First Impressions and Best of Intentions Hit the Ceiling

I understand what first impressions are, but what exactly are “the best of intentions?” Is that supposed to make a bad thing sound good or a good thing sound bad? 

My oldest daughter was coming home from college for the weekend. Her fiancé and his parents were also coming to spend the weekend with us. We were excited about getting to know his family better before the summer wedding.

Of course, major cleaning took place the week prior to the visit. On the day of our guests’ arrival, I’m sweeping up the latest brood of dust bunnies, (how do those things appear overnight?), when I notice something else that was not there the night before.

On the glass of a curio cabinet is a hazy film. The dry, odd-looking film begins at eye-level and trickles downward.

I retrieve a wet cloth and cleaning spray. Scrubbing what appears to be dried milk, I am wondering how it got so high on the cabinet. There is nothing on the floor. Wait a minute. Is that a smear across my newly mopped floor?


My eight-year-old son appears in the dining room. I interrogate about the smear on the cabinet and the floor.

“Dad was going to tell you but he thought he could just clean it up since you were upstairs cleaning last night.”

As the story unfolded, it became apparent that Zachary made his sister a chocolate-chip cookie dough milkshake the night before.  He was so excited to present her with his creation that his heels tried to pass his toes in route, which resulted in a collision with the floor.

“Dad, tried to wipe the milkshake off the floor.”

All the floor cleaner had been used in the week’s prior cleaning so I decided to bypass my burning desire to ask what he had used to “clean” the floor.

“What about this milkshake on the glass?” I asked.

“Oh, that. Well, we didn’t see that last night. I didn’t see it until this morning.”

“It’s three o’clock. When were you going to say, ‘Hey, Mom—There’s milkshake on the glass’? You know people will be here in just a few hours, right?”

“I meant to tell you. I forgot,” and he bounded off to play.

I finish cleaning the glass and walk to the kitchen to dispose of the mess. It occurred to me that if they missed the big smear on the cabinet last night, they might have missed some milkshake splash on the wall and baseboard. I return to the dining room to inspect.

My other daughter walks in and starts laughing. She compared my facial expression to that of Eddie Murphy’s in the movie, Daddy Daycare.

Remember the scene when he sticks his head into the bathroom to check on the toddler learning to use the potty? He begins looking at the floor and his face contorts with horror as he looks up the wall and to the ceiling. Well, that was me. I traced a trail of chocolate-chip milkshake from the baseboard, up the wall, and onto the CEILING! How in the world...?

I start scrubbing. I pull a chair over to the wall. I climb up to wipe the milkshake from the top of the wall. That’s when I noticed bits of chocolate-chip cookie-dough milkshake splattered and dried on top of the curio cabinet. Shaking my head in dismay, I begin to move china teacups to one side and start the scrubbing process all over again.

The baseboard, wall and curio came out sparkling clean. The ceiling with its bumpy white spray was another matter.

“Let’s get a knife and just cut out those pieces,” Zach offered.

“Zach.” My sense of humor had vacated the house hours ago.

“How about we throw a bowling ball up there to knock off the pieces of cookie-dough?” he asked with eyes gleaming in anticipation.

“Zach.” This time my tone of voice sent him scurrying off to safety.

My husband arrived home from work and the story grew more interesting. It seems Zachary left out the part of how half the milkshake ended up in his hair as he fell.

My sweet husband had the best of intentions. He tried to clean up this enormous fiasco without my help. He knew I had been cleaning all day and didn’t want to bother me with one more mess. He is a wise man and probably foresaw a frazzled woman snapping. His natural instinct as a protector kicked in and he did the best he could.

After I expressed my gratitude and thankfulness that Zachary did not crash dangerously into the glass cabinet, I reminded everyone that guests were coming.

“No one will look at the ceiling. No one will even notice it,” my husband said with a promise he’d paint it later.

The kids agreed. “No one will see it. Don’t worry about it.”

They were probably right. Who looks at the ceiling, anyway?

Later, the guests arrived and all was going very well. As they all sat down for a meal, I was in the kitchen getting my plate of food. I hurried back into the dining room so we could begin eating.

There they were…all of them…gazing at the ceiling.

My family was pointing out the brown, speckled spots on the ceiling and retelling the whole story!

I’m sure they had the best of intentions. So much for first impressions!

However, our first impression did break the ice and made us all laugh. We wanted everything to be nice for the arrival of our guests. We had the best of intentions for everything to be perfect.
But, we are real. Stuff happens—sometimes it affects us, sometimes it affects everything else in our lives, including the ceiling.




Celebrations and Exaltations

Don’t you love when spring ushers in warmer sunshine and longer daylight hours?  Although, for some people even spring days seem like long, dark winter nights. The occasional glimpse of sunshine is barely enough to keep them going.

