Sometimes He Says it Twice, and other things

On Sunday morning Olivia was not feeling well, so she stayed home from church with Gregory and Addy. Since our church doesn’t stream the service, I found a sermon by Alistair Begg for them. As I was going out the door, I heard him reading from the Sermon on the Mount, “Therefore take no thought for your life… For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things… Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.” Well, guess what? The preacher read the very same passage in church. Not only that, but I had been looking at Hebrews 12 and Romans 5, at the passages about chastening being an indication of being beloved of the Lord, and all the good things that tribulations work out in our lives. The scripture reading passage on Sunday was Hebrews 12. Sometimes God just gets my attention this way. I would do well to listen, don’t you think?

I have been in a bit of a quagmire of anxiety. It’s not important that everybody knows what the anxiety is about, but I can assure you that I have “legitimate” reasons to worry. However, this is not the will of God for his children. I know this. And sometimes He taps me on the shoulder and repeats Himself, and I’m so grateful that I can hear His voice.

I am sure that many of us are facing uncertainty when we look around. The covid continues it’s strange patterns of deadly ebb and flow. Last week most of my husband’s ICU patients died. Seven of them, four on his watch. He is assigned to a small hospital with only six ICU beds. Occasionally there are people waiting in the emergency room until someone in intensive care dies, and then there’s a bed for them. Then there may be a stretch of days where he is assigned only “regular” patients. If you know someone in healthcare, please take a moment to pray for God to sustain their spirit. It’s a continuing strain. I believe that we, all of us, are here for such a time as this. We can change the world with our compassion and kindness. I can see great courage in the world when I look for it. Or I can see strife and selfishness. It just depends on what I want to see.

There’s a lot of emphasis on the labor shortage and how nobody wants to work anymore. It is a problem, but it is not entirely true. The ones who are working are carrying a lot more weight on their backs. What if we all made a concerted effort to bless the people in the service industries, who are doing their best? We can look into their faces, smile genuinely, and cheerfully express our appreciation for their service. It might not make less work, but it could give them the stamina to keep going.

Switching gears here…

I got a coupon in the mail for 16 free Hello Fresh meals and free shipping. Wow, I thought, that might be fun. When I went on the website, I had to make a profile, and then I had to enter my credit card information. That should always be a red flag, if you haven’t even ordered anything. However, I pressed on. I entered my coupon code. It wasn’t valid. I took my glasses off and strained closely at the coupon. Oh. That 1 was actually just a straight line. I had to do some fancy keyboarding to figure out how to get it, but at last my coupon was valid. Then I saw that the sixteen free meals are spread out over four orders, so that you only get four free meals in an order. Okay, I figured it might be fun for the children to cook on a busy day. I selected the maximum, three meals for four people, the meat and veggies option. Then I got sticker shock: nah, that’s going to be too expensive. I never concluded the order. The next day I got an email saying, “Since you didn’t choose from our menu, you will be receiving your meals from our weekly menu. You have been billed.” Well then. I guess that was meant to be. I promptly went into the innards of Hello Fresh and canceled my subscription, but today our box came. Rita and Addy were delighted to sort through the contents and each of them cooked a meal in short order. They were charmed with the little pre measured seasoning packets and the careful instructions on the recipe cards. I oversaw operations, and helped chop the scallions. Our meals turned out fantastic, and we had a buffet for supper, with lots of leftovers. I suppose if you divide $47 into 12 restaurant plates, it’s not too shabby. But it was a once in time fling for us. I think this could be a great option to send as a gift to someone who is having difficulty, especially if you can’t physically take them a meal, and more especially if they enjoy cooking.

Speaking of coupons, this is the time of year when I always like to look at the Christian Book Distributors website because they frequently offer free shipping, and have deep discounts. My ESV journaling Bible is 5 years old, tattered, with coffee stains on the cover, and the margins full of notes. I like to read a new translation every couple years, so I’m planning to get a New Living Translation Bible next. My only problem is that I really like having margins for notes, but the NLTs all they have these pretty coloring page style illustrations, which is not really what I want in a Bible. I thought maybe I can do my regular notes in the margins and let the girls color the illustrations?.. I also ordered four NLT Proverbs illustrated study guides for my students to study in the new year.

As I write this, the last kiln of glazed pots is firing for this year. I draw the line here, at the end of November, and if my tallying is correct, it was 640 pots this year, give or take a few.

After I got the kiln firing, Addy and I cleaned the basement thoroughly with our floor cleaner that we got at a yard sale for $5. It has a hot water tank, and brushes that help to scrub the concrete while it sucks up the dirty water. While we manufacture enough dirt to use a commercial cleaner down there, it does help and is easier for the children to handle than a mop.

Meanwhile Olivia was doing the laundry and Rita was cleaning the kitchen. Sometimes I can hardly believe I am in this season where people can be told to do things and they do them. Mostly. The degree of thoroughness is often relative to how much oversight they get. You may have noticed that I kept Addy working with me. She is willing and swift, but last week when I went digging into the attic in their room, I discovered that when she cleans their room, she opens the attic door and shovels in the things she doesn’t want to deal with. So we work together and all is well.

My friend who organized the church house cleaning this fall had made detailed lists of what needed to be done in each room. She told me that she used to make spreadsheets for her children to clean their house, room by room. I thought it was a brilliant idea, so I did the same. Now the kitchen cleaner has a little list of things that have to be checked off before she can initial that she cleaned the kitchen. I came upstairs and was startled at the sight of Rita wiping out the microwave because I hadn’t even told her to do it. Ah, the list! There’s a small stipend with the bigger jobs, and that becomes the allowance at the end of the month.

Gregory had a full day of school, but the rest of us took off. We decided to have school vacation this whole week, and work later to do a little catch up. It feels amazing. We never do this. But this year we are, because we can.

Would you like to know what our weather is like right now? It’s unspeakable. But we have boots and sometimes I go out and puddle around with the girls. Yesterday we waded across the creek and explored the deer trails in our small woods. The only bright spots of color I saw were the rose hips. Everything else was monochrome. I will be very happy for some brilliant snow.

This is my current inspirational read by Hannah Grieser. It’s so relevant for this season, as well as an antidote for the anxiety referenced earlier.

We’re burning candles, and getting out the twinkly lights, and making things like pumpkin whoopie pies. I made a batch of latte mugs a few weeks ago, and this morning I tried one to see how it works. It tasted fine, and the mug made me happy. What are your coping mechanisms for November? We’d all love to hear about them. 😘

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