Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's That Noise?

This past weekend we had a little flood at our house. Saturday night the water source to the refrigerator became disconnected and all night long water ran through the floor and into the basement. Directly into Elizabeth's bathroom and on out into the carpeted rec room. What a soggy mess!
The good news is it's being dried up.
The better news is, God is using even this circumstance to speak to my heart. (I love that He doesn't waste anything!)

A little background.
Our dog, Mindy, seems to be part chicken. She's scared of everything. Mindy barks at the vacuum cleaner. Matthew's Nerf gun makes her run in the other direction. (I'm sure that has nothing to do with the way he has tormented her in the past...) Even when I bring the broom into the kitchen to clean something up she growls and the hair on the back of her neck stands up.

So, you can imagine Mindy's reaction to the big fans, de-humidifiers and lots and lots of tubing we have strewn around our kitchen right now. It's noisy, and she doesn't like it one bit. (This is the only area of our house which isn't carpeted. And remember? Mindy isn't allowed on the carpet.)
As I sit here typing, Mindy is sharing the chair with me and I can feel her trembling. Poor thing.

And how has God spoken to my heart through this circumstance?
I'm so glad you asked! *grin*
Tuesday morning I sat outside to have my quiet time. It was a bit cool, but I chose to do that so Mindy could be outside with me - a little farther away from the noise and the scary machines. And as I sat there petting Mindy, speaking calmly to her, and reflecting on God's faithfulness, HE gave me a comforting picture.
You see, I know what the noise is all about in our house. I understand the machines. I know they are present in order to clean up the mess from the flood and to (hopefully!) prevent further damage. I even opened the door to let the guys in who brought all this equipment. I allowed it to happen.
But Mindy? Is scared. She doesn't understand and she just wants it all to be the way it was before.
In the same way, I realized God has full knowledge and understanding of the scary things in my life. I experience circumstances and situations which make me tremble, which I wish would just go away. But God knows why they're there. He knows the 'mess' in need of cleaning. In fact, God has allowed the 'scary things' because He knows what's best.

So, as I sit here typing with one hand (I'm using the other one to rub Mindy's tummy.) I am reminded that - just like I long to comfort Mindy in the midst of the noise and machines - God wants to comfort me when I'm scared. Just like I understand the reason for the equipment around the house, God knows why He has allowed these circumstances into my life. And in the same way I know Mindy is going to be just fine, so will I be - as I trust in my Father who loves me so much.

Is there a scary noise or machine in your house today? Stay by your Father. He'll protect you!

Karen

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Say What???

Had a little episode this past weekend with Joshua. See, Joshua wanted me to take him fishing and I didn't want to. But God changed my heart when I thought of a resolution I'd made to myself previously.
I wrote an article about this idea a while ago, and decided to post it here today. Hoping it will encourage all my mommy friends. (And anyone else who is prone to saying NO too quickly!)

Say What???

"Mom, can I have a snack?"
"No. It's almost dinner time."

"Mom, will you take me to the playground?"
"No. I'm folding laundry right now."

"Mom, can I get a new Barbie?"
"No. You don't need any more dolls."

"Mom, will you put my toys away?"
"No. That's your job."

"Mom, can I go to bed early tonight?"
"No. Er, what?"

Do you find yourself saying, "No," more than you say anything else? When your child approaches you with an inquisitive look on her face, (or angelic, if she's trying to manipulate you) do you already feel your lips puckering up for the big N-O? Do your kids think you don't even know the word "YES" exists?

If you answered "Yes" to these questions, well, that was a new experience, wasn't it?! Seriously, if you answered "Yes" to these questions, you're probably a lot like me. My kids pepper me with questions all day long and, in all fairness, many of their questions should legitimately be answered, "No." But there came a time when I realized I was saying, "No," to everything.
If a question was asked, the answer was, "No." I wasn't even thinking anymore. My answer was as reflexive as my knee when the doctor taps it.

It bothered me greatly when I realized I was saying, "No," so much. I felt incredibly negative, and I wondered if my kids were picking up on it. But what could I do about it? I certainly wasn't going to allow my children to have snacks five minutes before dinner, to watch three movies a day, or to stay up late whenever they wanted, just so I could avoid saying, "No." It seemed just as unlikely they would stop asking me the questions which required a "No" answer.

What was I to do?

