Friday, July 29, 2011

Lessons From the Edge

You don't have to know people in order to be nice to them.

OK, technically this weeks lesson didn't come from the Edge. It came from the Village. But I was at the Village for the Edge, so I'm counting it! *wink*

I am part of an Activity Directors group and was stopping by the Village to borrow some props from one of my Activity Director friends. When I arrived, my friend was finishing up a card game with a group of her residents, so I sat down in an empty chair next to one of them to wait.
I hoped I wasn't causing anyone to feel uncomfortable, or like I was intruding on them. I mean, aside from my friend, no one there had a clue who I was! But I didn't want to interrupt, so I simply sat down quietly to wait for the hand to be over.
It only took a couple of moments for them to finish the hand. Then, just before my friend excused herself to help me get what I came for, the woman sitting next to me asked, "Would you like to play, too?"
This dear woman, who had never met nor seen me before, invited me to play. My intrusion into the room didn't seem to bother her - or any of them, actually - one bit. I was there, and that was enough reason for her to invite me to play.

I didn't have time to play cards, but the moment wasn't wasted.

The more I thought about that interaction, the more I realized we don't typically operate in such a fashion. Usually we check a person out, see if they're like us, size them up and down a couple times, and find out 'important' things like their political affiliation, and whether they prefer traditional or contemporary worship.
THEN, if they meet our criteria, we invite them to play.

How refreshing it was to experience the kindness of an individual without having to "earn" it. How nice it was to be welcomed into the group regardless of...anything. What a pleasant way to learn such a good lesson. You don't have to know people in order to be nice to them.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

What's With the Boxes?

OK. Time for Mom to vent today.
I just need to know if I'm the only one with this issue.

Am I the only one whose children cannot seem to throw away empty boxes?

They leave empty cereal boxes on the table and counter.
I find empty snack boxes in the pantry.
The big box of pudding cups I get at Sam's club sits in the cupboard, surrounded by several little cardboard remnants which used to house four pudding cups each. (With the vanilla pudding cups cast aside. What's wrong with vanilla pudding???)
I've come across more than one empty band-aid box in the hallway closet.
And last week the box of margarine sticks I keep in the freezer turned up completely empty.

Seriously, kids! Is it so hard to flatten the empty box and put it in the recycling bin???

And since we're talking about it...Would you please take care of your socks and dishes and trash and pencils and shoes and Legos and towels and blankets and fishing gear, rather than leaving them lay around on the floor?
I'm just sayin'.



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Proof that Jesus LIVES

If anyone ever asks me how I know FOR SURE that Jesus lives, I'm simply going to tell them, "Because I prayed for my husband."

See, he came home one evening and made a comment which seemed - well - a little rude to me. It wasn't THAT bad. It just seemed a little off.
And I began to feel defensive.
Which made another of his comments seem abrupt.
So I got a little more irritated.
I started making a list in my head of all the things I do for Brian, and picking him apart for not doing more things for me. I was pouting around the house - grabbing misplaced items and putting them away. I went downstairs and saw the ironing board. On it sat a pair of my husband's slacks, which needed to be ironed.
I let out a hefty sigh and walked over to them. I better iron these. He'll need them for work. Just one more thing for me to do for him.

Brian's slacks.

Part of the dress-code for his new job.

Suddenly it occured to me that I may be on the verge of understanding him.
Brian's new job is great. But there's a steep learning curve. He's been very stressed lately. And I realized a few things:
*Maybe the reason he seemed short to me lately is because his own fuse has been so short.
*Perhaps his level of sensitivity seemed so low because he has been focusing so much energy on finding his way in this new job.
*Maybe he came home and crashed every night because he has no energy left at the end of the day.
And I began praying for Brian - asking God to give him strength, and courage, and faith in what HE can do.

Just two minutes prior to that moment I had been feeling bitter toward my husband. But in an instant God spoke to my heart and transformed me into a praying wife.
Only the power of Jesus could make that kind of change.

