We couldn’t find our toilet. We noticed it had been removed, but it wasn’t anywhere in the garage. And then later, I walked further into the bathroom and there, partially hidden behind the shower curtain, stood our toilet. In our bathtub.

All photos: Marlys

Two weeks ago, we returned from a full day out of town to find water running out of our house into the garage. A cold-water pipe had come loose beneath the prep sink in our kitchen island.

The flooding was minor, but enough to warrant pulling up flooring, baseboards, and trim in half the kitchen, the mudroom, around the corner to a bathroom, and into part of the family room.

Water got into one of the heating/air ducts and today, the Heating & Air Guys pumped 43 gallons of water out of the ducts. (Prior to this, six gallons was their record.)

Enough damage was done to necessitate transplanting the toilet into the bathtub, relocating the kitchen stove so now it disrupts the flow of traffic, and keeping eight high-powered fans and two dehumidifiers running day and night for several days—a sound similar to that of a jet taking off, give or take a few decibels.

Stove blocking the flow of kitchen traffic
Jet engines doing their work drying out the mudroom

It’s what you would refer to as a First World problem.

Counting what remains

In her book, Waymaker, Ann Voskamp wrote about taking up a dare from a friend to record one hundred gifts from the Giver:

… and I had been fool enough to do it. I’d seized a pen and wielded it like a weapon against the dark and jotted down gifts, moments of grace, throughout the day.

Ann Voskamp

It was Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, that inspired me to start keeping gratitude lists during the season of facing widowhood after dealing with loss of home and financial setbacks and cancer.

  1. Family, friends, and co-workers surrounding us with so much love and support as my husband is dying
  2. Getting to live in this beautiful town at the foot of the Cascades
  3. A meaningful job at the cancer center
  4. This tiny, cozy place we call home
  5. Flickering light of Salted Butterscotch candle
  6. Ability to get out of bed on my own
  7. Anticipation of Christmas
  8. Knitting soft, fuzzy scarves as gifts
  9. Snow falling
  10. Christmas Eve service bathed in candlelight

Actually, the list is quite long.

I learned back in those days to count what remained instead of counting all that was slipping away.

Counting God’s benefits

David, a shepherd boy turned king, wrote a beautiful song that is nothing but praise and blessing to the Lord for His love and mercy and grace. Verse 2 reads like this:

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

Psalm 103:2

If I were to list God’s benefits despite this small, wet mess, here’s how part of that list would read:

  1. An intimate relationship with my heavenly Father
  2. Dan—this new husband who thinks the world of me
  3. Friends who are like family, and family who are engaged in our lives
  4. Peach raspberry pie
  5. The joy of hiking tall mountain trails
  6. Aroma of pumpkin scones hot out of the oven
  7. Sound of water falling over rocks
  8. Laughter
  9. Blindingly blue skies
  10. Promise of spring

This list, also, runs a long way.

Fighting for joy

Voskamp’s quote from Waymaker continues:

For years I’d fought for joy because any life worth living demands that you refuse to let anything steal your joy.

Ann Voskamp

I refuse to let an inconvenience and the disarray in our home steal my joy.  

I refuse to count any losses, disappointments, or heartaches that are part of living on a broken planet.

I choose, instead, to count all that a good Father has graced us with, all the things I never want to take for granted.

This admonition from Nanea Hoffman:

For the week ahead: May your coffee, your resolve, and your Wi-Fi be strong, and may you face your challenges with humor, grace, and chocolate when necessary. And always, may you notice the small moments of beauty.

Nanea Hoffman

Our flooding issue may or may not have required a bit of chocolate.

But mostly it involved meeting our challenge with grace. And good humor. And noticing all the beauty and benefits in our lives.