The answer came to me one day, in the middle of a barrage of questions. My daughter called out, "Mom?" Instead of answering, "What?" as I usually did, I said, "Yes?" Then my son wanted something and he called, "Mom?" I replied, "Yes?" Moments later, son number two needed me and said, "Mom?" I came back with, "Yes?" All of a sudden it hit me. My kids call out "Mom?" so often that if I always answer back with, "Yes?" it will sound like I'm saying "yes" all day!
Saying, "Yes," may not be so difficult after all.
Yes, I think I can do this!
I'd like to say this little discovery was all it took to end the frustrations and difficulties I encounter each day. But that would be a lie.
I'd also like to say this little discovery was all it took to solve my saying "No" problem. But that would be shallow.
What really happened is this little discovery led me to start saying, "Yes," to more than just, "Mom?"
As time went on and I was allowing that word to pass from my lips a little more often, sometimes it slipped out when my daughter asked, "Mom, will you sing me another song?" Occasionally it found its way out when she asked, "Mom, can I have a piece of your gum?" Once it managed to get out when my son asked, "Mom, will you take me fishing?" ("No" found its way back quickly when the same son asked if I wanted to put the worm on the hook!)
My kids seemed surprised when I started saying, "yes," more often to them. They also seemed to be smiling a little more frequently. I noticed a definite skip in Joshua's step when we were walking to the fishing dock. This "yes" thing was making a positive difference for all of us.
I am still unwilling to give my children everything they desire. We need to have limits and boundaries. I am the adult here, and will do my best to maintain order and a sense of moderation. Being the adult, however, I realize I am also the one to be an example for my children.
I have found that saying, "Yes," also affords me the opportunity to be a model for them.
My kids are pretty good at being selfish. They don't need me to model that trait for them. I realized, however, modeling that trait is exactly what I do most of the time I say, "No," to them.
No, we can't go sledding because, honestly, it's cold outside and I don't want to be cold.
No, you can't spend your birthday money today because that would require me to change my plans and take you to the store, and I don't want to change my plans.
No, you can't play a game on the computer because I want to check my e-mail now.

Selfishness isn't very attractive when it's laid out so plainly, is it?

Having come to this understanding about the impact of that one little word, this is the decision I have reached regarding all future questions these children will pose to me: If the object of their question will not bring them harm, if it is not an unreasonable request, and if I cannot think of an unselfish reason to say, "No," my answer will definitely be, "Yes!"
How about you?

Karen

Monday, June 28, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pharmacy Notes

Monday could have been remembered as a really bad night at work.

*Our communication with insurances went down so everything was taking longer. And most customers weren't happy about that problem.
*There was the man whose daughter's doctor (apparently) called prescriptions into two different pharmacies, whose wife tried to (angrily) solve the problem with one of the pharmacies, which resulted in him driving all around town looking for said prescriptions, while his little girl sat at home with a fever - waiting for her medicine. (His rendition of this story was not as calm or kind as mine. LOL!)
*Let's not forget the pregnant woman who let me know how angry she was because we were out of the pre-natal vitamin she needed. I didn't bother to ask why she waited until she was out of vitamins to come get her prescription refilled. (Oh! Did I really just say that out loud? *grin* I mean, I understand 'pregnancy brain' but when did that involve being unkind to me???)
*And, there's also the point that we were too busy for me to take my break. Not necessarily a big deal, but in the midst of it all - 15 minutes to sit down and have a snack would have been nice.

However, as the closing hour was getting near and a customer's amount due came to $11.11, I smiled and thanked God for carrying me through the difficult evening.
But it wasn't until after 9:00 when I was closing the window that I understood God wasn't just saying, I carried you. He was also saying, I Am not finished yet.
Just as I was about to get the window closed (It had given me some trouble closing. Guess Who was behind that???) a woman came around the corner, asking if we were still open. I apologized and said we were closed. And my co-worker gave her two options for 24-hour pharmacies, which - unfortunately - weren't very near to us. This woman looked quite frazzled and the pharmacist told me to ask what she needed.
I asked, and the pharmacist said she would get it ready for her.
When I came back to the counter, I saw tears in the woman's eyes and I went to get her a tissue. Upon returning, I asked if she was OK and that's when she let out her stress and the fears which had been piling up the past two days. She told me about her son's accident and hospitalization, about her responsibility to watch over him now that he's home, and her fear that she wasn't going to notice if something goes wrong. As I listened to her, I was so glad the pharmacy was 'closed'. There was no one else there who needed my attention - no customers waiting in line - no one. I was able to give this dear mother my full attention, and I was so thankful.
She thanked me for my kindness, and I told her that everything about me comes from my faith in God. And I asked if I could pray for her. That's when she told me her faith is also in God. So we approached Him together - there in the pharmacy.
We said, "Amen," I gave Karen her son's prescription, and promised to continue praying for them. And I am.

