Day 2 of Just Write – Stove Cleaning, Dog Cones, and Stringed Instruments

A guitar-playing son, a resting girl cat, and an alert boy dog

Well, hello there, WordPress page! I love seeing your peaceful blank slate that awaits new words.

Here we are on day 2 of my “Just Write Challenge”. Since I’m the only one being challenged, I am sure I will succeed no matter how long or short my run time ends up being.

Today, I will make this blog page less blank by talking about my morning. Who knows, maybe someone will read it and relate. That’s always in my mind when I write. I love stumbling across words of others that make me nod inwardly with recognition of some of its notes.

Last night, I planned to clean the wood cookstove today. Our wood is pretty wet, due to so much rain this past summer and also because of our still-incomplete pallet woodshed. As a result of the wet wood, I have to clean the stove once every week or two, which means waiting till it cools enough to take the heavy iron plates off the cooktop so I can remove the creosote.

But when I woke up, the stove was too warm. Coals were in the firebox and the heat-activated fan was still spinning. It’s a sunny day, though, so although it is around the freezing point outside, there’s enough sunlight through the windows and stored heat in the house to wait for the stove to cool down and we won’t all have to put on ski pants and parkas in the meantime – which we would have to do on some days if we were in the basement where there is no heat and no insulation.

I am taking this time to enjoy WordPress, waiting for the stove to cool down. I sit at my desk with a red-with-white-snowflake woolly scarf around my neck; my hair piled into a bun on top of my head with a wooden hair fork; all-black clothing of cotton 3/4 sleeve top, weird bootcut yoga pants with a short skirt attached, and Uggs slipper boots (with dog and cat hair adding a splash of colour to all this black); and a camo apron, in readiness for the stove cleaning. I didn’t actually think about it when I chose what to wear this morning, but black is wise for stove-cleaning day, for less chance of soot stains showing up.

My beloved wood cookstove

This classy cookstove might make it look like we are wealthy and live in a fancy house, but, truth be known, the stove was a huge investment for us, we are relatively poor in this country, and our house is far from fancy. This stove is hands-down the most beautiful non-breathing item in it. The coveted spot to sit for our family members is in a wooden rocking chair in front of that stove. If our kitchen were huge, I’d set up a bunch of rocking chairs around the stove for everyone. (I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, too. One can dream, eh?)

My kitchen is crowded. And that’s okay. I am so grateful for the house we have. I’ve lived in far less.

One more little blip of my morning is the picture I posted at the top of this blog entry. You will see a long-haired chihuahua puppy in a kennel, a grey striped cat on top of the kennel, and one of my sons in the top left preparing to practice his guitar.

Why the cone on the dog’s head, and why is he in a kennel? Well, this little guy is my oldest daughter’s dog. My “grand-dog”, if you will. They are staying with us for a few weeks. The puppy, Pedro, has a bit of mange on his face, and so putting a cone on helps him not scratch the itchy spots down to bare skin.

Pedro is only seven months old and too young to trust having free roam of the house without finding a secret new potty spot on say a closet floor or behind the couch. So, unless he is within reach of a human family member, he hangs out in his comfortably appointed kennel, right in the heart of the home yet cordoned off so he has a sense of being in his own little cave where none of the four cats or the Pom-Chi can bother him while he gets his beauty sleep.

And, ahh, my son’s guitar playing. I dearly love the sound of stringed instruments, especially when played right in my own house. I wish I could play like him, but, alas, I can only strum a few chords. Maybe someday in a new body…
“…with the music of stringed instruments
and with melody on the harp.
Your mighty deeds, O Lord, make me glad;
because of what you have done, I sing for joy.” (Psalm 92:3-5, TLB)

Ramble session done for this day. Off I go to pursue other things.


And Can It Be…?

Such a beautiful hymn, set to beautiful scenes of God’s creation, gently spurs me all the more onward to heaven where neither thorn, nor darkness, nor impending death can ever detract from the eternal enjoyment of fellowship as it was meant to be in all its perfection.

Watch and listen: And Can It Be?

And Can It Be?

Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788 

Music: Thomas Campbell 

1. And can it be that I should gain 
an interest in the Savior’s blood! 
Died he for me? who caused his pain! 
For me? who him to death pursued? 
Amazing love! How can it be 
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? 
Amazing love! How can it be 
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? 

2. ‘Tis mystery all: th’ Immortal dies! 
Who can explore his strange design? 
In vain the firstborn seraph tries 
to sound the depths of love divine. 
‘Tis mercy all! Let earth adore; 
let angel minds inquire no more. 
‘Tis mercy all! Let earth adore; 
let angel minds inquire no more. 

3. He left his Father’s throne above 
(so free, so infinite his grace!), 
emptied himself of all but love, 
and bled for Adam’s helpless race. 
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free, 
for O my God, it found out me! 
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free, 
for O my God, it found out me! 

