Anders had a cold all weekend; that meant not having anyone over for a meal and to hang out. Which is fine--I think the down time was good for us all.

The weekend was speckled with plenty of washing and putting away laundry, mopping floors, making beds, cleaning bathrooms. It seems to pile up on us more that we're both working.

Beth had her usual morning Sunday run with a neighbor. They have a good routine together, it seems.

When she got home I got some time alone at the Y to do the elipticals, stationary bike, and several laps in the pool--not to mention a little time in the sauna and whirl pool. I enjoy swimming with the boys after school, but it is nice to have some time to myself every once in a while. Too often I don't take it. I need to be better at claiming some of that time.

In the afternoon, I took the boys down to the basement to do a little painting together--something we haven't done for a while (something else I don't do often enough for myself). Unfortunately, while we were down there I was supposed to remember the beans simmering on the stove while Beth had to run and pick up a camera lens from a guy off of Craigslist. The beans I had started soaking the night before. The beans Beth had worked on for a while as part of a recipe for our contribution to the meal at church tonight. The beans that just needed the juice to thicken before I added some tomatoes and corn for a Brazilian chili recipe. The beans I forgot about while we were painting.

I felt awfully bad about forgetting to check on them. In getting down on myself, I don't leave much room for Beth's feelings of disappointment. In my frustration, I get upset and yell when I shouldn't. I owned my mistake, but not the tension of the moment. I got something else made in the 30 minutes before we needed to leave for church, but it was a less than pleasant departure from home.

One of the books around our home is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day. After a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day in which nothing goes right and it seems everyone is against him, Alexander's mother acknowledges, "Some days are like that. Even in Australia."

Most of today was pretty good. But we all have those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad moments. Even in Australia.

* * * * * * * * *

As we've been going through the lectionary this Easter season at church, we've been looking at the book of Revelation. Yep, that Revelation. The one with all the weird visions. The one we tend to think of about being all about the end times. We've discussed how St. John is using imagery to introduce a fledgling church to a new paradigm about heaven and earth. Mostly, it's about Jesus (and the Triune God as a whole--Father and Holy Spirit, but mostly reminding the church of the Kingship of the sacrificed Lamb).

In each of the texts we've read, large groups of people, angels, and odd beings with many eyes and wings surround Jesus declaring His worth. He is worthy of praise, glory, wisdom, honor, power, strength, wealth, blessing, thanksgiving, etc. (see Revelation 5:12 and 7:12).

As we looked at Revelation 7 tonight, Jesus is surrounded by people dressed in white. John is told that these are the martyrs who have gone through the tribulation. In our discussion group we also looked at Acts 6-8 which tells the story of the church's first martyr, Stephen. He was stoned to death for being a faithful witness to God. In the midst of religious persecution, he doesn't waver, but reminds the gathered assembly about the history of their faith--that God has been faithful, but people keep turning their backs on Him. So Stephen is going to remain faithful, despite what the outcome will be.

Luke records that Stephen was "full of God's grace and power" (Acts 6:8, NIV) and that the others "could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke" (6:10). Before those gathered pick up their rocks to kill him, God grants Stephen a glimpse of Himself and Heaven--I think a reward for his faithfulness. Even as he is being killed, Stephen is full of grace and forgives his killers.

It seems we have a high calling to be counted amongst the faithful witnesses. To be a man like Stephen is no easy task. I feel I fall short continuously. And yes, I know God's grace and forgiveness cover my sins, and that one day I will be in Heaven with Him. But I also wonder if I'll experience Heaven as fully as those who have been so deeply faithful in their witness.

I believe I've written in previous years that we are a people of the resurrection, and how we live matters. Christ came and shed His blood for us so that we may live more fully in Him.

I try to live well. I still fail a lot. I know that God has been faithful and is worthy of praise, glory, honor, etc. Still, I sometimes forget to praise Him.

I think part of the point of Revelation is to assure us that it's okay. We've got all eternity to get it right. But when we can, as much as we can, we are to be practicing singing His praises.

And I think (I hope) that the more I practice, the better I'll be at staying focused during those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad moments.

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