It's an absolutely gorgeous Sunday morning in August. I am waiting for Orange Muffins to get out of the oven. They smell good. We are out of all the quick and easy items at home so I am trying to do some cooking to fill the fridge and pantry until my paycheck comes in.

I have pinto beans cooking in the crockpot. Later, I will pull together some Mexican rice and a bunch of goodies from our garden for dinner. I will probably make chili for later in the week as well. Besides that, I will throw some ingredients at the breadmaker and also make a few snacks to munch on. That should hold us over until payday, anyway.

One thing I actually like about food is that it is far more forgiving and flexible than the rent payment, car payment, or electric bill. It usually tastes a heckuva lot better too.

The muffins are done.

Orange Muffin

I am watering the garden. The broccoli is actually acting like it might do something. A squirrel just dropped a nut from the top of its treehouse. A hummingbird keeps visiting the feeder but is too camera shy to be caught. Our weather stick has not fully made up its mind yet. If it thinks it is bad weather, it points down. If it thinks is is good weather, it points up.

Weather Stick

There are children practicing soccer in the back field. I just heard one little boy yell, "I did it!" Then another cheer, "WooooT WoooooT!". Come Thou Fount is drifting from the iPad in the kitchen. Abby is hunting the black-capped chickadee who is calling to its mate in another tree. Abby can't reach him but it's fun to watch her playing the part of huntress in her make believe jungle. She is very happy here. We are all happy here.

I do not want to leave my home today. It's seems the older I get the more quiet time I need. Or perhaps it is in direct relation to the stress I feel from the outside world. Home is my safe haven and I know, starting tomorrow, I have to plug into the real world again. I am not ready.

Yesterday I spent the entire day, full-tilt-boogie, cleaning/organizing the basement. It hasn't been touched since we moved in back in March? I wanted to get it done before Hyrum returned home. He and Emma have been hoping for a workout space.

In the process, I parted with an amazing number of books as well as a decent amount of junk we simply didn't need anymore. I hate parting with books but our local landfill has a bookshelf in the recycling area where we drop them for free and people take them home for free. I would guess at least 35% of my book collection must be books I have accumulated from that shelf. It might sound strange but I feel closely knitted to my community because of the books they offer up there. It's as if I am given a glimpse into the lives and minds of my fellow neighbors. They say you can't judge a book by its cover but it does feel as if you can judge a community by by the books it relinquishes from its personal reading collection.

When I delivered my books, there was a small flurry. I literally filled almost the entire bookcase with the books I had brought. It wasn't as difficult to leave them behind because of the mob of people swarming the shelf, shouting out their excitement each time they found another book that appealed to them. I honestly think the best place to host a book club would be at our local recycling center. There are weekends when I don't exactly feel like going to discard my garbage but the thought of bringing home a new book spurs me forward to my duty. It's like getting a reward for doing a chore.

I wish I had conjured enough audacity to take a photo of the recycle shelf yesterday. There were little children clutching books in their arms, a woman who had a rather large stack she was collecting in front of her, parents trying to squeeze their way in, and one woman yelled out to another, "For crying out loud! Leave some for other people!" It made me laugh. One woman turned to ask if I was the one who had brought all the books. When I answered affirmatively, she asked me why I would give away so many good books. I explained I had duplicates of many of them and my children were grown now so I was attempting to downsize my collection. She looked at me increduously and exclaimed, "But what about your grandchildren??!!" I assured her I still had more than enough books for my future grandchildren (which I do) and even several more collections I was hoping to sell on Ebay. She finally accepted the fact that I truly was departing with all the books.

Back at home, it was meaningful to me watch my 17-year-old daughter staking claim on books she wanted me to keep for her children someday. She expressed some concern, worrying I might not "keep the good ones." I showed her my pile of 'keepahs' which she highly approved. It brought back memories of the endless, enjoyable hours of reading I shared with my young children. It made me feel good inside to see that my daughter cared about the books - that they held memories for her as well. I do not regret hauling the boxes all over the countryside. I look forward to the day when I can read them to my children's children.

It also felt surprisingly satisfying to contribute books back into the community. The book mob excitement made me feel as if I belonged here and made me want to contribute more. I went home, grabbed all the books I would have sold on Ebay, returned to the recycling center, and delivered them up to my favorite community of readers.

After a long hard day of hardcore recycling, dumping, sorting, organizing, and brainstorming electrical outlet solutions, I ended up with a space I believe will make a great place to workout, craft, play games, and construct projects. Maybe some laundry will occasionally get done as well but I don't want to push my luck too much.

Basement Organization

Emma wasted no time getting a mirror and boombox installed. I installed a monitor that had an HDMI port perfect for Chromecasting workout videos. We can now cast videos, play music, and workout to our heart's content. We will begin yard saling for a workout bench.

Workout Mirror

Nothing makes me happier than being able to provide a safe, healthy, spiritually and emotionally nurturing environment for my children to call their home. I feel exceptionally blessed to have the resources to provide for them. I know it's a blessing from God and nothing more. Certainly I have put in the hours, sweat, and effort it took to get here but I recognize there are plenty of people in the world who do the same yet, for whatever reason, struggle more than seems needful and receive less than seems their due. I am convinced that it is not by works alone but by the grace of God we get through this life - whatever life may deliver us.

I wish I understood it better - God's grace. It seems unfair for one to have much when another has so little. Granted, there are those who have little because they only give little but there are, conversly, those who give little yet are granted a great deal. It does not appear to correlate mathmatically which makes earth an incalculably scary place for me to exist. I know without doubt and regardless of the effort I exert, that all good things in life can be stripped from me in a nanobeat.

Alternatively, I know that in the darkest moments - when life becomes unsensibly, unbearably tragic - it can be reversed in equal time, though our perception may skew the timing.

Hence, the only thing to which I can effectively attribute success, is faith in God. No matter how life rolls upon or over us, true success cannot be measured in dollars, acquisition, or accolades, but in the fruition of faith exemplified by true believers - for it is faith that plants us all upon equal ground and makes us more than conquerors in the end.

It is time for bed while this still makes sense to me.

For now, I am content to simply be conqueror of this day - or at least of this ridiculously random blog post.