Friday, July 21, 2017

Lovely Moments

Awwwww, my sweet Lovely.

My heart is always filled with joy when it's time to visit her.

And this week, the anticipation was a little higher than usual. Because I received an email at the beginning of the week letting me know Lovely had been temporarily moved to another facility. She was experiencing severe pain and needed round-the-clock attention. So my concern was "on alert," and I wondered what her condition would be when I saw her.
It took me a while to find her in the new place, and when I did find her - I found her sleeping. So I sat by her bed and just looked at her. And as I started to pray, her eyes fluttered open.
Not wanting to startle Lovely, I slowly moved into her line of vision and said, "Hello, Lovely." And I sort of expected her to be a little confused - because she often is. Except this time, she wasn't. She smiled at me and I am pretty sure I could tell by her expression that she recognized me.
That she remembered me.
And my heart was doubly filled with joy.

She sat up and we looked at the pictures I had brought from my Colorado trip. Lovely enjoyed the pictures and the opportunity to marvel at the beauty. She even commented on the handsome-ness of my dear husband. (As she does every time she sees his picture.)
A short time later, her son came to visit and the three of us shared moments of laughter in the midst of conversation about years-gone-past.
Soon, her daughter arrived, too.
The four of us together found things about which we could laugh, and I enjoyed seeing Lovely look fondly at her children. But the moments passed too quickly, and soon it was time for me to go.
I told Lovely that I won't be able to see her next week (And she gave me the cute little pout she gives whenever my next visit is going to be delayed.), I kissed her cheek and told her I love her, and I took my leave - realizing how blessed I am to be even a small part of Lovely's life, hoping (a bit selfishly) God continues to allow us to have these lovely moments.

What lovely moments have you had this week for which you can give thanks to God?

Karen

P.S. As I mentioned to Lovely, I am not going to be around next week - which includes the blog. If God says the same, I'll be back here July 31.
Keep holding on to HIM!!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Watchin' My Babies Grow Up

I've just got to say, I love my daughter so very much.
Among many other things, I treasure seeing how she loves so well. How she seeks to be the hands and feet of Jesus to her friends and all those around her. And I am thankful for the ways her efforts to love others spill over onto the rest of us as her family.
That is, approximately seven years ago Elizabeth made a friend at school. And over the past seven years, that friend has become a part of our family. To the extent that we refer to this friend of Elizabeth's as our honorary daughter. (In fact, that's the way we refer to a couple of Elizabeth's friends. *grin*) She has always been welcome in our home and we've been able to be an extended family to her - offering all kinds of support as she's needed it.

And it's truly been a joy.

Well, this honorary daughter of ours has been living with us (in Elizabeth's room - since Elizabeth is gone for the summer) for the past two months. And one of the things we've been doing during these months is helping our honorary daughter navigate the world of "adulting". We've seen her find jobs (Not a new thing for her. She's a hard worker. But she was unable to work for a while and this was a big step.); learn about and make a budget (Including some of the hard choices that come with living on a budget.); make grown-up decisions which weren't always easy to manage; search for a place to live which was safe, suitable, and stayed within the budget; and yesterday, we got to see her get the keys to that place.
Ahhhh, another baby bird leaving the nest.
Through having this young lady living with us, we have also been able to get to know and love her boyfriend. He's become an honorary son to us, and it has been a joy to watch him walking into the ways of "adulting", too. The road ahead of them will surely be difficult at times, but God is faithful and I trust Him to lead them.

And so it is. For both the children I have physically birthed, and those who are children from my heart - I am trusting their futures to the LORD. As I watch them grow up, as I watch them make decisions and take action and sometimes make mistakes, as I occasionally want to step in and do "it" for them, I find myself praying and trusting my Father.
Because He is their Father, too.
And He is good.

Karen

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

God Sightings

*When you're looking for a place to live and nothing's working out, and just when you feel like you're out of alternatives a near-perfect option becomes available...
*When you're checking your grocery receipt (and you don't usually do it) and you catch errors totaling over $25...
*When you take the receipt back to the store and for some reason part of the error is returned to you in cash, and you go to another store to pick up something you forgot you needed, and the cash you just received at the other store provides you with perfect change...
*When ends aren't meeting and you don't know how they will and then somehow, they do...
*When you've got a bunch of things to do and not a lot of time to do it, and lines are quick, and lights are green, and you remember this morning you asked God to order your steps...
*When you've been praying for a long time for a family who was in a serious accident, and you find out that everyone is finally out of the hospital and living under the same roof again...
*When you're doing yard work and you notice the intricacy and beauty of a flower...
*When your pregnant friend lets you feel the baby kick...
*When the encouragement you needed arrives via text message at just the right moment...
*When a kind stranger smiles and lends you a hand...
*When you find the courage to do what you did not think you could do...

...consider yourself blessed, because you've seen the hand of the Almighty at work.

