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Spring(clean)ing into Action

15 Apr

I think spring cleaning must be hormonal. And it seems the women’s hormones are the only ones that kick into gear!

I came across an article written by Kellie Head, a mother of six, as a guide for her husband to help her with the spring cleaning. It was called “Spring Cleaning a la Testosterone.” (1)

Kellie says she used to wonder whether men play dumb when it comes to cleaning, or whether they are simply trying to avoid any sort of housework; “but now,” she says, “I think it may have something to do with a testosterone brain block or something.”

Kellie decided to make a “cheat sheet” to help her husband when spring cleaning comes around. It included a number of definitions, and I’ll only share a few here:

“Vacuum (cleaner) … much like the leaf blower except it sucks in , instead of blowing out. Don’t let this alarm you. It isn’t broken and doesn’t need more torque, speed, RAM, or whatever it is you did to the dishwasher.

“Dust pan … Contrary to popular belief, this is where you sweep the dirt, not under the hallway area rug.

“Dust Cloth … A cloth designated for removing tiny particles of dirt from every flat surface of the house. Hint: look for your old ‘lucky shirt.’

“Oven Cleaner … No, not the teenager. This is an actual product that you buy, spray in the oven and wipe out two hours later. You won’t need your welder’s mask for this task, but if it makes you feel more dangerous, go ahead.

“Squeegee … Same principle as washing the car windshield, and yes, real men do squeegee!”

And then Kellie added this final note: “While Duct tape may be a wonderful plumber’s aid, it’s really not the best solution for keeping the bathroom towels in place and Jamie’s teacher is still asking why his homework was stuck to his forehead last week. For these reasons, I have hidden the duct tape and distributed your picture to the local hardware stores. Don’t make me call Duct Tape Anonymous again….”

My dad had a thing for duct tape. I think that I inherited the duct tape gene. While traveling on a revival team during the years when girls all wore “maxi dresses,” my heel caught on the hem of my burgundy plaid jumper and it ripped out right before I was due to go on stage. No problem. I talked our sound crew out of a roll of duct tape and taped my entire hem. It stayed in place through several washings that year!

I’ve often wished I had the Martha Stewart gene, but no ~ spring cleaning is not my cup of … Lysol. It seems there’s always something else I’d rather do when my daily work is done ~ like writing, time with grandkids, water aerobics, or watching something off-the-wall on TV like “Doomsday Preppers.”

I imagine that a number of cultures have some form of spring cleaning. I read about the preparations Jews made for the Passover in the Old Testament. Talk about spring cleaning! Unleavened bread became the symbol of the Jews’ exodus from days of slavery in Egypt, and every observant Jew made sure there was no bread containing leaven anywhere in the house ~ not even a crumb ~ before the Passover celebration. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was so much a part of Passover that their names were sometimes used interchangeably (Exodus 12:15-19, 41; Luke 22:1). During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Israel was to eat only bread without leaven (which represented sin) for seven days. (For more about this feast and parallels to Jesus, the Bread of Life, read here.)

So getting rid of the leaven was a crucial cleaning ritual, and, while I realize that the Jews had a spiritual reason for cleaning their homes before Passover, I imagine that every Jewish woman stood back and admired her clean, “purified” home when she was done. There was the satisfaction that they had obeyed God, and they were ready for the blessings to come.

When I look at the diligence of the Proverbs 31 woman, I imagine that she (and her maids) cleaned her home for many reasons, too. A clean, organized home enabled her to care for her family better. Perhaps it allowed her to offer hospitality without worrying about how the house looked. A clean home was one way to honor her husband.

We can’t have perfectly neat, clean homes all the time. Life gets messy sometimes, and we let things slide. Our dust bunnies invite friends, and spiders crochet doilies in the rooms’ corners. But there comes a time when we need to pick up the broom and dustpan and get busy. We set our homes in order to create a place for greater peace and joy. The more we want to experience a clean, hospitable home, the greater effort we’ll make to do whatever is necessary to get it in shape.

And by the way, our hearts get “messy” sometimes, too. We let things slide, and one sin invites another.  There comes a time when we need to remember the words of 1 John 1:9, God’s promise of forgiveness and cleansing when we confess our sins to Him. When our hearts are clean, we experience more of what God has for us, including peace and joy! We need more passion for purity of heart, like King David, who prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10).

