The Comfort of Cleaning

Have you ever walked into a room, or a house for that matter, and the clutter and the dirt just overwhelmed you? Perhaps it is your own home (no judgment it doesn’t take long for things to get out of hand). There’s something about dirtiness that just elevates my stress level. I lose the ability to focus, get comfortable, or even think clearly. My mind and emotional state tend to reflect my environment.

Ky was working away on the garage again today, and while I could have found ways to help him, it wouldn’t have been an efficient use of my time. Besides, he was doing great on his own! So I decided to help him in a different way. With my earphones in and my favourite playlist on I set a timer for fifteen minutes and began the challenge of cleaning his bedroom. By cleaning for fifteen minutes and then taking a break to read or play with the dog for fifteen minutes before getting back to work I was able to get the job done. It slowed down near the end because the vacuum kept dying. But Ky pulled out the dust bunnies that had clogged it and I was back at it. We took a break for supper before I got it completely finished. Finish it was the first thing I did when we got back from the bar (the bar in Strasbourg makes a great baked lasagna!).

While we were eating I told Ky he COULD NOT let me forget to write a blog post tonight. He asked me, “what are you going to write about?”

I kind of smiled, “Cleaning.”

“No way.” He replied. I don’t think he could believe it.

I explained to him that even though cleaning does sound like a mundane and dreary task on a normal day, I LOVE to take a room and make it look better.

The feeling of relief when a room is finally in order fills me with joy. It takes a weight off my chest that makes it so much easier to sit down and just enjoy being somewhere. Whether it be my boyfriend’s home, my home, or the bathroom at work. Making something look better brings me joy. From now on I think I will have to quit thinking of cleaning as a chore, and start thinking of cleaning as a means to an end. A wonderful end.

Best part of my day? The satisfaction of a job well done! And Ky’s bedroom no longer smells like dirty socks and old farts…

#day28 #lookingforthegood #cleaning #jobwelldone

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Floating

Floating

When I think about this vast world it overwhelms me. Yesterday when we got up there was a haze across the plains. Having not heard anything about fires I assumed it was dust from the harvesting activities of Saskatchewan’s many farmers. The radio corrected me by saying that the smoke is from wildfires somewhere down in Montana. If that doesn’t make this world feel small, I don’t know what would. We experience the smoke from fires that are hundreds of kilometers away. The United States seems to far away it is hard to comprehend that we could see the results of disasters they are experiencing here at home. Again, it feels overwhelming to ponder.

Ky was busy working on the garage yesterday, but around three I smiled and told him I sure would enjoy a chance to go swimming before I had to go home. So half an hour later we packed up and headed to the lake. What a delightful feeling to sit in the water after being out in the sun and heat. (What a delightful feeling to know that my man will abandon his projects to make me happy 😉

Last Mountain Long Lake isn’t a very wide lake. Most of the time you can see the other side. When we are on the ice in the winter I always think about how it wouldn’t be a great feat to walk across the lake and back again in a day. When we are in the boat in the summer, again it doesn’t take long to get across. Yet when I was treading water, at eye level with the lake, it felt vast. Again I was overwhelmed. The water stretched on for what felt an eternity. I could hardly see the other shore. As the wind blew across the lake it rose and fell in small waves, as if this great body of water was breathing. A shiver shook my body as I realized that while it doesn’t seem like that large of a lake, it would be exhausting to try and swim across it.

Taking a deep breath, I then closed my eyes and let myself float on my back. I could feel my body wobbling just beneath the water’s surface. With my eyes closed I allowed myself to enjoy the feeling of weightlessness. With my ears beneath the water I couldn’t hear anything, I was suspended in time and space. All the knots in my muscles unwound and it felt as though my mind sighed with relief. The feeling of being overwhelmed was no longer a bad thing in my thoughts. Instead I allowed myself to float over it, in it, with it. Perhaps this is what they mean by “go with the flow”. It is not in my nature to do that, I am an intense and contrary person. I do my own thing. But it felt good to just surrender to the weight of nature and enjoy it without fretting for five minutes. All I had to do was breathe and stay afloat. Just breathe and stay afloat.

#day27 #lookingforthegood #lastmountainlonglake #saskatchewan #floating

p.s. This post was meant for Monday but I am a few days behind. Ky cracked the whip this morning though and said I wasn’t allowed out of the house until I had caught up! Thank God for people that hold me accountable. 🙂

Lake Shore Service

Strasbourg Alliance Church held their service at the Bible Camp this week. We brought our lawn chairs and chose a spot. Settling in I was thankful for the water bottle Ky had bought me, it was already obvious that it was going to be a hot day. Although wearing dark jeans and a t-shirt usually works for me most of the time, it isn’t ideal when you can’t easily move into the shade. Within seconds of sitting down I was too hot, and my attitude began to turn sour. Sitting there I said a quick prayer, “God please let this be over quickly.”

