Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stop Sweating Small Stuff

For a little over two weeks now, as most of you know, I have been on bed rest due to back surgery. I would love to tell you that it has been a joyous time full of book reading, movie watching, and many conversations with the Lord, but that of course, would be a lie.

I have had a very difficult time with bed rest. I don't think as a mother that complete bed rest is even remotely possible. Of course, I have done more resting than getting up, but none the less, I have had to get out of bed a few times more than I probably should have.

Shannon and the boys have had to take over all of the "chores" that I normally do, and I appreciate their help and efforts very much. Even with that being said, there are still so many other things that I "normally" do, that have not been done in a long time. I don't say that to complain, I'm just saying that it is driving me crazy not being able to "keep" the house exactly how "I" like it.

Now don't get me wrong, I am no June Cleaver.........

I'm probably exactly a little more like Roseanne.

And since I have been on bed rest, I have become completely a little overwhelmed at all of the house work that is not getting done while I am stuck here in this bed.

The dust is so thick on the furniture that you could draw pictures in it.

The dish drainer needs a good scrubbing with the Mister Clean Magic Eraser.

Dog hair is taking over everything.

And I don't even want to discuss the school room that needs to be organized and cleaned before our school year starts next month.

I could continue, but I'm sure that you have had enough get the idea.

The other day, I wandered into Daniel's room to look for something, and what I saw when I opened his bedroom door......well let's just say I had what my momma has always called a "conniption fit!"

I'll admit it.

I freaked out.

Like Bill Cosby's mom, I declared Daniel's room the worst pig sty I had ever seen in my life!

But if the truth were told, I don't think even pigs would want to live in that mess that he calls a bedroom.

Needless to say, I immediately had to go get back in bed and take several slow,deep breaths.

Lots of them.

Daniel of course, didn't see what all the fuss was about. He said, "Mom, you are freaking out! Stop freaking out! It's just a bedroom! Who cares? Gee Whiz!"




After I calmed down, I remembered a book that I have titled, Don't Sweat The Small Stuff with Your Family. It was written by Richard Carlson.

I asked Daniel to get it off of the book shelf and bring it to me.

As I thumbed through it, I hoped that I would be able to embrace all or even some of his ideas, and literally stop stressing over the small stuff that was completely overwhelming me right now in my life.

His thoughts are all very common sense approaches to our every day lives, but it's definitely easier to read about the ideas than it is to practice them.

But one of his thoughts really struck me. It is Chapter 9 of the book and it is titled, "Think of Taking Care of Your Home Like Painting the Bridge."

As anyone who has a home knows, there is always work to be done. For example, the house needs new paint, the gutters need cleaned out, the yard needs mowed, not to mention the constant mountains of dirty clothes and dishes, etc., etc. And all of these things can at times be so overwhelming!

I know Shannon and I sometimes feel emotionally bogged down just by all of the things around our home that need repaired, not to mention the daily amount of general housekeeping.

So in this chapter, Richard Carlson talks about the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Bay area. (My mother has been there!....I'm smiling at you, Mom!)

Of course, this bridge is something most Americans are familiar with.

It is a beautiful sight to see, isn't it?

But what you may not know, is that virtually everyday of the year, this bridge is being painted. The painters start on one side of the bridge, and by the time the work is done, they have to start back over at the beginning. The painting of the bridge is NEVER done!

I let this information sink in a bit, and I realized something. Every picture you see of the bridge is beautiful. I can't recall ever seeing a picture of the bridge that it did not look majestic.

And just think, it is constantly being worked on. Not once have I ever noticed the spot that needed painting on that bridge. I just see it as a whole, and it is always stunning.

So I thought of my own home. I need to look at it with those same eyes.
My home is lovely(flaws and all) just how it is today.
Yes, it is in need of much repair and maintenance, but it is still a wonderful home.
We will have work to do on it every day this year and in all of the years to come, but that is okay. The same would be true if we moved into a new home tomorrow. Everyday we would still have the same chores to do, and the house and yard would require the same daily upkeep.

I was talking with a friend on the phone the other day; she is planning to come see me soon. I was very excited at the thought of her coming to visit, but before I even thought about what I was saying, I said to her, "Now you have to remember, my house is quite a mess; I haven't been able to do any housework lately, so please just ignore the dust and clutter."

She gently and politely said to me, "You need to remember, Amy, I'm coming to see you, not your house." (Yvette, you are a treasure!)

Anyway, I won't lie to you and tell you that I will never be overwhelmed again about this same topic, but at the end of the day, housework really is some of the small stuff of life that is not worth sweating over.

I love the saying that I have heard countless times. It goes something like this, "At the end of life, no one ever says, 'Oh, I wish I had vacuumed more.'"



sa061545@bellsouth.net said...

Baby, that was so funny! and I LOVE the Golden Gate Bridge story - how true is that!!!! and it's ALWAYS majestic in every picture you see! And your last sentence summed it all up!!! Your kids have a Mother & Father who care more about them than a clean house any old day!!!! That's what counts!!! I LOVE YOU!!! Mom :)

My Goodness said...

Fantastic post. Thanks for sharing that...maybe it will help me keep things in perspective.

Hang in there, friend.

Cheffie-Mom said...

