Thursday, June 30, 2011

Getting Chores Done

As I sit here writing this, I hear the sound of the lawn mower and friendly chatter coming from the back yard. My son is mowing the lawn.
He asked if he could mow it.
Said the grass was getting long and looked like it really should be taken care of.
Yeah. The same son who has been in the habit of whining when asked to mow the lawn.
That one asked to do it!

Amazing? Unbelievable?


Until you get the rest of the story...

His girlfriend is riding on the mower with him.

Some would argue the only reason Joshua was eager to do his chores was because he wanted to drive the tractor around with his sweetie sitting behind him.
That may be true, but...
They're enjoying time together in a public setting. (I'm big on the 'public' thing!) The lawn is getting mowed. There was no whining or cajoling involved.
I'm good with that!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

HE's Got You Covered

Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"

Luke 12:22-26

I am absolutely certain God had me read this passage on purpose. The same day HE was going to work out some circumstances for me, and show me other ways HE had in mind to provide for our needs.
There were things which had been going through my mind. Some bordering on 'worry', and there HE went - taking care of the details.

I LOVE IT when HE does that!

Are you worrying about something today?
You don't need to.
Take a moment to re-read the passage above. Slowly. Let it sink in. Allow God to speak to your heart.
Seriously - the birds aren't worried. And you don't need to be, either!

HE's got you covered.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Forgive? Really???

The other day I heard a DJ on a local Christian radio station tell a story about forgiveness. He marveled at how God had forgiven him - a former alcoholic who lived on the streets as a teen - now forgiven, redeemed, and transformed by God. Then he shared that recently his teenage foster child had taken half a roll of toilet paper and plugged up the sink - allowing the water to run for 45 minutes, which flooded the bathroom and caused the ceiling under the floor to fall into the room below.
I was picturing what a mess and huge expense that would have been when the DJ asked, "How should I respond?" And he provided the answer, "I had to forgive him. I've been forgiven so much, how could I not forgive???"
I knew he had given the right answer. But - wow! - how hard that would be to do.

Within a couple hours I realized God was using that story to prepare me for the need to forgive a thoughtless teen. Not one of the teens who lives in my house, but one who God has brought into our lives - for whom I feel like a surrogate mother. Came across a chat she left on my hubby's computer and the things she said about me are very hurtful. I've been pouring love into her, and to read her words (which were sooooo opposite the words she says to my face) felt like a punch in the stomach.
Yet, I have been forgiven much. There have been so many things I've done and said which have been like a slap in God's face. But the blood of Jesus covers me! I am forgiven. And I will forgive.
Since writing this post I have spoken with this young lady about what I saw. She assured me the person to whom she was referring in her chat is not me. (Thinking it would be good to have a follow up conversation about why she would say those things about anyone...)
I hope she is being truthful.
I want to trust her.
Either way, I am thankful to God for this lesson on forgiveness.


Monday, June 27, 2011



Friday, June 24, 2011

Lessons From the Edge

It's OK to need help.

But sometimes it's hard to admit it and accept it, ya know?

Last week, D did an activity in the Activity Room and when he was finished I took him back to his apartment. He was tired and was going to take a nap. I asked if he could manage getting into bed and he said, "Yes," so I said goodbye and went back to the Activity Room.
Five or so minutes later, I looked up and saw D through the window/hole in the wall. He waved me over. And when I got to him, D said, "I hate to admit it, but I need some help." Seems every time he laid down, his legs were slipping out of bed. He needed a little boost to get them up more on the mattress.
So I lifted his legs up onto the mattress for him, and everything was fine.

Except, I knew D was feeling bad.

His body is aging, and he can't do all the things he used to do. He has trouble walking. He has aches and pains and often needs help. But he doesn't like to ask for it. He doesn't like feeling "helpless." He feels like he isn't 'good enough' or 'man enough' because he needs so much help.
We've talked many times about needing help, and I have tried to assure him it's OK. But on this day, I spent more time trying to come up with examples of times I've needed help. Wanted let him know he isn't alone.
There was the time I broke my knee when I was seven months pregnant.
And my brain surgery - sure needed help in the hospital, and for many weeks after I was home.
But those instances didn't seem to me like they would be comforting to D. Because they were temporary. (Boy, was I glad!) And D's circumstance is not. Besides, those needs were external to me, and D's struggle is with his own body.

