Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean

For as long as I can remember I've always been a clean freak. There's a big part of me that likes to scan a room and see things neat and orderly, "a place for everything and everything in its place".

This afternoon I had an overwhelming urge to clean. I emptied the refrigerator of old leftovers, scrubbing each shelf as I went. Then I loaded the dishwasher up, wiped down the outside of the trash can, took four bags of trash to the dumpster, cleaned the sliding glass doors, started a couple of loads of laundry, vacuumed each room, and then ended with wet dusting everything in sight. Tonight I plan on sweeping the hardwood floors and deep cleaning the bathroom.

As I happily went along doing all of these things I remembered a scene from a movie that admittedly I've never sat and watched from beginning to end. It's from Bruce Almighty, and it's the part in the movie where Bruce has made a mess of everything and the whole town starts to riot. He screams out "GGGOOOOOOOOODDDDDDD!" And suddenly he's standing in a big white room. Quiet surrounds him. He looks around frantically and then hears the faint squeak of a mop bucket being rolled along. God appears and Bruce says, "They're all out of control. I don't know what to do." God replies, "You mind giving me a hand with this floor first?" The part of this scene that struck me today was what happens next: Bruce and God are standing side by side in silence - mopping. Then God says the words that I think will never leave me: "There we go. Wonderful thing. No matter how filthy something gets, you can always clean it right up."

Later in the movie God tells Bruce, "Everybody wants a miracle, Bruce. Want me to do everything for 'em. But what they don't understand is, they're the one's holding the power." So maybe Hollywood didn't exactly nail this one, but I think there is some truth to it. We don't like what's going on in our life, but we do nothing to change it. I will pray and pray and pray for God to do something, and a lot of times it's supposed to be Him that moves. But what about those times where He's waiting for me to take a step? To make a move?

Sometimes we have to clean up our own mess. Sometimes we just need to be willing to grab the mop. And then there are those other wonderful times when you're standing next to God side by side - mopping.

"Mr. Clean gets rid of dirt and grime and grease in just a minute, Mr. Clean will clean your whole house and everything that's in it. Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean."

Monday, November 26, 2007

When it Rains. . .

I don't think I even have to finish that sentence, we all know how it goes. Our household has had some major stuff going on lately, so much that I thought I'd take the time to share, but bear with me that there aren't any photos to go along. (Those will have to come later.)

November is nearly over, and I have to say that I don't know where it went. It started out slowly enough I guess, but it didn't stay slow for long. About the second week of November Paul started feeling bad, and over the last couple of weeks it's gotten way, way worse. He commented to me one day that his knuckle was sore, that it almost felt broken. I have to admit I didn't think much of it. I have a tendency to hurt myself but not notice right away, like the bruise that shows up on your shin and you have no idea how it got there kind of a thing. Anyway, soon after Paul made his knuckle comment he expressed that it had spread into his entire hand. And then his feet. And then his shoulder. And then his back. He finally got to the doctor, and long story short, he was diagnosed with gouty arthritis. He's now been through three rounds of steroids, two trips to the doctor, one trip to the emergency room, one shot of pain killer, four prescribed medications and several trips to the pharmacy. I think we're finally getting it under control, but needless to say it's been a long journey that I wish never to go through again. He's been in some intense pain, and from what I understand, gouty arthritis isn't something that goes away. Once you have it, you have it sort of a thing. I can tell you that I have NEVER seen my husband in that kind of pain. It's a difficult thing to stand beside someone you love so dearly and be able to do nothing for them. I am still praying for God's ultimate and final healing. Will you pray with me?

My work load this month has been nearly unbearable. Which considering all things, isn't so bad. Financially it's really nice, but it kills me to have to work ten, twelve, fourteen hour days over and over again. My body definitely feels it. I am thankful, however, for the Lord's provision on us. I find myself complaining about it, which I hate to admit. It seems really selfish to complain that the Lord is providing. If you hear me complaining about it, please do me the favor of telling me to shut up!

Payge's birthday was the 20th. I cannot believe she's eleven. It seems like just yesterday. We had a party for her on the 17th, which she really enjoyed. I will post pictures at a later time. I was snapping pics of her at her party when it hit me dead on that she's not a little girl anymore. It's hard to write that out, even harder to wrap my brain around.

