“Well you know you have to start somewhere.”

It’s like, okay, the idea is hear, now what? I spent all day on the clean up projects. Pulling out the paper tools, tablets, and binders that I have saved over the years. Yet I still feel like something is missing. What did I do with that list?

Cleaning up the Library is my next project. I am a bit of an old=school writer. I need my paper journals, my pens, my sticky notes and a good whiteboard. The ideas in my brain don’t just jump out and land on the screen in front of me. Even some scrap paper and some sharpie pens are helpful.

So I made a list of the women who as widows gave their hearts to me. And believe it or not there were a few men in the list too. Men sometimes get over the hurt faster by sharing those last years with yet another lonely heart. Sometimes the romances end up in another marriage like in the case of my husband’s Aunt Mabel. She and Arnie were so cute.

Next I decided to pick a few people today whose lives exemplify the biblical widows like Anna. People who spend there time in prayer, in church, in service, and in loving their families. Four of these people I sent hand written letters to invite them into my project. Hopefully they will say yes to my interview.

I also started doing my homework on the first chapter. Not telling much, but believe it or not those newspaper microfiche pages are horribly small. And yes I even went to some online cemetery maps. Talk about digging up old bones. Those things are kind of little too.

Today the library is swept out and the pieces not helpful to me will be removed. We will also have to move some shelving around. But dear hubby is busy trying to find all of his little pieces of paper for out tax appointment this afternoon. We will stop at Walmart and get me a few cases of pens. Picking up a pen that is empty really hampers the flow of these inky thoughts!

Then this evening we can put my writing world in order. I hope my kid does not want her stereo anytime soon. I think I want a radio in there to keep me attuned to the world while I work. Who knows I’ll probably do my best writing on the new loveseat recliner we purchased at the start of the New Year.

Now that I have bored you with the plan of action. Here is some fun things that I found while cleaning out the desk. The first four female characters have no real inspired person. However the bottom right male caricature is of a friend of ours from our Minnesota years. Perhaps there can be a caricature for each of the people that I share in my series “After.”

Surely goodness and mercy

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

A few years back I gave up my occupation of Shepherdess. The decision was fairly easy as the loss of the little ones due to my lack of peripherial  vision made me so sad. Finding their little collapsed bodies days or weeks after the lambing season irritated me. I could no longer have pride in my care of their needs. I had to say goodbye to my herd. Through those years I fell in love with the 23rd Psalm, written by a shepherd about our Shepherd.

 My role as spiritual shepherdess in my family has always been just under the radar. Following in my mother’s footprints, I have purchased journals devotionals and led prayer vigil’s and other moments of spiritual significance for our family. 

The backdrop of the Hebrew shepherd colors every aspect of the beloved  Psalm. Each verse has deep meaning and has led me to a spiritual exercise that I love sharing. While reading through the whole passage I like to find a verse on which my soul meditates. This is the one that usually hurts or heels or speaks or screams to my spirit: this is how I feel right now! Once upon a time my soul felt like it was in the restoration process.  Verse three says “he restores my soul.” If you’ve ever been around a restoration project you know that it’s very messy. To restore something to its original purpose or use means sometimes there’s a lot of demolition or destruction before returning to beauty. Restoration is messy.

“…goodness and mercy shall follow…” This verse has new meaning for me lately as I use the pile of sheep compost for the soil base in our new greenhouse. It’s age has left it free of smell and disgust. It has been nearly 6 years since  the twelve years in the making pile was used.

What follows animals is not often thought of as goodness or mercy. The fresh scent is not very pleasant.  Perhaps what follows Waldo’s business doings is a better visual. When he gets done with his deposit, my husband says, Waldo does the Toyota Leap. He has so lightened up that the weight set aside allows him to spring up like a helium balloon let loose. It’s rather hilarious to watch him “lighten up and live!” -new meaning to the familiar comedian Ken Davis phrase. 

How is an animal trail goodness and mercy you might ask? I certainly don’t want my cats and dogs doing their business in my flowerbeds! A return to the days of shepherding might help bring meaning to this verse. The trail of sheep goodness was considered fertilizer and gave the ground nutrients for greener grass. That goodness and mercy followed  into the next season of green pastures. The soil that is being used for the greenhouse is rich in nutrients and plant food. 

“…shall follow me…” 

These days I am living out this verse in many ways. Behind me are the days of shepherding sheep. In the past are the evenings of church activities and children’s lessons. Long gone are the homeschooling years. What follows me these days is often a look of surprise as I neglect an outstretched hand during greeting.(Sorry, I just didn’t see it.) Behind me at church, on days when I play piano, is a whole congregation of people whom only a third of them I might actually see. Most enjoyable left overs of sheep shearing is the wool that I get to play with. Dyeing the wool, carding, and spinning it has become a fun hobby for me. 

“…all the days of my life…”

These days as we repurpose Gavin’s old work jeans into a denim quilt, I am thinking of aroma therapy in a totally different way.  For starters, the smell of machine shop lingers in the denim even after many washings. At one point during our work we enjoyed a lotion moment. The blackberry and chocolate aroma blesses me as I stitch across the pieces that we touched. Ahh sweet goodness.  . Hopefully I can finish the quilt so Lennea can use it for a very long time. 

“…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.