It was Saturday. The first day off after going back to school and I felt the urge to clean. It already looked like we never had summer vacation, and the house had become dusty and cluttered in just one week. I hate clutter. I hate dust. The vacuum was calling my name, so I began to dust and clean my room and headed down the hall into the living room. I even had Susanna take the vents off the walls and clean behind there. No wonder my guys were all sneezing up a storm in the morning! Their sneezes can wake the dead too! I had Caleb help me move the couches and we cleaned out behind them, and what treasures we found hidden under those! I was disappointed there was no money though. Sometimes I like getting a tip for my effort. :)
I was on my way into the dining room when I noticed a little bracelet chain go into the vacuum hose and I quickly turned the machine off. "Did one of you girls have some important jewelry in here?" I asked. They did not remember, but we were worried that it was something they could not live without. I took the bag out onto the porch and began dissecting it over the trash. It was nasty! Hard to believe all that stuff was in our floors! What did people do before vacuums were even invented? And to think they lived on dirt floors once too!
I found Legos, band aids, paper clips, and other interesting objects I will not describe on here. Yet, there was no metal chain anywhere inside it. I emptied out the entire thing and threw the bag into the trash quite disappointed. There was only one other place to look. I had to make sure it did not get stuck inside the vacuum somewhere. I turned it over on its side and heard something metallic slide down. We shook the machine and out the hose came a little anklet chain. Alaina picked it up and said, "Oh, this is the broken one."
"Why didn't you throw it away?" I asked.
"Because I wanted to keep it." She answered and promptly took it to her room. Great. More clutter. :)
You may be wondering why I told this yucky story, but this morning I was feeling a bit discouraged about some things in my life. I go through these little pity parties sometimes and for a few brief moments I think about all the things that have seemed to go wrong in my life. It is easy to focus on the "if onlys", and the things "that might have been" and feel sorry for yourself. If only I had had more time to write this summer...if only I had finished that project...if only etc, etc. I easily get discouraged about my writing. There are days when I want to write another book, but something in me asks, "Why? You aren't selling many of your other books so maybe nobody likes your writing!" Even when it comes to these blogs I wonder why I do it. There are weeks that go by and I do not get a spark of inspiration and I feel discouraged about my major writer's block. Then suddenly something happens and a little light of an idea pops in and I know exactly what I am going to write about. Yet, what benefit does it have for me, and how does it affect others out there? I do not know. I simply know that I love to write, and that God wants me to use my talents for Him.
When it comes to writing my fifty-two letters of the year, I wonder if I should keep going with that too. I have kept up with it, though sometimes I skip a weekend and end up writing two the next, but I have been sending out those letters faithfully to whom the Lord lays on my heart. Sometimes I hear back and sometimes I don't. I leave them in the Lord's hands and ask Him to use it as He sees fit. Since He has given me these certain talents then it is up to Him to use them for His glory. It is not about me. It is not about what I have to give to others. It is about what He can through me for others and may He get the glory.
So, stop digging through the vacuum bag of life looking for the things that you lost. You may or may not find it, and besides, it may be broken when it comes back into your possession. Put your focus on the Lord and not on yourself. Look up from the old and you will find that your view will be different. The old, ugly,
hairy, broken things of the past will be thrown away as you look for what God has ahead of you. And that is something I want to do today too. God bless!
Okay. I must admit we were completely crazy. Here we were going tubing on a day that would not get warmer than 68 degrees outside, with a water temp of about mid 60's. Everyone else had long sleeves on, or even sweatshirts, but we were in our suits getting ready to climb into the swiftly moving river. And to be honest, I was loving every crazy minute of it all. The water was not too shocking when we got into our tubes and set off into the current down the river, for which I was very grateful. We did not actually feel cold until we climbed out at the end and had to wait for the bus to come pick us up. Everyone but Benny was there and they were all glowing from the excitement and fun we had just experienced. And so ended our last official day of summer vacation.
It has been a wonderful summer and I have enjoyed every single moment of our time off. Below is a slideshow of some of the highlights of our summer, from trips to Vermont and Pennsylvania, to beach fun, new babies, and visiting with friends. God has been good to us. One of the blessings He been showering on us is Joe's work with the family pest control business. He has been the sole manager of calls and scheduling since December of last year, and though it has been a challenge, Joe has learned to give everything over to the Lord and let Him completely guide him in all that he has had to do. I have been working in the office a couple times a week doing billing and other miscellaneous office tasks that require someone other than the one doing the actually jobs for customers. I must say that I have enjoyed doing the work, though any calls I have to make to customers are something I absolutely hate doing.
I have done a lot of catch up work these last few months too. Cleaning, cooking, reorganizing, purging, and some writing were all things I had on my list and I am happy to say I got most of it done. I began to panic last week when I realized how little time I had left, but wise words from Joe's mom helped me see reality: "Just do what you can and let the rest go. Prioritize." And that is what I have done. I go back to the classroom next Monday for teacher in-service and classroom prep, but I am at peace with it all now. On our way home from vacation, I remember thinking about how much I had enjoyed having so much free time to just do whatever I wanted for however long I wanted. Freedom from the slave of time - from having to always watch the clock and be ready for the next thing that we need to do. Sometimes we get so busy that we live minute by minute without stopping to take a breath and focus on what is important. I began thinking of how heaven is going to be like this past summer for me. There will be no more time there, as well as no more clocks, or schedules to follow. A thousand years will be like a minute up there. And I am going to be there to enjoy the no more time factor. And I will love every minute of it all. May God bless the rest of your summer and give you all the time you need to learn that He is in control of your time. Give your unfinished business to Him. He is the main priority.