Monday, March 06, 2006

Nothing Has Changed

It seems like nothing changes in our lives at home, and therefore nothing of significance about which to write.

I still spend most mornings catching up on correspondence, because I don't like to start the day with anything too dramatic, too loud, or too sudden. I sip my of tea in a favorite old china cup at the dining table and work my way through piles of papers. I still can never just write a "plain" letter; it must have glitter and stickers and artwork all over the page, so it still takes me twice as long to write a thank you note as it could, and makes ten times the mess to clean up later on.

The church still meets in homes for mid-week services on Tuesday nights. Our teacher, an elderly man, from whose mouth never comes a word that is not packed with wisdom, (he is no idle talker or jester) assigns a word to study from the Bible each time. This makes excellent use of concordances. One week, it may be the word "wisdom," and the next "understanding." This week, our word is "heart." On Mondays, the phones begin ringing with people trying to find any member of the class who remembers what Tuesday night's word is, without having to actually call the teacher and admit they have forgotten and haven't studied it til this late date.

Speaking of words, has anyone noticed how popular words and signs are these days? Just about any shop you enter, or any catolog you receive, has words for sale. Many of them are cut out of word, letter by letter, to hang on a wall as you would a picture or painting. Others are written with paint on old pieces of wood or ceiling tiles, and any other surfaces that can be found, from rocks, stepping stones, drift wood, and even discarded household items. The most popular words are "dream" and "inspire," but I have seen "grow," "bloom," "plant," and others. One particular sign that amused me, said simply, "Be nice." How often have you mothers said that to someone? Next to it was one that said, "Grow Up." Since our word study classes and my exposure to the words for sale all over the place, I've become enamoured with words. If you are one of those who correspond with me, don't be surprised if I send you a word. I've got quite a few favorites:


I'd be glad for you to list words you like in the comments section. I've been making words myself to hang up in various places in my home.

My husband still likes to relax in the evenings with a Dickens classic --he likes Chuzzlewitt, Our Mutual Friend, The Old Curiousity Shoppe, or Bleak House, for some reason. Although I don't really relish them as well as others, I sit in the same room with him, with a little heater at my feet and cut out words: contentment for a little girl, made with card stock and pink glitter, relax for a stressed out woman, or hope for someone in uncertainty..amazing how the things you learn as a child can fill your time later in life: letters, cutting and gluing..

My kitchen still needs an extreme makeover, but I manage to cook some gourmet meals with the one skillet and saucepan I have, (refusing to buy anything new til the stove is replaced and other things refurbished), and the bare chimney from a previous stove hanging meaninglessly from the ceiling, along with the old watermarks from leaks, and the peeling ceiling tiles. In spite of these defects, people insist on following me in there and won't stay seated in the living room til dinner.

Our family conversations still begin in the morning and end in the evening, as we like to explore every aspect of whatever subject has come up, usually about marriage, home and family. One of our sons bought us all cell phones, and we use this wonderful technology for these off and on conversations. While we are quite keen on new things, we like to remind each other that it all should be based on the values of the old paths, in order to get the best use of them.

Our youngest son, who lives at home, still has a room packed with every imaginable man-thing. I still check on it regularly and make sure everything is picked up and cleaned up. He has every imaginable tool for constructing a house, and every nail or bolt, flashlights, camping gear, landscaping books, and every book and video available about the outdoors and country life, anywhere from Alaska to Australia. I recently decorated this room in avocado green, a color I had detested for years, but found went so well with his collections of wood and rocks.

The dog, Molly, a companion I reluctantly accepted, which had been passed from owner to owner, still resides under the desk where the computer sits. Since we live in a country area, it seemed only humane to let her live out here with us, as long as she didn't bother anybody and kept out of the main part of the house. When her owner, Master Stevie, left, her habits changed quite a bit, so I suspect that deep inside of her was always a basic instinct to do whatever she wanted, despite her training.

When Stevie was here (our son) he was in the habit of giving her a treat after she had been outside in the cold chasing off wild animals and "protecting" the property. Almost as soon as he left, she figured out that these two old folks in charge of her, were a real soft touch. After being let out, instead of doing her job to earn her treat, she began to turn around and beg to come back into the cold room where she resides, but still perched expectantly for the treat.

