Sarah Joy Albrecht

Where is Christ in the Small Things?

Jul
29

Via Facebook, my friend wrote,

“In Christ Alone” seems so irrelevant when you’ve just spilled 2.5 pounds of flour everywhere. Where is Christ in the small things?”

My dear friend,

I’m sorry about the flour!! :(

I’ve had my share of messes to clean, even really stinky ones. I find that “the small things” are disguised little tweaks along the process of molding you into the person God wants for you to be.

Some ‘small things’ are especially frustrating, like losing your passport the night before your big trip —but, they are more than that. They are valuable teaching moments that draw you closer to God if you soften your heart.

‘Small things’ are opportunities for you to think of Christ and what he would do in the situation, even though you feel like losing your temper or questioning your faith.

Focus on your Savior instead of the clean up, as if you were doing the work just for him.

Picking up the proverbial flour and throwing it around the room in a heated rant is probably not the most profitable way to deal with messy situations.

Even if we are upset, we can also be…

Humble – Yes, I’m an adult and sometimes I spill flour!

Thankful – I am upset this flour is ruined, but thankful God provides for our food needs, and that this isn’t the only substance of our last meal like the widow and son met by Elijah the prophet!

Gracious – Despite it being one of my least favorite things to clean up horrible messes, I will do my best for God’s glory.

It is tough sometimes, though! Like, I don’t know, hmm…. when your five year old is sprayed in the face by a skunk or your seven year old physically fights with you because he’s afraid to get closer to the “spider toilet” and instead pukes on your only pair of sneakers.

(Okay, in that latter incident, I did lose my temper BIG TIME… and had to apologize to my son!)

We truly see Christ when we choose to put off the flesh and to put on the heart of Christ. We see him when we consciously applying the cross to the details of our life, knowing he laid down his life for us.

One last thing — there is nothing wrong with having emotions. Christ was just as human as you and I and he understands what it’s like to be faced with a bad day or a ridiculous incident. Such things are part of life. It is good for us to pour our hearts out to Him who understands us so completely, body and soul.

Accidentally spilling flour isn’t a sin, and I’m sure Christ had his share of interesting things happen while he was here on this earth! Certainly he knows what it feels like to have an annoying day!

What if Jesus was in your kitchen when you accidentally spilled? Would he tell you how clumsy you are and make fun of you? Or would he just say, “It’s okay. You have a lot on your plate, and this is just too plain overwhelming at the moment. Let me help you clean it up?”

Sometimes we get angry with ourselves and project that God must be angry with us, too. When you think of God’s voice, especially in frustrating situations, do not think of it as angry, overbearing, quick-tempered, and as coming from one who is seeking only perfectionism. Instead, picture the voice of someone who loves you very much, even when you’re feeling your worst.

Remember — it is while we were ‘yet sinners’ that he died for us.

1,000 Words : Girls Night Out

Jul
28

Girls Night Out : (Blogs linked) (L to R) Me, Elrena, Susan, Kass, Amelia (baby) + Karen, Sarah

We talked about everything from spiritual abuse to writing to vampires to edema to parenting to dance. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much!

Although we dined at Cheeseburger in Paradise, not a single one of us ate a burger.

I highly recommend the Mango Sangria AND the Spice Berry Sangria!

When is the last time you had a girls night out? Where did you go? What did you talk about?

I Cut Down My Lilies

Jul
27

I cut down my lilies today.

My dear friend and neighbor, Laura said I was sobbing so hard that she could hear me over the lawn mower.

Pink, yellow, orange lilies, Asiatic and Stargazer lilies. Their empty stalks had been choked out by eager, Morning Glories and thistles long before any of them even had a chance to bloom this year. Underneath them, no mulch was to be seen, the weeds were so dense. There was simply nothing left, no remnants of all of the love I had poured into the ground.

I mowed over my once-vibrant Black Eyed Susans… more like a Black Eyed Susan… as there was only a solitary stalk left from the patch, like a soldier desperately trying to keep his flag flying.

