My mother is truly the most incredible woman I have ever known. Tom always says, “If you look as good as your mother when you’re 75, you’ll be doing good!” I say, “I don’t look as good as her now – what in the world makes you think I’ll look like her at 75!” This woman not only looks good, but she is the most Godly woman and hardest worker I’ve ever known. She makes the Proverbs 31 woman look like a slacker….
We were on vacation this last week at the beach – kind of a random coming and going of our family, working around schedules. Tyler and Molli and the girls flew down the prior Wednesday, so I drove down the day before to haul all their stuff and my stuff and check out what repairs and things needed done. We were using both of our places, which are about a five-minute walk from each other. My sister Kim and her daughter and children came down on Friday, then Mom and Dad and Tom drove down on Saturday.
We had a great time, just very relaxed and casual – no big rushing around. Kim brought her kayaks, and we took them out on this little inlet one evening, and that was something different and neat. After the kids leave on Wednesday, Mom announces Thursday morning that it’s she and Kim’s last day of vacation and they have decided that our guest cottage needed cleaned from head to toe, and that’s what they wanted to do on their last day at the beach. No arguing with her, she was bound and determined. She couldn’t take the sitting around any longer and needed to do something. So she, Kim and I tear into the place. Mom cleans the kitchen cabinets, takes out all the dishes and silverware, makes sure it’s clean, inventories it, etc. Kim and I begin the cleaning of the blinds, the fans, the windows, scrubbing bathroom floors on our hands and knees, the typical “spring cleaning.” The place begins to look like a bomb went off in it…..
When you are working, though, with people you love, it does seem like a vacation (well, sort of!) We took a break and went to the pool, and back at it. Everyone but I was leaving the next day, so we still had stuff to pack and get out of the way. Kim begins to hook up the powerwasher and washes her kayaks and then Tom works on finishing powerwashing the concrete that had gotten yucky. Kim and her gang load their vehicle and move over to our oceanfront condo for the night so they didn’t mess up any of the freshly-done beds or baths. The next morning, everyone gets up early and I get them packed off. The condo also looks like a bomb went off in it, with the kids there all week and all of us hanging out, but I had the project going on at the other place, so I head out the door with them at 8:00 a.m. and begin trying to finish the disaster I had started there. When you begin to clean one thing, it uncovers another filthy thing, and the job just never ends. Then I cleaned a white wicker thing that looked more grey than white, so I decided it needed painted. That involves a trip to Walmart. You get the drift…the job that just keeps multiplying.
The big ordeal of the whole week had been that I had had to fire the cleaners. Now, get this – they KNEW I was coming, had been forewarned, and when I arrived, there was mildew in both bathrooms in the condo, hair in the trap, just a skimming of cleaning had been done (if that), as well as a gift card to Outback stolen. The guest cottage was even worse: Shower curtain with mildew all over it, food on the floor with ants….I could keep going, but I won’t. It was a topic of conversation all week, and just very upsetting. We had to interview new cleaners and get that going, plus go meet with the old cleaner to get our linens. Not really what you want to be doing on vacation, but it had to be done. As did this cleaning head-to-toe business.
We didn’t have many bookings for September, so I had advertised a half-off special for next week on Thursday night. Someone messaged me that they wanted to come Thursday through Sunday, which would have worked great. Then they messaged back and they already had gotten a hotel, so didn’t need it. No problem. So Thursday, I take a break from cleaning and run to Lowes. I get a message from these women that their hotel had fallen through and they wanted our condo. Great! But the message indicates they’re on their way! They meant THIS Thursday; I meant NEXT Thursday. And the condo was a nightmare – no beds changed, no cleaning done whatsoever as I had been concentrating on the guest cottage. I didn’t want to turn it down as we needed the rentals to keep all the lights on, so to speak, and it was a friend and someone I really like.
Well, Patty Vannest didn’t raise a slacker either! I went into panic mode, rushed back to the condo, called the new cleaners with an “emergency request” and frantically tried to pack up all my clothes. Now, remember, I still have Tyler and Molli’s stuff, two car seats, all their suitcases, a stroller, bags of purchases they’d made, plus my suitcases, all the food we didn’t eat, a carpet scrubber thing I’d taken down, and purchases I’d made for Tal’s new house. It was 96 degrees also, as I’m making all these trips up and down and getting all this packed. And the kicker is: I need to now move to the guest cottage which is partially cleaned, and all the bathrooms and bedrooms are spotless, and now I’ll have to mess one up to spend the night.
I know this is going on way too long (just like that cleaning job from hell that ended up resulting in a broken vacuum that I had to dismantle and repair the next morning before I could leave) but all this scrambling and feeling “not ready” made me think of the parable of the ten virgins from Matthew 25: 1-13. Five of the virgins were ready to meet the bridegroom, but five were not and were left out. Had I known which Thursday we were talking about, I would have been ready, but because I was not, a panic ensued and a rat race began. May we make sure we are truly ready for the coming of our Lord so we can look forward with anticipation and not panic!25 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.