I compiled this list of God sightings from my own experiences and those of a couple friends over the past several days. Please add your own in the comments. I'd love to hear of the ways you have seen HIM, too.

Karen

Monday, July 17, 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

Somebody's Missing

So, I spoke during chapel last night at the women's mission.
And as I have been doing since February, I scanned the room to see if H was present. Because I was eager to hear an update from her about how her circumstances are progressing. (When I was there two weeks ago she told me she was on a waiting list for an apartment and I wondered if she had any news about when she might get into it.)
However, as I looked around the chapel, I didn't see her. I asked a woman sitting near me if she knew H - was hoping I might find out from her about H's housing situation.
But she didn't know H.
And I was left to wonder.
And my wondering is going down a very hopeful track. I'm thinking maybe that waiting list reached H and she is no longer a guest at the Rescue Mission. My hopeful imagination is telling me maybe H is taking a major step toward getting back on her feet, and that she is probably telling everyone about God's power and faithfulness expressed in her life.
True, the only thing I know for sure about H is that she was missing from chapel last night. But I also know a few things for sure about God:
*HE is faithful.
*HE knows where H is and what she's doing.
*HE is working for her good.
I am so thankful for these things I know about God. They give me confidence that wherever H is today, it is well with her - because she's in His hands.

How does what you know about God help you face what you don't know about everything else?

Karen

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Disorders are NOT Logical

So, the other day I was talking to someone about depression - and what it looks like in my life. And as the conversation went on I began to understand why disorders are so hard for non-disordered-people to understand.
That is, as I spoke about my tendency to take what I hear and turn it into an attack on myself (That's the disordered part of me!) my friend suggested I ought to recognize that the speaker didn't intend to be critical of me, and I ought to laugh it off. Or, when I am in a situation which is not going as I had hoped, rather than berating myself for being a failure I ought to realize the situation won't be hard forever and try to look on the bright side.
And as I listened to her giving this very good advice, I was thinking, Yes! Of course. That's what I ought to do. And I know it. Everything you're saying is logical and makes sense and I know it's the logical way to handle a circumstance.
Chin up!
Cheer up!
Don't be so sad.
And if a disorder like depression could be managed with logic, that - right there - would be my answer. Unfortunately, disorders aren't logical. That's why they're disorders. Because something isn't working like it should be - as it would be - if it were all in order.

It's kind of like me saying to my young friend who has an eating disorder, "C'mon, sweetheart. Just eat something. You know you need to. Your body must have some nourishment. You cannot get better if you don't eat."
All true statements.
All logical and good.
All of them make sense to me!
But not one of 'em is helpful or productive for my friend.
Because disorders are NOT logical. And, therefore, they cannot be treated, managed, or cured with logic.

All that to say, do you know someone with a disorder-of-some-kind? Ever wish you could snap your fingers and get through to them? Get discouraged because they aren't taking your logical, rational, reasonable advice and suggestions? Ever feel frustrated because you don't understand what's going on inside of them?
Eh, don't feel bad - most of the time we don't understand, either!
And so we (all!) must cling to Jesus, trusting Him to help us (and help us help each other) get through this not-always-logical thing called life.

Karen

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

LOVE is Patient

Yesterday morning I walked into the kitchen to discover a counter FULL of dishes which had not been washed the night before - by one of my sons who claims he always does them before he goes to bed. (We've argued over my desire that they get done right after dinner. And compromised that the time frame could be extended to at-least-before-bed.)
But yesterday the kitchen was a mess when I walked into it.
And that did not make me happy.
Nonetheless, I pushed through my disappointment in a job-not-done and went downstairs to exercise. However, as soon as I reached the bottom of the stairs I noticed a suspicious dark spot on the carpeting - and I knew Mindy had peed on it.
That super-duper did not make me happy.
I mean, seriously. She has these "accidents" waaaaaaay too often. *ahem*
I begrudgingly cleaned it up, and went on to my work-out. And in the middle of that, I noticed a small shovel which I'd been seeking this past weekend. I was doing some weeding Saturday morning and could have benefited from having that shovel - but, no! The last person who used it (a nameless son of mine) didn't put it back after he'd last used it, and no one could find on Saturday. But there it was in plain view Monday morning - adding to my angst of things-not-done-right-around-my-house.

I am not sure how it happened, but somehow I persevered and finished my exercises. *wink*
And when I sat down to eat my breakfast, and I bowed my head to pray - the strangest thing transpired. Thoughts of the un-done dishes, the peed-on carpet, and the not-put-back shovel flooded my mind.
For a moment I thought of the guilty parties.
Then I thought about some of the (many) times I have not done what I was supposed to do - or have done what I wasn't supposed to do - and my view of the morning's guilty parties changed. Before I had even thanked God for my food, I found myself thanking Him for His patience with me.
And oddly enough, my cereal tasted an awful lot like Humble Pie.

Karen