Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This is What I Mean

My friend, Penny, has written a post that could be an entry in Finding Joy. God spoke to her in the midst of a moment with her daughter, and she heard Him. This is what I mean when I talk about finding joy! Go on over and see.

I'm still aiming for Friday to do the drawing for my give away. Be sure to check back if you entered!

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Know This Much

*deep breath*

One. Two. Three.

*another deep breath*

OK, this is what I know:
God is using my children, and my mothering struggles to refine me. This is all a part of my sanctification process. He is making me holy - showing me my sin in various ways and teaching me to follow Him, instead of bowing to my sinful nature.
And I know God is with me in the midst of the struggle. I know He is loving me in every minute and He will give me the grace I need to raise these children.
If that means I need to spend over two hours Saturday evening and three hours Sunday afternoon pulling my hair out working with Joshua on homework, listening to him bemoan the fact he isn't out playing (Even though I let him have a friend over Friday night and he spent most of Saturday with that friend.), and getting an ear-full about how I am ruining his life, so be it.
Honestly, the five plus hours we spent on homework could have easily been completed in one hour. Most of the time was spent whining and crying (by Joshua) or praying (by me). It did occur to me, this exercise of frustration is GREAT for my prayer life!

I am well aware that the challenges I face in mothering are being used by God to grow me. I know I would have no ministry among moms if I wasn't going through what I'm going through.

I know God is using it all for good.

I know when I am breathing deeply and praying for extra amounts of grace because Matthew's off-the-wall, out-of-control ADHD behavior is about to send me through the roof, God is teaching me patience. In the moment, He reminds me to trust Him. God reminds me He has created Matthew perfectly and I can believe in His good plan.

I know this is all True.

I know it.

And I believe it with all my heart.

Some days, I just wish I could know it without going through it.

Know what I mean???

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Friday, September 26, 2008

My Lost Rat - by Elizabeth Hossink

Do you remember when Elizabeth's rat got lost in our couch? I wrote about it in the form of a parable.(It's a pretty quick read. Click on over and read it. I think you'll find the subtle differences in our stories entertaining.)
Well, Elizabeth just had a writing assignment in school, and she chose to write about her lost rat, too. When she asked me to type it up for her she told me, "I think you'll like it, Mom." Can you tell why???

My Lost Rat

"Elizabeth, when can we start the movie?" Joshua asked impatiently.
"Hold on!" I hollered from downstairs. As I trudged up the stairs, rat cage in hand, I called, "Okay you can start the movie."
"Are your rats watching it too?" Mom asked.
"Yeah," I said casually. So I plopped down on the couch after setting the rats' cage on a side table. Because I loved my rats so much, I opened their cage door so that they could come join us on the couch.
After the movie was over Joshua sleepily said, "I am going to bed now."
"Okay." I responded. Now, Mom and I were the only ones awake.
After a little more time playing with my rats, I decided it was time for me to also go to bed. I got ready to gather up my rats, but they weren't both there. I only found Lacey. (My favorite of the two.) I put her in her cage, but I was still worried about Allison (my other rat).
Before panicking, I tore all of the cushions off of the couch. She wasn't there.
"Mom, I can't find Allison," I said trying to stay calm, but that was impossible for me. Unlike myself, Mom was a master at staying calm. "Okay, honey, did you check everywhere on the couch?"
"Yes," I half whined. Together we searched until we noticed a hole that Allison had chewed in the couch. Allison was on the inside of the couch and there was no possible way we could get her out. By that time my eyes were drowning in tears. (That happens a lot for me.)
"Jesus, help me find Allison," I whispered to myself.
Mom, being as brilliant as she is thought that we should try to get her from a different angle. Being ever so gentle, we turned the couch on its side.
The couch was in a position where it made a cave. I crawled under and waited to see her head. My face, soaked with tears, became even more wet when I saw Allison's head poke out. Except this time they were happy tears.
Allison was saved!