Then it was as if God turned a light on in my mind.
I realized I, too, have a struggle within my own body. I, too, have no control. I, too, didn't want to ask for help - felt embarrassed and ashamed that I couldn't 'take care of myself'. I, too, was facing something which wasn't just going to get better with time. But with the encouragement of some wonderful friends, and the support of my amazing husband, I went to a doctor and sought help.
I found a name for the struggle within me. Anxiety and Depression. And I started taking medicine (Didn't want to admit I needed that help!) and learning strategies to change my faulty thinking and self-talk.
And now? I don't burst into tears on a whim. I feel like my emotions are in check, rather than dependent on what someone says to, or about, me. I am able to let so many things roll off my back, when before they would have pinned me to the ground.

I didn't want to ask for that help, but I am sooooooooooooo glad I have it!

The interesting thing is, D and I haven't talked about this instance since it happened. It just hasn't come up. I have been considering how easy it is to encourage other people it's OK to need help, while I have been reluctant to accept it, myself. And all that has me wondering if God didn't just orchestrate that little scene so He could get me to realize it's OK for me to need help, too.

HE's good like that.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thank You, Vyvanse!

So, Tuesday I wrote about one side of Joshua. And then I got his Trimester 3 report card in the mail. Today I have to brag on him.

First, a little background.

A couple of months ago, Joshua's problems at school came to a head. I got emails from his teachers about his inattentiveness and disruptive behavior in the classroom. He was getting sent to the office because of his behavior, and everyone was tired of it.
A year ago he was diagnosed with ADD and we tried medicine for a short while, but he didn't like it.We have talked and talked about Joshua's behavior. We've tried to help him come up with a plan to keep himself under control. But it OBVIOUSLY wasn't helping. After the latest string of events and complaints, we asked Joshua if he would be willing to try medicine once more.
And he said yes.
I think he realized he needed more help than, "I'll try."
I had weekly communication with Joshua's teachers regarding his behavior and progress, I got weekly reports about his grades, and of course I had Joshua's feedback ("Mom, I can pay attention!") - so I knew things were going well.
But it was getting that report card in my hand, and comparing it to his Trimester 2 report card which gave me hard evidence that he was doing better.

What do you think of this???

Trimester 2:
Math D+, inconsistent effort, seldom uses class time effectively
Science B-
Lang. Arts B-, need to improve effort
Soc. Stu. C+

Trimester 3:
Math B, shows desire to improve, is a pleasure to have in class
Science A
Lang. Arts B+, is a pleasure to have in class, improved participation and effort
Soc. Stu. B-, improved participation and effort

I don't think a pill is the answer to all our problems. And I certainly don't think this medicine excuses Joshua from responsibility to exercise self-control. But I have seen such a change in him. This medicine is doing for Joshua something he can't do, so that he can do what he can do.
His confidence has soared.
He actually enjoyed things in school. (Not everything, of course. *wink*)
He really seems to feel better about himself.
It's a wonderful thing to see, and I am so thankful.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Workout Prayers

I know I've mentioned before that I pray while I'm doing planks in a workout. But when I did them last week, God met me like never before. I was increasing the time I hold each plank, so I knew it would be harder. What I didn't expect was that the prayer time would be better.
At the beginning of each hold I simply asked God who He wanted me to pray for at that moment. When someone came to mind, I began praying. And the coolest thing happened. As my body began wanting to quit, I asked God to give strength to this woman when she wants to quit. Knowing God knows her present circumstance, I was confident He could meet her need. As my hold time was coming to an end - and I REALLY wanted to quit - I imagined how that woman may be feeling when her circumstance gets really hard. And it was like I was fighting for both of us to hold on, to persevere, to trust in God's strength and not our own.
Then my stop watch indicated it was time to rest and I collapsed on the mat - thankful that I'd held on until the end, confident that God would do the same for these people for whom I'd been praying.

Indeed, God is present and powerful and listening intently - even during my workouts.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Should I Care?

