Friday, October 31, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

Doing "nothing" can be wonderful.

We're in the process of lots of construction at Vista Springs Edgewood. They're going to be expanding the dining room, making a new entry, turning the library into an activity center, and I've even heard reports of a little bistro. It's going to be so nice!
Cosmetic work has already been done all over the place with newly painted walls, new carpeting and hand rails, and new light fixtures. And just this week, construction has begun in my neck of the woods. They're building a cage office for me. That is, the current activity room is being transformed into a therapy room so my corner is being walled-in as an official "office". I think the intention is to separate the therapy area from my work area - for privacy.
And I get that.
But I'm going from a great big open area to a space probably less than 9-feet-square.
And I'm already claustrophobic. I might need my own therapy sessions before I go "into" work every day. *wink*

OK. I'm finished whining.
On to this week's lesson...

On Wednesday the man doing the construction on my cage (Oh! I said I was finished whining, didn't I. Guess I lied. *ahem*) office was busy framing it in. Measuring, sawing, and nailing the two-by-fours into place. And when I walked into the room, I saw B (from down the hall, not the B across the hall) sitting in a chair. He wasn't doing anything, really. Just sitting there. I didn't have any activities planned in the next few minutes, and I wasn't sure what he might be waiting for.
I asked B if he needed any help.
He smiled and said, "No. I'm just watching him build."
So I went about my business, which involved lots of going in and out of the Activity Room. And every time I came back in, there he was. B, sitting and watching the construction. Doing nothing, but happy as a lark.
As in, I think he sat there for a couple of hours!

Back in the day, B was a civil engineer. But I don't think he was ever in construction. Still, something about the frame going up for my office intrigued him, and held him in place for a couple of hours.
And then I got to thinking.
How many hours have I spent doing "nothing" while I sat watching a fire, or listening to music, or observing birds, or staring at a sleeping baby?
And suddenly I felt I could understand B - just sitting and watching.
Because I realized, Doing "nothing" can be wonderful.

Think you might be able to find time to do "nothing" for a while this weekend? Enjoy!

Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

HE is in the Details

Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.

~Psalm 115:1
Please note: Nothing in this post is intended to bring glory to myself; nor am I seeking praise or pats on the back. My heart's desire is to testify to God's faithfulness, and attention to detail.
All glory to GOD!

For my birthday, my mother-in-law gave me money to spend however I want.
(LOVE when she does that! *grin*)
My intention was to spend it on some new clothes. And when I got an email from my favorite store last week that they were having a 40%-off-everything-sale, I knew it was time to go shopping. *bigger grin*
So I went.
With every intention of using my birthday money.
The thing is, when I finally found something I liked we had to order it on-line because they didn't have my size in the store. Which meant, I couldn't use my birthday money. I had to use my credit card - can't pay cash on-line, ya know.
So I left the store, and still had Ben in my wallet.

The next day I was sitting in church listening to a sermon from Acts 4 - in which, "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had." (v.32) And God's Spirit reminded me of that money in my wallet. And I began to wonder if someone in the church had a need which could be fulfilled by that money. Which God had kept me from using.
As the sermon continued, I found myself convinced that I needed to give that birthday money to someone before I left church. And I prayed God would show me who that "someone" was. Often at the end of the service, an announcement is made that anyone needing prayer may come forward so a member of the prayer team may minister to them. I figured that would be a great time for me to meet the one God had put on my heart. And several times as the service went on, I prayed God would lead me to that one person.
However, this week that announcement was not made.
The service ended, and I wondered, How am I going to find who needs this money?
At that moment I stood up and glanced across the sanctuary. In the section adjacent to mine I saw a girl who used to be in my Sunday school class, standing with her grandmother. We waved to each other and I went over to say, Hello. As Grandma and I were talking I had the feeling she was "the one" and I asked her if she had a financial need. She did. So I took hold of her hand and put the birthday money in it.
We hugged, and said good-bye.
A few minutes later, I saw Grandma again. Only the smile on her face was twice as big as what it had been before. She had looked at what I'd put in her hand and was delighted. Told me she had a bill she needed to pay Tuesday, and now she was going to be able to pay it. So I told her about how the Holy Spirit had been speaking to me through the sermon, and she told me how God had been telling her to trust Him.

We rejoiced together over our Father's wonderful faithfulness.

And as I thought back to the previous day's shopping trip, I rejoiced again over God's attention to detail. Every.little.detail.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When Needing Endurance Meets Desiring Immediate Gratification

OK. So remember last week when I wrote about how motivated Josh was to get a job? You know, so he could start making car payments and driving his Jeep?

Well, a funny thing happened.

After 24 hours, and no job offer, he started coming up with alternate plans.

Josh proposed to us that he do odd-jobs around the house to earn money for gas so he could start driving the Jeep. Just until he found a real job, of course.
Unfortunately (for Josh) Brian and I are sticking to the original plan:
1) Get a job.
2) Start making car payments.
3) Drive the vehicle.

Guess this kid needs a dose of endurance to go with his motivation. *wink*


Monday, October 27, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

Never give up.

Oh, I am quite sure I will never tire telling stories of the lessons I've learned from the men and women I serve and love at Edgewood. Because these folks inspire me in ways too numerous to count.

