Hello friends, joining me on the blog today is Jill Ulven.  Jill is the PIM contact for the East Coast Conference and you can read more about her HERE.  I hope you enjoy this bit of encouragement as much as I did!

My house is not clean. As I walk by a pile of dirt and dog hair gathered alongside the baseboard in the kitchen, I am disgusted. There is a huge glob of salsa in the kitchen sink, no doubt from my son’s midnight snack. I take a picture to show him the mess he left behind. Everything is in disarray. I wish I had a maid!

I grab the broom from the messy closet and begin the daunting task of housework. Where does all the dirt come from?! Most of it comes from my goofy German Shepherd who carries a big red ball around in his jaws all day, dropping it at my feet to play. It is often covered with dirt or filled with water from being dropped in the pool. His blond undercoat sheds and gathers everywhere in the house in little hairballs. The black hair from our Lab-mix can be found on the staircase, half way up on the landing, where she slumbers during the day; making sure no one comes or goes without her.

As I sweep, I work my way around the tall 1x4 board marking the growth of my two boys, now almost 17 and 20 years old. I sweep around the shoes at the front door; one, two, three pairs of shoes belonging to the boys sleeping over in the bonus room. I sweep around the dining room table, covered with National Honor Society reference letters waiting to go out for my high school junior; one to the youth pastor, one to his teacher, and another to his supervisor at work. There is a Macy’s receipt for the suit I bought my college boy so he could look professional for his job fair interviews at Virginia Tech. In the office, the beach bag from a weekend away with my husband still sits on the floor and I am reminded of the relaxing time together in Chicoteague the last weekend of August.

There are nose prints on the window from the same goofy Shepherd who sits by the window guarding the house while we are gone, and waiting patiently for us to return. There is a towel on the floor to dry off the dogs after a long walk in the rain. The sofa pillows have been rearranged for the ideal backscratching position. There are four aces on the ottoman signally the long-awaited victory of a stupid solitaire game I have been trying to win for almost a month! They have been there for a couple of days. The backyard is picked up, and I am reminded how just last month it was littered with items from my son and his friends’ attempt to build a raft from boogie boards, pool noodles, a kiddie pool, duct tape, and bungee cords.

Once everything is swept, the dishes are put away, the counter is wiped down, I pull out the griddle to start the pancakes. The boys just now waking up in the bonus room will be down soon. They always ask for pancakes; chocolate chips only for Ethan; butterscotch and white chocolate chips for Zachary and Matt. Whipped cream on all. My son describes the gourmet chicken quesadilla’s Jack made at midnight with spices and multiple cheeses, and boasts they cleaned up by themselves. I notice my rotisserie chicken is no longer wrapped up in the refrigerator and smiling in my heart, decide not to show him the picture I took earlier in the morning.

My house is not always clean, but it is full of life and memories.  Someday it will be empty and maybe then I will get a maid. For now, my heart enjoys the hustle and bustle of those who come and go, leaving dirt and hairballs along the way.