Friday, September 28, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

I can't do it all.

Of course, I know this lesson is true. But this past week, I lived it.
I stayed late at work Wednesday, getting things ready for the rest of the week because I wasn't going to be there Friday. (Taking the morning off to finish getting ready for the conference at Cran-Hill this weekend.) As I was driving home, I remembered something I didn't do and figured I would need to work that into Thursday's plans. Then I remembered I had a voice mail on my phone, so I grabbed my phone and listened to the message.
It was Elizabeth - asking me to stop at the store and pick up a couple things for her. Which reminded me of other things I needed to do and... The result is, I was quite late getting home from work, my feet were aching, and my mood was less than pleasant.

I pondered why things were so hectic and my first inclination was to "blame" Edgewood. After all, I had just spent the entire day at work and was still thinking about things I needed to do.
But I quickly realized, the reason I had all this extra stuff to consider was because I was taking time off for the conference. If I wasn't going away to speak this weekend, I wouldn't have the added pressure to get work things lined up and family things situated.
BUT, then I thought, If I didn't have to work at Edgewood, I would have all kinds of time to do the other things I need to do when I'm going to be gone for a weekend.

And the back-and-forth battle began. It's Edgewood's fault. No, it's because of the conference.
No, it's because of work.
Until I realized this week's lesson: I can't do it all. And I began to think differently. I stopped dead in my tracks and started to pray, asking God to show me where HE wants me to be.
*I love the men and women at Edgewood. Love loving them!
*But my passion is speaking the heart of God to mothers and women. And if I could make a living doing that, I would turn in my Activity Director's hat in a heartbeat.

So my prayer is that God would lead me. That HE would open or close doors according to His perfect knowledge. And I would welcome your prayers for me in this regard. I need to hear from Him, because - truly - I can't do it all.
Would also welcome your prayers for this weekend's conference - that God would speak through me, and the women in attendance would have an undeniable encounter with HIM. Thanks!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hunting Success

Last weekend was the youth hunt in Michigan. The weekend when kids aged 16 and under can go hunting before the official deer season opens.
And Brian took the boys out.
Joshua has gone hunting with Brian for the past two years, but this was the first time for Matthew, and the first youth hunt ever. And the first time Joshua got a deer.

He was so excited!

And I'm a proud momma. :) Looking forward to cooking up some venison this winter!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chicago-area Moms

I am so looking forward to traveling to Crete, Illinois on October 12 to speak at Crete Reformed Church. These evening events are one of my!

If you're in the area, I would love to see you there. If you know other moms in the Crete/Chicago area, please invite them to attend.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It Still Gets Me

When Joshua was younger we often got into it with one another. He would stomp off to his room in anger. I pretty much stayed put in anger.
Sometimes it took a few hours, and other times it was a day or more, but typically Joshua would realize his error and apologize to me. And it always surprised me when I saw what happened to my heart in those moments. His sincere apology was all it took for me to forgive, and remember my love for him.
And in a weird sort of way, those moments made our spats OK. Because I got to see my son's tender, humble side. And it is so beautiful.

We recently had a disagreement which went the same direction. We just couldn't see eye to eye. Try as I might, I couldn't convince him it is OK to bend for the good of the family. Couldn't get him to think outside of himself. And, as per usual, he stomped past me mumbling about how annoying I am.
Moments later I heard the shower going and started to sputter inside about him wasting water.

The next thing I knew, Joshua was walking into the kitchen. He stopped as he was passing me and said, "I'm sorry for yelling earlier." Seemed his time in the shower did more than clean his stinky body. It also gave him some time to think.
And, just like that, all was forgiven. His sincere and gentle words did a number on my heart and we were reconciled.
Once again his tender, humble side surfaced. And I realized - it still gets me.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

There's more than one way to enjoy a song.

Today is a special day at Edgewood.

Three of our residents are celebrating birthdays.

One of those three is turning 105!!!

And H - the one who is 105 years old today - is the one who taught me this week's lesson.
H loves music. She sings all the time. Only, her singing is more like a high pitched, slightly-out-of-tune oooooo-ing/humming sound. And - to be quite honest - it annoys some residents sometimes. Because she's quite loud and they don't like it.
But she loves to sing! And I love her high pitched, slightly-out-of-tune oooooo-ing/humming sound, because I know it is a reflection of the joy in her heart.

Well, the other day, I saw H enjoying music in another way.
She was sitting in the atrium while one of our favorite entertainers was playing the piano and singing. H was in her wheel chair, slightly slouched to the side, kind of staring at the floor. (She has very poor eye-sight so it isn't often that she really focuses on anything.) I began to wonder if she was listening to the music, or if she was lost in her own little world.
Then I glimpsed her feet.
And I wasn't wondering anymore.

