Encouragement for Today - July 3, 2009


July 3, 2009


Sweet Smell of PineSol

T. Suzanne Eller


Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Matthew 19:14 (NIV)



I admit it. I’m the world’s worst when it comes to preserving photos. I have boxes of photos stacked in various cubbyholes. I tried to organize the pictures once. I divided them and placed them in large envelopes. My next step was to put them in albums. They are still in the envelopes—stacked in a box.


Melissa, Ryan, and Leslie are now in their 20’s and newly married. The chances of me ever getting these precious memories organized are slim to none, but I’m realizing something powerful. Memories aren’t limited to pictures.


Remember when, Mom…? is a common phrase in my house now. We have become the hub, a privilege once reserved for my husband’s parents. At holidays and special weekends, they drive up, unload luggage and pile into the guest rooms. We laugh and reminisce a lot around the table. Remember when we went on treasure hunts in the pasture? Remember when you jumped on the bed and popped Ryan up in the air so high it scared you? Remember that yellow Slip N’ Slide?


I do remember. But I also remember a young mom who worried that her house wasn’t spotless when an unexpected guest showed up. I remember the angst of trying to do everything and the fatigue when my day ended before my chores did.


But there were days that I threw caution to the wind and jumped on the bed, even though it might make others frown. I grabbed a shovel and gave the kids plastic buckets and we looked for old bottles and trinkets at the abandoned homestead nearby. We mixed Dawn dishwashing liquid and water and I laughed out loud as the kids flew like greased lightening across the yellow slippery slide. Some of those memories were captured in that pre-digital age, but most were not, but they are etched on the heart of my young adult children.


They reminisce about what we did together. They don’t reminisce about the smell of PineSol. Whether my house was perfect or how it compared to others’ isn’t even on their radar. It makes me wonder why I worried about it. Is it good to have order and structure? Sure. But don’t allow the pressure to be the perfect mom keep you from the beauty of simply playing with your children. The unmade bed will still be there, but I promise that a child will grow quickly and leave the nest.


Take a moment today and look past the clutter and the to-do list and play like a child again. It might not be a picture-perfect moment, but it will be a memory.


Dear Lord, time passes so fast. Slow me down, God. Let me enjoy the smallest pleasures around me. Let me play with my child instead of knocking down a to-do list. Let me laugh with my teen instead of fussing at him. Thank You for the sweet memories of today.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Related Resources

Join us for more Everyday Life encouragement


Real Issues, Real Teens: What Every Parent Needs to Know by T. Suzanne Eller 


Go to Suzie’s blog where she shares “Are You in Your Teen’s Cluster?” (Chapter Three of Real Issues, Real Teens) and check out her other books here.


Application Steps

Carve out time today to play. Turn off the TV. Put down the schedule. It doesn’t have to be an event. Just play.


Are you better suited to a schedule? Mark a day for play. Protect it. Give it the importance it is due.



Is life too busy? What is one nonessential task or activity that you can eliminate?


Does play seem foreign to you? Jump on the bed. I know. It’s crazy, but do it anyway. Break the seriousness cycle.


Will we really care that much about what others might say?


Power Verses

2 Samuel 6:14, “David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might...” (NIV)  


 © 2009 by T. Suzanne Eller.  All rights reserved.


Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105


Originally published Friday, 03 July 2009.