He Restores My Soul

Shepherd Returns Jean Francois Millet

Thru the Bible radio is going through the book of Psalms right now. The Bible Bus’s extended excursion through this wonderful book weaves in all the Messianic references so a clear picture of Jesus Christ emerges. Perhaps the most pronounced foreshadowing occurs in David’s famous Psalm 23. Today’s Thru the Bible Sunday Sermon is titled, “The Psalm of an Old Shepherd.”  It is a wonderful sermon, you can listen to it here.

I was born in San Francisco, and raised pretty much lived, and continue to live, near this metropolis so I don’t know much about country living, although I’d like to learn. I needed to do my homework to understand not only the significance to this “shepherd” theme, but the many other pastoral themes in the New Testament like sowing and reaping. Jesus speaks to fishermen, farmers, blue-collar folks whose trades are far from my accounting/secretarial office experiences.

John quotes Jesus in chapter 10 of his gospel: I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. The writer of Hebrews adds: “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep..” And finally, Peter, the fisherman, encourages us that, “…when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

There is something of a longing in the human soul for someone like a shepherd, one who protects, provides and guides. Even Ira Gershwin tapped into this yearning with his immortal lyrics from the classic “Someone To Watch Over Me.

I’m a little lamb who’s lost in the wood, I know I could always be good to one who’ll watch over me.

In Psalm 23, the Shepherd not only provides peaceful green pastures and still waters, but also He protects while we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. A stroll all of us will take one day. And, finally, He wondrously promises an eternity – a forever – in His dwelling, foreshadowing that great verse in John: In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” 

In Psalm 23, David says the Lord, his Shepherd, restores his soul. Many believe David wrote this as an old man, after his great sin, and Psalm 51 is the expression of his great repentance in which he cried out, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.” God answered his prayer.

One night, years ago, I couldn’t sleep. What weighed down on my shoulders, I don’t remember, but I do remember it was during a time of real wrestling with my circumstances. Circumstances that I foolishly thought I had control of. Not long after this night, I learned, AGAIN, the meaning of Proverbs 3:5 and 6. This night, however, all I wanted to do was sleep, and I could not. I struggled to pray, and I could not. I tried to recite scripture and all verses fled from my memory except the sublime psalm of the shepherd-king. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Well, those words raced right past me, but “He restores my soul” was the brick wall I ran into. I stopped there and pondered, and let the balm of these four words make their way into my troubled soul. It wasn’t long before the wrestling subsided, peace restored and sleep came. Four words. The Bible is wonderful.

This whole psalm restores not only our souls, but also our lives.  Our souls are restored through the redemptive work of the Shepherd, Who laid down His life two thousand years ago for His sheep. Our emotional well-being is restored with peace, protection, provision and spiritual promises. And our bodies, sinless, will be restored on the Last Day.  All the hope of Eden will be restored on that Great Day.

Jesus is The Shepherd of Psalm 23, He is David’s Shepherd; He is the Good Shepherd of John 10, the great Shepherd of Hebrews 13, and finally, the returning and living Chief Shepherd of 1 Peter 5. He is our Shepherd, and He restores our souls.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I WILL dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

 

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Come Harvest Time

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Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

Last year, I bought this old Plymouth Voyager mini-van. What attracted me to this vehicle was not only the low price and the low mileage, but the fact it had a cassette tape player. Yay for me, I could play my favorite Cat Stevens cassette. But, alas, the tape deck doesn’t work, and the radio only gets one decent signal – KEAR, Family Radio’s SF Bay Area station. I don’t mind KEAR, so I’ve been listening to the Bible readings, the Bible contests (which are hard), Alistar Begg sermons and various types of Christian music.

Two wonderful songs have come my way through KEAR: “I Take Refuge in You” and “Come Harvest Time”. I absolutely love when new things come my way that resonate deep down, and these two songs do so. Another beautiful providence. Glen Campbell sings “Come Harvest Time”, and I knew I had heard it before, but never listened. Funny, the difference between hearing and listening! That I love autumn and harvest time is no secret to anyone, and this song poignantly tells the story of human sowing and reaping.

