The biggest ordeal for me (the floor was the biggest for Ken) has been the removal of a tile backsplash we had in the kitchen. It took me three full days to scrape off the tile. And then three more days to totally remove the tile backing from the wall. My hands (knuckles) and thumbs have many blisters and scrapes. But the job is done. The best part is feeling like I actually participated in the kitchen redo!
On Saturday those long awaited cabinets were finally installed. Ken and I both know that without the help of these two amazing young men, Tim and Doug, it would have been a LONG process!
Our entire family (all 11 of us) spent all day Saturday together while Tim, Doug, and Ken worked on the kitchen. Now that alone, is an amazing adventure when everything from your kitchen is in your livingroom - stacked on the chairs, in boxes and totes filling the space. Susie and Grace and Gwen, Lia, Ellie, Zeke, Anna and I mostly stayed upstairs in the master bedroom! It made for a really cozy time. The kids spent most of the time looking at my scrapbooks and playing with Grace. We also turned on the television - something that we rarely do when we are together. But desperate times call for desperate measures! Normally we would have been outside.... but that is the rest of the story of Saturday. Doug and Tim were a powerhouse team and they got those cabinets in with only a brief stop for lunch. We had a deadline of 4pm and with just a few minor things left to finish, we have new cabinets!
The reason for the 4pm deadline is that Gwen, Susie, Lia, Ellie, Zeke and I were all running a 5K race (first time for all of us - except Gwen who has run many races) that started at 5pm. The real killer of the day is that it was 94 degrees - on September 23rd! And there was an air quality warning making it difficult to breathe - and really nasty to run. There was an announcement at the start of the race urging everyone to slow down and take it easy, and to drink lots of water. I was the tail end of the pack. Lia was the fastest (with Tim running and pushing Anna in a stroller - and Tim ran a Marathon last Sunday in this 90 degree weather), followed by Susie and Ellie, then Zeke and Gwen (who ran with Zeke and Ellie), and then - finally - me. I was just very grateful to walk - yes WALK across that finish line. Somewhere around mile two, I wasn't so sure I would make it. The cup of ice that I got certainly helped, but it was hard to press on while being passed by so many people. Even a blind guy passed me! This picture sort of sums up this blog. I am hot and tired - but I finished the race and got that medal! And notice those lovely bruises and scrapes on my knuckles? See the paragraph above about the tile scrapping.
Because of all this house stuff, and this race, I missed a long awaited conference with many wonderful speakers. I had registered for the event and even reserved a hotel room, long before I knew that this would be the week for kitchen work. I decided last weekend (after spending three days working on the tile, with more work ahead), that it just didn't make sense to go to the conference. Sometimes you have to make hard choices. And it was the right decision. Having a working kitchen again, after two weeks with no sink, no stove and no cabinets, feels so good tonight.
Yes, this month has been about pressing on towards a goal (home remodel) and finishing the race. Even when the process is long and hard and slow and very, very hot. I can see God's hand in the timing of the race. I had plenty of time to be with Jesus on that walk (notice I didn't say run). I was so thankful for our family, who came together and helped us during this process. I was encouraged, remembering these verses.....
"So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life's marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us." Hebrews 12:1b - The Passion Translation
Jesus reminded me that I can do difficult things. It is easy to begin thinking that since you are now a "senior citizen" you have lost your strength. But the joy of the Lord is my strength! And that is ageless! I was able to finish the race - and that is what mattered. Not how fast I finished, but that I finished. The last mile or so, I was determined to finish! It felt great to get that medal around my neck.
Today our home redo project seems much smaller than it did. I have a confidence that we will finish it and we will finish it well. It doesn't matter how long it takes, it will get done. And I feel so blessed, so thankful and so glad to be done with this part of my "Life's Marathon"!
Jesus, thank you for always being with us - no matter where we are. Whether it is at a large gathering, or on a solitary walk - you are speaking to us. Holy Spirit, remind us that we can do hard things when we know that Jesus is our strength. Thank you Jesus for giving us passion and determination to take on all that life throws at us. Amen