Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Front Pew View

We had just finished singing an upbeat worship song, led by the praise team.  The worship leader introduced the next song which was one of slower tempo and tender words.  I turned my head to gauge the expression on my pastor's face as I often do throughout the Sunday morning service.  

Worshiping beside my pastor Man year after year, hymn after praise song, is one of the most special experiences that God, in His Great Generosity, has allowed me.  It's also a very humbling one.  I stand between the children and their dad and chirp away at the hymn or chorus being sung.  Sometimes I lean over to one child or another to whisper my appreciation for the current music.  Sometimes, while my mouth is making the words to the song, my mind is appreciating a choir member's nice hair-do, or the worship leader's perfectly matched necklace.  

During these mental vacations, I begin to wonder what my Man is thinking.  I glance to my right and look up into his face. Rarely does he notice me looking toward him.  Rarely is he noticing anything at all.  Most of the time, he is absorbed in the music and the moments of worship.  Sometimes, his head is bowed, I assume in prayer for the sermon which is to come, or, more accurately, in prayer for the one who is about to deliver the sermon which is to come.  Every now and then, if his head is not bowed and his eyes are not closed, I'll lean over and tell him something, or remind him of some little thing or other.

This Sunday, however, as I turned toward my man, he wasn't there.  Rather, he wasn't where I expected him to be.  I quickly lowered my gaze to find him bent over tying his shoe.  "Tripping over your shoe lace would be a terrible way to begin a sermon," I thought.  Then his attention shifted to his other shoe and untied and retied its laces.  My mind flashed to the myriad times I had seen athletes perform the same action, just as they were about to take the court or the field.

Grinning, I thought through the parallel picture presenting itself in my thoughts.  My Man, like many others of his calling across the nation that Sunday morning, was preparing to "take the court".  His shoe laces were the last, if smallest, detail needing tending.  

I realize that the athletes I see running up and down fields and courts begin preparing for the task at hand long before the tying of the shoestrings.  They must eat right, practice well, know their sport, and stay mentally sharp.  The best athletes also bring their passion for their sport to the court with them.  Often this passion drives them to pay meticulous attention to the smallest details of their games, like making sure that something as trivial as a shoelace doesn't cause them to stumble at the very moment they are called into action.

I've been thinking a lot about my Man's shoelaces this week.  A book of prayers entitled, Prayers of an Excellent Wife by Andrew Case has come into my possession recently.  This indeed is a beautiful book, both in cover and in practice, though I've not been much in practice lately.  In a random moment the other day I opened my prayer book to page 16 and read the prayer thereon...
Precious Provider,
Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.  May my husband keep them also.  The unfolding of Your word gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.  May he open his mouth and pant, because he longs for Your commandments.  Turn to him and be gracious to him, as is Your way with those who love Your name.
Keep steady his steps according to Your promise, let no iniquity get dominion over him.  Redeem him from man's oppression, that he may keep Your precepts.  Make Your face shine upon him, Your faithful servant, and teach him Your statutes...(Psalm 119).
I would like to think that after living with this pastor Man of mine day in and day out for the last 15 years, I have understood the hefty responsibility he carries with him each and every Sunday morning.  Lately though, it occurs to me that while I do witness the hours of sermon preparation, the aggravation of fighting clock and calendar, the joy of an "outline" coming together, and the weekly fit of nerves, I have not a clue of the weight of the responsibility of communicating God's Word to God's people.

What I do have a clue about is how to pray for my Man, thanks to my new prayer book of course, but mostly thanks to the picture of him bent to the task of tying his shoes before taking the court.  Bent in preparation before rising to handle the Word of Truth. 

My Man is not alone in his passion for preaching God's Word.  Pastors worldwide will be bending in preparation and rising to be faithful to their callings this Sunday morning and for many Sunday mornings yet to come. 

I want to be faithful too, faithful to take seriously the Word that is preached and faithful to be in serious prayer for the one who is to preach it--right down to his shoe strings.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tiles and Smiles...the PROJECT continues...

When last we left the bathroom at the Wright Place, paint was drying, tile was setting, and outside, it was snowing...a lot.  As of this evening, plaster is drying, water is running, lights are shining and outside, it is snowing...a lot. 

