Nailed It

Since none of us are getting any smaller, the whole kitchen floor had to be pulled up and the dirt dug down and hauled out as we should have done years ago. 

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Over a year and a half ago we had a little run-in with some unwelcome guests: termites. When we found those unwanted intruders, we called pest control to come spray and assess the damage they’d done.

Since our house is an “antique”, when we bought it we had to replace almost every floor down to the joists. We even brought shovels, wheelbarrows and the teenage boys in the family in as reinforcements to help us dig up dirt close to the floor that had caused the wood to rot.

One room we didn’t dig much of the dirt down and haul out was the kitchen. The pest guy said we’d have to dig down so his worker could crawl underneath to treat for the termites.

Since none of us are getting any smaller, the whole kitchen floor had to be pulled up and the dirt dug down and hauled out as we should have done years ago.

If you’ve ever had your kitchen floor replaced, you know it is a dreaded job that is only done when necessary. The refrigerator, stove, cabinets and anything else on the floor must come out.

After the area was treated the floor was rebuilt but had a weak spot in it and was unlevel. We lived with it like that for quite a while… until this past weekend. I decided I was ready and it was time! My refrigerator has actually been in my dining room all this time because I wasn’t taking the doors off and moving it back in until the floor was completely fixed.

I pulled everything out of the kitchen Saturday morning. I put my daughter and niece to work and later, my husband too. When I found out the guy wasn’t going to be able to work on the floor until Monday or Tuesday of the coming week, I told my husband it was up to us and I couldn’t wait that long to get started.

Thankfully some friends came and spent their Saturday night helping pull up our floor, jack up floor joists and cut plywood subflooring and piece it together.

Sunday rolled around and me being determined to get the house back in order ASAP (Thanksgiving dinner will be at my house next week!), we spent time cutting, measuring, suffering.

When time came to lay what is called underlay that the vinyl will lay on, it called for staples. I’m a cheapskate and refused to buy a staple gun so we opted for nails.

My poor husband is constantly on call for work so when he was frustrated with the hammering and the phone, I grabbed my trusty leather gloves, the nails and hammer and decided to bend a few myself.

The night before, I’d hammered screws in to get them started and my friend (and reinforcement), Brandy, followed behind and screwed the plywood to the floor joists with the drill. I’d hit my fingers several times with the hammer so using my gloves the following night was a stroke of genius.

I’ve never been good at hammering so as I hit my thumb a few times I was thankful for the bit of cushion. I was bending nails left and right and throwing them across the floor (with an attitude). Suddenly I thought, “Why don’t I just ask for help?”

A simple “Lord, please help me,” and what do you know- the nail went straight through. I started saying “please” and “thank you” and found myself moving right along. Of course I bent some more nails along the way but as I started thinking about this I thought of how bad it must’ve hurt to have those nails driven into Jesus’ hands and feet on the cross. My attitude began to change.

As I hammered and the nails went straight on through, I thought of myself- my sins, causing those nails He had to feel. I began to struggle with hitting them as hard as I had to hit them. I am grateful for that act of love that was done for us.

I then thought of Jesus and how in Mark 6:3 it is written, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

It says He was a carpenter. How He could actually give me some tips on where to hammer those nails and how to get that nail in right every time, so I began to ask for that too.

It was quite the time I had down on that floor in the kitchen with Jesus. He was there helping me out while helping me remember what He did for me and how He continues to do for me.

When my husband came back to the kitchen he said “woah”. I’m not sure if he was talking about all the bent nails thrown across the floor or how much work I’d gotten done. He knelt down on the floor and asked me if I was ready for him to hammer for a while. Of course I had saved him some edges I couldn’t seem to get.

As I went for one more nail I reminded him that Jesus was a carpenter. I told him a few of my thoughts I’d been thinking and how I’d been seeking His help in there and had received it.

It turned out to be a good time, just me and the Lord. My time knelt down on the floor changed my whole way of thinking. It always does.

Thanks for reading!

The Mustard Seed

As I looked off to try to pull myself together, I just so happened to look to my right and there on a shelf was a nice, shiny glass jar full of mustard seeds!

