social spark Aisling Beatha: April 2010

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Back to the Bathroom

No, the dreaded stomach bug has not made a return visit, all are more or less feeling well now after the stomach flu made it's rounds of our house over the weekend. I say more or less because hubby, is still feeling a bit tired and just not quite right, but almost there.

No, I am referring to the piece I wrote last week about having worked on cleaning the bath and how God spoke to me through that. Go check it out if you haven't read it yet here.

Today I cleaned the bathroom again and yes that meant 10 minutes or so scrubbing away at the stain. The funny thing is that this week I really did see a tangible difference in the limescale from when I knelt down to work on it to when I finished. Why is that funny? Because today I am struggling. I am struggling with the raw ugly selfishness of my human heart and how it reacts to not getting what I want, to the ugliness of my heart when I fear not having control.

And yet TODAY was the day I got to see IN THE MOMENT, the difference I am making on that stain. And I knew God was speaking again, I knew I needed to discern what it was.

Through that, this week, God has spoken a real encouragement to my heart, not to give up. That sometimes he has to scrub and scrub away at our hearts and we don't see any new results, we have to rely on the knowledge of how far we've come, but sometimes he reveals things and we get to see them as he is working on them, we get the encouragement in the RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, we get to see what He is changing in us.

So, what I see revealed in my heart today may not be nice and it may not be pretty but it IS what God is revealing, what He is allowing to be uncovered so that he can work on it and he can change it.

Father God, thank You for revealing another layer, thank you for bringing me to this place in you. Thank You Daddy that you hold my heart safe in your hands, not safe from all hurt but safe in you, Amen.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Meeting God in the Bathroom

I'm not talking about when the children were younger and hiding away in the bathroom was the only alone time a mom has to be with God. "mommmyyyyyyy" "Mommy's using the toilet darling, just wait" "Dear Lord, I need your strength today . . . ."

No, I'm talking about cleaning. Today is bathroom cleaning day (amongst other things), the day where I focus on the deeper cleaning of the bathroom, the things that don't need doing more often. One of the things I do in that time is work on a long term problem in our bath. Before we moved into this house it stood empty for quite a while, and during that time one of the bath taps dripped. We live in a hard water area and that means limescale, and that means a really nasty limescale build up that runs down the inside of the bath, beneath that tap.
Think about stalactites and stalagmites and how they build up drip by drip drip and you see how this got to be so bad.

For a long time I did nothing about it, but since I have been focussing on getting stuff done around here, each week, when I work in the bathroom I spend 5 to 10 minutes or more scrubbing away at that stain. I use a scrubber and a cleaning paste, scrub, scrub, scrub away.

I sat there and looked at it today as I finished up and I wondered, "Does it look any different than it did when I started today? Can I see any more of what is meant to be there? Can I see any more of the real surface of this bath?" And honestly, today, as in many weeks, the answer is NO. No, I can't be sure that what I am looking at now is any different than what I looked at 10 minutes ago. I can't tell if that gap in the stain is any bigger than it was, or if that edge to the stain is any further in than it was.

BUT

I can see a huge difference from when I started trying to do this. I really do see gaps in that stain that were NOT there when I started. I really do see genuine surface of that bath, where before I just saw limescale build up. It is not my imagination, there is a most definite difference. And today as I finished and wondered, I ran my finger across the surface of that area, and that was when I knew just how much difference I had made, that was when I knew for sure that that really was bath surface and not just a bit of the limescale that looked like the bath.

And I wondered about my relationship with God.
About the areas in which He is calling me to step outside my comfort zones. About the things I have been trying to "do for him" rather than REALLY listening to what He wanted me to do. I thought what I was doing was what he wanted, and in some respects I think it was but I have worked away and worked away at it, for very little visible return. Within the last few weeks I have made an approach (well two now actually) to step outside my comfort zones, to take this work in a different direction than I had ever imagined it taking, to take it in a direction I had told people I couldn't do.

And as I scrubbed that bath today and ran my finger across the surface as I finished, it was as if I felt God run his finger across my life and say "Yes, NOW I really can see a difference, now I am beginning to see what this creation was really meant to look like all along. Now I am beginning to see the real you."

Friday, April 09, 2010

Sewing Projects

Yesterday and today I have been doing a lot of sewing. No dresses or other clothes this time, just household stuff.

I had some fantastic fabric from IKEA that I used to make a few tote bags. I followed a tutorial that I found online but altered the size of the bags so that I could get two bags out of each metre of fabric that I had.





I am quite pleased with them. They have gusseted bottoms, which makes them look wider at the top when they hang, but every piece was just a simple rectangle and all the stitching was straight lines. I have an overlocker and I used that for the seams on the main bag, but everything else was done on my standard sewing machine with either a straight stitch or a triple straight stitch where needed for extra strength.

I also made a huge tablecloth to either use when I want a really long hang around our normal table, or when we put our two tables together to make one big one. I had some pieces of fabric left from when we bought some IKEA curtains years ago that were a good deal but too long for our windows. I had cut a same length piece off each of 4 curtains, so today I put them together in a line using a flat fell seam each time. Each piece was made of 2 pieces that themselves were connected with a flat fell seam. So there is a nice long flat fell seam that now runs the length of the tablecloth and 3 that go across it. I'm really pleased with that and can't wait to see it on the table.
Hmmm, maybe we'll have to invite friends round for dinner so we have an excuse to put the two tables together.

Finally I pulled my over-locker (serger) back to the front of the table. I had been looking for some flannels (face cloths) to use as napkins at the table. We use too many paper napkins and when in America recently visiting a friend, I noticed that they used flannels instead of paper napkins. I thought it was a brilliant idea but wanted to use some that were distinctive enough that my teen boys would not be able to mix them up with ordinary flannels when sorting laundry.

This week I found a solution. I found some fantastic, really bright coloured tea towels (dish towels) in a really soft, fluffy fabric. So bright there will be no mistaking them!
I took each on, laid it out on my cutting mat and cut it into 4. I then took them to my over-locker (serger) and went all the way round each piece to edge them. I think they will work well, be really absorbent and easy to toss in the laundry and get cleaned and dried again. There were 4 tea towels in the pack, so we now have 16 of these washable napkins.

I'll get a photo of them later in the week and share it, also one of what happens when you cut really fluffy fabric on a self healing cutting mat with your rotary cutter. Oh dear.

I have a little bit of mending to do and then my machines will have to go away again. Maybe next time I get them out it will be to make some clothes and maybe one day I will have a dedicated sewing room, or at least a multi purpose craft room for all my different craft activities.
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