Our internet connection was out this afternoon, so I was forced to pursue more old-fashioned amusements. This was fine with me, since I've been busy doing anything but blogging lately...cleaning baseboards, filing papers, sewing, reading, weeding the flowerbeds. I just have more time when I'm not online. Life has a way of expanding to fill the available space, and I've been finding no shortage of things to do. Today, when nap time finally arrived, I was torn. I wanted to work on a knitting project for my sister's baby (due a month after mine and in need of a hat!) and to catch up on my reading. There isn't a good way to do those things at the same time...at least, not an old-fashioned way.
There are plenty of things around here that are modern(ish). We have smartphones and laptops and watch stuff on Netflix. We help Sam google the answers instantly to his many questions because we don't own a set of encyclopedias. We reserve and renew our library books online. We buy bookshelves and glasses from IKEA (is there anything more modern than IKEA?) and microwave our leftovers.
Mostly, I'm thankful for modern conveniences, but there are certain things I do the old way on purpose. I like to sew dresses for my girls. We still invite people over to sing and play music for entertainment. We use cloth diapers and dry them on the line when it's sunny. We make our biscuits, cakes and muffins from scratch. We have a tiny backyard vegetable garden. I still like to read "real" books (although I do sometimes use an e-reader) and I like to knit and quilt.
How do the rest of you modern people decide which conveniences to use and which ones to pass up? It's complicated. For me, it has been a process of figuring out which tasks feel creative, have the potential to bring a sense of joy (!), or save money. Since I don't bring in much (if any) of our regular income, I try to find ways to help stretch our budget...and sometimes, saving money means doing things the old-fashioned way.
Modern is usually good. I'm grateful we have options...that there are streamlined, efficient ways to do certain jobs that make our lives easier, but that we also have the choice to work with our hands and do things the way our grandparents did. Work can be holy- it can be a form of prayer, a path to purification, a way to sanctify the everyday tasks that shape our days, weeks and years.
I'm so glad to be linking up with the resurrected Theme Thursday (thanks to Madeline at A Dash of Snark). It's not because I think I'm a great photographer. These weekly photo prompts have been opportunities to find something beautiful, meaningful or funny about the ordinary, everyday tasks and sights that make up my days. Being a stay-at-home parent is drudgery sometimes...especially when it is time to unload the dishwasher or rinse out a dirty diaper or sweep the floor for what feels like the hundredth time.
Sometimes, though, it's all in the angle. The light hits the laundry just right, and I'm suddenly aware of what all those mismatched socks in a range of sizes mean: that I am blessed to live in the company of this group of people with variously-sized feet. Suddenly, I'm grateful. Suddenly, those chores are opportunities for thanksgiving. Suddenly, they aren't just drudgery. They're a path to holiness.
And sometimes, framing this ordinary stuff through the lens of a camera at those moments means stepping back, reframing my everything and seeing that all of it, all the boring, repetitive, mundane details, are sacred. They're life. They're art.
So thanks, Madeline, and thanks, Cari...and please go check out the modern-old-fashioned Theme Thursday...complete with cat fishing (instead of fisher cat).
As for my dilemma about how to spend nap time today- I knitted two short row sections of my nephew's hat, read a whole eight pages of Brideshead Revisited, and then fell asleep...perhaps the most time-honored, old-fashioned way to spend a quiet, rainy afternoon.