Dark and cold.

It was the cold that awakened me.  Peeking out from under the heavy layer of blankets, the frigid air was like a slap in the face.

Slipping on a turtleneck and fleece pants, I quickly ventured downstairs.  The air was surprisingly colder than upstairs.  Fearing that someone had accidentally turned down the thermostat, I hurried into the dining room.

No.  The thermostat was set solidly at 69 degrees and yet the furnace was quiet.  Opening the utility door closet I was given a hearty “good morning” by the ominous flashing of the green emergency light.

The furnace blower fan had malfunctioned.   It was, in fact, burnt out.  Perhaps caused by the constant non-stop running due to the abnormally frigid temperatures we’ve been experiencing over the past two weeks.  For whatever reason, it was no more…

What next?

The lingering odor of raw sewage still permeates the frigid air.  We haven’t been able to bathe, launder or wash dishes for three days now.  No plumber available until Monday.  The furnace part must be ordered.  The two kerosene heaters are struggling to stave off the intense cold, but can’t quite keep up.

What to do?  Well…the Ingalls family certainly knew how to deal with the hand that had been dealt.  As Pa would frequently utter when faced with adversity:  “Needs must when the devil drives…”  In other words, when bad things happen, you must go forward because you simply can’t go back.

And so forward we go.  Which means this:

When every dish in your house is dirty you fill two of your largest pans with hot water.  One for wash and one for rinse.  Huddled  beside the kerosene heater, you wash and rinse.  You lay the dishes upon a clean towel and marvel at the sweet little six year old who gleefully joins you, towel in hand, to dry.

“It’s just like living in olden times, Mommy!” she excitedly exclaims.

Ah, that I had that enthusiasm!  We are certainly not strangers to inconvenience, but I always marvel at the children who handle it so much better than I.  They are real troopers and simply accept that this is what we must do…so we do it.

I’m praying for a quick resolution to these “inconveniences.”  I feel grumpy and irritated by the tools that are used to lead me to holiness.  Would that I could relax in the hands of the Master as He works on me, whittling away at my frustration and desire to control the uncontrollable.  To be the fixer.

Ah, the white martyrdom of motherhood.  So many suffer so much more than I, and yet the “I” is ever present as I try to not cry, frown and complain grow in virtue in this new trial.

And so here’s to “living like olden times.” Back to the kitchen.  The cold, dirty and grace-filled kitchen where I will continue to “work out my salvation in fear and trembling…”

It’s so cold in there, I think I have the trembling part down pat…


who wishes she was more like Laura Ingalls Wilder!