Words

A little over a week ago, during bible study, we were discussing the power of our words.  We talked about how much words can wound others, especially the ones we care most about.  Our physical bodies were created in such a marvelous way, that our physical wounds can heal with impressive speed.  However, the wounds from others’ words or actions towards us or involving us can leave wounds that last for years or even a lifetime.  Then sometimes, just when we think we’re healed, the scab over our wounded heart gets picked at and begins to bleed.  Those wounds we can not physically see but are ever so present and real, are the ones that hurt the most. 

As we spoke about the power of our words, the idea of speaking to the king or queen within someone, rather than the fool, came up.  I talked about how in the last few years, I’ve worked on being mindful of what I say to my husband and children and how the fruits of that intention are beginning to show.  Please don’t miss understand me, it’s hard and I am so far from getting it right sometimes.  It’s the moments I forget how my words are coming out, and instead of building someone up they are torn down one little brick at a time, those are the hardest places to rebuild.  One of  the women asked me for examples, and at the time it was hard to think of a specific instance.  And then, as if on queue, an opportunity presented itself. 

I love my kiddos, and they provide ample opportunities to learn and grow.  My daughter Alexandra is a constant source, and although there are times when I want to pull my hair out (or hers), I wouldn’t have it any other way.  She is a very creative and smart young lady, she often blows me away with her deep thoughts and then turns right around to play imagination with the dolls in her bedroom.  Alex loves fashion, and has a taste all her own.  I’m so grateful for her creativity, and her Granma who teaches her to sew some of her magnificent creations.

With Alex’s wonderful blend of interests, tastes, creativeness and fashion sense, getting ready for school five days a week can occasionally be a challenge.  We’ve tried getting up early; the girl needs her beauty rest.  We’ve tried me picking out her clothes; no go.  We’ve tried laying out her clothes the night before, even a couple different choices…then she goes to bed, and wakes up in a completely different mood.  Imagine that!  I love her so. 

So an opportunity presented itself, to use my words.  I walked into Alex’s bedroom and saw this….

img_3447Somehow a tornado had gone through our house and I was caught unaware!  I stepped away, and took a deep breath.  I saw two choices, to hurry things along and cut down her creative process of getting dressed in the morning or encourage.  I encouraged her to be snappy and grabbed her “snappy dresser” shirt.  However, that wasn’t fitting with her mood.  I explained that she had five minutes to pick something out, or that I would get to do it.  Five minutes later she was dressed (barely), and ready to eat breakfast.  While she ate, we agreed that she would need to put all of her clothes away after school. 

img_3504A couple days later, we were running a little behind.  I asked Alex several times to get up and get dressed and she just kept laying in bed, drawing with her notebook and pencil.  After three times, I got a little upset without any foreseeable action and took the notebook out of her hands.  As she looked up at me with a look of shock, I noticed she had been drawing out what she wanted to wear to school.  Ugh.  My heart sank, and so did hers.  I had no idea, because my focus was on the clock and not her.  She saw this as a better way to decide what to wear, as opposed to tear her room apart.  My words to her, cut; they cut her spirit and her creativity.  This wound seems easy to heal, and we recovered quickly that morning.  However, the reality of how powerful our words are, and the ability to build up or tear down was evident.  It’s little exchanges like this that would, over time, darken that creative light within.  The truth is, I believe that God created her in a beautiful and powerful way.  She is not able to be replicated, and I do not want to squash that creative gift placed within her by our Creator. 

It’s hard to remember that sometimes, especially when obligations knock at the door and minutes are ticking by.  It’s hard to remember when emotions are heightened, raw or hurting.  It’s hard to remember when we’re scared, and the only thing we know to do is lash out in protection of ourselves.  It’s hard to remember when I’m tired (or super hungry) and running on fumes.  It’s hard when we don’t think about where the other person may be emotionally, or what their previous experiences have been.  Our words are powerful.  The tongue is a mighty sword we wield, it can be done recklessly or intentionally.  

I love the lessons my children present, even the hard ones because those are often the best.  And I’m pleased to announce that this week, Alex has managed to get dressed without a hitch, each day for school. Yippie!                                                                                     (It’s only a two day week. 😉 Happy Thanksgiving!)

