Friday, December 17, 2010

Lessons From the Edge

God's agenda is best.

Last week at work I got caught up in my agenda, and forgot that God may have something else in mind.
We were having a brownie sundae fundraiser for the local food bank and I was busy serving sundaes to the residents. I had a volunteer helping me, and a couple of staff members were around, too. But by the time the event was over everyone had 'disappeared' and I was left alone to put things away and clean up.
I went about my business wondering why this thing - which wasn't even my idea to begin with - ended up being 'my job'. To say I had a grumbling spirit would be a fair evaluation. It was time for me to go home, and I just wanted to be on my way.
But there was 'this' which needed to be wiped.
And 'that' needed replacing.
Not to mention 'the other thing' which had to be put away.

But - finally - everything was finished, and I was ready to leave.

On my way out, I saw C - another one of my favorite residents. (How many favorites can you have before 'favorite' loses its meaning???) She looked upset so I asked if she was OK.
She wasn't. And she told me why. It was a situation I was able to help resolve and we took care of it quickly. Honestly, the thing she needed me to do wasn't a big deal to me - but it meant the world to her. And I was so glad I could help.
As I walked out of the building I reminded C that I love her, and I was glad to help. She smiled her sweet smile, and my heart was delighted.

It was while I was driving home that I realized the timing thing. If I hadn't been delayed with cleaning up things from the fundraiser, I would have left Edgewood before C's circumstance arose. In my rush to be finished, I would have missed the opportunity to serve her.
How many times has my haste stolen the chance to be a blessing???
At that point, I became confident it wasn't my co-workers who abandoned me to do the work by myself. It was God who was slowing me down so I could love on C.
Mmmm. I LOVE it when He steps in and overrides my agenda.

Because God's agenda is best.

P.S. I'll be taking a blogging break until the new year. Will be back January 3. Wishing you a very merry CHRISTmas!

Karen

Thursday, December 16, 2010

You've Got to Try This!

Will you be gathering together with family and friends over the next couple of weeks to celebrate Christmas and New Years?
Then I know a game you must try!
I don't know what it's called, but I can tell you all about it. Some friends in my small group introduced it to us recently, and I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. *grin*
Here's what you need:
Gather everyone in a circle and give each person a stack of paper with as many sheets as there are people in the group. The bigger the group, the better! (Needs to be an even number of people, by the way. Though you could make adjustments to work with an odd number...)
To begin, everyone writes two words on the top sheet of paper. A descriptive word (adjective or -ing verb) and a noun. eg. 'crooked finger' or 'crying baby'
Then everyone passes the stack of paper to their right. After reading the two words, everyone puts that paper at the back of their stack and draws a picture corresponding to the words. Pass the stack to the right again, and now everyone looks at the picture, puts the paper at the back of the stack and writes two words that describe the picture they just saw. Pass to the right again, and now everyone draws a picture of the 'new' two words. Keep going - alternating between writing words and drawing pictures - until you've made it all the way around once.

Then the fun really begins. *wink*

Gather the circle in closer and go through each stack, laughing at the progression of words and pictures. It is hilarious to see how the pictures are interpreted and the original words morph.
We did this with all adults in my small group, but will include the kids at Christmas gatherings. I may be looking forward to this game more than I am to the presents. LOL

Karen

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Are You Sure it's Time, LORD?

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) and everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first-born, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:1-7
There is one verse in this passage which strikes me as a bit odd. I wonder if you feel the same way?
Verse 6: "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born."
The time 'came'?
Really?
As I read this story, I thought about the fact that God set this whole plan in motion. When Mary became pregnant with Jesus, God knew when the time would come for the baby to be born. He knew at that time Mary would be in Bethlehem – far away from home, and family, and all things familiar. And I couldn't help but wonder, God? What were You thinking? Couldn't You have adjusted Your timing just a bit so things would have worked out better? How could You – God Almighty – have messed up on the timing of Your Son's birth???
But God is gracious and patient with me, and He helped me understand. God had promised the Savior would come from Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2). He chose Mary and Joseph to be Jesus' parents, but they lived in Nazareth, not Bethlehem. However, God knew they would be traveling to Bethlehem to register for the census. And He caused Mary to become pregnant with Jesus at just the right time – so that when they were in Bethlehem for the census, the time would come for the Baby to be born.
God worked out the details and timed everything – perfectly.