Oh, if I only felt as calm and brilliant as my daughter thinks I am! *grin*

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blogger Interview

Shane over at Heart Reflections is interviewing me today! Please pay her a visit. And if you leave her a comment, you'll have a chance to win one of my books! *grin*

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm not Paranoid

OK, so I told you about the three grays yesterday. Well, when I went to get my hair done I said something to Clayton about them - just to share a laugh with him. He then informed me "she" has a lot more friends than I realized. Scattered all around the top of my head where I can't see them. Isn't that just lovely.
But Clayton is so great. He went on to tell me about how the highlights are a great way to cover them up and blend them in. He told me we could color all my hair and go back over it with highlights if I wanted to. But suggested simply doing highlights is probably fine right now.
As I was listening to Clayton, inside I was chuckling. I am really not THAT concerned about a few gray hairs!
Though, now that I think about it, since I can't see the top of my head like Clayton did, maybe there are a lot more grays than I'm even imagining. Maybe he was just being polite. Maybe I should be concerned. Maybe I'm just in a state of denial, and I'm not a pup like I think I am. Maybe the next time I get my hair done I should think about coloring, too. I mean, Clayton did say the highlights are probably fine right now. Maybe he meant next time there may be a problem.

Maybe I'm being paranoid.

No, seriously. I'm totally joking. Though I was surprised by the revelation that there are more than three gray hairs on this head of mine, I actually think it's kind of funny. Maybe I ought to start making plans for a sorority. (Did you see Teresa's comment yesterday? She had me laughing for a long time with that one!)
Anyway, now God has something else to do for fun. The Bible says He knows the number of hairs on our head, right? Well, if He's ever bored now He can count the number of gray, brown and caramel hairs on my head. Apparently the numbers will keep changing!

I received an update this morning from my printer. They are on target to have Finding Joy finished by the middle of next week. Yippee!!! Soooooo, I'm thinking of Friday, October 3 as a target date to announce the winner of my Joy give-away. I'll keep you posted! (Pun totally intended.) Be sure to keep checking so you can claim your book when draw your name!

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Monday, September 22, 2008

She's Got Friends

Well, today's my birthday. Yep. Another "year older," though I think I will always feel like a pup. I guess that's what a fall birthday does to you. I started kindergarten when I was 4, and graduated from high school when I was 17. For those formative 13 years of my life, I was always "the youngest." Even now I look a lot younger than I am. Many people peg me to be in my mid-twenties when they first meet me. Maybe that's part of the reason I still assume I'm the youngest one in the crowd wherever I am.
But this summer I saw something in the mirror which indicated to me I just might be getting older after all.
I was probably putting on make-up and leaned in close to the mirror when I saw a gray hair. A gray one. On me!
At first I was a little upset. I mean, I'm too young for this, am I not? But then I looked at it again and noticed it was in a curl. Just one lone, gray hair, in a curl. And I decided it was kind of cute. In fact, I called my husband in to show him that now I was getting mature, like him. (He's been collecting gray hairs for quite a while. But his aren't curly!) And I said, "Isn't she cute?" He just looked at me with a bit of concern on his face and smiled, "Yes, dear."
And that was that. I knew I had one gray hair, and I decided I would let her stay. (Not sure about that old tale - pluck one and two will come back - and don't want to chance it!)
But very recently I did a close up in the mirror again and discovered something even more shocking. She's got friends!

Two of them!

This is making me think my friend ADHD may be on to something with her conspiracy theory. Because here I am at 37, and clearly something in the water is changing my hair from brown to gray. One piece at a time. Not to mention I have noticed over the past weeks that my eyes are taking a little longer to re-focus when I look at something far away after I've been focusing on something up close.
Oh, well. What is there to do? I'm getting my hair cut and highlighted this morning. Happy Birthday to me! After that I guess I'll come home and have a quiet lunch - just me and my three gray friends. Then maybe I'll send a card to my sister, just to remind her she's 40, and I'm not!