H's feet were tapping along with the beat of the music, and I was quite sure - if her body would let her - she would have been on her feet dancing.
I stood for several minutes just staring at H's dancing feet, taking in the joy they expressed. And that's when I learned, there's more than one way to enjoy a song.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

How Sad

I had a chance to go shopping Saturday afternoon.

That isn't the sad part.

The thing which made me sad happened while I was looking through the racks.

I overheard a conversation between two friends who hadn't seen each other in a while. They chatted for a few seconds before their conversation grabbed my attention. When one of them started complaining about her college-aged daughter, I couldn't keep myself from eavesdropping hearing.
The disgruntled mother went on about how her daughter didn't want to stay in school. Then the two of them pondered whether or not her attitude had to do with a boyfriend. And I felt sorry for the relational discord between mother and daughter.
Then the other friend started unloading her mothering woes. The details don't matter, but at the end of her monologue she commented that she only has x-number of years until the kids are gone and she'll be DONE. And her friend gave a hearty, "Good for you!"

Now, I will be the first to admit I've been frustrated with my kids. It is no secret I've been in tears over my circumstance and have often felt like quitting. It's all in there! But to hear these women celebrating being DONE with their kids filled me with a sadness I just can't express.

And I pray God will keep my heart tender toward my children all the days of our lives.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

God Doesn't Need Protecting

So, the other night I tried to protect God.

Have you ever heard of a sillier thing???

Joshua came running into the kitchen in a panic. "Mom! Help me look for Butters!!!" And he yelled for the rest of the family to do the same thing.
Joshua had just looked into his hamster's cage and discovered the little guy had escaped. And since he hadn't played with Butters in a couple of days, Joshua wasn't sure how long he'd been out of his cage. The only thing of which he was sure is that everybody needed to drop what we were doing and help him find that rodent.

We all got to work. Unsuccessfully. And it hurt my heart to see Joshua so upset. I mean, really. There were tears and frantic movements, moans and breathing which bordered on hyperventilation. The boy was beside himself with worry for Butters.
As I looked in closets and under beds I was fully aware that God knew exactly where Joshua's hamster was hiding. I knew HE could bring him out into the open. Could lead us right to that little guy's location. And I prayed HE would.
It occurred to me that I ought to pray with Joshua. Or at least encourage Joshua to pray. But then I was overcome with the thought, What if we never find Butters? What if he has been missing for a couple days and is dead in some corner somewhere? What if God, in His sovereignty, doesn't lead us to him - alive? Thinking about how devastated Joshua would be under those circumstances, I couldn't bring myself to suggest that he pray. Because I didn't want him to be upset with God for not answering his prayer the way he wanted.
Instead, I prayed more for our search. And even more for Joshua.

When I became convinced there was nothing more we could do, I told Joshua it was time for us all to go to bed. (The scene produced by that statement could fill another whole post...) And as I lay in bed, replaying the previous 45 minutes, trying to understand why I couldn't get myself to encourage Joshua to pray, I understood my hang-up.
I was too concerned by how Joshua might respond if God didn't answer his prayer affirmatively. I was afraid Joshua might not like God. I was anxious about how he would view a God who lets hamsters die. I simply didn't want Joshua to be upset with God, and somehow I thought - by not praying - he wouldn't hold God responsible for a sad outcome.
That's when I realized the foolishness of my actions. I realized I was trying to protect God; trying to establish Him in a favorable way in my son's eyes. Only, God doesn't need protecting. He is big enough to manage His own image. No assistance from me necessary.
So I am officially resigning as God's PR girl. Returning to my appropriate position of humbly trusting that He knows what He's doing. Aiming to model such a faith for my children, so they may learn to pray without ceasing - trusting a good GOD to work all things out for our good and HIS glory.

BTW, Butters showed up the next morning. Caught in a live trap Joshua had set in the basement. Thankful for a happy ending!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Delete Button is My Friend

I was writing an email message last week and - after spending a few minutes laboring over a couple sentences - I deleted everything I'd just typed.
It wasn't that my words were unkind, or untrue, or anything like that. But as I re-read them I asked myself, Do I really need to say this? And the answer was, No.

The thing is, last week's experience wasn't unique. Whether it's in an email or a blog post, sometimes I find myself saying things I just don't need to say. Maybe I re-read what I've written and realize I'm trying to justify myself or prove myself right and I don't like my motive.
So I delete.
Other times my review reveals a sense of pride which needs to be reigned in. Or a pity party which needs some truth-talk. *wink*
Whatever problem I discover, I am always thankful for my delete button, and the ability to move forward as if I'd never written those words.

