Category Archives: Personal Happenings

Put the Mop Down

Last night my daughter took a shower and accidentally left the water running in the shower.  It was at least an hour before she returned to her room and noticed that the drain to the tub was plugged and the water from the running shower had created flood like conditions on her bathroom floor.

She came upstairs all hysterical, she was sobbing, apologizing and fearing my wrath.  I immediately let her know that I was not upset and went to assess the damage.

The truth is I was not upset, I was tired it was nearly 10:00 p.m., I had been up since 4:30 a.m. and I was just finishing up what I thought was my last chore for the evening.

When I got downstairs, it was clear that I was not going to bed any time soon.  `Her bathroom floor would have made a nice poolside resort for a family of hamsters.  Water was everywhere, deep puddles had gathered in the spaces where the floor was uneven.  In situations like this, I’ve learned that it’s always best to focus on the positives.  So I thanked God that my daughter’s bathroom was in the basement.  Next, I thought,  at least the floor will already be mopped, one less chore I have to do tomorrow.

We got to work.  We used all the rags, and towels in the house.  When those ran out, we started grabbing sheets.  As we were sopping up the water I kept thinking,  there’s got to be a better way to do this.  A wet/dry vac would have been my best friend at the moment but we didn’t have one.  It was too late to call my neighbors and ask around so I went to the garage and grabbed the mop* and we continued soaking and wringing, soaking and wringing.  We finally finished around 11:30 p.m., my girls and I spend an hour and a half on our hands and knees.  I felt like Cinderella, the only difference was that I was actually looking forward to midnight.

Everyone went to sleep and all was well.

My husband is still out of town, this morning he called and I told him what happened the night before.  He asked, ” Why didn’t use just use the Carpet Shampooer we have to extract all the water?”  Oh. My. Gosh.  Why didn’t I think of that?  That would have saved so much time and backache!!!

You see that little * above next to “grabbed the mop” ? Well the Carpet Shampooer was right next to the mop.  Literally.  I unknowingly reached for the harder solution when I went to the garage.

God speaks to everyone differently, for some He uses burning bushes, lol.  But for me more often than not, He uses my everyday occurrences.

I was a little bothered by the fact that I spent so much time getting the water up, when there was a simpler solution   Then something stood out in the conversation that I had with my husband.  He said you never use the shampooer, so that’s probably why you didn’t think about it.  It’s true I never use the shampooer my husband does and the truth be told if he was here, I probably wouldn’t have been getting all the water up either.  🙂

God ministered to me.  He said the same is true in life. He has given us access to all the tools that we need to deal with the “mini-crises”, and various trials that occur in our lives.  However, if we are not familiar with the tools that he gives us…things will be a lot harder than they need to be.  So many times the answers to our problems are right within our grasp.

Be encouraged today, spend time familiarizing yourself with all the wonderful “tools” God has blessed us with to live this life.  His Word contains so many solutions from healing, to finding joy and peace, to restoring relationships…you name it it’s in there.  The world may offer solutions and they may get the job done, but God’s way is far superior.

Reach for the right tool. Why settle for a mop and towels, when you can suck it all up with a Shampooer?

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.      2 Peter 1:2-4

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Not Forsaking the Assembly

I feel like it’s been forever since my last post.  It also feels like forever since I’ve had a moment to myself.

November came and went, the following is an abbreviated version of last months happenings: First came my daughter’s annual costume (birthday) party, then prepping my hubbie for his 2 1/2 week trip out of the country,  next it was Thanksgiving, then remotely planning my brothers 30th birthday party and today I said goodbye to my last house guest.

Towards the end of this week, I began clamoring for my “closet” time.  I felt like I should have spent more time alone with God,  somehow I wanted to feel guilty for all the time I spent  with others, hosting, laughing, cleaning, dancing, playing games, planning, cooking, staying up late and sleeping in.  Although I didn’t feel wrong in my heart, my mind wanted to hold me captive.