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Thursday, September 18, 2008


Book Update: I received, approved, and returned the final proof for Finding Joy. It should just be a couple of weeks now until the publishing is completed.
*very big grin*
I will leave registration for the give-away open until Sunday. So, if you haven't already - go enter to win!
Now, I bet this won't surprise you. We have added another bug to the list of critters living under our roof. Joshua was beyond excited today to tell me he caught the big one.

I mean, the BIG ONE!

Joshua has collected a few Praying Mantids over the past weeks, but he has had his eye on one in particular. And today, he caught it! Just look at the size of this thing!
Joshua cleaned out another cage and got it all ready for his new friend. I was afraid there might not be any grass left in the yard when he was finished because he was gathering so much. Had to make a "perfect" home!
Once the Mantis was settled, we sat watching - hoping it would dine on the grasshopper Joshua had lovingly placed in the cage. But it didn't appear to be hungry tonight.
We'll have to wait.
And until then, we'll continue making up silly stories about what's going through the poor grasshopper's head. Seriously. When Joshua put the Mantis in the cage tonight it flew up onto the stick where the grasshopper was perched, and it really looked like the grasshopper was backing away. Ever so slowly so as not to draw attention to itself and bring upon certain demise.
I looked at Joshua with big eyes and just said, "Slowly. Slowly. Move slowly and no one will get hurt."
Yeah, kinda sick humor. But I'm dealing with a 10-year-old boy. And that's what makes him laugh!

Have a great weekend. And if you see any juicy grasshoppers, send them our way.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Parable of the Puppy

Have I mentioned that right now I am in Ezekiel in my read through the Bible in a year program? Would it be too embarrassing for me to admit that, although I have been a Christian for almost 19 years I don't think I have ever read Ezekiel before? Well, embarrassing or not, I just admitted it. So, there you go.
Anyway, as I am reading this book in some ways I'm a little scared. God is talking about pouring out His wrath and judgement on the people of Israel for their sin and detestable ways. I just read chapters 20 and 21 this morning - in which He recounts Israel's history. How He promised them a land flowing with milk and honey but they rebelled and looked to idols, they didn't follow His laws and decrees, and they desecrated His Sabbaths.
God was right in every act of judgement He brought upon them. And the thing that really strikes me through this book is how many times He says - particularly after describing judgement - Then you will know that I am the LORD. He wants to be known!
Anyway, this morning I was praying in response to what I had read. I confessed my sin and asked God to forgive me. I asked Him to help me revere Him - to respect that He is the LORD - to stand in awe of His holiness, His "other-ness." And at the same time, I thanked Him for the intimacy I have with Him. I know that He loves me and cherish the closeness I feel with my heavenly Father.
And I sat for a minute pondering the paradox.
How can God be so great, so holy and perfect, so righteous in judgement AND so loving toward me - a broken woman?
Then it was as if God said, Karen, who is that sitting on your lap? Who are you holding and petting and loving right now?
Why, it's Mindy, Lord. Our new puppy.
Yes. And you do love her, don't you.
I sure do. She's precious!
But you need to do some training with her, don't you.
I sure do. Oh, she was chewing cords yesterday. And I had to keep telling her, "No!" I finally figured out that if I gave her a chew toy, she would leave the cord alone.
Very good, darling.
But I need to keep working on the house-breaking. This morning she peed on Joshua's blanket. It's in the washer now. And she has gone on the dance pads a few times, too. But I think she's doing pretty well. I know it will take time, and I need to be patient.
Yes, child. You do. You'll need to tell her over and over. You'll need to train her. But she will learn.
Oh, do You remember the first night we had her at home? She didn't want to be alone in her kennel. She whined and cried quite a bit. I didn't sleep very well that night.
No, you didn't. I do remember. I was watching over you. But Mindy's getting better at night time, too, isn't she?
So, tell Me, Karen. Do you love your puppy?
Of course I do!
Even though she has kept you awake some nights?
Even though she is making you do more laundry?
Even though you have to clean up the floor when she messes on it?
But, Karen. What about the chewing? Do you love your puppy even though she has been chewing on things she shouldn't touch?
Yes, Lord. I love her even though she chews on my things. I am her master and I will teach her what I expect of her. As her owner, I know that is my job - to train and discipline her. I know it's going to take time and I'll need to be patient with her. But I know eventually she is going to learn.
And she is so precious to me. Do you see how she's curled up here on my lap, just enjoying being with me? Isn't this the sweetest thing???
Though the training may take time, it is all worth it to me. Because I love her so much.
I knew you would see it My way, dear one. As you see Mindy, so I see you, darling.

