{ Clean }

 

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I don’t dress like this when I clean the house.

 

I like a clean living space, but, cleaning is not a cherished hobby of mine. I generally value clutter-free over dust-free.

Years ago, my Spanish friend Ana invited me into her small apartment. I was amazed at how shiny-sparkly-clean it was and I commented on it.

“Yes, I like to do this!” Ana bubbled enthusiastically. I’ve never forgotten her radiant response; scrubbing the home spotless was a happy thing for her.

My Norwex-selling friend recently educated me on the stunning benefits of micro-fiber cleaning.

I’m totally not going to have a Norwex party, but I appreciated her zeal and knowledge; I really learned something.

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For a recent birthday, my daughter gave me a cleaning tote, stuffed with Mrs. Meyer’s sprays and other goodies. Was this gift a not-so-subtle hint, because she knows my housecleaning flaws? Hmmm….

Anyway, cleaning is more fun, now that I have Mrs. Meyer’s help.

I will now awkwardly transition to some brief thoughts about spiritual cleaning.

I was reading my Bible the other day and I cannot remember exactly what I was reading. I didn’t feel spiritually dirty and didn’t set out be to be purposefully “washed” that day, but suddenly I truly felt God’s words cascading over me, cleansing me.

As I have chewed on this the last few days, I have felt that reading God’s word is a powerful spiritual cleaning agent because:

  • It reminds me whose I am
  • It purifies my life perspective
  • It shines a loving light onto my heart
  • It pours hope down on me
  • It showers comfort over my soul
  • It cleanses festering wounds
  • It removes destructive thoughts and damaging lies.

~~~~~~~

“…wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7

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“The Gospel is a cleansing agent, for it is the good news of Christ’s atoning death at Calvary. The Word is a cleansing agent also for sanctification. That’s why it’s important for us to read and study the Scriptures; they are a cleansing agent in our lives. It’s amazing what the Word of God will do with people when they read and study it. — John MacArthur

 

Bible photo:  Aaron Burden

{ Blunders, Blossoms & More }

 

 

 

This week, I finished two things.

  • I finished a writing project– an 1800-word health article. The problem with writing about health supplements is that when I complete one, it gets me thinking, “I need some of that!” So, the jar of herbal supplement pictured above came from Amazon this week. It’s supposed to suppress my sugar cravings?
  • I finished the book The Willpower Instinct, which I added to my Winter Reading Contest list.  What I liked: The author gives lots of practical tips on how to overcome bad habits. What I didn’t like: Modern scientist authors usually present evolution as a logically accepted, scientific fact. Interesting…because macro-evolution is not science.  It does not follow the scientific method, not being observable or repeatable. That said, other than these kinds of assumptions, I really liked the book. 🙂

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On Monday, we took a rare field trip to a local ski hill, since it was Homeschool Ski & Snowboard Day.  We were the first ones that showed up, arriving 1.5 hours before the chairlifts started lifting. Mark this day down in history.

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To go skiing, I wore the LL Bean jacket that my husband gave me 20+ years ago.  One lady remarked that she liked my vintage jacket.  A little girl asked me, “How do you take that thing off?”

I’m just glad I didn’t break any bones wearing it.

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Here I am with my two beginning skiers: Gianny & Marco.  They started their beginner lesson at 10:00. The teacher shooed the parents away, so I took to the hills with my 13-year old Ava.  After 20 minutes, I thought I’d go check on the boys.  We were halfway down a hill when I heard a familiar voice yelling, “Hi, Mama!”

Words cannot describe how surprised I was to see Marco on the chairlift, seated beside two strangers.  I had left him safely gliding down the bunny hill, supervised by a team of ski instructors. But now here he was, 20 minutes later, waving and smiling confidently from high on the chairlift.  A few thoughts went through my head:

  • Did he leave the hill and follow us without permission from the teacher?  
  • What is he thinking?  
  • How can I hurry up there and help him down the hill before he tries to ski down alone?

Then, Ava and I watched him sail down the hill like an expert.  The truth was: Marco did so well with his beginner lesson that the teacher graduated him early and told him to head to the chairlift and enjoy the hills. Whaaaa?!  After I recovered from the shock, it was clear to me that he was capable and fearless. It made me giggle to see his little beginner body cruise down the hills with ease. I still smile to think about it.  He’s got good Scandinavian blood, no fear and the faith of a child. 🙂

 

 

 

So, yesterday I didn’t make dinner. (Almost as rare as a day at the ski hill.)

I ate out with my younger children. because Chik Fil A was giving free sandwiches if you wear your MN Wild hockey jersey.

Later, I came home to a few grumpy, hungry and bewildered young adults that couldn’t seem to hunt and gather food for their dinner.

(These are the same young adults that are often out and about and don’t eat the dinner that I regularly make.)

The cupboard was a bit sparse, but we had eggs, milk, bread, butter and cereal.  And a few other things.  Let’s use our imagination?

Sigh.  Mama got mad and started to bang pans around in her bothered haste to make some food. Then she walked into her room where one of said young adults had, one hour earlier, gently laid three flower bouquets on the desk with a loving note attached.

Tears. Laughter. More tears. Hugs. Repentance all around and smiles.

After this, I happened to read through Dolly Mama’s blog post and shed more tears.

So…that was a slice of my life this week.

 

{ Recipe for a Happy Birthday }

 

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Ingredients:

1- 5# bag of expectations

2 gallons water

1 cup possibilities

1 lb. gratefulness

1 cup sugar

3 1/2 cups whatever!

 

  1. In a large bucket, mix expectations with 2 gallons water.  Stir until dissolved.
  2. Dump this mixture outside. (Makes good compost.)
  3. Chop possibilities into bite-sized chunks and set aside.
  4. Using a blender, combine gratefulness with sugar and process until fine.
  5. With fingers or a pastry blender, chop whatever! into coarse crumbs.
  6. Layer the possibilities mixture alternately with the whatever!, sprinkling gratefulness / sugar mix liberally over each layer and on top.
  7. Let sit 30 minutes, allowing flavors to combine.
  8. Serve with coffee or tea.
  9. Enjoy immediately, because it will be gone by tomorrow.

 

 

(c) Lisa M. Luciano

Word Prompt:  harmony

 

 

Photo credit:Audrey Fretz

{ Deism, Drones & Death: Musings of a Homeschooling Mom. }

What I am learning this week:

  • When you plan a big party, remember to double-check to see if your mother-in-law’s invitation got sent.  (I am in the process of making this right.)

 

  • Little people listen more than we realize. When I asked my children today during American History, “What do you remember about Deism?” I didn’t expect eight-year-old Gianny to be the one itching to answer: “It’s the belief that God set the world in order and then went away until judgment.”

 

  • Drones are cool and come in two main styles: quadracopter and hexacopter. People who get to review drones online are very cool.  People that blow things up using household materials are possibly even cooler. And, I was just informed that the King of Random just flew a drone online for the first time.  That’s cool colliding with awesome. (This information was generously handed to me by my 13-year-old, who offered me the pleasure of watching a 7 minute drone video. I am a blank slate when it comes to knowledge of drones, so I learned a lot.)

 

  • Gardens eventually die. Looking out the window this morning, I saw the bittersweet view of a frosty garden.  I mourned my basil and zinnias for about five seconds and then was grateful I wouldn’t have to battle the tomato slugs anymore. I gathered what I could. Photos attached.

 

  • The last peach in the bowl is always the most precious and sought after.  I could divide it into 12 tiny slices….or just eat it myself after everyone is in bed. 🙂
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I will miss the bright beauty of the zinnias.

 

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Green tomato recipes, here I come.
Isaiah 40:8~ "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever."

 

Mothers & Ekdapanao

A few years ago, we went to hear a missionary speak about his work with orphans. He spotlighted this verse:

2 Corinthians 12:15 — “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls…”

He told about his schedule, being totally disposed to a large group of fatherless young boys. This man had NO time to himself, and didn’t have the conveniences of normal American living.  He lived in a hot, Central American climate, in a rustic setting.

Yet, he was glad to expend (ekdapanao – to spend out, completely exhaust) himself for these guys. To him, these young men were souls to love…and win to Jesus.  He looked past “dirty and needy” and saw “valuable.”

That’s true love.  It’s the way God looks at us.

Romans 5:8 – “For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Our sinful selves are not lovable or desirable. Yet, with the covering of Jesus, we are gathered into God’s family – and He loves us.

Insert bridge here to the concept of motherhood…

I have eleven (biological) children to love, nurture and train. Some of them are adults now.

At times, I have felt “spent” as a mother.

(But…ahh… I have had hot showers, cups of coffee and a warm, cozy bed to enjoy — eventually.)

Although it’s tempting, I don’t want to coast on this marathon of motherhood.  I don’t have toddlers anymore, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to put things on autopilot.

Let my teens smile and roll their eyes good-naturedly when I ask them “What are you going to be when you grow up?”

Let them groan when I stumble my way into their technological world, or make a silly parent pun.

I will correct them, confront them, and praise them. I will surprise them with love whenever I can (even when they’re crabby, contrary or cheeky.)

I will press on in the high calling of motherhood, calling upon God’s grace to refresh me when I’m spent.

But, for now I must say farewell —  my fans await me.

It’s Mother’s Day weekend.

I already have a lovely lavender plant, a piece of chocolate and a gift that couldn’t wait to be given sitting on my desk.

Ekdapanao has its rewards. And it’s not even Sunday yet.