Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fragrance (10/24/05)
TITLE: The Best Fragrance
By Venice Kichura
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
But when it comes to my own house, I feel inferior. Ever since I set up housekeeping years ago, I’ve panicked when people visit. I just know my house doesn’t smell as good as theirs.
It doesn’t help being the only female in a house where even the pets are male. Only hours before dinner guests arrive, my teenage sons would fry bologna sandwiches for lunch or my husband would burn popcorn. There isn’t an air freshener on the market to cancel a burnt bologna or popcorn smell. Or just before my guests arrived, my Boy Scouts would return from their weekend campout, scattering their filthy socks throughout the house.
Then there’s Hercules, our smelly 75-lb boxer. No matter how much Carpet Fresh I sprinkle on the carpet, I’m sure guests still smell “doggie BO” when they walk through our front door.
I also appreciate how many hostesses have green thumbs and grow fragrant flowers in their front yards. When you walk up their driveway you smell the sweet blossoms---not dogs.
After planting half a dozen flowerbeds that died, I finally gave up and converted my front flower bed into a rock garden.
And, as for the backyard, I’m sure the former owner of our house would probably cry if she could see what’s left of her old flower garden. This woman had a green thumb, growing various sweet-smelling flowers. Now, after six years in my care, it’s more like a weed garden. I’m sure I’ve fertilized the weeds and wild flowers, while digging up the real ones. There is one hardy rose that reappears almost every summer, but it’s probably because that’s where we toss Hercules’ dog crap.
When we first saw this house I was impressed with the stunning, fragrant hanging flower baskets in the sunroom and couldn’t wait to move in and show off my own hanging flower baskets. But after tossing half a dozen dead plants in the garbage, I’ve finally settled for artificial ones. No maintenance, no dead leaves, but no fragrant smells either.
After years of trying to be somebody I wasn’t created to be, I’d finally accepted who I am---I’m not even close to Martha Stewart.
But, recently, I found myself getting back into panic over my house. As we’re moving next year, this old house will soon be for sale. Now I’m back to using all the tricks of making my house smell good.
Unfortunately, I’d also started snapping at my husband, again, who continues to burn the popcorn and throwing the dog back in his doghouse when he throws up on our new carpet. But even giving Hercules weekly baths and washing his blankets still doesn’t keep me ahead of dog BO. I’ve stocked up on home fragrance oils, and have planned to fake the smells of freshly baked bread and vanilla cookies. I’ll also sprinkle potpourri in every room and vacuum baking soda on my carpets.
Getting caught up in frenzy, I recently took a substitute teaching job just to get out of my house. On the agenda was a birthday party for a little eight-year-old with cerebral palsy. Her mother visited our classroom to help with the party. Handicapped herself, she struggled with muscular dystrophy as well as an active toddler and newborn baby.
Thinking how I would have lost my mind if I were her, I was awed how this special mother handled her special children with such patience and love. There was something so refreshingly different about her. She even smelled good. When I asked her about her perfume, she said she only used a body wash.
Then I noticed a cross around her neck and I realized she was a believer. Maybe her body smelled good, but it was the fragrance of Jesus that drew me to her. She had the best fragrance.
Sure, a sweet-smelling house is a “good thing” as Martha Stewart says. But the fruit of the Holy Spirit --- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control---operating daily in my life smells sweeter to my houseguests than any bowl of aromatic potpourri.
”But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spread everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV)
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