weekend with one of them, and her boundless generosity and limitless energy and perpetual cheeriness haven't changed, and I soak her in, and watch my kids become acquainted with her, and give thanks to God for this unexpected gift of seeing her again.