"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
June 20, 2012
Jon and I had a big week a couple weeks ago. We had a new roof put on our house. We had planned and saved for quite some time to have this done, so it was an exciting day for us. We were surprised when the roofing company told us that they planned on having it done in one day. They had to remove two layers of shingles, remove the chimney, then we had them put down ice barrier beneath the tar paper on the front and back edges, and of course the new tar paper and shingles, so we had assumed that it would take at least 2-3 days. At 6:30 A.M. we heard workers on our roof tearing the old shingles off, and they had the clean-up finished and were gone by 6:00 P.M. that evening. We now have a beautiful new roof.
It was nice to have a project started and finished in one day. That's not generally how our projects go! But we normally do the work ourselves instead of paying to have it done for us, therefore we have to work around Jon's job so only have a few hours here and there to get a little done at a time.
We have good ideas and great intentions, but it's difficult when Jon is the one who has to do most of the work, and he holds down a full-time job to make the money to pay for our great ideas. We are both really gung-ho at the beginning, but by the end our enthusiasm has dwindled and we're ready to have it over with. I feel bad for Jon having to work full-time during the day, then having to come home and spend all his free time working here. When I can tell that he's getting exhausted and wearing down, I'll encourage him to take some time off and relax, which is not always the best solution because then we may go several months without finishing what we started.
We currently have two ongoing projects; one here at our home and one in Lampe. Here at our home, we did a bathroom remodel last spring. We decided to rebuilt the pantry across the hall from the bathroom, at that same time. There were two separate closets, so we tore the wall down between them and put in double doors to make one big pantry. We did get the doors on and the walls painted and tile laid, but that's as far as we got. The grout never got completed in the tile that we put up for trim. And the shelves and drawers never got built. Jon also put in a new sink in our bathroom, but needed to rearrange some pipes. We were going to have company last spring around the time we were finishing up the bathroom remodel, so he finished enough to be able to set the countertop and sink on top of the cabinet, but we haven't touched it since. The pipes still need rearranged and the countertop permanently installed.
But we got sidetracked! We started building a gazebo on our property in Lampe last summer, which we wanted to have built for a big shindig with family and friends in September. We got enough done to be able to use it, but then have never completed it. It still needs diagonals and trim put around the top, handrails put on the steps, the flooring and rails stained, trim put around the bottom, a couple of stronger braces put on the front and back, and a few other minor details finished. That is much harder to find time to work on, because we live 3 1/2 hours away and can't get away every weekend to make that drive.
We have another project in mind for our home, but decided that we need to backtrack and finish the two projects that we currently have started (the pantry and gazebo) before starting something else. Our goal is to have the gazebo completed by September. We have finished the drawings for how we want the interior of the pantry to look, and have bought the materials for the two shelves that will go across the top. Jon worked to get the doors properly installed where they open and close correctly. He plans on getting the shelves installed within the next few days. Hopefully, we will have the pantry finished in the next 2-3 months.
We've all had those projects that we've started, and had great intentions, then got sidetracked along the way. It may not necessarily be home improvement or building related. I've heard people comment that they started a book, then got busy and put it aside and never finished it. I started taking fiddling lessons last summer and was gung-ho and excited. But from Christmas until now it seems as if it's been one thing after another, and I've barely played the past few months. Yes, I'd still like to learn to play, but there always seems to be something more important or more fun to do than to practice. Or I'll put it away when we have company to get it out of the way, then "out of sight, out of mind" and I forget about playing.
At times, it's easy to do this spiritually as well. We get excited about being involved in a new ministry at church, then when it's inconvenient or we're tired or it gets hard, we lose our enthusiasm and start complaining. We don't want to do it anymore and start looking for reasons to quit. Or we are excited about our relationship with Jesus, then when hard times come and things get difficult, some of that joy begins to ebb away and we become disgruntled. Sometimes we lose our fervor for attending church or reading our Bible or praying. We find other things to fill our time and allow other interests to take priority in our lives.
