“Common Sense”

Today it is hard being a renter.

Sure, there are many days when I am very grateful I don’t have to pay the property tax or care if the home value drops.  Most of the time I love just sending a check each month and not worrying about the upkeep that home ownership requires.  We have rental properties back in California, so I’m well aware of all the work that goes into keeping up a home and most days I like not having to deal with it where I currently live.  It’s kind of freeing to rent.

Not today, though…. *Sigh*

Then there are days I wish I could paint the discolored walls, replace the running toilet, and just get the dang sink fixed already.  I mean how many times do I have to tell the landlord (who lives next door) that it leaks?  Not to mention that the oven ticks unless it’s unplugged from the wall.  When I asked him about that he just said to leave it unplugged when it’s not being used, and would I call the manufacturer to get the part?  Um, the oven is older than me and I have no idea what part it needs and why do I have to deal with YOUR ticking oven anyway?!  So I just unplug it when I’m not using it…

But today set me off.  Maya was quietly playing with her water table on the front porch, and he walked up and said I needed to put something under the water table so that water wouldn’t drip onto the porch.  He had asked me about this before, so I pointed out that I had moved the water table so that it was sitting on top of a bamboo outdoor rug.  He then proceeded to tell me that wasn’t good enough and it needed to be something like a tray so that it could catch the water.

?!

If that wasn’t enough, he told me he saw that I’d used the water faucet on the side of the house and that water had dripped onto the driveway and it was “common sense” that water should not get on the driveway.  I about LOST it.  What about the 17 inches of snow we’d had?  “Nature”, he replied.  What drove me nuts even more was that as we were speaking, it was raining!

To make matters worse (I was already visibly irritated at this point) he pointed out a bag of top soil that he’d left on the driveway that someone had run over with a tire and some of the soil was coming out of the bag.  He asked me if I’d done this, which I replied that I didn’t know, and why would he leave a bag of soil in the path where the cars drive anyway?  He said we should watch where we are driving and it is just “common sense”.

Oh.  My.  Goodness.

So offered to buy him a new bag of top soil, but he just shook his head.

I know I raised my voice.  I may have rolled my eyes.  I wasn’t exactly turning the other cheek, and I explained my frustration at the level of analytics he was providing on my every move.  It’s “common sense” he kept saying, and I kept reminding him of how it’s “common sense” for a landlord to fix things like ticking ovens and leaking sinks and the other things I’ve told him that are wrong that he continues to ignore.

How come he gets to pick on me for getting the driveway wet but I can’t ask him to fix things?!  I felt like a little kid who was being treated unfairly by a parent.  And I felt bad for raising my voice and getting upset.

I went into the house, left David a long, very annoyed voicemail and put Maya down for her nap.

And so here I sit, trying to find the Hallelujah in this and remembering our rent is super affordable, the neighborhood is safe and an overbearing landlord that doesn’t fix things is better than what most of the world has to deal with regarding living conditions.

But I also want to be real with y’all.  Today was not my best day.  Today it sucks to rent.  Today my oven is annoying the HECK out of me and while I’m so grateful for so much in my life, today I whined.  A lot.  Today I wanted to throw “common sense” out the window and purposefully start dowsing the porch and the driveway with buckets and buckets of water.

Today revealed the not so pretty parts of my heart.

So if you’re ever tempted to think us Urban Hallelujah gals have it all together and never lose our temper and are perfectly sweet, I’m sorry to say you can’t sit here (insert Forrest Gump voice).  My husband said I let an 80 year old man ruin my day with a little bit of water.

Common sense says I need to get over it. 🙂

Have you ever had one of those days where something just set you off?  What did you do?

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Life, In One Simple Thought…

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If lay people cannot find any spiritual meaning in their work, they are condemned to living a certain dual life; not connecting what they do on Sunday morning with what they do the rest of the week.  They need to discover that the very actions of daily life are spiritual, and enable… people to touch God in the world, not away from it.  Such a spirituality will say… ‘Your work is your prayer.'”…  Your daily work is ultimately an act of worship to the God who called and equipped you to do it– no matter what kind of work it is.

~Tim Keller, Every Good Endeavor

This.

This pretty much sums up Urban Hallelujah, and how I want to live my life.

My husband left today for Atlantic City after being away all last week, which comes on the heels of multiple events the weeks prior.  He is tired and his spirit is exhausted.  Yet somehow, through the hustle-hustle this part of the country demands, there has to be a way to connect it all back to the One who gave it to us in the first place.

So I picked up Tim Keller’s book (pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City) and am reading through.  It’s tough, his style is just like the business world– practical, factual, non-emotional or flowery… Almost scientific even.  But then he quotes one of my favorite movies, Chariots of Fire and I’m engaged: “You can praise the Lord by peeling a spud, if you peel it to perfection.”