But even on those lonely days, there is something to celebrate.  A party may not be in order, but joy is possible if there is a diligent search for it. Every day gives us reasons for exaltations.

Last week’s blog post was about when the powerless pray. A youth pastor was struggling to survive in the hospital after open-heart surgery. He and his family have been walking through some exceedingly tough days. They discovered that this young man’s aorta was torn fifteen years ago after a car accident. The doctors were baffled how he has been walking around and living a full life all this time. When they went in to make the repair, the damaged portion literally crumbled in their hands.  The past fifteen years has been a miracle for this man. Want to hear another miracle? He is now at home recuperating and exalting his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Months ago, the pianist, Ms. Evelyn, in our church fell and broke her shoulder and arm. She is in her seventies and has been unable to care for herself.  Her passions in life are her music, cooking, and caring for others. Many days were filled with pain and discouragement. Some said they didn’t think she’d ever be strong enough to come back to church. Another person mentioned the impossibility of her ever being able to play the piano again. Last week, Ms. Evelyn came to church. This week, she played the piano.  Shedding joyful tears and sharing her testimony, Ms. Evelyn exalted her God.  

For years, a woman has been praying for the salvation of her brothers. Last week, while she and her husband were out of town, her youngest brother suddenly passed away after suffering a heart attack. Grief-stricken, she and her husband traveled a long, heart-broken road home. They clung tightly to their Shepherd even when it seemed all hope was lost. There is great sadness due to the loss of the loved brother. But tears of grief merge with tears of joy.

A pastor, who had been visiting the brother, shared how this lost sheep had found the Shepherd and had found peace before leaving this world. Even though hearts ache, there are exaltations lifted up to the Savior.

Hopefully, your day is sunny and bright. However, if circumstances find you in a dismal place—keep searching for the joy.  Look past the cobwebs of pain and discouragement. Peek inside every annoying crook and aggravating cranny. It’s there, but you will need to look to the Son to help you find it.


The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
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.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. 

Isaiah 61:1-3


When the Powerless Pray

Have you ever had a peaceful day quickly swirl into a situation where you had no control? Has your heart wrenched with agony because you were powerless to change the circumstances occurring in your life or someone else’s life?
A young, youth pastor in our community is in intensive care after open-heart surgery. Getting off the ventilator is proving difficult. His blood pressure dangerously flunctuates.

His wife stays by his side. His mother, father, and brother are there as well. Little children miss playing with their daddy.
Life for many has taken a nauseating spin. The kind of spin that brings you tearfully to your knees.
When faced with such circumstances, some people feel hopeless…powerless.
The family of this young man is drained emotionally and physically. Realizing they do not have the power to make this loved one well, they do not, however, feel helpless. Everything that is out of their hands, they place in the hands of Jesus Christ.
Many Christian brothers and sisters of this family want to assist them in any way possible. They offer words of comfort, run errands, and more. These things help but they don’t change the situation.

Christians are not immune to the troubles of life. When tough times hit, that’s when the powerless pray. They rest secure in the sovereign wisdom and almighty power of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

People gathering for prayer in the middle of town.
Many churches have been praying for this family but a few nights ago, they decided to unite in prayer. They met at the water fountain in town. It was cool and windy. They prayed together for the healing of this young man and for his family. The skies grew dark as the evening of prayer continued. Small groups huddled together with many prayers going up simultaneously.

Cars slowed down to see what was happening. Windows were rolled down in order to get a better view and in hopes of hearing something.
At one point, the stoplight turned green but the cars did not move. Drivers lingered, desperately wanting to know why these people had gathered in the middle of town. Questioning one another, “Have we missed something?”

Before the congregation left, they sang praises to God. Even though the night air was chilly, many stayed and fellowshipped with one another after the prayer service ended.
The last report is the youth pastor is off the ventilator. Praise God! However, he is still in critical condition. The prayers will continue.

Reportedly, 85% of patients with his condition do not survive. He is surviving and hopefully soon, thriving with a new strength.

God’s mercy is great. His loving kindness lasts forever. He holds his children securely, no matter what. 
What about you? Are you in the midst of a storm in your life? Feeling hopeless? Powerless?
Please don’t keep driving on your way. Do you only want a glimpse of what Christ has to offer?
Park the car—you’re missing something awesome and powerful! 




No April's Fool Here

Enjoy God's Gift of Laughter
I'm not playing an April Fool's joke on you. There's no blog post this week.

I am taking this week off to spend precious time with my husband and children.

I pray you all have a blessed Easter and enjoy time with your families as well.

I'll be back with something new for you on Monday!