Honestly, there are times when church attendance can be tiresome and there are other things I'd rather do. There are times when I'd rather watch TV or read a book than to read my Bible and pray. It is often easy to become sidetracked with other activities that take precedence over things that are spiritual.
When that happens, we find ourselves running from one thing to another trying to fill the void in our heart that we once allowed God to fill. That doesn't mean that we've backslid or are heathens; rather that we have started neglecting our relationship with God.
It is so important that we don't ignore our relationship with God and that we maintain our spiritual life. There are many who face death, who once lived their lives committed to Jesus, but somewhere along the way other things became more important. They fully intended to someday fully commit themselves to God, but other things and activities always took priority and they just never took the time to do so.
Paul encourages us in Hebrews 12:1 to ".... run with endurance the race that is set before us." In 2 Timothy 4:7 he says, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
He is writing about running the race of life that God gives us on earth, with our final goal of crossing the finishing line of our eternal destination in heaven. He tells us to run with endurance. Sometimes it takes a lot of perseverance and endurance to go through the things that life throws at us. It's not always an easy race and sometimes we may feel like giving up. But if we do so, then we are giving up the final reward of eternity in heaven. We have too much to gain, to lose this race and quit. The stakes are entirely too high.
When I reach the end of my life, I want to say with enthusiasm, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." I don't want my life to be a bunch of unfinished projects where I jumped from one thing to another and never completed anything. I want to stay on course and not go off on a bunch of wild goose chases, getting off the path that God has established for me and taking the chance of becoming lost and not finding my way back to God before it's too late. I am determined to finish what I've started and finish the race of life, strong and on track.
What about you? Are you aimlessly wandering through life without direction? Are you guilty of getting off track and going from one thing to another without finishing? Stay on course and finish the race and keep the faith! Because "there is a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:8)
I've started so many projects that I was destined never to finish that I've become reluctant to actually start any more. I may get excited about a project and have fun designing or planning how to do the project. But I usually have to be prodded to actually start. And usually pushed and shoved to get it done.
I'd like to point out that we have finished several projects. We re-painted most of the rooms in the house. We built two sheds, one for our own home and one for the family homestead. We've installed a new gate. We've done some re-wiring and new wiring. And we've done lots of yard work.
Even though I'm tempted never to start any projects, I'm glad I have finished many. You can't finish the race if you never get started.
(This is great!)
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup sugar
1 (2 liter) bottle lemon-lime soda
1 (5 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, with juice
thin lime slices, for garnish
Begin by chilling all the ingredients thoroughly before using. Everything needs to be very cold. When the ingredients are cold, add the lime juice to a pitcher. Add the sugar. Pour in the lemon-lime soda (anything like Sprite or Sierra Mist, etc.). Dump in the whole jar of maraschino cherries -- juice and all! (I could only find a 10 ounce jar, so poured in half or so of the cherries and juice.) Stir well. Finally, add thin-cut lime slices on top to garnish. (Makes it look pretty if you have a glass pitcher or punch bowl.)
I like to drink it with crushed ice (my favorite) in my glass.
We don't have kids but I saw this idea that I thought was a good way to get kids to pick up their toys or do assigned chores, without the constant nagging; and to teach kids to obey and do what they're told:
A mom wrote this poem and typed it out onto a piece of paper: "You left it out, mom picked it up; She's got your stuff, you're out of luck; To get it back, must do a chore; Again it's yours, just like before."
She bought herself a new toy ransom bucket (or a big plastic tub), then typed out a list of different chores/ways the kids could earn each toy they left out. She cut the list of chores into strips and put them in an envelope. Then taped the label with the poem and the chore envelope to the lid of the bucket.
The next morning her kids woke up with this bucket FULL -- and it took them a very long time to do enough chores to get everything back. They had to do a chore to earn each item back, one by one.
The mom said that it has taught her kids to keep their toys and clothes and other items picked up, so that they don't have to work to get them back.
There is a huge difference between hearing and listening.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon