Category Archives: housework

All nature stretches…

We have rain, thank the Lord. My newly planted kale starts (sprouted and nurtured igl-kale-p1050630n the greenhouse!) are very happy with the weather. I’ve been busy battening down the hatches, which includes battling with mice and rats who found my garage a cozy place to set up housekeeping for the winter. I’m thankful for them at this point, because they have forced me to clean the garage from top to bottom. Dear little things – and I’m trying not to be sarcastic – I know they are doing what is normal and right for them.

As the earthly light dims, here in the Northern Hemisphere, I feel the reality of God’s never-waning Light. Wherever you live, may you be nurtured by His gifts this moment and every day.

Every creature has in it the instinct to be as true as possible to what God created it to be. Even plants have this directive in them. All nature stretches toward the nurture it requires for its fulfillment – the “daily bread,” so-to-speak, that it needs for its survival… We have, every one of us, been planted facing the earthly darkness of sin and death. This business of making our way upward and into the daylight, to blossom forth as the individuals God made us to be – this is the enlightened life to which our inborn instinct calls us… The Lord Jesus Christ is always reaching even into the darkest places on earth and inside our souls to draw us into a blessed life. As the Apostle Peter wrote, “He has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) Likewise the Prophet Isaiah said, “Upon those who sat in the dark region and shadow of death, the light has shined.” (Matthew 4:16, Isaiah 9:2)

~Dee Pennock, God’s Path to Sanity

Ironing in the Light.

I took time to do some ironing this morning and it was glorious. How could that be, you wonder? It was the Lord; He is glorious.

I used to “take in ironing” for money when I was a teenager, and I’ve enjoyed the task ever since, at least, when I’m not in a rush. I liked to set up my ironing station in the living rogl P1030303om occasionally so I could watch a baseball game on TV with my husband at the same time. I would in a leisurely fashion catch up on pressing all his work shirts, and my own clothes, which often needed it, too. I know, there are lots of women these days who Don’t Iron. I am not very current that way.

Today I was alone, and I didn’t consider multitasking because I didn’t think I’d be at it very long. The sun was streaming into the great room which I had just rearranged and tidied up, so that is where the ironing board landed. When people are sleeping in that room it gets moved all around; I don’t have a dedicated laundry P1030299

Today I did quite a few placemats, napkins, and handkerchiefs. I noticed the differences in various qualities among the napkins. The paisley napkins Pearl sewed to go with some teacups she gave me. They are perfectly square with meticulous stitching, and the fabric is good quality, easy to press smoothly.

The checkered napkins are ones I made eons ago of soft and thick fabric, nice for wiping one’s chin, but they are not well-sewn or uniform in size or shape. It’s so heartening to have one’s children rise above their examples. The green napkins I bought, and they are of terribly wrinkly and coarse fabric that takes a lot of pressing and steam to get into shape.

The plaid handkerchief is one of many I sewed for Mr. Glad from an old skirt. The fabric is soft and thin enough, but so strong that the handkerchiefs I made have lasted for years and now I am using them myself.

As I was working the wrinkles out of skirts and napkins, I thought about what I had read yesterday on Fr. Stephen Freeman’s blog post, “An Unnecessary Salvation”:

That Christianity in its classical form has always had an instinct for “all things,” is evidenced in the use of “all things” within its services and sacraments. And when those uses are examined, what is uncovered is a “seamless garment” of salvation. Nothing is “by the way.” I have made the statement from time to time with catechumens in my parish that we could begin with the smallest thing, a simple blade of grass, and go from there to give a full account of the entirety of the gospel. It could also be said that if an account of the gospel excludes even so much as a blade of grass, then it has been seriously misunderstood.

I knew that this morning I was being saved by ironing….and I was glad that I could be ironing in peace, in the presence of God, singing my prayers, and my feet weren’t hurting ! and also, I have the best ironing board. I tried to buy an ironing board for one of my daughters a few years ago and I was appalled at how rickety they all are now. I haven’t seen or used one as sturdy, heavy and stable as mine in decades. No wonder women don’t want to iron, if they have to work on flimsy equipment.

The light coming into that room must have made me think of the song, “The Lord is My Light and My Salvation,” and from there, a really old one we sang in the Jesus People days, “I Saw the Lord,” which, as I remember it, continues:

I saw the Lord, sitting upon a throne:
He is high and lifted up,
And His train fills the temple.
He is high and lifted up,
And His train fills the temple.
The angels cry “Holy!” The angels cry “Holy!”
The angels cry “Holy is the LORD!”

Happy Things

Today I’ll just mention a few things that have made me glad this week.

