Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Searching for Pencils

Well, this is my first blog, so the pressure is on. After all, it ought to be something profound, something that encapsulates the essence of our family. Something to pass on to future generations...

Or maybe I should just start. Yesterday morning started like any other. I got up, exercised, prayed and read my Bible while sipping a cup of tea, took a shower, and then, the kids got up. I love winter mornings when they come padding in in their footy jammies.

We try to start school at 8, and usually we're successful in that. Nathan and Megan head upstairs to do 20 or 30 minutes of independent work while I finish cleaning up the kitchen and getting the little boys ready for the day. They marched upstairs at precisely 8 AM, and then, everything came to a screeching halt, as it often does.

Pencils. There are no sharpened pencils. Not in the schoolroom, not in the office, not anywhere in the house. And the pencil sharpener is apparently gone too. Now, you must understand, I have bought pencils- a whole big box of 100 for the start of our school year 15 weeks ago. And I've bought sharpeners- 5, to be precise. Everything from fancy electric ones to simple basic ones. Three have broken (they don't make things like they used to) and one has been lost. Well, make that two. The latest is officially MIA.

Pencils, I believe, cause more stress and chaos in our home than any other item or situation. To paraphrase James, "How small a thing sets the whole morning on fire." But this particular morning, we all took a collective deep breath, and set about to solve the problem in a way that would honor the Lord. I found three not very sharp, but still serviceable pencils- one for each child who would be doing school- and we got started. (Woe to the child who chews on his pencil and breaks it in half...)

Maybe this situation is more profound than it seems. After all, it's something that seems just out of my control. At the beginning of the year, I was determined that we would never, ever, ever be without pencils. We would have pencils and sharpeners everywhere. But despite my best efforts, pencils (and sharpeners) disappear into thin air. It's a test, I'm pretty sure.

Now, I'm happy to report that I have located the missing sharpener. It was in the accordion folder where we keep all of our paper. No one put it there. It just walked there on its own. Either that or maybe the baby did it. Poor Carsten is the only one who can't talk, so he gets blamed for just about everything.

Today, I'm going to focus on trying to see things as God sees them. Inconsequential things can build character and make us a stronger for the big things that come up.

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