My able father-in-law has performed many wonders in that bathroom, not the least of which is the installation of ceramic tile surrounding the shower.  I think I heard him say that this was the first time he's ever tried anything like this. 

When you consider his methods, it's no wonder things are lookin' good!

My bathroom tile is more level than my dining room table I'm tellin' ya. 

"The Apprentice"

We learned that the larger tiles are much, much easier to place than the smaller ones.  Think greased pig meets gritting teeth. 

After the grout is applied, it must dry and then the extraneous bits  are cleaned off of the tile and wall.   

Look how far we've come...

...the before...

and the after...

I am thrilled with the finished product...

...and so is the PROJECT supervisor!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Color My World, or at Least My Bathroom

It is easier to choose a name for a child than it is to choose a paint color.  To make matters even more difficult, the paint colors come with names--cute names, historical names, noble names, food-associated names, even coffee-related names abound. 

Before I continue, however, look and see what's been happening with the PROJECT.

When I returned home from my parents', I found that things were shaping up quite a bit...

Plumbing and electrical work had been completed.  Walls were going up instead of coming down. 

The building inspector was very impressed...

And look... new best friend has moved in!  Nice to meet ya new tub-not-made-of-ice-cold-cast-iron, can't wait to get to know you!

Unfortunately, it was not yet time for the faucet to be installed, which made my new friend unusable.  Soooooo...

...over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house we did go...again.  Eventually, with the aid of much snow blowing and a shovel or two, we returned home to find...

Those white dots are spacers which hold each tile in place while the "glue" on the back dries.  The spacers can be purchased in a number of sizes.  I think these were 1/8 of an inch.  Only two rows at a time can be installed so that the tiles don't all slide into the tub!  (A girl can sure learn a lot while she takes pictures of her father-in-law doing all of the work!)

While each set of tile rows dried, the walls were "primed" or is it "primered". 

All that white made the room seem so full of possibility, so ready for the brilliant color that had been carefully and thoughtfully selected.  Which brings me back to my earlier assertion that it is easier to name a child than to pick a paint.
The color I thought I wanted ended up being the very same color as the "border" tiles for the shower so I asked my Man to bring some paint chips in that general color family back from Lowe's on his next trip. 

Now, my Man loves a good "paint name".  He can still remember the names of the paint colors in our first home.  "Cabin red," he would tell you, was the name of the color of our room and "Crushed Strawberry" graced the wall of one of the kid's rooms. "Urban Putty" was the name of a color he adored on the wall of a friend's home in North Carolina.  In our current home we have Cabin Red (its a good one!), Almond Oil, Sauteed Mushroom, and many many more.  We are "colors on the wall" kind of people, so it was difficult to settle on a necessary neutral for the bathroom.  Neutral sounds so simple doesn't it?  Ha!

Do you know how many colors of neutral there are?  After choosing a darkish-neutral answering to the stately name of "Churchill Hotel something or other", my Man took off to snag a gallon.

He made me go with him on the next trip.  The next trip, the one on which we were to choose a different color.  A few moments before we began the next trip, I peeked into the bathroom to see what the "Churchill Hotel something or other" looked like.  My Man had already trimmed and painted the better part of one wall and that wall was a glowing GOLDEN YELLOW. 

We left Larry and all four children in a cloud of aggravated dust and drove straight to the paint chip section of Lowe's.  After much, much deliberation, we chose one of the 456 Ecrus and waited patiently while the paint mixer-upper did his work.  But don't you know, that little dot that they place on the paint lid to show you the color in the can was the same color that had caused this encore trip in the first place!

Happily, the paint mixer-upper was willing to let us have a "do over" and we began anew.  Finally, after many fun names, but unworthy colors like Oatmeal, Cattail, Mocha, Coffee, Antique Lace, Barley, Khaki, and Wicker had been cast aside, we made our selection "Stone 2".  We took the blandly named paint chip to the paint mixer-upper who looked at us and said, "Is that your final answer?" (Just kidding!) 

