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

Friday, December 12, 2014

You don't know what you've got

There are these infuriating moments in everyones' life that seem as though if everything could go wrong it would- and all at once too.  Usually, if all goes as it should, at the end of things the person is made stronger for it.  Or so I have been telling myself.  

That has been my month of November- December.

It has been nothing earth shattering or life altering...just many things all going wrong at once.

My dryer has not been able to work since spring- which was of little consequence in the summer but now requires curtain rods to be set up between chairs in the school room to hold the gazillion socks that get wet and replaced after snow playing each day and undies hanging all in a row on the curtain rods above windows in the laundry room and clothes hanging from every spare nail down cellar, requiring you to stealthily slump and spin between them to add wood to the woodstove every few hours.
The pile of eggs we use at breakfast time- it's ridiculous.
Our van started acting crazy so I took it to a local guy who told me that it won't pass next inspection (in a few months) without first socking a tidy sum into it (and it is at 150,000 miles and so...a conundrum) so a different vehicle must be in our near future.

Then about a month and a half ago, my oven stopped working entirely.  It miraculously revived just long enough on Adele's birthday to bake a cake for her and then it went back to its silent, black, gasless coma.   A birthday miracle, of sorts.

For several weeks now our computer has been whacked out and shuts down/freezes up very often when I get on it.  It works when I finally get Matt to check it out and then it throws a little fit as soon as he heads off to work.  Thus, no computer for me either.  (Hence, the lack of blogging.)

And then, two days ago the dishwasher quit working too.  It was at this point that my eyes began to glaze over and my neck began to twitch.

All of these things still sit, unrepaired, because the extra money that we have had access to was put toward something different.  (Before, of course, we knew that it would come in handy again...and again...and again.)  This 'something different' is something I would have shared with you by now (because it is very exciting!) had my computer not been being so mean to me.  I will, though, and soon!  (Because it is very exciting!)

Being out of all these conveniences all at once is pretty overwhelming!

When I find myself inwardly grumbling at the unjustice of it all (grin) I realize just how spoiled I really am and have always been.  Dryers are a CONVENIENCE item.  A dishwasher is a CONVENIENCE.  A computer is a CONVENIENCE.  Even an oven makes things easier but isn't necessary for life.  I am not saying that they aren't huge conveniences and that I would ever want to live without them- but once upon a time people did and not only did they survive, they thrived.   Even today- there are millions of people who are somehow living without a computer.  (Can you believe it?)   They are not pivotal for our existence...they don't sustain us in some way.  They make life easier.

And so, even though I live like the wealthiest of all peoples just in the owning of these conveniences, I can fully attest to taking them AND my circumstances in life for granted.  I fully admit I have felt poor and,when I think of all our repairs and upcoming bills- FEEL poor even now.  This coming from the girl who has never lived out of her car, sacrificed her own dinner to feed her children, gone without shoes or slept without blankets or wondered where the next meal would be.

How dare I complain about what I don't have!?

Sometimes, when life gets a little bit too easy (or we forget to see just how easy it really is) maybe it is a good thing to have a reminder, every now and again, that a dryer is a gift from God that makes things easy.  Not just something that sits in the laundry room drying things.  My dishwasher is a gift from God and a huge help to me when I have just made a big meal at the end of the day and the last thing I want to do is clean up all the dishes covering every surface of the kitchen.  I remember that now.  The capabilities to put something raw into an oven and turn out something delicious and warm is an AMAZING feat that shouldn't be taken for granted.  It's amazing, people!


We have so much.  So much.

back when the oven still worked...
Another wonderful realization occurred to me the other day while contemplating all this.  Matt has been very positive and cheerful about it all!  Now, you must know that I am the eternal optimist in this family and Matt is the eternal pessimist. (He may say 'realist' to that point.)  But I tend to think positively and view things with rosy glasses and he tends to get discouraged more easily and focus on the negative things.  But in this case- and completely contrary to our natural tendencies, I have been the one discouraged and he has been the one encouraging me...despite the fact that it will be up to HIM to do the fixing of these things!