I prayed for my husband, and THAT is proof that JESUS LIVES!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

That's Worth 87 Cents

Anyone remember my amazing ability to get the very last drop of cleanser from a tube?
Yes, I am cheap.
Er, frugal.
Er, whatever.
I don't like to spend money when it isn't necessary.
So, last week when I was at the grocery store I was comparing prices between two brands of wild rice. One of them was 87 cents cheaper than the other and I thought I need look no further. I would get brand Cheap-o and be on my way.
But I did look further.
And I'm glad.
While reading the boxes, I noticed brand Cheap-o "Cooks in 25 minutes." But brand 87 Cents More "Cooks in 5 minutes".

Friends, it did NOT take me 20 minutes to figure out that I would rather spend the 87 cents and save the twenty minutes.
Yep. dinner prep just got a little easier. And I think that is totally worth 87 cents!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lessons From the Edge

Some stories don't get old.

I've always known that elderly people like to tell stories. To re-live their past experiences. To share about them with nearly anyone who has time to listen.

This news is not new.

However, since working at Edgewood, I have learned that some elderly people like to tell those stories A LOT. Over and over and over. Even if you don't have time to listen.
And those stories can get kinda old. If you know what I mean.
We have one resident in particular who is well known for telling stories in that manner. I'll call him, F. F served in World War II and has lots of stories to tell. I know most of them by heart now. I know when he's going to lean back in his chair, rub his hands together, and say with a smile, "Oh. I was really livin' then!" (That's when his sister found a way to get some gas ration stamps to him - so he could ride his motorcycle around.)

F is charming. I like to listen to his stories when I can, because it makes him so happy to tell them. But, honestly, sometimes when he's talking I sneak a peak at my watch to see if I have time to stay and listen. Sometimes I laugh to myself when he proclaims, "I love to tell this story." (He says that before almost every story!) And sometimes I look for an excuse to leave, because the stories have gotten rather old. *blush*
But Wednesday when I was listening to F (Again!) and he was on his second time through the same story in one sitting, I realized there are some stories I will never get tired of hearing. Or telling.
*Like when God arranged the timing so I would be walking around the corner when M fell - and I could help her up.
*Or how He moved me to knock on G's door - right when she needed help with her air conditioner.
*And the time He reminded me about something I needed to do, by allowing me to see a little sign hanging up.
*Oh, and all the times God has brought me to a person who just needed prayer.

Indeed, I could (and will) tell these stories over and over again. Because stories of God's faithfulness NEVER get old!

I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.

Psalm 34:1


Thursday, July 21, 2011

What To Do?

Hmmmm. I am my daughter's friend on Facebook, and the other day I saw something she wrote which gave me more information than she probably wants me to know.
It isn't THAT big of a deal.
But I want to discuss it with her nonetheless.
Except, if she knows I saw something on her Facebook page, then she might stop writing 'everything' and then I won't have a secret way of finding things out.
Still, it seems crazy to let this opportunity slip by. Because I think it could result in a good conversation. Open sharing. Ya know?
But what if knowing I saw her note causes her to stop writing them?

Oh, what's a mom to do???


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

HE Prepares

Did you read this post, about the time we 'lost' an Edgewood resident temporarily at the mall?
The lesson I learned from that episode was, Don't worry. Don't cast blame. Just pray! I knew God knew where M was. She wasn't lost to Him. The thing we needed to do was remain calm, pray, and trust that God was going to re-unite us.

And HE did.

What I didn't know was that God would use that experience in the mall to prepare me for another missing person event on a slightly bigger scale.

Last Thursday my mother, my kids, and I went to Cedar Point together. But once we got into the park, 'together' was no longer their desire. (I had driven them to Cedar Point and bought their tickets. They had no use for me anymore. Except, that is, when they got hungry and wanted me to buy them lunch. LOL)
Elizabeth and her boyfriend went one way. Joshua and Matthew went another. And that was OK. Joshua and Elizabeth each had their cell phones, so it was easy to get a hold of them.

Everything was fine until mid-afternoon, when I got the following text from Joshua:

Matthew got mad at me and ran away. So, yeah.
I called Joshua and got a few details, then my mom and I started walking over to where Joshua had last seen Matthew. As we walked, I remembered the episode in the mall - and God's faithfulness. I could tell my mom was feeling anxious, so I told her about the mall thing. And I remembered I needed to pray.
At that point the two of us split up to cover more ground, and I began to consider the big-ness of my current situation.
*Cedar Point is a lot larger than the Lansing Mall.
*There were thousands of people walking around the park.
*If Matthew was so upset that he'd run away from Joshua, I had no idea if he'd be thinking clearly enough to try to find us.
*There were too many places for me to look for Matthew. And I was overwhelmed.