Luke 17:5-6 NKJV    5) And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” 6) So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

I never knew what a mustard seed looked like when I first read this verse  long ago, but could only assume it was a very small seed. It never seemed to affect my understanding until years later when I actually saw one. It was quite an encouragement to see how small a mustard seed really is and know, if I have at least that much faith, big things can happen.

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A lady I used to clean for once a week never had me doing the same thing as I did the previous week. One day she wanted me to help her clean her spice cabinet out. As I reached and retrieved different bottles and containers, I handed them down to her. When we got to the container of mustard seed she said it needed to be thrown away. I quickly spoke up and asked if I could have it. Of course she didn’t care and I gladly brought the jar home.

Since I spend a great deal of my time in my own kitchen, I decided I’d put it on the counter beside my stove. It would be a good reminder for me.

Reminders can sometimes be overlooked when we see them day after day, but when we see them in places other than our own kitchen, they remind us, as well as revive us, in a special kind of way. The reminders we’re blessed with seem to come along just at the right time.

It was the night before Christmas (just kidding, but it was close!) and my husband and I were out doing some last minute shopping. We decided to eat at a restaurant close by that we’d never been to (Outback Steakhouse).

As we sat at the table, we talked about some things that were heavy on our hearts at that time. As I looked off to try to pull myself together, I just so happened to look to my right and there on a shelf was a nice, shiny glass jar full of mustard seeds!

The shelves weren’t near every table but they were by ours at a perfect time: a time when all the faith I had was surely as much as at least one tiny seed in that large jar.

I believe He hears our hearts say to Him, “Increase our faith.”

Can you think of a time when He gave you a reminder?

 

Messy Monday

I feel as if I’m being held captive within the walls of my own home, but in all actuality, my captivity stems from the walls of my own heart.

Today, once again, the house is quiet: everyone is back at work and school and I am home alone. The only noise I hear is the sound of raindrops lightly beating on the rooftop.

Mondays always make me feel a little detached from the world, but with the much needed rain falling today, that feeling is magnified a bit more. I feel as if I’m being held captive within the walls of my own home, but in all actuality, my captivity stems from the walls of my own heart.

Today, in the quietness, I have no choice but to recognize this reality. The issues I can pinpoint, even try to justify, yet I know the loneliness I feel is the result of separation from my Father.

Today, as I wander around the house aimlessly, I remember something I’d once written many years ago. I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be song lyrics or a poem, but nothing else came to my mind to go along with it. Those words, much like me today, stand alone:

“I only come to You when it’s raining outside; I only run to You when there’s nowhere else to hide.”

So often I’ve been known to call on others instead of first communing with my Father.

As it so happens, our home phone has been having problems for quite a while now and seems to worsen with any sort of moisture, so with the constant rain, a conversation with anyone today is not a viable option.

One thing I have learned is when it comes to matters of the heart, there is nothing anyone can say or do to change it’s condition except my Father.

Jeremiah 29:12-14 KJV  12) Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13) And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14) And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

On a day like today, He leaves me no choice but to commune with Him, and for that I am grateful. 

Now, please excuse me as I prepare for freedom once again.

Thank you for reading.

 

That Plant

There are times I end up letting that certain plant die. She then gives me a piece of the plant I had first given her.

Years ago I bought a houseplant from a lady at a yard sale. She told me if you broke off a piece of this vine-type plan and stuck it in water it would root and you could replant it. Of course as I would care for it, pieces would break off so I’d do as she said. One day my mom came over to my house and commented on my thriving plant, so I gave her the ones I had rooting in water to start her own.

Over time her plant became huge. It was beautiful and full, so full that she had started another one in a different pot. I told her my plant had died. I would forget to care for it and all I had was just a glass with a few pieces rooting.

One day when I pulled in to my driveway, I saw a beautiful plant on my front porch. Mom came by and dropped off one of those plants from the few I’d given her years ago. I took good care of it for a while, then I didn’t. I pulled the green off and once again rooted them in a cup water.

