Tag Archives: making a house a home

Joy: Home

I’m feeling a little tender today, friends. On a simplistic level, and for the purposes of checking off “blog” box on my to-do list, I felt joy today sitting on the couch this morning with my youngest daughter, looking at the wall that you see in the photo above (and, subsequently, the mirror reflection of the trees through the large front window).

So. Blog: check. But in conjunction with watching the wall in peaceful quiet this morning, allow me to wax self-indulgent for a minute.

Our 3-year-old, little A., relapsed into fever and intense sickness yesterday. A doctor’s appointment this morning revealed yet another kidney infection (the second one, or maybe the same one continued, in under 2 weeks). Which is weird typing that, because it’s so factual, and those of you reading it probably ingest it as such, maybe feel a pang of pity, and continue on your way. Which is what I would do, too.

You wouldn’t have any way of knowing the gratitude I’ve felt yesterday and today that this little girl has a safe, warm, loving home to curl up and feel sick in. Or that she has parents who lie awake at night worrying about and checking up on her and siblings who pray for her. Or that she can cry to her sympathetic dad in the early morning hours and snuggle with her sympathetic mom in a foreign medical clinic environment.

Reading the factual statement above, you wouldn’t have any way of knowing the bittersweet tears I fought back as she looked squarely at me in the clinic restroom and, no doubt mistaking the worry on my face, promised, “I won’t trow up dis time, mommy.” Or when she found out she needed another painful shot and nodded, tightening her grip around me, when I asked her if she could be brave one more time. Or when her tears squeezed out, staring helplessly and painfully and accusingly into my eyes, as I carefully held her down to receive said shot.

You wouldn’t have any way of knowing that I completely failed to fight back tears at all in the quiet of the exam room with her face tucked carefully into her blankie on my chest. Or that, almost before her kidneys had even been deemed the potential problem, I was already planning out how — not if, but how — one of my own kidneys would fit into her little body, and should they take it out before, during, or after my unborn baby’s delivery. Or that I caught a glimpse of our reflection in the mirror on the back of the door — she in pain but clinging to someone she trusts and loves, me worried but cradling her as comfortably as I knew how — and immediately thought of God and His sorrow yet infinite caring for each of His children in and through their individual pains.

She’ll be fine, I’m sure. It’s just hard to helplessly watch a little body be in so much hurt…especially when it happens to be a little body that grew inside of you in the first place. And this is even a relatively small thing. Most likely treatable. So many people, probably you, have endured so much more through their children. I’m in awe of you.

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Joy: wood floors

We’re coming up on the 3-year anniversary of our Great Flood of 2009. Which expelled us from our home for four months and caused nearly $50k in damage and forever altered the way we view possessions. (Didn’t alter my sweet tooth, though, which, frankly, would’ve been a welcome side effect…)

It was a crazy experience to arrive home from a weeklong vacation and, exhausted, enter an allsofasudden uninhabitably waterlogged house, take a heart-sinking inventory of the damage, and sit in a state of numbness while waiting for the insurance and disaster cleanup people to coordinate. But, over the ensuing days and weeks and months, the shock trasformed into creative fodder for fabulous home improvements. Stuff like new tub surrounds. New doors. New bathrooms. New flooring. New moldings. New arrangements. New new new…

One of the changes we opted for was to replace the ceramic tile floor in the entryway, dining room, and kitchen with red oak. The floor that was once cold and grout-grimy (let’s pretend my lack of housecleaning had nothing to do with that) became warm, welcoming, earthy, and part of the ebb and flow of our home.

To anyone else, the floor is nice but probably nothing special — a place to walk on, sweep (in theory), and spill the occasional glass of milk. But to me, it’s become a talisman of change, of the capacity to make things beautiful when circumstances are anything but. I think you get the point, but just in case, let me be clear: it brings me joy, and I love this floor. Maybe not enough to recommend extensively flooding one’s house to attain such a treasure, but then again, maybe so.*

*But, really, not. Because having a flooded house stinks. 

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Joy: Fonts

I’m a total English nerd. Don’t mind admitting it. I edit and write and revise for a living. (Which actually is less impressive when you realize that my husband is the real breadwinner around here. I’m the homemaker who strives to keep burned dinners to a minimum. If I actually did edit for a “living,” I would probably be dead right now. Or eking out a scant survival on cans of beans divided and rationed out over seven days. Split among my children. While we sob buckets of tears underneath our shredded tarp-for-shelter.)

So. Where were we? Oh yes, my nerdiness. Welp, that explains today’s JOY. The stretchiness (and sans stretchiness, as the case may be) of the font on this subway art brings me joy. Some words just pop–my favorite is the striking contrast between “pray” and “eat more vegetables.” Plus, I made it myself. Kinda. With hardly any swearing or throwing of paint brushes across the basement.

Singing a song of joy right here.

Today’s poll (answer to see results):
Best fonts: serif or sans serif?

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Joy: Tiny clothespins

There was a guy in college that my roommates and I loved. He was about 10 inches shorter than us girls’ average height, the absolute nicest and cutest, and we adoringly called him “Bite Size.” (Erm, not to his face, though. Too potentially emasculating and, frankly, despite our love for the guy, at his height it’s not something one can risk in good conscience.)

Anywho. For me and for a research-based 93%* of double-X-chromosome bearers out there, tiny stuff = adorably endearing = joy. Bingo on the mini clothespins strung up on wires in our hallway, which has subsequently become the “Kids’ Art Wall.” Which, if you’ll allow me to cheat a little in this post, is an addition to our home that ALSO brings me joy today. Got ourselves a two-fer.

Speaking of bite size and joyful combinations, though…anyone else getting a hankering for some Butterfingers, Halloween-style (e.g., steal-’em-from-your-kid’s-bucket-in-the-dead-of-night-then-spread-around-the-remaining-candy-so-it-looks-just-as-full)? No? Oh. Yeah, me either.**

*Lie.

**Total lie.

Today’s poll (answer to see results):
Best bite-size candy bar

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