As I worked, one of the other neighbors came out and started screaming at me over the fence.

He rides and repairs motorcycles. He’s one scary dude, and some of the neighbors are so afraid of him they won’t talk to him. I always had made it a point to talk to him anyway. Before we left, we were on very good terms and even shared special batches of foods and freshly picked produce and flowers from our gardens.

None of this seemed to come to his mind at that moment. He was livid, spit flying with every word.

I was still choking back the tears over my beloved flowers. He didn’t care. He let me have it, full force.

“Since you’ve been gone, no one has consistently kept up with the yard. The weeds in the front are as tall as my waist. I have had to call the police more times than I can count for people trespassing in your yard, and once even for a guy trying to climb into your basement window. The sidewalks are covered in ice in the winter….” he went on, in this manner, inserting some very pointed cuss words throughout.

“The trash has been piled up for a long time,” he continued. “There are animals that come to check it out on your porches and then they come into my yard…”

Finally, I clenched my fists at my side and shouted back.

He wouldn’t have heard me otherwise.

“PLEASE STOP YELLING AT ME!” I said loudly. “I just mowed down my most favorite flower garden,” I screamed back, so angry and hurt I didn’t care that I was crying in front of him. “Did you know that I dream about this garden when I’m away? And then to find it like this? I am absolutely heartbroken over this yard! This house! And you stand here, swearing at me and threatening me over the condition of my house and you’ve been throwing large BRANCHES into my yard!”

This made him even more angry.

He started to yell about the branches overhanging his house and how he’s had to cut them himself… how there was no contact information for us.

This part wasn’t true, and I stopped him. I had given his wife contact information before we left, and noted that he even acknowledged that some neighbors had mentioned they talked to me online. I called him out on this, and he said that perhaps he hadn’t pursued getting in touch with me as well as he could have.

He started to calm down a bit.

“Look, I think of you as a friend,” I said. “I had no idea that things were this bad. I haven’t been here for two years. All I know is what I’m seeing right now. I am sick over the condition of this house and it is against what I believe about stewardship for it to have gotten this way. I know that the upkeep of this house is my responsibility alone, no matter who else was living here or who was hired to keep up with things. I truly didn’t know this was going on.”

He mentioned that he was upset because he felt like it was bringing down the value of his house.

He was becoming more quiet.

“It is bringing down the value of your house, and I’m sorry,” I said. “I will be working to correct this problem. I love this neighborhood and I want it to thrive – not just be trashed with junky houses like mine!’

He said, “I’m sorry for making you cry, Sarah. Deep down, I had a feeling you didn’t know. You put so much work into making this yard lovely. You must be really sad to see it like this.”

I said, “I am. You didn’t make me cry. I was already crying when you came over. This is my fault for not keeping closer tabs on this place personally. I totally understand why you are upset, and you have every right to be. It’s not your responsibility to keep an eye on the house. You have enough on your plate as it is. Thanks for calling the police when someone was trying to break in.”

I gave him my phone number, and he gave me his. “I’d be happy to help you in any way I can, Sarah. Sorry for yelling at you. I’ve just been really fed up about this place and felt frustrated that I didn’t know how to get a hold of you. I was actually going to call the police again tomorrow about it.”

Again. Sigh.

“I understand you were frustrated. I’m not mad at you for feeling a need to call the police over it. You were just trying to get something done about this place,” I said, again acknowledging his position.

He said to say hello to Tom for him, and I asked if he would say hello to his wife. He said that he would. “You call me if you need anything, Sarah. I’m serious. I want to help. I wouldn’t have given you my number if I didn’t mean it.”

We said goodbyes on neighborly terms, and with the assurance he’d call me first before calling the police in the future.

In the cool of the night, and safe from the bees that buzz around the weed flowers, I culled four enormous garbage bags of prickly thistles from the English ivy on the hill.

Meanwhile, he sat on his porch nearby and smoked a cigarette.

I imagine he needed one after that.

