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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

It's Time to Clean

Photo Credit:  biberta from
I had a “first” the other day.  There’s a first time for everything in this life, but I sure do hope there won’t be a “second” time for this one. 

I headed out the door to pick up the kiddos from school one afternoon last week.  As I was about to hop into my car, I noticed countless tiny pieces of shredded tissue in my front seat.  As a mom of three active kiddos, I immediately thought my children were the culprits.  Then, I glanced over to the tissue box, which looked like someone with tiny hands had frayed all the edges of the tissue on top.


There wasn’t much time to mess around with a full-blown investigation.  I quickly cleaned up the white fluff and the wheels of my brain started turning…little mice wheels, that is.  The nibble marks on the tissue box didn’t look like my kids’ nibble marks.

Gulp.  I got the heebie-jeebies and the hair stood up on the back of my neck.  I knew there was a significant chance that the mysterious tissue shredder wasn’t one of my children at all.  Since we live in the country, there was a larger-than-life probability that my perpetrator was the size of a bar of soap and squeaked.  I had a hard time driving thinking that the guilty critter might still be in my midst.  Under.  My.  Feet.

I attempted to focus on the idea that my children were behind this very late April Fool’s joke just so I could get to my destination in one sane piece.  After the children got into the car, I calmly inquired if anyone had been playing a game with Kleenex in the driver's seat, perhaps the day before.  When they all denied my subtle allegations, I announced the possibility of an uninvited guest in our car.  They all lifted their feet in unison.  I was the unfortunate one who could not do that while driving.

When we arrived at home, I left the vehicle outside and opened all the doors.  If he or she was still in there, I wanted to give the critter an opportunity to leave.  And.  Never.  Come.  Back.  We carried on with our afternoon homework routine and patiently waited for our hero, Super Dad to get home.

When Daddy arrived, I explained the notion of what I thought had invaded my car.  He was skeptical at first, but after further examination, we found rock solid evidence that a mouse wuz in da house…er…car…at some point very recently.  Yuck!

When I found the luxurious “nest” that little sucker had built under my backseat out of tissue shreds, I said, “Oh no you di’int!” (snapping my fingers in a big ole Z shape).  You are NOT finding a home in here, sweetie pie!”

Let’s just say that the inside of my car is now cleaner than the day we bought it.  After an unwelcome guest tried to move on in, we decided it was time to tidy on up.  We took every single thing out of that car, vacuumed like there was no tomorrow, shook out car seats and rugs, and got rid of anything resembling a tissue.  I can’t say that the outside of the car got the same treatment, but hey.

We’re not 100% sure where the mouse actually went, but it is NOT in my car.  My husband is still in the process of tracking it down…

Anyway, all of this tidying up made me think that it’s a great time for Spring Cleaning in all areas of our lives.  What things have taken up residence in our lives?  Are they things we value or are they unwanted things just taking up the space we need for grace?  Have love, peace, forgiveness, thoughtfulness, and selflessness found a home?  Or, have anger, jealousy, greed, grudges, and distractions taken up so much space that we don’t have room for the good stuff?

I know that a bit of cleaning always makes me feel better.  And, when we feel better, we shouldn’t forget the last part of this whole Spring Cleaning deal.  We need to tell others how good it feels.  We need to encourage others to give anger, jealousy, greed, grudges, and distractions the boot.  There’s no room for them in our lives.

We CAN do it.   I love this bit from Matthew Kelly:

“Have you seen how passionate some people are when they talk about their iPhone?  They tell you why they love it so much, point out the favorite apps and features, and by the time they are finished, you probably want one yourself.  That is evangelization.  Other people evangelize about their car, their company, or their favorite vacation destination.  It’s amazing how animated we can become about things that are trivial.  It is in our nature to evangelize.  We are all evangelists.  What are you evangelizing about?”

That piece gives me a great deal to think about.  In our own unique way, we are called to let others know and feel the love of God.  All of us.  And, we must do it with heartfelt passion.

I have to ask myself a question.  Am I as passionate about making sure that the negative stuff doesn’t find a home in my heart as I was about making sure that stinkin’ mouse didn’t make a home in my car? 

It’s time to clean.  If during the cleaning process, we find a way to make more space for God, church, and prayer, let’s be sure to share our experience with others.  Everyone needs encouragement.  There is no substitute for the blessing of encouragement.  This week, I challenge each of you to invite one person to “clean house” with you and take one baby step closer to Jesus.  You just might be the game changer in their life.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines, and blessings to all the moms out there and those who share motherly love with others!

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