Posts Tagged ‘Dust’

I HATE dust!

It makes me sneeze, it makes me cough, it makes my breathing labored, and … it is dirty! I just do not like it. The only thing that is good about dust is how you feel once you’ve showered AFTER being covered with it … it is then that you are truly aware of what it is to be clean, to be cleansed, to be freed from the dust of the ground.

Dust is a given for me when I garden. Our house is built on land once known as ‘sand hill’, and it was appropriately named! I remember digging up top soil to build a sandbox in our back garden. Once that was removed, I already had a sandbox, without the box …

I love to garden! It is an opportunity to work with beauty, or at least beauty imagined 🙂 My daughter gets frustrated with me when I garden, because I have gardening ADD … I easily get bored with where I put my plants, and move them around frequently … often before they really reach the pinnacle of their intended beauty (okay so maybe it has more to do with my lack of patience …).

But, when I garden (or cook, or paint, or clean the house … or move from one room to another …) I get really, really, really messy with whatever I touch. I am sort of like a toddler on steroids! All I have to do is make one step out of my door, and I’m a visual wreck! And, by the end of the day, there is not a bit of my body (you should see the dirt and foliage that falls from my unmentionables!) that has not been ‘dusted’ by my surroundings! I look (and smell) like a living dust cloud … like Pig Pen from the Snoopy comics. And, when I blow my nose, at the end of a gardening session, well the ‘outcome’ is a sticky, dirty black mess of goo (too much information?).

Some days, I feel as though my life is dust. I am dry, and there is simply nothing good happening. It can even seem as though all I do is make life for others miserable, like dust that makes me sneeze and cough. Sometimes it seems as though my purpose has dried up, and that there are no longer any signs of life.

It is interesting to me that at a solemn event like a burial, dust comes up. The phrase “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” is a common part of the burial rites, and is said to have been ‘inspired’ from Genesis 3:19, which reads, “You were made out of the ground. And you will return to it. You are dust. So you will return to it.” Those are NOT encouraging words for me … I HATE dust! If my beginning and my end, on this earth (pun intended ) are as dust … well, that is just not satisfying. I mean really, what is dust, but something to be washed away?

And, washed away it will be … one day. As I am, I am just dust. And those ‘dust-like’, dried up, miserable days, they are reminders that, on my own, I am just someone who needs a shower, a bath, to be cleansed. And, once the cleansing, life-giving, hydrating waters have flowed over, and under and through me, until the dust that I am is gone, and the water that refreshes me has taken over and is all that can be seen …

then I am a beautiful thing,

a living thing …

not because of anything that I could ever do,

but because of what God has done with the dust that I am.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.

He has also set eternity in the human heart;

yet no one can fathom what God has done

from beginning to end.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Read Full Post »


New Years Eve, just three weeks ago, we were waving adiós to 2013, and making fresh promises as we prepared to enter 2014.

So, how are those resolutions, those promises going for you? Feeling down? Discouraged? Feeling lower than a speck of dust under your shoe?

There were so many personal responses to Sunday’s guest post by Annie Downs called Scared to Hope, I felt we needed a follow-up check-in.

So, here it is :

Isaiah 61

The entire chapter is titled … get this :

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

I don’t know about you, but I could really use the hope of a chapter title like that! To look upon 2014 as The Year of the Lord’s Favor could make our, already fouled up, resolutions … dust in the wind.

Speaking of dust, one of my most favorite parts of Isaiah 61 is the following :

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.

May the music of Gungor reinforce for you and me, that only God can take the ashes, the dust, of our lives and make something beautiful from it.

Read Full Post »

Cleaning is so therapeutic … and messy!

Over the past months I have been cleaning and purging all through the house. I have gone through a storage closet, through the garage, through all the children videos and DVDs, through a hall closet, a bedroom closet. Each time I begin cleaning sneezing soon begins to happen. The amounts of dust is directly related to the amount of time since I last cleaned that area.

When I clean I am thorough! I take everything off the shelves and out of the spaces, and I go through every container, every item, every box. I often separate items into one of three piles:

give away
throw away

Usually I am shocked at what I find. I find treasures that I forgot about, ones that bring such sweet memories back. I find other things I had forgotten about that I am not so thrilled to see again, or surprised that I had kept them in the first place. There are things that still fit perfectly, and other things that I cannot imagine how I ever squeezed into.

And so, I organize, I get rid of and I dust.

When it is all done I am usually a dusty mess! It takes a significant amount of time and effort to really clean a space. I feel such relief, such pride that my efforts have paid off in such a visually rewarding way, when I stand back and admire my work.

I am sure we all have similar boxes on shelves … and I am sure that not all of them are physical boxes.