Now, if only I could find a delete button for the times when I speak before I think. *ahem*

Or maybe I should just write everything down before I say it. Hmmmm.
I'm not alone in this issue, am I?


Monday, September 17, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

Little things mean a lot.

C moved back this week!
He's been gone for a couple months - first in the hospital and then in rehab - but now he's back.
And it was our re-union which taught me this week's lesson.

For as long as I can remember, C and I have had a special 'thing' we do every day. It's what we call "close eyes". Actually, it's something Matthew and I used to always do when I said good-bye to him before school. I told C about it one day, and it's been our way of greeting ever since.
Anyway, "close eyes" happens when two people put their foreheads together and touch their noses, which results in your eyes being very close!

So, back to C's homecoming.

As soon as I was able, I went over to him, smiled, and said, "Hello!" But I could tell from his reaction, C didn't remember me. And my heart broke a little bit. I said, "You don't remember me, do you?" He just acknowledged my suspicion by lowering his eyes a little.
Then I said, "Wait a minute!" and I moved in close so my forehead rested on his, and our noses touched and I said, "Close eyes!" C smiled and I said, "Now do you remember me?" C let out a little laugh and said, "Yes!"

Oh, bless my heart! What a joy to know he remembered our little greeting, and therefore remembered me. I am quite sure I will look forward to "close eyes" more than he does from now on. It's just a little thing, but little things mean a lot.


Thursday, September 13, 2012


Last weekend we spent time with friends at their beach house. What fun!
Joshua, get ready for it, spent most of his time fishing. I know. Shocker. And he invited me to join him on one of his trips.
To be perfectly honest, I would have been content staying at the cottage. Could have napped, or picked up socks, or napped, or played with the baby, or, well - taken a nap. But Joshua had been talking about taking me out fishing for a week or two, so I went.

First, we had to get to our destination.
Joshua did the rowing.

It was windy on the water, and rowing was hard sometimes.

But once we got to where we were going, we dropped the anchor and my fisherman went to work. (Until we had to try new locations...But that's another story.)

As he fished, Joshua tried explaining to me about his lures and how the fish are attracted to different things. And why he tugs the fishing pole to make the lure look like an injured fish. And which fish hang out on the edge of the lake and which hide under docks. And why this or that lure is more effective. And blah, blah, blah.
Even after all his coaching, I am not an expert fisherman. Nor am I any more interested in the sport than before we went out. But I am interested in my son, and he loves fishing! So an hour or two sitting in a rowboat listening to him talk (mumble!) about lures and fish, and seeing him do his thing was - in my opinion - time well spent.

What interests do your loved ones have which aren't interesting to you? How can you show your love by showing interest in your loved one's interest? Yes, I totally meant to use 'interest' that many times. ha!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Still Can't Handle It

I was recently reminded of a post I wrote nearly four years ago. And, while much has changed in four years, I chuckled as I realized how much hasn't changed. I may be four years older and wiser, with four more years of experience. But this motherhood thing is still too much for me to handle.

How Much Can You Handle?

I do not remember where I was when I heard this, or who it was that said it, but last week someone made a statement to me which is really ringing true tonight.

She said to me, "You know how some people say, 'God won't give you anything you can't handle?' Well, I don't believe it. God gives me lots of things I can't handle. And He handles it all!"
Can I get an "Amen!" on that one?

How many times has someone tried to encourage you - or have you tried to comfort someone else - with that statement?
God won't give you anything you can't handle.
Because as I have gone through life - especially since I have been a mom - I have come across more and more circumstances which I simply cannot handle.
Need to love a child who is prone to angry outbursts and fits of rage. Can't do it.
Must be patient with an ADHD child, who simply cannot maintain focus. Can't do that, either.
Compassion required for individuals who have made foolish choices. Don't have it.
Need to serve my family selflessly, even when they don't seem to appreciate the time and effort I put in. Yeah, I don't think so.

Shall I continue?
I could give you the play-by-play of this evening's activities...

The point is, God has given me so much in my roles as wife and mom which I simply cannot handle. And because He is so good He gives me the grace I need, moment by moment, to make it through.
I don't have the capacity to love. My patience is much too thin. Compassion is lacking. And there is still too much of me in me to do much of anything selflessly. I cannot handle all God has called me to be and do!
So I fall at His feet - needy and grateful for His grace in my life, for God's ability to handle all He has called me to be and do.

I leave you now with the final verse I read to the kids before bed tonight. Yeah, this verse which fits me so perfectly, from a psalm I "randomly" chose to read.
I soooo do not believe in randomness. Clearly,God picked this psalm out tonight!
Yet I am poor and needy;
come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O LORD, do not delay.

Psalm 70:5


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On the Tip of my Tongue

Joshua wanted a new pair of shoes for school.
I thought it was a reasonable request. His other ones were worn. OK. I could go for that.

