Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sing it With Me

"I got a couple dents in my fender. Got a couple rips in my jeans.
Tryin' to fit the pieces together, but perfection is my enemy!
On my own I'm so clumsy, but on Your shoulders I can see I'm free to be me."

This is where I'm at today!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The REAL Me?

I just spent the weekend with a group of women at the gIRL Gathering, talking about authenticity. Asking the question, am I the same person online as I am IRL? Who am I, REALLY?

Back at home, the question has been lingering.

Who am I, REALLY?

The gIRL who works at Edgewood - who loves the residents, who prays with them when they have a need, and who loves to bring joy into their lives - that's the REAL me.


The gIRL who is a mother to three wonderful children - who is doing her best to be faithful, who loves those kids more than words can convey, and whose heart is blessed by their hugs and kisses - that's the REAL me.


The gIRL who is a child of God - who trusts Him to care for her, who believes He knows what is best and is able to bring it about, and who loves just being in His presence - that's the REAL me.

Gee. That all sounds nice. Doesn't it?

But this is also true:

The gIRL who works at Edgewood - who sometimes feels inadequate to do the work, who questions her ability to have a job while also maintaining a home, and who wonders at least once a week if she's doing the right thing - that's the REAL me.


The gIRL who is a mother to three wonderful children - who doesn't know all the answers to their questions, who gets overwhelmed by the demands of adolescent attitudes and physical needs and 'places to go', and who sometimes wants to throw her hands up in the air and scream, "I QUIT!" - that's the REAL me.


The gIRL who is a child of God - who falls at His feet in tears begging for His mercy, who is desperate for His grace because she knows she can't make it in this world without Him, and who longs for the Day when she will be with Him forever ~ no more tears, no more confusion, no more angst, just HIM - that's the REAL me, too.

As I lay in bed Monday night thinking about this question, Who am I, REALLY? and pondering all these parts of the REAL me, I wondered how it can all be true. How can I be faith-filled and sweet, and also be uncertain and frustrated? How can both scenarios be true???

Do you know what I'm talking about?

Oh, I don't have the answer, but I know we can trust God to work it all together for good. He knows every part of you and me - the REAL 'us' - and still He loves us.
So, let us cling tightly to God. He is the one Sure and Steady thing in our lives. His REAL-ness is constant and unquestionable. Yes. We can trust Him!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oh, but I DO Understand!

Do you remember being a kid?

I do!

But I'm pretty sure my son thinks I went right from the womb to adulthood. Because he keeps accusing me of not understanding. Usually his accusations are regarding the parent/pre-teen struggle. But lately they are also including his disappointment with football.
See, his coach isn't playing him very much in the games. When he is 'in,' he isn't seeing much action. And he is very disappointed. He sulks and complains, and when I try to encourage him in some way he brushes me off with another You don't understand comment.

Give me a minute to think about that.
Just kidding. It won't take that long!
*In fourth grade, I was the ONLY ONE on the basketball team who didn't make a basket for the entire season.
*In seventh grade, I was the ONLY ONE on the basketball team who didn't start a game.
*In ninth grade, my two best friends wrote me a really mean letter and...yeah.
*During my freshman year in college, I was the ONLY ONE in my vocal group who didn't have a solo in a concert for the entire year.

I could keep going, but I think that's enough.

Yes, my son. I DO understand disappointment. I understand feeling let down. I know what it's like to not feel 'good enough'. I've had my heart broken and my hopes dashed. I know it hurts.

And even though I have gotten over those disappointments, I've discovered adolescent disappointments can still hurt me. That is, it hurts this mom to see her son feeling let down and down-hearted.
Praying the One who created my son - the One who loves him even more than I do - will give me the words and the wisdom to share my hurts at the appropriate time. Praying He might use this circumstance to bond us closer together.


Monday, September 27, 2010

The gIRL Gathering

Ahhh! Had a great weekend!
I hope you enjoy this video from my time at the gIRL Gathering. Sorry about a couple spots where the sound is bad...


Friday, September 24, 2010

Lessons from the Edge

God will provide. I don't need to worry.

OK. It isn't a new revelation.
I've heard it a hundred times.
I know it to be true.
Even so, sometimes when I can't see how things are going to work out (And that would be, well, ALWAYS!) I start to worry. As if my worrying will solve the problem. *sigh*

Oh, HE is so patient with me!

I have been in the middle of planning various activities at Edgewood. One was HUGE. Others have been less significant in magnitude. But each has required more than I could do on my own.
And with each activity I have, at least at some point, wondered, How am I going to do this? What if I can't get it all done? What if the whole thing falls through?
Then God, in His goodness and mercy, sweeps in with just what I need. Usually in the form of some amazing volunteers who are more than happy to help me out.
And as these people come to me and ask, "What do you need me to do?" I can almost hear my Father speaking, too. What do you need Me to do, darling? Don't worry. I can handle it.

Indeed. God will provide. I don't need to worry.

