Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 82

Up to now, I've been mostly holding it together in regard to our kitchen project.

Up to now.

They did such a terrible job on the drywall, we had to ask to have it redone.  This after the new cabinets, appliances and counters had been installed.

Since that point, we have experienced many more days of waiting than of working.

Last week they were supposed to get the drywall fixed, but they weren't paying attention to scheduling.  We moved everything back out of our mostly functional kitchen on Sunday night, and hunkered down again in our bunker.  Nobody showed up on Monday.  On Tuesday morning, they popped in and spent a couple of hours covering everything with plastic, taping plastic over the openings to the rest of the house, just enough work to inconvenience us until the real worker finally showed up on Wednesday to take on the drywall. 

Since no work began until Wednesday, of course it was not finished by the weekend.

Although they taped plastic over a lot of stuff, they did not pull the brand new light fixtures away from the ceiling (I'd asked for that, but I get exhausted fighting for things), so over the course of getting the drywall fixed, of course they have gotten joint compound and paint on the edges of my brand new lights.  At least the ceiling looks flat now.  I've been googling, "Removing paint from light fixtures," and it looks like it's something I might be able to take care of once they are gone.  If they are ever gone.

Meanwhile, my allergies kicked in something fierce.  I don't know if it's lupus, or the rain that's been rolling through, but my allergies have been accompanied by incredible aching.  So between the aching and the coughing, I haven't been sleeping.

Not sleeping, I haven't been coping well with disappointments.  Do other people turn into basket cases when they are over-tired?  I am a basket case.  I have lost my grip.  I don't want to do this anymore.

I am so upset, and disappointed, and exhausted from being upset and disappointed.   I was not up to handling today.

This morning, I got put on the spot in our Bible study leaders' group meeting and had to lead the "opening" because I am a newbie and need to be trained in.  I felt foolish and awkward; the whole morning had been so rough, plus I hardly had a voice.

Afterwards, I tried to cheer myself up buying flower seeds at the grocery store.  However, when I went to check out, the self-check computer kept yelling at me to "PUT ITEM IN CART!" because the seed packs were too lightweight for it to register when I did.  I had to stand there for an excruciatingly long time until a lackadaisical store employee finally pulled herself away from nothing to saunter over and help me.

The drywall guy had worked at our house for a little while this morning, but then he went away.  I came home from the grocery store, and I was locked out of the front door.  Nobody was here working, and Shawn had gone to work, and I have no key to the front, and the kitchen, which you enter from the garage, is taped and plasticked off from the rest of the house.  In the end, I piled my groceries on the front porch and then went around through the kitchen and busted through the plastic so I could open the front door from inside and take my food to refrigerator in the basement.  The plastic will have to be somehow fixed, as the drywall sanding is not over.

I want this to be over.

I want to quit, but I don't think that's possible.

I don't even know what my options are.  I guess I don't have any.  I want my money back.  Yeah right.

Sometimes I look at pictures of the old kitchen, the one I thought I hated, and I wish I'd never ripped it out.  I didn't care for any of the elements they'd used, or the layout.  But at least the construction was nicely done. The workmanship was decent.

Sometimes I want to go away, to my parents' house, or to a sunny beach somewhere.  Anywhere that isn't here.

At times, I want to scream and kick somebody in the face.  Really, I do.  It's rather frightening.

I cry, but it does absolutely no good.  Crying only aggravates my allergies.

Right before the last time we moved back out of the kitchen, I cut out a sewing project.  I would like to work on it, but there is nowhere to lay it out.  Anyway, I am upset, and I have found that it is not good to work on a sewing project while I am already upset.

Also, Easter is going to be heart-wrenching because for the first time ever, three of my kids will not be able to be here.

Don't get me wrong.  I am exceedingly thankful for Jonathan.  I love Jonathan.  I am looking forward like crazy to seeing Jonathan.  And probably the kitchen won't be done anyway, so it's probably good that they won't all be here.  Right?  Right?

Easter will come, and Jon will be here.  We will eat out and do fun stuff.  Fun Stuff.  Yes.

Sometime after Easter, the kitchen will be done and I will be able to do my sewing project on the kitchen table, in the kitchen, with good lighting.