This past week was the most fun, my girlfriend that I grew up with came to stay with me.  She usually comes for a week when my husband is out of town and it’s such a blessing because we have such a great time and it takes my mind off the fact that my best friend is 5,048.2 miles away.

As soon as she left, I spend a few moments alone in the quiet wondering if I had done enough.  I thought, Gosh we had so much fun but was God able to use me?  Usually when she comes we have these 4 hour deep, tear jerking,  life changing conversations and we didn’t have that this time.  Had I failed my friend?  Especially at a time where she’s going through a difficult transition?  Should I have skipped the nightly dance routines in my living room or the $57 sushi “snack” for two that we mistakenly ordered from a menu with no prices?

Oh my goodness, I’ve got to call her now and say something profound!

In the midst of my thoughts I caught a vision of God chuckling at me, but I paid no attention to it and continued to ask Him to give me the right words to say to my friend.  I spent some time reading the Word and then some time in prayer.  Afterwards, I called my friend as she was driving back home.  My time alone with the Lord gave me nothing “profound” to say, so when she answered the phone I began with an apology.  “Hey sis, I’m sorry that I didn’t have much to share with you this week, I asked the Lord to give me the words of encouragement and wisdom to share with you on your journey home, but I got nothing.”

The opposite side of the phone produced a hearty chuckle, one that I’m sure was my friend and God in unison.  She said what are you talking about? I was so encouraged by “this” and “that”…….she began reflecting on the small things I said in passing, the ways that I served her, the joy that she experienced through our silly adventures.  God had given her so much through us just spending time together.  My heart rejoiced.  We talked a little longer and I shared what her presence had done for me as well.

We hung up the phone,  THEN God decides he wants to speak to me (classic God timing)

He said, relationships are very important.  You must never forget that you have an amazing relationship with Me, so you can have an amazing relationship with others.  

He was absolutely right.  Ummm, I guess I didn’t need to say that.  But He showed me, to everything there is a season.  Sometimes we may be have tons of uninterrupted alone time with the Lord and other times, it is time for us to take what we’ve gained from our private time with Him and let it ooze out onto everyone else.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Be Blessed.

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Bacon Cheeseburger Please

As a mother my responsibility to my kids is to love, clothe, feed and house them.  I do this constantly. Most of the the time they don’t even realize it or thank me.  I hear “Thanks for dinner mom”,  on nights  when I make Orange Chicken and Tater tots.  I didn’t get any rave reviews last week when I made Potato Soup.  I’m the “best mom ever” when I bring home ice cream, or let them go to a friends house.  But if I said, hey today were not going anywhere or doing anything fun I’m just gonna sit around and hug and love you guys all day.  I’m sure it would be dubbed the worst day ever.
I make sacrifices to feed my children a certain way, a few weeks ago, I bought sockeye salmon the stuff is not cheap but it’s so good for you.  The kids had testing in school so I was trying to load them up on Omega 3’s and EFA’s like it would immediately go to their brain and make them smarter.  They did not like it, I could have bought some processed chicken wings from Walmart and they would have been in heaven.  Again they were clueless to the purpose of dinner that night.  Honestly, I understand that they like chicken wings better than Salmon.  But it hurts when they turn their nose up to something that I worked hard to provide them for their own benefit.  I don’t expect them to start doing cartwheels at the sight of salmon but I want them to  at least understand that when I put something on the table that they don’t particularly like it’s for a purpose.
I try not to take it personal. I know my kids love me, but they’re kids.  Do we love God?  Sure, but we’re kids too.  Ok fine, grown ups with a jacked up human nature.
God is a good God, he actually wants to please us …he does not want to withhold good things from us and everything He does in our lives He has a purpose for it.  But sometimes it’s hard to see that.  We want a bacon cheeseburger and God gives us a salad with no croutons.
Instead of trying to find the benefit in what He’s doing, we complain.
Why can’t we just say I don’t like Salad but if that’s what you want me to have I’m going to  trust you and eat it until you choose to give me a bacon burger.  I’d like to take it a step further and say……you know what even if I never get that bacon burger, you’re still amazing and if you think this Salad is what I need, then salad is enough for me.
Psalms 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory:no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (KJV)

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Trick or Treat?

