Thursday, August 13, 2015

Mrs. Smucker's Busy Day

My cup overflowed today.

No, I'm afraid it wasn't my cup runneth-ing over with J-O-Y but rather the one in my head overflowing with stuff.

I often say I have a cup in my head that holds information about what I need to remember, who I need to call, what I need to take along, stuff like that.  This cup has about a half-cup capacity.

Anything that spills over gets forgotten.

This week is Vacation Bible School, and Matt is coming for a visit, and a dear older lady from church passed away.

This morning my phone rang.  Should we warn the funeral-goers about the traffic from the Country Music Festival?

I called someone who should know.

They texted back: yes.  So I put it on the prayer chain, a process that involves calling a number and then beeping through four or five options, and then recording the message, which involves about three takes because I always flounder near the end or someone walks into the room, hollering.

Another person called.  Could I set out the lunch for the family before the funeral tomorrow, if they buy the food?  Yes I could.

Another person called.  Did I realize they and we were in charge of the VBS picnic on Saturday, since we're on the missions committee?

No, I hadn't realized.  Yes, I can pick up food for up to 200 people at Costco, since I'd rather do that than set up tables and chairs.

I was trying to figure out how to pick up Matt at the Amtrak station at 3:30, go to Costco, and also get to the viewing by 6 pm.

Meanwhile I was trying to cut out and sew a skort for Jenny's friend Brenna who is going to a Baptist college next week and needs below-knee feminine athletic attire and I had told her I'd make her something.

Another person called.  Could I put on the prayer chain that they desperately need cookies for VBS?

So I did.

Paul's mom called.  Could she go to the viewing with us?  I said I'm not sure, with picking up Matt and stuff.  She decided to go with her daughter Lois.

Then I drove over to Horse Creek Farms to replenish our supply of fresh vegetables.

And washed another load of Dad's bedding, since Paul and I flew with him to Minnesota last week, and left him there, returning Friday evening, and now I'm washing his massive stack of blankets.

I texted Jenny to pick up lunch meat from the deli at work.

Ben came home from his class at OSU. We discussed possible weekend plans, such as hiking to Horse Rock, when Matt is here. Hey!  Maybe he could go get Matt at the station!  He said he would. Yippee!

I got meatballs out of the freezer for supper and butter out of the fridge to make cookies.

A guy named Derek Morgan called.  He had a telemarketer accent and said he is Emily Smucker's boyfriend and went to college with her, and he is worried about her because she hasn't been in da class.

I said, "Tristan, is this you?!" because it sounded like Cousin Darrell's son trying on a voice.

"How's that?  What did you say?"

I hung up.  He called back with more of the same.

I laughed at him and hung up again.

Emily was driving tractor.  I texted her about these calls and she found it funny because the guys in college who fell in love with her were always named Derek, but this didn't seem to be one of them.

Ben called.  The Bolt bus was at the station but Matt wasn't there.

Frantic calls followed.

I had gotten the date wrong.  Matt is coming tomorrow.

I texted the other kids so they'd know.  Steven said he won't be able to get off to come home this weekend at all.  He is a very dedicated firefighter/student but it made me sad he couldn't come.

I frantically sewed the skort some more.

And I decided not to go to the viewing after all since I'll see the family over lunch tomorrow.

I set sprinklers and kept overloading the pump, so I had to go out to the pumphouse and re-set the pump, which puts pressure in the new pressure tank, which looks like a Minion [weird little movie character].

Paul said he can go to Costco for me! What a relief.  So I made such a grocery list as you need for up to 200 people, such as 125 hamburger buns and 6 big bags of chips and 200 ice cream bars.  And he went and bought Much Stuff, and delivered it right to church and put the frozen stuff in the freezer, God bless him.

The clinic called and said I can pick up some samples of medication to tide me over until my order comes from Canada.

I put rice in the cooker and then drove to Junction City and fetched the medicine.

I fed the calves.

I made sweet-n-sour-meatballs for supper.  The meatballs burned because I was busy listening to Emily who was wondering if a young man from could stay with us for a few weeks while he works at Detering Orchards.  We decided "no."

I hung up laundry, and fed the cats, and texted Brenna about the skort, and washed dishes, and took the rings off the applesauce we canned yesterday.

