Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Carving Out

Thursday night, as we unpacked the car and loaded down the little cabin which rests high above Eagle Mountain Lake, I thought, we’ve missed this.  This summer, our family has missed this.  We should’ve done this weeks ago.  We’ve had lake days but no good ol’ spend the nights in the bunk beds, with the night sounds, with the critters, to the sound of the overworked a/c unit, in the close quarters, and the waking up together.  The kids were packed Thursday morning before they came downstairs for breakfast.  Their first question, asked several times that day, “What time will Daddy get home?”  School was torturous with thoughts of the lake at the end of the day and when we finally arrived, the kids’ energy just oozed all over the country.  What we usually do once a month got cut to once this summer.  I don’t remember it being a deliberate decision but I guess it was.  We didn’t carve out the 2 night, 3 day stay.

I ordered the book Soap Carving a month or so ago.  I thought Brighton might enjoy creating something three dimensional with something other than paper and tape or Legos.  And at the beginning of summer, I imagine {in a moment of delirium} that I have too much white space on my calendar squares and I will have time to do things like carving and sewing doll clothes.   I carried the book around for weeks intending to look at the supply list and make that stop at Hobby Lobby, which is not on the way to the pool, nor Sonic.  I don’t remember it being a deliberate decision not to stop but I guess it was.  I didn’t take the time to research soap carving.

So then I resorted to that shooting the two birds with one stone thing and put the book in the box that was going to the lake.

I remembered from the Amazon reviews I read, we needed popsicle sticks and glue.  Oh, and Ivory soap.  After a few too many stops on our way to the lake looking for popsicle sticks, it turned out that what I had purchased either we didn’t need or I bought the wrong kind.  After enjoying the lake on Friday, we loaded up and went back to Hobby Lobby.  Thinking, again, I knew exactly what we needed, I headed straight to the wooden craft aisle.  Thinking outside the box, Jeff meandered around looking up and down every surrounding aisle.  Of course, he found something better, cooler and cheaper.  And WAY easier.  Wooden pottery tools.  Perfect.

Anticipation had been growing all summer for the moment we would dig into those fresh bars of Ivory soap.  Sitting around the painted wooden table in folding chairs with bunk beds on one side and a little kitchen counter on the other, we laid everything out.  We cut out little pieces of newspaper the same size as our soap, drew simple shapes on them and cut them out.  We then drew the outline of the image on the clean bar of soap with a Sharpie.  Then the real fun began.  Soon the room’s fragrance brought images of the home my Daddy grew up in. Ivory must have been MaMaw and PaPaw’s choice of soap.  Jeff, not to be outdone by any of us, started with an owl.  Julia decided on a flower.  Brighton chose a tree and the only thing I thought I might could draw was a simple bird.  All went pretty well.  Only Brighton’s carving experience took a few turns, which didn’t surprise me in the least.  He always keeps me guessing.  His tree began to loose its upper limbs, so he decided on a fish {guppie}, and when the guppie started looking malnourished, it turned into a rocket.  His next attempt was a cross which turned out much better especially after Jeff detailed it.  Of course he did.

Three regrets:

First: that we didn’t do it outside--or at least on newspaper.  Soap carvings get messy because they stick together and get INto rugs, not just on top.

Second: I somehow deleted all of our carving pictures.  Yes, I know, I still have the nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I can remember what I saw through my lens while I heard crickets and frogs doing their nighttime things ~ the sweet little hands awkwardly holding the soap and skinny tools, the sun kissed faces in deep concentration, the little tongue peeking out from pressed lips, the mounds of shavings and the proud smiles with finished products in small hands.

Third:  that we didn’t do all this sooner.

“All this” doesn’t just happen.  I know that.  When Jeff and I are fully present with Julia and Brighton, they are bathed in contentment and joy.  It replaces any fears and insecurities they might be feeling.   I believe it loosens the temptation of rebellion.  It reminds them of their place in our family.   It gives them the feeling of being delighted in and enjoyed.  And most importantly, their hearts rest in our love as we consistently encourage them to rest in their Father’s Love and Presence.  In Him, they will always find contentment and joy.

Sure, we get windows of that in our home but even then it must be carved out.  Reading on the couch after dinner, carved out.  Playing Sequence before bedtime, carved out.  Making rock crystals, carved out.  Throwing the ball with B, carved out.    Supervising cookie baking, carved out.   Spending two nights at the lake, carved out.

My deliberate decisions are weighty~ either way. I have to remember these empty spaces Jeff and I claim for our family can be life changing.  Those chosen spaces of time together, when, by His grace, are infused with His presence, provide sure footing for them as they put one foot in front of the other on their way from childhood to adulthood.

Order the book, put Hobby Lobby on your list of errands and start carving.


TJ Wilson said...

"I believe it loosens the temptation of rebellion. It reminds them of their place in our family. It gives them the feeling of being delighted in and enjoyed."
Ok, i want the book!

Sarah said...

Great post, Krista! Agreed... nothing the kids want more than our uninterrupted time.