We bought a new car on Wednesday the 21st. I know it sounds weird to say, but I'm really ticked off that we bought a new car. I mean that. We owned a 2004 Ford Escape that had less than 50,000 miles on it. We were halfway done with paying for it, which if you know me you've heard me say a hundred times that I couldn't wait to be done with the payment. My plan was to pay it off and drive it 'til the wheels fell off. Then put new wheels on and give it to Payge to drive into the dirt. I was really looking forward to life with no car payment. But, I suppose God had other plans. We were informed that the transmission was bad. Then we were informed that to fix it would cost $3,400.00. Which ultimately would mean that we would have paid WAAAAAYYY more for the thing than it was worth brand new. So, we are driving around in a new car now. It still makes me sick to say that. However, I'm really trying to come to peace with it. We prayed and prayed for God to show us which decision to make, and I know that this was it. I guess sometimes it's hard to see what God has planned. It's even harder when God's plan is not your own.

Late Wednesday night, after purchasing the car, we drove to Kansas City for Thanksgiving. We really enjoyed visiting with our family, since we don't plan on seeing them at Christmas this year. I will be posting pictures later.

So, there you have it. (Well, at least most of it.) It's been a roller coaster of a ride through November, but hopefully it will slow down soon. Okay, even writing that I know it's wrong, but hey, I gotta believe it for now.

And even though November was rough, I know that God has a plan and a purpose for everyone. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11). And that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28). So, for now "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14) Because "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

I give thanks for the following, to name a very, very few: 1) I'm so very thankful that Paul is feeling better and that even though his "condition" may be serious, it's not terminal. 2) I'm so very thankful that I have not one but TWO beautiful, healthy, wonderful girls. 3) That my transmission did not blow up while we were driving it. Especially if we were driving it to Kansas City. 4) That the Lord provided the opportunity for a new vehicle, and that I know in my heart and with my head that he will provide financially, because he always has. 5) I'm thankful that seven years ago the Lord provided me with a way to make good money without ever having to leave my kids. 6) I'm thankful that the Lord has given us his holy and living word to guide us and encourage us, and that we can use that holy and living word at any time. 7) I'm thankful for a wonderful family, even though a lot of times I can't or don't show it. I love you all. 8) I'm thankful for friends who will go the distance with me, and who will drop everything to speed down to the hospital to take my kids. *Thanks Marshalls* And for knowing that if I would have called ANY of my other friends that they would have done the very same.

So, even though we may be in the middle of the storm, or at the beginning of the storm, or at the end of the storm, I will stand with faith. And I will keep standing. I just need to learn how to stand with faith AND with a smile on my face.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Stressed Out

Do you remember those animal posters that your first grade teacher had up on her walls? You know, the ones that pictured some poor kitten hanging on a rope or a monkey of some sort looking all crazy like? Underneath it would have some funny phrase about hanging in there or thanking God it was Friday, something that was supposed to be encouraging?

Well right now I feel like that.

It's almost 11 p.m. and unfortunately I'm wide awake. I've been trying for about an hour to will myself to fall asleep, but obviously it wasn't working. I'm not sure whether it was the dinner I ate or the espresso I had at 4:30 this afternoon, but I'm buggin'.

Sleep cannot find me when my mind is the epitome of some ADHD convention.

Here's a list of what's been bouncing off the walls of my brain & keeping me from catching some zzzzzzzzsss:

- We're out of dog food, better make sure to drop by Wal-Mart after I take the kids to school tomorrow, otherwise the dogs will act like they're starving to death.

- Jennifer's wedding is coming up fast, better try to find some new shoes to match my bride's maid dress. Which reminds me, her sister called and I haven't returned her phone call. She wants to talk to me about the bachelorette party. Wonder when that is? The bridal luncheon is this Sunday. But so is the church Thanksgiving potluck dinner. If I make something simple like salad will I be able to do both?

- Payge's birthday party is on Saturday, better remember to stop by the store to get cupcake mix, icing, etc. Better make a list of what I need. Guess I'd better make Friday night my "clean the house" night. The bathroom is horrible, don't want anybody seeing that mess. I'd better dust the house too, it's pretty bad. That might be why Payge's allergies are acting up.

- Payge's DARE graduation is tomorrow, better factor that in to my day.