I will likely never see Karen again, here on earth. But I know God has His eyes on her and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a brief part of her life.

God is good!
************************************************
On a fun note, I am going to be a guest on a local radio program tomorrow. The program is called, In Her Shoes, and airs on WJIM 1240AM at noon(EST). My slot is from 12:06-12:18. Those of you in the Lansing area can tune in on the radio. The rest of you can listen live on the internet. Here's the link.

Karen

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You Don't Have to Tell Me Twice

Those of you who know me well ought to be laughing after reading that title.
If you've been around here long enough, you know God often repeats Himself to me. And it's in the repeating that I finally learn.

I am reading a book during my quiet times called Spiritual Disciplines Companion, by Jan Johnson. And I am currently in Section Seven: Simplicity and Fasting. Jan talks a lot about how we can grow spiritually, how our character is strengthened, and our trust in God increases as we fast (from food, and various other things) and find our fulfillment in Him. She gives lots of encouragement for us to find ways to slow down and put our focus on God rather than on the stuff of this world.
And that was all good.
I agreed with what she wrote.
It made sense.
I even gave thought to how I might incorporate simplicity and fasting into my life regularly.

But it was when I got to church Sunday, and heard this sermon (It's about 50 minutes long. Sooooo worth your time!) that I knew God was calling me to action. Or, rest, as the case may be. *grin*

My Rest Plan? Well, my kids are spending a few days at Grandma's right now. So today I am unplugging the internet. Won't check email, won't read blogs, won't update Facebook, won't click on Google to look for anything.
Instead, I am going to be silent today - except that I'll likely spend some time singing. I'll probably take a walk, or two. And I am going to be spending time in prayer and in His Word.
I just want to connect with God. I want to draw close to Him, un-distracted by the stuff of 'regular' life.
My intention is to make this a weekly thing. Not sure how I'll work that out when the kids are home, but I trust God will make a way. In fact, He's shown me before that I can connect with Him while I'm connecting with my kids. Yeah. I'm sure He'll make a way.
After all, He's already told me twice that He wants me to slow down. And I'm catching on a little quicker these days. You don't only have to tell me twice. *wink*

How about you? Is God tugging at your heart to slow down, too? Please accept this encouragement to watch the sermon in the link above. It's good stuff.
Have a Jesus-full day!

Karen

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Are YOU Talking to Me???

On Sunday Brian and I took the kids to a county park (sort of) near our house. They wanted to play with Mindy in the dog park, and Brian and I wanted to nap in the sun. (We settled for a 'nap' in the clouds. *sigh*)
As I was laying there, I couldn't help over-hearing an interaction between a woman and child which must have been occurring only 10 feet away from me. It was time for this family to leave the park, and the child did not want to go. I resisted the urge to open my eyes, roll over, and watch the scene. But - based upon what I could hear - I'm guessing the child was less than two years old. As the child protested, the mother said, "C'mon, now. You're trying to embarrass me. Stop it. Let's go."
And that statement she made, "You're trying to embarrass me," hung in the air like a bad stench.
Everything in me wanted to get up and go say to her, "Your child is not trying to embarrass you. She has simply had fun here at the beach and she wants to stay longer. She isn't being vindictive. She's being a toddler."
But I know better than to get in the way of an Irritable Mother (LOL!) so I kept my eyes and my mouth shut.

However, the little conversation I had in my head with the irritable mother? God brought it back to me later that evening.

Joshua wanted to play with some friends and was eager for me to get dinner ready (earlier than usual). When we got home, I changed my clothes and started preparing dinner. Then Joshua came into the kitchen to ask how long until dinner was going to be ready. I told him, "About half an hour," hoping that would be quick enough to satisfy his urge to play.

I absolutely did not expect the response he gave me.

