My (Not So) Storybook Life

This post comes to you for three reasons. First, I’m mentally running on dry. What a week! Second, I am shamelessly using my blog to get entered into a giveaway for this book. Third, I’ve really enjoyed this author’s blog, and I’m looking forward to her book.

And here is the excerpt from the book!


Once one has breathed in the deep pungent aroma of sewage, you never again forget the nose-hair singeing, eye clawing, throat gagging experience. It comes over you slowly. You begin to feel like a character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as your muscles involuntarily jerk and you run screaming and blowing raspberries. Anything to get away from the mind-numbing stench.
But let me explain.
It was 6:30 a.m. I was standing in my retro pink tiled bathroom trying to open my bleary eyes and ready myself for work. As I stood there, peering into the mirror and wondering what demented nighttime fairy had planted four new wrinkles on my face, I paused and sniffed.
“Matt… what’s that smell?”
Matt staggered from the bedroom in his underwear, eyes half shut. “I don’t smell anything.”
I pointed my nose into the air like a hunting dog. “Seriously? You can’t smell that? Did you go to the bathroom in here earlier? I told you to use the room spray when you do things like that.”
Matt puffed out his bare chest and gathered his pride as best a man can with sleep in his eyes and a small hole in the side of his underwear. “I just woke up!”
I frowned, catching a glimpse of my makeup-less hot-rollers-in-hair state and tried not to think about the fact that I looked fifty instead of twenty-nine. “Well, help me figure this out. Because something smells ripe.”
We sniffed the sink drain and ruled it out as a suspect.
“Is it coming from the toilet?” Matt asked, examining it from top to bottom.
“No, that’s not it,” I snapped. I’m not known for my milk of human kindness in a disaster. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a survivor. I plan on eating my radish like Scarlet and clawing my way out of the nuclear dust while dragging my loved ones with me. But I won’t be doing it with positive phrases and a smile.
“Hon, I just don’t know. We’ll call a plumber after work, maybe it’s coming from under the house.” Matt staggered a little, trying to get past me and out of our tiny bathroom.
“Well, that’s just great,” I moved aside and pulled the shower curtain back so I could perch on the side of the tub and give Matt room to move out the door.
That’s when the full brunt of nastiness filled the air around us, a swirling mix of excrement and acrid stench that would have brought the sewer dwelling Ninja Turtles to their knees. Where the normally slightly-clean-with-a-hint-of-soap-scum bottom of the tub should have been, there sloshed gallons and gallons of brown sewage.
I clutched the front of my sweatshirt and held my breath. Matt began to dry heave.
“Get out and shut the door!” I screamed as we bumbled into the hallway.
“I’ll deal with this,” Matt grabbed my shoulders, trying to talk and hold his breath at the same time.
I could feel my eyes glaze over, the horrors of typhoid and hepatitis in our bathtub filling my mind. But more importantly, I could envision our evaporated savings account. In my mind’s eye I could see the long, gray hallway at the bank. A worker shrouded in a black suit pulled a set of keys from his pocket and unlatched a small locker labeled “Owen Bank Account.” Inside were two small stacks of quarters and a few crumpled dollar bills. It was bleak, not only because the banker with an unimaginative wardrobe gazed at me with an expression that could only be interpreted as “You’re a Big Fat Loser,” but also there was a very definite possibility we wouldn’t be able to pay for a plumber.
I wasn’t necessarily a spend thrift. In fact, I was downright frugal when it came to decorating with thrift store furniture and rewired vintage lamps. But the fact was, we were poor. We were starting out at starter jobs with starter salaries. We were starter adults with a starter bank account.
“Okay,” I nodded numbly, thankful that Matt was taking the lead on such a disastrous biohazard. “But make sure the plumber is super cheap. We don’t have much money!”
I left for work like a wino stumbling through a fog, not really remembering my commute, not really doing any work as I sipped my coffee and stared blankly at the computer screen. A disaster of such gargantuan proportions had previously been unthinkable in my life, and now I found myself attempting to push the image of a vast sea of bathtub poop from my mind. But I was sure of one thing: Anne Shirley never had to get ready for work while breathing raw sewage.


Gorgeously Garbed

I was the happy recipient of a lovely bouquet of flowers. This particular flower caught my eye. How beautifully God has “clothed” the flowers. Matthew 6:30, “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”


Resourceful: Having the ability to find clever ways to overcome difficulties.

That is how I felt today, as I sat squatted down next to our hardwood floor with the hair blow dryer. Why, you might ask? Oh, just spilled a little wax on the floor. Just call me Mrs. MacGyver.

A word to the wise–don’t pour old Scentsy wax into old pizza boxes (they leak). 😛

Grace Sufficient–in “The Hiding Place”

This week finds me in my third ever reading through of Corrie ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place. As is true with rereading any book, some things struck me this time that I had not paid particular attention to before. I’ll just highlight two special passages from the book.

Toward the beginning of the book, Corrie is struggling with the concept of death when a little baby dies. Her father finds a special way to help her.

“Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. ‘Corrie,’ he began gently, ‘when you and I go to Amsterdam—when do I give you your ticket?’

I sniffed a few times, considering this. ‘Why, just before we get on the train.’

‘Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need—just in time.’ ”

I loved this analogy that Corrie’s father used. The verse that comes to mind is “my grace is sufficient for you.” I can’t emotionally fortify myself against the unknowns of the future, but I can depend on God to give me the strength to face those unknowns just when I need it.

After Corrie’s release from prison, she ministers both to the victims of persecution, and to their persecutors. She finds herself in a rough place when she encounters one of her own tormentors in church. He comes to greet her after a church service:

“’How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein.’ He said. ‘To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!’

His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side. Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.

I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.

As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.

And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

If you, like me, have ever struggled to forgive someone, you will understand Corrie’s struggle to give someone who had literally tormented her and those she loved. How wonderful that God has truly done it all for us. I find I am able to forgive and love in difficult situations when I pray that God will provide the love and forgiveness for me to give. I’m still rolling this quote around in my head, and I hope you will too.

“And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”



Happy Birthday to My Best Friend

Four years ago today, I attended a birthday party for this weird guy, Carson. Little did I know, I would marry him a couple years later. Carson is my best friend and I’m so glad God made him to be my husband. Here are 5 awesome things about my hubby:

1) He is nice to everybody. This is one of the first things I noticed (and appreciated) about him. He is always kind and friendly to everyone, regardless of what “group” they belong to. He never treats someone like a lesser person.

2) He lets me have my bad moods. When I’m sad or grumpy, he doesn’t run in and try and fix things. Instead, he provides a shoulder to cry on if I want to, and the space/time for me to work things out on my own.

3) Following Jesus is a huge priority in his life. I’m counting on God, not us, to keep our marriage healthy. I know we have the ability to stay together because Carson follows Christ.

4) He has a young soul. He humors me in ways no one else would. E.g. making up a story just for me before bed just because I asked. We laugh together, enjoy being silly together, and play games together.

5) He is one of the most patient people I know. He doesn’t snap at people who are being annoying, he doesn’t get mad at me when I make mistakes, and he patiently listens to stories that I’m sure I’ve told him 50 times already.

Happy 26th Birthday, Hubby!