Friday, May 30, 2008

Satisfied Sighs

I look around my almost too clean house with a satisfied sigh. About hour #4 my kids began to understand the brevity of what they'd done by waking Chris and they quit complaining. They worked, bless their hearts. For 7 hours. My house is amazing. Sparkling clean. Just don't go to my room. That didn't get touched. Ugh.

At one point early on, one of them collapsed on the floor, too tired to go on. My question was "I'm sorry, did you just run up three flights of stairs to get to a code? Have you done chest compressions for an hour without a break? No? Then get up and quit whining. You're still not working as hard as Daddy." She.. oops.. the anonymous child got up and with minimal complaints got back to work. Chris felt that I was a bit harsh since he didn't do either of those things last night either. But he could have. That, my friend, is the point. Respect your Daddy child.

But as I look around, I know in the back of my mind that it won't always look this way. I think it was this that my mother pursued until her death: a quick fix to becoming someone that she was not. I am never going to wake up one morning and suddenly think in an organized fashion. I'll likely never get to a point where I even see all of the clutter that other people see. Everyone has certain flaws that stick with them all their lives. Everyone. This is mine. I am not naturally organized. I tend toward messiness. It's one of my most battled flaws.

And that's not so bad really. Because in these flaws I experience grace. These very flaws remind me that I'm broken, not all put together, imperfect. Brokenness points me to what I long for... perfection. I want a righteousness of my own. I want to do it myself. But every time I look at my dusty ceiling fan or cluttered desk my self-righteousness is cut to the quick. And sometimes that feels like worthlessness or depression when really it is God cutting out the heart of an idol.

I will never be organized or a neat freak. This shows me that I will never be able to build a righteousness of my own. The only righteousness I can claim is Christ's. And when I claim that righteousness, my heart is comforted. I am relieved of a burden that is not even mine to carry. I still strive for cleanliness but with the knowledge that I'll never do it perfectly. I still walk out my salvation knowing that God's pleasure in me has nothing to do with my closets. And I sigh again with satisfaction. Hmmm. Enjoying this moment of shalom.

Punishment

My kids are under severe punishment today. They woke their Daddy up yesterday... By their screaming and fighting. So today, I woke them up with screaming and they're working for 8 hours. They get one 15 minute break and a 30 minute lunch. The rest of the time they're working. So far, my oven's been scrubbed, my floors swept, laundry folded and put away, bathroom scrubbed, bathroom closets organized, couch moved and cleaned under, and school shelf cleaned. And that's just 2 hours of work. Gracie asked, "What if we finish it all before 8 hours?" I couldn't help but laugh. "Oh, I'll find something for you to do."

My goal is for them to be able to empathize with their Daddy. They will work. A lot. And I will try not to enjoy it.


P.S. Gracie's foot gave us a scare. It got redder and developed a raised hard place. It was a little concerning. But now it seems to be fading. I'm very relieved. Thanks for your prayers.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Things On My Mind

Well, yesterday Gracie was bitten by a brown recluse spider. We were able to catch it, so now it's submerged in rubbing alcohol in a jar. I called Poison Control. They called me back 3 times over the course of the day. So far, Gracie has a bruise and a tiny bit of redness. It seems that she'll be fine with no big problems. I'd love for you to pray about that anyway though. Thanks.

The butcher called to let me know that our side of beef will be ready for pickup at the end of the week. I'm super glad. Organic meat just tastes better. Less fat, yada yada yada. The only problem with this is that our deep freezer died. Now obviously, I cannot keep 200 pounds of beef in my little freezer. So today we went to Lowe's and bought one. I like it very much.
If any of you are considering the purchase of a deep freeze, do your homework. We bought a chest freezer for several reasons.
1. I don't need to be able to get to 70 pounds of ground beef. It can be piled up a bit.
2. Chest freezers don't get left open because the weight of the lid closes it.
3. Chest freezers hold more.
4. Chest freezers are more energy efficient. Hot air rises, so when you open the lid, cold air doesn't escape.
5. Chest freezers are cheaper.
So for our purposes, a chest freezer is better. Now, my sister is a firm believer in upright freezers. To each his own.

I teased KimHill last week that they had way more stuff than we do. I said that because to admit any differently was nauseating. Now I'm home and the magnitude of that lie is staring me in the face. So this week, I shall purge my house. Lots of purging. My home is temporarily bulimic. The closets, cabinets, baskets, corners, attic, books, etc. are being gone through. Chris is all for it. I took a moment to make sure that he understood that this means that our house will look horrible for this week. It will look much worse before it looks better. Maybe I'll do some before and after pictures. Then again, maybe not. It might be too embarrassing.

My garden looks good. I need to weed it again. But the corn is almost big enough to thin out. I can't wait. I'm gonna can and freeze and probably hate it by the time I'm done.

This summer Chris, the kids and I are going to study different people. Joan of Arc (Noah's wife, right Burt?), Albert Einstein, Hudson Taylor, Eric Lidel, Sitting Bull, and some others. Person of the Week. And maybe a Place of the Week based on the person. Sounds fun, huh?

Well that's pretty much what's on my mind. I think I blogged to avoid the purging. *sigh* I'm lazy already.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I'm home. And so very sad. I had to leave my friends in Mississippi. It's where God wants them to be. I feel as I write this that some may think that I say these things lightly but that's not the case. I feel it to the very core of my being.

Kim and Quinn's home is great. Big. A completely ridiculous amount of storage space. Perfect. And temporarily outdated. When Kim's done that house won't know what hit it.

Things we accomplished this week:
Turned on the water
Unloaded the truck
Cleaned
Set up furniture
Unloaded all but one box (we don't count Quinn's boxes of books)
Repaired the hot water heater
Replaced outlets
Replaced thermostats
Hooked up the ice maker
Stripped wallpaper in kitchen and dining
Painted kitchen and dining
Caulked
Fixed toilet
Fixed shower
Replaced locks and deadbolts
Stripped more wallpaper
Replaced knobs on entertainment center
Repaired china cabinet
Spackled
Repaired rocker
Organized closets and drawers
Put in shower organizers
Stripped more wallpaper
Set up Quinn's office
Built bookshelves
Filled a box with stuff that needed to come back to Moody
Repaired armoire
Bought a gorgeous table
Went to the Mexican restaurant
Went to see Prince Caspian
Laughed
Stayed up late
Did without hot water
Stripped wallpaper
Said good-bye

Random thoughts:

I'm sure Kim will blog about the tragedy of lack of thrift stores. It's quite pitiful.
Bren took lots of pictures. I'll see about posting them.
Felix is unlikable at 6:00 am.
We ate watermelon everyday.
Children can live happy lives without television.
Soft water makes bathing difficult.
Wallpaper makes me angry.
KimHill makes me laugh. Especially late at night.
Bren's Indian name is "Strapping Young Lad Who Moves Things"
Ty works like a man.
I am exhausted. I've been up for 18 hours.

Good night.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Too Much of a Good Thing

My kids bicker sometimes but for the most part they play really well together. They're friends. They love being together. They have their moments of nastiness, but don't we all?

Tonight has been an ecstatic, fun night. They're laughing, wrestling, having sock wars, chasing, tickling, and generally being goofy. Do I have a problem with this? Yep. They're having so much fun that they won't do anything else. They don't even hear me when I talk. They're not folding their clothes or putting up their toys or eating their supper. They're having fun. They're not open to anything else. I am seriously annoyed. I hate being disrespected by being ignored.

About the time I'm ready for a meltdown, or what my mother called a 'hissy fit', I have a spiritual epiphany. I do the same thing to God. When I'm happy-happy-happy, having fun, lovin' life, I ignore him. I don't seek him or hear his voice. I seek my own pleasure and hear my own desires calling to me raucously, like a hyperactive sister who's throwing socks at my face.

Nothing wrong with fun. Not a thing. But first things first. Why am I here? What am I supposed to be about? What am I seeking pleasure and satisfaction from? When is comfort really sin? Do I really believe that God deserves my all? Do I really believe that all is found in God?

It took discipline to get their attention. What does it take to get mine?

Friday, May 16, 2008

David Letterman - Russel Brand May-15-2008 -- {High Quality}

I saw this bit on t.v. last night and laughed out loud several times. Just wanted to share.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Random List of Things I Don't Do

1. Switch out loads of laundry in a timely fashion. Soured clothing... ugh.





2. Smell underwear that's on the floor. If it happens to be clean, it can just be washed again. Cause I ain't smellin' it.





3. Ask my husband how he likes my outfit. He has very different tastes than I do. I will only get hurt.





4. Play practical jokes. I can think them up all day long, I just can't keep a straight face to pull them off.



5. Think that my sister looks like my twin.



6. Organize my utensil drawer.



7. Touch bugs. I'll kill snakes but I cannot touch a bug bare-handed.



8. Play an instrument. I took piano for 3 years and can't even read music. Pathetic.



9. Leave someone's house when I should. I think I always overstay my welcome.



10. Go to bed early. I cannot fall asleep before 9:00. I just can't.



11. Get up early. As in, before 7:30 am. See #10.



12. Deal well with change. I like for things to stay just as they are. No change-y.



13. Clean my kitchen up after every meal. Scott thought of this one. Apparently this bothers him. I sorta don't care.



14. Own real jewelry. I will absolutely, positively lose it. And then I'll hate myself forever.



15. Enjoy the ballpark. I despise the lack of seating, the smells, the bugs, the less than professional athletic abilities, the heat and/or the cold, the lack of shade, the sometimes bad attitudes. I don't like it. I do it but I don't have to like it.



16. Let Chris handle the finances. He might commit suicide.



17. Bake.



18. Play video games. It's not possible for me to care less about video games. Not possible.

19. Go fishing, hunting or similar activities. I will however go camping, provided that there's electricity, water and a bath house within a minutes walk or a 30 second jog, whichever the case may be.

20. Argue with my children. Because... they are children.

I guess that's all. I could think of more but I'm done.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Redemption

Redemption... I'm learning a lot about redemption. If you'd asked me a year ago what it meant I would have answered, "It's when Christ paid the cost for my sins." Which is very, very true. But incomplete.

There is another aspect of redemption that has to do with making all things right. Making all things new. A "this too shall be made right" kind of deal. Sanctification.

I see it displayed on our property. We have a hillside that was completely grown up. Thorn bushes, privet, sweet gums, honeysuckle and a single vine of the dreaded kudzu. We worked for days cleaning and clearing. Cutting and mowing. Even burning. Now the hill is cleared but rocky and rutted. We still need to smooth it and sow grass seed.

What did we do to that hillside? In a very real sense we redeemed it. Now we will maintain it or sustain it. The hill was in the grip of the Fall. We are making it beautiful. Or trying to anyway.

I have experienced the "already" of grace but everyday I feel the painful "not yet" of ongoing sanctification. I am redeemed but God is still making me 'right'. He is still weeding, mowing, burning, clearing. It's painful and frustrating for me the hillside. But He is making all things right. He is making me new. He is redeeming me. And He will not fail or grow weary or give me up as too much trouble. He is able.