Hanging tough through the ordinary

October 13, 2017

The test of a man's religious life and character is not what he does in the exceptional moments of life, but what he does in the ordinary times, when there is nothing tremendous or exciting 
on. The worth of a man is revealed in his attitude to ordinary things when he is not in the footlights. --Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I do think it's the ordinary, everyday, humdrum existence that can really show our character.

When the baby's diaper needs changing again. When the cat has thrown up on the carpet again. When you have to cook dinner again. When the dishes need to be done, the laundry folded, the bed made, the thank you letter written. The groceries bought and put away.

The temptation avoided.

These are the boring necessities of life. That need to be done every day, or life can quickly fall apart. The things that no one recognizes unless they're not done. No one notices a clean toilet, but everyone will notice a dirty one.

If we're honest, we all want to be part of, or be, the Big Deal. Get the attention. The spotlight. The thank you's for a fabulous achievement.

It's the daily grind that can flatten us. The daily saying no to laziness and temptations. This is where we need to stay faithful.


And just look at this . . . 

Can you believe the difference?! I can't get over how much I'm loving this.

I feel like we've moved to the country.

So the next step is some more topsoil, grading, and extending the lawn back a bit. We'll leave the further back area au naturelle. I want to add some color by way of (shade-loving) perennials. Maybe the gardeners out there can give me some ideas.


  1. Hello Deborah! We have Oswald Chambers' book also and it is really a book of wisdom. Every believer should have a copy in their home.
    I also believe that one's true character is shown in the ordinary things of life. I have always appreciated my husband and always believed that he was God's choice for me. He works hard every day, setting a fine example in the work place and everyone likes him. He leads the services at church and teaches the Bible twice a week and that requires study. He is in the limelight a lot. But what folks don't know is that after working all day, he comes home and helps me out in the kitchen and around the house because I need a helping hand at the moment. He even helps with the meals and helps with the dishes afterwards. I honestly don't know what I ever did to deserve this guy but I'm very thankful he's mine. God always knows ahead of time what His children need and I am so thankful for His grace and His gifts in my life.
    Your yard is gorgeous by the way and what a beautiful job you've done creating your little haven on earth. I can just hear the birdies singing and the peace and quiet of nature in your back yard.
    Thank you for sharing and have a fabulous weekend, my dear friend.

    Blessings and hugs,

  2. Beautifully said, Deborah!
    Isn't it so true that the things we neglect are the things that others will notice to be un-done.
    The same ole same ole can become hum-drum after awhile, but thats life, and life is as beautiful as we desire for it to be, even in the every day chores of keeping our homes for our family's.
    Our lives are to be lived out for the glory of God, even cleaning the toilet.😉
    Your back yard and deck is absolutely amazing! Such a beautiful place you have to call home. Enjoy!
    Have a beautiful and happy day, sweet lady ♡

  3. Sounds like an amazing book that I will endeavour to find and read. What an outstanding view that you have, your own little paradise.

  4. That's a classic Chambers quote, and what is the other one I love about drudgery? I'll have to find it again, basically the same idea as the ordinary quote, I'm sure.

    Amazing difference in your two views! It's like when Chip and Joanna take down a wall between two rooms! At our old place where we had mostly shade I constantly searched for perennial colored shade plants. I know the North Carolina mountain flowering shrubs we planted did well and looked beautiful in blooming times and I focused on caladiums but those had to be dug up in the fall. I'm sure there are lots others that you'll find eventually.

  5. Dearest Deborah,
    Yes, it is an ongoing battle to stay on top of all those little things!
    We have visited an elderly man from our Church who has no wife anymore but cats and dogs...
    He rescues baby squirrels that stupid people let drop out of their nest while cutting a tree with a squirrel nest in it. He uses a syringe to feed them a special formula of milk.
    So we biked over to his home and made a follow up visit this week to see the now very vivid looking and acting baby squirrels. Their eyes wide open, hands active and already grabbing bits of nuts and fruits to eat. And so fluffy with full fur out.
    BUT the home is not clean, dust-free or fresh smelling... So sad and it hit me hard and I was thinking; lucky Pieter with a much younger wife next to him. Together so far, as Team Vedder as I always call us, we have managed! The garden is nowhere like it used to be 20 years ago as it becomes a burden size wise but still, it looks nice!
    As for your shade plants, what about seersucker hostas in different colors? A great shade loving plant and easy to grow, especially in your region,
    Forget-me-nots are nice too... Oh, I'm dreaming away!
    Enjoy your stunning view, it makes such a difference indeed.