The other day, when she had time, my mom repotted some of her plants and moved them indoors before the cold creeps up on us once again. She said her plant that we’d passed pieces of back and forth over the years had died. She said she’d just been too busy and tired to take care of all of them lately.

The supply has dwindled down quite a bit, but if she’s interested, I plan to give her half of what I have. This has almost become a tradition between the two of us and this plant, only I’m the one that usually kills mine.

As I washed dishes tonight after supper I had to move a piece of the vine hanging from a shelf above my dish drying rack where my plant sits. The remnant of that plant that still sits rooted in water. I thought about how a mom helps a daughter, and how a daughter helps a mom.

As I continued to ponder on this thought, I began to think of my daughter- how there are times I teach her certain truths about the Lord and life, and then there are times she often reminds me of those same certain truths I seem to forget. There are times I end up letting that certain plant die. She then gives me a piece of the plant I had first given her. I always relate plants to life, therefore we pass life back and forth to one another as needed.

My daughter teaches me a lot. I know there are times I disappoint her or even shock her with the realness of my mistakes. I can see that, but I know she understands that mom is a human being that messes up just like anyone else. It’s not my daughter trying to condemn me, instead it’s the Holy Spirit convicting me. It is the Lord working through her and that is a beautiful thing. How could I despise that?

Hebrews 13:16 NKJV But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Thank you for reading and God bless!

Patina

I was literally sick to my stomach. I rehearsed my apology speech in my mind until I heard the truck pull in the driveway.

I had been cleaning houses for several years when I received a call to clean for a certain couple. I accepted the job and became friends with them as well. They were usually there every time I cleaned but one day they left to run errands. I went about doing things almost as usual, only I sprayed the bathroom down with cleaner to let it soak. Usually I didn’t let it soak as long so it would be ready for use at any time. After several minutes, I walked back into the bathroom to begin cleaning. I noticed the faucets that were normally darker appeared more bright to me.

I began to get upset. I thought, “Oh my goodness, what have I done!” My mind was racing. This was exactly why I’d prolonged doing this type of work in my earlier years. I was always fearful I’d mess something up or break something. What if this was irreplaceable? I was literally sick to my stomach. I rehearsed my apology speech in my mind until I heard the truck pull in the driveway. I heard the doors shut. My heart began to pound. What would be their reaction? How much would this cost to replace, if it even can be replaced?

I waited for them to call a friendly “Hello, we’re back” as they walked through the door. I walked towards the kitchen as they were unloading the grocery bags onto the counter. “OK, well, I apologize,” I began. “I will replace what I’ve messed up. I let the cleaner soak on the bathroom fixtures longer than usual and now they’re lighter.” I walked towards the bathroom, trailing behind them a bit. In a carefree voice the lady said, “Oh, no, that’s just patina. That’s supposed to do that. Over time, a copper-like finish shows through. That’s what we want!”

Contrary to the slogan of a popular antacid, this time relief was spelled P-A-T-I-N-A! I told them I had been so sick about it. I thought I’d really messed up. It wasn’t my plan, but apparently it was theirs. It was the way it was supposed to be. I saw tragedy, they saw progress.

Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV says 8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Just as the people I worked for, our Father in heaven has a plan for us that we may not understand. We may not know it, but we can trust that He knows what He’s doing. We don’t think like God, we don’t know the future but God does. His ways have much more meaning than we can even imagine. So when things seem dark and dull, in time- His time, a bright finish will shine through.

Thank you for reading and God bless!

30 Mile Yard Sale

What about when it seems as if we are getting rained on and those that do wrong just go about their lives without a hitch.

Every year the town I live in has a 30 mile yard sale the weekend after Labor Day. It’s been a couple of years. I figure I have enough stuff, I should participate in the sale by selling, not buying, but I may go this year. With the big event coming up, I am reminded of a Saturday morning several years back. I was slowly dragging around the house drinking my morning coffee, but agreed to get ready and go check out a few of the sales around town with my family.