As we grow and change we take fragments of our life, and pack them into boxes, which we then set upon shelves, to do nothing more but gather dust. Sometimes the things in those boxes are so painful, and bring back such heart wrenching memories that we allow the dust to settle on them for years so as to avoid having to face them again. Sometimes the things in those boxes topple into our lives unannounced and unexpected, jolted from the safety of their cardboard homes up on that out of reach shelf, and they surprise us with how much we do remember, but had pushed away so long ago.

When those most dusty of all the boxes in our lives get forced open and their contents strewn throughout our present life, we realize that it is impossible to pack them away forever. We realize that the things we want to stay in the past are actually attached to us as we walk through each day. They are the silent, invisible yet powerful forces that guide us in our decision-making. They guide us in whether we:

repeat the past
run from the past or
learn from the past

We think that we have put the boxes so high, and closed the door shut tight on the realities of the foundations of our lives, but they were never packed away, we have just been living like the ostrich who hides his head in the sand to escape the realities of his life. And like that ostrich, our heads will one day need to come up for air, and face the realities of our lives that we have been hiding from.

Each of us will, one day, need or be forced to take the dustiest boxes down from the shelf, and dare to look inside, resolving that no matter how much time and effort it takes, we will clean up the contents. We will need to decide:

what to keep
what to give away
what to throw away

Cleaning is so therapeutic …. and messy.

Read Full Post »

“I really do think my hubby is brave. In a world where men still seem to feel the need to control much of life around them, my hubby is confident in who he is … confident enough that he lets me also be who I am, and for that I am immensely thankful.”

I wrote the above this past summer in a post called Brave Husband where I wanted to give credit to my hubby for allowing, and accepting my creative side in our home and garden. And this post is the second and final post about the closet reno. that is (finally) complete.

It began with a vision in my head, and an itching in my soul to tear down, and build up. I ripped everything out of the closet, and put on my construction hat.

I had a plan, measured, cut, changed the plan, sweated, built, changed the plan yet again … I am a natural at adapting and modifying!

After the frame was built, the bench and lower shelves installed, much of what was left was the beautifying. And it doesn’t take much time in the beautifying to discover that it is there that things can get costly.

For example, I wanted to install a shelf, above the coat hook area (to place my very cool -cheap- older suitcases, for storage). I was thinking that rustic, wooden corbels would do the trick (much like the ones to the right). Well, apparently the law of supply and demand would indicate that there is great demand for them (try broken ones for $100 each!!!) thus, I needed a new plan.

So, off to the orange home store, where I scored four cast iron looking plant hooks, which cost less than $4 each. Then to the dollar store where I found real cast iron hooks for just $2 each (and since I had two from another project, I only had to purchase four).

My goal for this project was to not spend more than $100 from beginning to end, utilizing as many materials as I could from around our home, and purchased from thrift stores and yard sales. I was sure that I might just blow the budget completely when I started to seek out estimates for foam for the bench. The price range was $56 and up! After I picked my weakened self off the floor, I started considering other ways to get foam. My final purchase was a foam mattress topper, which I cut myself, and it cost $15.

The fabric for the pad was a bit of a concern too, but I said my prayers before walking into a thrift store one day, and low and behold, there was a roll of fabric for $10, that I really loved, and was only $10.

I was able to use moldings that I had laying around from previous projects, as well as paint, and many nails, screws, caulking (a little DAP will cover a multitude of sins poor cuts), and decor.

The following are the things I had to purchase:

$27.24 for drill bits and plywood
$48.29 for bead board and nails
$7.00 for the ‘TV cabinet’ that became my lower shelves
$10.55 for paint for trim (my old can had not been closed tightly 😦
$15.98 for the brackets to hold up the top shelf
$9.00 for hooks
$9.99 for the fabric
$15.49 for the foam
$7.oo for the two suitcases
$12.49 for the extra moldings

So, I was over my $100 budget, but still it was not a terrible cost, with the grand total coming in at $163.03, and NONE of that cost was labor, because I did it all myself (with a little help from my guy when I would get a screw stuck … I think we need a new, cordless, drill).

This project, with all it’s challenges, dust, mess, sweat and head scratching really fed my creative being. I felt refreshed for having the opportunity to demolish, plan, build and create.

Through the process hubby encouraged me, assisted with the challenges I have as the physically ‘weaker’ sex, and told me it looks so much better when it was all done. He knows that I tend to get a bit OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) when it comes to my creative projects, resulting in him BBQ’ing more meals than normal, driving kids more often than normal, and more mess around the house. Yet, he continues to encourage me to be … me.

I think I will keep him!

