Monday, August 31, 2009

Painting my world green

I am quite content to write today following the adventures I had last week painting the outside trim of our farm house.

Actually, as I continued to paint each day, I was proud of managing the occasional drips from my paint pad! After all, I had successfully kept chocolate brown and sage green paint off of most surfaces including the sidewalk, steps, the white stucco walls, dog and flowers. Now the cat did end up with stripes twice - once brown and another, green - both times she received a nice sponge bath. I think she actually liked her time at the spa but never really understood why she was receiving such lavish treatment.

Now, on the final day of my painting project, my journey took a turn. More like a sharp curve, really. You see, it was a hot day and I could not wait to get finished! I had been trying desperately to reach the eves of the house with the extended ladder my hubby provided. Stretching as far as I could, and nearly on the top rung, I prayed to God to keep me from falling. But I still could not reach the entire trim board at the peak of the roof. "Oh, to be taller", I cried out to the Lord. Finally I swallowed my womanly "I can do anything" pride and asked my hubby to help.

He consented with little reservation - so he climbed on top of the roof and could easily bend over and paint the trim board from there. I was so happy! Yes! I will no longer have to struggle and remain in my dilemma. We worked so well together - as I confirmed from below what spots he had missed and needed to touch up. Soon, he ran out of paint. I reassured him I could bring him some in no time!

Running into the porch where my paint supplies were, I thought about grabbing the whole paint can but had second thoughts. Which was a good decision! I quickly poured the green sage paint in a container and headed out the back door, thinking how great it would be to actually get the trim done that afternoon!

Then it happened.

Carrying the container out the door, I simply tripped. Green sage paint went flying!

It landed all over the back step, hitting the concrete slab below, the black railing, and the white and pink four-o'clocks I had saved from the dog's impulsive digging. And the paint also splattered on my car! That's right, my Ford Taurus that my husband had parked near the step the night before. (So we could easily unload bags of mulch we had purchased for the fall flower beds.)

For a moment - a brief moment - I froze in my tracks. My right hand and arm covered in sticky, gooey paint. I couldn't believe what had just happened. I looked at the whole scene in a state of shock.

Then, I went into bumble bee mode - buzzing here and there! First, I grabbed the garden hose and turned it on full blast! Spraying the step down with water, then the car, my thoughts racing like wild fire. Running in the house, I had to get something but what? For awhile it was if I was running in circles! Think, think! What should I get? I grabbed a can of Comet, a steel brush, some laundry detergent with extra stain fighters,(yeah, that should do it!) and a scrubbing sponge.

Meanwhile, my hubby called from the roof - "What happened? Look at your car! Look at the step! You better get that off your car and it's going to set on that step fast."("Yeah, like I know Lar", I remember thinking.)

It was if a race was on. . . . between the car and the step. I ran back and forth between the two - threw some soap on the car, then sprinkled Comet over every bit of paint I eyed on the step. Then I took a steel brush and scrubbed the cement like my life depended on it, working quicker than I could have ever imagined. To think I had felt almost like taking a nap a few minutes before. - Ha! Now, I had a burst of energy that came out of nowhere within the depths of my being. I rushed over to the car and splashed it with more water, and returned to the setting paint on the cement. It seemed to soak into the porous substance in seconds!

But as I kept working, I gained hope! Things were looking better all the time. Once I had the step under control, I took a sponge to the car and moved faster than a monkey in a peanut factory.

Meanwhile, back on the roof, Lar had not received his paint and was doing the best he could with what he had. "Can you come look at this Carole, did I miss any spots?" "MISS ANY SPOTS!?" I said to myself. "Like, I have enough spots to handle down here honey".

Well, to make a long story short - there was no argument between husband and wife,(Some would call that a miracle.) And the trim was finished - yay! Plus, my quick actions and extra scrubbing power paid off! I was able to get the paint off of everything - even the flowers!

But, when I was tempted to paint the picnic table later that afternoon. I had just started to scrape off the old paint when I thought again. "No, I think I've had enough painting for one day. It can wait for tomorrow."

And once more the truth that Jesus taught comes to mind. "So, do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself, Each day has enough trouble of its own."

