October 23, 2014

All This

Sometimes I feel a little like a stranger in this new house. I do not recognize these things, this couch, this chair, the picture on the wall. It’s pretty and new, yet a bit like living in a hotel. Sometimes I find myself looking for something. I must have packed it away, it must be here somewhere. But after looking through the boxes I realize, I’m looking for memories. So I stop to remember.

Sometimes death burns like wildfire through what was your life, and you are left with nothing but a gaping hole in the ground. So you learn to plant seeds in the dust. Wait. Keep waiting. When the seeds grow, you’re not even sure if you like what you see. It’s new. Different. Never quite the same.

I feel like that now, like I’m staring at a strange new hopeful shoot of growth. I don’t know yet what it is. Don’t know if I like it or not. I can still see the ashes, still feel the searing heat sometimes, and I miss what was taken away. I want to take this plant out of the ashes, make it into what I want it to be. Shiny and clean and protected somehow. I want to be the gardener. Maybe I could grow something better.

Yet I know, without deep roots, new growth dies. To move forward whole you must remember the past. Remember the messy, and not be afraid. And I hear Jesus say that he came to live with people, with me, in the dusty, ashen places. That he came to take what was broken in the depth of our insides and heal it. That I was chosen for this layered, complicated life and he is the gardener. 

I don’t really know what it all means, or will mean one day. But he keeps planting seeds. And I keep waiting, keep trying to grow.

One day, we will see something beautiful. It won’t be in the perfect house, or the safest neighbourhood, or most dreamy circumstances. But one day, when I see him, when I am finally Home, I know all this will be beautiful.

October 5, 2014

On Settling In, Projects, and Cleaning with Clean Conscience

This past week I have been in major nesting mode. Unpack the boxes! Check. Get rid of the boxes! With some reservation, as it's hard to get used to the idea that we could be in one place for longer that a year, but check. Get after projects that have been on the back burner! Check (well. some of them anyway...).

Long time readers may remember my survivor plants. These amazing plants have the uncanny ability to survive drought (they sat in my classroom for eight weeks during/after the fire), lack of sun, overwatering (drought guilt), and massive divisions and pruning. If I knew what they were called I would definitely let you know. And if anyone out there knows what they are called, feel free to let me know! (They are not spider plants...)

These amazing plants have one small problem. They live in cute red bucket planters that had the misfortune of being plastered with Giant Terrible Stickers that refused to come off. I tried peeling them, soaking them, scrubbing them and those stubborn things just would not come off. So the plants had a rather one-sided view of the world. For many years (five I think).

Luckily I had a trick up my sleeve, and it is so amazing I had to share it with you. Last summer I discovered a grassroots Canadian company called Clean Conscience at our local Farmer's Market. Clean Conscience manufactures natural cleaning products using essential oils and natural ingredients that are ethically sourced. I've been using their Cinnamon Orange all purpose cleaner to clean pretty much every area of the house. I love the warm cinnamon smell, and the quality is amazing. Knowing that I am using a natural, environmentally friendly product is the icing on the cake. But, on to the miracle product. Clean Conscience has formulated a heavy duty degreaser, and it made short work of my five year stuck on stickers. 

After moistening the sticker for 5 minutes with the natural degreaser I was able to peel it off. Take that Terrible Sticker! A few wipes with a cloth took the remaining fossilized glue off and the containers look like new.

My mom and I tackled cleaning the apartment a few days after the big move. I had to smile during our final walk through with the landlord, as she couldn't stop commenting on how lovely the apartment smelled and how clean it was. She was training another landlord and kept repeating "this is what an apartment should look like / smell like". And when she was going through the notes made after the last tenant moved out, looking for old black scuff marks on the walls, I could happily say that we had cleaned those off too! So I let her know about the natural degreaser. 

Since I do not normally review products here, I thought I should really contact Amanda, the owner, to see if she would be okay with a product review. Not only was she excited about the idea, she has offered Woodland Heart readers a 30% off code for Clean Conscience orders placed before October 12th. Orders can be placed on-line here and local delivery is free! To receive 30% off, just enter the code "heartland" once you get to the payment and shipping page. Thanks Amanda! I'm looking forward to trying the stainless steel cleaner and natural laundry detergent next. 

I appreciate the products Clean Conscience offers, and the ethics behind the company. I also believe it is important to support local businesses, especially those who are global and community minded. 

And really, when something works this good, you just have to tell your friends.

Happy Cleaning!