(… because I have a bigger project planned for next summer 😉 )


Read Full Post »

Chalk is cheap … I put those words together just knowing that there would someday be a message emerge from my clever creation of alliteration. Finally, months after creating the title in my “drafts” folder, I have figured out how to use it.

Back in the caveman days of my youth, we did not have dust free white boards, or clever ‘Smart Boards’, we had chalk boards. They were usually green or black, and the teacher wrote on them with chalk (or, if the class got out of hand, the teacher would scratch his or her fingernails on it, sending shivers down our back that would last until bedtime). Chalk … dry, dusty, chalk.

As a young student, I LOVED chalk boards! I loved how the chalk moved across the board, and I loved how easy it was to get rid of mistakes, because the eraser eliminated any trace of what I had written … except for the mound of chalk that would fall as things were erased, like a pretty pile of snow in winter.

That mound of chalk dust would lie on the shelf, at the bottom of the chalkboard, until a teacher cleaned it off into the garbage, or a classmate with a mischievous look in their eye, would sweep it into his (lets face it, it was almost always a male) hand, then he would blow it into the faces of whoever he wanted to make sneeze, and coat their faces with the white stuff.

I imagine that many of us still have that fine chalk dust coursing through our lungs, creating who knows what sort of health hazards.

To me, that chalk dust is like the impact of how we live our days, on the lives of others.

Like chalk on a chalk board, we write our messages, we teach our lessons, and we make our mistakes.

Like chalk on a chalk board, we write and write, we work and work, and the dust is all that remains in the end.

Like chalk on a chalk board, the dust of our day falls haphazardly through the air, through our community, through our circles, and we have little control over where it might land.

Like chalk on a chalk board, the impact of the dust of our days living lands, and it can be swept away to the trash, or it can get into the fabric of what it touches.

The dust of our days living, lands and sticks to the fabric of another person’s life. Our lives are not untouched by the lives of others. We are interwoven into the fabric of each others lives. We are a part of a bigger picture in the world, and the dust of our days impacts those around us.

For some, the dust of our days is like the beautiful vision of pure, white snow, feeling soft and gentle. For others it is like a dust cloud being forcefully blown into our faces, making us cough and gag.

Although we “are dust, and to dust we will return” (Genesis 3:19), the impact of our days lands or blows into the lives of others. We need to live knowing that we can either be an irritation or a blessing.

Read Full Post »

It’s been a day. A day when I felt like a speck of dust. A day when I wish I was a speck of dust.

The weight of this day has been heavy, but it is not just the weight of this day. It is the accumulation of many weighty days. Days when the weight of the world (self-imposed and otherwise) is great. Days when the needs of others are well beyond my own ability to meet them. Days when my own needs are laying on a shelf gathering dust. Days when the sun hides behind the dark clouds. Days when the past looks beautiful, days when the past looks gray, and days when the future looks … foggy … cloudy … dusty. Days when my cup is empty and my burden is heavy. It’s been a day.

Focusing on the good, the beautiful, the light did not lessen the weight on my shoulders and on my soul. Foot tapping, smile-inducing music did not remove the heaviness. Even filling the bathtub with warm tears did not move the scales in a downward direction. The heaviness was here, and it was digging in it’s feet.

I yearned for a long exhausting, reviving hike with my Beast, on our favorite trail, with the sun shining down on our faces. I yearned for a wordless embrace. I yearned for someone to whisper, “it’s alright.” I yearned for that childhood game of blowing dandelion seeds into the air. When you would close your eyes, and make a wish, and blow all of the air within you, to ensure that your wish would come true.

That is the kind of day it has been.

I wonder, if I were a speck of dust, if I were a speck of dandelion dust, would I fear the unknown? Would I wonder where the air was going to move me next? Would I feel the weight of the world upon my soft shoulders? Or, would I just lay back and move with the current beneath me, trusting that it’s warm embrace would take me to a new and exciting future?

Few answers today, mostly questions.


Read Full Post »

My Pastoral Ponderings

Pondering my way through God's beloved world


looking for wonder in everyday life

What Are You Thinking?

Theology is life. Learn to live well.

Sealed in Christ

Sixth Seal Ministries

Amazing Tangled Grace

A blog about my spiritual journey in the Lord Jesus Christ.


Giving a unique view and input on information to help individuals establish a concrete perspective on terms, words, topics and the world around them.

Following the Son

One man's spiritual journey

Fortnite Fatherhood

A father's digital age journey with his family and his faith

Raise Them Up

Parenting with Purpose


encouraging space to think deeply

Life- All over the map

A family journey through childhood cancer and around the world

A L!fe Lived

seeking the full life that only Jesus offers

J. A. Allen

Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins