Friday, October 29, 2010

Lessons from the Edge

Sometimes, the best thing you can say is...nothing.

I was sitting at my desk this week when M came in and said she needed to talk to me. She wondered if I 'had a minute'.
I told her, "Sure!" and turned toward her so I could listen. As M told me about her disappointment with some changes which have taken place, I sat wondering what I could say to make her feel better. I thought about suggesting a plan of action.
But I had nothing.
She went on to tell me about a friendship she used to have with a resident who has since moved away. And I pondered words to comfort her.
Still, nothing came to mind.
Before long, she was telling me about some of the hard times she had faced as a wife and mother. As I sat and listened, I couldn't fathom the words which would ease the pain of her memories.
And, just as before, I had nothing to say.

The next thing I knew, another resident had come into the Activity Room and my conversation with M came to an end.
An end? So soon? I thought to myself. But I haven't even had a chance to respond to her!
Yet, as I looked at M, it seemed to me she was feeling a little better. And I reasoned, she really didn't come to me because she was looking for a response. I think she just needed someone to hear her.
And that's when I realized, Sometimes, the best thing you can say is...nothing!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Moms' Night Out in California - January 21, 2011

While it's true I believe we need to live each moment, and not spend today living for tomorrow, I can't help but be excited about one of my tomorrows. *grin*
In just less than three months I'll be speaking at the next Moms' Night Out. This one will be held in San Diego, CA at the Rock Church.
Click here for registration and details.
If you are a southern California girl, I would love to see you there! And if you know any moms in that region, I hope you'll send them the link and encourage them to come, too.
I am delighted to know God already knows each woman who will be there, and I pray He is preparing each one for what He will do in them during our time together.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Still Looking

When your children were new-borns, did you ever find yourself looking for the user's guide that was supposed to come with them?
You know, the little instruction book which would tell you exactly what each cry meant, how to comfort each whimper, and what to do in every situation? Oh, how I longed for that information!
Last week I found myself looking for it again. Wondering what it would have to say about seventh graders and their moms.
Joshua called me from school one morning, because he had forgotten his science book and homework. We had already had a trying morning because of math homework he needed to finish (Which delayed me in getting ready for work.) and I think Joshua was sensitive to that fact as he brought his request to me. These were his words: "If it wouldn't be too hard for you to do in the next half hour, could you bring my science book to school? Because I forgot it and my homework is in it. But if it would be too hard for you, I can use a homework pass. It's OK."
I told him he would need to use the homework pass. And I was glad he'd made that suggestion, because it made my 'No' easier to say.

That's when I found myself wanting the instruction book again.

Part of me was thinking the best thing to do was NOT to take the homework to school. How is a child going to learn responsibility if dear ol' Mom always comes to the rescue? Right?
Besides, it would have been a significant hassle to make the trip to school. I had already been delayed by the math homework with which Joshua needed help. Didn't have any extra time left that morning.
So it seemed entirely reasonable to me to tell Joshua he needed to use that homework pass.
BUT then I got to thinking about it more.
Would it be better for me to make the sacrifice?
Shouldn't I extend grace to my son, as God lavishes it on me?
I forget things, too, and need help from others. Isn't it reasonable to understand another person's ability to forget sometimes?

Honestly, I was not laboring over these questions with regard to Joshua forgetting his science book. I really believe I made the right decision there.
The thoughts were going on to other circumstances, just wondering where we - as parents - need to draw the line between extending grace, and teaching our children responsibility.
And that's when I started wanting for that instruction book again.
I haven't found it.
Been praying a lot - asking God to give me wisdom in drawing those lines.
But as for that book?
I'm still looking!
Have you seen it?


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Leviticus 26

In my read-thru-the-Bible-in-a-year program, I have just finished Leviticus. *whew!* Now I just need to make it through Numbers...
Honestly, it isn't that bad. Each day I pray and tell God I know there's something He has to say through His word. Even the, uh, monotonous parts. (Can I say that without fear of being struck by lightening? *wink*)
And I have to say, I smiled as I came to the end of Leviticus. Not because it was the end, but because I was reminded of the spin I put on Leviticus 26 first time I read through the Bible. Grab your copy of the Scriptures and give God's version a read, then take a look at mine.

Reward for Obedience
Do not make messes or set up forts which you are unwilling to clean up later. I am your mother.
Observe my rules and have reverence for my house (which I work so hard to keep clean in spite of you). I am the Mom.
If you follow my rules and are careful to do what I say, I will send clean clothing to your room in its season. I will wash your dirty underwear, fold your socks and even put them away for you. Your outfits will always smell nice.
I will grant peace in your land. Your brother and sister will not be allowed to torment you. You will enjoy safety among them and I will make sure they give you fair time on the Wii.
I will look on you with favor and will prepare your favorite dinners. When I go shopping I will look for sales on the snacks you love, and I will buy them for you. If I can find the fleece lined jeans you love, in your size and on sale, I will buy them and they will be yours. All yours - for you to enjoy until you wear holes in the knees which are unmendable. Even then, I will try to fix them for you.
I will put my dwelling place among you. I will walk with you to the bus stop and be your mom and you will be my child. I am the Mom who brought you out of my womb so that you would no longer stomp on my bladder; I supplied you with shoes and helped you learn to walk with your head held high.

Punishment for Disobedience
But if you will not listen to me and do as I say, and if you reject my rules and do not do exactly as I tell you to do, then I will do this to you:
I will raise my voice and tell you one more time the command I expect you to follow. I will pause for just a moment to allow you to think about your next move, but I will look at you with stern eyes.
If after this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins. I will take away your computer privileges and your time on the Wii for two days. I will not allow you to go on Webkinz to do your Daily Kinz Care or to play the Wheel of Wow. For two days you will not be able to play Tanks or Super Mario Bros. no matter how much you beg and whine.
If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions. I will take away computer and Wii privileges from you for four more days and you will not be allowed to participate in Movie Night on Friday. You will sit in your room and smell the popcorn, but you will not be allowed to eat any of it. While the rest of us enjoy whatever comes from Netflix this week, you will sit in your room, alone and without popcorn.
If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, I myself will be hostile toward you. I will make you clean the entire bathroom by yourself, and I will not help you. I will still wash your clothes, but I will not fold them. You must do that yourself. No longer will I prepare your favorite meals. You will eat brussel sprouts and spinach.
And you'll like it!
In my anger I will unplug the Wii and remove it from the house completely.
But if you will confess your sins - your treachery against me and your hostility toward me - then when your heart is humbled and you apologize to me, I will remember the covenant I made with God at your birth. I will remember the promise I made to Him to love and care for you and to be your mother.
When you have calmed down and will listen to me I will talk with you about your behavior. By the grace of God alone, I will love you and I will remind you it is my job to train you in the ways that are right. I will explain to you once more that when I punish you, it is for your good, to mold and shape you - not to discourage you. I will repeat to you that everything I do for you is because I love you.
I will remember I am a broken woman, in need of God's grace and mercy - just as much as you are an immature child, in need of my grace and mercy. I will confess my own sin to the Lord and beg of Him to carry me through these difficult moments of mothering.
I will fold your clothes and pray for you.
I will make your favorite dinner and thank God for you.
I will play you in a game of Tanks and laugh with you.
I will thank God for His presence with me and His perfect faithfulness.
I am the Mom.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lessons from the Edge

Not everyone grows out of childish tendencies.

It's true. Not all the lessons I'm learning at Edgewood are upbeat and encouraging. In fact, this week I've come across a couple of lessons which have made me sad.
Tuesday we had a great guy come in to provide musical entertainment. As we sat and listened - clapping our hands and tapping our toes - one of the residents added several rhythmic "yee-ha" and "hee-hee" choruses. He makes these sounds frequently when there's music and he's having a good time. And, honestly, I love to hear it.
But Tuesday, another of the residents called me over and adamantly asked me to go tell "F" to be quiet. She said his 'noise' was really bothering her, and she pointed out another resident who seemed to be upset with the addition to the songs, as well.
I told the complainer that I would not ask F to stop. I reminded her that he was enjoying himself, and was simply expressing his joy. It has always been my belief that you should never tell a singing person to stop singing.
I really did think that would be the end of it. I thought the complainer would understand my position and would be reasonable enough to block out F, and just enjoy the rest of the show. But the pout on her face made me wonder if enjoyment was still on her list of possible choices.
I hope it was.
Because I think it would be sad to let childish tendencies ruin a perfectly delightful afternoon.

And, just because F and his "yee-ha" and "hee-hee" make me so happy, I'm going to share a rendition of one of his favorite songs here. He always requests this song when someone comes to play for us. And it always makes me smile to listen to F singing along.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

That Old Thing???

I love the internet.

It's handy, and useful, and has lots of good information available on it.

I am not opposed to 'new' things.

BUT, did you know old things can still be useful?

Matthew is reading a new book and is frequently asking me what various words mean. Well, the other day he stumped me. And I said, "Matthew, watch this!" I walked over to the bookshelf, took out the dictionary, and looked up the word in question.
Not only did we find out what the word meant, but we learned how to pronounce it correctly, and there was even a picture of the item in question.
All that and we didn't even have to turn on the computer, wait for it to boot up, log in to anything, or type passwords. And the only tab I had to use was the one which directed me to the 'C' section of the dictionary.

My kids seem to have the attitude that the dictionary is out-dated and useless. How fun it was to show them differently. *grin*
But now I am wondering at the validity of Matthew's statement as I sat on the couch with the book on my lap. He said, "I bet the next generation won't even know what a dictionary is."
Hmmm. I wonder. The one I have on my shelf has a copyright date of 1981. Does Webster still print these things?


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why Is It?

We had an interesting discussion at small group Sunday night, and I'd love to hear what you think.

Someone was talking about a friend who is going through hard times. (With his business, I think. I honestly don't remember - because the details escaped me after I got to wondering about the bigger question.) Apparently this person prayed about his decision, and saw God opening doors. So he walked through them. As the doors were opening, this person was confident God was leading him, and would be with him through this new venture.
Once he got started in the new venture, he began facing difficulty and proceeded to question where God was.

And that's where our discussion began.

Do you think it's possible that God would lead you down a path which HE knows will be full of trials?
Might God open doors for you, into rooms where you will experience struggle?
Could it be that God's plan is not for your ease, but for your sanctification?
If God knows what is best for us - if He has our holiness in mind - might He look at a trail of trials, and lead us down it for the purpose of refining us?

If so, then why is it we can sense God's leading in a certain direction, we can thank Him for opening doors for us, we can trust Him with the way we're going - but when things start getting difficult, we question where He is?


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You Go, Girl!

Have I ever told you what a precious daughter I have?

She's the best!

The retreat experience this past weekend with her was great.
I particularly enjoyed watching her interact with the other teen who was there.

But the thing I have to tell you about today is a conversation the two of us had last week.
Elizabeth looked at me and said, "I'm not going to give you trouble as a teenager."
I looked back at her and smiled. "That sounds great to me." But I wondered what prompted her to come to this decision.
She explained, "I remember once when someone told you that when I was a teenager, I would give you lots of trouble. I want to prove them wrong."

I just looked at my precious daughter and said, "You go, girl!"


Monday, October 18, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Time Out

It's Monday night as I'm writing this entry. I just took some cold medicine and will be going to bed shortly. As I am looking ahead at this week, I know there is no way I'll be able to do regular posts and because I know I have gracious friends, I am not even going to try.
I'll be speaking at a women's retreat this Friday and Saturday, and am terribly excited about it. Would so appreciate your prayers for my health (I'm planning to sing, as well, and sure would like my voice to be with me. *grin*) and for God's Spirit to be active among us. My daughter is coming along - her first ever experience at a women's retreat - and I pray God will speak to her heart.

I hope to be back to regular blogging Monday. Thank you for your prayers and patience with me. I love you!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We Crack Me Up

*big grin*

I can laugh about it now.

But last week - when I was feeling so overwhelmed by my job, and life, and my family responsibilities - I wasn't laughing. I really did want to talk with Brian about how I was feeling, and I figured since the whole thing had been brought into the open at small group Sunday night, well, surely he would ask me about it and I could talk to him more.

Only, he wasn't asking.

Even when I thought about it really hard.

So, I was feeling rather unloved. I mean, if my husband cared about how I was feeling, surely he would have noticed my tears and would have come rushing to my side to be my knight in shining armor.

But he didn't.

So when he came home from men's group Tuesday night and told me they'd been talking about expressing their feelings with their wives, I couldn't help but see the door God was opening. And I walked through it.
I said, "Actually, I've been wanting to talk about my feelings for a while." And I proceeded to tell my husband that I had been feeling unloved over the past couple of days, and I explained why - because he hadn't asked me about my tears Sunday night.

My poor husband sat there slack-jawed, with his eyes as big as saucers.

He said, "But whenever I ask you about something and you start crying, you always say you can't talk about it. I thought I was doing the loving thing by not asking."

I think that's where I started laughing.

He was absolutely right. When I'm crying, I And I have been known to say before, "Don't make me talk about this." Ah, yes. I could totally see where he was coming from.

So for two days I had been sitting here, feeling unloved because Brian wasn't asking about my feelings. And for two days he thought he was being loving by not asking me about my feelings and making me cry again. Bless his heart. He was trying to do the right thing!

We crack me up. Seventeen years of marriage, college degrees in Communication and Social Work - and we still can't figure out how to talk to each other. Anyone know where I can sign him up for mind-reading classes?


Monday, October 11, 2010

Friday, October 08, 2010

Lessons from the Edge

It's OK to forget things sometimes.

Are you too hard on yourself?

Do you tend to chastise yourself for little things? Like forgetting to get an item at the store? Or forgetting to return a book to the library? Or forgetting any number of little things which have absolutely no eternal consequence - so you really shouldn't make a fuss about it?

I do.