Have you ever wondered if God may have messed up the timing in your life? Perhaps you're struggling with that feeling right now. May I suggest to you that there has never been (and never will be) a time in our lives when God is surprised by our circumstance and doesn't know what to do? God knew where Mary and Joseph would be when the time came for the baby to be born, and He worked the timing out perfectly for them. He will do the same for you.

Karen

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oh, I'll Sing

I remember many, many nights saying goodnight to my children when they would beg for one more song. When they just didn't seem to want me to leave their bedroom. And I was eager to make my exit.

Yes. There were many nights like that.

Although we still 'do' bedtime, recently my almost-13-year-old has opted for his favorite radio station over the song I usually sing. And I have to admit - that has been a hard pill to swallow.
Last night Brian and I were at a Christmas party, and the kids were (supposed to be) in bed when we got home. But since they weren't really in bed asleep when we arrived, each of them wanted me to 'say goodnight' to them. I was a little delayed in getting to Joshua, and he checked on me a couple times to be sure I was coming. I thought his persistence was sweet. *grin*
Yet when I got into his room he said, "You don't have to sing to me if you don't want to."
*ahem!*
I replied, "Oh, I'll sing."
So I sang.
And I rubbed Joshua's hair, because I know he loves that.
And I prayed for him while I sang.
And for just a minute it was as if my little boy isn't on the brink of becoming a teenager.
Then the song came to an end, and so did the moment.
But I will treasure it in my heart.

Karen

Monday, December 13, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lessons from the Edge

There is always HOPE.

One of my favorite residents (OK, I know I'm not supposed to have 'favorites'. But if I did, well, D would be one of them. *wink*) has fallen a few times and ended up in the hospital a couple weeks ago - with some broken ribs. I visited him in the hospital a few times, and he wasn't looking good. One day I couldn't understand anything he said, and I had a feeling his life was coming to an end.
But the next time I visited, he looked so much better!
And yesterday he left the hospital and moved to re-hab.
Today I went to visit again, and was pleased to see how well he's doing. Oh, there is still a long way to go. But he seems to be a long way from where he was.
And God is using this situation to remind me that I need to not give up hope. Even when a circumstance looks grim to me (or you!), it is not too difficult for God to handle. While I know not every situation is going to end up 'happy', God is reminding me to keep trusting in Him. Because there is always HOPE.

And HOPE is what I pray D will embrace. I have been talking to him about God's love for us through Jesus. He says he doesn't believe God could love him, but I pray God will make me an instrument to communicate His love to this precious man. Because - even in death - if we know Jesus, there is always HOPE.

Karen

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Psalm 139:23

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

This is the verse I have been memorizing, and on which I have been meditating since the first of this month. And as I think about God knowing my heart, and my anxious thoughts - understanding them and knowing how to handle them - I become even more amazed by our great God.
Friends, I do not understand my heart. In recent days it has been baffling me. But I'm asking God to search me and know me. I've spent quite a bit of time in this psalm thinking about how intimately He does know me, and I am convinced I can trust Him to...Well, I'll get to that in the next verse. For today I am simply asking God to search me and know me. And I'm resting in the promise that He will.

For what are you asking God today?

Karen

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Dream Calendar

Some of you who have been with me for a while (Make that, a few years! *grin*) may remember my friend, Renee, and her daughter Allie. Allie has a condition called ITP - OK, it's called something much longer and more confusing than ITP. But I only know the initials. - which means she is constantly in danger of bleeding. Two years ago Renee had a dream for building an adaptive playground which would be safer for children like Allie to enjoy - but that's an expensive dream.
Another friend helped with the cause by producing a Dream Calendar - featuring the photographs of children who would benefit from such a play ground. And she's done it again. The 2011 Dream Calendar is available now! And all the proceeds are going to fund that play ground.
You can click here to see some of the amazing photos which will be in the calendar, and to order your own. (I ordered mine yesterday!)
Can't wait to see this dream come true!

Karen

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

No Kidding!

