Work Cheerfully

Monday morning brings a peace to my life that differs from the norm. Mondays are supposed to be dreaded days, especially rainy ones. But for me, at least at this stage in my life, Monday is my turn to go, “Aaah” after busy weekends.

The hubs has driven the teenagers to school after countless hours of our reviewing To Kill a Mockingbird last night with 2son who hasn’t quite mastered how to study literature. In fact, I think I dreamed of Scout last night and believe that Boo Radley may actually live in my neighborhood. That might explain the grass-carpeted curbs.

So all is quiet in my house, save the hum of the refrigerator and the running of water from the washing machine, a sound signaling production, something to mark off as an accomplishment for the day—a domestic engineer’s version of a Day Timer.

The current sermon series at my incredible church, North Point Community Church, is called Game Plan, and it’s been fascinating to watch the impact it’s having on my family, especially 1son. Jeff Henderson nailed it on week 3 when he told us about paying close attention to those things we’re naturally good at, gifted in, or have a passion. Those may well be God’s thumbprint on our lives and for us to lean into them. That one statement was HUGE for us. For the hubs, baseball coaching came to mind. For 1son, I’m sure his music and desire to study music production in college was confirmed. For me, writing and speaking presented themselves. 2son? Well, let’s just say we’re still working on him!

Yesterday’s part 4 opened our eyes to look at opportunities in a new fashion, and again the light shone in 1son’s eyes as a big opening came his way from a ministry director, and he realized the benefit of leveraging that chance in ways he never before considered.

I was reflecting on notes I took at the writing conference this weekend and thinking of how it all plays into God’s timing. While we may be frustrated in the midst of the mundane, aggravated by the reasons why, when we look at each task as an opportunity to prepare for what’s coming next, those ordinary tasks take on a new importance. I’m sure all the hours last night combing over Harper Lee’s famed novel for the sake of my son’s grade will benefit my own novel writing in some ways.

The New Living Translation says it this way: Col 3:23 Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Even when those things are “beneath us” and not what we aspire to do, do them well. Give it your best effort. As for me, I’m going to enjoy the quiet of the empty house and go do some laundry for Christ right now. I might even iron!

Gratitude: having a thankful attitude

This morning I’m cashing in the gift of an extra hour due to Daylight Savings Time’s ending last night. In years past I’ve waited as much as a week to decide when I wanted to “take” my extra free hour, but this year I decided to get a jump start on it. So now it’s 6:00 AM on a Sunday morning. The sky is dark outside, and I’ve found my perch in my family room where my laptop awaited me.

Luckily, the preprogrammed coffee pot didn’t get the message about the time change, so it’s still thinks it’s 7:00, or else I’d be waiting another hour for hot coffee. Getting up early before the rest of the family feels like entering a secret world—where all the day’s possibilities lie undisturbed, waiting to be selected like new tubs of ice cream through glass coolers at an ice cream parlor ready to be stacked into a magnificent cone.

It’s an UpStreet day, of course, so in a matter of a few hours I’ll be on stage with a couple hundred children and leaders in front of me waiting to see what shenanigans DJ is going to have for them today. All sorts of serious fun wrapped up in the simple message of a big idea, gratitude. I hope God’s message will come through all of us involved in the production so that these children realize without a doubt that the messages we present them each week can guide them the rest of their lives.

As for me, it’s been a rich week filled with authors: musings with Terry Kay, a private book launch party for Karen White’s new release Falling Home, and yesterday’s Georgia Writers Association’s Red Clay Conference, where I saw among others Jack Riggs of The Fireman’s Wife and Jeffrey Stepakoff, whose first release, Fireworks Over Toccoa came out earlier this year. Incidentally, I had purchased that novel two weeks ago at the area’s best indie bookstore, FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock. I’m a loyal fan of the foxes. They’ve become not just a bookstore but friends, and I’m truly grateful to them.

Yep, gratitude is the lesson we’ll be teaching the kids this month. Having a thankful attitude, and it should be an easy one. I’m starting with myself.