Joshua wanted to meet some friends at Funtyme. So I drove him there.
And when he was ready to be picked up, he texted me. So I went to get him.
As we were driving home, one of his friends called and they made plans to go fishing. But upon arriving home Joshua discovered that Matthew was using Joshua's bike, so he asked me if I would drive him over to the fishing pond.
He said he'd walk home.
I was feeling kind, so I drove him over there, too.
Before I dropped Joshua off we discussed when he was to be home for dinner, and he assured me he would allow plenty of time for walking - so he wouldn't be late. I probably confirmed his plans once or twice (Being late has been an issue for him...) and then I said goodbye.

Fast-forward to 5:40 that evening as Joshua walked in the door. (He was supposed to be home at 5:30.) His friend (M) was with him and they were trying to get a hold of M's parents to make plans for Joshua to spend the night at M's house.

Oh, silly boy!

Brian and I had already discussed the consequences for Joshua being late and agreed that he would be grounded.(The usual consequence for late-ness.) That meant no sleep-overs.
Even though being grounded is what happens when Joshua misses a curfew, he acted surprised (read that: He acted like I was out of line, the consequence was outrageous, and his world was just about to crash in.) and asked why he couldn't spend the night with M. As calmly as I could, I explained again that he was late coming home and the consequence for his action was being grounded.
He huffed around, went outside with M, and came back about five minutes later. Once more, Joshua asked if he could pleeeeease spend the night at M's.
Once again, I said, "No."
And once again, Joshua asked why.
I started to explain one more time, but was interrupted by my dear son as he protested that we are too strict. He said he was only a few minutes late, it wasn't a big deal, and he shouldn't be kept from this sleep-over. Joshua reiterated that we are too strict and then he hit me with the whammy. He said, "Even M thinks so!"

It took every ounce of self control within me to not come back with a very sarcastic, "Should I care???"
Because I don't.

Instead I think I said something like, "Why don't you start adhering to our rules and expectations, and see if you like the way we respond."

Honestly, it is not my life goal to make my son miserable. I want to teach him responsibility, and respect for authority. Want to prepare him to be a successful adult.
And if that means his friends think I'm too strict, so be it.
Because I really don't care.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lessons From the Edge

Only One Thing matters.

If you've read these Lessons From the Edge posts for any amount of time, you surely will remember C - one of my favorite residents. Once again, she is the one who was used to teach me a lesson this week.
I was interviewing her to be the next Resident of the Week, and had many questions to ask of her. Up to this point I had been aware C has memory problems, but it was in the context of our interview that her memory issues became undeniable. And it was in this context that the Lesson became clear.

C couldn't remember the name of the town in which she was born, though she was pretty sure it was in Michigan.
I asked about C's childhood - if she had any special memories of things she liked to do. She couldn't answer.
I have heard her husband's name before, and when I said, "Your husband was 'C', right?" she responded with, "If you say so!"
When I asked about her work history, C told me she helped in her friend's store sometimes during the holidays. But she couldn't remember anything else.

As we talked, my mind went to so many of the interactions we've had about upcoming activities when C has said, "How will I remember?" "When is it?" "What if I forget?" "Will you remind me about it?" I sort of let out a sad sigh, as I considered how difficult it must be to NOT remember so many things.

Finally, I asked my favorite interview question, "What makes you smile?" and C responded with a little tear in her eye, "My Savior loves me."
And that is when I learned this week's lesson.
C may not remember where she was born. She might have forgotten the details of her childhood and the things she did as an adult. Sometimes she doesn't even remember her husband's name.
But she knows God loves her.
And that's enough.
As I considered all the things we can know - all the things which can fill our memories - I realized only One Thing matters. And that One Thing is knowing the love of God!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cleaning Up Blood

What would you do if your daughter called out in a panic, "Mom, there's blood all over the carpet!"?
When you're sitting on the couch watching a movie with your husband.
If you're like me, you'd moan and stand up while mumbling, "Guess I better go take care of that."

This is a picture of my evening last Friday.

But when I walked over to the beige carpet and saw several spots/smears of blood, my lackadaisical attitude quickly changed to action. I went straight to the hallway closet and grabbed a rag and my bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Then I got down on my knees, poured a small amount of peroxide on each spot, let it fizz, blotted it with the rag, and - poof! - the blood was gone.

