September 7, 2009

Velveteen House Again

It's Labor Day and I just looked at the past two September postings and see that I said nothing about Labor Day. I'm needing to start working on editing my next book to be published, which is Cycle of Celebrations - Remembering God-in-Our-Midst. I'll be beginning the book's calendar year in September because of the Jewish Fall Festivals' New Year beginning around September, and that's always been more of a New Year rhythm for me to. But I'm beginning the book with talking about Sabbath and connecting it with Labor Day weekend, analyzing labor in connection with Creation and God working six days and asking us to have a seventh day rest. The center of my circular calendar I drew has Sabbath in the center. I'll post more about it later ... got to give it more thought and time in crafting what I write.

BUT ... I saw that my first Velveteen House post (another link to a more recent post) was in September 2007 and I've carried that theme occasionally throughout my blog. I copied a post below from 2007, because I thought it good, and I don't know how many people actually click on my sidebar months to see what calendar stuff I posted previously. Some things I've edited more and carried on to the current year's months, but not all!

The past weeks have been a continual flow of people and our Velveteen House has more memories bouncing off the walls and more nicks, scratches and bruises, as well as well-worn, loved places. I won't even begin to name names of visitors in case I miss and offend one. But very old friends, and more recent old friends, as well as varying groups of geologists and young people have passed through the door, made use of the whole house as well as the out-of-doors since it's the beautiful summer weather season. And Travis and Sarah have come and gone with young married friends and their little kiddos. Heather with Will are still living here, but soon to go home.

I've got to go fold the last air mattress still in Monte's office and put it away. Leftovers in the fridge are almost used up. I think things are going to quiet down now. School has started, yet I no longer have kids to school. The hummingbirds will start leaving after this weekend, then the bluebirds and robins ... We could get our first frost anytime now, but then Indian Summer till the end of October or into November (but I read a wet, cold winter is forecast for us ... we'll see). The above picture is of my wildflower area that I've striven for for years, and this year it worked! Now it should be permanent as some are perennials and others reseed.

Other than looking at Dawson's computer to see if he downloaded this weekend's photos yet, I've been getting my photoblog caught up. I've got to put together pictures on a memory stick for Heather to take home with her and put on her computer for her to start scrapbooking. I'm meeting more and more people who are making digital scrapbooks ... are you?

Now for the older post on this season of life - but moreso during school breaks now. Otherwise, it's just Monte and me ... which we're loving.

Finding the Sacred in Home

My latest stage of life has been with teenagers. Everyone makes messes, kids make messes; relationships are messy. Messes of teens differ from those of younger kids--they make their messes late at night, when I don't want to be up or in the kitchen.

We've made an agreement--that they attempt to clean up after themselves. I like clean counter-tops, but they can leave their dishes in the sink. So in the morning I'm a sleuth, trying to guess what they ate the night before.

Over the years I've really tried hard to stop a moment and think before reacting. It's not been easy because my first instinct is to respond negatively! Everyday I'm faced with choices: am I going to react negatively to the demands made on me, or am I going to choose to respond in a way that could bring more fun and joy and meaning to me and those around me?

I could approach the morning mess with grumbling, but I've taken on the attitude that each second of life is a miracle. So the dishes themselves and the fact that I'm cleaning them are miracles. How?

I have a wonderful home that people seem to want to hang out at. These teens have had their licenses for a couple years now and could be driving elsewhere (which they do), but they always return to our house. They are coming and going into the night. I don't always know who's been here, or who might be asleep on the couch when I come down in the morning. They like our home.

This attitude choice reminds me of Mary, Martha and Jesus. In sitting with this scripture in Luke 10:38-42, two things touch me: "Martha welcomed him into her house." Jesus returns to Martha's home often 'to hang out'. There must be a homey feeling about the place--good hospitality (notice 'hospital' in the word? I think of health-care and nurturing).

We typically hear about Mary's choosing to sit at Jesus' feet, and that's a good choice. Yet Jesus didn't tell Martha to stop her home-keeping and sit at his feet, but he did reprimand her for her attitude, telling her that she was "anxious and troubled". She was too 'self-preoccupied,' maybe self-pity, and therefore not present to Jesus in her doings.

In the quotidian of my daily doings there is the opportunity to be fully God-conscious, bringing joy to the mundane rhythms of life. Each morning, is a new day, to choose to love God--who desires to be present to me in all I do. In the repetitive mindless activities, God invites me to play. It is in the routine and the everyday that I find the possibilities for the greatest transformation. Done in a different spirit, what I think I'm only 'getting through' has the power to change me.


"The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days.
O may thy house be my abode
And all my work be praise."
- Isaac Watts (Ps 23:6)

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble"
- Helen Keller

"Oi-i-i-i! Mrs. Preston! You make the lowest nobody feel he's somebody."
"You're not a 'nobody,' Hannah Hayyeh. You're an artist--an artist laundress."
"What mean you an artist?"
"An artist is so filled with love for the beautiful that he has to express it in some way. You express it in your washing just as a painter paints it in a picture."
-Anzia Yezierska "Artist" (short story)
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