Monday, November 22, 2010

Home Matters

There is a recurring dream that has been haunting me lately. In it, I'm traveling back to the small house that I lived in for about ten years during my childhood. For some unknown purpose, I am driving down familiar roads and looking to make the final few turns that will take me to the circular court where we used to live. It occurs to me that the house is likely to be empty, with no furniture, and no one I know will be living there, but there is a urgent sense of needing to return. This dream is particularly baffling to me since this home no longer resembles my childhood memories. Years ago I drove past and saw that the abandoned farm acreage that surrounded us is now an industrial park. The trees we climbed, the fields where we picked flowers, and the woods that all of us children felt we owned, are now gone. But in my dream, I can't get back to what it was like during my childhood fast enough. Another peculiarity is that this home was only one of many. We moved around a few times, always in some fringe outreach church or seeking more bang for our buck as my parent's economic status shifted. Even now, when people ask me the dreaded question
where are you from? I can either bore them with a list of places I've lived or simply tell them where I live right now, which is the town we reside in, but is not where I am from. Because I don't know where I am from, but I think it must have something to do with that house I'm desperately trying to get back to in my dream. That was home, and now it's gone, and the quest for home is still a journey that I am in the middle of. My whole life so far has been one long attempt to arrive home, wherever that may lead me.

Don't worry- this is not turning into a home-is-where-the-heart is post, because that would be a little too trite. But the dream incites my fascination with how we perceive time and place, and how we remember things to be a certain way, and how they change. For instance, when I went back to our old home as an adult, I was amazed how small everything looked. Small front steps, small shrubs under small windows, I remembered it all to be so much bigger. Oh how my childish perception made our small, simple home so grand!

My perception also did this to my grandmother's house, where all of our Thanksgiving meals took place. There were so many people arriving for the meal that it must have been a mansion in order to accommodate everyone. Wrong again. It's an average home, size wise. But what it lacked in square footage it more than made up for by being filled with love, warmth, and good memories. In order to hold them all, it was nothing short of a castle.

May you be giving thanks this year in a castle of your own, overflowing with gratitude, and moments that time will magnify with goodness.

My Favorite Granola
I've been experimenting with granola recipes for the past few years, looking for one that has more depth, taste, and nutrition than what you can find in stores. It also has to have ingredients that are accessible, and be enjoyed best in a cup with milk for a fast breakfast. This is the recipe that I keep coming back to, adapting it somewhat to ingredients that I have on hand. It's fun to make granola, and very easy. If you have found some of the recipes that I've posted before to be more of a challenge, try this one.

6 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

3 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup whole hazelnuts (optional)

1 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)

3 tsp. cinnamon

1 and 1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup honey or 3/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup whole almonds

1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl, combine oats with cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together oil, honey/maple syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Pour the honey mixture over the oats and use your hands t o combine, gathering some oats in clumps. Repeat until all oats are coated with the mixture. Pour onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper, spreading evenly. Bake for ten minutes, then remove and flip granola over with a spatula. Sprinkle almonds over granola, and bake for five minutes. Remove, and flip granola again. Sprinkle hazelnuts over granola, and return to oven for ten minutes. Remove from oven, and cool completely. Sprinkle with raisins and cherries. Store in quart jars on the shelf. This makes 4-5 quarts.


  1. I grew up all over Holmes County and changing school with almost move. I didn't belong anywhere.

  2. What an interesting post. I have somewhat the same story of growing up. We lived in many places, New Jersey, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont... in that order and it is hard to know what to call home. My most favorite growing up memories come from Maine and so I guess that would be "home". My husband and his family are from Maine. He grew up in the same house, until he was in high school.

    On our honeymoon we went back to my childhood home in Alexander, Maine. It was a little different, but not much. Our road was dirt when we lived there... it is now paved and there are more homes than there used to be... home with siding and not tar paper. The apple orchard is still there, but all over grown. The little chapel where my dad was a pastor is now converted into a home. We stopped to see the residents who happen to be children of our neighbors across the street. The neighbors wife... now 102 years old... still remembered me and we had a warm visit in their toasty kitchen with the same old wood cook stove.

    There are places where time seems to stand still. The church has moved into a new building and seemed to be doing well which made my heart glad. There are more resident, probably summer homes for the most part. It is a hard land with short growing season, lots and lots of winter, and insects. Funny... I don't remember all the hardships growing up... but I know my brother remembers shoveling snow and I do remember not being able to see over the snowbanks. Cars used to have tennis balls attached to their antenna so that you could see them approaching over the snowbanks :)

    I also remember my mother bringing clothes in off the line that looked like they had people in them... frozen stiff.

    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  3. @Katie- I understand that feeling and had to change school, too.

    @Mrs. Doug-You had the visit to your old home that everyone should have! I'm thrilled to hear that there are places that still stay the same. Your home in Maine sounded delightful. Where I grew up there was an overgrown orchard that still bore fruit, and we used it all the time.

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  5. I've been thinking about your post for a couple of days. I know that you know your citizenship is in Heaven which was prepared for you before the beginning; but here on earth, where you are from...
    I'm guessing if you lived for 10 years in one spot, that would be where you were from.

    Our son is a journalist and his growing up years were: 7 years in one town, 2 years in another, 2 years in another and 9 in another... then at the age of 20 he started his career and moved 3 times in 2 years. I read an article of his and he made a comment that he was "from" the first town but he grew up in the last one making lots of new friends in the other two. That made me feel good, because dragging him and his brothers all over the state was not our intention when we became parents.

    I dream of my old home a lot. It's always a comforting dream, though in it I'm always perpelexed that the new owners of my old house, whomever they are, are never there and we never ask permission to go inside! My mother is there as I remember her before her Alzheimers and there is always a sense of urgency in talking to her because I know what's going to happen to her. It's always a short dream and we never actually say or do anthing that I remember! That said, I am thankful that all that needed to be done or said to her in real life was spoken and her fading years were filled with love from her family.

    The house is still there and I suppose that helps ... having it replaced with an industrial park would probably cause a baffling twist to my dreams, too! Some dreams have meaning and some do not ... I like to think our brains are just sorting things during our sleeping hours :-)

    We'll all be home, some day and we'll recognize it as being ours AND we'll never have to move again!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  6. I love this post. I wish I had more time to elaborate but I have to head off to work (boo), but this was wonderful ~ ♥

  7. The first paragraph of this post gave me goosebumps, right from the beginning - possibly the first page of a book you will one day write. I find it scary, moving, definitely "haunting", and unsettling - like the first words of Daphne DuMaurier's book REBECCA: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." It immediately sets a mood, and I find myself with an aching, empty hole in the heart region.

  8. @ BAT Mom -now I'm really spooked because sometime in the past year I listened to the first chapter of DuMaurier's "Rebecca" and am now worried that it transplanted itself in my subconscious and that is why I wrote that like I did!


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