Thinking about writing

(Thank you to K at Walking After Midnight for the prompt.)

Thinking about writing and actually writing are not the same thing. I’ve been thinking about writing for several weeks, but I haven’t blogged for several months. And the longer I wait to write, the harder it is to write. After this long of a delay, do I even have anything to say that anyone would want to read?

I have a friend (https://theapplesinmyorchard.wordpress.com) who started blogging in the past several months, and she is doing a fantastic job of writing every day, something I long for but haven’t figured out how to do. She is a prolific writer, and I urge you to check out her blog – she’s got all kinds of fascinating topics, from education to home life and everything in between!

Can I write about things that don’t tie to my tagline? “I am not my depression.” Even though I have lots of subject ideas on living with depression, what it was like going through depressive episodes, the impact of depression on family life and work.  How to-s on living with it, living after it, etc. I have a whole file folder of topics I could address. I still think I want this to be my focus.

Then there’s just stuff from my day-to-day life. Granted, my days are pretty quiet. But as I’m learning to be content and appreciative of what is around me, I could write about those things. My backyard birds, the spotted fawns by the brook, the recent hikes I’ve taken. The peaceful days. The joy of sleeping in. Daily-ness.

I can write about special people in my life. My daughter who just graduated from college, and our fantastic weekend of family celebrating her. My adventurous son who took off for Europe for 14 days, then promptly moved west for his summer internship – where did he get such courage to take on these adventures?! My amazing husband could be part of lots of my stories – he’s in the center of my days.  My relationship with Jesus, and how our connection ebbs and flows with my effort. He is faithful – I tend to vary; so I could write about my journey with the Lord. Or searching for a church home. Finding friends. Settling into my job.

All topics of interest to… me. Anybody else?

Then again, why do I write? The question that every author must answer. Who is my audience? Do I write for myself, for clarification and release, or do I write to be heard or to start a dialogue? Maybe the answer is all of the above – something for everyone, anyone, or someone.

In which case, someone may read and identify with what I write. So I’ll write again. And I’ll start right now. Thanks for reading.

Missing my kids…

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My 20-something kids left this morning after two weeks of vacation. Our daughter arrived a week earlier, our son on his 21st birthday a few days before Christmas, and we’ve enjoyed a wonderful long visit. We shopped, read books, watched movies and Netflix (have you seen The Crown?!), took a two-day history tour that included Harper’s Ferry, Gettysburg, George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum.  We played with the cat, shared opening presents and making meals, and really enjoyed each other’s company.

And now the house is very quiet.

When we lived in WI, we could get up to visit them at school pretty easily. We didn’t hover, but could pop up for an event (concert, shopping). And being closer, even though we didn’t see them except every few months, somehow made it easier to be absent from them.

When we lived in Florida, I knew they would come for the beach and sun and escape from the winter cold of the upper Midwest.

Now, they just feel so far away and time stretches so long between visits.

And this is the way of things. We raised our kids to know Jesus, to be strong and independent, to be able to tackle problems with heads on straight. To grow to need us less. So we did it right. And it’s hard, because they’re great people and I really like spending time with them.

So I’ll choose to focus on the fun we had together and I’ll plan for our next visit northward. Who knows when, but we’ll be visiting great people!

 

The Church’s Rooms

Lately I’ve been thinking about floor plans. Old ones, like from my childhood. I’m picturing our house from my early years, my old church, my grandparents’ Lake house. I’m drawing them in my mind, and imagining the flooring, the room locations, the wall colors. These are a kid’s memories, so I don’t know about the accuracy of them, but I do know the magical recollections in my head.

I woke the other morning thinking about the layout of Macedonia Christian Church. I grew up there –  we were at church all the time in my early years – Sunday mornings and evenings and mid-week evening services. Add to that Vacation Bible School and church revivals – we spent hours there. My folks were very actively involved in Children’s Ministries, so there were even extra hours for them to prep, and that meant that my sister and I often had run (i.e., without adult supervision) of the building to play and explore.

My favorite part was the old section of the basement. The ground floor of the Sunday School hallway was uneven and slanted – it felt like the cement had simply been poured over the ground below, without any leveling involved. The five or six classrooms were paneled, so very little light came into the hallway, and it was fun to run through the hall in the dark or play hide-and-seek.

Up the stairs at one end took me outside to under the covered driveway, and another half flight went up to a hallway with a large room used for Sunday worship for the youth group and other gatherings. There was also the Pastor’s office, the church library, bathrooms, and the nursery area. Then a short hallway with coat racks went from there to the narthex and the Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary seemed huge with lots of long wooden pews, the two side aisles and one center aisle all leading to the front of the church where the worship leader led singing and where the preacher spoke from behind a podium.  Below the podium, still on the main floor with the pews, was a large heavy wooden table with a chair on each side – green upholstery, I think. The table was carved with “Do This In Remembrance of Me” along the front edge. This was where the communion trays were brought and from where it was distributed. There was a door on either side of this center space at the front of the side aisles, one leading to stairs to the basement of the church, one leading to two tiny rooms off the baptistery. The organ sat on one side of the front of the church, and the piano was on the other. Behind the communion table and along the raised platform was a small railing to guard the edge. The podium was centered on the stage behind the communion table – it had a small microphone attached to it. Behind the podium was a little space, then the choir seats. Behind that was the baptistery.