Sunday in church our worship leader took a moment to speak about marriage. He then had all the married couples sit down, as he asked everyone standing around them to lay hands on them and pray. While I was seated there next to Brian, I heard Matthew say, "Hey! Look what time it is!"
You guessed. It was 11:11.
No kidding!

(For those of you who are not familiar with the significance of 1111, this post will give you the background. If you click on 1111 in the labels for this post, you can read more about it. *grin*)

Karen

Monday, December 06, 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010

Lessons From the Edge

Acknowledge the negative, but dwell on the positive.

This lesson doesn't really need any explanation, does it?

Even so, because I am a writer and story-teller, it's nearly impossible for me to let anything go without an explanation. *sheepish grin*

I was having a difficult day(s) this week at work. (My emotions/hormones have been playing crazy games with me lately and I am finding myself more prone to tears than usual.) Anyway - in the midst of that 'stuff' I was busy trying to get things done at work, when a resident told me I'd forgotten to include her in the birthday list in the December newsletter. She seemed hurt, and I felt terrible. And I began grumbling to myself about how I could have missed her name.
There were other things besides the newsletter, and I was sinking deeper and deeper.
Then I thought, Wait a minute! Am I not getting anything right? True, I missed one birthday, but what about everything else on those six pages that is as it should be? Doesn't that count for anything???
Honestly, I started making a list in my head of all the things I did right. Because I felt so rotten when I focused on what was wrong.

Then I had a mom moment. I realized I am much too quick to point out the things my children have done wrong - or simply haven't done - without giving much attention to the things they've done well.
And that needs to change!
So I am taking this Lesson From the Edge, and I am bringing it home. I will continue to correct the wrong behavior, but I want to be sure to build my children up by dwelling on the things they're doing right!

Karen

Thursday, December 02, 2010

My Tongue Hurts

...because I keep biting it.

Sometimes, it is because of my tendency to act like a child. Because I am quickly drawn to the desire to start responding with my words the same way my almost-teenager talks to me.
Other times, it's because I really am trying to choose my words wisely, and I am finding that it may be better to simply say nothing.
Either way, I often bite my tongue to keep myself from speaking to a certain person in my home and - while my tongue hurts - I am hoping this will ultimately be a good thing.

OK, I just re-read that statement and realize it may sound really wrong. I am not NOT talking to Joshua. Just trying to avoid talking which will not be helpful.
For example, yesterday I had left a note for Joshua to finish unloading the dishwasher when he got home from school, before he did anything else. (i.e. getting on the computer, or other electronic device) When I walked in the door after work Joshua was, indeed, putting the dishes away. However, I was quite certain the thing which motivated him to get to work was the sound of the garage door going up, and the knowledge that I would soon be walking through the door. I knew what time he would have gotten home from school, and a quick estimation of how much time it would have taken him to do the job told me he had not gotten to it right away as I'd asked.
My first inclination was to call him on it, and ask why he hadn't done his chores first. (Wouldn't you hate to be my kid???) But I realized that approach would only lead to a fight. And that's the kind of thing I'm trying to avoid. Needless arguments. Besides, the job was getting done.
So I promptly bit my tongue. And do you know what happened?
The dishes got put away, and Joshua and I didn't argue with each other.
Yes. I'd say this is a better way to go.

I recently read somewhere (Wish I could remember where - but I can't...) that we teach our children our expectations when they are young by talking to them. This person said by the time our children are teens, they pretty much know what they're supposed to do and we would be wise to be quiet more often.
This view point resonated with me as I considered how frequently I hear, "Mom. I KNOW!" Which is usually followed by something like, "Then why don't you do it..." and things just don't go well from there.
So, while I am not taking a vow of silence, I am committing to bite my tongue when necessary - for the purpose of pursuing a peaceful relationship with my almost teen(s).

If anyone knows of a less painful way to go about this mission, I'd love to hear about it! *wink*

Karen

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas!

Do you like my Christmas decorations???

Edie made them for me last year and I just pulled them out and 'hung them up'. How easy it was!
I happen to know Edie has more decorations available. Feel free to visit her if you'd like to dress your place up a bit for the holidays.

Now, if only decorating my house was as easy as copying and pasting HTML codes....
*sigh*

Karen