Rather than being upset that I was taking too long, he protested that I was not giving him enough time to do the things he wanted to do before dinner.

What???

I responded with something along the lines of, "I thought you wanted to have dinner early so you could play with your friends afterwards. Now you're mad because I'm making it too soon? I can't win with you!"
He got sassy back, and I got more irritable.
Joshua stormed off in a huff and I stood in the kitchen. Baffled by my son, frustrated with his attitude, and wondering why he so frequently takes me to this place of angst.

And right about then, God brought back the words I had wanted to say at the park. I thought of how - as an outsider - I could see the woman's child wasn't really trying to upset her. Because I wasn't in the midst of her circumstance, because I wasn't frustrated with her child, I was able to view things from the child's vantage point. I was able to remember the child was, well, a child!
Looking in on her moment, I was filled with compassion and wanted to say, "Dear Mother, she's just being a toddler. Won't you extend her some grace?"

That's when I could almost hear the words in my own heart.

Karen, he's just being an adolescent. Won't you extend him some grace?

I had to pause and look heavenward, asking, "Are YOU talking to me???"

Karen

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Have a Dream

When I began blogging nearly four years ago, I had no idea I would meet so many precious friends online. I did not realize God could put a deep and sincere love in my heart for women I have never met face-to-face. Didn't know my heart would go out to others, that I would find myself praying earnestly for needs which are not my own, or that my life would be so richly blessed by a community of women I didn't even know existed.

But that is just what happened.

As time has gone by I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet a few fellow-bloggers in person, and that truly delighted my heart.
And put a dream in me.
I began thinking, Wouldn't it be amazing if a bunch of us could get together, in one place, in person - to encourage one another, to worship God together, to actually hold hands as we pray for each other?
And my mind raced with the possibilities. Though I reasoned it would likely never happen. I mean, really, how could something like that be pulled off?

Oh, me, of little faith!

Last week I was reading Leah's blog and she talked about an event coming up in September in North Carolina. She described an event at which women who have made connections on one side of the computer screen will gather on the other side of it to meet God together. And I just knew God was making my dream come true.
The group is called gIRL. (That would be girlfriends In Real Life!)
Their website is here.
The event details/registration are here.
I am registered, have purchased my plane ticket, and unless God says otherwise, I'm going to be there. September 24-26, 2010. (Just two days after my *first* 39th birthday!)

I hope you can come, too.
(But please note, space is limited. So don't dilly-dally! *grin*)

Karen

Monday, June 21, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pharmacy Notes

Sometimes things happen in our lives and we wonder, God, was that You?
And other times He is so blatantly obvious we cannot deny His hand at work, and we simply have to give Him thanks and praise.

Such was the case at the pharmacy this week.

A little background...
I think I might go blind working at the pharmacy. Looking at all those little letters and numbers when I am locating and confirming prescriptions sometimes makes my eyes go nuts. And more than once I have looked (and looked again!) for a prescription and been unable to see it. Only to have a co-worker walk over and pull it off the shelf for me. Right where I had been looking.
I hate when that happens!

So, back to God being blatantly obvious.
Tuesday as I was going into work I was praying. I specifically asked God to help me see things clearly. I didn't want to have trouble finding prescriptions and need to ask my co-workers for help. I wanted help from God.
Well, rather than waiting on customers, my manager wanted me to work on some computer-based-training for a while. So I moved into the back office and got started on the computer. And before too long, God made Himself known to me.
I heard a customer asking if we had any surgical lube behind the counter. My co-worker thought the customer was asking for surgical tube and said she didn't think we carried it. But the customer was certain she had purchased surgical lube before - in a tube.
At this point I stepped out of the room I was in. (Don't ask me why. I had no idea if we had surgical lube. I had not seen it before. But I thought I could at least clarify that the customer was asking for surgical lubrication.)
So my co-worker and I walked over to the shelf where we keep all the special behind-the-counter products. I looked up at the top, right corner and saw it. A box full of tubes of surgical lubricant. I said, "There it is."
Then I remembered what I had prayed on my way into work, I got a HUGE smile on my face because I knew God had just done this for me, and I thanked Him for His faithfulness in every.little.thing.

Don't know what you're looking for today, but I know Who can help you!

Karen

Thursday, June 17, 2010

So, it's me, the village, AND the Village?

OK.