As we get older, we begin to reap that which we’ve sown. My weight doesn’t budge because I’ve sown poor eating habits. My pocketbook is “holey” because I’ve sown poor financial management habits. However, I’m seeing some glints of golden grain in some of my parenting endeavors. My kids, who have been through a lot, are always surprising me with acts of kindness towards others, smart financial choices, varying degrees of compassion and good common sense.

One son is just completing his first journey to Europe and North Africa. He kindly kept me abreast of his and his girlfriend’s activities with pictures of churches in Barcelona, of  a sultan’s lunch spread in Fez and of the first Catholic Church in Lisbon. Despite the horrendous heatwave the Iberian Peninsula experienced this past week, he was able to hold up, and I’m sure he’s relishing the thought of San Francisco’s chilly fog as he makes his way home. I showed my Portuguese mother the pics from Lisbon. She was so excited about his trip.

This kind son asked me, “do you want me to get you anything?” I answered, “No, that’s ok, maybe something churchy for Grandma.” He immediately sent me a pic, a pic of a simple, silver Portuguese rosary from that first Catholic Church in Lisbon, with the text, “I got her that, don’t tell her.” This text conversation was going on with “Come Harvest Time” playing in the background. And what came over me quite strongly, was that….this is my gift. That my son already thought of his 90 year old grandma and purchased a gift for her that will be close to her heart…literally. A glint of golden grain, “Come Harvest Time”.

I know I’ve made many mistakes in my life, especially as a mom. But I am determined to make up for them by praying for these ten souls (actually they’re many more now with grandkids, girlfriends and a great son-in-law) and imploring God to bless them much like Jacob did when he wrestled with the Angel. By God’s grace, I will not grow weary in this endeavor.

 

Come Harvest Time

 

 

Positively Providential

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In Kevin Sullivan’s wonderful production of “Anne of Green Gables”, there was a scene when Marilla attempted to bring Anne back to Mrs. Spencer, the woman who arranged Anne’s adoption. Remember, Marilla wanted a boy and as she was dropping off Anne, Mrs. Spencer explained that the multiparous Mrs. Blewett was in need of a caregiver for her many children, at which point, Mrs. Blewett entered the scene. Mrs. Spencer exclaimed in delight that this was “positively providential”. Positively providential for Mrs. Blewett, but painfully providential for Anne had not Marilla, in her good and kind foresight, withdrawn her decision to return Anne.

Many times in my life, I’ve had “positively providential “ moments.  One of my favorite “positively providential” moments was at Simpson College in San Francisco, California.  I took two of Dr. Wallmark’s classes, “Literature of the New Testament” and “Life & Teachings of Christ”. Dr. Wallmark was such a great teacher, often, he would get choked up on the great truths of the life of Christ or a passage of Paul’s. It was like church every class. I think it was in the latter class that I wrote a final paper titled “Elijah During New Testament Times”. I had a lot of fun researching for this paper. I went to the Jewish Library in San Francisco often looking for primary source materials. I asked Dr. Wallmark what books may shed light on the understanding of who Elijah was and his role in Messianic literature during the New Testament times, he replied that Raphael Patai’s “The Messiah Texts” was the book to get.

I was a library nerd back then too. I scoured various library book indices looking for Patai’s book. Could not find it. No Amazon back in the ’80’s. One day, at Simpson’s library, one of my favorite hangouts, I was at the counter checking out other books. There, near the checkout, was Raphael Patai’s “The Messiah Texts”. Whaaaat!!!

You’ve had those moments, chills run through your body. I trembled when I asked the librarian, if that book was free to check out. She was puzzled, she said it was not even a library book. Really? Perhaps someone lost it. She said she didn’t know who’s it was, there was no name in it, and I could have it if I want it. No way!! I said sure. (I still have it.)

Was Dr. Wallmark around the corner chuckling? I’ll ask him when I get to heaven. I went on to get an A- (reduced to B+ because it was late) on the paper, with a great comment from Dr. Wallmark, “this would make a great masters topic”.