Paint in hand, we headed home, and my painter Man put Stone to walls.  "Stone" as it would happen turned out to be the very color of the border tiles for the shower surround that we were hoping to avoid originally.  Oh well, it looks good and I'm not facing the paint guy again, forgiving as he was! 

"Stone 2" does not make for breath-taking photography, but...

...there you have it in all of its...glory?

There was one color that I really, really thought was perfectly named for use in a bathroom.  I so very much wanted it to work in ours, but it was not to be. 

"Warm Buff"
Just screams cozy new bathroom, don't ya think?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


It has been figured that on average, a person spends approximately 30 minutes per day in the bathroom with fifteen minutes devoted to personal hygiene and fifteen to er...make use of the facilities.  I'd like to know who this person is who only spends 30 minutes per day in the bathroom.  I'm gonna guess that the individual in question does not have children and a man with whom they inevitably share their bathroom time. 

I think I spend 30 minutes per day in my bathroom begging one child or another to make an exit.  It is also within the realm of possibility that 30 minutes of my daily bathroom time is spent bathing others.  There's also time spent digging dried toothpaste from the sink and/or the carpet and don't forget the surprisingly important task of draining the tub toys (which ensures that the children are the only examples of growing life-forms in the tub)!  Does anybody wanna guess how long we all are in the bathroom at the same time on SUNDAY mornings?  Waaaay longer than than one half of an hour.

And what of time spent putting the "icing on the cake"?  On the advice of a time management book, I once timed myself to see how long it took me to apply my make-up.  Four minutes.  Four minutes, that is, without Molly's help.  She L-O-V-E-S loves helping me.  I often sneak into the bathroom and attempt to open the drawer with my cosmetics in it and slap on the stuff before being discovered, but I'm rarely successful.  It's a good day when I can catch her before she makes a chew toy out of my blush brush...gack!

What if a gal is having a bad hair day?  That, in itself, could add 30 minutes!

Anyway...if you are the kind of person who manages to spend an average of 30 or so minutes in your bathroom per day and if you live to the ripe old age of 85, you will have spent one and three quarter years of your life in the bathroom.

As we considered the age of our home and the number of generations who have already spent their year and three-quarters in our bathroom, we decided that our hard-working room needed a full scale make-over. 

Let me give you a tour of the "before"...

Not bad, until you look closely at the drawers and the little (from this far back) gaps around their edges. The cause of these gaps should be no surprise if you take note of the blue stool and the toy lurking on the floor...

My favorite feature of this bathroom is....

...the clothes chute! 
I can't wait for it to be usable again.  I miss it like I miss my dishwasher when it freezes up on me!

The "surround" of the shower is difficult to keep clean and is coming loose from the wall.  Not attractive.

It takes a brave woman to post pictures of her shower --washcloths and all-- and look at all of those bottles!  No wonder it takes me soooooo much longer than 30 minutes to get my game-face on!

And finally...

...the vanity and a good look at the walls. 

I defy you to name that color.  My children have called it many, many less than complimentary names since I chose the color a few years ago.  It is something like a mauve that really wants to be brown.  I was looking, unsuccessfully it turns out, for a nice contrast to the green counter top.  Oh well...

I really don't need to concern myself with that green counter top anymore...

...or the funny colored walls for that matter.

It was at this point that I ceased taking pictures and ran home to mamma

All of this remodeling wonderful-ness is being brought to you by the letter L as in Larry, my very able father-in-law!

He works for sweet tea and baby hugs. Two things we here at the Wright Place can abundantly supply!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Granny!

"Good morning," said I to the boy eating breakfast, "did you know that today is Granny's 88th birthday?"

"Eighty-eight?  Are you sure?" he questioned.

"Yes, I'm sure.  Granny is 88 today."

"Wow," said he, "it seems like only yesterday she was 85!"

Happy Birthday,
We Love You So!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Winter Poem

The news called it "The Winter Blast", I call it wonderful!  Eight inches of snow in my yard, over twenty inches in yards of friends and family in towns near and far. 

I've come across a poem sums up this snowy secluded Saturday.  It's called "Blizzard" and is written by Barbara Reiher-Meyers.

