Friday, July 03, 2015

This Week with Grandma

You all know my grandmother is almost 98 years old, right?
And, as such, she struggles with a lot of things about which folks my age don't even give a second thought. In fact, they're things which bring her spirits down and cause her even to cry sometimes.
And I get so sad when she tells me about "another bad night" or her "achy legs." Wishing there was something I could do to lighten her load.

Well, yesterday her load was lightened a bit.

But it had nothing to do with me, or anything I'd done.

While Grandma was eating breakfast, her telephone rang. I ran into her room, grabbed the phone, hit the "talk" button and said, "Hello. This is Peg Sheaffer's phone." And the voice on the other end was one I recognized. It was a friend from Edgewood, calling to say. Hi!
So I took the phone to Grandma and announced, "It's Thelma!"
*cue: big smile on Grandma's face*

What happened next put a big ol' smile on my face.

I'm sure it was in response to Thelma asking something like "How are you doing?" that my grandmother started talking about her "bad" night. Only this time she didn't sound sad. In fact, she was laughing. Before I knew it, the two of them were laughing at each other's tales of woe regarding aging - including charlie horses and incontinence. The subject matter seemed a bit odd to me, but apparently among the aged it's fair game. Kinda reminds me of young mothers one-upping each other with labor horror stories, and diaper blow-out tragedies.
Anyway, after that phone conversation Grandma was in good spirits and ready to take on the day.

*cue the music*

Karen

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I Can Do Better Than That

OK. I know God is into details.

I am well aware of His ability to do more than I ask.

No news flashes with those two pieces of information.

Why, then, I wonder? Why do I ask for so little????

Last week my grandmother decided she could no longer read regular-size type. Her eyes had been bothering her and she was getting headaches - and reading anything but "Large Print" just wasn't working. So I logged onto our library's website and found a couple large print books she would like to read. And I ordered them for her.
But one is not available at the moment and the other is coming from somewhere across the state - so it'll be a while until it gets here. And Grandma really wanted something she could read right away. (She reads to help herself go to sleep every night.)
Our local library has an entire wall of "Large Print" books, so I told my grandma I would go to the library and pick up something which she could begin reading right away. She told me a couple of authors to NOT choose, but other than that - she just asked me to get something that sounded good.
OK.
I have been reading some Francine Rivers' books lately, and I felt confident that Grandma would enjoy her books. So as I drove to the library I prayed and asked God to let me find one of her books on the Large Print shelf. I really wanted to find a good book for Grandma! I realize, you may think I was being a bit eccentric with this book selection. But, you have to understand. Reading is very important to my grandmother. And she has very specific likes/dislikes. I have checked-out and returned more than a few books which she rejected. And, with the way her spirits have been so low lately, I just really wanted to find a book which would be a joy to her. Get it?
So, anyway, I was going to the library and praying for a Francine Rivers book to be available in Large Print. And as I approached the shelf and searched for the "R" section, I was so happy to see one.
BUT I was over-the-top happy when I realized it was "Her Mother's Dream." Because that is exactly the book I am reading right now. (HE's into details!)
And it's just so perfect.
Because we can talk about the story as we're reading it together.
And that will make Grandma so happy.
Because she loves to talk about the books she reads.
So I grabbed the book off the shelf, checked it out, and raced back outside. And as I drove home I imagined God smiling earlier as I had prayed - perhaps with just a hint of teasing in His eyes. While I was asking Him to let there be a Francine Rivers book on the Large Print shelf, I imagine He was probably saying, Oh, sweetheart. I can do better than that!

I have been thinking about this encounter with God and the book quite a lot over the past several days, and I have come to the conclusion that - as a general rule - I ask too little.
Do you?
And I don't mean just the book.
It goes beyond that.
I was thinking about a circumstance in my extended family - in which I have been asking God to intervene. And I realized I'm asking too little. God is able to do so much more than "intervene." He can change hearts and renew hope and mend broken relationships - and bring salvation.
God provided the perfect book, when all I was asking for was the author. So I have decided I'm going to ask Him to do what I know He can do. I'm asking for complete restoration for my loved ones. I'm asking Him to change their hearts and bring them into a saving relationship with Himself through Jesus. I'm asking Him to take this situation which looks impossible, and to use it for His glory. To make Himself famous in their lives and grow His kingdom.
Because when it comes to God comforting hurting hearts, and showing Himself to the ones who are hurting - Oh! He can do so much better than that!