I am trying to look on the bright side, but the Bible passage from James has popped into my mind:  "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'"  (James 4:13-15 ESV)

Tomorrow, if the Lord wills, we will live and do whatever.  The Lord's will be done.

I wish the Lord's will was for me to sleep a long, deep, dreamless, coughless sleep and wake up feeling able to cope.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Blogging, and how one introvert handles it

Let's consider the term blog.

I believe that it is derived from the longer web log, or weblog, meaning a web-based log, or journal, or diary.

You could call a blog an internet journal, but that would not be nearly as dashing a terminology as blog.

Of course, blogs have evolved significantly since the early days when they were mainly on-line diaries for angsty teenagers.  These days, everybody has a blog, even mainstream newspapers whose blogs are authored by multiple professional journalists.

There are many reasons why people blog, probably about as many as there exist blogs.  Money, of course, is one of the big ones.

Money is not one of my reasons for blogging.  If I were blogging for money, I would have to write for an audience, things the audience wanted to read.  I would have to court that audience and build up a readership, and then I would have to sell advertising after I had statistics to support the value of the advertising space.

Lucky for me, my husband has a job and I don't have to do those things, because those things are so totally not me that I think I would prefer to earn money waiting tables if that's what it came to.  Not that there's anything wrong with waiting tables, just that I did it when I was young, and it was hard work.

So I dabble around and write things that I don't even link to Facebook, because for the most part it is private reflections, and I'm not sure that I really want to share my private reflections at large.  However, writing them on Blogger and publishing them online serves two main purposes:
  1. The threat of possible readers protects me from delving utterly into selfish, narcissistic, unedited introspection.  You may find this hard to believe, but it is true.  There is an even deeper and darker heart in me than the one exposed here.
  2. It keeps a nice, orderly record of things.  I used to write in notebooks, but I never wrote in them in order, or in the same ones.  When we moved across the country, I probably threw out 50 different partial notebooks of writing with sporadic entries on random pages, as well as irregular entries on triangular scraps of paper tucked amongst the pages.  When I write here, it miraculously mostly does not get lost, except for the occasional times when I inadvertently delete a post.
So, getting back to what I was saying, I dabble in blogging and treasure every comment that comes my way, but I will not, cannot go campaigning for a readership because that is simply not who I am, in the same way that I was terrible at door-to-door fundraisers as a kid, terrible at any attempt to raise money for charity, and terrible at getting on the bandwagon of friend-groups.

I am not a people pleaser.  This makes me unhappy sometimes, because (obviously) if you don't go around pleasing people, then sometimes they are not pleased with you.  I am often lonely, but I understand that I have no right to be upset about it.  In the same way, I have only a sparse handful of blog readers, but I understand why, that it is my choice.

I am a loner, not because I don't like people, but because I do not like their rules, especially the unspoken ones.  I will not jump through hoops to please someone: either you like me or you don't, and if you don't, I will be happy to move on, even if it means I am alone for awhile.  My husband loves me for who I am, most of the time, and when my quirks test his devotion, we work through it.  When people or organizations outside of my family present ultimatums that demand something from me, especially if it is something that I see as non-neutral and threatening, and most especially if it challenges my convictions, I move on to other--not necessarily greener--pastures.

I give up a lot for my convictions.  Many years ago, I was a writer (aka copywriter) for an advertising agency.  The senior copywriter told me that we were the great prostitutes of the writing trade, writing puffy rubbish for a regular salary while our art stagnated somewhere in the dim recesses of the basements of our consciousness.  After giving birth to a baby, I stopped writing advertising material, which was a great relief, because although I enjoy a clever turn of phrase as much as anybody, I hate lying, especially about the meaning of life and how your dollars can attain this false and deluding "meaning" for you if you bestow them on my client.

In college, horrified by the empty meaninglessness of modern interpretations of literature, I made the decision to flee academia as soon as I had my first degree.  Then, as I just described, I fled the degradation of hawking my words in a business setting.  Finally, isolated in a little cape-cod house, I gave birth to babies, not books, and read them Dr. Seuss and Mother Goose desperately, grasping for words, rhythm, beauty, joy and meaning, amidst diaper disasters and temper tantrums and peanut butter between the toes.