1) I’ve been waiting and waiting for a certain echinacP1100788 wht echea plant to start blooming. It is later than the purple coneflowers nearby, and I was expecting it to be the orangey-brown variety that I bought last summer after I saw Kim’s on her blog. It opened up this week and it’s not – it’s white, which I don’t even remember planting. That one like Kim’s must not have made it through the winter. But I like white.

2) I found some dishes Inew dishes 7-14 liked at Target. I like the color and the design, and that they were on clearance, so I bought the salad plates. I don’t have a complete set of any dishes. For most of my life I’ve specialized in white dishes, and we often bought a dozen bowls or plates at a restaurant supply store. They have held up very well over the decades of children learning to wash dishes. White dinnerware makes the simplest meal, if it has a balance of colors, look very special. To have this many dishes that are more colorful in themselves is a new thing around here.

3) We had Mr. and Mrs. C. over last night to watch a movie. We also ate some apple pie that I made and served on my new plates, and I picked a few zinnias fP1100770zniaor the table. I really did enjoy Elia Kazan’s “On the Waterfront.” It came out in 1954. Marlon Brando is great as the young man in the story, and the screenplay, as one reviewer said, is “impeccable.” There was an important part of the story about how Jesus is right there with you when you are at work in a dehumanizing job, and how He will help you to do the right thing. Those were the days!

4) I have alwaP1100786tshirtsys taken great satisfaction from doing laundry, especially my husband’s clothes. I even like ironing his shirts, but since he retired he wears more shirts that don’t need ironing, like the T-shirts I washed today. Folding and stacking these soft cotton knits freshly fluffed in the dryer makes it easy for me to be the Jolly Washerwoman.

5) Over 20 years ago we planted a rosemary bush next to our front sidewalk. Once or twice a year I prune it. Today I gave it a severe trimming and noticed how gnarly and thick the branches have become. I realized that even though it has some holes in its canopy, I’m not ready to replace it yet. It’s become an old friend.P1100780rsmry


6) I love succulents. I like sticking them into places that don’t get quite enough water to support most annuals. This afternoon I decided to do something about a bare spot that has showed up in the front yard, where the automatic misters for some reason don’t spray enough water. I dug up some of the red sedum from the back yard where it spreads like crazy, and put it in that spot with some granite rocks. Of course, I love granite rocks, too!

7) I love my robins. Yes, I was thrilled to discover that “he” is actually a pair of robins who have become frequent hoppers about the back garden. One day they sat on the fence facing each other having what seemed to be anP1100667robin on fence crp intense discussion, or maybe they were just singing a jazzy duet. They were too shy to let me take their picture together, but I did get one of them on that fence. A couple of days later I found “him” again on the other side of the garden, still at a distance, but more cleP1100750 robin crop 7-13-14arly silhouetted against the sky. Someday I hope to snap his picture on the birdbath, but I’m really glad to have this much success.

8) As I was planning this post I thought about how the many material things in our life can be thought of as having little value compared to the intangible realities like love and truth and kindness. But as soon as we are thankful for them, when we see them as gifts from our Father and receive a little bit of Him in them, they become threads connecting us to God, bringing grace in. And that’s the power of thankfulness.

The morning air is all awash with angels.

Lots of us homemakers, in the Northern Hemisphere anyway, are writing about laundry, as the summer sunshine makes it easy to use the fresh warm air to do part of the job. Cathy even posted a poem, which reminded me of my own favorite laundry poem. Funny, it’s from a man’s point of view, and written by a man who probably didn’t have too much direct experience, but maybe that’s why he could see not just the mundane and practical aspects, but the poetry and love of washing and drying the clothes of our fellow humans.

 Love Calls Us to the Things of This World

    The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,
And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul
Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple
As false dawn.
                          Outside the open window
The morning air is all awash with angels.
    Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses,
Some are in smocks; but truly there they are.
Now they are rising together in calm swells
Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear
With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing;
    Now they are flying in place, conveying
The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving
And staying like white water; and now of a sudden
They swoon down into so rapt a quiet
That nobody seems to be there.
                                                       The soul shrinks
    From all that it is about to remember,
From the punctual rape of every blessèd  day,
And cries,
                  “Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry,
Nothing but rosy hands in the rising steam
And clear dances done in the sight of heaven.”
    Yet, as the sun acknowledges
With a warm look the world’s hunks and colors,
The soul descends once more in bitter love
To accept the waking body, saying now
In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises,
       “Bring them down from their ruddy gallows;
Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves;
Let lovers go fresh and sweet to be undone,
And the heaviest nuns walk in pure floating
Of dark habits,
                          Keeping their difficult balance.”
–Richard Wilbur