Epic Failure

It’s been so dry that every time I hose down the potted mums, a half dozen bees appear for a drink.  They don’t bother me.  All they want is some water.  Yes, that’s how dry it’s been in Ohio.  The finches hang out at the thistle seed, lazy and fat.

I love the sound of rain even when it’s been raining for days. This morning, I got up early just so I could stand outside in the dark and feel drops falling on me.  But the drops did not fall.

I pulled my container plants out in a nice messy row so that they could soak up the freshness.  But they remain dusty and pathetic.

I am not fresh.

This has been a week of epic failure.  Can you spell A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E?

I think it all started earlier this month when not one but every clerk, waiter, checker, and retailer asked me if I was getting ready for the big weekend.  Did we have plans?  What big weekend, I wanted to know?  Oh, yeah.  Labor Day Weekend.  I felt like asking the Lady Violet question in proper Maggie Smith British (For you Downton Abbey fans),  ”Excuse me, what is a week-END?”

My husband is a pastor.  We work on weekends.  Did I really spout this to every poor unsuspecting person?  Even the girl at Target.  Yes, I did.  I tried to sound joyful about the prospect, but inside, I confess, I was wishing that we were getting ready for the big weekend.  Our daughter called, and I promptly told her that everyone else in Ohio was at the lake.  What were they doing for the Big Weekend?

Never mind that we have been given the privilege of sharing God’s hope, love and peace.  Never mind that we can freely worship and enjoy the encouragement of other Christians.

I yelled at the cat that he was in my way, when clearly, I was in his way.  Picked an argument with my husband, who picked back.  Quit on changing the seasonal decorations in our house, because why put up any autumn decorations when it’s 80 degrees outside?

The epicness (is that a word?) of my failings culminated with an hour back and forth “discussion” in an online comment section under an article about Donald Trump.  Please don’t judge me. Thank you, God, for the Bible study on Hosea.  This week, I learned about God’s unfailing love and how He rescues us over and over and over….

Even from online comment sections.


And then I saw this.


I knew everything was going to be all right.  To everything there is a season.  Maybe we need seasons of A-T-T-I-I-T-U-U-D-E to understand why we need G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E.

“Bless the LORD O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”  Psalm 103:2

These benefits would include the amazing creation of the pumpkin.  Oh, yes, and people.  We all need hope.

What are you grateful for today?


Cleaning Up the Poop

It was just a wisp at first.  That moment when you smell something that is out of place.  It’s not the cookies in the oven or the cinnamon tart quaintly melting on the counter.  No, this was the smell of poop.  Sewage.  You know, sewage.

Have you ever had one of those weeks?  Months? Years?  Yeah, for us it was the week before Christmas a couple years ago.  I guess we were overdue.  The sewer backed up into our basement.  We found out that there was no access.  So the plumber had to cut our main pipe to clean out the line.  Have you ever seen a main sewage pipe?  It’s almost as big around as a small woman’s waist.

Clogged.  With sewage.  Use your imagination here.  Or maybe not.

It took 4 hours of overtime, 8 pm to midnight, 3 days before Christmas to snake out the system.

When the men left, they dragged their dripping equipment across our basement floor, across our rug, up the basement stairs, and across our kitchen floor.  My husband, my hero, picked up the other end of the hose to carry it across the dining room carpeting.  It still dripped.  What was it dripping?

Black, stinky sewage.  On light tan carpeting.

My husband, my hero, stayed up until almost 2 am to clean the floor in the basement.

The next day, two days before Christmas, he threw the basement wool throw rug into our almost new high tech front load washing machine.

Which promptly clogged up the pump and just about every hose in our almost new high tech front load washing machine with little wool hairs and backed the water up onto the floor.

My pastor husband did not speak very pastorally.  Use your imagination.  Or maybe not.

Most of our family was visiting, which included our two toddler grandchildren.  Have you ever seen the amount of laundry toddlers produce?  Bless the technician’s heart who came out the day after Christmas and didn’t charge us overtime.

That Christmas was supposed to be special.  We had everyone together, except for our one son-in-law, who works an amazingly tough job away from home.  My expectations soared.  But our daughter Emily and her husband and son were moving West to Phoenix.  Our grandson’s world was turned upside down.  Our house filled with tension between the string of events caused by backed up poop and too much commotion.

I blinked and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were gone.

We didn’t get a family picture.  In fact, we got very few pictures with people in them.

We didn’t watch our traditional Christmas Eve movie.

We didn’t play a game.

We didn’t even light our Advent Wreath once.

A surprise present that I planned for my husband’s birthday in January fell terribly flat.

The expenses to fix broken things piled up.

Isn’t that what Jesus came for?

The peace the angel talked about in Luke chapter 2 was not so much a worldly peace where wars would never happen or circumstances would be perfect.  The angel spoke of a supernatural peace available from knowing God through Jesus Christ. Even though our house filled with a different aroma 3 days before Christmas, even though we didn’t take a family picture, watch our Christmas Eve movie, gather round the table for a game, or light our Advent Wreath, Jesus dwelled here.  Because He promises to be Emmanuel, God With Us.

Why do we try to hide the fact that sewage exists?  It exists physically and spiritually and mentally and emotionally.  Rejoice in peace, because our Savior is with us.  As I look back over Christmas 2013, I will find the beautiful moments and know that there is always one eternal moment to hold close in our hearts…Emmanuel God With Us.

Luke, 2:8-14

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14“Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”