The stories of life from those days only survived if they made it into the library of our oral tradition, the slimy folds of gray tissue that may or may not yield their treasures when called upon.  The stories I remember, I repeat as often as I dare, trying to cement the memories and guard them in this fragile thing I call my brain.  The hitch, of course, is that I only remember them at unpredictable intervals.  If I am lucky enough to remember one when I am at home and have some time, I write it here.  That is one of the main reasons why I keep this blog, although if you have read much of it, you know that those memories are precious few and far between.

Our family.  Our life.  My faith.  My struggles.  Sometimes joy.  In the end, God.  That is what this blog is about, and I am at peace.

I was hurting the other day.  Ha.  I think it was yesterday, but "the other day" sounds more poetic, doesn't it?  I hurt so bad, I lay on my face on the floor in the doorway of my bedroom and sobbed for awhile.  Then I was tired; the tears seemed to have dried at their source, so I got up and vacuumed for a good long time, and I felt better in heart if not in body.  I walked into my bathroom and saw that I'd opened the blinds, which we usually keep closed for privacy.

The light shone in, bright and pure, sort of disinfecting.

Out the window, I saw the deck below, the yard, a pile of sticks Shawn and I had gathered on the weekend.  I saw the mysterious cement block structure at at the edge of our yard near where the water flows into the lake, and I fantasized about taking the sticks, the leaves, the chopped down weeds that have been decomposing in the garden for the past eight months, taking all of this crud and piling it into that cement block structure and burning it up.  When you burn stuff up, it is gone in the end, clean gone.   

Clean gone.  How beautiful.

In the end, everything is going to burn, the earth and everything on it, and there won't be anything anybody can do to stop it.  It will all be gone except for God and the people He calls His own.

By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:7, NIV)

God will start fresh with a new sky and a new earth, clean and fresh and perfect to fit the people He has purified for Himself.  Called and justified, we will finally be glorified.

Nothing else matters.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kitchen Project. Day 75. Yes, 75.

The good news is that I had spaghetti for lunch.

Leftover spaghetti, quinoa pasta and sweet Italian sausage, warmed up in the microwave.  It was delicious.  Yes, it was.

I was able to use the microwave because nobody is here working on our kitchen.

Two weeks ago, we had some tough talks with the construction crew about work quality and the need to have some things redone.

Last week, Shawn was in California on business, and we took a break from having workers in the house.

Shawn arrived home late Friday night.  On Sunday night, he emailed the contractor.  As far as we knew, they were coming today; they said they were coming today.  We stayed up late last night, moving back out of our unfinished kitchen, transferring our food back into the basement refrigerator, carrying dishes back up to "the bunker," a.k.a David and Jon's room.  I got up extra early this morning, to spread some cardboard we'd saved over some surfaces we felt would need extra protection during the re-work.

I left the house at 8:25 a.m. for a long meeting, and Shawn was going to stay until the crew arrived to start.

I arrived home at 1:10 p.m. to an empty and untouched house . . .

at which time I fixed myself a delicious plate of spaghetti leftovers and focused on counting my blessings.

It is raining.

I can't reach Shawn at work to ask what is going on.


Breathe.  Pray.  Hope.

Probably, the kitchen will not be done by Easter.  That is not what I am hoping.

I am just hoping for the best, for the sovereign hand of God working on my behalf, for peace, for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, for assurance that God is on my side and that He will never leave me nor forsake me.

These things are all true.  He loves me.  Jesus loves me.

And He allowed me to have spaghetti for lunch.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Grace and Hope

My first spring in Illinois has been nice.

When I lived in Minnesota, March was a winter month.

When I lived in New York,  March was a winter month.

But here in Illinois, March seems to be a spring month.  Granted, the pale green haze of new leaves has not begun to spread through the bare tree branches.  But... the snow is all gone.  This blows my mind.  There is no snow.  Yesterday, Shawn and I spent part of the afternoon picking up sticks in our backyard.  Spring clean up.  It's here, really.  Today is 64 degrees of windy wildness, and I walked for an hour with a friend.

