Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Have you ever read the funny little children's book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie? I don't remember the exact chronology of events in the book, but it is basically the comical story of how one thing leads to another. First, you give a mouse a cookie. Then he wants milk to go with it. Giving him the milk will make him want a straw, and on and on it goes until the point of exasperation.

So why am I bringing up this book? Because it is the story of my life!  I feel like I am the mouse, and my house is the cookie (or jar of cookies). It goes something like this:

If you give a Mom a clean sock, she'll go to put it in the sock basket in the Laundry room. When she is in the laundry room, she'll realize that she didn't start the day's laundry.

Doing the laundry will remind her that she is missing a library book. She will look under the dryer to see if it was accidentally pushed underneath of it. Then she will discover this:

When she goes to fetch the broom to sweep up the dirt and clutter under the dryer, she will see the sink full of dishes she forgot to wash.

Mother, at this point, thinks a little help from  kiddos is in order. She goes to get them and sees her inspirational basket sitting untouched on the cabinet. SIIIGGGHHHHH....


"I'M DONE!!!!" booms from the bathroom.
"Mom I really want to do my math now. Will you help me?"
" said we were going to the creek now!!!"
     And the familiar "GGRRRRRRRRR" starts to rumble up my throat. "Don't blow it, just don't say will be OK."
  Somehow, this time, I manage to keep my cool.

     I catch a worried and somber glance from my husband sitting at his computer. It's serious. I am shocked out of my wallowing stupor for a moment.
"What is it?" I ask, afraid to know.
 "Fifty Catholics were killed by terrorists in Baghdad. They told the priest to lie down and then shot him."
      My plastered petty worries and frustrations crumble. They are dust. THEY ARE NOTHING.
     I am smacked. Smacked silly with my blindess, my self-pity, my inability to be THANKFUL. I am a whining baby. What would so many women across the world give to be able to GO TO HER INDOOR BATHROOM AND CLEAN HER CHILD OR GO TO HER OWN WASHING MACHINE AND LAUNDER HER ABUNDANT CLOTHES. What would a father give to be able to fix the leaky sink that CARRIES FRESH COOL WATER TO HIS HOUSE, TO QUENCH HIS CHILDREN'S THIRST? What do we give to be able to WORSHIP EVERY SUNDAY IN OUR CHURCHES IN PEACE?


     Maybe I am so used to taking, I am forgetting how to give. Is being a good mother and housewife about becoming so efficient and organized that I never feel frustration? Do I really think that having nine children , homeschooling and feeding them all is going to be easy? What am I thinking?

     I am thinking weary. Ineffective and careless thoughts come into my mind. But I know that Jesus has called us to SERVE, not to be served. And I know that with his grace, I am able to pick up the frazzled little fragments and make something whole.

      Richard Carlson in his book, Don't Sweat The Small Stuff For Families,describes the Golden Gate Bridge and how it requires maintenance EVERY DAY, 365 days a year. It is ALWAYS a work in progress. He tells us to view our homes in the same manner: always a work in progress. So it is with our spiritual selves, and with our parenting, and everything else that requires constant care and attention. We must be content to always strive and never be "done."

     We must take time to be refreshed by God, by beauty, by music, soft candles, bursting leaves, blowing bubbles, reading a good book, an encouraging blog....These are MOMENTS of retreat on the battlefield. The moments are NOT THE END GOAL, but SUSTENANCE ALONG THE WAY. Just as we do not live to eat (hopefully), we should not make the relief of our "suffering" the objective.As long as there are children, there are going to be needs! As long as there are husbands and wives there are going to be needs! As long as we are in these human bodies there are going to be needs! That being said, we cannot LIVE without food. We cannot plod on day after day in our lives without encouragement and spiritual nourishment. We must drink from the living well and be filled so that we can refill the cups of the thirsty souls God places in our lives.

God's World ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay               

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists, that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

Long have I known a glory in it all,
But never knew I this;
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart, -- Lord, I do fear             
Thou's made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me, -- let fall                             
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.