Seriously. It was that easy. And there is no trace of the blood on the carpet.

It's a little trick I learned at Cedar Point when I was eleven, or so. I was taking my brother on a ride and the door hit his head - which started to bleed profusely. I picked him up and ran to a first aid station, where we saw some of the blood had gotten on my shirt. And the aide simply blotted it off with peroxide.
That's why when I saw all that blood on the carpet, I decided to give peroxide a try. And it worked. Beautifully.

Soooooo, the next time you have some blood to clean up, grab your peroxide!

BTW, the blood was from one of Elizabeth's friends. She'd cut her foot and didn't even know it until someone saw her tracks on the carpeting. *whatever* LOL


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Should a Frog be Sad...

...because it can't fly?

Should a chicken be disappointed, because it can't swim?

Should a fish feel worthless, because it can't run a marathon?

Those questions are silly. Of course they shouldn't feel that way.
Frogs weren't created to fly.
Chickens weren't made to swim.
And fish weren't meant to run.

Why, o why, should they feel bad because they can't do what they were never intended to do?

It's easy to see the logic when we're looking at illustrations like these, isn't it? A bit harder when we're looking at ourselves. But that's where I'm going to ask you to go.
To the mirror.
To take a look at yourself.
Be honest.
Are you feeling sad, disappointed - even worthless - because you can't do something you weren't created to do? Are you spending your time and energy trying to be who you weren't meant to be?

Frogs hop well.
Chickens lay eggs.
Fish swim like no others.

Who did God make you to be? What did He create you to do?
Then be it and do it with all your might. For HIS glory!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Well Said

My kids got out of school for the summer last Friday. Matthew was excited to get his yearbook. And I loved reading the 'autographs' section. Particularly this note from his teacher:

Matthew...What can I say? You are a fun kid with a great sense of humor. Don't lose that.
When you're on, you're on so make sure next year you get all your work in on time! :o)
Have a great summer!
Mr. S.
I'm telling you, that man should get a thousand gold stars for the patience he had with my ADHD son this year. It hasn't been easy, and he's been great. I love that he captured Matthew's strengths in this note, and still encouraged him in his weakness.

I want to be a communicator like that!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lessons From the Edge

There's more than one way to look at a situation.

Do you ever encounter something which bothers you, or brings you down, and you just wish things were different? I had a conversation with one of Edgewood's residents this week, and I could tell she was feeling that way.
M was telling me about her aches and pains, sounding rather despondent. Finally she just sighed and said, "Well, I'm old."

It isn't unusual for M to have a sad outlook. Our conversations often sound like that.
I've prayed with her often and tried to lift her up. But the comment she made about being old seemed a little 'down-er' than normal.
Then I had a dose of inspiration and said, "You aren't old. You're experienced!" And we shared a laugh at my silly thought.

Sure, it may have been silly. But it got a smile and a laugh out of M, and that was what I was going for.

Sooooo, what's bothering you today? Cheer up. I bet there's a twist that can get you to smile. Because there's more than one way to look at a situation.


Thursday, June 09, 2011

He Does Listen!

If you watched my Monday video, you know I was kinda sick last week...
I recorded the video Thursday, and by Friday night I was barely able to get a sound to come out of my mouth. After dinner I simply laid down on the couch and closed my eyes. My body was worn out and I didn't want to exert another ounce of energy. So you can imagine my surprise when my heart started doing cartwheels!

Joshua and his girlfriend were taking care of the dishes, and I listened in on their conversation. M was asking what to do with the leftovers, and I heard Joshua tell her where the containers are located - and that she should find the matching lid. (Just like I've told him before!) What followed, though, is what really made me smile.
Joshua asked if the leftovers were still hot. Upon hearing they were, he told M to not put them in the refrigerator just yet. When she asked why, he went on to explain that it's better to let them come to room temperature before putting them in the fridge - so we don't alter the temperature inside the fridge and make it work harder.
Call me crazy, but at that point in the conversation my heart started doing cartwheels. The boy was repeating the exact words I have spoken to him. The same boy who seems to constantly send me messages that he isn't listening to me just proved that he does listen.
So my heart did cartwheels and - after all that excitement - I think I got off the couch and went to bed. *wink*


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

HE More Than Knows

I just started the New Testament in my read-thru-the-Bible-in-a-year program. And I was quickly reminded of an encouraging Truth.