The kitchen is not done.  I am half hoping that it will be done by Easter, but I probably shouldn't even write that down, for fear of jinxing it, although I am not a superstitious person.  God is in control, but I think somebody messed some stuff up here, probably me being gullibly trusting, for one.  Handymen who are certainly not gifted at drywall work, for another.

Yes the kitchen.  I started out chronicling the renovation with high hopes that it would be quick, easy and satisfying.  It has been none of those things. 

I've been through a roller-coaster of emotions: sadness, fear, anger, disappointment, remorse, guilt.  I've wondered if God is punishing me for taking on the challenge and expense of the renovation.  I've vented and wept and laid restlessly awake at night, unable to turn off my mind.  I've feared that God is angry with me.  Shawn finally told me one day, "You should never try to measure how much God loves you by how easy your life is."  God gave me Shawn for a reason.

Right now we are in a season of calm.  The sink and counters are in, so I can function (I've made quinoa spaghetti twice).  The drywall needs to be redone, however, so I'm not going to move things into my new cabinets until after that mess is over and we have cleaned again (and again and again).  No work is happening this week, and although it stretches the project even longer, at least I have a break.  A break is nice, perhaps even necessary.  God knows what I need.  God knows what I need.  Jesus says that our Father in heaven knows what we need even before we ask Him.

Apparently I did not need an easy and stress-free experience, because if I had needed that, God would have provided it.

God brings stresses into our lives to teach us things we need to know.  He brings experiences we had never imagined, certainly never hoped, to test us and refine us and help us grow.  Growth is painful.

Growth is painful.  I remember comforting one of my sons in the middle of the night, during a growth spurt.  His growing legs hurt so much, they woke him from sound sleep.  I gave him milk (for calcium), bananas (for potassium), and Tylenol (just because).  This usually seemed to work, and he would be back to sleep within the hour.  Spiritual and emotional growth pains are not often cured that quickly.

Growing pains.  Lessons learned.  Struggles undergone.  Conflicts handled.  Disappointments faced.

We all need grace.  We need to give it, and we need to receive it.  When it feels as though nobody else in the world has any grace for you, you can go to God, because He has infinite grace.

Grace sounds really good: love, hope, forgiveness, benevolence poured out on the undeserving.  It's not all daisies and pinwheels, though.  Flannery O'Connor said, "Grace changes us, and change is painful."  Grace, like water flowing over a cliff, is breathtakingly beautiful and frighteningly powerful.

There is copious pain in life.  Grace sometimes mitigates pain, but it sometimes intensifies it.  If you apprehend the source of the grace and the sacrifice that occurred in order to protect you, the undeserving one, from your rightful consequences, there is an excruciating pang that accompanies grace.  Grace is never free, it only means that the person who paid isn't the one who should have.  This is true whether you are the receiver of grace, or the giver.  To give grace is to sacrifice, to pay for someone else's mistake, to be the one thrown under the bus.

We do not like to give grace, but we certainly like to receive it.

Dear Lord Jesus, please help me to understand how You want me to live graciously as the recipient of Your great grace.  When should I stand firm against something I believe is unjust, and when should I gracefully give in?  Give me wisdom to discern Your heart, and give me courage to follow Your will when I understand it.  Also, thank you for spring, for hope.  In You there is always hope.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


When Shannon was in college she had a friend who introduced her to the idea of 11:11 as the wishing hour.  Every night at 11:11, her phone would buzz with a text:  "11:11... make a wish!"

It became a sort of mantra around the house.  "11:11, make a wish!" Shawn would chant mischievously.

I began to notice when it was 11:11.  Oddly, I often saw the clock at 11:11, both a.m. and p.m.  "11:11, make a wish!" would signal through my brain.

However, I do not believe in wishes.  I believe in prayers, and more importantly, in the God who answers them.

Considering the digits, 11:11, I decided to try to redeem the custom.

11:11 is a series of vertical lines, all pointing up.  11:11 is the time of day to stop being focused on my earthly circumstances and to turn my face upwards to God who is in control of everything, the master and creator of the Universe, and my personal Savior, Jesus Christ.