And another . . . . . "Joy cometh in the morning."

Finally, like my last post proclaims, "Laughter is like medicine to the soul." Upon reflection, I can laugh about the experience - it actually was quite funny and as one of my friends told me, "like a cartoon".

Have you had any experiences that played out like a cartoon? If so, I would enjoy hearing about them!

Thanks for visiting "Reflections"!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Joy during "one of those days"

I should have known I might be having "one of those days" when the first thing this morning I started having little mishaps.

I walked out the back door to give our dog Shaggy his breakfast, carrying the large popcorn tin with the stubborn lid. He was standing there patiently waiting when the lid suddenly gave way to my determined prodding. Dog food went flying and I lost complete control of the can. Empty by now, it rolled down the steps with a loud bang and then another BANG! I stood there almost in shock. Bits of dogie treats - well lots of bits - landed all over the step. Would you believe not a single piece went in his bowl? The whole scene scared Shag so much that he forgot he was hungry and left. And I had a big mess to clean up. When the neighbor dog showed up, I thought there might be hope! Naught. He walked by, as if to say, "I don't eat food not properly served." Some of the food landed in my pots of orange, yellow and purple mums. I doubt it will make good fertilizer. But, I had to laugh as I swept up the mess. I thought of the verse in Proverbs about how a "joyful heart is good medicine for the soul." And it was.

Later, while I was walking to the mail box, I heard the squirrels scampering about in the large black walnut trees in our yard. Every once in awhile, an outer shell from a nut would fall to the ground, then another and then another. Soon, I felt like I was being bombarded! I looked up and one landed on the front of my shirt. "What is it about animals and their food supply this morning?" I said to myself. On my return trip to the house, I joyfully watched two squirrels play a game of chase - it was hilarious and I had to laugh! God had provided a simple blessing via squirrels.

Back at the farmhouse, I thought I would do my husband a favor and wash his coveralls before harvest, after all he'll be needing them. So I stuffed three pairs in the washer, only to find some rusty substance all over the inside of my washer afterwards - and all over the coveralls as well. What in the world is this stuff I pondered as I wiped down my washer with bleach. My hubby could shed no light on the subject. So,I washed them again. They look better but hang on the line embellished with rust stripes. I'll let him explain it to his fellow farmers.

Speaking of stripes, our gray tabby kitten decided I needed a helping paw when I attempted to start painting the trim on the house after lunch. I know the paint looks like chocolate but it's not. I tried to tell her. Within minutes of her appearance on the step, she had brown stripes on her coat. Thus, I ended up giving her a sponge bath. Although cats aren't too keen on water, she had a positive and willing attitude. I was pleased. But I also decided to delay the painting project and headed for my PC to write!

Now, the question is, should I go on to the next project? My husband has picked sweet corn so I can preserve it for the winter. I planned to do that this evening. But should I? I hesitate as I ponder whether I should sit at the picnic table to shuck it - that's where the squirrels hang out and I am quite sure both kittens will show up to help. Do I really want to be bombed by nuts or have a cat's paw help me remove husks? My office is so inviting right now:-)

I guess the main thing is this; as long as I can keep laughing and feeling joyful I'm good!

My daughter recently gave me a plaque she made. It reads "Enjoy the little things." I have it hanging by my monitor and it seems quite fitting for today. Being able to laugh during "one of those days" is indeed a blessing from God and I thank Him for it! Laughter is good medicine for my soul!

Do you find joy in simple things? Please write and tell me about it! I would love to hear from you.

p.s. By the way, a skit I wrote will be performed this Sunday in church. All the actors are volunteers who answered the call so willingly! It's another one of those doors of grace God has opened along my life's journey.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Walking through God's doors of grace

"He, who began a good work in you, will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

Since I wrote my last post, I am continuing my time of stillness before God and have not made any major decisions about which way to turn. However, I am reminded of a verse from Scripture that I had posted on our kitchen bulletin board for years - "God is always at work in you." And as I wait in my stillness, I see my Heavenly Father working. . . . . . . some doors have opened in my life that I call "God's doors of grace." And I am feeling confident and joyous about walking through those entries of divine goodness because each door conforms to the gifts God has given me. It's a fit!