  6. I have that book too Deborah but I've gotten behind in reading it. Your place looks beautiful!

  7. Oh I love it opened that way! Wish I owned the trees that are hedging me in so I could do the same. Yes, there’s a whole lot of ordinary in a life, though they are the things that give me contentment.

  8. What a transformation, Deborah! It's gorgeous, and just in time for you to be able to enjoy seeing the color peek (and peak) through.
    Couldn't agree more with the need for steadfastness through the ordinary. We just returned from an extraordinary couple of days on a little fall trip, and now all I see are the mental list of things I need to do....both routine and seasonal.

  9. Oswald Chambers, his writings are timeless! And, your landscape is just gorgeous and I can't believe how different it all looks. Happy weekend!

  10. Like Vee, I also am content with the ordinary things of life. I am just amazed at the before and afters of your deck! Yes, it does look like a different yard. Great post, Deborah.

  11. Such truth spoken here today, Deborah. My Grandmother always told me that you can tell a person's character by how clean their kitchen sink is! haha! I think it is true! I did clean up cat puke today and gave the dog a bath and a million other little, boring things while the hubby cleaned the gutters and fixed loose walkway bricks. Sometimes I do dream of winning the lottery and hiring it all out, though. Maybe I'll get lucky.....Your new view is wonderful! You must be so pleased with the outcome. Hydrangea likes a shady place.....Sending hugs xo Karen

  12. I see from the prior comments that the spiritual has been covered :) As to gardening and shady plants you cannot go wrong with hostas :)

  13. Wow!! Your yard/deck is looking spectacular! If I lived there, I'd put in hostas. They love shade, they grow quickly, offer greenery and pretty blooms on long spears. You can dig them up and divide them anytime and eventually have lots of beautiful perennial green, from just a few plants (if you like to wait), or buy lots of them. They're one of my favorite shade perennials.

  14. Wow! The new view from your deck is fantastic, Deborah.

    What an insightful post on the value of the stark realities of everyday life.

  15. What an insightful post, Deborah. Yes, we all need to still give our very best, even in the daily humdrum of life. Thank you for the gentle reminder to do so.
    Your view from the deck is such a lovely transformation!! I'll bet you just stare and stare from your deck. It'll be fun to choose shade loving plants for your newly cleared area.
    Have a beautiful week, my friend! Thank you for the congratulatory wishes on the birth of my new granddaughter. xx

  16. Wonderful post! The longer I live, the more I see that every bit of life can be lived in service to the Lord, and indeed that is just how we as Christians should live our lives. Thanks for sharing this. And your new view from your deck is wonderful!

  17. This is such a beautiful post. Every day I pray that I will live my life according to God's will and use my time wisely. I know I am here to encourage and pray for others...and every day is important. Love your pretty view! Hugs!

  18. Hello, What a good reminder... Life is like that, but it is those very things that keep me moving. I had a lady tell me years ago, if you are thinking of doing something drastic, a move or a perm LOL
    She said wait three days... This to shall pass!

  19. Thanks so much for this post. With three young children, life can feel weighed down with repetitive, humdrum tasks. You've reminded me that there is still a value in carrying them out.
    Sarah from www.livechicandwell.com

  20. Thanks for this post. As a stay at home mum of 3 kids, sometimes I feel as though the countless repetitive, mundane tasks I do don't matter. You've reminded me that they do have a value after all.
    Sarah from www.livechicandwell.com

  21. "No one notices a clean toilet, but everyone will notice a dirty one." That about sums it up for lots of ordinary, but totally necessary things in our lives.

    I will always remember the part in Little Women when the girls decide they don't want to do housework, and wise Marmee says, okay, they didn't have to do any housework, but that meant (was her name) Hannah was also getting a holiday. The first day was fine but then it started to unravel as things got untidy and dishevelled, and cold things to scrounge up in the kitchen to eat. Everyone got a little grumpy, and the sisters soon realized there really is a certain sweetness in the doing of the ordinary but totally necessary tasks to make things run smoothly.

    Thanks for a lovely post, Deborah. A good reminder for us all to keep on keeping on.

    Brenda xox

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  23. Great post filled with encouragement. I read that quote by Oswald Chambers recently myself. Have two copies of that book.

    You sure have a great view now. Enjoy each day you are blessed with.

    Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady


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