Doesn't it just boggle your mind to realize that the God who put the stars in place, who created the laws of physics and calculus, who controls the winds, the waves, the tides and the hearts of kings, that same God cares about you personally (and me!).  He knows each word we will speak before it leaves our lips.  He knows how many hairs are on each of our heads.

He has a master plan for the outcome of all eternity, but at the same time He has the capacity to care about each tiny detail of each of our lives, and the ingenuity to weave all those details together for our best good and for the display of His mighty splendor.

I should think about Him all the time, but at the very least, I let the clock turn my thoughts to Him every time I see that it is 11:11.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Not Queen.

Disclaimer:  This picture has virtually nothing to do with the rest of the post.

In the olden days, probably when I was in my late twenties, trying to balance three small toddlers and an 11.5% mortgage,  I used to reflect upon how I would like to be the Queen of the United States of America when I grew up.

I wanted to be Queen, not president, because I wanted to rule, not arbitrate.  I didn't want any houses of congress messing with my plans, no balancing branches of government for me.  It was monarchy all the way, benevolent dictatorship.  I wanted to say how it went and watch it go.

As time passed, my kids had a teacher at school, Mrs. Baker.  They'd come home and talk about how Mrs. Baker gave kids The Look which shriveled them to ashes at their desks.  Mrs. Baker could reduce a classroom of audacious preteens to stunned silence, merely by crooking an eyebrow.

For the aspiring Queen of the USA  (QUSA, for short), this sounded like a noble skill to acquire.  I practiced at dinner.  When the green beans began to fly, I stretched my neck upwards while widening the tops of my eyes, squinching the outer corners ferociously, pressing my lips together and insufflating a chestful of air through my nose.

Without fail, this resulted in my children hooting with laughter until their eyes ran with tears and they fell from their chairs onto the kitchen floor, still pointing at me with outstretched arms and crying, "Look at her!  She is trying to give us The Look!  Don't ever do that when you are teaching Sunday school, Mom!"

My dreams were dashed as the truth dawned on me: I could not even dictate the rules of my own household to my young, impressionable children.  I was a failure as a mom. I could never have been a dad... how much less a president or a queen.

Since those days, I have put my hope in the future return of Christ, and His benevolent dictatorship.  There is no earthly leader who will ever get it right, and although I thought I wanted a chance to try my hand at administrating the affairs of the world (QUSA would have a lot of influence over other countries as well as her own), I realized it was too much.  I can't even keep my own kids safe and healthy all the time, or maybe ever.  I certainly don't want responsibility for all of humanity.  Only God can handle that.  It boggles my mind when I think about it: He actually has the resources, the power and the wisdom to rule the world, and to do it perfectly right.  And someday, He's coming back to take control.

My daughter Shannon says there is sometimes a point in an argument when you suddenly realize that you are wrong, and when this happens, it is one of the most horrible and devastating feelings that you ever experience.  I've been studying Jesus' second coming lately, and the Bible says that there is a point when the identity of Christ will be revealed to the world in all His full glory, and the nations will see Him, recognize Him, and mourn.

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Matthew 24:30 ESV

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
Revelation 1:7 ESV

The reality of it is: 
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11 ESV

Do you see that?  It says every knee will bow, and every tongue confess.  This isn't just about God's followers seeing and rejoicing at His coming.  This is also about how all those who rejected Jesus will have the blindfolds peeled off their faces, and they will shudder with that devastating pang of knowledge: "Oh no.  I was wrong.  I am wrong.  I am doomed."  And they will fall to their knees, not because they want to, but because they have come smack face-to-face with the reality that He is God whether or not they like it.

He's coming back.  Nobody knows when, but for those who are watching, there will be signs.

This is the oddest piece of writing.  I was sitting in "Shannon's room," which has her bed, and she actually has traveled here and used it a couple of times.  It was afternoon, dinner in the crockpot, Schubert barking out the front window.  I was trying to touch base with a few people by text messaging, sitting on the floor next to Piper.  Something about the slant of the light from the window, the smell of the air (thin and cool), maybe the sound of a large vehicle rumbling along the road outside... I had a sudden impression that the school day was over, and Jonno would be walking in the door for his after-school snack at any minute.