I've told you before about B, the man who lives across the hall from the Activity Room. He's the one who used to be a preacher and has suffered two strokes - which have left him unable to communicate verbally (Except for saying yes, no, I don't know, and "For dinner, for dinner, for dinner".) and unable to use much of half his body.
The one thing we know for sure is, when B is yelling, "For dinner, for dinner, for dinner!" he wants or needs something. And when I hear him yelling that way, I often go across the hall to see if I can help his wife determine what he's trying to communicate. So, the other day I heard his familiar call and went over to see what I could do. Ooooo. That one was a toughie. Each of us felt like giving up several times, but we kept at it and finally figured out that B wanted a drink of water. And when his thirst was satisfied I suggested a sign he could make with his hand when he wanted a drink. Then he (we!) wouldn't have to get so frustrated trying to communicate. B seemed to like the idea, and I reminded him about it (and had him practice) a couple more times when I saw him that day.
After one of our practice sessions, our office manager asked me if I'd ever heard B sing. I smiled and started singing "It is Well with my Soul" and B joined in with gusto. It was beautiful. Then the office manager started singing "You are My Sunshine" and about four or five of us standing around all joined in. Including B, of course.
That was beautiful, too.
Then it was time to get back to work and I made my way back to my desk.
Moments later, I heard B coming down the hall. And it wasn't just his wheel chair I heard. It was his voice. B was singing "You Are My Sunshine" all by himself. Over and over again.
That was the most beautiful thing I'd heard all day!
And I called the office manager to share the moment with her. *smile*

But, wait. It gets better.

Not too long after I heard B singing on his own, I was back in the office for some reason, or another. The office manager handed me a piece of mail for B which hadn't been put into his mailbox because it didn't have his apartment number on it. She asked if I would take it to him when I went back down the hall. And I was happy to do it.
I knocked on the door and slowly opened it, to see B sitting in his chair, and U napping in the chair beside him. So I entered and explained what I had, and handed B the piece of mail. He said, "Thank you," I said, "You're welcome," and I turned and left the apartment.
As I was closing the door I thought to myself, Wait a minute. Did he just say, "Thank you" to me? That isn't one of his phrases. Is it? And I asked one of the ladies who was playing cards in the Activity Room, "Does B say, 'Thank you'?" She looked at me as if I were a little crazy and said, "No." And I said, "But he did! B just said, 'Thank you' to me!" And we had a little celebration there.
See, we've all been praying for B for quite some time. Asking God to restore his ability to communicate. Not just so he can express his needs and wants without frustration, but so he can proclaim the Name of Jesus again. And these new words which he had just spoken brought so much hope.
I quickly realized THAT was the most beautiful thing I'd heard all day.

I don't know if all the singing we'd been doing had anything to do with B's break-through, but you better believe I'm going to be singing with him on a regular basis. Yes, singing and praying, and trusting God to bring his words back.

Never give up.

Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How To Motivate a Teenage Boy

Buy him a car, with the understanding he cannot drive it until he gets a job and starts making car payments.

So, I mentioned Tuesday that Josh wants a car. Well, the scam one didn't pan out, but he found another great deal. It is presently sitting in our driveway.
Here's the story:
For several months, Josh has been talking about wanting to get a job. He has talked and talked and talked. Once, he even went out and filled out an application. But he didn't get that job.
More recently (the end of the summer) he looked into another opportunity. But that didn't work out.
Besides those two instances, Josh's job search has mostly been talk. And it has included talk about needing a car to get to said job. Because he can't doesn't want to walk to it.
The problem is, how does a boy buy a car when he doesn't have a job? And how is he supposed to get a job if he doesn't have a car? Oh, the dilemma!

*Here comes Dad, to save the day!*

As I said, Josh has been looking for the perfect vehicle for himself, and finally found it.
And Brian agreed to buy it for him.
HOWEVER, Josh is not allowed to drive it until he has a job and starts paying us back.
I'm telling you, I have never seen that boy so intent on anything before in my life. I got home from work and saw the Jeep in the driveway, and walked into the house to find Josh at the computer putting the final touches together for his application. Then he drove (Using my van, of course!) to the store to submit the application. And I'm willing to bet he'll make follow-up phone calls without being prompted to do so.

I have one very motivated teenager on my hands.
And I love it!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Under Conviction

Conviction by the Holy Spirit is such a wonderful thing to me.

Just knowing God knows what I need - and cares enough about me to make that need clear to my heart - fills me with gratitude.

But sometimes the conviction leaves me feeling a little silly. Like, Gee, God, I'm kind of embarrassed that You had to remind me about this concept. Again.
So, today I find myself eating a slice of heavenly humble pie. Again.

See, last week I began a new study with the Women's Group which is meeting Friday morning's at Edgewood. We're watching and discussing Jennifer Rothschild's DVD series, Walking By Faith: Lessons Learned in the Dark. The key concept from the introductory session is: "It can be well with my soul, even when it may not be well with my circumstance." I love that concept. I fully agree with it. And I loved the time we spent talking about it Friday morning. It is so good to remember the importance of keeping our focus on God, rather than our circumstance.
But then a funny thing happened. (OK. It isn't really "funny", except in the ironic sense. *ahem*) I got busy with my day - making final arrangements for the next day's festival, returning phone calls, following up on email, making plans, and carrying out activities. The day got so hectic, and I began to feel anxious. Running here and there, doing this and that, even getting help from a couple co-workers but not feeling like I was going to be able to get it all done.
And by the time the day was over (late!) my soul was not in a condition which I would describe as "well".

Can you see the problem?
Do you have an idea what the Holy Spirit was about to say to my heart?
I had just sat through a lesson about walking by faith. I know very well what it means to keep my focus on God. Goodness, I have led Bible studies and women's retreats on that very thing! And here I was, allowing my circumstance to steal my joy. It was not well with my soul because it was not well with my circumstance. And that correlation just should not be.
So gently, but with undeniable clarity, the Holy Spirit convicted me and I knew: It can be will with my soul, even when it may not be well with my circumstance. Eyes up, Karen. Eyes on Me!

Here I am now, sitting down to eat that heavenly humble pie - and get my focus adjusted.

Will someone pass me a fork, please?