(Reflection: I've been in more than a few places where it was not a good fit. That can be a very revealing experience about oneself. Simply put; a round peg does not fit into a square hole. And it just doesn't feel quite right inside one's spirit. . . at least not for me. I chalk it up as lesson learned and God had a purpose through it all - it was not in vain. Keep on keep'in on!)

Back to God's doors of grace. . . . .One door opened last week, while attending a Christian Education meeting at church. I was asked to write a script for a skit to promote Sunday School. The skit will be performed by members of our church family and is planned for the morning worship hour later this month. When pastor asked me to do this, it was as if a bright, beaming sun rose in my spirit! "I will be glad to write that for you," I said joyfully!

Another "door of grace" opened yesterday while I was out delivering sweet corn. (A fun thing to do if you have never tried it! My husband's family grows it every year on their farm and gives it all away! ) Anyway. . . . . . during one of my stops, a conversation arose about a former video/music presentation I had done for a group at a local church. The leader, who is planning this year's events, asked if I would return and do a similar presentation. S-M-I-L-E ! "I certainly would," I said.

And so, I will be sharing photos I have taken of God's creation, thoughts from His precious Word and play melodies I have composed on the piano. I can't wait to get started! This door also prompted me to think about other possibilities - what other groups might like me to come and share? Perhaps the Veterans Home. A call to them might be a good thing to do. What do you think God? Again, Be Still. Don't run ahead.

In the meantime, I have painted my kitchen, did yard work, shopped for groceries, had lunch with a friend, celebrated my grandson's birthday, have sweet corn to prepare for freezing and mums to plant into God's rich earth.

And as I proceed and try to get settled. . . . . . I'll listen and watch for "God's grace doors" to open.

Have you experienced "God's grace doors" in your life?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

August 6th - 2009 Stop and Be Still

On my church bulletin from last Sunday is a picture of a stop sign mounted on an extra tall post with arrows below it - one is going right, one left, one down, one up but they all have slashes across them indicating not to turn that direction. Below the signs is a verse from the 46th chapter of Psalms, "Be Still and Know That I Am God". . . . . . ..

This depicts how I feel right now in my life's journey. And the verse from His Word is exactly what I need to do. But this is a challenge to my anxious spirit. I want to move in one of those directions - get busy with something and not stop for awhile to listen to my heavenly Father.

The "should committee" is in full force in my head. You should be making money. You should be using your skills to help others, you should be productive - there's no time to sit around, get with it!! I even feel guilty for sitting still. Wait a minute! Who was it who told me to do be still?
The Lord. Why did he tell me that? Because He has a plan for my life and I need to listen for His direction before I proceed.

How do I accomplish this? I can't just sit in a rocking chair all day and wait for Him to speak! First, I pick up my Bible to read and ponder. Second, I pray and write in my journal. Third, I open my mind to possibilities, believing God will open some doors - the RIGHT doors for me to enter. Fourth, I develop MORE patience and fifth, I do what I call "no brainers" - i.e. painting the kitchen, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house and etc. Thanks to my husband, who has been so supportive of my decision not to work outside the home, I also have some much needed time to spend with family and friends - that is a tremendous blessing to me:-)

And God is beginning to show me some paths. At a Christian Education meeting the other night, we were brain storming on how we could get a Sunday School started for children and teens. We will be starting a campaign of sorts to get this program started. One of the things we will do is share our enthusiasm with the congregation each Sunday. I was asked to write a skit to be presented in church. "I would love to!" was my response, my spirit soaring inside me. . . . I get to write again - I can actually sit down and write a short play - yay!!!!

And how did I know this was God leading me down a new path? First, he has given me the skill and love for writing. It has been tucked away for awhile. But it has always been my dream to pursue it further. Not as a reporter, as in former days, but in some new way. It is a dream that keeps coming back to me time and time again. For years, I have put it on the back burner.

In a recent sermon, our Pastor said that if your life's dream - your passion - keeps returning to you - it is an indication that the dream is from God and involves His plan for your life. But you have to be still to listen for His leading - to recognize when He says, "Come walk with me."

"Be still and know that I am God." Have you tried this in your life? If so, how?