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It’s a Process

On my Dad and MomPat’s farm, there’s a house.  We call it “the little house”, it’s not super little really, but it’s the house we had the privilege of growing up in.  Set smack on the corner of a gravel road and a black-top state road.  It’s a busy corner for our country community.  Two of my brothers and I made countless trips from the little house to swim in the lake and back again, and then to the hog barn to do chores.  It’s the little house my husband and I had our first really big fight, and where we spent the first two years and 361 days of marriage.  It’s where we conceived and lost our first baby.  That house has a host of memories for each of my family members.

img_3283Amongst all the memories within the house, there is a treasure in the back yard.  To any other person, it’s just an apple tree.  But to those of us who know, it’s “the applesauce tree”.  Every fall, my MomPat would make applesauce and store it in the freezer for the year.  It was a sweet addition to home cooked meals, dessert almost.  We all loved to see the frozen pink cubes come upstairs, out of the deep freeze; the bowl licked clean when it was all said and done.  The apples from this special tree, variety unknown, even to two horticulturalists, make the perfect applesauce.  It’s sweet and tart, with a pretty pink blush.  Once married, I made applesauce in the fall for our larder. 

However, 2012 was the last time I made applesauce.  It’s taken me three years to get to this point of outwardly admitting what I knew deep inside.  All three of my grandmothers past away the summer of 2013 in a space of five weeks, and since that point I have barely canned or processed much of anything.  I’m not exactly sure why, other than I guess it’s part of my grieving process.  You see, canning and processing food is something I picked up ultimately from them.  My Great-Grandmother John taught my Grandmother Irene, who taught my MomPat, who taught me.  And as I began to do so on my own, I would talk with and share stories with my Grandma Wanda.  She would reminisce with me about days when she and her family would process and cook wild game and goodies from their garden.  It was a necessity for each of those precious and hard-working ladies, but also a joy to provide such wonderful love-filled meals for their family. 

About a year and a half after loosing my grandmothers, I was in a rush one night to get supper on the table for a couple of hungry little people.  I ran down to the basement and grabbed the last jar of applesauce on the shelf.  It was the last one.  It was from the batch of Lodi apples me, MomPat and Grandmother Irene gathered early one summer.  As I opened the jar, a flood of memories came back.  Tears began to flow for Grandmother Irene.  I had been mourning my Grandma Wanda, but emotionally hadn’t really touched Grandmother Irene yet.  What a gift in simply opening a jar of applesauce. 

A month ago while digging in my deep-freeze, I came across a pink, frozen cube.  Ages old and freezer burned, I sadly had to dispose of the applesauce.  But I think it helped to awaken something inside that had been at slumber for these past three years. 

One day last week, I had planned to work outside.  However, when I woke up the sun was hidden behind a cloudy and cool fall day.  After dropping the kids off at school I decided to re-route my day, and spent much of it making applesauce.  After dropping the kids off at school, I drove to the little house and gathered a tub full of apples.  It happened so naturally and spontaneously. 

img_3289As I stood at the kitchen sink washing and cutting the sweet and tart apples, I can’t explain the feelings that washed over me.  It was a sweet release, peaceful and happy.  It finally felt easy and enjoyable.  It didn’t feel like an obligation, like another time I had tried to process food for our stores over the past three years.  As the apples cooked on the stove, filling the house with an old familiar smell, I enjoyed the warmth and looked out into the cloudy fall sky.  I think my heart healed a little bit with each jar, and smile, that went into the canner.  I still miss them terribly at times, but I’m grateful and hopeful that their energy (to do this thing in particular) has returned to me. 

img_3293The pint jars still cover my kitchen counter, they haven’t been put away just yet.  I’ve been enjoying the view.  Tonight I’ll put them downstairs, on a shelf, ready to be pulled out on a cold winter day.  A lot less sugar than we used to use but pink, delicious, comfort food none the less.  The frustration with my inability to process food for the past three years has subsided, it must be just part of my healing process.  However strange that may seem.  It may never be the same, and it may be one jar at a time, but I’m going to be grateful for each one.