Spring Cleaning

I just had a wonderful week with Julie and her three beautiful children!  David brought them up here from Alabama last weekend, even though he couldn’t stay and play with us.  He had to turn around and go right back so that he could go to work, but then he came back last night to get them and they all left this morning.  Bless his sweet heart—he drove more than 48 hours altogether so they could come!  We played lots of games, made jewelry, got together with Grammy and a few others in the family, read books together…  Bob was working most of the week, but he finally got to spend some quality time together with them the last couple days.  Benjamin, Joshua and Hannah are sweet, sweet kids and I cherish the time we get to spend with them and Julie and David.  It was hard to see them go this morning.  It was just so quiet and empty.

The house is not going to remain quiet and empty for long, however!  This week with Julie’s family has been just a little taste of what we are in for very soon.  Life around here is going to take a dramatic turn in just ten days!  On June 29th, Laurie and Fernando and their six children will be returning from Ecuador for six or seven months and moving in with us!  I am excited, of course, and counting down the days, but I know things will be very different around here for a while.  Gone will be those peaceful, quiet days that are the norm around here.  In their place will be laughter and fun and chaos!  Gone will be spending hours on my writing or special projects.  Instead I’ll be helping with homeschool and playing games with my grandchildren.  Gone will be the simple meals for one or two in front of the TV.  Our table will be full of family and chatter and Grandma’s good home cooking!

I have been getting ready for their arrival for several weeks now.  I got a little break from all the work while Julie’s family was here, but now I need to get back at it.  Despite my rosy expectations, I am under no illusions that having eight people move in with us will be easy and without its problems and pitfalls.  I am trying to get one step ahead of some of those things by making plans and preparations now.  I have my lists of menu ideas and chore charts printed and taped inside my kitchen cabinet doors.  I’ve been shopping for new towels and washcloths (a different color for each person), little plastic dressers for all the kids, and even a wardrobe to help with the lack of closet space in this house.   I have weeded out closets and drawers and rearranged things to make even more room for everyone.  This week I will tackle the basement, which is long overdue, anyway.  I need motivation to do chores like that—and this is just the motivation I need!

All this cleaning and rearranging, ironically, is messy work!  The bedrooms upstairs were a disaster as I pulled things out of closets and drawers and stacked them in piles to pitch, move or give away.  You know the saying, “It’s gonna get worse before it gets better?”  That’s how it looked around here.  Once again I shook my head in disgust at all the stuff we have accumulated.  It’s just too much.

I don’t like spring cleaning—even when I’ve put it off until summer!  I love the way everything looks after it is all said and done, but the actual work is not my favorite way to spend my time.  There comes a point, though, when you just know it has to be done and you grit your teeth and do it.  I always need that extra incentive, that little extra push to motivate me.  As well as being a planner and preparer, and in some areas, a perfectionist, I am also a packrat and a procrastinator.  Those two sides of me have to battle it out sometimes, and almost every time the procrastinator wins.  As Mark Twain once said, “Never do today what you can put off until the day after tomorrow!”  The older I get, the lazier I have become, as well. 

That is not good.  The Bible addresses this issue.  Proverbs 6:6-8 says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”  Winter will not find the ant unprepared.  There is a job to be done, and she does it without delay.  Proverbs 13:4 goes on to say, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”  Diligence—now, there’s a good word!  Along with determination and discipline, these three character qualities will help us get to the job at hand and see it through. 

Mark Twain was so wrong.  The Lord tells us to make the most of our time, using it wisely.  “Be very careful then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)  We cannot afford to be distracted.  Spending hours on the computer or in front of the television or in other frivolous pursuits eats up our time.  We cannot afford to drift aimlessly through life.  We cannot afford to delay—putting off until tomorrow what we ought to do today.  Good intentions are not enough.  They will not get the job done.  “Later” is not guaranteed.  Proverbs 27:1 says, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

Maybe it’s time to do some spring cleaning of the soul, as well as the house.  It is past time, really.  Time to sweep away the cobwebs of laziness and delay.  Time to throw out the litter of distractions and polish up the determination and discipline.  Time to “strengthen our hands for the good work.” (Nehemiah 2:18) and follow the example of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.  We could never call her lazy or a procrastinator!  It is time to get busy and do what needs to be done when it needs to be done!

I have a feeling that my days as a couch potato are over for the next six or seven months—and it is about time!

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