Do you???
BTW, I'm going to the gIRL Gathering this weekend. *BIG cheer!*
I hope to create a little video journal - of my experience, and to introduce the gIRLfriends I'm finally going to meet. My goal is to have it here Monday...


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Promise Keeper

Several years ago my mentor and I were going through the book of Luke, Lectio Divina style. She read, and I listened. And on the very first day we did it, I believed God made me a promise about my son, Joshua.
As Jenni read these words which God spoke to Zechariah about his son, John, I was convinced God was speaking the same words to me about Joshua.

He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth...Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.

For a long time, whenever Joshua began to get under my skin I would repeat the phrase 'He will be a joy and delight to you' and pray that God would help me to see it. (Some days were easier than others. *wink*)

*Big sigh* I'm telling you, these current days often leave me wondering. Oh, how he balks at chores. At being responsible. And respectful. He complains, and argues, and I feel like I will never 'win' with that boy. I cannot tell you the number of times I have wanted to through my hands up in the air in frustration and just say, "I GIVE UP!"

But a few weeks ago I was reading a book which mentioned the promises God gives to us in His Word. And I remembered that moment with Jenni, when God spoke to my heart.
Then there was the comment Leah left two weeks ago - about God being a Covenant Keeper. Which, again, reminded me of the Luke thing.
And just last week I was reading Genesis 15, about God's promise to Abram - to make him into a great nation, with descendants as numerous as the stars. Hello! Abram didn't even have ONE child when God told him this crazy thing!
But God made the promise, and Abram believed.

That's when God reminded me again about the promise He made to me about Joshua. I went through my own, Hello! He never listens to me...objection. And God reminded me again that HE is a Promise Keeper, so I am choosing to trust Him.
Abraham was well advanced in years when he finally saw the beginning of the fulfillment of God's promise to him. He had to wait. And it didn't look so hopeful. But he believed, and God did what He said He would do.
I don't know what God is going to do in my son. But I believe He will use that boy (That man? I realize I may need to wait that long!) to bring people to Himself. I believe many will rejoice because Joshua was born - as God uses him to draw people to Himself. Yes. I believe he WILL be a joy and delight to me.

In this moment I feel like pointing out to God all the reasons this hope seems impossible to me. But He takes me back to things like Genesis 18:14: Is anything too hard for the LORD? And I remember that, no matter how long I need to wait, no matter how hard these teen years may be, I can trust and believe.
Because HE is a Promise Keeper.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Today I'm 39, and I'm at SHE Blogs

Yes, today is my very first 39th birthday. *grin*
And since it just worked out that I have a post scheduled today as SHE Blogs, well, I'm taking the day off of writing, and sending you over there. Where the darkness is NOT dark, and I am NOT getting old. *wink*


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Testimony Through Song

So, you know I love to sing, right?

Well today I am extra excited about it.

You see, a couple of weeks ago I had a feeling that the musical guest - who was scheduled to come in today to play for the residents at Edgewood - was going to cancel. And I began to wonder how I was going to fill that slot on such short notice.
Then something in me got a little hopeful that the cancellation would become a reality because...
I decided I would like to sing for them!
And, sure enough, I got the message. "Karen, MM called. Cancelling for 9/21. Will contact you about October dates."
I told my boss about my idea to sing, and she told me to go for it. So I have gathered together seven of my favorite Kathy Troccoli tracks - which pretty much tell my faith story - and I'm going to be singing and testifying to the residents at Edgewood this afternoon.

Praying that God will be glorified, and that He will speak (sing?) through me.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lessons from the Edge

Imperfections are OK!

That's a big statement for a recovering Type-A, perfectionist control-freak like me to make! But it's one of the lessons I've been learning through my work at Edgewood.

*When we're setting up for special events, there are always a few residents who want to help. So I'll ask them to set napkins on the tables, or put balloons around the room.
*I always move the tables and chairs around in the Activity Room to give us more space during Exercise Class. And though I am perfectly willing to put them back when we're finished, several of the residents would rather do it for me.
*And there are a couple of women who love to help clean up the dining room after meals or parties - by picking up trash or wiping the tables.

These jobs are almost never completed according to my level of perfectionism. The napkins may not be straight. The chairs might not get pushed in all the way - or they may be put in the wrong location all together. And there are frequent missed spots on the tables, which must be gone over again by some of the kitchen staff.
But I've learned these imperfections are OK.
The men and women who are helping receive so much joy from the thought that they are making a contribution. They are able to give, to do, to work - and it makes them happy. And the delight in their eyes at the work of their hands far outweighs any re-doing or adjusting which is required after they have finished helping.

Kind reminds me of life with toddlers. Imperfections are OK! *grin*


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Counting Down

Eight more days.
Four and four more wake-ups.
Just over a week.
And then I'm going to see Lisa, and Leah, and Heather. And a bunch of other new girlfriends at the first ever gIRL Gathering.

That's all. I'm just sitting in my happy anticipation today. *grin*

How 'bout you? To what are you looking forward?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yeah. What He Said!