Not all providences are positive when they first appear. Many times in my life, I’ve had “positively providential” moments even in the midst of some painful and difficult circumstances. Dr. McGee just finished the book of Esther. Providentially, Esther is raised up to be Queen in the nick of time to save her people, much like Joseph did in Egypt. Even what seems to be a painfully providential situation, it can become positive. My buddy, John Forbes, just posted this Oswald Chambers quote on Facebook:

Behold, He is coming with clouds… Rev. 1:7

In the Bible clouds are always associated with God. Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances, within or without our personal lives, which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God. Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith.

The clouds are the dust of His feet” (Nahum 1:3).

One of those cloudy times, a very lean and tough time when the income had stopped for a while, we were blessed with one of our favorite providences. During that time, one of the kids kept the radio on KFRC. She will remain nameless since she doesn’t like to be ID’ed in my blogs. During that time, KFRC had a radio contest where you had to identify five songs from like three notes. Each attempt to win only made the pot larger until it was well over $5,000.00. My nameless child listened diligently, and learned the names of all the songs. Then one day, it was time to call in. You had to be the 20th caller. She was under age, so I did the calling. I got through, and was the 20th caller. I recited the five song titles. Pause. And the excited deejay exclaimed, “You won”. Everyone was screaming. Over $5,000.00. At a time when we desperately needed money. I gave the nameless child more than $300.00 and used the rest to catch up on the mortgage and pay the bills. Positively providential even in the midst a difficult time. I will pay her the full five someday

Another time, ten years ago, we moved from the East Bay to the Peninsula. After problems with my ex-husband and other dangerous situations, it was unanimous to leave the area out of safety for my kids.  So I moved to my parents’ house with 8 of my kids. From the frying pan to the fire, I’ve always said.

How did this painful providence become positive? Well, some elements stayed painful, the close quarters, the disagreements with my father, the financial straits, etc. However, as I look back, it was a positively providential move. Before we moved, my father offered to pay all my living expenses in the East Bay until I got on my feet. That was the plan before things got bad.

Did I know, did my dad know, did anyone know that the bottom of the economy was going to drop out in three short months in September 2008? God knew. So despite all the painful elements of this circumstance, God put me and my kids in a place where we were safe and taken care of. He also provided a nice Christian school and a generous family member to situate my kids in a warm, nurturing school environment. I’d say that was “positively providential”.

Julian of Norwich said,  “but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”  Solomon wrote in Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  In spite the tough times I’ve lived through, I have witnessed many wonderful and positively providential occurrences.  I’ve learned to trust in the Lord, even when times are dark and cloudy, and to give Him the opportunity “to work all things together for good“.

 

Waiting For Hope

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Probably my favorite passage from Mrs. Charles Cowman’s Streams in the Desert – July 26

For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness  – Galatians 5:5

There are times when things look very dark to me–so dark that I have to wait even for hope. It is bad enough to wait in hope. A long-deferred fulfillment carries its own pain, but to wait for hope, to see no glimmer of a prospect and yet refuse to despair; to have nothing but night before the casement and yet to keep the casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my heart and yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior presence–that is the grandest patience in the universe. It is Job in the tempest; it is Abraham on the road to Moriah; it is Moses in the desert of Midian; it is the Son of man in the Garden of Gethsemane. There is no patience so hard as that which endures, “as seeing him who is invisible”; it is the waiting for hope.

Thou hast made waiting beautiful; Thou has made patience divine. Thou hast taught us that the Father’s will may be received just because it is His will. Thou hast revealed to us that a soul may see nothing but sorrow in the cup and yet may refuse to let it go, convinced that the eye of the Father sees further than its own.

Give me this Divine power of Thine, the power of Gethsemane. Give me the power to wait for hope itself, to look out from the casement where there are no stars. Give me the power, when the very joy that was set before me is gone, to stand unconquered amid the night, and say, “To the eye of my Father it is perhaps shining still.” I shall reach the climax of strength when I have learned to wait for hope.  –George Matheson

Strive to be one of those–so few–who walk the earth with ever-present consciousness–all mornings, middays, star-times–that the unknown which men call Heaven is “close behind the visible scene of things.”