There was more, but I don't remember it.  My day felt like Too Much, but it would have been So Much More if Ben and Paul hadn't gone to town for me.

Some people thrive on things coming at them from all directions.  Like Paul, for instance, who comes alive when his phone is always ringing and he has 15 decisions to make and is always going going going.

I have never done well with this.  I did better back when I still had my full mind, but now it is not fun.

And yet, it keeps happening, no matter how much I say No, which makes me suspect that I have a deep lesson to learn here, like maybe I have made an idol out of time alone and rest, since they look so impossible and appealing just now.

Yesterday was much the same as today, plus we were canning the first batch of applesauce.  To save my sanity I decided not to attend the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference Awards Ceremony last evening.  It was in Portland, and I was a finalist in the Published Article category.  I haven't heard yet if I won or not.  So I might be a real Award-Winning Author, but some Award-Winning Authors have to wash applesauce kettles.

So this is why I haven't been writing much, or blogging, or working on new projects.

Writers like Jan Karon, I am told, write in solitude, in pretty rooms, for hours a day.  I've always had the sense that writing isn't supposed to be my main occupation, and that real life, overwhelming as it can be, is what gives me something worthwhile to say, now and then.

On our anniversary, which was Monday, I sat down and hastily typed this on Facebook before I went to bed:

31 years ago today we got married. Of course we were impossibly young and naive, but we went into it believing that divorce was not an option. Ruth Bell Graham once said, "We never considered divorce. Murder, occasionally, but never divorce." So yes we've had tough times but thankfully neither of us changed our minds and here we are. I don't think you appreciate the gift of a strong faithful loving sacrificing man until you've been married for years and have seen the ditches littered with abandoned and neglected families. The hardest and best lesson I've learned: that only Jesus is Enough. And only Jesus can fill the deep-down hunger for security and affirmation and being treasured. Once you get that, then anything your husband does for you is icing on the cake. If you don't get that, then all your husband's efforts will fall short of being Enough, and you will feel a constant vague disappointment in the back rooms of your soul.

To my complete surprise it touched a nerve and got a lot of Facebook-style response--likes and shares and comments.

I told Ben about this.  "I just don't get it.  I can sweat for HOURS over a column and just get this lukewarm response, then I dash this out in five MINUTES and it goes bananas!"

He said, "Yes, but it took you a lot longer than five minutes to learn the things you wrote about there."

That is very true.

So hopefully in these overwhelming days I am learning something worthwhile as well.


  1. Just so you know... I read all of your blog articles, but hardly ever comment. Your writing touches a cord in my heart and mind that relatively few authors are able to do. It's just that, since I only know you through your blog and books, it's hard to know what to say in a comment without sounding weird. Like this comment maybe... But - I absolutely love your blog and your books and am glad that you squeeze time in to share your thoughts and life's lessons with people like me who enjoy "listening." Thank you!

  2. The craziness of an overflowing cup .....ideas and schedules and the needcto write. I think I have been waiting for Jan Karon's pretty room. Thanks for your article: I need to learn to write while life overflows....might not get the applesauce pots washed, though.

  3. Wow. I love how you make normal life seem more meaningful. Thanks, Auntie Dorcas!

  4. I started to feel anxious just reading about your day! You had too many things needing your help and/or attention. Just so you know...I think you're phenomenal without a big red "S" on the front of your garment. Love you!

  5. This was a wonderful read. I will admit I got somewhat lost a couple times in the blur of everything you had going on during your busy day. :) Thank you for being a great example of a godly marriage.

  6. "And yet, it keeps happening, no matter how much I say No, which makes me suspect that I have a deep lesson to learn here, like maybe I have made an idol out of time alone and rest, since they look so impossible and appealing just now."

    Thanks. I need to hear this in August from a woman who is further down the road than I yet still with the humility to prove that she is learning more deep lessons.

    Gina, who probably has a few more idols besides rest and solitude

  7. So inspiring! It gives me courage to go on! Life just gives us those days and thanks for sharing yours!

  8. Hey, at least you have a cup. My cup hit got dropped on too many times and broke into smithereens. Everything gets forgotten.

  9. Lady. I'm tired now that I read through this!! (But I know what it's like)