I saw this quote on a bulletin board at church a couple of weeks ago, and was so encouraged by it. Then last week it was delivered right to my mailbox - on a flier from church.
Praying these words will encourage you and shape your perspective, as they have mine.

Remember that you are not called to produce successful, upwardly mobile, highly educated, athletically talented machines...Giving your children great opportunities is good; it is not, however, the goal of parenting. Christlikeness is. Above all, seek to raise children who look and act a lot like Jesus.

~Chip Ingram


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Giving Fair Coverage

In the past I have posted things here which my daughter has written for school. Today I want to give fair coverage.
Joshua was given an assignment in math class to write a paragraph comparing math to an animal. What do you think?

I can compare math to a Turtle. It goes by so slow and is so boring. When turtles get caught in nets they will try to claw and bite their way out. When I have to go to math class I am caught in a net and want to claw and bite my way out. In spite of these problems when a turtle tries hard enough it can get through everything.

-Joshua H.

Precious, isn't he? *grin*


Monday, September 13, 2010

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

I've Been Here Before

Monday night I felt like I needed to just go to bed and cry.
Because when I get this overwhelmed, crying seems like the most reasonable thing to do. *sigh*
I prayed. I told God I know He will bring me through these days. I remembered that He is faithful. And then it was as if He said, Yes. I Am. You've been here before. I was with you then, and I am with you now. Fear not, dear one.
Are you in the same place as me? The beginning of the school year. Letters from school - for all three kids - full of information I need to know, and coordinate, and remember, and...
Letters from church - for all three kids - full of information I need to know, and coordinate, and remember...
Running through check-lists: Does this child have everything she needs? Has he gotten his schedule yet? Does he need anything else? What about lunches? Is our account all set up?
This year we have football practice and games thrown in there. And my new job. (BIG Grandparent's Day celebration coming up this Sunday.)
And I just want to hide under a rock until it all passes by and everyone is happy in their routine, and it's safe to come out again.

Yes. I have been here before.
I remember now.
It's like this every year when school begins. I always feel like I'm going to drown in the sea of Too-much-stuff-to-do. But rather than hiding under a rock, I'm going to climb upon The Rock and trust Him to carry me through.

Will you do the same?

So, now I hope you'll understand why I'm not going to be blogging for the rest of the week. BUT I will make a video devotion for Monday. Because God showed me something a couple days ago that I am excited to share with you! *grin*


Thursday, September 02, 2010

Lessons from the Edge

I know it's a day early, but my family is leaving Thursday morning for an end-of-summer trip up north. I won't be blogging until we get back, and I didn't want to miss a Lessons from the Edge post.
So here it is.
A day early. *grin*

The need for grace has no age limit.

That's the lesson I learned at Edgewood this week. And here's how:

*Our oldest resident (She'll be 103 in a few weeks!) joined us for Exercise Class this week. She loves to sing, and does so all.the.time. Which really is fine with me, because I love to sing, too. Except her humming can be quite high-pitched and slightly painful to the ear. However, as I looked around the Activity Room during Exercise Class, I saw many people smiling at Helen - extending her grace in spite of their personal preference - because they knew the singing made her happy.

*On Tuesday I was eating lunch with a group of three women - all of whom I would guess are probably in their 80s. One of them told me a cute story about when she and her family moved to Michigan, and I smiled as she shared it. But when she repeated the same story three or four more times, I observed grace coming from her table-mates. The smiles on their faces told me they were used to the repetition, but they really didn't seem to mind. They cared about their friend, and just let her enjoy her memories.

*We have a resident who is quite a bit younger than the rest. I'd guess him to be in his 40s. He has CP, is deaf, and "walks" around in a wheel-chair of sorts. He needs lots of care, it is difficult to communicate with him, and he always makes a mess when he eats. But I love to see the way residents show kindness and grace to this man. They look out for him, kind of like big brothers and sisters would for their little brother. They excuse the messes he makes, and they welcome him to be a part of the group. It's a beautiful thing.

*And then there's me. Hanging on to my 30s for another year and twenty days. Many of the residents at Edgewood comment about how 'young' I am. Sometimes I even hear the words, "If I were that young again..."
But being young hasn't proven to exempt me from needing grace. I have forgotten to note a change in the schedule. I have spoken too fast during announcements. Made a wrong turn going to WalMart, too! But over and over again, I have residents telling me, "You're doing a good job." "That's OK. You're still learning." "I'm glad you're here."
I welcome their gracious disposition towards me. I need it.

And as the lesson trickles on down the line, I pray God will help me be more gracious toward my children. They're doing a good job. They're still learning. And I am so glad they're here!

***I'm gone now for Labor Day weekend. Will be back to posting next Wednesday!


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Today I'm at SHE Blogs!

I was huffing and puffing as I ran up the hill. With the end of the sidewalk in view I said to myself, “This is it. I am not going to turn around and run this path again. I am tired and I am ready to quit. Running is over for today.” 

Just the night before, I had decided to increase the length of my run by turning around and doubling up on the last section, which would improve my distance by about half a mile.


To read the rest, click here!