Then the preacher began to pray. I bowed my head and closed my eyes. As he spoke I let his words echo in my heart. I can’t remember exactly what his prayer was, but it struck me as being genuinely beautiful. The sun was warm on my face. The wisps of hair that refuse to stay tucked into my ponytail or behind my ears tickled my face and neck. The whisper of water against the shore not fifty feet away drained the anxiety away from my mind. When the preacher said amen I opened my eyes to look up and see that clouds had hidden the sun’s harsh light, offering just enough relief from its heat that we could enjoy the rest of the service.

At that moment I knew God had responded to my prayer, “No I will not let it be over quickly, but you can let me change your heart and I will be here with you.” And he was with us. The songs were few but authentic as we lifted our voices in praise. The message was well delivered and provided some great lessons. Finally, following the service the baptism of twelve people provided even more evidence of God’s presence. Not only were the seven baptized that had been planned, but an additional five. It was an amazing morning, and I am grateful that we have the privilege to approach our God so intimately, and worship Him so freely.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19

#day26 #lookingforthegood #amen #sundayservice #strasbourgbiblecamp #strasbourgalliancechurch #lastmountainlonglake #baptism

p.s. Sorry this post is two days late! There’s just so much to do in Strasbourg that I can’t keep up writing about it.

 

Naptime

All I wanted to do today was sleep in. That was the only thing on my to do list. Needless to say, it did not happen. Truman woke up around seven demanding his breakfast. I fed him and went back to sleep for about thirty minutes, only to be awoken again by my alarm. After that, all chances of snatching more sleep were gone. So I got up. I’m back in southern Saskatchewan (we drove down yesterday afternoon) and Ky is putting me to work again helping him finish his garage.

It seemed like right from the get go this morning I was dragging my butt. I couldn’t seem to get it into high gear. We went and got groceries. Then we worked on the garage for a while, and I started lunch. Then I crashed. Ky actually had to finish making lunch, and I was glad he did.

If I thought I dragged my butt in the morning, it was even worse when we went back out in the afternoon. We got to a place in the project where my help wasn’t really needed anymore and I went into the house and collapsed into bed. I’m not sure what time I pulled the blankets over my head but it was four thirty when Ky came in to see if I was okay.

I got up then and we went for a drive and then came home to make dinner. The evening was wonderful, and I feel great now. More so than I realized I’d say this last week really took it out of me. My brain wakes me up in the morning and insists that there’s too much going on for me to sleep in. But then my body argues saying proper rest is non negotiable. Moral of the story? Sometimes a girl just needs to take a nap.

#day25 #lookingforthegood #naptime

Two Steps Outside my Comfort Zone

Yesterday was a busy day, the last day of a long but rewarding week. One might say this post is more about finding the good in this last week than it is about finding the good in only one day. On Monday I was asked to help one of the teachers with the preschool/kindergarten class. It was a large class of ten kids. The class was too large so the decision was made to divide the class, and I was nominated to be the teacher.

Working with children is a large step out of my comfort zone. So teaching a group of children would be two large steps out of my comfort zone. I shrugged and thought, “what’s the worst that can happen?”

This week came with good and bad, some of which I wrote about in my post The Little Things. The worst of it was, it was scary and it hurt. This week was a week of growth, and growth rarely comes without growing pains.

Here is a list of the good lessons I learnt this week:

  1. Keep it simple, really simple. Five year-olds are not going to stick around for ten minutes of instructions, even if they will sit that long they are not going to remember and follow them all.
  2. Lower your expectations. Children (or humans in general) are not always going to do things the way I think it should be done. The important thing? That they have fun! And maybe learn something along the way.
  3. Take pride in the small victories, because when you remember them, the failures stop looking so big.
  4. Give kids choices, and consequences. The most important part of this is DO NOT forget to give them positive consequences. They’ll do more for a smile, laugh, or praise than they will for a frown and a correction.
  5. Make it fun, and feel free to laugh with them.
  6. God will help when He sends you out of your comfort zone. I knew that I would need God’s help, so I prayed for it early on. He replied by supplying me with great, simple ideas for crafts and activities with the kids and some great helpers too.
  7. Good help isn’t that hard to find, but it can be hard to remember to ask for it. Fortunately for me help was offered to me without me having to ask.
  8. Life outside one’s comfort zone is scary, and big, and overwhelming, and it is really easy to feel like a failure when you’re out there. But it is full of blessings that make it all worthwhile.

The next time I step outside of my comfort zone I hope I remember this post. Perhaps reading over it will help me to have a better attitude about new experiences. Every experience is a good experience when you have the right attitude.

