Monday, August 25, 2008

Cleaning Inspiration

His car is immaculate. Every inch of the sporty SUV is polished, inside and out.

When my younger brother first bought the car in an inner family purchase , it was in good condition, but he's a bit of a perfectionist and he slowly began redoing small things that were wearing and looking faded. All the black trim was carefully repainted, the paint was painstakingly given a deep polish and buff to bring out the original luster, and he worked on replacing wearing parts.

It is was a nice car when he got it, now it is the height of respectability. Not only is the car clean, but every polishable surface shines, the carpet is vacuumed, and a miniature garbage can in bright yellow is carefully place between the back seats to keep garbage from littering his pristine vehicle. In the back, a large tote organizes, well, whatever he has in there. I'll have to look next time I see him. Sure I'm a bit nosy, he'll just laugh at me. Anyway, I'm pretty sure it's emergency supplies: water bottles, flares, bug repellent, etc. I wonder if there's traffic cones? Now you can see why I really do need to take a look.

The car is older and he's debated updating for a newer ride. It's especially tempting when all the young guys he works and associates with drive great big fancy new rigs. But he's wise, and when he's tempted, he looks at it financially and decides to stick with the same car for now. And then he goes and gives it another wash.

I'm sure the day will come when he opts for a newer ride, but for now his car is the perfect reflection of the young man; unpretencious, but exuding unquestionable respectability. He works for a contractor and his job can often be dirty, but even there he upholds a standard: no t-shirts. his work attire is an assortment of collared shirts in subtle plaids, usually blue and pressed. I don't see him as a snob about these things, it is merely how he sees fit to live his life.

His personally tidiness is applied to his job as well, when he's driving a vehicle for his employer, it is kept clean, and he does a thorough job. That means he doesn't just clean out the garbage, but the vehicle is washed, probably waxed; he sees to the details. It not just about cleanliness, he gives his all to doing a quality job in whatever area he is working.

Having just seen him recently, I'm feeling a renew of the challenge of his example. There are many areas for which I'm personally responsible that I need to go that extra mile to keep clean and - polish! Most particularly my room. I want my personal responsibilities to be in perfect order and cleanliness so I'm free to serve others with the same standard. It's a wonderful goal to want to be faithful in little so you are prepared to be faithful in much, but sometimes it is easy to forget in the mundane of day to day. I'm so grateful that God has seen fit to give me such a wonderful example.

My brother is quite a guy, and if I wasn't his older sister and he didn't make me scream when I was little, I'm sure I'd have a crush. He's the poster child for those witty mugs: tall, dark and handsome. He's perfectly gorgeous in a top hat and looks like he's should be hob nobbing with the royals, only perhaps he has more presence. I'm not trying to be clever there, he does.

In truth, the only time I think he was ever more gorgeous is when he was about three, with his bottle, blue eyes and a beautiful head of curls.......Though I'm sure I didn't think so at the time.

This past week I've been trying to go through and finish up projects that have been "energy drainers". It seems so easy to keep putting off little things, but then they stay there sapping emotional energy. Do you know how good it feels to finally finish up those little projects that have been nagging at you?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I'm home again after a delightful week visiting at my married siblings!

On the road trip down, father had to stop to get internet service so he could order a part and it would ship and arrive in time. After having my sister pull over, back up and then cut across to the libary parking lot trying to get a good signal for his laptop, he finally decided to go into the local library and use one of their computers. Well, my sister and I had to check out the libary in a large wide spot in the road sort of town. I of course had just painted my nails and couldn't look at the books, but my sister found one on the Queen Mum and we flipped through looking at the pictures. That is until we thought father was ready to leave and we made a quick departure. It turned out he wasn't gone yet, but we never got back to the book. Which is too bad, and perhaps I shall run across another copy of it someday.

At the same large wide spot in the road town at the gas station I walked into the convenience store to be confronted by a cardboard silouette of a race car driver advertising a soft drink. I walked to the back of the store down the hall to the restrooms where another driver was advertising a different soft drink. I smiled. My sister asked me why and I told her, "the other one was better looking." She laughed and told me that is exactly what she had thought, which made us both chuckle because my sisters and I don't notice guys and we thought it immensly amusing that we had the same random thought. Maybe it was only because the second guy reminded us of somebody that I wouldn't classify as be all he is cracked up to be.

Once in town I visited the mother of a young boy I tutored a couple of years ago. My former pupil and two of his sisters were there too. It was fun to see them again and we had a nice visit. There is actually a bit more connetion than just the time I tutored the son. We were neighbors for years and two of my brothers work for his father, as well as one of them being a roommate to the boy's older brother. I had really enjoyed my chats with the mother while tutoring and it was very enjoyable to visit with her again.