For most today is Halloween, at my house it’s hump day.  A regular boring Wednesday, no candy, no costumes, no compromises.

As a family we have chosen not to celebrate Halloween.  Fear, even in its most subtle forms will never be welcomed in our home.  And we’ve been through enough to know that the spirit realm is real and evil is not something to be played with.

My husband and I have 4 children 10 and under (My, that sounds better than the times I used to say 4 children 6 and under).  For the most part my children understand the choices we make and why we make them.  My oldest has always done a very good job of leading the younger children.  Tonight was a little different,  it started around 3:00 she asked, “are we doing anything fun tonight?”  I didn’t quite pick up on her question until I was making dinner and she came in and asked, “did you celebrate Halloween when you were a kid?” “was it fun?” Now, I was aware of what was on her heart.  I answered honestly, “Yes I celebrated Halloween as a child and yes it was fun.”

I went on to tell her the funny things I dressed up as, the time I went to a haunted house and almost peed my pants because I could smell the gas from the chainsaw.  I told her how my mom would drive us to the “rich” part of town so that we could rack up on the King-Sized Snickers.

I also told her about the time my girlfriend and I spent hours decorating sheets of paper with bible scriptures on them to pass out instead of candy.  Even my mom thought I was weird! I was 16 when I had my first conviction about Halloween. I don’t know what sparked it, but I was convinced that everyone who came to my door that night was going to leave believing in Jesus.  The next morning we woke up and saw, I’m sure what was 90% of our lovely scriptures thrown on the grass or lining the streets with rest of the candy wrapper litter.

My daughter is getting to the point where things have to be real to and for her.  I can’t say, “Halloween’s Bad” like I can to my 3 year old and that be the end of it.  She’s dealing with feeling left out, missing out and wanting to experience what the masses and even some of her close christian friends are experiencing.  I understand that and it was written all over her face.

After we talked she walked away and I could tell our talk had not satisfied her.  Sure enough a few minutes later I heard a soft whimpering in the stairway.

I found her and held her. I said I want you to have fun, it hurts my heart that you may not have the opportunity to do some of the things I did as a child, but I am responsible to God for you and this is how I believe God wants our family to live.  We are set apart from certain things.  I held her a little tighter but I could tell she was still not convinced, I let her go and told her to ask God to reveal His plan to her.  She wiped her eyes and agreed.

The night went on like normal, we ate dinner, laughed and talked like we always do.  At bed time my husband requires that the kids read a chapter of Proverbs and do sit ups and push ups.  I told you in yesterday’s post, Running the Race he was a fitness guru!

Right around 8:30 the kids all rushed downstairs eager to share with us what they learned.  My 6 year old summed it up like this, “if you go left you’re wrong, if you go right you’re wrong.  If you make a U- Turn you might be ok just as long as you stay straight!”  I wanted to laugh so hard because I was wondering how he came to that conclusion.  It was so cute but I dare not insult him with laughter because he was serious about this revelation.  Everyone had a turn to share, I finally asked, “Umm, where exactly were you guys reading from?”  My oldest daughter brought clarity to it all.  She read Proverbs 4:25-27 from her Student Bible:

25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.

She went on to explain that she has look straight ahead and think about the path that her is own path. Not the path of anyone else.  She understands why we don’t celebrate Halloween and she said now she believes she knows what God wants her to do.

Thank you Lord! You are a better parent than I could ever be.  My daughter was content, and I could not have given her that if I tried. What real a”KING-sized” treat. I was touched by her words and understanding and I pray you are too.