Are you ready to stop asking too little?

Karen

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Caution: Just Because it says Tomato Juice...

...doesn't mean it isn't chicken liver.

Yeah. I discovered this truth the hard way.
That is, I have - in the past - used a cup or two of tomato juice from a large can. And - not wanting to waste the rest - I put it into a plastic container and put it in the freezer. The plastic container was an empty cottage cheese or sour cream container ('Cuz I didn't want to waste that, either. *wink*) and I wrote "2 c. tomato juice" on the lid, so I would know what & how much it was when I needed it in the future.
Smart thinking, right?
I thought so.

Well, the future came Saturday.
I needed that tomato juice for a recipe. So I took the container out of the freezer in the morning, and set it on the counter so the contents could thaw.
Every now and then when I walked past the counter I would stop and give the container - whose lid was labeled "2 c. tomato juice" - a little shake. You know, just to help the thawing process. I don't really know if that helps. But it makes me feel like I'm doing something useful. *ahem*
Anyway, after one of those stops I removed the lid so I could assess the progress of the tomato juice's thawing.
And what I saw?
Wasn't tomato juice.
It was pinkish-purpley, slime-y, and looked a bit meat-ish.
And I wondered, How on earth did tomato juice start looking like this just from being in the freezer??? In my mind I simultaneously began taking an inventory of the other things which are in the freezer, and believed I had found the answer to my question. You see, although I am typically the only one who ever even opens the freezer (I mean the big one in the garage. Not the little one attached to the fridge.) I know Josh sometimes put things in there.
For fishing bait.
There are a couple of containers of special salmon eggs in netting which I helped Josh make a year or so ago. (But I know right where they are!) And he has at times bought bait specifically for catching cat fish. Because he says they like really smelly chicken liver.
Wait a minute! Chicken liver?
That's when I put it together. The "tomato juice" I thought I was thawing out was actually smelly chicken liver for some poor unsuspecting cat fish. *Eeeeewwww!*
I quickly replaced the lid and took the container out to the garage where Josh was - Guess what? - getting ready to go fishing. I showed him the lid and said, "Please? The next time you use a container to store something like this? PLEASE cross off anything which is written on the lid."
He laughed at my misfortune and said, "OK."
I am trusting Josh will keep his word, and I will be safe from now on. But I felt it would be the right thing to do to caution all you moms of boys out there: Just because it says "tomato juice" doesn't mean it isn't chicken liver!

Oh, and, one other thing. If your boys take to fishing, encourage them to focus on carp.
Because, uh, they like canned corn. *ahem*

Karen

Monday, June 29, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

This Week with Grandma

A few weeks ago my This Week with Grandma post was about how my grandmother had demonstrated to me the principle, Once a Mom, always a mom. And yesterday I believe I saw her living it out, once again.

This week has not been a good one for Grandma. Most days she has stayed in bed all day, including meal times - which is the time she really tries to be up. There were even two or three days in which she didn't check her email. And that's unusual. *I just have to include that tidbit, because I think it is so cool that my almost-98-year-old grandmother is active on the computer.*
Just not this week.

Anyway, yesterday she slept in later than usual, and was quite down - even when she got up. While she was eating her breakfast I sat down with her so we could talk for a few minutes. I wanted to get an idea of how she was feeling - physically and emotionally. And as Grandma relayed her woes I wondered how close she really is to the end of her life on earth. Then, with a sad look in her eyes she said, "But I've got to keep living until Sue gets better."
And I knew exactly what was going through her mind.
She doesn't want to be a burden.
Even in death.
See, my Aunt Sue is sick at the moment and Grandma is very concerned about her. I knew my grandma was thinking something like, Sue is sick. She has too much on her mind right now to also plan my funeral. I can't do that to her. Because - even on her weakest days - she is still a mom, and she's still thinking about her daughter before herself.
To set your minds at ease, I'm confident my aunt is going to be fine. She has an infection and won't be released from the hospital until it is gone. But I think my grandmother's concern is a bit out of proportion. It's that worry-gene we all get when the baby arrives, ya know?
Apparently it never goes away.
So I leaned in to my grandmother, put my arm around her shoulder, and spoke into her ear. "Grandma, that isn't your burden to carry. I'm here and I will do whatever is necessary to help. Aunt Sue is going to be fine. God is going to take care of us. It isn't your burden to carry."