This week, may I peel my “potatoes” with “perfection”, knowing that true perfection is made only in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).  May his glory be revealed both in the beauty of a gentle sunset and the sorrow of receiving bad news.  May I remember His abundant provision and care, rest as a true daughter of the King, and hurry through nothing.  May I be proud of my calling today, without worrying for what it may be tomorrow and peel every so-called ‘potato’ with delight.  May my daily work be an “act of worship to the one who called and equipped me to do it.”

May I remember to whom I belong.

And whatever you do, in word or deed,

do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God the Father through him.

~Colossians 3:17

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A Day In the Life: SNOWED IN

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I used to think snow was magical.

I love Christmas movies with lots of snow and I think snow men are handsome (as long as I don’t have to make them!).  I gaze at frost dusted branches with a sort of lovingly stare and think frozen ponds are breathtaking.  I love seeing tender snowflakes waft to the ground or stick to my kitchen windowsill.  Snow has beauty, peace, excitement even.  Snow is somewhat heavenly.

Until recently.

Until snow upon snow upon snow when it just became an icy mess of brown and black and dirt and salt!

Until days upon days of more snow and more snow!

Until being snowed in took on a whole new meaning!

Until shoveling snow lost it’s “workout” appeal!

I haven’t made it out of my pajamas today.  Thank goodness I brushed my teeth and washed my face, I feel like I accomplished something!  With all this snow, I’ve been cooped up inside so long my rational thinking went all out the window.

Why should I clean? I mean we’re not going anywhere! (Duh, that’s why I should clean, because I have to live in this mess!)

Laundry what?  I mean who needs clothes when you have jammies? (My poor, poor husband.  I actually feel sorry for him and am disgusted with myself for wearing pajamas this many times in a row!)

Cooking?  Who wants a real meal when all we want to do is snack due to boredom (I may or may not have let my daughter eat five suckers all at once just because it was slightly entertaining).

Productivity?  I’m snowed in!  I have tons of time to be productive, so I can do that later! (Or waste all that precious time on facebook, pinterest, the blogosphere and craigslist!)

We’ve been watching waaaaaay toooooo muuuuuch TV around here (please, I know kids aren’t supposed to watch TV before the age of 2 but we are SNOWED IN!  For the love please cut me some slack!).  We’ve been playing with the same puzzles, books, coloring books and dolls over and over again…  We’ve brought out the play tent and pretend choo-choo trains (wine crates anyone?!) and even made cookies (which we’ve been eating too much of as well!).  My daughter who is usually very content with being at home said to me the other day “go!”.  When  I asked her where she wanted to go, she looked at me like I was crazy– like I could take her anywhere and she would love me forever but she simply answered in an obvious tone “the store!”.  I would love to baby, but, ahem, SNOW.

So, I did what any normal mother would do who is bored out of her mind.  I brought out dice, and we fed the dice to the dolls, filled up some cups with the dice, dumped out the dice, dropped the dice in the washing machine (oops), found the dice, shoved the dice places dice should not be shoved and finally put the dice away (bad idea playing with dice when you have a 21 month old).  Back to puzzles (bless you Melissa and Doug with your cutesy wood puzzles complete with those “neat” plastic knobs…  I have stepped on one too many of those and while my feet are cursing my fingers will type bless you…)

I just got a ping on my phone, right now, no joke– there is a winter storm warning for tonight and then another storm is on it’s way this weekend.  Oh joy!

But this is Urban Hallelujah, so…

I am grateful for the opportunity to actually be bored.  My husband has been working like a mad man while I am mad at Melissa and Doug puzzles?!  I am SO GRATEFUL for the gift of being able to slow down so much that I can even get bored!

I made the most amazing chicken broth FROM SCRATCH and people– it turned out delicious!  And I used my crockpot!  And it simmered overnight while I slept so I didn’t even have to look at it!  I guess being snowed in makes you creative with chicken that needs to be eaten!

I’ve been able to catch up on all the episodes of Parenthood.  Yes!  And the Bachelor!  Not sure if that’s a yes! or not. 🙂

We have had real family dinners around our table (protein shakes and broccoli count, right?!), story-time under piles of soft, creamy blankets, endless hours of hide and seek and a couple bottles of delicious wine!

We’ve enjoyed lots of rest!  Maya slept over 14 hours and then the next night 13 hours all while still taking her usual couple hour nap! I know, I’m lucky, my girl likes her snooze button almost as much as her mama!

But perhaps the best part of being snowed in is just relishing in my little family…  No where to go, no one to see, just these two fabulous people I am so lucky to love and be loved by!  So while I have been bored out of my mind surrounded by snow, I have been surrounded by love even more.

Thank you Lord, for even this much snow.

Hallelujah! 🙂

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