We stopped at the nearest gas station to fill up for the day. As we were under the canopy at the pump, the bottom dropped out of the sky. The rain began to beat down overhead. As we pulled out onto the highway, we saw people set up for the yard sale. One house in particular had about a dozen tables set up with tons of items and lots of furniture. It didn’t take long for all of it to become soaking wet. I then looked at the house next door. The yard was nicely manicured. And empty. Their vehicles were parked in the driveway. I pictured them inside- comfortable and dry.

It made me feel terrible for those that had done all that work to drag all those things out. I don’t know if rain was in the forecast or if everyone just hoped it would pass on by. We never know about the weather.

Today a lady I clean house for had me help her get things ready for this weekend’s annual event. She is having her sale under her carport. We sat some of the items out today, but some she kept inside in case the rain comes and blows in under the carport. Wet weather is in the forecast for this weekend.

Although this excerpt from the Bible is out of context for this particular situation, this verse is the verse that came to mind the day of the rainy sale, and again today with the weekend’s preparations. The Word of God is called the Living Word, therefore I would hope it is ok to say it can pertain to any situation that may come about in the life we live. As long as we study and remember what it’s pertaining to, we can allow it to help us along our way.

The second part of Matthew 5:45 NKJV says, “for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

These are the words of Jesus telling us about loving our enemies, how we should treat them and what we should do for them. (Of course sometimes the “downpours” in our lives are caused by our enemies.)

What about when it seems as if we are getting rained on and those that do wrong just go about their lives without a hitch. Last week there were several times it rained one place and just a piece down the road it was dry as a bone. We can’t look at our neighbor and wonder why their grass may not be wet just because ours is. It is whatever the Lord chooses. As we have probably heard many times, we need rain in our lives, just as the earth does, to make us grow.

The point is, whether we are walking with the Lord or not, we will all be rained on at some point and the sun will rise on us just as it does everyone else, as He sees fit of course.

So the next time the bottom drops out on us in life, Lord, help us to remember that you are growing us, just as the rain is needed for crops to grow. Remind us that you are filling us, just as you fill bodies of water to make them flow. Open our ears, Lord, to listen for You calling us to crawl up underneath Your canopy for shelter. No matter what, we will become bigger and stronger because of the rain You allow to pour down on us- if we only allow it.

Thank you for reading and God bless!

 

Toys Picked for Me

I am my parents’ 5th child and am the baby of the family. By the time I was 3 years old, my oldest sibling was of legal age. A few years later, my brother next in line was graduating high school so the majority of my childhood years at home were with my sister and my  other brother- the third son of the family.

We were tight-knit long ago, as we lived in the country and were around one another the majority of the time. My brother and I were actually babied by our older sister.

At the age of 4 years old, kindergarten wasn’t quite ready for me yet, but I was becoming bored at home. I remember wishing I could go to school like my siblings, Becky and Keith. I’m not sure if I expressed my feelings, or if it was just their good idea, but that year they started leaving toys out for me to play with during the day.

I remember a particular morning when I woke up and checked that special spot. They had a purple and white airplane laying out, among other things. I was so excited and felt so loved that they had taken the time out of their morning to hand-pick specific toys just for me! I remember thinking, “Wow! They really want me to play with this today!”

Although these were toys I had full access to on a daily basis, it was the thought that counted. Even after 30+ years, I can still feel how special and important that act made me feel. It also made me feel as if they were with me during the day.

The memories of those plans they had for me still bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart.

They cared about me and wanted me to have fun and enjoy my day.

Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Even when life doesn’t seem as joyful as having toys laid out for us to play with, our Father in Heaven has good plans for us. It doesn’t mean we won’t feel lonely at times or wish we were somewhere other than where we may be, but He thinks good things of us. He wants us to have a future and a hope, but that hope can only be found in Him.

When we walk with Him, He picks out our plans and lays them out specifically for us, just as my sister and brother laid out the toys they planned for me to play with each day.

What an act of love from our Father. He cares about our days and longs for His presence to be present in our lives. With Him, our future is far better than we could ever plan for ourselves.

I pray this will be a reminder of the hope we have in Him through Jesus Christ. Thank you for reading.