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The Saga of Winter

It seems to come to this every winter, the long nights of coughing, moving to the couch, and now, since moving to this old house in town, the scritch scratch of mice keeping a person awake, alert, and unenthusiastic.  This is where I found myself Saturday night.

A two o'clock trip to the bathroom with uncontrollable coughing which triggered other unwelcome sickness, AKA, coughing yourself sick, literally, is one way to distract a body from thinking about vermin running loose in your house. You're welcome. I'm sure you wanted to hear about that.

But it all comes back when upon cleaning the kitchen counters after the family has gone to church on Sunday morning, you discover perfect little paw prints atop the mug of bacon grease you lazily failed to put away.  That, and the reoccurring visits you heard from the couch the following two nights.

We've been in this house a little over a year. We killed a few mice last spring. I thought my troubles were over but it was only my ignorance making me feel blissful. All it took to discover the truth was pulling out the stove, fridge, and wastebasket. There lay the evidence in its disgusting truth.

Tuesday afternoon, I vacuumed, hosed, stuffed steel wool in places I didn't know my kitchen had, scrubbed and disinfected, till my hands pleaded with me to stop. I set the trap, there in the corner, where I know I heard that mouse last.  For bait, the mouse got a piece of fresh bread with that bacon grease of which he seems so fond.

On Sunday morning, after the long dreadful night on the couch, I fumbled around the kitchen trying to help the family get off to church. I offered to tie Shaunti's sash on her Sunday dress.  She looked at me and said very emphatically, "No Mom, I'm not a baby anymore! I can tie my own belt." She's only nine.  Couldn't she try just a little longer to be my baby?  The following morning at breakfast, she looked across the table at me with morning, droopy eyes and asked, "Could you please pour my cereal and milk for me?" I reminded her of 'not a baby anymore'. She stared back at me blankly.  Not a good joke, I guess.

For entertainment, I've been watching full episodes of Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines.  I've been dreaming of what I could do on my own, in this mousy house. I imagine myself with a hammer whacking out the drywall surrounding the chimney that runs through our kitchen to expose the brick.  A gallon of white paint would go far in brightening up the basement stairwell.  I cringe thinking about the mice and their homes within my walls and think, why bother?

This is what I read last month or am currently reading. The Jamie Langston Turner books, I've read before.  I bought them from Jamie, herself last week. We've been emailing back and forth since summer. Yes, I contacted her.  I was brave and asked when her new book would be coming out.  She's the one who told me to write whether I think I can or not and to stop making excuses. Not her actual words. But because of her encouragement, I'm finding that I write for me and not for others approval.  I write because it brings me joy. Yes, I like when others approve but that's not what drives me. Jamie wrote lovely little notes in the front of each book.  I am honored.

I am sad as well, because all her books by Bethany House are all out of print or going out.. I frantically began searching for all her titles. I have her newest and these two she sent, but am finding its going to be a challenge to collect the rest. She said its rare for another publishing company to reprint out of print books, but that I can buy e books. I want real books, the flesh and blood, paper and ink, something movable that I can go to the couch with and page through slowly, not a gadget that depends on electricity and smells of technology.  She thanked me for my condolences after I told her I was mourning this loss.

I couldn't recommend all the books I read as good books for you to read. I often read books expecting to not agree with the author or his/her ideas presented. I simply like to read and as long as it isn't full of filth or garbage that I did not need to know, it will usually capture my attention. The one by Margaret Bacon, for example isn't morally sound, but it does a very good job of depicting two different women within the same family, choosing opposite goals for life. One was a womens lib, the other a happy home maker.  The outcome is real in showing the woman that lived her life serving others, ended life happiest.

The book about the miners in Chile, made me grateful for air, water, sunlight, food and freedoms of all kinds that we take for granted every single day. And it showed the depravity of men when we are stripped of basic needs.

There is one book however, I would recommend, and that of course is the written Word of God.  I am amazed over and over how that Book speaks to me when the days are dark, when mice roam freely in my walls, when my babies won't stay babies, and when ordinary other books leave you feeling like something is missing.  How are you surviving the winter?