But God calmed my heart with the memory of His hand in the mall situation. He moved me to keep on praying. I asked God to bring Matthew and I together again. I thanked Him that He had Matthew in His sight, and asked Him to show me where to go. And as I walked, I saw in front of me...
Not the missing son, but I was encouraged nonetheless. To me, crossing paths with Joshua when I wasn't even looking for him, was a light of hope that I would find Matthew, too. So the two of us walked together.
Within a few minutes as we passed the arcade, I looked in and saw Matthew. And that was that.
The search was over.
I had Matthew again.
God showed Himself faithful in this 'bigger' situation, just as He had been before.
And all I could do was say, Thanks. For bringing back my Matthew. And for preparing me a couple weeks earlier - so I would know how to handle this circumstance.
Thank You, Father!

Think your circumstance is meaningless? Think again. God may be getting you ready for something else. Because HE prepares!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Armpit Hair

OK. So yesterday I mentioned that Joshua had gone fishing with a friend recently. They were out all day, and he didn't use any sunscreen. He got some serious sunburn.
It hurt him to even have his shirt on, so for that evening he ran around the house shirtless. As we were sitting at the table, Joshua leaned back and put his hands behind his head. And that's when I saw it.
I mean, it didn't register at first. I had to do a double-take. But at the second look I was sure of what I saw.

My little boy has armpit hair!

And I couldn't understand how that could be. I mean, I guess it's been a while since I've looked at his armpits, but I'm quite sure the last time I looked - there was no hair.
And now there is.
But he's only 13. He just lost another baby tooth, for crying out loud! I don't feel ready for armpit hair. *sigh*

I know. He's growing up. At 13 he feels like he knows all there is to know about life. I remember. I was there. (Ten years ago. LOL!)

It's just that, well, the only other armpit hair I see on a regular basis belongs to my husband. And I can't put the two of them in the same category.
Not yet.
What's it going to be like in a couple years when Joshua starts driver's training? To see him behind the wheel of a car???

I am not getting older. I am not getting older...


Monday, July 18, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lessons From the Edge

Sometimes we ask too little.

At Edgewood, we have been eagerly anticipating this past Wednesday. We were taking our first trip of the summer to a local park for a picnic lunch, and everyone was excited about it.
When I put the sign-up sheet out and made the first announcement about the picnic, I chided the residents, "Your job is to pray for nice weather!" Of course, I was praying, too.
Well, Monday we had some terrible storms go through our area. Tuesday it was uncomfortably hot. And each day I was asking God to give us nice weather on Wednesday. (Of course, what I meant was, "Please, God, don't have it be rainy.") Really, all I wanted was "decent". I didn't want to have to cancel the picnic because it was raining. Anything this side of rain would have been fine with me.


On Wednesday we didn't have nice weather.
The temperature was in the mid 70's. While there were a few clouds in the sky, the sun shone beautifully. And there was a constant gentle breeze which made the air exceptionally comfortable.
God didn't simply give us nice weather.
He gave us a perfect day.

And as we joined hands to give thanks for our box lunches and the gorgeous weather, I realized, sometimes we ask too little.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Play Day

Today I'm at Cedar Point with my kids and my mom.
No time for blogging. I'm busy playing!
See you tomorrow. *wink*


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm Getting Stronger

Several weeks ago I had a difficult "chat" with my boss. I won't go into the details here, but let's just say my anti-depressant didn't keep the tears away that day.
As I drove home I heard a new song. New to me, anyway, and I felt as if God was holding my heart and reminding me that all would be well.

And He is true to His Word.

Things are going much better.

Now, everytime I hear this song I am reminded of that day when I felt so low.
I am reminded of God's faithfulness.
And I am reminded that I am getting stronger.

