>Baby Grace!

>My daughter-in-law, See, called yesterday afternoon with the news: she and Jason had just left the doctor’s office, where the sonogram technician told them there’s “an 85% chance it’s a girl.” There will be one more sonogram in a few weeks and maybe a final confirmation then, but you can’t always be sure. But for now, we’re excited about our first grandchild, Grace Cushman! (They’re still working on the middle name, so I’ll hold off until it’s settled.)

I love these amazing pictures of Grace in the womb. She looks like she’s sucking her thumb in a couple of them. They’re so far away—in Denver—and I’m so anxious to hold her, to tell her how much she’s loved!

She’s due on July 16, my grandmother’s birthday. (“Mamaw,” my mother’s mother, the one who sewed all my clothes when I was growing up.)

On a different, and much less exciting note, Maryanne Macdonald’s column in today’s Commercial Appeal is about organizing laundry rooms. Seeing her column reminded me that I have let yet anther week go by without doing anything organizational in my house. But I haven’t abandoned Operation Order Out of Chaos. I’ve just gotten a little out of balance (imagine that) by focusing more on my writing (messy, creative stuff) and exercising (three times at the gym) this week.

And this is Clean Week! I’m afraid that the state of my laundry room is a reflection of the state of my soul. Each night that I’ve attended the Lenten services at St. John this week, and actually mustered up the courage to slow down and look inside, well, let me just say that it wasn’t pretty, what I saw there. But like that messy room or closet or drawer or shelf, sometimes we have to make a mess—wade through the surface clutter—in order to get to what lies beneath. And why go through the effort and pain? Because what lies beneath is beautiful. Like Baby Grace, growing inside my daughter-in-law’s womb, made in the image of God. But unlike Grace, whose soul is still brand new and untarnished, ours are dusty and need some deep cleaning from time to time.

Tonight is the last of five Clean Week services in the row, The Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God. The service is a little more upbeat than the others this week, a kind of refreshment at the end of a week of hard work. Although it’s still pretty heavy stuff—watching the Mother of God suffer her own Son’s coming passion—it’s also a time of joyful expectation. I’ll leave you with these words from the Akathist Hymn, and wish everyone a wonderful weekend!

Rejoice, Thou through whom Paradise is opened!
Rejoice, key to the kingdom of Christ:
Rejoice, hope of eternal good things!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!
Please share!

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