Over time, she managed to just go to the door, whine to get out, then, without even leaving, turn around and ask for the treat. Now, just days before Stevie returns home, she does not even bothers to ask to go out to earn her living, but just begs for the treat. A simple lesson in welfare, here, folks.

I still have a daily routine which, if not followed, leaves me a little disoriented. I begin at the furthest end of the house, making beds and putting books away, and work my way to the kitchen at last. Personal experience has shown me that if I begin with the kitchen, I will never leave it.

The living room still faces the beautiful view of the farmlands, and the furniture is arranged just the same as it was years ago. I decided that although variety is nice, this is one room that cannot change. Every time I threaten to change the decor, the family says that there are too many memories connected to the way it is. I love to see the grandchildren come into the house and look around to see that every object and piece of furniture is where it was the last time they visited. The familiarity of it seems to settle them.

My aged Auntie still phones me once in awhile and still asks, "What's new?" and I still say, "Nothing much," as I hold the phone to my ear and iron my husband's shirt. In this world of rapid change and uncertain loyalties, I think it is nice to be able to tell someone that everything with us is the same. It must be awful for old people to be constantly hearing of the younger generation's upsets and heartaches. And don't young people ever long to go to an old family home where things will always be there, and the old folks will always be the same?

The crack under the door still remains, where the mouse comes in and out as it pleases, and we can still hear a frog in the bathroom. I've never been able to catch either one of them, and think it is less trouble not to do so. They can both take care of themselves, but if I go to the trouble to get them, I shall have to put them somewhere, and that would be one more thing to do on my list.

picture: "Coming Home" by Susan Rios


Sommer said...

Lady Lydia..I really enjoyed reading this post. I tend to enjoy the comfort of things being the same. And you sound so interesting...I'd probably enjoy a note from you with glitter and such.
Your blog is a joy to me.


Anonymous said...

Thank-you so much for this post! Sometimes I need to be reminded that it's okay to keep things the same and be comforted by the familiar. It also reminds me to let my routine flow naturally, unhurried and happy in some of my predictability. I love these kinds of posts! It keeps me going!
Love Pink

TheNormalMiddle said...

I have to shabby chic type signs in my house. One says "love grows best in little houses" and the other says "enjoy the journey".

I don't have any one word ones like you were talking about, but they are the hot thing right now!

Lydia said...

I saw one written on a piece of wood that looked like it came from a piece of an old boat:

"Let's do sunset."

Lydia said...

Mary Englebreit had a few cute ones:

Life is just so daily.

Snap out of it.

Cherish the Home said...

We have VERY spoiled dogs who live in the house with us so I have a sign that says 'The dog and his housekeeping staff live here'.

I LOVED this me it's the little ins and outs of people's days that are interesting to read about.

I think a word I'd like to have in my house would be 'OTHERS'. It would be a good reminder to think of other's needs and wants before worrying about my own.

Beautiful Food Gardens said...

My word is "peace". I found a notebook with that written on it, and it encourages me whenever I look at it.

Wanda said...


This was wonderful to read. The whole family just read it together over breakfast and it was like chatting with a friend.

We had such fun remembering the appearance of the rooms you mentioned and smiling over your 'pet' mouse and frog.

Thank you for sharing with us. What a pleasant visit!

~Wanda and family

some of our favorite words:
eat (dh and children)
cappuccino :)
flowers & horse(dd)
sword (ds#1)

Lydia said...

I've also enjoyed hand made signs in yards and in garden shops, that are all in a row, pointing in different directions. One lady's yard signs said: Old truck, pond, house, barn, garden, roses.

Those on the coast enjoy signs that say "beach, sunrise, sunset, sandbox"

Lydia said...

Wanda- thanks for reminding me that you came with your family.

