Saturday, November 21, 2009

Learning to Fly: Day 11

I'm not feeling verbose about my daily tasks, but I took some pics. I love the pics the best, anyway. I pretend I'm on Clean Sweep.

Here's the boys' closet, before the Five Minute Room Rescue.


And after. Didn't even take five minutes.


Here's our entry closet, which I chose for my hot spot this morning, onaccounta all my hot spots were still picked up from yesterday.


Should have swapped this for the boys' closet. Could have finished theirs in two minutes. Not this trip hazard.


But another 7:46 did the trick. Still eradicated a giant mountain of claustrophobia in under ten minutes. Think we've got enough coolers?


Here are the morning dishes.


Where did they go?


They turned this...


...into this.

I am so thankful to God for the gift of these clean spaces. I can't stress enough the fact that this is His doing. I tried for nine years to do this on my own. I begged and pleaded with Him to help me, to do it for me. I surrendered in every way I knew how. I did everything I could possibly think of to do except one thing: the work. *sigh*

These pictures are not show and tell about my new leaf. These are examples of the Christian walk of faith. It's a both/and scenario. I must choose to do the work, but it is the blood of Jesus Christ that enables me to make that choice. The fact that the dishes are done means God is pouring grace into my life.

This is awesome. Not colloquially awesome. Actually awesome. Brings tears of gratitude to my eyes.

What I *am* feeling verbose about is the new task for Day 11. I was so relieved to discover this morning that the next step wasn't to add 30 minutes of something. Two minutes, five minutes, fifteen minutes... I just knew "You can do anything for 30 minutes" was right around the corner. Didn't feel ready.

Happily, I didn't have to be ready. The task for Day 11 was to write inspirational sayings in my control journal. Oh. Well. I've got inspirational sayings oozing from every pore of my being. Now I'm going to share them all with you. I'll even put each one in block quotes. Cuz I'm cool like that.

This first bit is excerpted from On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder (HarperCollins, 1971). Even when they lived in a dugout, they took care of their home. And then they played. These word pictures of housework have inspired (and tormented) me since I first read this book as an eight-year-old.

"Every morning after Mary and Laura had done the dishes, made their bed, and swept the floor, they could go out to play." ~page 18

"Laura helped Ma. She washed the dishes and made both beds and swept the floor and set the table. At dinner she sat bowed on her bench and ate what Ma set before her. Then she wiped the dishes. After that she ripped a sheet that was worn in the middle. Ma turned the strips of muslin and pinned them together, and Laura whipped the new seam, over and over with tiny stitches." ~page 35

"After Laura and Mary had washed and wiped the dishes, swept the floor, made their bed, and dusted, they settled down with their books. But the house was so cozy and pretty that Laura kept looking up at it." ~page 301

"Then Laura swept the floor while Mary cleared the table. Mary washed the dishes and Laura wiped them and put them in the cupboard. They put the red-checked cloth on the table. Now the whole long afternoon was before them and they could do as they pleased." ~page 284

An equally obscure inspirational reference is The Substitute Guest by Grace Livingston Hill (Tyndale, 1991). My husband's family reads it every Christmas. Some years, I read it through, some years I skim it. Lemme tell ya. I am definitely reading every word this season.

"The two women watched them away, then turned back to the bright kitchen and attacked the mountain of work they had planned for the day." ~page 22

"The two flew around at their work in a pleasant silence till [she] had the dishes marshaled into the kitchen and was making short work of them." ~page 24

"He watched [her] deftly wiping a pile of plates, polishing glasses and setting them in rows upon the shelf. She seemed to make a fine art of dishwashing. And yet this girl had a college education, and could hold her own among intellectual people. Still, she didn't seem to be trying to get out of the round of daily household duties that so many girls shirked." ~page 134

The inspirational phrases that most frequently roll around inside my head while I'm cleaning come from another random source: The album Beauty From Pain 1.1 by Superchick. This album has really reshaped my thinking.

And the view will never change
Unless you decide to change it
Don’t feel like it today
Just show up anyway

And though life will take you down
It only matters if you let it
Get up, go through, press on
Today’s your day, it's on.

~From "It's On" by Max Hsu, Matt Dally, Dave Ghazarian, Melissa Brock, Tricia Brock, Brandon Estelle and Andy Simon

Tired of trying to do it right
Her dreams are just too far away to see how steps she’s making
Might be taking her to who she’ll be

And suddenly it isn’t what it used to be
And after all this time it worked out just fine
And suddenly I am where I’m supposed to be
And after all the tears I was supposed to be here

~From "Suddenly" by Max Hsu, Matt Dally, Dave Ghazarian, Tricia Brock, Melissa Brock and Brandon Estelle

After all this has passed
I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last
There’ll be beauty from pain
Though it won’t be today
Someday I’ll hope again
And there'll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

~From "Beauty from Pain" by Max Hsu, Tricia Brock, Dave Ghazarian and Brandon Estelle

Saving the best for last, these are the two Scripture passages that always come to mind in conjunction with my divine calling to maintain this home.

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you." ~1 Thessalonians 4:11

"Train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God... For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." ~Titus 2:4b-5, 11-14

Eager to do what is good. Our guest pastor said last week that the verse "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15) is not a threat. It's a promise. Jesus is not saying that keeping his commandments will prove that we love him. He's saying that if we focus on loving him, we will bear fruit. We don't have to drum it up. It comes naturally from a heart filled with gratitude. And what are we grateful for? Titus 2:11 -- the grace of God that brings salvation.

The grace of God that brings salvation is the same grace that has brought me a shiny sink.

Beautiful, beautiful Jesus Christ.