And Lent begins.
And there is so much to give penance for, so many sacrifices to be made.
My attempts at conscientious interior change has a lot to do with the way I parent my children, which of late has meant a louder voice, a slower step, and an angry spirit. I don't like that, and I want to change it.
You've seen, I'm sure, the ads for anti-depression or anti-anxiety medications that ask the questions about who depression hurts, where depression hurts, etc, and the answers begin with "every." "Everyone," "everywhere," etc.
It's true. I wonder, where I am concerned, if I think myself into the pain I experience from time to time, inferring discomfort where none actually is. I need to change my attitude about it, I think. And I know that my disposition affects everyone around me. Although I can reason about it, that doesn't mean my little ones can do the same. All they know is, "Gee, Mama's in a rotten mood today. Again." I need to change that, too.
So, this Lent, I do not intend to "give up" things that really make no true difference to anyone but me, because that doesn't do any good for anyone else, and it doesn't really even make a big difference for me--because at the end of Lent, I would just go back to my old ways, and what kind of sacrifice is that? I want a sacrifice that will have lasting meaning. Giving up chocolate or soda or whatever doesn't have lasting meaning.
Instead, I propose a true change in spirit. I need to make an intentional effort to change from within, and that means beginning by altering my interior prayer habits.
I am re-reading Holiness for Housewives and Other Working Women, and I am adding The Way.
As always, things move along with the addition. Though we moved out of our former bedroom in October, it remained as a sort of hallway between the old hallway and the new laundry room. The lack of privacy made it impractical for use as a bedroom in the interim, and so it was a place for cousin sleep-overs, storage, and collection of stuff.
But it's one of the last rooms needing work, and so My Darling has (finally!) turned his attention to it. I think he goes in seasons, like I do, with being in a funk. I saw it coming, and I wanted to help him swing around it, rather than slog through it...so I said, "Hey, could we start work on That Room?" And so he did.
There was a huge, beautiful, built-in dresser in that room. It was one of the things we were most excited about when we looked at this house twelve years ago. Fifteen drawers is a lot of storage!! Well, fifteen drawers is also a lot of space to fill up with things we don't need. So the first thing done in That Room was to remove the top of the dresser, cut down the supporting structure, and replace the top. This will serve as storage (but only six drawers, thankyouverymuch) and also a seating area. And since this is to become a bedroom for some girlies, we'll make a comfortable cushion to sit atop the lovely bench, and toss some squishy pillows on it, and let the girlies sprawl out and read or gab or sing or *whatever*. He added boxes above the bench, where we'll put two sconces for light. Dimmer switches will make them useful for nightlights if necessary, too. Here, you can see My Darling measuring for the sconce placement. See the finished bench? The wooden side was part of the original dresser. The man who built the thing was brilliant!
The next order of business was building the end of the bench. Previously, there had been a wooden divider between dresser and closet--that whole wall had been devoted to clothing storage. When we created the upstairs opening between the existing house and the addition, we did it through that closet, eliminating half of it. For months, it was just a hole in the wall, and we could close it off by sliding the closet door shut. Eventually, My Darling framed in the actual door, put up drywall to shape the passageway, and added a door. Good thing, too, since the laundry room also houses the third flush toilet, thanks be to God!
To go from a home with one bathroom to all of a sudden having options, well that's just about the biggest luxury I can think of.
Anyway, the end of the bench is now a little half-wall, and will be a nice place to lean against when sitting on the bench. See where the sconces will be?
The new wall, the actual wall, which now divides the room from the old hallway, has been framed and drywalled now, too. It's so exciting to see this transformation--once again, to have thought something up and see it take shape, to know that that bedroom served us well for eleven years and will now be the place where our daughters will sleep and play and study and dream and gab and *whatever*, is a great thing to be able to reflect on.
Looking into the laundry room, through what once was the closet in our bedroom, now looks like this:
And speaking of studying, the gap between the wall and the half-wall will be a desk area. Ok, this was complete and total genius, if I do say so myself--and I do. I do!! When I found the smaller dresser (for SEVEN DOLLARS, for Pete's sake!) which was stripped, refinished, and transformed into the sink for the laundry room, part of that process was cutting off the top of the dresser. I wasn't sure what was to become of that piece of walnut: should we put it on a piano hinge, attatch a swinging leg, and make a wall-mounted, fold-away table with it? Should I add legs to it and make a little stand-alone table with it? What would become of this beautiful piece of wood?? Well, of course it was meant to be a desk top. Didn't you know? I didn't know. But now I know! My Darling will fix this lovely piece of wood into the space between the two walls, build a bookshelf beneath it, install a floating shelf above it (which will house a couple of lights, of course!) and make a great place for studying. See? Genius! So in the photo above, you can see where the desk will go (imagine away the 5-gallon bucket of debris, if you would please), and to the right is the laundry room. If you were to turn further to the right, still, you would be looking down the old hallway. The bedroom door is on an angle.
My hope is that we can somehow use the remaining nine drawers and their framework either in the sun room or the basement. We do have things to store. And these drawers, having been crafted bya cabinet-maker, are really well-made. I do not intend to waste them!! And if it works out the way I am hoping it will, I can make another set of cushions and pillows, and have another bench...so it won't be wasted storage space. Woot!
I'm not sure about the timeline, but I'm guessing we'll be able to start painting That Room this weekend, and will hopefully be moving the bunkbeds into the room next week. I don't want to think too far ahead about it, because I know all too well the disappointment that comes with projecting a timeline on something like this, only to be held up by something or another. So I'm making up my mind ahead of time to remain flexible and as relaxed as possible. Saint Joseph, pray for me!!
*Keep praying for C and V. Baby is not yet born, which is good. What the outcome will be, only our Father in Heaven knows. I know what I'm praying for though.
*Still praying for Joshua P. and his family, and for Rebekah and her family, too.
*Pray for all those affected by emotional or mental disorders, for all those in chronic pain, for all those lonely and forgotten, and for their families.
*Pray for expectant mothers, their babies, and their families.
*Pray for those terminally ill and their families and caregivers, especially when their primary caregivers are their family.
*I always keep anyone who might be reading in my prayers, too. If you want to leave a prayer intention, feel free to do so.