I'm so sorry I have not stopped by in a while. And to say the least, I can see you have had a tough past couple of weeks. I hope each day you feel a million times better!

Doran & Jody said...

Nice way to look at things.
One of my husbands favorite sayings is....DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF, MOST OF IT IS SMALL STUFF.
We now put that on wedding cards and/or advice sheets.
When I started to REALLY not sweat the small stuff is when I became happier.
I will have to find that book.
Get well!

Tracey said...

Just think of all the fun you'll have reorganizing everything when you've fully recooperated. Not to give unsolicited advice...but why not start a "Honey do list." I know Shannon is doing all the housework, but maybe ask him or the kids to do just one more thing a day...like the things that are driving you nuts. Pick dusting one day, clutter on that shelf the next....or you can just ignore me totally....get better and tackle one job at a time when your totally better. I'll be thinking about you! God Bless!

Denise said...

Amy, what a lovely post! I'm wondering if I've already been practicing this little lesson more than what was intended by Mr. Carlson, and I didn't even know about it - LOL! Thank you for sharing this and for sharing your wonderful talent for writing with such eloquence and humor. I will be smiling all day long. I do hope you are feeling better.

Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit said...

Amen! Thanks for the reminder, I really needed this!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Thanks for the lovely reminder. I tend to sweat the small stuff at times too. I'm glad you had some relief from your sweating via this grand book.

I too have been to San Fran and saw the bridge. However, I never knew about the constant painting. I did alway wonder why it was red instead of some "golden" color like gold! or yellow!


The Laundress said...

My favorite bridge of all time...I need to post my pictures of it...I was on it, under it and around it many times...Love love love it.

Makes me happy.

Liz said...

Oh Amy. I really really really needed to be reminded of this today. You are so right, but I'm right there with you. :)

hulagirlatheart said...

Important lesson to remember. (Not that I EVER wish I'd vaccumed more)I'm of the mind that someone visiting your home and finding dust will feel better about the mess they left at their own home when they got in the car to come see you. Hang in there!

Becoming Me said...

Bless your heart! That was a fantastic post. My husband had back surgery in Feb and trust me, he had no problem not worrying about housework. And he was right not to. I hope you can keep letting go and relax more.

Ellie said...

it is always a healthy decision to let go and move on. how are you?

Mia said...

Yep we are twins seperated at birth! I obsess over things not being "in their place" Does it make any difference in the grand scheme of things? No, not really! I had heard the bridge story and I love the analogy....also love that saying that raising kids is like shoveling snow when its still snowing..there is ALWAYS going to be something to dust, clean, fix,wipe, and paint!!
Praying for you..you little bridge painter you!!!!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Well said.

I have some of the same issues with my house. I used to be so much better at keeping house. And then I married Billy. And then I added two more kids. And now, things seem less insistent...especially the dust. However, I can get me a mean cleaning streak at the drop of a pin.

If I were closer, I'd lend a hand. Instead, I'll just send you some good thoughts right now.


Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

such true words to live by...if only we would release these samll things that we are so obsorbed in...hang in there and keep healing!!

In His Graces~Pamela

Kelley said...

Oh Amy, I really needed to read this! I don't even have the excuse of bedrest and I am completely overwhelmed at the condition of my home. It always feels to me like we just moved in (with stuff being disorganized and thrown around). But when Lelia came to visit she just gushed about how great it was. I guess it is just the eyes I'm looking through. Thanks for giving me this lift today!!

Praying for you,

Yolanda said...


I pray that today finds you better than yesterday.

Very valuable lesson here that has been received by a MARTHA!

God started revealing this to me in a very powerful way, when He put the yearning on my heart for a dog at our home. Life changed, because I learned a lesson of unconditional love. It doesn't matter what my home looks like, it does matter what my temple looks like. OUCH!

Blessings, truly Amy!


Lelia Chealey said...

I never knew that about the bridge! Kelley & I were just talking about being overwhelmed on the phone last night. We're both feeling the stresses of life & so I'll be pointing her over here to read this post if she hasn't already.
Rest in Him dear friend!
Thanks for sharing this, I really needed it! :)

Aleisha said...

One word says it all...AMEN!!!

valerie said...

Hi Amy,
We left Sat. morning early for Branson and just got back this afternoon (Wed.).
I'm behind on my e-mails and blogging and missed it terribly. :)
I loved this post and thought the story about the Golden Gate Bridge was very good.
Tell Shannon thanks for the pictures at the hospital. Yes, your hair is looking good. Melissa did a great job.
Thank you for the sweet comment on my blog.
Talk to you soon.

The Boyds Family said...

AMEN sister! See what happens when you venture out of bed more than you are supposed to?? That's a beautiful story and it really does put things into perspective. I can't wait 'til this weekend!!

And here's the plan...if there is a particular room that you really want cleaned, we'll just send my mom in there while we visit - she's like the energizer bunny. ;)

Kellan said...

I just saw the Golden Gate Bridge this weekend and learned that it is painted daily and has been for many, many years (can't remember how many) - fascinating. Great post, Amy - I hope you feel better soon and are up and around! Kellan

Kelly said...

"A" to the "men", Amy!
Thanks for sharing.....hope you are healing nicely.
Thinking of and praying for your speedy recovery....and may I say too, I just enjoyed another batch of your cheese dip too! My hubby really loves it!