I love that God is so creative in the ways He speaks to my heart. Yes, He can be both holy and intimate. I can revere Him and draw near to Him. He is not limited by my understanding. Praise His name!!!

And have a wonderful day. *grin*

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why I Do What I Do - OR - Proof That Jesus Lives

I am going to keep registration for my book give-away open for another week or so. If you haven't already entered, click on over and sign up!
I have to tell you, the comments you've been making about me being a great mom and deserving "Mother of the Year" awards, etc. make me do two things.
First, I laugh.
Then, I give praise to God.
I don't know how many of you caught Chatty Kelly's comment about being a mean mom, but she was referring to chapter one of my book, Confessions of an Irritable Mother, which is called, "The Meanest Mom in the World." That is the title which my children used to bestow upon me daily.
See, I am a broken woman. I am selfish, self-centered, impatient, demanding and controlling. (I could keep going, but I want you to come visit again!)
If I had it my way, I would never do anything for another human being - especially these kids who beg for things, leave messes around, get their clothes dirty and expect me to launder them, and eat all the ice cream before I have had a second scoop!
Hmph! I want them to serve ME. I want what I want, and there really doesn't need to be any discussion about it.
Not very pretty, is it? But that is my nature. Selfishness.

So, why on earth would I scout out grasshoppers with my son to feed to his praying mantis? Why would I touch those creepy little things and get bug guts on my hand? (Yeah, sometimes I catch them "too hard.") Why waste my time doing that when I have other, more "important" things I could be doing at home?
And why, someone tell me why, would I decide to get a puppy for my kids when, for years and years I have said, "No dogs!" Why would I willingly welcome a creature into my house who was going to poop and pee on my floor? MY FLOOR, causing me to have to clean it even more often? And what about the extra laundry? This puppy soils her bedding and causes me to do more laundry. Can anyone explain why a selfish woman would bring these things upon herself?

My friends, there is only One answer.

His name is Jesus.

I'm telling you - the fact that I go bug-catching with Joshua, the fact that I got a puppy for my kids Friday, the fact that I care so much about blogging friends whom I have never met, the fact that I ever do anything for anyone besides ME, is proof positive that Jesus lives!
Jesus is transforming this selfish, self-centered woman into His likeness. The Holy Spirit lives in me, and moves in me to do things I would not do - were it not for Him. God created me and is refining me, and one day I will be like Him.
I love the comments you have left for me on recent posts, because they remind me of the Truth that Jesus lives.
Apart from Him, no one could call me a "great mom."

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Really, Mom? She's Ours?? Really???

When Elizabeth got home from school today, I was sitting at the table with Mindy on my lap. I looked at her and just said, "Elizabeth, close your eyes."
I wanted to get up and show her the puppy, but she had already seen her. She said, "Momma, you have a puppy on your lap." Twice. And I said, "Yes. I do."
Then I told her we had this puppy on a Foster with Intent to Adopt basis, and if everything works out after one week she will be ours.
Elizabeth couldn't believe it. She kept asking me, "Really, Mom? Really?" I thought she was going to start crying, and there were a few tears ready to fall out of my eyes. It was a precious moment.
Here they are together for the first time:Then I went to get the boys at school. And couldn't keep the secret until we got home. Well, technically I didn't tell them we got a puppy. I just told them I had a surprise and they'd really like it. And when they guessed a dog, the smile on my face said everything my words didn't.
So we walked home very quickly.
And here the boys are, Matthew adoring Mindy, and Joshua placing a call to his buddy to announce the good news:Yep. Happy kids at the Hossink house today!
Have a great weekend.