And then I remembered that such was not the case.  It was like waking up from a fantastic dream and remembering, "I am only Ruth, not the Queen of the World."

My kids are gone.  My kitchen is... undone (we're on Day 55).  I have lupus and it's flaring some.  


God is sovereign.  Nothing is too difficult for Him.  Someday He's coming back to get me, to restore my body and my soul, and to keep me in His presence, in perfection, forever.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Good things and bad things

Life is such a melange, it's hard to get your bearings sometimes.

Today was 60 degrees of sunny wonderfulness.  I went to my Bible study, and afterwards two of my new friends and I went walking through one of their neighborhoods . . .

Where we saw a giant blue heron.  It was perched at the top of a leafless tree, behind a house, overlooking a pond.  We circled the house to get a better view.  In the twinkling of an eye, it took off into the sky, neck crooked elegantly between two massive wings, a breathless, wondrous sight.  God is good.

After our walk, during which I got so warm I tied my jacket around my waist, I headed off to a quaint cafe to meet my husband for lunch.  Arriving before he did, I sat in my van and checked my phone, where I saw evidence of a missed call from Shannon.  I called her back.

She was very sad, quite upset.

You see, when we moved, she lost her permanent address.  But she did not change her driver's license or the title of her car.  I mentioned that she might want to change it all to IL when she came out over the holidays, but she has an impending move to Boston, and she didn't want to think through all the hassle.

Well.  The great state of NY caught up with her and suspended her license and registration.  She still seems to have insurance, which I am not sure I understand.  But the point being that her driver's license is suspended, she had to take action.  However, taking action required that she have her birth certificate and car title.  We had some hiccups locating those, but by the grace of God (really, after desperate prayers were answered) we found them and I mailed them, certified mail, to her CT address.

But Shannon did not get them.  The envelope was lost in the mail.  She was calling today to confirm what I had feared when the tracking information online had read, "out for delivery," for five straight days.  The package was lost.

Shawn and I prayed in the cafe, over our skillet lunches, asking for a miracle.  God always knows where everything is.  That's a good thing.  Shannon was ready to get into her car and drive illegally to the post office to see if she could get anywhere with them.  I encouraged her not to drive, to pray instead.  I told her I would go back to the post office where I mailed the stuff, show them my receipt, and ask them what we could do.  She had already walked all the way from her lab to her apartment, but I encouraged her to go back.

Before she went back, however, she stepped into her apartment building, where whom should she meet but her mail carrier.  She was able to talk to him.  He said that there had been a substitute carrier the previous week, but he promised to check into the issue and see what he could find.

Long story short, he found the package and will deliver it tomorrow.  God is so good.  We are certain that it was God Himself who ordained that Shannon would have the rare opportunity to bump into her mail carrier and talk about this problem.  And solve it.

If you wanted kitchen news, it's not so great.  But it isn't disastrous, either.  At least, it seems that there is a good possibility that it won't be disastrous.

Last Friday they installed all our lights.  We have a Very Bright kitchen.  Saturday we drove Laura back to college, and Sunday we came home again.  When we arrived home Sunday evening and turned on the kitchen lights, we suddenly noticed, inescapably and impossible to ignore, that our ceiling, which is supposed to be flat, is not flat at all, but rippled, dimpled, cracked, gapping and smeary.  The thought ran through my head, "If we wanted it to look like that, we wouldn't have been afraid to do it ourselves."

I will spare you all the details, except to say that I am devastated that we will have to go back to more drywall work, more sanding of drywall compound.  More big messes on top of my brand new appliances and brand new floor.  Also, I can't see any way to fix it without removing the crown molding that has already been installed.

To his credit, when we asked the contractor to come out and look at it, he agreed that it was unacceptable, promised to make it right, said he would get a drywall specialist in, and offered to pay to replace the crown if it can't be reused after they take it out.  So you see, there is hope.  There is hope.

Hope, and a lot more drywall dust before my kitchen will be usable.

But there are good things and bad things, and they all mix together to make up our lives.

I will remember the blue heron and praise God who made it.