Monday, April 22, 2013

Counting My Blessings: Making the most of what we have

What do you do when your desire for something else is so great that you lose sight of what is right in front of you?  I have been longing for something different.  A different set of scenery outside my kitchen window.  A different town to call my own.  A different set of responsibilities and a different home to call my own.

The Housatonic River along Route 34

Perhaps this will happen.  Perhaps it won’t.  It occurred to me that I can either become weighed down by what is not, or I can embrace what is and make it the best I can until God leads us in the direction we are meant to go.  I am counting my blessings.

I have a home that I truly adore.  I love the nooks and crannies of our home.  I love the inlaid wood floors that were nailed in by hand almost 100 years ago.  I love the arched doorways, the sun room and the three season porch.  I love the smell of the full attic and the gleam of our wooden staircase.  Over the next month we will be giving our old home a bit of TLC.  I am embracing the concept “be the change you wish to see”.  Some rooms need repainting.  Doors need replacing.  Outside steps need rebuilding.   Light fixtures need replacing.  I am so grateful that we are in a position to be able to make these changes and help our home look fresh and clean.  

Squantz Pond State Park, New Fairfield, CT

Rather than concentrate on the 1+ acre of land I so desperately want, I can work on making our yard the best it can be.  New gardens can be dug.  They may not be as large as I would like, but their yield will be fresh.  It is time to start planting seedlings, turning over land and tending to new life.  I can wish for the land I do not have, or I can choose to make the most of what I do have.  Hopefully next weekend, we can begin to construct the garden I want to see when I look out my window.

Barn, New Milford, CT

Looking out my window has made me sad lately.  We live very close to a major highway, close enough to the train to hear each whistle and close enough to an industrial center to see the steam rise from the stacks on cold days.  When I drive through the hills of Connecticut every Wednesday my heart aches to have those views in my life every day.  I did not expect to feel so differently than I did 15 years ago when we bought this house.  I never expected to want different things.  I can choose to ache when I drive through towns that can give us both commutability and country living, or I can try to have what I want here...for now.  I can take comfort in the sound of the train pulling into the station, knowing that Greg is on that train soon to walk in the door.  I can appreciate the fact that commuting is simple.  So simple in fact, sometimes I wonder why we don’t go to New York more often.  I can embrace our neighborhood, make the time and effort to get to know our neighbors and try not to get so annoyed when dogs bark and when the ball field lights are left on and when teens drive too fast by our house on their way to baseball practice.  

My friend's duckling that we get to play with every week.

There are some things I cannot change.  I cannot change that crime in our town seems to be on the increase.  I cannot change that the population density of our neighborhood can be suffocating at times.  I cannot change that graffiti is becoming more prevalent around town or that there are more people asking for spare change at the highway ramps and outside grocery stores.  Or can I?  Can I begin to attend town council meetings and speak about the concerns I have?  I could, but I feel like the political process in our town is divisive and disrespectful and I don’t know if I would even want to interject my voice into it.  Can one person really affect change?  While my head knows that answer is yes, at this moment my heart does not.  I am grateful to have a home to call my own, which keeps me safe and contains love and laughter and light.

At the station waiting for Daddy.

I can drive through my town and my state and take time to appreciate beauty.  Rather than just drive by paying more attention to the lyrics of the song on the radio than on the rolling hills bursting with blooms, I can pull over when I see something that catches and holds my eye.  Like the river on a glorious day.  Or a state park that we would like to visit.  Or the beach on the first 80 degree day.  Or baby animals that I am lucky enough to hold and visit with every week.  I must be the change I wish to see in my life.  If I want beauty, I can move to find it.  I can also add beauty to my life in the place my life is at this moment.  

Many conversations have taken place in our family about what we want and where we will find it.  We have looked at several homes in a town about 20 minutes from here.  The decision to move is a difficult one to make, especially when you do not have young children.  Even though my children are not tied to a school, and will not have to change their educational environment, they would be making a huge change.  I would love to give them more land to play on, a town to drive through that does not have litter and graffiti, where crime is low and backyard animals are plentiful.  For now I am going to make our home the absolute best it can be.  If we find what we are looking for somewhere else, it will be ready to sell.  If we don’t, we will enjoy it even more. 


Areeba said...

I can understand that. Leaving your place you once loved is not so easy , But we all do for our families. The enviroment here in Pakistan is not so sound , my mum is planning to move to UK or USA. But we don't have proper arrangements to come and live there. After my parents divorced , it feels hard to live there. I hope you will find a better place for your girls :)

Becca said...

I struggle with this one, too, but from a different angle. We bought the house from my in-laws and there are so many projects my FIL did poorly. I some times get lost in frustration with him. I need to focus on what we like and there are many things. House stuff can be fixed, yard size can not and we have a good sized yard. The interior is laid out in a manner that makes entertaining easy and we have plenty of parking. Thanks for the reminder.

Jen Dunlap said...

Very interesting post as we have eerily similar thoughts. Big changes are ahead for my family. Beautiful photos.

Jessica said...

Areeba, I could not imagine contemplating a move like your mother is planning. We are thinking of moving just a few miles away, not an entire continent! I can imagine how many feelings must be wrapped up in this decision. I wish you peace as your family makes it.

Jessica said...

You can't change the urban/rural landscape of your home. I struggle with the grass is greener concept. Now that we are back from TN and settled in, those intense feelings fade a bit. We began to plant out garden and we decided to expand the garden with three more raised beds. I can't change the fact that my neighbors are about 6feet away to the right of us but when I think of moving away from my elderly neighbors on my other side, I could cry. They are like grandparents to my children. I have a feeling that I will know when/if the time is right. We will be led to the right home at the right time. That may be naive....but I just feel it. So I am going with that feeling! In the meantime I am going to get some chairs to put in my garden and if spring every comes to the NorthEast I will sit there with my coffee and watch my garden grow!

Jessica said...

I had a feeling based on something you either wrote not too long ago. I can't wait to read about what your family has in store!

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