The Jamaican Hustle (Or, Why You Should Obey Your Tour Guide)

Jul
24

“Whatever you do,” said our tour guide for Dunn River Falls, Jamaica, “do not tell anyone your name or buy any souvenirs from the merchants – they are overpriced.”

With that, our royal blue bus, a refurbished airport limousine from Japan of all places, some ancient stickers on the backs of the seats giving away its familiar place of origination, swung around the corner and lurched into a parking spot.

The driver opened the door, and we climbed down the beat up, black linoleum-covered steps.

After an hour’s ride over steep highways and winding shoreline roads, it felt good to stretch while standing on the sidewalk. The sun was brutally hot, and I took a few steps toward the shade of a nearby tree.

“Ya mon!” said a guy standing next to our bus. “Welcome to Dunn River Falls! Is this your first time?”

“Yes!” I answered, truthfully.

“My name is CJ. I work here. What’s your name?”

“Sarah.”

“The falls are beautiful, Sarah,” he said. “The guys clean the rocks every day, so they’re pretty safe. It looks scary, but you will be fine.”

“Thanks, CJ.”

“Is this your husband?” he asked.

“Yes.” I was thankful to be stepping closer to Tom. Something didn’t quite seem right all of the sudden. Why did this guy care?

“He has a beard that looks like Moses! What is his name?”

“Tom…”

Oh, craaaaap. Suddenly, the tour guide’s words came back to me and made perfect sense.

Mr. Shadypants was putting something in my hand. A woman. Carved from wood. With my name etched on the side… next to someone the name of someone else that had been quickly scratched off.

“In Jamaica, the woman is the boss,” he said, trying to impress me.

I was mad. Mostly at myself.

“Yeah? Your wife is your boss? And you’re okay with this?” I said, trying to hand him back his trinket.

“Oh, that’s a gift for you,” said Mr. Shadypants, pushing it back towards me with his open palm. “We men say, ‘No problem!’ See how it’s carved right here?”

My skin crawled as I noticed the guy’s pupils were dilated as big as saucers. Why didn’t I see this before? Crap! Crap! Double Crap! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

In his other hand magically appeared a male figurine with Tom’s name carved along the side. Beard and all. Wow, Mr. Shadypants was fast.

“Tom, mon!” he said, getting Tom’s attention. “See how they kiss?” He smooched the two figurines together. “This is a gift for your wife. She’s a good woman,” he said. “This one, though, well, I was hoping you could give me something for it… you know… whatever you think it’s worth. I have a family to feed, mon!”

Tom shot me a lethal look, retrieved his wallet, and gave Mr. Shadypants $10.

Mr. Shadypants went to go hustle the people getting off of the next bus.

“You had to tell him your name, didn’t you?!” growled Tom.

“You had to pay him!” I retorted. “You could have said, ‘my wife is crazy… no thanks!'”

“He was a scary dude!” said Tom. “Aren’t you afraid of big scary dudes?”

To my detriment, no.

I am a naïve little girl who always thinks the best of people… especially on vacation when my guard is, apparently, down. (Note to self!)

I hate myself because I know better.

Dunn River falls is amazing, and you must climb it if you go to Jamaica.

Just, please, don’t give anyone your name.

Have you ever been hustled into buying something? At what point did you realize you’ve been had? Please tell me your story so we can commiserate together.

Skunk Attack: Micah, Age 5, Sprayed in the Face

Jul
24

Micah, 5, was sprayed in the face by a skunk.

While vacationing in Tunkhannock, PA, this past week, Micah and Aiden were driving Aiden’s radio controlled monster truck through the campground and encountered a skunk.

Micah got a little too close.

In this YouTube clip, Micah describes what the stink cloud looked like just before it hit him.

He vows to keep away from wildlife, and, for the record, his eyebrows still stink.

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Aliens With Compound Eyes

Jul
19

Aiden and Leah : Aliens with Compound Eyes

While I shopped for sunglasses, two of my “children” revealed their true identities. In their warbled, extraterrestrial voices, they explained they were aliens with many eyes.

The better to see you with, my dear.

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