My family and I have been in our new-to-us house–as in, sleeping here in our own beds in our own home–for a week now. So a big chunk of my time and energy and thought has been invested in settling in. To “settle” is to “place in a desired state or in order.” I looked that up online, just to be sure. So I’ve been placing things in order, putting belongings in a desired state, to a degree I never have before.
I have wanted to downsize for years, and technically, we have–we decreased our footprint (by decreasing the size of the house in which we live) by about 40 square feet. We surrendered a half bathroom (for which I am grateful, actually) but gained what I’m calling our fireplace den. It used to be a garage and was then enclosed and converted, with a fireplace and a hearth and a mantle added.
When we were house-shopping, I had some non-negotiables on my shopping list: NO solid-white tile on any floors in the house (Lord, have mercy, white tile is so difficult to keep looking clean); under 1900 square feet, but smaller would be better (our new home is about 1445 sq. ft.); and not new construction. We purchased a home built in the middle of last century that has been updated and refurbished, and it has NO white tile.
Some of my “dream” items included having a window over the kitchen sink (got it!) and–maybe, possibly–a fireplace. Fireplaces in central Florida are rare animals as far as I have seen, and yet–we now have one! Building fires in the fireplace may be a different story, however; something on the inside is cracked, but we’ll see about that later. After we get bookshelves and curtains and a lawn mower and repair the slight leak in the lines going to the washing machine…
So, getting this place in a desired state, I set up the kitchen first: the place where we cook and eat and hold hands around a table and thank God for our food. All the rest of the house is coming along.
And since I have my kitchen in a desired state, I made this blackberry cobbler this morning:
Because I read this book:
The book, Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Pie, a woman’s personal story centered on baking and sharing homemade pie to overcome a crushing grief, is–obviously–about pie. But after reading it, I wanted to bake. And to serve something nice and sweet and good to my family. So I started this as a twist on an old recipe called blueberry pinwheels–but I had blackberries (picked by my parents from wild-growing briers in the country) and not blueberries. But the dough didn’t really roll–I used coconut oil instead of shortening, so there you have it, folks–so I just chopped it up to make ‘cobbler’ instead of ‘pinwheels.’
As I’m placing our new home in a desired state, I’m focusing on what helps keep me joyful, content, and at peace–such as serving others (for now, my family), and making useful and beautiful things (for now, this accidental cobbler). Oh, and reading, of course; the mailing address connected to my library card was the first address update that I made.
Still we are surrounded by more than a few boxes, as well as things that moved with us that really didn’t need to make this journey (I know where a nearby library is located–now I must find a nearby Goodwill drop-off). But still, I can be joyful, content, and at peace. And that helps ME settle into a desired state, with my heart in order.