Before and after

Our deck had become treacherously slippery, and so this past weekend, I borrowed a power washer from my dad. My husband got started, and I stared out the back door, mesmerized by what I was seeing: years’ worth of dirt and algae and grime stripping away like green paint, revealing the beautiful wood grain of the deck underneath.

Before  …………………………………………… and after

I was amazed at how dirty the deck had become without our even noticing it (and even after we saw the algae begin to appear, it took a long time for us to act on it). What I had thought of as merely grayed and weathered turned out to be filthy and gross.

Pretty soon, I went outside and asked for a turn at cleaning. For a brief moment, I was afraid it would be like Tom Sawyer and the white-washed fence, that I would soon regret asking for a turn at the work that looked like fun. But it was a cool, overcast day, and the work was so satisfying in an immediate way that I power washed the deck longer than I expected. My husband and I agreed that the work offered a zen-like quality that many chores do not. Continue reading

The small fire that sets the forest aflame

When you think of weather headlines so far this summer, the most prominent in your mind might be wild fires. Colorado’s wild fires grabbed headlines in June when they forced massive evacuations. NOAA’s June wildfire summary says the Colorado fire was the most destructive in that state’s history.

My husband and I were driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway this weekend and noticed a small fire:

Smoke in the distance (top right)

Because North Carolina has had plenty of rain this summer, we didn’t worry about this particular fire spreading and getting out of control. But seeing the fire did make me think of the work I’ve been doing on one of my book’s chapters.

James 3 talks about the fire our tongues can start:

So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of
great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set
among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets
on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. … But no one
can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who
have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come
both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be
this way. – James 3:5-6, 8-10

Can any of you relate? Ever had words fly out of your mouth that you immediately wished to take back? Ever kill a friendship with your words? Or had one killed by the words of another? I have. Continue reading