Isn't that just so how God works?  When Matt is discouraged, God has allowed me to encourage him.  When I am discouraged, God has enabled Matt to encourage me.   God so ably provides for every one of our needs- physical, spiritual, and emotional.

Sometimes He needs to clear away the excess and take a few things away for our needs to be met in the best way possible...and maybe it isn't the way we first thought.  But God knows just what we need- even when we don't- and He always provides.

I took the children to a show about the Wright Brothers.  It was cheap (meant for school children) and oh.so.fun.

It was for grades 4-8 but even Judah and Adele' sat nicely through the whole thing.
One amazing convenience I was able to replace recently, thanks to a friend who wanted to sell hers, was a sewing machine!  So I have been busily stitching away in the afternoons on my very convenient, very amazing, very wonderful new (to me) sewing machine!  I may not have a working....well, ANYTHING ELSE (wink)...but I have a working sewing machine now!  And boy, am I so thankful for that!  Stitches even the thickest fabrics like it were stitching through butter.  (Thank you again, Michelle!)

St. Nicholas Day
I am woefully behind on all Christmas-making and have now settled on the notion to pare down, pare down rather than stress out, stress out.  I really so enjoy making things at Christmas but it is very unwise to begin just 13 days before Christmas.  The year I did at least one gift a month all year was so...pleasant.  I may do that this coming year again.  I already have a fabulous idea for my in-laws.  When we moved into this house, Gram had a suitcase filled to the brim with strips of fabric (she loved to make log-cabin quilts) and I kept them...for someday.  It just occurred to me that making Gary a quilt from his mothers' strips of fabric would be such a wonderful, sentimental gift that I am sure would greatly touch him.  This is one of those gifts I contemplated (for a second) trying to start and finish before Christmas.  I know, insane.  But for NEXT year....totally doable.

and a chocolate letter- a van der Jagt tradition.
It's been so long since we chatted- what's new in your neck of the woods?  

How are the Christmasy things going?  

Tell me- what blessing in your life do you most take for granted?  Remind me to be thankful for that too, would you?

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


And with one fell swoop, Adele' is six.

She spent the day waiting until evening when that magical birthday time of presents and cake would come, bringing Papa home with it.

Dinner request was sausage gravy and fresh strawberries.  (I must make a pretty mean sausage gravy since it seems this is the birthday meal always requested by everyone in this family.  Either that or I have a very unimaginative family.)

I was under strict orders to replicate exactly the design she had made for her cake (this was a first for me!) and the edible version pales in comparison to her paper one.  She mentioned next year that on her birthday next year she may want to decorate her own cake her 'own self '.  WHAT?!?!? I am not sure I am entirely okay with that...

I was a wee bit stumped for gifts this year...even in their little, my children have SO MUCH.  My one inkling turned out to be a great one.  I have eyed her eyeing the snowglobes every time we would go to the store and wondered if she might like one of them for herself.  Oh my goodness... I am so glad I did.  She opened it up and gazed at it for a minute or two with this faraway look in her eyes and a smile swirling about her mouth and then said...."Oh.  I have wanted one of these for years!  Thank you thank you THANK you."   Pretty much the best reaction one could hope for.

She has always had pretty amazing reactions to kindnesses, though, and has the gift of making the giver feel incredibly happy to have done something for her in the first place.

She is a dear girl who often encourages and praises her siblings for their good works- and needs very little praise herself.  She forgives easily and loves unconditionally.  And in these six years I have loved every minute of getting to know and love this girl.

I can't wait to watch her grow into this year and  Lord willing, into many many more.

Monday, December 01, 2014

A winner!

Just a quick pop on to let you know that we have a winner for the Lilla Rose Giveaway!

Congratulations go to Courtney (courtneylane6)!!!  Email Leah for your prize!  And everyone else- thanks for playing along!