Friday, January 30, 2009

A Conversation with a Robin...

"Why dost thou sing, thou cocky little bird,
Sitting serenely on thy perch aloft?
What can be so cheery that thou has heard
To make thee sing so in this bleak, bare, croft?
The wind bloweth sharply, bitingly cold,
Propelling the small, stinging drops of rain.
What is the source of joy so manifold
Which thus bubbles forth in joyous refrain?"
"Why sing so cheery? Indeed, gloomy maid,
There's reason enough e'en in this bare place!
-Just look for yourself, o'er in yonder glade.
The snowdrops are up! Spring soon shall replace
The cold, biting, wind with zephyrs so sweet
And sharp, stinging raindrops with dewdrops fleet!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

As Unto the Lord...

Today, we had a small snow shower that lasted just long enough to cause me to cancel the piano lessons I was to teach all day in town. As a result of that, I found myself with quite a lot of extra time. It was strange to suddenly have “nothing to do”, after the rush of schoolwork and the stress of all the things I had to do last week. This afternoon, after Daddy and I got back from my second walk of the day, I began to meander rather aimlessly around the house, but then realized what I was doing, and went into the living room to enlist Mommy’s aid in finding something useful to do instead. I had gotten all my schoolwork done, except for math, which my mind was too frazzled to do at that moment, and it wasn’t time to start dinner yet. Finally, I decided I was justified in using my spare time to read one of the books I got for Christmas.
So, I put on some music, picked up my book, and curled up in my big, comfortable chair to read. Soon after I had started reading, (or, perhaps it was a while after and I was too absorbed in what I was reading to notice.) I surfaced from my book long enough to notice how beautiful life was at that moment. I was sitting in my cozy little room, -which was actually warm enough for once- looking out into the deep blue of the twilight darkness outside my windows. As I turned more of my attention to my surroundings , I noticed that the wind was blowing in the trees, and that there was a lovely smell of cooking –Mommy had started making dinner.
I noticed all this in just a few moments, and then went back to my book with a satisfied smile. I “happened” to be reading about being useful, and all of a sudden, I realized that I could be clearing off the table and setting it while Mommy made dinner, or seeing if she wanted me to help or make a side dish. I quickly turned back to my book again, reluctant to cut short my time reading in my quiet, peaceful room, but, the idea that I ought to go and help in the kitchen would not leave me be. Just then, I read: “Every act of our lives can be in service to God.” I tried to ignore it while I read another chapter, but I just couldn’t. That settled it.
I put my book down, and went to help Mommy with dinner. I’m so glad I did! I was immediately reminded of how delightful it is to do nice little things for my family, and the few small things I did to help made such a difference in our mealtime!
Being in school has not only made me have less time for such things, but I have found that it has given me an excuse to be lazy. Once, tonight, as I was working, I found myself tempted to get annoyed when something wasn’t where it was supposed to be, but then that phrase came to mind again, and I had one of those “Oh!” moments that are so precious. The enormity and truth of that statement hit me and I realized as I stood mixing muffin batter, that even that simple task could be done in service to God. Oh, if only I could always remember to do anything I work at “heartily, as unto the Lord.”!

~“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”
Colossians 3:23

Friday, January 23, 2009

Winter Sonnet...

I gaze out upon the wintry scene
of tall, twisted trees with their barren boughs,
Still as a graveyard, silent and serene
-Quiet, save the songs of the birds they house.
A gentle breeze now makes the branches sway,
Sweeping the threadbare autumn leaves along.
Bereft of color and tattered, they play,
Dancing to a chickadee's cheery song.
Yet, in the bleakness of the winter day,
Upon the bent, barren branches I spy
Little buds beginning to make their way,
As the sun shines bright in the cloudless sky.
'Tis here, 'midst winter's bleak and barren cold,
In budding beauty, spring's coming's foretold.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cure for Boredom #4...

An anti-boredom tip from my brother, Tristan: make a silly video!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cure for Boredom#3...