I was intensely sincere about the shock that old people have at the antics of their grown children with all their troubles of homes breaking up, financial ruin, vices, and so forth. I've known several elderly women whose grief over their children led them to despair. That's too much negative change for an old person who has spent his/her life raising a family and teaching them the values necessary for a good life. There are also grown children who grieve because of parents are off being irresponsible kids who would rather go to the casinos and taverns than dedicate themselves to making a real home, growing a garden, or painting a picture and creating a lovely, safe haven at home for returning children and grandchildren. Society needs some things they can count on. Think of how you feel when a favorite shop folds up, or a favorite eating place. It is the same with a home, and all the more reason for us to establish one and keep it maintained, both physically and spiritually.

Lydia said...

Re: pets at home. This reminds me that some people have more compassion for pets than for children and mates. While they wouldn't leave a dog alone for too long, they think nothing of sending kids away from their parents during the most teachable hours of the day, or abandoning their mates for no reason other than that they want to be "free." I know someone who has abandoned his mate, yet if he had treated his dog in the same manner, he would have gone to prison, according to our laws these days.

Lydia said...

Actually we do discuss many other subjects at home--some of them far reaching. Our homeschool experience got us into the habit of sharing many interesting studies with each other. In fact, when one of us "knows" something or finds out something, we are obligated to tell it to the others in the family. If anyone finds out we learned something and did not tell them, we are accused of "holding out" on them ;-)

I grew up in an Eskimo village in Alaska. I've always liked to tell my children about some of the history of the Arctic. The tragic account of Sir John Franklin and his crew trying to find the inside passage (Norwest Passage), all who perished, verses the triump of Amundsen over 50 years later, has been one of the hottest subjects in our family, lately, partly because of the spiritual implications of the losses and success in this account. For example, Franklin and his men had help available but could not "see" it, and did not tap into it. The Eskimos appeared to be primitive, and therefore were discounted by this party. Yet Amundsen observed that these people were healthy and strong, bore children, had plenty to eat, did not have frostbite or scurvey like the sailors did. Amundsen discovered that all the snowdrifts were actually villages of Eskimo people who knew how to survive the climate, and he purposed to learn from them. He and his crew thrived and survived and lived to discover the Arctic passage. This was certainly a lesson in observation and humility. Primitive does not always mean uncivilized. Homemakers may be viewed as "primitive" in their approach to life, as they go about the old paths, where the good walk is, where there is rest, yet they survive much better, as did their forebearers.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this very much!! I, too, spend the early part of the morning taking care of correspondence. Some of it is paying bills, etc. but there are also cards to be sent to the ill or troubled in our church. I recently bought (with a half price coupon) a card-making kit at a craft store. I will make the cards my "own" way (rather than following the pictures on the box) but it gave me a lot of materials to use for very little money. Making your own greetings is truly a lot of fun and a way to show others you are thinking of them!

Anonymous said...

Home Sweet Home

Overused, outdated according to some (in this day and age, it seems to be something many would associate with their Grandmother's home!) and yet, so full of warmth and family and love!

cozynest said...

I just loved reading this. I felt like I was visiting you at your home curled up on the sofa. Thanks for sharing the beauty of the ordinary. Meesha

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post. =) While reading the comments, and some 'favorite words', I thought of one of my favorite words:
Just to think of the word reminds me of that old poem. I'm also reminded of how the Lord is always 'walking' with me, and sometimes carrying me. =)

Thank you, Lady Lydia, for letting us 'peek' into your life!

Olivia said...

Great post!! It was encouraging in many ways...

Sometimes life seems a little dull when people ask what's going on and the answer is invariably 'nothing'. But, life is sweetest when 'nothing' is going on... and everything is humming along in the normal routine of things. We don't always have to be out and doing we enjoy being home and doing the 'mundane' things associated with it.

We have a sign hanging up that says
"Thou shalt not whine"
Another hangs in the front of the house saying "Complaint department 300 miles --->>" (which would land you in the gulf of Mexico) and yet another says "Everything does not need to be said".

I like words -- your list was great.

Lydia said...

Another sign:

The greatest thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.


I would like to encourage you to extract all your good comments that you've left on various subjects on this blog, and make a book, also. You will wish you had when you get older and the demands on your time are so much greater.

Wanda said...

We have a quote hanging in our home that says, "Politeness is good nature regulated by good sense." (Sydney Smith, 1771-1845, English clergyman and essayist)

Anonymous said...

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Please email me. Thank you very much.