I would like an answer.

Just one, please.

Because variety confuses me. Especially when the answers each make sense, but they don't seem to go together.
Does anyone know what I mean???

So, my question. Whose responsibility is it to raise my children?

One camp says it is the parent who has the primary responsibility to raise the child. And it doesn't take much explanation for that option to make sense. I had the child, and I should influence and raise said child.
OK.
I get that.

But then there's this other camp which says it takes an entire 'village' to properly raise a child. I just started reading a book which points to other cultures where, quite literally, the entire village participates in the raising of each child. The author sings the praises of such community involvement, and while at first I was hesitant to agree with him (because it seemed like a cop-out to the parents being responsible) after thinking about it for a while, I agreed with him, too.

And then there are those who argue - we can do whatever we will, but ultimately our children are God's responsibility.
And I cannot argue with Him!

But where does that leave me and my question?
I have one question, with three good answers.
How does that work???

I spent some time discussing the matter with my Voice of Reason (a.k.a. my husband) and he helped me come to the conclusion that those three answers are really all part of one answer. That, actually, they're all the answer.
*As the parent of my children, I am the one who has the primary responsibility to raise them.
*There are countless individuals (teachers, camp counselors, youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, etc.) who are - and will be - a significant part of my children's lives. These people are going to take on responsibility to influence my children for good.
*God in His wisdom and perfect knowledge is going to orchestrate the events of my children's lives, and is going to use a variety of people (even me!) to shape them into the people He has created them to be. Ultimately, it is all up to Him.

And I?
Am satisfied with that answer. I am the Mom. But I am not in this alone. And the other day as I was praying about it, I started thinking of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit as the Ultimate Village with Whom I am raising my children. I like that!

How about you? Are you trying to do this parenting thing on your own? Or are you accepting help?

Karen

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

May I Brag?

OK. I know bragging isn't a godly thing to do. But if I am not bragging about myself, that's acceptable. Isn't it?
Because my daughter brought home some artwork from school last week, and I cannot help but boast about her talent. I only hope these pictures will do the real thing justice.

First, there's this picture. Elizabeth looked at a picture of herself and drew this one. Then shaded it in with little patterns.
Here's a closer view.

I think this one is amazing, too. Elizabeth admits to tracing the original picture. But then she filled it in with all these little dots. And I am so impressed.
Here's a close-up of this one.
And one more bragging point. Because I'm sure you'd love to see a real picture of this talented young lady.
Right?
*grin*
My little artist got all dolled up Friday night for the big Eighth Grade Dance, and I think she looked gorgeous. Do you agree?

So, that's my girl.
And I love her so much!

Karen

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Under Construction: Please Note the Progress

So last week, one of the things which was keeping me so busy was the work I had to do at one of our rental houses. I had to prepare some walls for painting and repair cracks in one of the ceilings.

I hate repairing cracks.

Because after you take care of the big ones, the smaller ones - which weren't so obvious in the beginning - suddenly look enormous. And how can you leave them alone?
So I put tape over the smaller cracks and mudded them up.

But then the really small cracks looked bad.

So I...
Said, "Forget it. I'm done!" After three mornings of repair work I'd had enough. I decided this would just have to do. And I came home.

When I pulled into the driveway I paused for a minute, looked at the weeds by the garage, and decided I'd dig them up before I went inside. But as I did that, I saw more weeds around the corner. So I went after them.
Which led to the backyard.
Where there were more weeds.

I'm sure you know what I did.

When I was finished and made my way back to the garage, I noticed a few more weeds which I hadn't seen before. So I stopped and dug them up.
And all of a sudden little tiny sprouts were catching my eye and I thought, This will never end!
Thoroughly frustrated, I said, "Forget it. I'm done." And I came inside.

But once I got in, I realized God wasn't done. Because I couldn't let go of thoughts about my tendency to never be satisfied. And I began to ask Him, God, why can't I ever be happy with progress? Why do I constantly see the thing that still needs to be fixed? What is it that keeps me from enjoying the work which has been done?
I thought about my kids, and my propensity to notice the things they leave un-done.
I considered how miserable it must be to have me as a mom some days.
I wondered when I'll ever figure out how to get it right with this mothering thing.
And I was all ready to have a beat-myself-up-for-not-being-perfect session, when God stepped in and handed me grace.