This week, school started again. (For those of you who didn’t know, I am taking college courses from home.) Because of the way this particular online program works, my courses are each half a semester long; with the exception of the math course I am taking this quarter. That means doing all the work of a full-length class, in half the time. Last quarter I took four classes, -a total of 12 credit hours- all in one half-semester. That was very challenging for me, especially as it was my first experience with college classes, and I literally had to spend nearly every spare minute doing homework. This quarter, I am taking 15 hours, which works out to five classes. Thankfully, though, I was able to spread them out over the whole semester so that I am only working on three at a time. The classes have been challenging this week, but having one less to work on makes me just busy enough not to have time to be lazy. : )

One doesn’t have to be enrolled in college to study, though. I used to do quite a bit of reading as homework for piano teacher training, and I subsequently got into the habit of studying "just for fun". Not that I am by nature very studious, but I am a voracious reader, and once I had read enough “serious” books to get accustomed to them, I found studying much more enjoyable.

Of course, studying needn’t be confined to books. One may study in many different ways, one of which is by observation. For example, I learned more about English ivy than I ever thought to know, just by endeavoring to pull it up! I had to observe the way it grew if I was ever to get it all removed. -Observation does not come easily to many people. In fact, it took me four years of walking the same route nearly every day to begin to observe what I was walking past. How simple a thing it is to stop and notice the sights, sounds, and smells of God’s creation, yet how easy it is to forget!

Another non-literary method of study is that of trial and error. For example, my brother likes to cook. He is the only person I know that can simply decide he’s going to make a cake, -having never made one- and then go to the kitchen, throw a few ingredients together that “seem like what should go into a cake”, bake it, and come out with a perfectly edible cake! And, off the top of my head, I can only think of one thing he’s made over the years that didn’t turn out. And each time he made something, he would try to figure out what could be changed to make it better the next time he made it.

Conversation can also be a form of study. I had the privilege of staying with my Grandma for three weeks last summer, and through our conversations, I learned quite a lot about my family’s history and about my Grandma as well. And much of what I know about homemaking, I learned by simply talking with Mommy as we go about our every day life.
Study may not seem at first like a very appealing antidote to boredom, but as long as the object of your study interests you, it should be fascinating, as well as quite effective!
Warning: Studying may be habit forming, and can become a way of life! : )

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cure for Boredom #2...

Yesterday was an auspicious day for my “little forest” in the backyard. I finally pulled up the last of the ivy, and cleared out the massive pile of already pulled up from where I had been working under the trees. The last patch of ivy ran far back under the lower branches where it was obvious no one had gone in years. The farther back I went, the more I felt like an adventurous little kid, exploring some mysterious corner of the yard. I even got excited when I found a rather mysterious hole, seemingly dark and deep, and, in spite of my natural timidity, could not resist raking up the duff which partially obscured it, to find out how big it actually was. It was noticeably bigger than the holes in our lawn, so it seemed that it could not have been made by the same creature that made them. It had also been completely covered with ivy and needles, but had no spider’s webs in it. I was so perplexed by the size and placement of the hole, that I nearly poked the end of my rake into it to see how far it went before turning, but then I thought of all the nasty things that could be inhabiting the hole, and let it be till Daddy came home. : ) At first, I thought that perhaps it was where the old pump we found in that area had come from, but Daddy said it wasn’t the right kind of hole for that. I did find that, as I raked up more of the thick layer of dead needles in that area, another hole appeared. This one got bigger as I raked around it, and as it was in the same area as the other one, I began to think that it was just an empty pocket between two of the branches that had been buried by the many layers of needles. Daddy, however, thought that it was an animal hole of some sort. I hope it’s not! It is right in front of two low branches that are curved just enough to make a very comfortable-looking seat.

After all the ivy had been cleared away, I started to drag out the random assortment of junk that the ivy had covered. There were some interesting things hiding under the trees! : ) Soon after we moved in, we found a small trailer for a lawn tractor that had evidently been there for quite a while. As I worked, I uncovered a garden hose with one end cut off, some roofing material, and a plastic dishpan.

Once that was all gone, I began to plan out what still needed to be done to make the space habitable. I hope to put a low bench at one end, under a little tree which I cannot identify because it has lost all its leaves, and two chairs and a little table at the base of the cedar tree at the other end. Tristan has made me a swing, which he plans to attach to a sturdy branch on the huge hemlock in the middle. It will be a while before it is finished, but it will definitely be worth it! I am already looking forward to having such a pretty place to study in!

Of course, as soon as I had rid the area of all the ivy, I found another small patch wound around a smaller tree that I couldn’t get at. ‘~’ I am determined to find a way to get in close enough to pull it all up, but until I do, I must be content with watching it closely and preventing it from spreading as I continue to work on the rest of the area.

