If you give a mouse a cookie…

“If you give a mouse a cookie…the children’s story begins on a rather positive note.
Suddenly, the mouse also wants a cup of milk then a book read to him and so on and on! When I taught Kindergarten, this was an annual Fall read. We would watercolor chocolate chip cookies and then make and finally eat our warm, gooey treats. The kids loved this story. The repetitive nature of the prose helped them memorize the story. Memorization along with rhyming are the keys to learning to read.

This mouse’s desires are never ending. Reminds me of the task of staining our decks, which we are doing right now. My husband and I thought one day process, no problem. Noooo! First of all, he realizes he MUST power wash the deck I am taping off with pretty sky blue painters tape. He sprays most of the tape (accidentally, I’m sure) and it rolls off the side of the stairs. It’s a blazing hot day, so my plastic gloved hands are dripping with sweat and Russet acrylic stain. Thank goodness, it’s a water based stain. How many slats and railings do we have? It is amazing I haven’t noticed the 500 plus railings before! Well, (oh darn!) I’ve run out of paint. I have all the railings inside and out stained. Looking pretty nice, if I do say so myself. I’ll get more paint tomorrow after I teach at the gym and get the biggest latte I can find. I’m going to need it to finish this “one day project.”
2nd day: The hardware store has ran out of stain base. It’s on SALE, after all! (Woo-hoo! I get a break from the blistering heat!) “It will be in tomorrow,” the hardware man tells me. Too bad. I’m getting out of town to ride my bike somewhere cooler. The decks will wait for me, I’m sure.
3rd day: Darn. They have the stain base in so I buy another gallon, more sponge brushes and rubber gloves so I can sweat some more. Hey! I finished the floors of two decks. Looking nice. Pretty blue tape everywhere.
Still 3rd day. Onto the small office deck since I have some stain left. My husband frantically tries to tape off the stairs before I leave little polk a dots of Russet stain everywhere. He is on the front porch blasting it with the water compression thingy. He’s off to the hardware store, again. He needs deck cleaner and some new brushes. Hubby comes back with all the above, plus a new American flag and headlight cleaner for my car. Boy, these decks are getting expensive!
Now, I’m out of stain. Quick, back to the hardware store for more stain and two pieces of redwood board to fix the super warped stairs. Oh, by the way: power outage at the hardware store. Just a slight “delay.”
On the front deck, the deck cleaner has worked amazingly well. Pick out new oil based Sequoia stain. Going to be beautiful. Must buy new oil based brushes, cannot use the water based brushes. What?!
4th day: We are finishing today, come heck or high water! I’m going on a run first and looking for the largest iced coffee I can find. Maybe I’ll add a shot or two of espresso. I’m going to need it. FYI…Training for a 1/2 Marathon is easier than staining your decks.
Well, we are all finished now. Whew! A one day project turned into four days, a couple hundred doll hairs and seriously seven trips to the hardware store. Our decks look beautiful. The really good thing is I have had a lot of time to reflect and be grateful.
Grateful for decks to sit and reflect on God‘s beauty in nature. Our Sierra mountain view is amazing! The hummingbirds that hurriedly come to our decks for nourishment are a stunning iridescent green and glittery ruby red. Our two dogs come and lay at our feet as we drink our morning coffee. Our kitty sits on my lap, just for a moment.  A neighbor whistles nearby. I rest and reflect on God’s love and presence on these decks. They look great. The time (and sweat) were well worth it. Now, I have peace and joy. I muse, I’m like this mouse with the cookie. If I start with one project, I might as well complete the rest of the projects while we’re at it. And so, I persevere, rather hilariously at times.
“We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance,
perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:3-5 NIV

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