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Wednesday, May 26, 2010


My precious friend Kay Day once told me a story she heard about how Abraham's job was to keep the birds off of the sacrifices for God. Now before I get in trouble for misquoting my dear friend, let me get to the relevant part. So many times, when we have some kind of God blessing in our life, the birds come to try to steal our joy. Like Abraham, we have to chase them away. In Kay's story, the answer to the bad things that come in our lives is to yell, "SHOO!" and chase the negative that comes away.

Yesterday, I needed to remember to yell, "SHOO!" I had an amazing morning. An empowering afternoon. God blessed me with some wonderful and unexpected gifts.

Then the birds swooped in.

I found out my email hadn't been working. For someone who works from home, whose only contact with her boss and coworkers is via email, not having email is to have my lifeline completely cut off. Plus, being on the ACFW board, I'm missing out on decisions and communications about items that need to be done yesterday. My most important tool is gone, and based on the lack of information in my inbox, I had no idea what I'd even missed. Given that I have some major things in the pipeline right now, this is the worst time for it to happen. Not that there is a good time.

Turns out hubby was doing a nice thing for us and switched our email server to something that would save us a lot of money. However, he didn't tell me in time to get the changeover made without interruption to my service. I've been working on fixing it ever since.

Then... I find out that for the third time, my childcare plans for two conferences I'm attending this summer have fallen through. One conference starts in less than two weeks.

To be honest, I was more than a little upset. And I didn't have anyone to be mad at. Hubby truly was doing a nice thing, he just forgot to tell me. My childcare plans- the person who can't do it now has a really good reason that I think is more important than watching my kids. I was mostly frustrated that I've worked so hard to keep my life's machine moving smoothly and the world kept tossing wrenches beyond my control into the works. Not fair.

Plus, there was the real worry of finding solutions. I went to bed last night with no solutions. And as I lay there, tossing and turning, all I could think of was, "SHOO!!"

Tonight, I'm going to bed with more options, no resolution, but with peace. Not because the situation is now perfect, but because I am choosing to chase the birds away. I have a lot of wonderful things happening that I am happy about. I have a good life. And I am choosing to cling to my joy and the promise that God is bigger than all these things that keep coming up.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What contentment looks like

For me, anyway.

It's been a rough few weeks, cramming things we missed earlier in the spring plus our usual late spring activities, plus the clean-up from my big painting project.

This weekend began with a bang. We had makeup soccer games from the early spring snows, plus the regular game, plus the end of season party for the big girls. (I do have to insert proud mommy moment. 9yo scored a goal! She usually plays in back and goal, and hardly ever gets a chance, so it was so fun to see her do it yesterday.) However, I was DETERMINED to get my living room and dining room back in order. But first, I needed to clean up the finish on the furniture. So I spent the whole day in the wind, got the mother of all sunburns, and came home to work. I got the furniture done and realized that not only did I need supplies to finish the room, but we had to go to Hobby Lobby for 9yo's school project due Monday. Hobby Lobby is closed Sunday. Since I also planned on planting our garden Sunday, I thought it'd be a good start to get our plants while we were out.

Dizzy yet?

I got up bright and early this morning to plant the garden. I spent most of the day in the garden, then got ready for soccer. Had a game, and a party (pizza party! Yay! Didn't have to cook!) then came back home to finish the garden. I finally got the last of what I needed to accomplish (no, the garden's not done yet, but I planned it that way- sorta) at about 8:00 p.m. Thank God for the sun being up so late. As I dusted myself off and staggered on to the porch, I thought about a suggestion my friend gave me on Facebook yesterday- to go relax on my porch.

My porch has been a mess since winter. It's covered, so it tends to collect everything from all of our projects. Currently, my paint project and the new electrical panel. All that mess is stressful, and I can't relax with it all there. So I cleaned my porch. I moved everything, and put it away, then I gave the porch a good sweeping, used the shop vac on the crevices, and let me tell you- I have a serviceable porch for sitting on.

I got myself a nice drink, sat on my seat, and enjoyed the cool evening breeze, the birds chirping, and watched the sun set over my newly planted garden. In that moment, I knew what perfect contentment feels like. Contentment was relaxing in a clean space that I'd made special just for me, not the mad dash of spiffing up for company, but because I want a nice place to sit for me. Contentment was knowing that I'd spent the past two days working hard, and though there is still a lot of work to be done, I'd done all I could do, and I'd done a good job. Contentment was having my freshly bathed little girls coming out to sit with me and reading books at dusk and enjoying the last bit of our day together.

So yeah, it's been a stressful couple of weeks. An even more stressful weekend. But tonight, sitting on my porch, it was worth it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

You know that cleaning thing???

Well, it turned into a massive paint my house project. And I still have to put everything back and decorate it all pretty.

And of course, the same thing has been going on in my heart. A lot of stuff being pulled out, re-arranged, painted over, and healed. But like my house, my heart is still under construction. Still things to re-do, put away, and make nice.

Which made me realize that it will never be done. Not completely. We'll always find something that needs to be spruced up a little, repaired from wear and tear, etc. The renovations on my house, like my heart, will always be a work in progress.

It's unending, and yet there is still satisfaction in the work. It's easy to be discouraged and think it will never end, worrying about all of the imperfections. However, with the perspective that it's not meant to end, not while we're here on this earth, makes it easier. You can look at the improvement for what it is, and value the progress, even if it's not finished.