Need some encouragement today? Click the play button and listen to this song!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Young Love

OK, Ladies - Because I'm pretty sure there are no men who read here! - think back with me a while. Probably many, many years.

Do you remember your first love???

Elizabeth is giving me cause to re-visit my teenage days, and my certainty that I was in love. She and her beau will have their "six month anniversary" this week, and she has been busy making a special gift for him - to mark this milestone in their relationship.
Besides being proud of her thoughtfulness and impressed with creativity, I'm chuckling to myself at her fascination with young love. She told me a few days ago that this young man finally said, "I love you," to her, and the giddy smile on her face was just precious.
Yes, I remember well what it was like to be in love that first time.
When I was in the eighth grade I thought I had met the boy I was going to marry.
And then it happened again in ninth grade.
And tenth.
And twelfth.
I finally met him for real during my freshman year of college.
With each passing year, and as my relationship with Brian deepened, I realized I had no idea what love really was all those years before.
Goodness, we're going to celebrate our eighteenth anniversary in a few weeks, and now I'm thinking I didn't truly understand what love really was when we got married! Because with every passing day we mature, and our hearts grow. (At least in theory. *wink*)

As I look at my daughter and observe her infatuation with young love, the desire rises in me to tell her she has no idea what real love is about, just yet.
But I know full well that I would not have listened to my mother if she tried to tell me something like that when I was a teenager. Because I knew so much more than my mom in those days! And I don't want to deny the special feelings she has for this young man.
So, after talking about it with a friend, this is what I have decided: I am going to acknowledge the feelings she has for E, and will share in her joy. But I will remind her that it will only get better as she enters adulthood. Without down-playing what she's feeling now, I want her to know the love she will experience as an adult is going to out-shine the feelings she has today.

Any of you who've already had this conversation have any advice for me?


Monday, July 11, 2011

Friday, July 08, 2011

Lessons From the Edge

Don't worry. Don't cast blame. Just Pray!

When something goes wrong, it's often our first inclination to worry and/or cast blame, isn't it?
Last week I took a group of residents to the mall - some who wanted to walk around, and some who wanted to shop. I was escorting one man to a couple of stores while a few others sat down to rest. And then I got a phone call.
"Karen, we lost M."
"We told her we'd be right back, and when we got back, she was gone."
I went over to where B and C were and they explained that M was sitting 'right here' and they just went into a store for a minute. But when they got back, she was no longer there.
I said, "OK. God knows where she is. Let's pray, and then let's walk around and look for her." So the three of us joined hands and prayed - asking God to protect M, and asking Him to lead us to her. A security officer "just happened" to be walking toward us, so we told him about our missing companion. Then B went one way, and C and I went the other.

As C and I walked and looked, she said over and over again, "I should have stayed with her. I shouldn't have left her alone!" She was taking responsibility for M's M.I.A. status, and I could tell she was feeling badly. I tried to reassure C that it wasn't her fault. But she kept blaming herself.
Finally I took her hand and said, "Don't worry. Don't cast blame. Just Pray!" And I reminded her God would take care of our circumstance.
A few minutes later, we saw M walking out of a store and heading toward the bench where she'd been sitting.
I called B and the security officer to let everyone know we had M back. She'd just seen a shirt she liked and went into the store to purchase it. She wasn't lost. Wasn't scared. Wasn't worried. The circumstance wasn't the big fiasco the rest of us had assumed.

How often is that true of the things about which we worry? They usually aren't such a big deal, are they?! Really no need for us to blame someone for the way things are going, is there?!

May we all learn well this Lesson from the Edge: Don't worry. Don't cast blame. Just Pray!


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Another 'Mean' Parent

Joshua spent the night at a friend's house last weekend, and when I got up the next morning I saw that Joshua was at home, in his own bed. When I found out why, I was thrilled.
Seems Joshua's friend, M, had been acting out and being rude to his mom. This is the same M who thought I was being too strict with Joshua when I grounded him for getting home 10 minutes late.
Apparently, M's behavior was over-the-top unacceptable, and the best way his mom could think of to punish him for acting the way he did was to end the sleep-over.
So she brought Joshua home in the middle of the night.