And I'm not much different at work.

I forget to bring my keys with me when I need to get something out of storage.
Maybe I forget the joke-of-the-day when I'm making announcements.
Or envelopes. How many times have I walked down to the office and forgotten to grab an envelope or some other supply? (Although, since my office is so far from the rest of civilization main art of the building, I have determined that my forgetfulness will be good for my figure. I do LOTS of walking back and forth!)
It is not uncommon for me to make a self-deprecating comment regarding my mental faculties when these forgetful moments occur.

But the residents at Edgewood have taught me something.

Besides telling me it's OK to forget sometimes, I have seen them living out that grace. More than once, I have been with a group of them in conversation - where one of the group members has real and honest memory problems. This person will repeat the same story to us three and four times, and - rather than ignoring the story, or reminding the person she has already told it - everyone else listens politely and responds just as kindly the fourth time as they did the first three.
Forgetfulness is rampant among the residents at Edgewood and - although I don't have the same excuse as they do - I have learned it just doesn't make sense to get upset about it.

It's OK to forget things sometimes.

(And I am getting in the habit of writing more lists for myself, so I forget less. *grin*)


Thursday, October 07, 2010

I Love My Job! So Why...

...Do I Feel This Way???

Honestly, I kinda saw it coming.

I just didn't know I would feel like this.

Maybe I thought I would be able to avoid it somehow.

But I couldn't. I didn't. I wasn't.

And this past weekend it became blatantly obvious to me, as over and over I kept hearing myself say, I'm all 'served-out'. I had this overwhelming feeling that I didn't want to 'do' another thing for anyone. (When singing to my kids at bedtime brings me to tears, I know something needs to give.)
I was pretty much keeping it bottled up (Healthy choice. I know. *sigh*) but at small group Sunday night, one of my friends asked how my job is going. I hesitated to say anything at first, because I knew the tears would come. I did manage to get out, "I love it," before I started to cry. And then I followed up with the explanation.
I love my job. I love the men and women I'm serving there. LOVE THEM!!! But adding these hours of work to my week has caused me to lose much of my self. I'm 'doing' for others all.the.time, and my self is feeling rather neglected.
Oh, I've only been at this for two months. I know in time I will fall into a groove and I will find a way to manage. Hundreds of thousands of other women do it! I know God is with me in the midst of all this stuff. I know it. But in the middle of the struggle, sometimes it's hard to see the end.
Ya know?

Anyway, that's what I've been feeling the past few days. Since Gianna was encouraging us to "acknowledge our feelings and sit in them a while" I decided that's just what I would do. And she's right. It does feel good!

I love my job. I am thankful for it!
But I am also struggling with the adjustment. I am tired, and I feel like there is little-to-nothing left in me to give. Still, I know that God is with me. I know HE cares about the way I am feeling. And I am trusting Him to lead me - even through this.

How about you???


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

He's So Insightful

Last Saturday my husband and I were sitting in the (sprinkling) rain watching Joshua's football game. I noticed the boys on the opposing team all had one pink sock on, and commented about it. Wondering why they would do that.
Brian said, "Well, it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month."
OK. I got that.
But I'm sure the confusion reflected in my eyes as I said, "And seventh grade boys are concerned about Breast Cancer Awareness?"
My insightful husband smiled and responded, "At this age, boys are very concerned about breasts."

Yep. That's my man! *grin*


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

For Dori

When I was at the gIRL Gathering, I let it slip that I am a Barry Manilow fan. Kinda got into singing some of his songs. You know, to keep the gIRLs entertained. *wink*
Well, ever since then, it seems Dori has had Copacabana on her mind. So I did a little YouTube search and found it. The rest of you are welcome to watch, but - Dori, this one's for you! (And now I'm thinkin' of another song! *grin*)


Monday, October 04, 2010

Who am I?


Friday, October 01, 2010

Lessons from the Edge

Be friendly.

That's the greatest lesson she has ever learned. And I see her living it out every day.
Her name is Clara and I 'interviewed' her a few days ago because she is going to be the Resident of the Week next week. I asked her about her background and family, and then got into questions of the heart like, What's the greatest lesson you've ever learned? And when Clara confidently stated, "Be friendly," I was not surprised. Because - not only do I see her kindness to other residents each day - I also remember my first day at Edgewood. This very sweet woman came up to me and said, "Hi. My name is Clara. I have lived here longer than anyone else, and I just want you to know - if you need anything, you can just ask me!"

Oh, that we all would live like that!

What would happen to our world if every day when we got out of bed we had as our plan: Be friendly? How would things be different if we spent more time looking for opportunities to be nice than for opportunities to cut down? If what I see in and around Clara is any indication, then I am sure the effects would be beautiful.

Be friendly.