Years ago I found myself pondering the notion that Jesus understands everything I go through in life. And I began wondering. Began doubting. I mean, how could HE understand me? Jesus was never a mother.
How could He possibly know what it's like to have children needing 'this' and 'that' and don't forget 'the other thing'? How could He really know what it's like to feel so desperate to find time alone? Surely Jesus never wanted to change His name so He could go unnoticed. Right?

Love that HE knows what I'm thinking. And knows how to answer.

In the midst of my questioning, I heard someone speak about Mark 1:21-45.
And I was amazed. Jesus does, indeed, understand what my life as a mother is like!
So as I read this passage again last week, I smiled and said to Him, You do know. Ahhh, Jesus, You more than know!

Go ahead and click on the link to read it for yourself, and see what you think!


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Now i c

Several months ago I joked about the way I send text messages. It bothered me to think about re-writing our language with all the silly abbreviations used in texting. I wondered if we were going to have an entire generation who thinks "you're" and "your" are really spelled "ur", "be" is "b", and there is no need to utilize proper punctuation.

You know, because I'm practical and conservative like that.

Then my children gave me a lesson in texting etiquette and I began to gain a new perspective.
They explained to me what the numbers mean on the top of my screen.
I had no idea that when I have more than 160 characters in my message, more than one message has to be sent.
Receiving multiple messages can be confusing.
And annoying.

Oh, my. I suddenly realized I had been sending multiple messages which probably took three or four screens to complete. All because I wanted to use full words and proper punctuation. Who knew spaces and punctuation marks counted???

Anyhow, I don't like to be confusing. Or annoying.

So now I pay close attention to the numbers on the top of my screen. And I utilize ur and u and b and y and 2 and 4 and even skip some punctuation in order to keep it under 161.
C im not unreasnabl i just need 2 undrstnd
and now i c


Monday, June 06, 2011

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Mind Games

Is there a difference between lying and playing mind games?
In this case, I'm going to say, Yes.
Because, in this case, it is to my advantage to say Yes.

You see, recently Joshua had a friend over to spend the night. *ahem* My precious son and his friends have been known to get into mischief during the night, which has led me to be suspicious when these "sleep" overs happen. It has also led me to not sleep well during said sleep overs. But, as you'll see, that can be to my advantage, too.

Now, where was I?
Oh, yeah. The mind games.

On this particular night I was tossing and turning a bit, probably because my bladder was full, so I got up to use the bathroom. And while I was up, I heard noise coming from the basement. Thus, before I went back to bed I decided to do some investigating. hee hee hee
Nothing was out of place when I went downstairs, but I ran into Joshua on my way back to bed. He wondered why I was up (At 3:00 AM, I was wondering the same thing about him!) and I simply said I heard noise and was checking to make sure everything was OK.
"We're just going to bed now," he said.
But the look on his face said, Really? You heard us and you got out of bed to come check on us? How did you do that? Weren't you asleep? I've heard of moms having eyes in the back of their heads, but ears in the basement? That's crazy!

I couldn't make myself confess to the fact that I was already awake. The look on Joshua's face clearly told me he thought I'd woken up to their noise, and he seemed scared impressed. I wasn't going to ruin that opportunity.

Call it lying. Call it misleading, if you will.
I'm calling it mind games. And I'm putting it in my arsenal of Mom Tricks!



Wednesday, June 01, 2011

I Shocked My Kids

We were talking about the story of Jonah during our family prayer time - sharing the things we learned about God - when I shocked my kids.

Elizabeth said she learned God is fair.
I disagreed.
I said, "God is NOT fair."

And each of my children looked at me like I was looney.
But I held my ground.

I said, "Is it fair that Jesus died on the cross?"
"Is it fair that we sinned, but because of Jesus' death, we get to go to heaven?"
"Is it fair that we don't get what we deserve?"

They got my point.

Indeed, God is NOT fair.

And I, for one, am so very thankful!!!