This is a simple story of a simple family trying to slow down this crazy life and enjoy the "moments"...

Monday, December 30, 2013

Brick by Brick….Sock by Sock….

I wish for world peace.
I wish for no one to be hungry.
I wish that everyone can understand how precious they are to God.
I wish for an end to sorrow.

I wish what almost every other person on earth wishes
…..including those pretty people competing in various beauty pageants everywhere.

(Hey….that's why the "world-peace-wishers" win these competitions.
They wish for what we all wish for.
Just sayin'…..)

I think as people….
as humans….
most of us simply want GOOD things for others.
We want other people to be free of yucky things.
We want to see joy.

Most of us feel something on the spectrum of sorrow when we see bad situations.

Maybe I feel mad when I see children being abused….
or frustrated when I see big groups misappropriating donated money…
or appalled when I discover purposeful mistreatment of someone…
or despair when I hear that thousands of kids under age 5 die of starvation each day…
or overwhelming sadness when I read about  teenagers aging out of orphanages…

These are bad things.
I hate that they exist.

When I learn about these kinds of things….
When they are called to my attention…


I want to find that elusive magical "make-it-better" wand and wave that sucker all over this crazy little planet.

But I can't find it.
And I can't fix world hunger.

I think it was Mother Theresa who said something along the lines of,
"You can't help everyone….but you can help someone."

I read a cool devotional last night by the president of World Vision.

He was feeling overwhelmed by all the people who needed help….and his organization's limited ability to assist.

Then he found inspiration and comfort in the book of Nehemiah in the Bible.

Nehemiah was really upset when he realized that the giant wall that used to surround Jerusalem was still broken down and in ruins from when the city had been attacked years before.

He knew that the Jews were supposed to rebuild it….and even got permission from the king to go ahead and start the project.

But….it was huge.
There was soooooooooooooooo much that needed to be fixed.
How could it ever be completed by "normal people" who were certainly not masons or wall-builders by trade?


…The priests made repairs, each in front of his own house.
--Nehemiah 3:28

And you know what happened?

The entire wall was repaired in FIFTY-TWO days because each person focused on the specific task right in front of them.

This devotional ends with the question,
"What section of the wall has God put in front of you?"

I can't fix an entire wall.
I can't save the world.
I can't even get all of my laundry done.

But…I can put away the basket of socks.
I can make one phone call.
I can stack a few bricks.

I think that God puts something specific in my path each day.
Something that he has prepared expressly for me to do.

In fact,
.We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared BEFOREHAND that we should walk in them.
--Ephesians 2:10

So my only task today?
Find that specific task God has laid out before me.

Make sure I don't ignore or overlook it….
small things which may seem so unimportant and insignificant to me are often the ones that have the greatest impact on others.

Say "yes" to this job even if it's inconvenient….
things that seem like burdens are often great opportunities in disguise.

Be thankful when I find a chance to serve….
remember that my life is not about how clean my house is or even about my personal schedule at all...

Do what I can….even when I can't do it all.

I am quite sure that God is big enough to finish the jobs He wants complete.

So I'm off to find my little wall section (or single basket of laundry).
I hope I recognize it….even if I have to trip over it to do so!

When I'm laying on the floor looking upward….
I see things the most clearly anyways.

Here is a link to a great book by Richard and Renee Stearns….

Friday, December 13, 2013


Last month I agreed to take on a two-week substitute teaching job for my kids' school.

Sure, the two weeks were the last two weeks before Christmas break….but with some foresight and a lot of coffee I could manage, right?

I've said it before and I'll say this again….
Teachers do not get paid nearly enough.

And I've got it easy!
All the lesson plans are done for me (in beautiful detail),
All the worksheets are copied and labeled,
All of the activities are organized,
All of the supplies are carefully laid out,
All of the other teachers are awesomely kind and helpful.

Still….I seem to be a bit behind in every other area of my life.

Ah well.

It's been a great lesson in priorities and time management….and I think it's given my kids and RH a fresh appreciation for the things I do during my "lounging" time while they're at work and school.

Anyway…today has been a lovely experience in how quickly circumstances can change my perspective.  And it's only 8 am.

--Alarm goes off at 5:10---uggh…..
--I hear sleet hitting the window so I hit "snooze"--good….
--Alarm goes off again--uggh….
--I have hot coffee with RH--good….
--Phone alarm goes off to tell me that several schools are cancelled--iffy.
--My school isn't--good. (Kids have many tests and two of my classes have fiestas!)….
--I'm running late from checking school cancellations--grrrr.
--I bump into my middle kid coming up/down the stairs-he's up early! Good…..
--I see the wreck that is my bedroom and closet from all of the junk thrown in there over the last 1.5 weeks of my "working" and I feel really really frazzled.  Ugggh….
--RH turns on the radio in the bedroom and it's playing my favorite old song….so good.
--RH comes up--but interrupts my thankful spiel with, "Ethan's throwing up.  Everywhere."  Not so good….
--RH agrees to stay with sick kiddo until I can figure out who to call to arrange for a substitute for my substitute job--sorta good….
--My mother-in-law agrees to take other kids to school…helpful good….
--Rh tells me he's cleaned the carpet with vinegar (because he remembered to not use bleach on the oriental rug)….super good…
--I get other kids up and try not to flinch as I tell them that they are the only school system in session today and their brother will also be staying home….iffy…
--I come downstairs to an interesting yet not unpleasant odor--Ahhh.  RH has used apple cider vinegar to clean oriental rug.  Good? Bad? Verdict's still out on this one…
--I realize I've hidden the supplies for the fiestas today--dang….
--I get other kids off to school via super MIL-good…
--I think that possibly I can get caught up on laundry while kiddo rests on couch--ha ha….
--I rush to help barely-making-it-to-the-sink kid--uggh…
--My kid feels so so awful.  So not good….
--I get a load of laundry in--awesome…
--It's all de-germ-sick stuff….mixed…
--My kiddo asks me to cuddle on couch and watch Polar Express--Good.  Very good.

So…despite not making it to my job today (and the huge guilt associated with that),
Despite a horribly sadly sick child,
Despite the smell of cider vinegar permeating every fiber of this house,
Despite a day of not working and still not being productive,..

I find nothing in this home except gratitude and joy.

Because, you see, tooday is the anniversary of Sandy Hook.

My fourth grader is here and he wants to cuddle with me.

So I will.
All afternoon.

I am going to bleach the sink.
A lot.