Clean Up


The past few days have been rough.  The typical January, we have young children in preschool, thus we have illness syndrome.  But seriously….all this happening on a Friday????  The one day we both work?  Drew started out with it and I begged God to let it pass quickly over our house.  That Matt would get through his Junior High Lock-In and his preaching stint on Sunday.  And well, yes, Lord….indeed he DID make it.  And then, promptly got sick Sunday night.  I managed to make it until Monday afternoon, right as I was picking Alex up from school, and suddenly felt like a Mac Truck had hit me square on.  Fever.  Exhaustion.  NO fun.


And when you’re propping yourself up on the couch, praying that the children would just entertain themselves and give you a little peace and quiet to recuperate….well, these kinds of messes happen.  It seems just a little too “blissfully quiet”.  And yes, it WAS too good to be true.  In Drew’s defense…spilling an entire box of Cheerios actually sounds fun.  Even better?  Flinging them everywhere with your hands and feet.  Don’t they just slide all over with such ease?!?!?

Luckily, Alex loves the vacuum and since he didn’t stop the behavior {and thus, in my mind, contributed to the problem}, he got to help clean up.



There’s a weird joy in cleaning up for me.  I love order, neatness and having a place for everything.  In my feverish state yesterday, relegated to my bed, I devoured a blog called “The Minimalist Mom“, where the author chronicles her family’s move toward a clutter-free life.  Physically and mentally.  They have gotten rid of over half of their belongings, including their car, rid themselves of $82K in debt and have now moved overseas.

Her whole approach, and the concept of minimalism, clutter-free living and purging unnecessary things is so appealing.  I know the freedom it brings and long for that.  I remember the day that I moved out of my apartment in December of 2003, weeks prior to marrying Matt.  It was a rainy day, and loading the UHaul on busy Park Blvd in Oakland was rather treacherous.  But we loaded ALL of my stuff in one tiny UHaul.  It took ONE trip.  How does that happen and now, nine years later, we need a semi-truck?!?  I could blame it on the kids, but we, as parents, are the gatekeepers.  We are the ones that buy more.  We are the ones that think that the item or two from the dollar section at Target would be a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day.  We are the ones that know that this certain cabinet will be the perfect organizational addition to save us.

And these thoughts, the blogs I read, the to do lists, the shoulds all start messing with my head.  Sometimes it takes a 102 degree temperature or a sick kid to slow down the treadmill and remind me that there MUST be a deeper foundation.  Maybe making messes, the sheer fun of that, is what is most important.  Maybe having a willing heart to clean up someone ELSE’s mess is the key.  Maybe sorting, purging and giving away items from ONE closet is the goal for the week.  Maybe sitting on the couch, covered in blankets, watching PBS kids and playing with Hot Wheels cars is the only goal for the day.

It IS clear to me that God offers grace when we miss the mark.  Even though that same grace is rarely handed out in our society today, God does generously open his hands to us in kindness.

I’ve learned that the Spirit who calls me to “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” is also the Spirit who treats me with the same kindness, the same gentleness. Time is sacred and so is the One who gathers time into the cup of 24 hours and pours it out for us.  So, yes, wake up early and rise immediately. Yes, get your body to the place of prayer because the “work of God” matters. But remember that your God draws you in with cords of kindness. Live as the beloved you are.

~Micha Boyett Hohorst, Mama Monk

Wednesday has become my transition day.  The day the boys are at school.  The husband is at work.  I transition between a household/mom focus to a teacher focus.  Trying to wrap my head around long division, lessons to delve into Cricket in Times Square, ways to help my students learn about their Missions, and how to keep a few little rascals on task, learning and respectful.  It’s the day to get laundry done, make some meals for the week, and hopefully run the vacuum through the house.  When Wednesdays come, I wake up and feel the weight of the lists, the messes, the cleaning up that needs to be accomplished.  And yet, this reminder from Micha’s blog this morning was so timely for me.  A reminder that God draws me in with chords of KINDNESS.  Not reproach, disapproval, tsk-tsking me for tasks unaccomplished.  But a deep love.

Moving out from that place of love, kindness, and joy must guide each of my goals for the day.

(adding some fancy dance gear doesn’t hurt to boosting your morale either!)

3 thoughts on “Clean Up

  1. I think you and I must be displaced relatives or sisters – I love order and neatness and cleanliness and cleaning up. In my house everything has a place. While I don’t have your eye for design and detail, I do not function well in a chaotic, messy, dirty place.

    Wanting and waiting to hear more about your Vegan-ness. On a fun note, bought my first pair of Vegan boots today. I am loving them!

  2. I agree, Joy! And yes, a post about the vegan-ness is coming. OH my has it been hard this week, having been sick. Matt graciously made me a piece of toast and poached egg this morning. I just didn’t want vegetable soup. Can’t wait to start adding a few more things back in after a few more weeks. We are on a hard core thing for 6 weeks. It really helps jump start the system, though, so we may stay hard core for longer. I’ll keep you posted! 🙂

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