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Look Who We Brought Home!

For those who have not entered yet - or for those who have not heard about my book give-away (as in my new book, which will be released in a few weeks!) - click here and sign up. Then hurry back. I have someone I want you to meet!

OK, all set?

Remember I told you we decided to get a dog? Well, Brian and I went to the animal shelter this morning.
Along the way we talked about how we would decide on a dog, and my key thing was that it needed to be housebroken. Because I'm the one who is home all day, and I know those training responsibilities would fall on my shoulders. And I'm the one who softened up enough to say "Let's get a dog," after years of saying NO. I didn't want to have to potty train all over again!
So I was pretty set on getting a DOG, not a puppy.
But when we got there, oh, did all sense and reason fly out the door!
There was this one cage with two little puppies in it named Mork and Mindy. (The fact that I LOVED that show as a kid really helped!) They were Beagle mixes. (I had a Basset/Beagle mix when I was a little girl, too.)
And my heart went right to them.
Yes, for a moment I thought, maybe we should get both of them. They were so cute together and I couldn't bear the thought of separating them.

But sense and reason didn't fly THAT far out the door!

Anyway, we filled out the papers and brought this little girl home.
This is Mindy!She's cute and she's lovable and she's laying on my lap as I type this.
And I can't wait for the kids to get home from school. They have NO IDEA we were even thinking about getting a dog and they're going to go crazy. I am so excited!!!
*very big, ear-to-ear grin*

I will definitely post pictures!

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P.S. She has already "done her business" outside once. Here's to quick learning.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Caught the BIG One!

If you haven't entered to win my new book, click here and join the fun!

Those of you who know my Joshua know he loves bugs. We presently have two Praying Mantids in our house as "pets." (They are both caged in Joshua's room!)
For those of you who don't know, part of caring for a Praying Mantis involves catching bugs for it to eat. (Last year we had a couple Mantids, too. And when the bugs outside were scarce, Joshua actually used some of his own money to buy feeder crickets at the pet store. Crazy, I know. But he really gets into bugs.)
Anyway, the past couple days there have been LOTS of grasshoppers along the path we use to walk home from school. So as we walk, we stop often to catch "dinner" for the Mantids.
You read that correctly. I said we. As in, I catch them, too.

Today as I was walking over to the school I was impressed by how many grasshoppers were flying around, and I told Joshua when I saw him, "It's a feast out there!"
Sure enough, we were catching plenty of them. I was so impressed as I watched Joshua sneak up on them and, with stealth-like accuracy pounce on them, grabbing the grasshoppers with just his index finger and thumb.
Near the end of the walk Matthew and I saw a very large grasshopper and were both excited about it. Matthew called out to Joshua to come and get it, but I waved him off. I wanted to get this one myself.


I caught it!!!

I was so proud of myself. *grin*

We decided not to feed this one to the Mantids. He was too much of a prize. In fact, Joshua set him free when we got home.
But not before I took a picture. Wanna see?

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

JOY Give-away!!!

***Edited to add: Just to clarify, you do NOT need to have a blog to enter this give-away. Only one entry per person. And I am willing to ship outside the U.S.***

We're at approximately "T" minus three weeks until "the baby" arrives. I believe I have thought long enough about the announcement and give-away, and now I am ready to share the details with you.
OK, not all of the details. There is one thing I'm keeping a secret until the big day. hee hee I love secrets!

And there's a perfect lead-in to a tangent...
We have decided to get a dog (Puppy? We're not sure.) but haven't told the kids yet. Gotta do a little homework first. So last night Joshua was telling me it's hard for him to keep secrets from his friends and I agreed that keeping secrets is hard. Then I asked him, if I was keeping a secret from him, what would be the best secret I could possibly be keeping? He wasted no time in answering, "That we were getting a kitten or a puppy."
On the outside I laughed a yeah-right-that'll-never-happen kind of laugh. On the inside I was squealing with delight and almost blew the secret!!!

