There’s a five-foot inflatable palm tree in my bathtub–and I don’t know why. There’s a bowl of cookie dough hardening in my refrigerator–and I didn’t put it there. I have colored beads, foam visors, sawed off dowel sticks, leather shoe strings, glue, and multi-colored baskets scattered among three days worth of dirty dishes on my kitchen counter. I spent most of last week making imitation Torah scrolls out of sawed-off broomsticks and discount wallpaper. My house is torn upside down, we haven’t eaten a decent meal in days—and I’m wearing a toga.

It’s Vacation Bible School week. Our theme is: “The World of Jesus.” Our whole family is involved. My daughters-in-law are teaching the two-year-old class, my youngest son is the videographer, and I’m helping out in the make-believe synagogue. My husband is the ringleader, dressed in an authentic outfit our son sent him from the middle east. This educated, intelligent, man leads songs each night along the lines of “I’m A Big Green Frog And God Loves Me.” Our grandkids “helped” all weekend by running through the church chasing each other and screaming–while we tried to decorate.

The most children we’ve ever had at VBS is 121. That was our all-time record. So, this year, we prepared for oh, about 130. On Monday night we were blessed (blindsided!) by 151 squirming little bodies, AND ran out of cookies. (It is not good when you run out of cookies.) On Tuesday night we had 174, and the craft ladies started to hyperventilate. Tonight, we calmed down a bit with 164. Tomorrow, we don’t know what to expect–but we’re preparing for 200.

I haven’t written a word in days, I’m beyond exhausted. I’m hungry, but too tired to fix myself something good to eat. The rest of the family is as comatose as I am–with the memorable exception of four-year-old grandson Johnathan, who had waaay too much red cool-aid tonight!

And yet–the laughter of the children is still echoing in my ears, as are the squeals of delight when the puppets appeared on stage. Happy little faces–proud of the craft projects they made. Tired adults, coming each night after work, trying to make good memories for their children.

VBS week is, hands down, the hardest week of the year for our family. And yet, I can’t stop smiling while I’m writing this. Sometimes it’s good to stop worrying about deadlines, or waistlines, or all the bad stuff on the news–and just make something nice out of popsicle sticks.

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