He reminded me of this post Leslie wrote last week - encouraging me to stop and notice the fruit He is producing in my children. And I felt as though He were saying to me, Karen, this isn't time to beat yourself up. I don't like it when you do that. I know there are still cracks in you and in your children which need repairing. I know there are some weeds that still need pulling. But darling, I want you to stop looking at them. Look at Me, and let Me remind you of the progress we've made.

Ah, yes!
I know I am not yet the woman God intends me to be.

BUT...

I am also not the woman I used to be.


And for this, I give Him thanks and praise!

Do you struggle with noticing the progress, too?

Karen

Monday, June 14, 2010

Category of the Month - Video Devotions

OK. Being honest...Last week was just really busy and I didn't have time to record a devotion for today. Soooo, I decided to make June's category of the month Video Devotions, and I'm posting this one from January of 2009 for you. If you'd like to watch more videos, please click on the link in my sidebar. I pray God will speak to your heart through them!

Before you click the "play" button," please grab your Bible and open up to Matthew 14:22. I'd like you to read along!

Karen

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pharmacy Notes

So Tuesday afternoon I was walking into work, praying and asking God to make me sensitive to His Spirit - asking Him to help me honor Him in the pharmacy. I worked every night this week and, honestly, I didn't have the best attitude about it. I would rather have been home so I could eat dinner with my family. I would rather have been home so I could walk Matthew home from school. But I am trusting that God has a plan with this whole thing we're going through, and I knew I needed to be in communion with Him - that He might change my heart.

So I prayed.

And with one of my very first customers, God reminded me He's in this circumstance and I can trust Him with the results.
It wasn't anything this particular customer said to me. There was nothing extraordinary about our interaction.
God spoke through the change.
That is, the customer's items totaled $28.89 and he paid me with $40.
Do the math.
When I put his money in the drawer and looked up at the screen, this is what I saw:

Amount paid: $40.00
Amount owed: 28.89
Change due: $11.11

I got a huge smile on my face as I counted out eleven dollars and eleven cents to give to my customer. And as I handed it to him, it was almost as if I could hear God saying to me, Trust Me, Karen. I will make the necessary change in you.

Love, love, love it when He does stuff like that!

Karen

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Food for Thought

Are you hungry?

Chew on this one for a while!

The point of prayer is not to get answers from God, but to have oneness with Him. If we pray only because we want answers, we will become irritated and angry with God.

~Oswald Chambers


Karen

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Two More Days

That's all the time I have left.

Two more days to be "the lady who walks her son to school."

(That's how I am known to half the population in Okemos. Seems every time I meet someone at school for the first time they say, "Oh, aren't you the lady who walks her son to school? I see you walking every day..." One of my first customers at the pharmacy said, "Aren't you the lady I see walking her son to school?" Even the teller at my bank asked me, "Didn't I see you walking your son to school?" And I smile, "Yep. That's me.")

But that'll only be me for two more days.

Friday is the last day of school, and next year Matthew will be in a different school. And he'll be riding the bus.
I won't be walking with him.
And when he gets to school I won't be there to say, "Remember, Matthew: God created you. He loves you. And He has a purpose for your life."

And even though part of me is saddened by this thought, I know there is no use in dwelling on it.
My baby is growing up. Yes.
I will no longer have any children in elementary school. True.
If I look, I'll probably find several more grey hairs on my head. So what!

Just because we're all getting older, and just because my children's wings are growing a little bigger doesn't mean I have no purpose.
I may have only two more days to be "the lady who walks her son to school," but for the rest of our lives I will be the mom.
I will speak words of life to my children.
I will pray for them and point them to God in the midst of their struggles.
I will worry about them when I don't know where they are, then remember that God is in control.
And I'll pray some more.
I will trust in God for all I do not understand, and give thanks for His grace which carries me through every single day.

And maybe I'll still take a walk every morning up to the elementary school. Unless it's really cold. In that case, I'll drive. Er, no. In that case, I'll stay in bed. *grin*

Karen

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Sometimes You Have to Restrain Yourself

Last Friday afternoon I watched my son run in the Chieftan Challenge. It's a one mile race which is held at the end of every school year – in which the kids from the two middle schools in Okemos compete against each other. Joshua has been looking forward to this race all year, and I was excited to watch him run. He'd been hyping himself up about it for weeks, talking about how much he hoped to break the 6-minute mark. And I had offered up several prayers for him through the day, asking God to help Joshua do his best.