When we spoke about it the next day, M's mom apologized for bringing Joshua home at such a late hour. But I assured her it was a-okay with me. I told her Joshua gets upset with us for holding him accountable, that he thinks we're too strict. And I said I thought it was great that he could see another parent drawing a hard line.
The boys are testing our limits, and I was so glad she demonstrated clearly to M that he had crossed the line. I don't want to ruin their fun and make their lives miserable. But I do want them to understand and respect the limits and boundaries we parents set.

It was so refreshing to encounter another 'mean' parent. *wink*


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

HE Did It Again

I just have to boast about God today!

So, last week at work we were having a Fourth of July party. (Had it Friday, because the office was closed Monday.) And for weeks leading up to the party I was trying to find volunteers who could come in and help me set up, serve, and clean up. It isn't a huge job, but it is definitely too much for me to do on my own.
So, anyway, I was trying to find volunteers.
And I was striking out. What? Does everyone have to leave for the holiday weekend Friday morning??? I was holding out hope for one young lady who was going to call me early Friday to let me know if she'd be able to make it, or not.

Friday morning as I was having my quiet time I prayed and told God, I know You know my needs today - at work and at home. And I know You can meet them perfectly. I'm asking You, God, to do just that.
HE has always been faithful. HE has always provided what I needed. And often times HE has waited until nearly the last minute to show me how things are going to work out. (Seems God isn't very concerned about my desire to have everything planned out way ahead of time. Cuz I wouldn't need to trust so much that way.)

Fast forward a few hours...

I heard a page that I had a phone call on line one, so I went over to answer the call. It was Daisy, and I hoped she had good news for me.
"Can you come this afternoon?" I asked.
"Yes, I can," was her reply, and my heart did a little jump for joy. I just knew God would come through for me!
At that moment I was staring at the clock on the phone, and my smile got even bigger. Guess what time it was?


I'm not kidding!

For those of you who don't know the significance of 1111, click on the '1111' in the labels below and you can read all about it.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

I Wanted to Say NO

...but I said, "Yes."

It was Thursday. My day off from "work". And I've been putting so much time in lately doing things for other people - at work and home - that I just didn't want to do anything for anyone on MY day. So, when my son asked me, "Mom, what's everything you're doing today?" I let out a hefty sigh and told him about my schedule. (One of my appointments was for a massage. *grin*)
Joshua told me he really wanted to go to a nearby lake to fish for several hours. He REALLY wanted to do it. It had been FOREVER since he'd been able to do it. Read that: It's been a couple weeks.
He was asking me to drive him there.

While I could tell Joshua was trying to be sensitive to my 'day off', everything in me wanted to say, NO. I felt like yelling, "This is my day. I have a couple things scheduled outside of the house, but other than that, I don't want to go anywhere. I don't want to do anything else. OK???"

But something Read that: GOD. It was totally HIM. No way this next part came from me! moved me to say, "Yes." "Yes, Joshua. I'll take you to go fishing. Yes. Your friend can come, too. Yes. We can stop at the store on the way so you can get worms and more hooks. Yes."
And the boy lit up. He smiled. He said, "Thanks, Mom!" after every single Yes I uttered.

I still got my things done. He was totally happy to work around my plans. And I was delighted that simply carting him around to a few places in the van could bring him so much joy.
I wanted to say NO, but I'm so glad I said YES!


Monday, July 04, 2011

Will You Pray?

"as He changes your heart."
That's what I was saying as the video ended. Accidentally stopped recording a bit too early, and I didn't want to go back to re-record the whole thing for that one phrase. *wink*

Oh, yeah. And "Happy Independence Day!" Just realized this will post on the Fourth of July!


Friday, July 01, 2011

Lessons From the Edge

If you're old and charming, you can insult people and they'll think it's funny.

So, the other day I observed our maintenance guy (F) in the atrium with one of our oldest residents (D). F was introducing his younger brother to D, and D said, "He looks almost just like you. Except he hasn't eaten as well as you!"
F has a pretty good gut on him, and it was a'bouncing as they all laughed at D's observation.

In most cases, a person would take offense to the suggestion that they're over-weight. But in this case, everyone had a good laugh. And I'm convinced it's because...
If you're old and charming, you can insult people and they'll think it's funny.