Wednesday, October 16, 2013

channeling my inner laura ingalls wilder.

"The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong."
{Laura Ingalls Wilder}

I have posted before about the books in the Little House series being my favorites as a child. To be honest, they still are. I even love the television show that comes on the Hallmark channel. I think it is the simplicity and purity of the story that captured my heart as a child and continues to do so as an adult. The wholesome goodness. Yes, of course there is mean ol' Nellie Oleson, but overall the storyline is definitely not one that would make you feel guilty for watching or reading. 

I have always felt torn between being a "city" girl and a "country" girl. I grew up spending a lot of time at my Nana's house where she let me bring young chickens in her house, play in the mud with the ducks, catch minnows in her pond, and chase the mice in the feed bins. Basically, she let me do everything my prim and proper momma would not. Now, I love my pearl wearing, pink loving, sweet talking momma. She definitely raised me with an affection for sparkly, clean, pretty things. Thanks to her, I feel naked without my pearl earrings on or my nails painted. She and I have almost always lived "in town" and I always went to the "city" school. Of course by city school, I mean a 1A school in a town with a census of approximately 10,000. We did live in Brentwood, Tennessee for a year, so I have briefly experienced true "city" living. Despite living in the city limits for most of my life, I have always been drawn to the country-- the farms, clothes lines, gardens, and open spaces. 

I think I loved the Little House books as a child so much because I was able to live Laura's life with her-- her chores, her schoolwork, her dreams --whether she was in the Big Woods or on the Prairie. More than anything, I appreciated the little details that were included. The colors, the sights, the smells, the textures, the emotions, the relationships. Even today, I find myself appreciating the little things more. Especially those with family members. 

This weekend, I mentioned to Dustin's Nana that I wanted her to teach me how to crochet someday. She makes the sweetest pot holders and dish rags that fill kitchen drawers of each of her family members. She recently started making the cutest coffee mug sweaters. Well, before I could blink, she was up from her chair finding me a crochet hook and a ball of red yarn. She had me follow her into their living room and sit beside her on the couch as she showed me over and over how to do a basic chain stitch. Once I somewhat had it down, she gave me the assignment of practicing daily. She said that she would teach me another stitch the next time we see each other. It may seem like a meaningless, simple moment to some, but it was so special to me. Not only did she teach me something I had been wanting to learn, she made me feel so important by teaching me right then, as soon as I asked. I have been practicing everyday-- stitching and then undoing the stitch so that I can try again. I can't wait to learn another stitch from her. Sure, I could google a crochet "how-to" article or find a video on youtube, but I would much rather learn from Nana. 

Last night, we had deer stew for supper. Again, I couldn't help but think of the Little House books. I used Dustin's Nana's recipe, meat that Dustin got during deer season last year, and some vegetables from my Nana's garden. As I was combining the ingredients and thinking of how they all came together, the feeling of love and thankfulness was overwhelming. Nana's recipe isn't complex or full of ingredients that are difficult to pronounce-- just meat, vegetables, seasonings, and love. Knowing that it was her recipe, meat that Dustin brought home from his hunt, and produce from my Nana's garden made the experience so sweet. As we ate the warm stew, I knew we were tasting the goodness of the Lord. How sweet He is to love us in such special, even sometimes simple, ways! 

I may not live on a farm with chickens, a pig (y'all know I must have a pig), a goat, or a cow like the Ingalls did. Maybe someday we will. Surely I can convince Dustin to get on board with the pig plan, right?! I may not make all of our meals from scratch using ingredients we grew in a garden or sew our clothes. Maybe someday I will get past the basic crochet chain stitch! But until those days come, if they do and even if they don't, I can appreciate the simple pleasures. I can be thankful for the little things. I can make the most of what we have. I can be honest and truthful and courageous, all through the grace of God. Because just like Laura said, these are the real things. 

Back in the summer, I posted this photo of our neighbor's zinnias. It's not creepy that I took a picture of their flowers, I asked first. Ok, maybe it is weird, but they made me happy and I wanted to remember them! I put the caption on the photo as "if we don't appreciate the little things in life, how can we appreciate the "big" things?" My sweet friend Sophie commented with the following verse that has stuck with me since then in a whole new way. 

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much..."
{Luke 16:10}

Let's be people who can be trusted with little. 
Let's be grateful for life's simplest pleasures. 
Let's be thankful for the real things. 

Have a blessed day, y'all! 

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