We managed to make a girls trip to the beach where we tried to find some maturnity clothes for my sister-in-law, with no luck. I ran into some friends and it was fun to walk up and address them out of no where. They didn't know I was in the state and they were hardly expecting me at the coast. After purusing a few stores at the outlets, we made a quick stop at the beach to brave the cold weather and get our feet wet.

Catching up with a special friend.....relaxing and reading.....visiting with my new walks....listening to my brother telling stories...... lots of cream and watermelon and donuts.....watching my brother work on a beautiful and rustic frame for a mirror.....coming home to some new room arrangements and....

....Rain! The perfect end to a relaxing week. I love rain! I think fresh rain is one of my favorite scents! As one of my sister-in-laws said, her three favorite smells are: fresh rain, cut grass and garlic french bread!

I had a wonderful week, but there is nothing quite so sweet as home. Sometimes I think it is nice to leave, just so you can come back.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tea Tales

In our household tea is not a luxury, it is an everyday necessity. There is always a fresh pot in the morning to start the day, sometimes one around eleven, though often we have coffee at this time, accept father who doesn’t drink coffee but once in a blue moon, and then four o’clock tea.

For as long as I can remember, tea has been part of our life. Father always had his tea mug, which changed fairly frequently, either with the latest gift, or when it got broken, but the mug was always big. Father takes honey and cream in his tea (cream as in milk), but mother just has cream. And so it has passed down; all the gentlemen in our family drink their tea like father, with perhaps one exception, and all the girls take theirs like mother.

Last year I was with my four younger sister in the first group to arrive on a camping trip to Hells Gate State Park on a warm summer day. We arrived at about four o’clock in the afternoon and set up camp, including the propane stove because no matter if it was nigh 100 degrees, I wanted my afternoon cup of tea! We set up a very cute little camping area, with white wooden boxes, stainless steel dishes and donned adorable aprons.

Then came the propane stove. I had never actually set up a propane stove before, but how hard can it be? We got the stove set up and turned it on, put on a pot of water and started worrying about the funny smell. All safety conscious, that aroma was not right, so we kept a close eye on the stove, thinking back over the setup and worrying. Pretty soon I noticed the flame, not from the burner, but from the feed valve from the cylinder. Aught, oh, we have a problem.

I wasn’t certain just shutting the propane off was such a good idea, that cylinder had me a little worried, the last thing I wanted was to create an explosion. We had a fire extinguisher, but was that going to work? Now is when you call your brother, who is very fortunately a volunteer Firefighter.

(Don’t let that volunteer fool you, those guys have to have all the same basic certification as the paid guys, they volunteer countless hours, and they don’t get paid. Go volunteers!)

After much discussion, my brother said to go ahead and wait for the park people to arrive, which some of my sisters had gone speeding off to get. This was dry Idaho, we didn’t want to be responsible for starting a wildfire. Now, don’t ask me why the guys in the camping space almost directly across from ours didn’t come over and at least offer some assistance. It would have seemed to me that the casual observer would have realized we had a problem.

Anyway, my sister and I were watching the fire gradually getting larger and larger until the entire stove was engulfed in flames. My brother had told us to use the extinguisher if it got too bad, and at that point I decided we had reached the too bad stage and told my sister to hit it. And she did, with great delight, since she has always wanted to use an extinguisher.

The young Park Ranger did eventually arrive and he disconnected the propane cylinder and told us they had been having trouble with that particular type of stove (I don't know, we've had the stove for years with never any trouble. Did we not hook it up right?). I thanked him for his assistance and told him, “All I wanted was a cup of tea!”

Hot weather, hot tea. We’re talking Idaho – do you think he was worried he’d strayed into a female nut house?

He can think what he will, there I times if I didn’t have a nice cup of tea, I would go nuts!

If it’s a bad day around our house, we refer to it as a whole pot day. In other words, one person could drink the whole pot! This goes back to an old family story about a grandmother having difficulty changing a baby and when she was done, she made herself a pot of tea, “and drank the whole thing.”

I understand perfectly.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Relating the Bible to Day to Day

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

The honest truth is I got a rather sinking feeling when I read that verse this morning. Uh, huh. I had a bad feeling about that afflictions part. Well, I had to go to work this afternoon and where I'm working is away off in the mountains, over mostly gravel road. Now, add to that they had just oiled and graveled the paved section. When I got to my destination there was a very depressing hissing coming from one of the tires, and it was very shortly flat. ..."but the Lord delivered him out of them all." I tried to draw assurance from that while I worked and the lady I was helping had her husband change the tire for me when he got home.

Just a little reminder I guess that the Bible relates to our modern lives.