I arrived at the race before the kids started gathering and just stood there waiting. Before too long I saw Elizabeth with several of her friends. She came right over to me and gave me a big hug. I said hello to her friends, then was quickly left to watch a purse, coat, and camera which belonged to one of her friends, so they could run off and talk to other girls. I really didn't mind. I remember being a teenage girl. Besides, I was still contemplating Elizabeth's warm greeting – in front of her friends. How sweet was that?

Then I saw the boys coming and I turned to look for Joshua. After just a minute I saw him, and my heart skipped a beat. Oh, if you could have seen the smile on his face. He was so excited! I saw him high-fiving his friends and even body-slamming with one of them. Everything in me wanted to walk right over there and hug high-five him, too. I wanted to whisper to Joshua that I was praying for him, wanted to wish him well and let him know dear ol' mom was there to cheer for him.
However, when I looked at my almost-teenage son, rousing it up with his almost-teenage friends, I knew he would be humiliated if I did any of that in front of his friends.
(Oh, sure, at bed time he wants me to rub his legs and back. But I better not talk to him in front of his friends!)
So I stayed where I was, keeping my eyes glued on him, hoping that for an instant he might look my way and be able to hear me thinking, Hey, Joshua. I've been praying for you. I know you'll do great. I'm here to cheer you on! But I couldn't get over how hard it was to control the urge I had inside to go over and give my boy a hug.
(At this point, I think it was helpful to have an extra coat, purse, and camera to hold. Gave my arms something to do. *grin*)

And for just a moment I contemplated the incredible difference between an adolescent boy and girl.

But soon it was race time and I got myself into position at the finish line so I could capture this picture, just after he crossed the finish line.


Joshua's finish time was 5:59.
He broke six minutes and he was soooooo happy.
And this momma was proud!

Karen

Monday, June 07, 2010

Friday, June 04, 2010

Pharmacy Notes

"Followers of Jesus don't have jobs. They have ministry assignments."

Marvin Williams
Senior Teaching Pastor
Trinity Church, Lansing, MI

The previous quote comes from the following video. This is the sermon I heard last Sunday, right before I went to my job. Er, my ministry assignment. God spoke to my heart regarding the time I spend in the pharmacy, and I invite you to stick around here a while and watch it.

Work in HD - Marvin Williams from TrinityWired Productions on Vimeo.


Karen

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Thanks. I needed that!

This quote was on the end of an email I received recently. Blessed my heart, and I hope it does the same for yours!

May you always be overwhelmed by the grace of God, rather than by the cares of life.

Karen

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I'm Feeling...BUT God

OK.
Honestly.
I'm sitting here with a desire to write. My longing is to share something which will encourage and uplift you. I want to come up with some profound spiritual insight which will be an 'Ah-ha!' moment for you.

But, ya know what?
I'm just not feeling it.

Instead, I'm feeling rather blah. I'm not particularly upset or disappointed about anything. Not really anxious or worried.
But not very inspirational, either.

I'm just feeling kind of...blah.

Have you been here?

However, as I sit here in the midst of my blah-ness, I am reminded of a very important Truth.

God is good. All the time.

God's goodness, His power, His faithfulness, His wisdom, His grace and mercy - everything about Him is perfect all the time.
And it encourages my heart to know that even though my feelings may change like the wind, God is always the same.
How thankful am I that I can count on Him to always love me, to always care for me, to always know what's best for me, and to always bring it about.

Today I'm feeling blah. BUT God is good. He is faithful. He is trustworthy.
And tomorrow, regardless of how I'm feeling? God will be the same.

So today I'm going to praise Him. I'm going to thank Him for loving me based upon His will to love me - not based upon my feelings or behaviors. And I'm going to trust that He will use even this blah feeling of mine, and the lesson He's teaching me through it, to shape me into the woman He wants me to be.

How are you feeling today?

Karen

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

I Want to Share this Ticket

I have enough frequent flier miles with American Airlines for a one-way ticket.
And I'm looking for a church or moms' group who can use it.

That is, I would like to donate it to someone who wants to host a Moms' Night Out event - to bring down the cost of my travel.

Please email me if you're interested or have questions.

Thanks!

Karen