How timely that just moments before the above conversation I had read this post from Kathy Troccoli:
go ahead...He can take it!

cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
1 peter 5:7

this is not like removing a shawl with female elegance. the Word here means hurling with great force.

so...the burden, the worry,--get it off your shoulders my friend.

it is not yours to carry.

then trust—and obey.

kt
These words are True. Even for moms.

Is there a burden on your shoulders today which isn't yours to carry?

Karen

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Mom...

I'm telling you, the fact that any of us moms ever complete our "to-do" lists is a minor miracle.
Can I get an Amen!, sisters?

Case in point:
I have this bill, which has been hanging over my head for weeks.
OK, really it's been sitting on the kitchen table.
Anyway, I have been meaning to take care it, but I couldn't pay it until I talked to Brian. Because I knew one of the charges on the bill had already been paid, and I wanted to be sure everything else was current. BUT, I didn't know the log-in information for our HSA account and I needed to get it from Brian. Only, by the time he gets home from work every day I'm making dinner and any thoughts of paying that bill - i.e. obtaining that log-in information - are long gone. And they generally don't return until the next day, when he's a work and I'm in the midst of daily "to-do" lists.
Well, and I'm not sure how it happened, Monday night I remembered to ask my hubby for the username and password. I wrote the information down on a piece of paper and put it on the table with the bill, so I would see it the next day and be reminded to call about my billing questions.

And guess what happened Tuesday?

I saw the note on the table, sat down at my computer, logged on to the HSA site, and found the information I needed. I was all set to call and finally take care of the bill.
Except? I didn't have my phone on me.
Soooooo, I wandered through the house looking for my phone and when I located it, I found a text message from Brian. "Can you check for dampness in Elizabeth's room?" (It had rained HARD Monday night, and her room is prone to leaking.) I was tempted to put it off, but figured if I did I would likely forget about it all together and - not wanting to let Brian down - I chose to take care of his request first.
Annnnnd, walking through the basement to get to Elizabeth's room, I came across another piece of dampness. That is, I discovered that Mindy had peed on the carpet. (Another consequence of Monday's storm. Mindy gets so freaked out by the sounds that she will NOT step outside. And rather than "holding it," well, she pees on the floor.) So, as soon as I checked Elizabeth's room, I spent 10-15 minutes cleaning up Mindy's contribution to my distractions.
Of course, while that was all happening and I was considering the question, How many things will stand in the way of me completing one stinking task? I realized - the whole scenario was a blog post in the making. And I simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to rant about interruptions share my experience with other women who will surely understand me.

The funny thing is, even in the process of typing this post: I have answered the door to talk with a salesman, to buy books which will help my boys (and me!) with their remaining years of high school; checked on Grandma a couple times and gotten her lunch; verified the hours for the recycling center because I remembered I need to take tree trimmings over today; AND eaten a few bites of apple to shut up my grumbling tummy. Because I haven't had time to get my own lunch. *ahem*

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a bill to pay.
And tree branches to recycle. And a book to pick up at the library for Grandma. And...

Is it any wonder our "to-do" lists never seem to end?

Karen

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Faith of Our Fathers

I hope you had a nice day Sunday, celebrating fathers.
And today I want to share a preview with you of a movie which celebrates fathers - and their faith.

I saw Faith of Our Fathers at a private screening in May, and just loved it. The movie will be releasing in theaters July 1, and I strongly encourage you to go see it.
Faith building and father building. Good stuff!

Karen