I am a bit sad that the ivy-pulling task is finished for now, because it gave me a reason to be outside and working at something other than schoolwork. My next big job is going to be pulling up the garden hose that is buried under our lawn. I’m not sure why it was there, but it runs all over the yard, and I have been given the job of getting rid of it. I found an end when I was pulling up the ivy at the far side of the little forest, and would have pulled more of it up than I did just then, but it ran right under the ivy pile, and I was too tired to move it.

So, I suppose cure for boredom # 2 is to take on a task that seems a little too hard for you, and stick with it until it is finished. -This especially works when the task is different from the things you usually do.

-By the way, if you want to see pictures, I will try to post some tomorrow on my Flikr page.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Cure for Boredom

During our recent snowstorm, I found it hard to adjust to not being so very busy as I had been. I actually found myself (gasp!) getting bored. There is never any excuse for being bored, though, and I usually found plenty to do with my spare time once I tried to. One cure for boredom I have always found effective is to go for a walk. Unfortunately, I can't go walking by myself anymore, so my poor mother had to go with me every time. So even in the nastiest weather, we would bundle up and go for our daily walk. Today, Mommy and I went for a walk in the pouring rain, and as we walked, I got to thinking about the different things that make walking so delightful. I came to the conclusion that each season has different things that I enjoy.

In spring, I love to watch the world come to life again as the new plants sprout, clothing creation in myriad shades of vibrant green. It is always exciting to note the arrival of the snowdrops, crocuses, and primroses; which are always followed by violets and daffodils, ushering in the return of blooming bulbs, such as tulips. Then, when the early spring flowers are in full bloom, the trees join in the fun, donning beautiful blossoms which give variety to the bright green of their newly sprouted leaves. The delight of a spring walk is found in the unfolding of the beauty which is so abundant during that season.

In summer, it is lovely to enjoy the warm sun, and the smells of the flowers that yield their scents to the gentle breeze. All around seems bright and beautiful, and nothing makes one appreciate it more than a walk down a cool, shady lane. In the summer, one feels one must walk slower, not only because it is warmer, but because the beguiling beauty of the day beckons, ready to show its wonders to any who will take the time to watch.

Autumn displays the full glory of its changeful nature as one watches the warm, bright days of summer change into the cold, gloomy days of winter. As in spring, one day might be at once stormy and sunny, harsh and mild, resulting in frequent appearances of rainbows. Its beauty is displayed in the bright colors of changing leaves, which fall from their branches, covering the world with their vibrant and varied hues. The chiefest of pleasures associated with an autumn walk, however is in shuffling through the leaves on a dry day, and listening to the gentle rustle they make as they are stirred by the breeze.

Winter brings with it cold and rain and snow, which, though making it rather unpleasant to walk at times, makes the otherwise dry, dead landscape nicer to look at. Snow, of course is by its very nature a beautifier, covering all the mud and bare, dead-looking trees and plants, and making them look completely different. Rain, also makes things look different by intensifying the colors of the few plants yet green. It turns bare, marshy areas into muddy lakes, and fills dents, making mud puddles. Aside from the vibrant colors and marvelous mud puddles of a rainy day and the beauty of a snowy day, the fun of a winter walk is largely found in coming home afterwards. On stormy days when all looks grey and cold, there is nothing nicer than to go for a walk, get soaking wet, and then come home and dry out. (Especially if you happen to have a fireplace or woodstove to sit by.)

So, next time you are bored, try the best cure I know; take a walk and view the beauty that is to be found in God’s creation. -It is always there if you look for it!

"The Heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork"

~Psalm 19:1~

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Yellow Rose...

There it blooms, a yellow rose,
Opened to the winter sky.
Cold the biting, sharp wind blows
The tattered leaves about my toes,
Yet summer blooms nearby!

The wind and rain have swept the land
And caused the autumn leaves to fall.
And yet, the hearty rose doth stand
Untouched by Winter’s chilly hand
And heedless of his call.

Here the rose most cheerily waves
Amidst the blighting, blustery blast
The rain and snow she sweetly braves
Her scent the traveler’s way now paves
With hopes of summer at last.

Thus may I be, in life’s cold day,
When all around seems dull and drear,
Oh, may I be the one who paves
Others’ paths with cheery ways
And hope, for Heaven is near!