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The Finger

My cheeks hurt from what I am about to write, I literally can not keep a straight face.  I was on my way to yet another birthday party and pulling out of my neighborhood.  Apparently when I pulled out I was not going fast enough for the car coming up behind me.  I was not aware of this, as I am largely unaware of most of my driving mishaps luckily, I have my friends and family to point out my lack of driving skills at every opportunity, what would I do with out them?

This blunder I caught on my own though, well ok I only noticed because the guy behind me laid on his horn and decided to ride on my bumper.  As soon as I heard his horn I graciously waved out the window and mouthed, “Sorry”  but that wasn’t enough for this guy he had to show me that I was wrong.  So he sped pass me and flipped me the bird in front of my minor child and slammed on the breaks in front of me.  Real Macho right?  A few seconds later I’m behind him at a red light (yes I know what you’re thinking…he’s speeding and flipping birds and raising his blood pressure for what?  To be two feet in front of me at the same red light!).  So I’m sitting there looking at the back of his car and he has not one but….drum roll please….. two Jesus magnets!! One says Jesus and the other is the image of a cross with the words LOVE written through it.

I fell out laughing, I couldn’t help it.

We were still at the light and I know from experience that it’s a long light. Everything in me wanted to get out of my car, gently remove the magnets from the back of his car, tap on his window and kindly ask him if he would mind putting those magnets in his glove box for the time being.

But I refrained.

I called my friend and told her this same story, she advised me to give the guy a break….perhaps it was his wife’s car!!

Let’s hope so.

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Be Available

Yesterday something interesting happened.

A friend of mine popped over, we are probably more on the acquaintance side but she’s still a friend nonetheless.

It was about 6:00 in the evening, I was in the middle of cooking dinner, my kitchen hadn’t been cleaned since breakfast and there was a mountain of homework, binders, shoes and socks in the space where my dinning room table should have been.

Her visit was unexpected, my front door was already open from the kids playing outside, she walked in called my name and plopped down at my kitchen table.

I couldn’t help but to notice that a piece of dried up egg from almost 12 hours earlier stabbed her in the elbow as she rested her arms on the table.  I grabbed the dishtowel wiped up the tiny assailant and its quarter dozen accomplainces and pulled up a chair next to her.

As soon as I sat down she began to pour out her frustrations.

I never said, what’s up? or why are you here? She just let go freely without any solicitation.  She went on to discuss her challenges and I listened sincerely and attentively, she asked me several times for my advise.

There was a quick moment in my mind where I was like, I don’t know, I don’t have teenage children, I’ve never been divorced why are you asking me?   In this same quick moment I could smell my Salmon drying out…it wasn’t burning but I knew my oven was sucking all the moisture out of that little sea creature.

I have learned that that stuff doesn’t matter though,  I immediately began to shift my thinking and started encouraging her with the Word of God.  The nice thing about the Word is that it’s a truth that is universal….and though she is not a believer the Truth resonated.

In those split seconds of thinking of what I was going to say and wanting to go rescue my fish, I quietly pushed those thoughts aside and said, “Lord, give me the words to say.”

The Word of God makes me seem smarter than I really am.  It qualifies me to speak on topics that I have no credentials or experience in.

At half past seven my friend left my house with so many of her questions answered, she had a perspective change and exited my door with a peace that she did not enter with.  And trust me it was not because I knew what to say it was because I depended on Him.  God showed me a lot yesterday.

One was how far I’ve come.  A year ago for sure this same scenario would have played out differently.  Now I’ve never been a mean person per say, but I have been selfish, or perhaps a better term is self aware, these would have been the thoughts in my head:

  • Umm why is she here?
  • My house is a mess, let’s talk outside
  • It’s getting kinda late, I still have to X, Y oh and I must do Z
  • I paid $12.99/lb for that fish, hold that thought let me go take it out

There will always be a million reasons and valid excuses to keep us from being 100% available to others.  But in the grand scheme of eternity the deposit that the Father was able to make in my friends life through me is far greater than Moist Salmon.

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