 

The Day I Shot The Rat

Here is an excerpt from my self-published book, “The Plight of the Hare & Other Stories From the Shoe”. Illustration by Breena Nuñez.shot

Thumpety-thump. Thumpety-thump. My eyes flew open and I froze. My ears strained to identify this mysterious sound. A mouse?? A big mouse??!! Urgh. Thumpety-thump. “Uh oh, more than one?” I thought. A childhood fear prevented me from looking because it could have been a giant monster or something.

“Francisco,” I whispered to my sleeping husband, pushing him to wake up. “Francisco, there’s a big mouse in the kitchen. Francisco,” I shook him harder and he mumbled. “I heard a mouse, I think he’s under the fridge, sounds like he’s chewing on a tortilla or something.” Still asleep, I shook him real hard and raised my voice, “Francisco, there is a mouse under the refrigerator, can you go check it out?” Finally he turned over and paused, listened to the sound under the fridge; opened one eye, then bolted straight up. “That’s no mouse!” He announced. He got up and grabbed his BB gun from the top of the bookshelf.

“What are you doing?” I whispered.

“I’m gonna shoot that rat!” he said determinedly. “A rat, oh no, not a rat,” I moaned.

I watched him aim; I couldn’t look toward the fridge because I didn’t want to see how big the rat was. It was quiet for a long time, the chewing stopped. Bing! A shot sounded from the BB gun.

“$#%^&” cursed my husband as he got his foot caught on the blanket while stumbling out of bed. He tried to hit the fleeing rat with the butt of the rifle, but just tripped and cursed some more. He came back to bed “I’m gonna get that rat.” He was getting back under the covers when I heard another noise, “What’s that?”

The noise was coming from the sliding glass door. A beautiful mosaic of cracking glass was slowly climbing to the top of the door. It actually looked pretty with the street light shining in the background.

“You hit the sliding glass door?!!” I said, holding my smirk inside my mouth. “I’m going to sleep.” And he turned over.

“Was it a big rat?” I winced at the question. “Yea, a really big one.”

“Oh, no…” I went to sleep to the sound of crackling glass. The morning was a buzz as soon as the kids woke up.

“What happened to the sliding glass door?” one asked, “Who broke it?” another asked.

“Your father shot it,” I answered, “Don’t touch it, it’s gonna fall apart.” “Why did he shoot the door?” one asked.

“He didn’t mean to shoot the door; he meant to shoot the rat.” I said while pouring my coffee. “A Rat!!!” they all screamed, “there was a rat in the house.” The chorus of voices ran down the hall to their little room and tell their big sister, “Dad tried to shoot a rat last night, but he missed and hit the sliding glass door. It is all broke now.” All kinds of hoots and hollers came from their little bedroom.

Dad walked in the door and the kids crowded him, “How big was the rat, Dad? Why’d ya shoot the door, Dad? You broke the door; I thought you knew how to shoot.” “Weren’t you in the Army, Dad?” The questions were fast and furious, and the look of irritation grew on my husband’s face. He grumbled as he passed them and gently broke off the pieces from the door and cleaned up the mess.

“You guys, get away from him while he cleans up or you’ll get cut.” I ordered.

It was a slow morning; I was too tired to cook breakfast so I got some donuts. I told the shoot-out story to the kids while we ate them, and Francisco left for work.

The day went by typically, and the kids were in the backyard when I heard a commotion begin. I waited to see if it would die down or get worse. Emilio ran in the house and immediately went to the bookshelf and grabbed the BB gun.

“What are you doing with that?” I asked him. “Gracie has the rat, and I’m gonna shoot it.”

“What, what!!!” I squawked. “Wait, no one is gonna shoot that rat…..but me.” I took the rifle from Emilio and followed him out to the backyard.

The kids were excited, “Everyone get out of the way,” I ordered. Because of the construction work we were doing, the underneath of the house was fully exposed from the back side. From the backyard, you could see Gracie, our little black lab, slouching next to an unconscious rat under the floor.

“Did she kill it?” Emilio asked.

