Sunday, April 5, 2015

Simply Spring #4: Reality for Easter

Happy Easter to you! (At least for the next five minutes. Then it's Happy After Easter Until Next Year.)

I've been having a bit of trouble with my camera settings lately, getting the right lighting and focus, but my nine year old daughter managed to snap the stunning hibiscus photo above. What you don't see is that the rest of the bush isn't in all that great a shape. But back to that concept in a few minutes.

So here we are with another post for my Simply Spring series. This week's edition is for Easter.

Sort of. We'll get back to that, too. It's more about real every day life.

I've been redecorating our living room a little at a time for the past few weeks. I was plotting it even before that. It started with a very old print that I inherited from my mother: "Hailing the Ferry" by Daniel Ridgway Knight.  It has been in her family for generations. My father brought it to me last year, as it was the one big thing of hers that I wanted after she passed away. I copied this image of it off of Amazon because I couldn't get a decent photo of it behind the glass in the frame. Even this one doesn't have quite the same tones of blue in the sky.

Anyway, I got to wishing that my whole living room could be decorated in the brown, tan and blue tones from the painting, instead of the burgundy and yellow scheme we'd had for over 10 years. I took this photo about four years ago. The couches didn't have as many stains then. And they didn't sag so much and they didn't have rips. Ick. Really time for a change.

I hatched a two phase redecorating plan on my iPod in the Evernote app. Phase 1 included minor repairs and deep cleaning of what we already had. Truth be told, I skipped most of phase 1 and went straight to phase 2 - replacement!

I'm not one to want to blow a lot of money. As a mom of 10, I prefer the thrifty approach, which takes more patience because you have to wait for the right deals.

First up, I bought the area rug at Old Time Pottery for $35. Then I found a brown couch (with recliners at both ends) at the Christian Sharing Center thrift store on sale for $100. I bought those last month. And then I waited for another brown couch. I mean actively waited because I made the rounds of thrift stores as often as I could. I found the second couch this week at Salvation Army, marked down to $140, also with recliners at both ends. Though not a perfect color match to the other, it was good enough for me! It was delivered yesterday morning.

At that point, with company coming for Easter today, I decided to kick it into high gear. In spite of lot of other errands I had to run for my kids yesterday, I managed to buy six sets of blue taffeta curtains (enough for the two big windows), four throw pillows, the blue egg wreath, the lace table cover, and the small blue sign on the wall. Phew! It was quite a pain getting the first set of curtains up since I had to move a bracket. I got so crabby that in the best interest of my children's sanity I left the house for an hour. I zipped across town to the Joann craft store where I had seen the wreath earlier in the day. (I should have bought it the first time I saw it, but two of my kids were rushing me.) It had just been marked down by 70%, so I got it for only $6. Sweet deal! The whole room redo cost me less than $500, and more than half of that was for the two couches.

I finished everything up around midnight. "Everything" does not include carpet or paint. Maybe later. Much later.

Here's the big picture so far, then the little pictures.

And now for a little reality.

I can make one room look decently enough pretty.
But that doesn't stop the mess.
And you haven't seen the other rooms.

The family (or most of it) can gather for a holiday meal.
But we're a pretty crazy bunch.
We've been hit by a lot of curve balls.
I can see so many things I should have done differently.
I feel like I am spinning my wheels.
I get frustrated, sad, uncertain of the future.
Real life can be heavy, even on a holiday.

So though I can pour myself into a big burst for a special project, I've had to let go of a lot of other expectations.


We had a bigger, fancier breakfast than usual, though I didn't get around to making the scrambled eggs. But we had bacon. Bacon covers a multitude of sins.

Sign from my bookshelf
We made it to church. Or at least most of us did. (Oops. We were late.) I was reminded that Easter is a time to renew my hope in God's resurrection power. And that he cared enough to come save me when I was in the deep darks of life. Make that present tense. He still cares when I'm in the middle of tough times. Sometimes that care comes through the kind words of a friend, like this morning. So church was good.

No big fancy baskets here. I did manage to pull off little treat boxes with doodads from Party City while I was waiting for my son's haircut yesterday. Googly eye ring. Tiny slinky. Bracelet. Hello Kitty markers. A few chocolate eggs. That was the nine year old girl version. Nice to have a kid that is still amused by such things. The older ones got gum and key chains.

Dyeing eggs? Not a chance. I always get too flustered.

How about the Easter meal table? Somehow I didn't have the oomph to pull out the china and linens. Just. Couldn't. So when I stopped at the store on the way home from church to buy soda (which I had forgotten in my umpteen trips to Walmart) I also grabbed some decorative Dixie paper plates and plastic cups. Then we set the table with a plastic Easter table cloth which didn't exactly match and which one of my teenagers felt compelled to shred at the edge during dessert.

Yeah. Like that. Not exactly Pinterest worthy, but I don't care. Nobody else cared either. My adult daughters brought sweet potato casserole, salad, and ice cream; the only foods I had to fix were very simple chicken (a little rotisserie seasoning sprinkled on top, and I set out a bowl of alfredo sauce for those who wanted it) and some buttered rice and biscuits. Works for me.

After dessert, we adjourned to the newly nicely decorated blue and brown living room! Yes! 

My second daughter (who is expecting her second baby) opened her birthday presents. She turns 26 next Saturday, but we decided to combine celebrations because it's hard enough to get everyone together for a meal. (Not everyone was even able to make it today.) I gave her a set of soft pastels and chalkboards since she likes to do that, too.

I was going to do a nice chalkboard with "Hallelujah! Jesus is risen!" written on it to hang on my wall, but I just didn't get to it. Oh well. That's real life. Maybe next year.

So here's the thing about real life, using flowers for a springtime analogy. Some flowers are perky, like the one at the top of the post.

Others are shriveled or droopy.

Or to switch analogies, sometimes life is like the old couches: saggy, stained, ripped.

Not everything we experience is pretty and perky.
Real life can be raw and gritty.
Mine certainly is at times.

Truth? I sometimes get resentful when I see women who seem to have it all together. Perfectly behaved kids. Perfectly loving marriages. Perfectly timed schedules. Perfectly clean and decorated homes. Perfectly balanced budgets. Perfectly planned feasts. Perfectly managed health. Perfectly meaningful ministries. With nary a cross word to spoil the picture.

But here's the other thing. It just seems that way. Everyone has problems. Maybe some people don't have them as big or as often as the rest of us, but we still don't always know what challenges they are going through, and they aren't always at liberty to say so.

I'll try to keep that in mind. I'll try to be kinder inside my heart of hearts when I meet the next Mrs. Perfect.

Meanwhile, I will keep plugging away at my own imperfect life the best I can. Maybe I ought to go look at the sign I put up in the living room yesterday. (Want one? Walmart, $3.97.)

Yes. That's it. Intention, boldness, destiny - no matter what adversity comes my way. Easier said than done. Too bad I can't buy a big bag of perseverance at Walmart. It still needs to be done. Upward and onward!

Hey, do you feel like I do? OK, then. Here's another post about expectations, and having the liberty to be yourself rather than just like everyone else: How to Be Free by Melissa Camara Wilkins

DoYourThing300But wait! There's more! Get her free e-book: Do Your Thing: How to Find Time to Do What Matters. I haven't read the whole thing yet, but I like what I see so far!

I wish you all the best that life offers. 

I'd love to hear your comments.

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

1 comment:

  1. Intention, blodness, destiny, living: yes! Today we will practice these things. Because I know I need the practice, every day. ;)