We need to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) and watch out for the “leaven” that causes problems. Cleaning doesn’t just happen, with or without the Martha Stewart gene.

May we use the words of scripture to motivate us to spring into action ~ cleaning our homes and our hearts!


No Girlie Girl Running

17 Jun

Deciding to take up jogging, the man was astounded by the wide selection Tennis Shoe with Pocketof jogging shoes available at the local sports shoe store.

While trying on a basic pair of jogging shoes, he noticed a minor feature and asked the clerk: “What is this little pocket thing on the shoe?”

And the clerk replied, “Oh, that’s to carry spare change so you can call your wife to come pick you up when you’ve jogged too far.” *


I (Dawn) read about two runners who both needed a good dose of character.

“Marathoner Loses by a Mustache.”  So read the headline of an Associated Press story. It appeared that Abbes Tehami of Algeria was an easy winner of the Brussels Marathon, until someone wondered where his mustache had gone!

Checking eyewitness accounts, it quickly became evident that the mustache belonged to Tehami’s coach, Bensalem Hamiani. Hamiani had run the first seven-and-a-half miles of the race for Tehami, and then dropped out of the pack.  He disappeared into the woods to pass race number 62 on to his pupil.

“They looked about the same,” race organizers said. “Only one had a mustache.”

The article said it was expected that the two would never again be allowed to run in Belgium. *

Ya think?

I never was a runner. First, I run like a girlie girl. My sister did not inherit this girlie girl gene, and she could really fly when she ran. But I even look clumsy jogging. OK, I’ll be honest. I look like a duck when I walk.

But I admire people who run. I will cheer them on and watch them win medals. I know how much hard work it takes to prepare for a race.

I have gone to out to breakfast with my friend Jill and her husband after she’s completed a good run. When she meets us at the restaurant (not even panting), her face glows. Her body is svelte. She pays the price, and it’s worth the results.

The Bible uses the metaphor of running in Hebrews 12:1-3. Paul exhorts believers, “…run with patience the race that is set before us…..” Paul tells us to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, so we won’t be “wearied” ~ so we won’t get discouraged and “faint” in our minds.

The key to our own race is to consider “Him that endured.” Jesus endured in His own life “race,” and as we focus on Him, we understand how we can be persistent and press on in ours.

Paul also used the running metaphor in 1 Corinthians 9:24: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

In other words, in the spiritual realm, Continue reading

How’s UR Vineyard?

19 Mar

AngryBride_cellphone“A young and nervous bride planning her wedding was increasingly terrified about her upcoming marriage. To calm her nerves, she decided to have a Bible verse which had always brought her comfort ~ “There is no fear in love; for perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) ~  engraved on her wedding cake. So she called the caterer and all arrangements were made.

“About a week before the wedding, she received a call from the catering company.

“‘Is this really the verse you want on your cake?’ they asked. ‘Yes,’ she confirmed. It was the one she wanted, and after a few more questions they said they would decorate the cake as requested.

“The wedding day came, and everything was beautiful … until the reception, when the bride walked in to find the cake emblazoned with John 4:18 “For you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband.” */**

Imagine the phone call to the caterer after THAT wedding!

It’s not always the big things that mess up our lives. Sometimes it’s the teeny-tiny details.

The Bible says it’s the “little foxes” that spoil (devour) the vineyard (Song of Solomon 2:15).  In other words, it’s the seemingly insignificant things that can add up to huge damage. We need to guard against those little things that hinder us, don’t we?

One of my foxes was rooted in my childhood. I (Dawn) wasn’t always the Type A+ personality that I am today. Oh, I was always crazy active. I once saw an old filmstrip of myself at age five, running up and down the church steps over and over again until my mother stopped me and grabbed my hand. I stayed next to her, but I was still bouncing up and down like a yo-yo! Fox_inVineyard

Though I was active, I was also lazy. And I reasoned that it was no big deal. After all, I was perfectly charming in every area besides that one, I concluded. But my laziness started to affect my grades in school, and mama didn’t think that was so charming.  Laziness was my little spoiling fox.

Later in life, as a young woman, I read a verse in Proverbs. “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep,” it said. “So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:10-11).

Let me state that in another version: “A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty your permanent house guest!” (The Message)

The truth is, laziness spoils our hopes for success. A little bit of laziness Continue reading

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