My week was filled with overflowing fullness, trials, busyness, schedules, schedule adjusting, teaching, friendship pains, maintaining, heart-battling, simple joys, thankfulness, and tears. I don't typically compartmentalize and process my thoughts and emotions. I generally press on taking one thing at a time and when it's past I move on and let the swells come as go as they may. But a single event happened this morning that helped me to put it all into perspective, to internally (not just mentally) connect the blessings with the difficulties.
The first trial came when I was standing in the bathroom with Gabe and a heavy glass light cover unexpectedly fell from its mount and crashed all around Gabe. The force of it was great enough to chip off a sizable piece of the ceramic sink top. I comforted my very frightened little boy and then went to work cleaning up. The ONLY mark on Gabe was a very small nick on his right cheek below his eye. His head was about 8 inches from the place where the ceramic counter was broken.
Sunday was a happy day of celebration as I watched my middle child turn 17. For some reason, 17 is the in-my-head-coming-of-age birthday. It seems to be one of the most significant milestones marking a move to independence and responsibility. I felt it when I turned 17. 16 was "fun" but 17 was serious. Serious matters were close or immediately at hand and decisions made at this age are life forming. It was a sobering thing for me to know that more than half of my children have now hit that mark.
My goal for the week was to finish two baby quilts I am making for my twin grandbabies who are only days away from introducing themselves. Something about a working sewing machine seems to encourage every project and problem under the sun to surface and demand my immediate attention. Our daily school routine claimed a reasonable number of hours as did three dentist appointments.
Somehow, this week was also the perfect time to shop for a chair/love seat for Troy's room. We've talked about it for awhile but after receiving a table/lamp for his birthday to go with the yet-unpurchased-chair it felt like an imminent need. I had assumed that a thrift store or Goodwill would be our best bet, because we were not looking to spend hundreds of dollars which is what a new piece of furniture would certainly cost. But we looked anyway. And God blessed our efforts. In a clearance section we found a damaged sectional piece that was marked down from $800 (probably a very inflated price to begin with) to under $100. It was a very worthless piece of furniture, being an unmatched and damaged part of a set with a missing cushion.
Thankfully, my husband saw its potential along with me and we happily brought that piece home and spent a few hours very meticulously taking apart the damaged end of the couch while leaving the leather covering intact so that I could sew it over the open end. What we've ended up with is a leather-one-armrest-love-seat-with-a-recliner that perfectly matches and fits in Troy's room. God provided! I trust He will provide the time for finishing the project too...
The baby blanket that I was working on went to good use as Gabe decided the colorful rows made a wonderful highway for his hotwheels.
Back to sewing. But wait, an electrical outage in the kitchen took its share of time as I flipped breakers, replaced fuses, and finally rerouted the phone, refrigerator, and overhead light to an extension cord--which was out in the barn-- and an electrical panel to accomodate the plugs--which was being used in my room, so my clock and lamp are now out. This problem later showed itself to be a blessing when the electrician came to solve the problem. Keith is pretty good with electrical work but this one baffled him. Unlike the electrician, he did NOT check each and every outlet on the breaker (which was wired many years ago and is slightly overloaded). What was found was a short in the circuit that caused this behind a bed in Troy's room.
We are in awe of God's staying hand on the devastation that could have been. The kitchen is being rewired next week, by our now-favorite-electrician Andy.
Back to sewing. I had a glorious FOUR HOURS home alone with Gabe on Thursday while Kelly took our kids to the homeschool sports club. I was sure the sewing would be finished if not close to it by that evening. God had other plans. My machine seized up just as it had about six months ago. That time I took it to be repaired and gave up two weeks and $50 for the effort. I was not ready for that sacrifice, so I put on my do-it-yourself attitude and eventually got my machine running. I have not completely fixed the problem and I'm certain there is something that keeps getting stuck in the works to jam it because I've had it apart four more times. Each time I get it moving again, though, and have another half hour of work time.
Friday I was teaching three science classes, going to two basketball games, and hosting our Italian exchange student, Gabriella, for the weekend. Saturday I was scheduled to work the concession stand for Bryce's bb tournament but ended up with no one to watch my young ones. I requested ("demanded") that Shane miss his practice to take my place while everyone else went their separate ways--Keith to a meeting, Dana to Minneapolis (helping J&J with those twins soon--and WITHOUT two blankets in tow), the boys to their games (along with 50 bags of snack mix I had to prepare last night as my contribution to the concession stand) and practices. Shane's only request was that I write a note for his coach excusing him--what a note it was :).
So, there is was in my kitchen Saturday morning wondering what happened to my week and where the productivity and sanity was in all of it and frustrated that my Bible reading and prayer time felt like they were to no avail as I scrambled to tie the fragmented ends of my sanity together. Then Gabe asked me for some juice. I held his straw cup as he tipped his head down and lifted his eyes up to meet mine while he sipped. He just looked so cute, runny nose, crossed eye and all.
I squatted down to his level when he finished and said, "Give Mama a hug." He gave me a huge smile and an even bigger hug. As I held him I looked at my kitchen cupboards from his eye level and bemoaned their need of a scrubbing and a new coat of paint. I reflected on my own real need for a scrubbing and maybe a coat of paint as well. And as I held that happy loving little boy, I didn't care.