What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Porch Dreams

For the past three weeks, if it hasn't been in the single digits it has been in the negative doubles.  The thermometer read -30 this morning, but it is about 8 degrees off so it was in the -20s instead.  (wow.)  It has been a crazy, crazy winter.

Last year it would require a tractor bucket load of wood a week to burn in the woodstove...this winter it has taken TWO buckets a week.  And the house is still cold.  Needless to say, our hefty wood supply piled up this fall was not 'more than plenty' as we had anticipated...we have about two more weeks of wood left and then we are going to have to get creative for the entire month of March and beginning of April.

Logs are piled up, waiting along the edge of the woods- thick with snow and ice but the snow is so deep it is almost impossible to reach it.  We'll figure something out...necessity is the mother of invention, after all.  But it has become very clear to us that something needs to change- a more efficient wood stove, for one.  And more wood needs to be split in the warm months too.  I'd like to have two years of wood, split and stacked so that there will always be an overflow available should extra wood be needed.  Yes,  changes must be made before we go through another winter like this one on this hill.  But for now, the only thing we can do is survive this one.

I could worry about where March's heat is going to come from.  But today I am choosing to dream about sitting on a porch swing on a spacious, wide wrap around porch with a book and a nice tall glass of peppermint iced tea.  The kids will be playing in the flower circle or running around the yard and I'll lift my head every so often to feel the heat soak my face.   I will dream about eating dinner together among candles in canning jars hanging from wire above, just a few steps from the kitchen door after a summer storm when the sky is orangey pink and the grass is soaked but we are warm and dry and filled.  I dream about these children and their Mama stretching legs and spreading themselves out after a long winter of being boxed in by four walls and then gathering together on the warm wood to paint pictures of birds and barns.

They won't be dreams for long.

When we first moved into this house on a hill, I remember telling Matt that this house just begged for a wrap-around porch.  I was one of those lucky girls who grew up writing letters on a wrap-around porch during the rain and eating meals out there every dinnertime.  I grew up knowing the pleasures that porches can bring and this house, with the wide open spaces and views from all sides just begged for someone to perch themselves upon a porch and soak it all in.  The clouds.  The stars.  The wind.  The fields.   Too beautiful not to beckon, to beautiful not to live in.

The very first hole dug resulted in an enormous stone.  Not an encouraging start.  

 I never actually expected a porch, mind you.  I only knew that a porch would be magnificent.   Money. Time.  Priorities.  A porch,  if it were ever to come at all, would surely come in 15 or 20 years when all those precious resources were not stretched so thin and spread out in so many different ways.

When the pipeline went through our property, uprooting hundreds of trees and stacking them in nice neat piles, Matt paid his brother to saw some of them into boards and beams.  I didn't know what they were to be used for until they were already stacked and waiting as Matt announced they were for a porch.

I couldn't believe it.  An amazing, overwhelming, inconceivable gift of love.  Matt had listened to that dream and made it a reality even when I never, ever imagined it would ever become anything more than a dream.

As overjoyed as I was at the prospect of a wonderful porch, I have to admit I baulked a bit.    A million different things calling for Matt's time and attention. But most of all, there is always more pressing needs begging for any extra money we could scratch out.  A more reliable vehicle. Better windows.  A more efficient woodstove.  A cheese press.  A sawmill.  Bills.  Savings.  Pragmatic.  Unfanstastic.  Reasonable.  Boring.

This will ALWAYS be the case, though, won't it?

I am glad for a husband who knows when to be prudent and when to lavish.  A husband who will invest time and money into something that our family can enjoy for the remainder of our years here instead of burning it up with expensive vacations or large, greedy purchases.  A husband whose hands and heart produce beautiful things.  A husband who takes the barely uttered dreams of his wife and makes them reality- for no other reason than to please her.