#day24 #lookingforthegood #comfortzones

The Little Things

The Little Things

All or nothing, that’s the way my mind seems to work. This week being a teacher at vacation Bible school has taught me a lot about myself, and children, and the people that I’ve been working with. When I volunteered to take on a class of four children my mind instantly created a scenario in which the children listened to me and did their crafts so neatly and listened to the stories with happiness and answered the questions right on cue. Anybody who has worked with children is probably either laughing at me or shaking their heads, because they know that such a scenario is rare, if at all possible. So at the end of the day I feel exhausted and in my mind can’t comprehend how its been a success in any way shape or form.

Yet tonight, I’m sitting on the couch with my laptop in front of me, pouting because I have no idea what to write. Am I broken? Have I stopped seeing the good in my day? Then Ky takes the laptop from me and starts typing. He is a smart guy, ask him to figure out fractions and angles and he’s got the answer exponentially faster than I could figure it out (helps that he practices every day in his line of work as a pipefitter). However, Ky does not like to read and equally dislikes writing. My point? He sat for almost fifteen minutes typing away. In the end he’d written a love note that just about made me cry.

Thinking about it, I realized that it really is the little things. That sounds cliché but as I thought back through my day I started to feel better about what I had earlier thought was a failure. I thought about listening to a room of kids laugh as the leaders made a joke during music time. Watching as someone stepped into help multiple times without being asked. My elders, the people I look up to, encouraging me. Those same elders being great role models for not only the kids but myself as well. A little boy that is absolutely hilarious if you take the time to kneel down and listen to him. A small girl with a smile that can brighten up the room.  A woman able to calm a hyperactive child by simply putting her arm around her. My niece’s excitement over getting to roast marshmallows on a fire, and being ecstatic over cooking her marshmallow SO fast (because she stuck it in the middle of the flames until it lit on fire). There really are too many things for me to list when I start thinking through it all.

This week I am extremely grateful for the little people I have been teaching, and the little things I have been blessed by. I am thankful for loving, helpful people. I am thankful for a country where doing hosting a vacation Bible school is possible.

Please, comment below if you can think of a “little thing” that brought joy to your day.

#day23 #lookingforthegood #littlethings #littlepeople #lovenotes

 

s’mores

s’mores

When Ky came to visit me this week, there was a huge pile of tree limbs, scrap wood, and miscellaneous burnables in our fire pit. You could hardly see the actual pit anymore. In the spring we put off burning it because of the dry weather and heavy fire bans across the province. However, we have had enough rain that those fire bans have been lifted for quite a while, but we just haven’t gotten around to starting a fire. Two nights in a row now Ky has started a fire and we’ve enjoyed being outside, gathered around.

The crackles and pops. The dancing flames that mesmerize you, not only because of their light, but also because of the warmth that reaches out and wraps you in a weightless cocoon. Intermittently something will pop and sparks will shoot up, breaking the hypnotic state, but it doesn’t detract from the romance of the moment. However, I am left wanting for one thing every time there is fire. The smell of the wood smoke makes me think s’mores.

All summer I have been telling Ky that I would love to have a campfire and s’mores one night. When I went to visit him he tried to convince me that bush pies were better. We tried a few, but I’m sorry, it didn’t compare to the gooey goodness of cooked marshmallows and melted chocolate sandwiched between to crispy honey grahams.

Finally, tonight, my mother stopped at the store and bought us some s’more fixings. It was like being a little kid again as I did my best to cook the marshmallow without catching it on fire or letting it drop off the end of the wiener stick. My mouth was watering as I watched it turn a crisp golden brown on the outside. Then I danced with anticipation while Mom placed a piece of chocolate on a cracker and used the other cracker to pull the hot marshmallow off the stick. Then comes the hard part, waiting long enough before eating it so that the chocolate melts, but not so long that it cools off.

I convinced Ky to try one, as he admitted he couldn’t remember ever having them. To my surprise he confessed that they were pretty good and asked for another. I couldn’t help but feel a golden nugget of satisfaction settle in my chest as he licked his fingers and said, “Now my mustache and beard are all full of stickiness.”

The whole experience brings back memories of coming home from school and asking mom if I could have “snores” for an after school snack. I remember wondering why they were called snores, it seemed like a silly name, not realizing that I was pronouncing it wrong.

I believe tonight too will be a fond memory years from now. If you’ve never tried them before, you need to. If you have, you’ll know what I am talking about and I wouldn’t be surprised if your mouth was watering just a little. Even if you don’t like s’mores I am sure you will agree that campfires are where it’s at.

 

#day22 #lookingforthegood #smores #snores #campfires #hashtag