There were two rooms at the back of the sanctuary. One was set up as the “overflow” room and the other was sometimes seating and sometimes the folding door was pulled so it could be a classroom.

There were two sets of stairs from the narthex to the outside. One went down to the front of the church, and the other went to the side parking lot. All the way down those stairs was the hallway – to the right was the old basement hallway again, and left took me into the Fellowship Hall – a large room that was full of tables and lots of food on Sunday pot-luck days, with the kitchen to the back. More classrooms lined this area, and there were the bathrooms, a tiny elevator, and the drinking fountain that smelled and tasted funny because it was well-water. The back stairs were mostly off limits – they went up to the door by the side of the sanctuary platform – a big no-no when my sister and I were running around!

I have lots of memories of the different rooms at Macedonia for all kinds of different reasons: Sunday Schooling, helping in the nursery, putting together communion trays and washing them all at the end of a service. Visits every Sunday to the library. Walking into the tiny baptistery room on a Wednesday night to get ready for my dunking after I had told the church that Jesus is my Savior and Friend forever. Hours in the large community room for Junior High Worship or Vacation Bible School evenings. Running in the hallways. Playing in the churchyard. A very good place to grow up. Indeed.

Lake House Floor Plans

Lately I’ve been thinking about floor plans. Old ones, like from my childhood. I’m picturing the house from my early years, my old church, my grandparents’ Lake house. I’m drawing them in my mind, and imagining the flooring, the room locations, the wall colors. These are a kid’s memories, so I don’t know about the accuracy of them, but I do know the magical recollections in my head.

One of my favorite places to think of is my grandparents’ house at the Lake. I enter the house from the car port – up a few stairs to the door. The covered parking had some cobwebs in it – such is the nature of living at the Lake. I remember sweeping the car port, and raking leaves out in the front yard and down the long driveway. My mom was swatting a wasp from my shoulder with her broom – that didn’t go so well!  I also remember swimming in the lake – pretending with my sister about the fancy house on the other side. I can still feel the spot where sand became muck, and we couldn’t put our feet down without the squishy feeling on our toes. And neither of us wanting to leave the Lake to go up to the house to the bathroom, so trying to convince each other to pee in the water. I confess I did, even though I told her I did, then told her I didn’t. Funny memories.

The door from the car port opens into a carpeted “hallway” – not with walls, but with a long built-in coat closet that blocked off vision into the rest of the house. Just to the right and up the few carpeted steps to the formal dining room – such a beautiful space. There’s a polished silver set near the long dining room table.  I walk to the left of this “hallway” and enter the formal living room –  a large room with a fireplace, tall ceilings and a big window that looked out onto the lake. My favorite way into the living room was to step down from the dining area into the beautiful room. I always felt like a princess, entering from above into the expanse below, with the thick carpet and white couches and shiny candlesticks. Fancy memories.

Back up at the dining room level, if I walk straight through, I’ll see the small hallway to the right that takes me to two bedrooms – the master bedroom with a large bathroom, and a guest room. There’s a guest bathroom on the way. Papa’s dressing room was just to the left, and his changing valet was visible from the doorway. How cool was that? A funky chair to hold his clothes. I think there was an electric shoe polisher in the room too – push the button and the red and blue fibers swish quickly and presto! shiny shoes! Nostalgic memories.

I keep walking past the hallway and find myself in the long galley-style kitchen. I guess pantries lined the right side, because all the counter and sink space was on the left – looking out the many windows onto the beautiful green space and lake. When the stray cat in the bushes bit me, this sink is where my mom and grandpa treated the wound, with Papa sucking the potential poison from the spot in my hand. Scary memories.

A little jog around a bump out, and there’s the eat-in informal dining nook, with the laundry room and door to the backyard behind me. I remember meals at this table – delicious food that DeeDee made, and petting Noble the German Shepherd puppy in the laundry room. I know we went out the back door to the woods  – there was a large woodpile, and lots of trees. Sweet memories.

I walk through the nook – I think there was a sitting area with a door out the front of the house, and then through another doorway that opened into the library/TV room – a big white space with books on a wall, a big leather couch and chairs – plenty of room for the grandkids to gather and watch, though we weren’t all visiting at the same time very often. Definitely after Papa’s funeral. There were so many books on the wall – I marveled that Papa had read each of them. How did he have the time?  Maybe over the course of his lifetime. Sad memories.

What a beautiful home. Such lovely thoughts. Family memories.