This porch is more than a 12 foot wide piece of three-season paradise.  It is more than a gathering place, a feasting place, a resting place, a place to admire and enjoy the goodness of the earth and the glory of God.  To me, more than anything else, it will always be a love note from my Mister.


He began the work last fall and finished the decking just as winter came to stay.  A neighbor came to dig holes.  A brother came for a day.  A father helped through it all.  The last few days of work required many hot coffee breaks and steamy soup bowls at lunch to warm up bones before finishing up for the day.  When (if?) the weather finally breaks, work will begin again on the roofing and railings.  Lots more to do.  Plenty more money to scrounge.  But this is a dream IN PROGRESS.

Through these cold winter days, I find myself daydreaming about that porch and being outside with barefeet and sleeveless shirts.  Feeling warm sunshine on my skin and listening to birdsong and the jingle of the cow bells in the field beyond. Swinging away on a porch made of love.


Riahli said...

This post made me tear up, the sweetness of it all. It's so nice to have a handy thoughtful husband. That is going to be one amazing porch!

...they call me mommy... said...

Just love this. Aww. Good job, Matt!!!! I LOVE IT, Rebecca!!! <3 Can't wait to see all the wonderful moments shared on it!

Tracy said...

I'm so very happy for you! I remember you commenting on my wrap around porch at my old house. I no longer have one, and it's hard to say if I'll miss it.

Terri said...

That indeed is a wonderful gift and a wonderful husband you have!

Leanne @ farmingfolks said...

Beautiful!! I can just see some adirondack chairs on this big porch with a cuppa tea.

Rosemary said...

What a wonderful way for your husband to show his love.

MJ said...

Those days will come and we look forward to pictures!!!!!

As for March's fire wood and other needs remember "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus Philippians 4:19"

I am praying for you I am sure winter must be difficult. I know cold weather is one of the reasons my husband wanted to move to Florida. And our winters were nothing like you are experiencing.

Terri Cheney said...

We just had a set of rather high steps (no rails) on the back of the house when we moved it. It was five years of hanging on tight to the door in wind to go in and out the back door and watching children get dragged off steps to dangle in space before we put on the deck with just two steps at the lowest end for Granny who couldn't quite handle stairs at her age.
This past year we had it covered (18 years here) and now it's a proper porch. I can't tell you how lovely it was to sit out there with our family this past May, or the look on my husband's face when he turned to me as we all sat there laughing in the spring air and his eyes shone. We both knew it was one of the best things we'd spent money on. Yes we need new windows and new flooring and the walls need to be painted and there's underpinning and the drive could use some work...but the porch was where the family gathered and have each time since it's been completed.
I spent summer mornings there doing Bible study and having first coffee and I slip out when the wind isn't blowing too cold and enjoy the afternoon sun. It's been worth every single penny despite all the other places we might have spent money. I am so happy for you! I know it will add immeasurably to your happiness in your home.

beth said...

this is thrilling! my goodness, how love abounds on your hill ~

Anonymous said...

oh. how beautiful.

Abigail said...

This is one amazing gift. I'll try not to gush over it because I'd just repeat everything you just wrote in the post! I look forward to sitting there with you in the summer sun! [Yes, that means we need at least one summer invitation. Don't worry, you'll get one in return. ;) ]

I appreciated Terri's comment, too. When we first moved in, several people told us we'd have to re-build the old wraparound porch that my Mom and Great-Grandma used to sit on, to which I replied, "I wish! Maybe in a million years!" I guess I shouldn't pack that pipe dream away just yet...

Oh! And one last thing. I always appreciate seeing the pictures of Matt's Dad working alongside. What a great gift his support to Matt is, too! I was just thinking about him and Matt last week, as I kept running into reminders of all the little gifts of time and work my Dad gave us each season.

Marlene Bibby said...

Oh, I can't wait to see the finished product. I have always coveted your mom's porches. They are so inviting and delightful. Hope you get to roof and rail it this year. Even this though will be wonderful and will keep some of the dirt out of the house. Enjoy!!