I know this may sound bizarre, but sometimes I am quite convinced this ancient house we Sabourins dwell in has a soul. I think of her not as a place but as an extension of our family, one I bicker with when she springs random leaks or when her plaster cracks and crumbles – when she invites the cold to pour in through the numerous gaps in her (peeling) wood siding, and single pane windows. I have found that when I gingerly tend to her, however, with a soapy mop, a swiffer feather duster – when I care for her by keeping her tidy, and by adorning her with cut flowers and framed photos of those most precious to me, she responds, she stands a little taller, a little prouder, like how Charlie Brown's humble Christmas tree bloomed miraculously with beauty and gracefulness upon feeling truly appreciated.
This morning, I awoke to Troy's arms around me and Mary, on the other side of the bed, snuggled up beside me, snoring; Priscilla was laying at our feet under the heavy down comforter which kept us toasty and me hitting the snooze button not once, not twice, but three times before finally emerging from our oasis of rest and comfort. My old house creaked and moaned right along with me as I ventured down her stairs to make the coffee. Sunlight greeted us in the kitchen and the reality that life consists mostly of plain old hard work peppered here and there with sweet moments of giddiness, relaxation and laughter, jolted me awake and right back to the grind that is managing a household as I began preparing breakfast, gathering laundry, spewing reminders about teeth brushing, bed making, putting homework in backpacks.
"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you have was once among the things you only hoped for," wrote the Greek philosopher, Epicurus. I dreamed, when I was teenager, of someday finding a good man to share my days on this earth with, of having children with him, of inhabiting a house containing priceless memories of our long life together and enduring love. Ya'll, I'm livin' the dream! I cannot forget that! I should never forget that! And this house, as crazy imperfect as it is, is our shelter from the storms. My job as a mother is to keep it a sanctuary of peace, a place for my family to refuel before heading out into the hecticness and ruthlessness of this world. We are partners, the house and I, laboring as a team to forever bless my beloveds with a courage inducing, faith inspiring, sense of security. Today I dedicate the following poem to her, and vow to really try to grumble less about the inconsequentials, especially in light of my family's health,"wealth" (our physical needs are being more than met) and limitless devotion to one another.
Here's to you, my fine, three-story, Victorian friend!
What My House Would Be Like If It Were A Person
Beg your five-year-old to whip you up some of these this afternoon:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375°.
Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars until light. Add the egg and mix until fluffy.
Blend the flour, baking powder, soda and salt together well. Add these dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the chocolate chips.
Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 375°.
Everything about this past weekend was deliciously Autumn. It's officially sweater weather out here: cool, dry, dying leaf scented. Troy and my brother, Bobby, took our girls and my neices, Jane and Isabelle, to a father/daughter campout. Isn't that the sweetest? I heard some serious four-wheeling took place followed by smores and a bonfire. Elijah, Benji and I, meanwhile…
We ate chili (or inhaled it, rather) – my FAVORITE:
and apple pie:
Then on Sunday, after Liturgy, I welcomed home my dirty, scruffy husband and daughters and we all headed back to my parents' to celebrate Janie's 4th Birthday:
It's too bad her birthday candle was so small and dinky ; )
Finally, we headed home to get ready for a brand new school/ work week where we were greeted by this guy:
After assuring Benjamin he was not a tarantula, we headed inside. The kids got showers, I started some laundry, made lunches for Monday, and then walked upstairs to find this tender moment taking place:
which made me fall head over heels in love with my husband all over again.
We brought out our down comforter and I crashed into bed at 9:30 pm. I woke up refreshed for a change (I've had some insomnia issues lately) and therefore much more prepared to absorb the unexpected, such as a phone call from the school nurse saying my son had accidently stapled his thumbs together. He's fine now, thank goodness and I'm fine -I didn't break out into hives or anything.
I hope you all are pacing yourselves as well this morning, and praying along with me that God might, "teach us to treat all that comes to us throughout the day with peace of soul and the firm conviction that His will governs all."
Peace to you!Read More
Maybe it’s because the house smells like crock pot chicken, or because I finally sorted through the kids’ clothes and de-cluttered their dresser drawers, that I am feeling especially thankful. There was awhile there when I seriously wondered if, by having four children, I’d bitten off way more than I could chew. The sleeplessness, the chaos, the laundry was going to completely do me in, I was sure of it. We’re always going, going, going, us mothers, putting out fires, cleaning up spills, crying behind locked bathroom doors. Every once in awhile, however, we are gifted with a moment of silence to reflect on how far we’ve come since those first shocking days when it began to sink in that this whole parenting gig was going to be demanding with a capital “D.” Sometimes, we remember to lift our gaze up from off of the craziness and focus in for a minute on all that is good – so very, very good about our lives.
Presently, my heart is swollen with an awareness of the extraordinary love pulsating with zest and vigor between these walls. It hasn’t always been pretty, and certainly not easy, but I believe we’ve made some great strides as a family these last eleven years. There is nowhere else on earth I’d rather be, honest and true, than holed up here in Indiana with these five characters God deemed best to shape and challenge me, delight me, keep me always on my toes. We’re a quirky bunch, alright - just perfect for each other. It’s an amazing honor, if you stop and really think about it, to be a mom, or a dad – to be so needed. Oh yes, I remember now: I am the queen of this here castle.
Lucky me.Read More
Descending Theology: The Resurrection
My 6th grader, Elijah, asked me yesterday what my favorite oxymoron is. "Tell me yours first I said," because I was only 90% sure I knew what that term meant (yes, I've gone ahead and accepted the fact our eleven and a half year old is smarter than me). "The living dead," he answered.
"It's a good one," I had to admit. Not only because that particular figure of speech follows to a tee the guideline of being "seemingly self-contradictory" but also because, when unlinked from its traditional "Zombie" association, that phrase conjures up in me wonder - an awe of Mystery -at the "seemingly self-contradictory" elements of the Christian faith.
You see, I am in the process of dying, not to make sense of it all but TO LIVE.
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 16:25
Isn't it just so crazy to believe in the Resurrection, salvation, eternal life? Isn't Love itself ridiculous what with all that illogical sacrificing, forgiving, turning the other cheek?
But in the words of Sarah Miles, one of the main characters in my favorite novel, The End of the Affair by Graham Greene:
I’ve caught belief like a disease. I’ve fallen into belief like I fell in love.
It is certainly not my aim to prove anything to anyone - to pretend to know what none of us could ever know: how the unfathomable mercy of God works (Mercy bigger than the stupidity of those on earth who attempt to put borders around it, who claim to understand it). I'm just a frail soul all bound up in what I've come to embrace wholeheartedly (Foolishly? Perhaps. I Cor. 1: 27) as the entire Truth, the only Truth, the fullness of Truth. "Why am I so repetitive with all this "Orthodoxy," "Resurrection," and "Christ" talk, you ask? Because, my friends, if I remained silent then the rocks would cry out (Luke 19:40). I write and write and write about my faith, because my faith is all that matters.
Find more poetry HERE.Read More