Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What I'm Learning

I've been reading a lot lately. Every once in a while I pick up the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and reread them. I think this is maybe the 10th time I've read through the series.

They're like an old friend. And I learn something new, or find a new treasure each time I read them. As I was finishing "These Happy Golden Years" the other day Hannah came into my room and hemmed and hawed a little bit and then asked, "Could I try reading the first one all by myself?" ( I read them out loud to her last year.)

"Sure." I answered, trying to contain my glee.

I am happy to announce that after two days she has finished "Little House in the Big Woods" and is ready to start "Little House on the Prairie". This momma is excited.

Instead of reading "The First Four Years" this time though I pulled off my shelf the biography "Laura: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder" by Donald Zochert and devoured that.

And that's where I found my treasure this time, pg. 207 (emphasis mine):

"One day Laura and Almanzo sat by a cozy fire in the parlor at Rocky Ridge and complained good-naturedly to each other that there was not time for anything in life except work. They thought back on the days when people always seemed joyful and happy. 'I was wishing, ' Laura remarked, 'that I had lived altogether in those good old days when people had time for the things they wanted to do.'
For a long time Almanzo was silent. Then he spoke up, remembering all the work Father Wilder had had to do on the farm and all the work Mother Wilder had had to do in the house. There was so much work it didn't stop at supper or sundown, but carried over into darkness. Laura thought back to the way Ma so often sat rocking by the fire, sewing or knitting long into the evening, when the world outside had fallen into silence and darkness- not because she wanted to, but because the work was there to be done.
'Surely,' Laura thought, 'the days and nights were as long as they ever were. Why should we need extra time in which to enjoy ourselves? If we expect to enjoy our life we will have to learn to be joyful in all of it, not just at stated intervals, when we can get the time, or when we have nothing else to do...A feeling of pleasure in a task seems to shorten it wonderfully and it makes a great difference with the day's work if we get enjoyment from it instead of looking for all our pleasure altogether apart from it, as seems to be the habit of mind we are more and more growing into.' "

Oh lately the days have seemed tedious and the tasks at hand overwhelming, and some of that is the emotional state I find myself in nowadays (darn pregnancy hormones). And I've been waiting for mini breaks and moments of time in the day to try and enjoy myself instead of finding the enjoyment were and when I can. Mostly cooking has become a chore because I haven't found enjoyment in it lately. Worried that maybe we're eating too much of this and not enough of that and should we be eating this or is it healthier to eat that? Those worries have crowded out the enjoyment of being able to cook, of being thankful for the ingredients and the food that surrounds me. For being thankful that I can choose what we are going to eat and that we can eat. Tonight I was so overwhelmed and on the verge of tears that Erik sent me to bed for a little while and we had yogurt with peaches and bananas for dinner. And I laid in bed and read that passage above. And I did cry and then I felt better and a little more hopeful.

Apply it how you will, but I'm going to work on enjoying life, even when it's 5pm and I don't have anything ready for dinner.


Anonymous said...

Its so easy to get in a slump cooking. I know there are some days I have to work extra hard to think positivly as I rummage through the pantry looking for dinner everyone will enjoy. Usually I end up stepping back and thanking Jesus for food and that my kids dont have to go to bed with empty growling bellies. That I myself dont have to endure the hardship my parents did when they begged God to provide just one bag of groceries. Wishing you were here to share a cup of tea. You are in my prayers.

Chelsea said...

First of all, congratulations on the pregnancy! How exciting for you.
I understand where you're at- especially right now. I'll be chalking it up to pregnancy hormones and pregnancy tiredness for about 9 more weeks. I often find myself at the end of my rope looking forward to little moments of reprieve. AND I'm only cooking for half as many children as you are right now.
Thanks for the reminder to have joy in all the moments. I'll be praying for you!

Debbie said...

Amen, Em. With you on that. And I love that book, too. :-) Have you read her "Little House in the Ozarks"? It's a collection of her early writings. So good.

nmhenle27 said...

Congratulations on your pregnancy! How wonderful. Also, I have to share that I love the Little House books, too. Happy reading!