Gale warning...hail warning

Sky sifts...high drifts

Finding bright...blinding white



Frostbite...dost bite

Rococo cocoa curls

Icy glove...spicy love

Huddle in...cuddle in

Rock salt...clocks halt

...and another bit of poetry from the Master Poet,

 "For to the snow he says, 'Fall on the earth,' likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. "
Job 37:6

Thursday, February 4, 2010

PROJECT Pandemonium

Greetings from Camp Grandma!  This week, we find ourselves in the...let's call it the "Great White North". 

You are looking at what my Mom and Dad's back deck looked like a couple of weeks ago.  Some of the snow has melted, but it doesn't look like they'll be seeing grass anytime soon.

We have "retreated" to this winter wonderland because our home is undergoing a PROJECT.  Pictures and details will follow when I am able to connect my computer to the Internet for more than a few seconds at a time. 

You see, at Grandma camp there is indeed Internet access, but it must be achieved through a land line.  Actually, I can "hijack" the wireless signal from my Dad's place of business across the street, but only if I stand on one foot with my laptop in my opposite hand while leaning out the second floor window and holding the power cord between my teeth.  In that position, it is difficult to upload pictures of the big PROJECT!

The PROJECT that has sent us fleeing from hearth and home is the complete "gutting" of our main bathroom.  The master of ceremonies for the big PROJECT, my very able father-in-law, began work Monday morning at 8 a.m., shortly before I finished brushing my teeth in that same room. 

It was decided months ago that the children and I would seek sanctuary with my parents for the initial "gutting" phase which would involve the tearing down of plaster walls, the removal of a 300 pound cast iron bath tub (good bye old friend!), the sink, the cabinets, the...well, all but the potty was to be outta there!  

My Mom, being the brave former Girl Scout leader that she is, agreed to house us for the week, we put the date on the calendar, and that was that!

UNTIL. . .

Did I mention that my Mom and Dad have been waiting for 6 months for their carpenter to call and schedule a date for their  long-awaited bathroom renovation? 

In October, my Mom called and happily announced that finally, FINALLY work on her bathroom would be started somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Sure, said she, she was a bit nervous that things would be a zoo if one of her two bathrooms was out of commission over the Christmas holidays with 9 grandchildren, 3 daughters, 3 sons-in-law, and 1 mother simultaneously in residence for a few days.  (Frankly, we well qualified for zoo status, bathroom issues notwithstanding!)

It was a mixed blessing when Christmas came and work on Mom's bathroom had yet to commence.  Mom was getting a bit antsy about getting the thing underway, especially as January crept by and on her calendar she could see that the Wrights were coming soon.  Five of them (we left my Man at home to work both at his day job, and to serve as the jr. partner of the PROJECT at home.)

We took "before" pictures of the bathroom, loaded 72 suitcases, bags, school books, doll babies, diapers, wipes, ipods, and crayons and peeled out of the driveway headed to the land of...

BATHROOM RENOVATION in the Great White North!  Who would've thunk it?

We arrived at Mom and Dad's on Monday just in time to wave good bye to their carpenters who were calling it quits for the day.  These were the very same gentlemen who greeted me in my PJs at 8 am the next morning!!!!!  So glad for that bit of embarrassment to begin the day! 

Just about the time I was crawling out from under the nearest piece of furniture, my Dad peeks his head through the door and says, "Tell your Mother that the roofers who were here a few weeks ago are going to be back this morning to get some more work done."  (The amazing amounts of snow had caused some roofing issues for my parents last month.) 

Let's just say, Tuesday was an adventure.  Two carpenters on the inside with 4 children, 2 of whom are supposed to be getting an education, and one of whom had not slept much the night before, 1 grandma, 1 great-grandma, 1 bed-headed-pajama-clad-red-faced mother, 1 grandpa who knew enough to be busy at work, 3 roofers outside of the house going up and down in front of all the windows on a lift, 1 really loud saw buzzing away in the hallway outside of the room where the children usually play and just down the hall from where the baby sleeps, and ... one available "potty". 

Kind of gives new meaning to the phrase
"All for one and one for all!"
doesn't it? 

Share button


Related Posts with Thumbnails