So, back to the book give-away.

I told you previously I wasn't sure if I was going to just let you enter, or if I'd make you work for it. Well, I have come up with a sort of compromise.

All you need to do to enter is leave me a comment with your name.(If you want to tell me how much you love me and my blog and how much you hope you win this book, while it won't increase you chances of winning, it will make me happy. *grin*)

The work part comes in claiming your prize. I will not be contacting you to tell you when you win. It will be up to you to watch check the post in which I announce the winner and then email me with your address. Oh dear, did I just give a clue about my secret? I am so bad at keeping secrets.
At this point the book is scheduled to be completed the week of September 30, so my announcement will likely take place during that week. As the time draws nearer I will update you on the announcement date. Don't worry, I will do my very best to keep you informed so you know when to watch check. Ugh! There I go again!

As for how many copies I'm giving away? That part I haven't decided yet. But if there are a whole bunch of entries I know I'm going to want to give away more than one book. So, I guess in this case the more people who enter - the better your chances of winning. Er, I don't know. Someone else can do the math and tell me if the statement I just made is correct.
Anyway, if you have a blog and want to link to this post, please feel free to do so.

But for now all you need to do is leave me a comment with your name, telling me you want to be entered into the drawing. Yes, it will be a literal drawing. I know there is some random number generator thing-y that can pick for me, but I have enough to do figuring out the video delivery for my announcement. So I'm going to stick with the old fashioned names-in-a-bowl selection method.

Blessings to you today!

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Fun Give-Aways this Week!

Hey, you'll want to follow this link to the Speaking Thru Me blog. Leigh has stuff to give away every day this week!

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Happy Monday!

This is a beautiful day!

When I posted last Friday, my intention was to encourage you, dear readers. I wanted to bless you with the reminder that God gives hope. Really, it was not meant to be a self-serving post.
But I do believe I may have ended up receiving more blessing than the sum total of everyone who read. You have no idea how encouraged I have been by your comments - as you have shared your experiences and victories, and have given me even more hope for Matthew. (Thanks for commenting for the first time, Erika. I'm so glad you did!) I am fully convinced Matthew will do more than just "get by." God created him for a purpose, and everything He does is good.
When I went in to work out Saturday morning I told Katie how encouraged I was by all your kind words, and that she shouldn't be surprised if I started crying. I had spent the morning being overwhelmed by God's love and goodness and I thought it might start spilling out of my eyes. It must have been the strength He was pouring into me that allowed me to do almost SIX pull-ups Saturday! (Sorry. I'm still excited about that accomplishment, and couldn't resist bragging. *grin*)

So, this encouragement from the weekend was still carrying me this morning when I found out that Heidi at Moms, Ministry, and More had given me an award. See what I mean? It's a beautiful day!I am feeling so uplifted at the moment, I almost don't know what to do with myself. But I'll figure it out. Don't worry!

Now, I have the privilege of sharing this award with seven other bloggers, and I am delighted to do so. The award is called "I Love Your Blog," and it is true that I love the blogs of these women I'm about to list. But the truth of the matter is this: The reason I love their blogs is because I love their hearts. Each of these women are on a journey with Jesus - different places, different circumstances, but the same Jesus. And I love to read about the ways they are growing in Him, finding Him to be faithful, and discovering more about who they are in Him. Please visit these women and see what I mean:
Angela at Becoming Me
Leslie at Do You Weary Like I Do?
Ronel at Mommy Accountability
Penny at Jesus Loves Me, This I Know
Amanda at I am Mommy
And these last two are brand new blogging friends. They're sisters and I love the way they love each other. Makes me wish my sister didn't live sooooo far away.
*sad face*
Anyway, I have only read a few of their posts, but, like I said before - it's a woman's heart that makes me love her blog. And I already love the hearts of these two sisters!
Chatty Kelly at Wonder Woman Wonders
MyADHDandMe at Monkeys are Funny
*note: Go to the bathroom before you visit Monkeys are Funny. Or you WILL wet your pants!