“I don’t think so; I think she just knocked him out.” “Are you gonna shoot it?”

“Yep, stay back and watch those babies.” I lifted the rifle and carefully aimed at the rat, and yes it was a big rat. In the line of vision, stood a very frightened Gracie.

“Get outta there Gracie.” I ordered and she eagerly fled.

I re-aimed, it was very quiet, and I steadied my arm. BING!!! PLUNK!!

“You hit it, you hit it!!” the kids all yelled.

“Do you think you killed it?” Elizabeth asked holding the hands of two toddlers.

“I’m not sure, but I will try again. Hold on to those babies, everybody stand back, I’m gonna shoot again.” I aimed again.

BING!! PLUNK!!

“You got him again, he’s gotta be dead now.”

I wasn’t so sure, and really didn’t what to do now. We pulled it out from under the house with a rake and tried to see if it was breathing. The roar of my husband’s van could be heard as he came around the corner. The kids dashed to meet him in the front of the house.

“Mom shot the rat!! Mom killed the rat!!” The kids were all talking at once.

Here was my chance to look like Annie Oakley, so I slung the rifle up on my shoulder and coolly sashayed out to meet my husband.

“What’s going on? Did you find the rat?” He asked, looking at me kind of funny.

“Oh, the rat,” I said calmly, “I shot that rat, and I didn’t miss.”

“Really, congratulations, Ma Barker.”

Dad finished the job and we stuck the rat in the donut box and threw it in the garbage.

THE END

Today I Feel – RX for Jessica

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Last night my niece, Jessica, posted the above sentiment on her Facebook status. Before I fell asleep, I managed to comment encouraging her to find Bible verses to counter those feelings. I’ll try to do that in this blog. Here’s her Bible verse prescription for the above ailments that trouble her, and all of us too.

I encouraged her to find Bible verses because I had, and still do have, those exact feelings. I’m sure most of us do. I especially relate to the “ugly”, “like I don’t matter”, “invisible”, and “not worthy of love” feelings, but I will tackle each of them. I have learned over the almost four decades of knowing the Lord Jesus, that He can transform my mind which in turn will produce different feelings than those above.

Today I feel abandoned…I think every human has felt abandoned, lonely and alone. No one truly understands. And that’s a true experience. There are many synonyms for “abandoned”, left, uncared for, forgotten. When I think of abandoned, I think of an empty house, abandoned, like the old Granville house in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. What changed that abandoned, empty house into a happy home? Life and love changed it. In Christ, we have a new life, in 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new is here!” John 3:16 says we’re loved, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” and John 10:10 says “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. Life and love, and to top it off, Jesus says in Matthew 28:20, “…I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Never alone again. Amen.

Today I feel ugly…I don’t think there’s a woman in the world who has never felt ugly. We are bombarded with images of unnaturally beautiful women everyday and then we look in our own mirrors…ughh. That may be one of the reasons I have few mirrors in my home. Antonyms for ugly abound: beautiful, pretty, pleasant, nice, attractive. Most of us can’t change our looks, but we can change our inner lives. From there, we can acquire an inner beauty that never ages. We have to admit we’ve got some ugly going on inside. How do we change that? One verse that helps is Psalm 34:5 “They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces will never be ashamed. When we look at Jesus, we become radiant, we have a spiritual beauty, and from that we get joy. Nothing gets rid of ugly faster than happy.

Today I feel hurt…Hurt comes to all of us. Physical, emotional, mental pain abound in every country, city, and family. Pain: Our great unifier. The opposite of hurt would be healing. Psalm 34:18 assures us, The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” and Psalm 147:3 promises, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up all their wounds.” As we draw near to Him, our hurts will be healed.

Today I feel like I don’t matter…The opposite of this feeling would be we feel like we do matter, that we’re important, that we’re special. The Bible says you matter to God. In the Old Testament, God says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” In the New Testament, Paul tells us how God showed us we matter, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Greater love has no one than to lay down his life for his friends, Jesus loves you that much. Believe me, you do matter to God.

