Second only to being forced to stay at home, there is nothing in the world worse than personal and spiritual stagnation. We, as humans, were designed to continue growing, whether physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. We should never stop learning.
To quit growing means that we are dead, or in the process of dying. That is a thought that I just can’t stand to consider.
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Here on the farm, I am forced so many times to learn something new – whether dealing with livestock that is having health issues, a garden that just won’t produce well, or tackling the constant litany of repairs and how to do them right. And then, Nature gives you another little shove.
Several years ago, we were besieged with heavy winds and rains, to the point where many of our surrounding areas were tormented with flooding. We had no choice but to stay at home.
Our nearest small town was landlocked, and if we headed in any other direction, we would not have been able to make it but a few miles before we would face water racing over the roads.
As adverse as I am to cleaning house, I could only do so much housework before I went crazy. Instead of looking at this with a grumpy attitude, I chose to see it as a challenge to learn something new.
Those few landlocked days gave me a chance to learn how to paint a barn quilt. I discovered I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. I am also thinking small ones would make fun Christmas gifts.
I am always up for a new weaving project. Whether it is on my four-shaft loom or one of the smaller looms, there is always something creative I can do through weaving.
For Christmas one year, The Country Boy was kind enough to build three rug looms – one for me, one for Lorea, and one for Kathleen. The loom is adjustable to make rugs, placemats and a runner, all on the same loom.
On a quiet Saturday, Lorea and I decided to tackle learning how to use it. It took time, but eventually we got the hang of the technique. We also discovered it would be a time-consuming project.
During some rain storms, I had no choice but to stay at home. I spend my time finishing the rug. I couldn’t wait to tackle placemats next.
As I am the one who usually has several creative irons in the same fire, I also wanted to finish another project on my floor loom. It involves a ‘new’ technique.
This technique involves tying on to a current warp once a project is finished. I can then roll on new project in a different color without threading the loom again.
When I hear people talk about being bored because they have to stay at home, it makes me wonder. For a few hours, or even a day, boredom isn’t such a bad thing. It’s an opportunity to rest your weary bones, and rejuvenate your mental health.
Longer than that, though, I can only wonder just how much laziness is involved. If you are bored for any length of time, maybe it’s time to stretch your wings.
We as humans should constantly be in a state of learning. It is how we grow and make a better life for ourselves.
As with a child, when his body starts stretching in an upward growth pattern, you will most definitely experience some growing pains and stir up the dust bunnies by stretching your mind.
There will be uncertainty. Mistakes. Failures. And plenty of returns to the instruction page. But when the dust settles, you will be able to add to your life’s resume in a positive manner.
Ask Yourself ‘What’?
Not sure what to learn? The first question you should ask yourself is, what interests you? For the cook/baker/chef, go ahead and tackle that new recipe you have been wanting to try.
I spent several weeks housesitting years ago, and had to stay in residence. I had always wanted to learn how to make a soufflé. So I tackled it. 12 dozen eggs later, I finally made one that didn’t fall, and that I couldn’t use as building material.
Would I ever do it again? Only if someone extremely special to me asked. And I don’t think Jesus cares if I make Him a soufflé or not.
If they say ‘yes’, then bake (or buy) some cookies and head over to a prearranged meeting place. (It isn’t wise to meet strangers in their home or yours. Choose a public location for at least the first meeting, and until you are absolutely sure of your safety.)
Got a new Bible study? This is a perfect time to do more than a surface reading. You can really dig deep, and research a bit more than normal. Go past the study – check on the study guide, read the explanations, follow up on the other referenced verses.
Learn From History
We have wonderful plantation homes within an hour’s drive, and I can’t tell you how many times I have visited them. the Beau Fort Plantation is where I learned the history of The Stranger’s Room, and find that aspect of our Southern Plantations absolutely fascinating.
It was on one of these Plantation tours that my love for fiber arts ignited. The Weaving Room at Melrose holds an old loom, and it was love at first sight.
Since then my heart has stretched to include most fiber arts, and I am still learning how to knit and crochet. Do you love the feel of yarn or fiber running through your fingers? Find a pair of knitting needles, a bit of yarn, and get clicking.
Are you interested in history? Visit your local museum. You can actually stay at home and do a virtual tour. Choose one venue, and go to the library and read everything you can find about the subject. Look for local groups or people who would have knowledge. Ask them if they would be willing to talk to you.
Learn a New Skill – or – Improve One You Already Have
The Country Boy considers himself a wood butcher, not a carpenter. But his desire for perfection makes him an ideal candidate for building some of my crazy projects.
With each one, he learns a little more, and uses that knowledge to apply to the next one. Right now, he is fighting, trying to get out of building me yet another loom – but since I love learning and really want that loom, I will ‘gently’ keep encouraging him until I get my way!
Still, by being out there with him, I am learning another new skill, and learning how to handle various tools. I now know ten different uses for pliers, hammers, wrenches and grinders, so be afraid. Be very afraid of a Farm Wife bearing tools!
Speaking of which, ask yourself, “What do I depend on my spouse to do, that I can’t do for myself?” I have an independent streak a mile wide, so if something comes up that I have to have the Country Boy do, then I go with him, pay close attention, and then work towards being able to do it myself.
Except when our generator quits. I’d rather not get in his way so we can have some semblance of power while the electric company works to restore it. But once it is….
The Mother of Invention
Necessity is truly the mother of invention, so on one of those days when you have to stay at home look around the house and see what needs fixing or changing. Then look around to see what you have that can do the job.
If it’s a loose plug, take the time to figure out how to turn off the power before repairing it. Then get a book that shows you step by step how to do it.
Do your cabinets need organizing? Find baskets that will fit to store the small stuff, and jars with lids to store the dry goods. Get some chalkboard paint and design labels on them. Not only will your cabinets be clean, but they will also look fashionably fun.
No matter what you choose to do, just don’t stop learning. Don’t allow the excuse of age, lack of income, or too much television to get in your way. Take a leap of faith in yourself; make room for mistakes; and get busy.
And if you will excuse me, I have a loom to build. Much to the chagrin of The Country Boy, of course. But he already knows he lives with a very determined woman!