Now, for you recipients of this award, here's the deal:
* Display your award.
* Link back to the person who gave you the award.
* Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
* Put links to those blogs on yours.
* Leave a message on the blogs of the people you've nominated.
* Enjoy your award!

Have a great day, friends! And come back tomorrow. I'll be posting about my give-away for Finding Joy.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

HE Gives Hope

Have you ever faced a situation that seemed overwhelming and you didn't know how to handle it, but then - all of a sudden - everywhere you looked there was someone who had been through the same thing? Since they had already been through it, they were able to encourage you that you would make it through, too. And then you found yourself actually feeling hopeful rather than despairing? When this happens to me, I have no choice but to thank God because I know it is Him sending those people my way. I know this because HE gives hope.
And HE has done it again.
It started last spring. Matthew was diagnosed with ADHD. (No surprise to me. He has had "focus issues" as long as I can remember.) I didn't know what to do. Behavior therapy? Drug therapy? Try changing his diet? The ADHD interfered with school performance, doing homework, chores, getting up in the morning and getting ready for bed. We needed to do something but I just didn't know what.
Matthew's doctor was helpful, but I still felt lost.
Then it seemed like every other mom I talked to had a child with ADHD. Some women I had known for a long time, but I just didn't know their child also had this diagnosis. I'm not kidding when I say it was like God was wrapping His arms around me as these women shared with me the path their family had chosen, and ensured me we would find a solution that works for our family, too.
We ended up choosing drug therapy, and I am happy to say it has been a very good thing. I never thought it possible that Matthew could be sweeter than he already was, but I'm telling you, he is!

Having said that, we still have struggles with Matthew's attention and focus and his ADHD has been weighing heavier on my mind in recent days. Yes, I have been swinging over toward hopelessness again.

But HE gives hope.

Are you familiar with the show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? Well, last week when I was at the doctor's office I picked up an issue of Guideposts and read an article about Ty Pennington - they guy who does the home makeovers. Turns out he had ADHD as a kid and discovered that building things was a way he could hold his attention, and found he could accomplish a task and feel good about himself. Now look at what he's doing!
I definitely felt encouraged after reading that article.
Then, the kids started school this week and it happened again. I found a successful adult who has ADHD and is thriving. It's Joshua's teacher. She has told the kids she doesn't like to sit still so they'll be more active in their learning. Joshua absolutely loves her and is more than excited about having her as a teacher. And I? Am filled with hope once again.

As I was walking home from school the other morning (No bussing this year. So instead of walking .5 of a mile to the bus stop, we're walking .7 of a mile to the school. It's nice.) I was thinking about these two adults, and Matthew. God used Ty Pennington and Joshua's teacher to remind me that He didn't make a mistake when He created Matthew. God was not taking a nap or planning a vacation when it was time to form Matthew's brain. God created every fiber of that boy, and He did it perfectly.
I thought about the concerns I have had regarding Matthew's challenges and realized - God isn't concerned about them! God knows Matthew inside and out. He knows Matthew's needs. God knows his abilities. He knows how Matthew can shine and bring Him glory. God knew exactly what He was doing when He created my little boy, and God knows the plans He has for Matthew.
So, as I walked and prayed I also renewed my commitment to trust in the One who set this whole scene in motion. The One who knows so much more than I. The One who holds our lives together.
Because HE is God. And because HE gives hope.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

This, too, Shall Pass?