- Since her birthday is Tuesday I'd better e-mail her teacher about bringing snacks. Better pick up some cookies or something for that, so I don't have to bake them.

- Payge's teacher's birthday is coming up. Since I'm room parent I'd better write a letter to all the parents and ask for donations for a gift. And I'll have to figure out what I'm going to bring. Maybe cupcakes? Shoot, that means more baking. Oh well.

- Kate's music concert is Thursday night. I need to call Dad and Athena and invite them. Maybe Stacy and Kevin will want to come? I wonder if Vannessa has to work that night, she may want to come too. Write that down on my t0-do list for tomorrow.

- Let's see, finished that one transcript I needed to get done by today. Now that leaves five more. How many pages are all those? Probably around 365. All of them need to be done before Thanksgiving, how much time does that give me?

- Leaving for KC on Wednesday night for Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to that, but there's two days I won't be able to get any work done. Gotta make sure I get everyone packed early on that Wednesday so we can head out before it gets too late.

- Haven't done the checkbook in more than a few days. That worries me. I have no idea how much money we have in there. I've GOT to make time tomorrow to do that.

- Paul still isn't feeling well. I'm not being a very good wife right now, because I really haven't prayed for him today. Seems like we didn't really get to see each other tonight.

- What the heck am I going to make for dinner tomorrow? We've got to leave by 6:00 to be to church on time. What am I going to make on Thursday night, Kate's concert starts at 7 but she needs to be there by 6:45. That doesn't leave much time for homework AND dinner.

- Where in the world could that book be? (See post below). I sure hope it's at school.

and finally,


Life Imitates Art

Katelyn has lost her library book. Not surprising, given that the kid loses everything. What's so ironic about this is the name of the book that she lost. Are you ready for this?

Stella Louella's Runaway Book.

The first line of this book reads: "On Saturday morning, Stella's library book disappeared, as if in a magic act."

This is my life. Two nights of searching, ending in empty hands. Crawling on hands and knees around the house, looking under every piece of furniture we own. The sight of me on all fours is too much for the dogs, they think I'm trying to play.


I think the worst thing about it is Kate's nonchalance about the whole thing. If you know Kate you know exactly what I'm speaking of right now. Sometimes I envy that laid back personality of hers, but not tonight. Tonight it's just ultra irritating.

Maybe I wouldn't be so on edge about it normally, but I've logged twenty-three hours of work in the last two days. At this moment I feel like Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day".

By the way, in the end Stella does find her library book.

Hopefully life will imitate art just a little more.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Psalm 51 weekend

Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. (Ps. 51:2) Purify me from my sins and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. (Ps. 51:7)

This past weekend I had the honor to watch what is for me one of the most touching events one could ever witness. My younger sister Jessy was baptized. As follower's of Christ we believe that the act of baptism is a proclamation of your faith to others. But more than that, it's a literal way for our minds to comprehend that when we are repentant in our hearts and ask for forgiveness from God that he washes away our sin. We are made clean by the living water. No longer are we to carry our sins strapped to our back. We are free to hand them over to the one who died for them.

Our God is so good.

This picture says it all. If you take the time to click on it and make it larger, you can see the expression on Jessy's face expresses what's in her heart at that very instant: Utter joy. Freedom. The beginning of a new life. The shackles and chains have been stripped away. Love without bounds. The very essence of Jesus Christ.

The angels rejoice with you Jessy, and so do I.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Halloween & Other Pics

So sometimes I'm not the best blogger in the world. I get busy and my blogging gets put on the bottom of the to-do list. But at any rate, here's some cute pics of the girls during their school's spirit week:

Pajama Day

Career Day -- (A chef and a veterinarian)

I'm ashamed to admit that I forgot to take pictures of Crazy Hair Day, Twin Day and Dress Down Day. Ah, well, such is life I guess. They get really excited about spirit week, because they get tired of wearing uniforms to school every day.

On to Halloween pics: (Cheetah Girl and Super Girl)

Trick or Treating with our friend Judah (the alien):

Our friend Kenton, dressed as a Chipotle Burrito (it's too long of a story to explain, I'll just leave it that Kenton is an unusual guy. Love ya Kenton!)

By special request of our friends the Hansens, Coach Paulie made an appearance.

Stay tuned for my next blog, all about my adventures to Lake of the Ozarks and the baptism of Jessy!!