4. Long my imprisoned spirit lay, 
fast bound in sin and nature’s night; 
thine eye diffused a quickening ray; 
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; 
my chains fell off, my heart was free, 
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free, 
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

5. No condemnation now I dread; 
Jesus, and all in him, is mine; 
alive in him, my living Head, 
and clothed in righteousness divine, 
bold I approach th’ eternal throne, 
and claim the crown, through Christ my own. 
Bold I approach th’ eternal throne, 
and claim the crown, through Christ my own. 

Sun, Rain, and God

​I was trying to find the Bible passage that talks about the sun shining and the rain falling on the just and the unjust, when suddenly I heard rain out my open bedroom door, while the sun continued to shine. How fitting. (See the little video clip I made.)

I can’t state for sure that it is any of these things, but it felt to me like a gentle hug from God, a hint of His interest in me, a reminder of how real He is, and a foretaste of the communication I will enjoy with Him when in His visible presence I will see His face and hear His voice.

I found the verse, in Matthew 5:45.

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Gratitude is not always easy

Picture 7 (3)-1

Today I am grateful for:

1.  The colourful hat I have on my head.  It was left here by my third daughter, who had borrowed it from my first daughter.  My first daughter is in long-term rehab and I miss her.  Wearing her hat warms my head and my heart with thoughts of her.

2.  Tears that are flowing from my eyes while I write, to help wash out a smidgen of the pain I have been enduring of late.

3.  Having heard from a friend with whom I had once thought I had lost touch forever, but from whom I now occasionally hear, and he even subscribed to my blog.  (Hola, Señor Heelez).

4.  The sip of Zevia ginger rootbeer that was just brought to me by my eight-year-old son.  He said, “Here’s some fresh Zevia that I just opened.  It’s fresh.”

5.  The smell of lentils and barley cooking in the kitchen, to which I am about to add carrots, onions, garlic, celery, and chopped ham.

And an extra mention of gratitutde to the blogger at Inspirationenergy, who inadvertently prompted me to write this — Inspirationenergy’s Gratitude Page.


me and charlie3

For more gratitutdes, check out:  my Gratitudes category.

Today’s Twisted Gratitudes

Today I am grateful for:

1.  The dryer in my laundry room, which not only dries our laundry, but today it performed the job of masking the sobs that wrenched from my beaten down heart so the rest of my family didn’t have to hear me cry.
2.  Long sleeves on my shirts to wipe my tears.
3.  Supportive friends in the groups for highly sensitive people where I find a bit of solace.
4.  This blog, where I can let a little bit of my pain bleed out.
5.  My faith that heaven is my final destination.

Come, Lord Jesus.  Quickly.  Please.

Today I’m grateful for… um… hmm… uh….

Today I’m grateful for… wait… just a sec… I’ll think of something…. man, this isn’t always easy.

1.  I do have a roof over my head.
2.  The snow is starting to melt here in my beautiful part of British Columbia.
3.  Black snow on the side of the highway, in all its ugly glory, means spring is on the way.
4.  My long camouflage skirt from the thrift store.
5.  I have edible food in my kitchen.

I really do have a lot more than my tired eyes are willing to see.  Thank You, Lord, for making a way.


A couple hours from home, January 11, 2011. Our roads are melted a lot more now.

Today’s Gratitudes

  1. The sun is shining.
  2.  My two youngest kids are out at a children’s program with our behavior interventionist, where they are having fun, burning off energy, and I get a bit of quiet time to work.
  3. I have an excellent friend in Toronto with whom I have been having good conversation, and he is truly like a brother to me.  He’s one of the few in-person friends I have (he used to live in BC, and we have been to each other’s homes)  who has stuck with me through thick and thin.  Bro, if you’re reading this, you already know how grateful I am for you, but here you can see it again.  (And if anyone else is reading this, please don’t get the wrong impression.  This is truly a brother-sister kind of friendship and he also knows my husband.  I could write a whole blog entry on how much I thank God for this friend, and maybe I will someday.)
  4. The microwave oven we ordered to replace the one that blew up last week is waiting to be picked up at the Sears pickup store.
  5. My oldest daughter, who is in long-term rehab, is finally allowed to receive and write letters.  I am doing the Snoopy dance on the inside, even though I am still exhausted from adrenal burnout.

The Little Things

So tired, as always with this adrenal burnout, I had to go to the couch and crash this afternoon.

I fell asleep to the sound of my eighteen-year-old daughter folding towels and sheets on the floor nearby.

I woke up twenty minutes later to see neatly folded piles of clean laundry in baskets by the couch.

I nearly cried with gratefulness.

She seldom does such things.

As grateful as I am for the good little things in my life, so oppositely overwhelmed am I by the numerous bad little things.

Too many little bad things piled up together look like a big bad thing.

In the face of the mountain of bad things, the good things look so awesomely wonderful.

Although probably not what it is intended to mean, I suddenly think of Newton’s law of motion:  “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”