I remember when Elizabeth was a new born. She cried an awful lot. We had trouble figuring out the nursing thing. I was tired and overwhelmed. Friends told me, "Hang in there. When she hits three months, things will get better."
And then there was Joshua. While Elizabeth started sleeping through the night at 9 1/2 weeks, Joshua took a while longer to figure sleeping out. And I was tired and overwhelmed, again. But people assured me, the sleepless nights would pass and I would make it through.
However, then I had to potty train him and that? Didn't go so well, either. My mom tried to encourage me by saying, "Karen, don't worry. He won't be wetting his pants when he's in high school."
Matthew did a little better when it came to potty training. But shortly after I thought he had it figured out, he started having accidents. Regularly. Too regularly. And Mom stepped in again saying, "This, too, shall pass."
Ahem. I'm still waiting!
Now Elizabeth is a pre-teen. And she is hormonal, I tell ya! Weepy, touchy, picky and precious all wrapped up in one. Some moments you want to squeeze her and not let go, and other times you want to send her into her room until she can get a grip on her emotions and remember what really matters in life. Yeah, until this, too, passes.

It seems the most frequently offered words of comfort I have received as a mother (And I bet the same is true for you.) are, "This, too, shall pass." Certainly, these words are true. We live in a bunch of phases and it is highly unlikely we will live out our entire lives stuck in one of them. Each one will pass.
But another one will come on its heels. We'll struggle to see the light. We'll become frustrated at times. We'll sigh heavily and maybe cry a bit. Then someone will come along with a hug and remind us, "This, too, shall pass."
And we'll look forward to tomorrow, hoping it will be better than today.

It was in this looking forward that I found myself in a sad position. I realized one day that I was dangerously close to wishing my children's lives away. With each trial, each unpleasant phase, I played the mantra over in my head, "This, too, shall pass. This, too, shall pass."
I rehearsed that mantra until the day I realized I was longing so desperately for tomorrow, that I was missing today. And I don't want to miss today, because today is the only day I'm guaranteed. I don't own tomorrow. And I surely don't want to arrive at some place twenty years down the road with a grandchild on my lap, wondering to myself, How did I get here? When did my children grow up? Why did it happen so quickly? I know I always wanted to get past the hard times, but I didn't mean to miss so much!

This is the heartbeat behind my new book, Finding Joy. I want to live in the present moment, not hang somewhere between today and the future. And the wonderful thing is, God has shown me that I can have joy in the present moment - in the midst of the trials, the frustrations, the mundane and ordinary - because HE is in the moment.
When I take my focus off the situation and fix it on Him, I find joy! This is a wonderful journey, and I hope you will join me on it - by thinking about what I've written in this post, and even getting a copy of the book when it's out.

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By the way, my printer gave me a tentative completion date of "The week of 9/30/08." I'll open the give-away post next week!

Monday, September 01, 2008

She's a Quick One

Happy Monday, friends! Nothing spiritually profound today - just a cute story. If you need an encouraging word, please check out Friday's post.

So, I'm grocery shopping with my daughter last night and she wants to push the cart.
Elizabeth tells me she would rather walk beside me than behind me, so she doesn't accidentally run into me with the cart.
OK. So I move beside her.
But then I had to go get something and ended up in front of her again. And she ran into me.
Since I was wearing sandals, the cart did a number on my heel. Ouch!!!
I kept checking my heel and noticed, whenever I looked at it, Elizabeth got a very sorry look on her face. After I had looked at it a dozen or so times she said, "I'm really sorry." I just smiled and said, "That's OK, honey. You didn't mean to." (Pause) "Did you???" And we laughed.
After that I decided not to look at it anymore, because I could tell she was feeling bad. But then I was pretty sure I could feel blood trickling down the back of my heel and Elizabeth said, "Uh, Mom? You're bleeding. You need to wipe your heel."
I thanked her for telling me and started looking through my purse for a tissue, but found none. Elizabeth pointed out some paper towels hanging nearby and I tore off a piece. "Great," I said. "Now I just need to find a trash can. Do you see any?"
Sure enough, she saw one and said, "Over there!" I smiled at her and said, "Boy, I'm sure glad you're with me. What would I do without you?"
Without missing a beat, Elizabeth said, "Well, for one, you wouldn't have a bloody heel."

She's a quick one, I tell ya. She's quick.

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