Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Simmering thoughts and boiling memories

I used to keep a journal...I kept it almost daily for about 20 years and it kind of fizzled at that point.  I think because I write online, I lost my enthusiasm for the notebook.

One of these days I am going to look up my entry from September 11, 2001.  JohnPaul would have been three years old, and the other kids were all school age.  Maria was in 1st grade, Tony--3rd, Jacob--6th, and Ian--9th.  I remember the weather vividly because it was one of those ideal late summer days...the sun was shining, the sky was blue, the air was fresh, and there were barely any clouds to be seen.

After having seen the kids all out the door, I remember having something exciting to report to my mom (now I don't remember what it was), so I hurriedly rang her on the phone.  When she answered, I was anxious to jump right in an tell her my news, but she cut me off.  "Did you see the news?"  It was just after 9:00 and I had not put the TV on. 

 I answered her, "No."  She told me something strange had happened, that an airplane had struck a sky scraper in NYC. 

The magnitude of that didn't hit me yet.  I figured a pilot made an error in judgment and was flying too low or something.  I pictured a single passenger plane.

So, I said, "Hmmm, that's wierd.", then continued my story.  She seemed rather distracted and said maybe I might want to put my TV on, so we said 'goodbye' and I turned the tube on.

The Today Show was on.  I remember sitting there with JohnPaul, watching the recap of the collision, when the 2nd plane hit the towers.  That's when I knew something was really wrong.  I could not believe what I had just seen happen live.

We stayed glued to the TV most of the day.  It was surreal.  Life changed that day in many ways...

When I decide to get my notebook journal out, if I see anything posted in it of interest, I will share it on here.  It might not say much of anything; I actually do not remember writing anything. 

So, here we are, coming up on the 10th anniversary of this tragedy.  I seems crazy to think about that being 10 years!  Shortly after that, John's mother was diagnosed with cancer, and given two weeks to live.  She died in December, just a few weeks before Therese was born. 

Today I sent Therese off to her first day of 4th grade.  JohnPaul, who was three years old that day, went to his first day of 8th grade.  Maria is now a high school junior, and the three young men are Penn Staters. 

In that decade, my hair has become streaked with grays.  I have become a different type of mom than I was then--no longer the pregnant and harried mom of babies and little kids, but the mature mother of mostly young adults.

10 years.  Wow.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Home, sweet home...or not?

Sometimes my house frustrates me.  It is in very poor condition, is too small, is crowded, and cluttered.  I never wanted to live here, I accepted it as our first home because John lived here and inherited it when his father died.

I always dreamt I would get to pick out the home that fit my needs and desires.  I've never been a person to take things for granted.  I was raised by parents who didn't indulge my whims, so I appreciated everything I had.

So-- the home I would pick wouldn't be this---

Now, don't get me wrong, this is beautiful and a tempting idea.  But, I could be happier with a LOT less.  Take for instance these cottages---

These little seaside and/or rustic and woodsy cottages appeal sooooo much to my heart.  <3

But seriously, I would be thankful to have a home with a front porch (for sitting with my honey, and for rainstorms), 2 baths (one bath ain't cutting it with so many Elliotts), at least one REAL shower (we have an ancient bathtub rigged with a handheld shower), storage space(we have NO space so we can't put anything away, ever--thus, insane CLUTTER), and decent plumbing, siding, windows, doors, and electric.  Ours are all outdated, except for half the windows that we had replaced several years ago, and our back door which is not too old.

Something that I find annoying is the lack of things that work.  My work is primarily in the kitchen, and things there are as up to date as they were in 1940.  I don't have a dishwasher, nor do I have room for one, even if I had the money to buy one.  The plumbing is so ancient that to fill a pitcher or coffee pot takes about 3 minutes.  I set it in the sink, then go about doing other tasks while it fills up.

I've said this before and I will say it again: I do not like to complain.  So, I want to say this: I have so many blessings, that to complain about these little irritations would not be my style. 

I'm basically working up to a point here--I think that God permits small disappointments because it teaches us a lesson.  In my case, I think He is assisting me in that He does not want me to get too attached to wordly goods.  And you know what?  It's definitely working!  I am not attached to this house, believe me!!!

My home has many priceless memories.  John carried me over the threshhold after we were married.  I was still in my gown, and he in a tux. 

All of our children were raised in this house, and this is where we've celebrated birthdays, holidays, and every day family stuff.

We have prayed together here, broke bread together, hosted parties, and consoled one another during sorrowful times.

I think God knows that my heart can be more fully devoted to Him if certain desires go unsatisfied.  It draws me closer to Him because I know He is the only true remedy for that restlessness.