Today I feel useless…This word “useless” reminds me of the debilitating slur some parents would hurl at their children, “good for nothing”. Praise God He’s not that kind of Father. Paul, after he declares we are saved by grace through our faith, says “…we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.You’re not useless, God will use you just where you are.

Today I feel invisible…What’s the opposite of invisible? Visible, of course, noticed, seen, but more importantly, recognized, not just seen, but known. Someone who knows you. David says in Psalm 139,

13For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

He knows all about you because He created you. You are NEVER invisible to Him. Hallelujah!

Today I feel like I don’t belong…Dr. Brené Brown in her book The Gifts of Imperfection writes: “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need in all women, men and children.” We all want to belong to someone or something. Psalm 100:3 says, “Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Jesus adds to this, I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” As Christian believers, we belong to Christ.

Today I feel not worthy of love…I know this one too well. I never felt like I was worthy of anyone’s love, let alone a man’s. Some where deep down I felt flawed, “irregular” like the marked down clothes at Target. I wrote a whole blog about how God transformed my feelings of worthlessness into beloved-ness. All I can say is we need to let God love us, and then we not only feel beloved, but we are capable of truly loving others. Here is a link to that blog: https://fromtheshoe.com/2015/12/05/and-my-soul-felt-its-worth/. Just like the Christmas song says, when Christ was born, “the soul felt its worth”. Thank you, Lord.

So, dear Jessica, here is your prescription to alleviate those “sick” feelings and come back to health. I pray for you that you will come to know the living Christ and be filled up with all the spiritual blessings He is ready to offer you. God bless you, little sister.

Love, Donna

 

 

 

Females and the Facilities

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We’re having a nice morning. Every one is well rested, all have the day off, and, miracle of miracles, it is sunny in Pacifica. We may even go swimming later.

Two of the five Fentanes females that live under this roof were gone for two of the three days this weekend. And the Fentanes female, who shall remain nameless, and who does a lot of the housework, (no guilt intended…well, maybe a little) cleaned the kitchen, even mopped the floor, and spit and polished the bathroom. The weekend has been very productive, housework wise for this Fentanes female.

In an attempt to extend the cleanliness of the apartment, the bathroom in particular, housecleaning Fentanes female asked very nicely, even sweetly, to her x-chromosomed brood, “Ladies, do you think today it’s possible we could keep the bathroom looking like it does at this moment?”

I did not intend to create a ripple in the cosmos, but the effect of that question on those eight ears, was remarkable.

“Mom, we’re girls, we’re not guys. We can’t keep the bathroom clean.”

“Ahhh, yeah…no.”

One was speechless, and the other one was so engrossed in some life or death battle on Fortnite that there was no response.

What is it with females and the bathroom facilities? It seems like the room is an extension of their very lives. The make-up, the towel mountain, the bras…geez, I’ve got like two, I’ve never seen so many bras. And the hair. I’ve already had maintenance out twice to unclog the sink. He asked, “What’s down there?”

“Uh, lots of hair and maybe the Alexa remote, I have no idea.”

I grew up with Noxema and Oil of Olay. Now there are five varieties of just Vitamin E oil, two large containers of coconut oil, an array of shampoos and conditioners. The White Rain (you know, the 99 Cent Store variety) is mine, of course. Razors, rings, soaps, solutions, brushes, bras, I tell you, I am amazed at the stuff that’s out there. Fake eyelashes that look like spiders. Not what I like to see on the counter first thing in the morning.

We live with one son. One young man who possesses one bottle of shampoo, one toothbrush, one hair cutting kit; that’s all. I think the girls believe the bathroom is an annex to their closets and make-up bags.

One of the characteristics you need as a mother is patience and flexibility. I’ve learned when to throw in the towel, or just pick it up. I’ve lived with personalities that never change. So, when it comes to my females and the bathroom facilities, I accept the things I cannot change and wait for the serenity that God is going to grant me.

To my surprise, after their showers, each of the girls picked up after themselves. Later in the day, one of the females eagerly asked, “Mom, what do we get for keeping the bathroom clean?”

“A clean bathroom,” was my serene reply.