BUT, the shoes he wanted were $59. *ahem!* I don't spend that much money on a pair of school shoes. Brian and I conferred and agreed on how much we'd be willing to spend for Joshua's shoes. And if he wanted those $59 shoes, he was going to have to come up with the difference.
The problem was, Joshua insisted he would't be able to get shoes for $35. They would be junk and would fall apart in a matter of weeks. I listened to his rant, and then told him I wanted to have a look for myself. (Joshua had been looking for a while and was sure his $59 prize shoes were the best we were going to find.)
Humor me, son.
Sitting right next to the shoes Joshua wanted, I found a pair (same brand) which were on sale for $49, and with the purchase of those shoes you would receive a $10 gift card to the store. A little math, and those shoes were only $39.
I thought I'd found a solution. He couldn't tell me they were junk, and I was willing to go up $4. Problem solved, right?

Not so fast!

The heel was too high. They would be uncomfortable.
Really??? He wouldn't even try them on. He just knew he would't like them. As you wish. I'm still not spending $59 on tennis shoes!
We walked down the aisle and around the corner and found another display of shoes. And, wouldn't you know it, there was another pair on sale for $39. AND, Joshua actually liked them!
BUT his size was not in stock. We found a store employee who called three other stores until she found his size, and we went to get them!

As we walked out of the store - Joshua pleased with his new shoes, and me pleased with the fact that they were only $39 - I remembered Joshua's previous lament. His angry declaration that we would NOT be able to find shoes in my price range which would be acceptable to him.
And it was all I could do to keep myself from saying it. I TOLD YOU SO!!!

Ahhh. I feel better now. That's been on the tip of my tongue for a week!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Friday, September 07, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

God's Word is richer among friends.

OK, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am NOT saying it is no good to study the Word by yourself. I treasure the time I have alone with God in His Word!
What I am saying is, I love Bible study at Edgewood!
This past week we looked at the book of Habakkuk (Because I was still thinking about this.) and - while I thought I was going into the Bible study with a fairly good grasp of the lesson - I was pleasantly surprised to discover so much more. Sitting there with the residents, asking questions and listening to their answers, God gave me insights I hadn't seen before. Several times throughout our Bible studies I summarize the main points we've discussed (One of the wonderful necessities of working with seniors!) and that action serves to firmly plant the Truth in my own head/heart. Such that, when our time comes to an end and these friends of mine thank me profusely for leading the study, I wonder who is more blessed. Them, or me?

It's a wonderful thing!

Are you part of a small group Bible study? If not, let me encourage you to find one. Because... God's Word is richer among friends.


Thursday, September 06, 2012

Welcome to Real Life

Last week Elizabeth drove to Grand Rapids to hang out with her two best friends from camp this summer. Without even being asked, she said she would pay for the gas to make the trip. Then she tried calculating what the cost would be and was torn between staying or going.
Actually, I was glad she took responsibility for paying before I had to tell her that was going to be a requirement. Anyhoo...
As the day drew nearer, Elizabeth asked if I would be able to fill the tank between when she got home from youth group Wednesday night (She attends youth group at a church waaaaay across town.) and when she left for Grand Rapids Thursday morning. I told her that would not be possible, rather I would fill it up on my way home from work Wednesday. "Oh. So I have to pay for gas to youth group?" was her response.
I just chuckled under my breath.
Yes, dear. Like Dad and I have been paying for it every other week.

When Wednesday came around, I filled the gas tank on my way home from work. Just like I promised. But before I turned the van over to her for youth group, I had a dentist appointment to keep and Elizabeth sighed, "Oh. So I have to pay for the gas to the dentist, too?" (Our dentist is 1.18 miles from our house. I would have walked to my appointment if I didn't need to hurry up and get home to make dinner in time for Elizabeth to go to youth group! haha)
I just rolled my eyes and chuckled again.
Yes, dear. Just like Dad and I pay for it when we drive you to school, or the doctors, or the mall, or your friend's house, or...

Perhaps now she'll think twice about making unnecessary trips. ha!


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Fall Women's Conference at Cran-Hill Ranch

I've been thinking about it since February. Praying for the attendees and my words, asking God to work them all together for His glory.

I've been jotting down thoughts as they come to my head, and for the past several weeks I've been working them into an organized fashion - which I pray God will use to speak to the hearts of women.
Now, with the conference just over three weeks away, I am refining my preparations and continuing to pray, pray, PRAY!

It seems the only thing left is you!
What are you doing Friday, September 28 - Sunday, September 30? I will be speaking at the Fall Women's Conference at Cran-Hill Ranch and I would absolutely love to have you join me there. The whole weekend is only $99 - all inclusive - so maybe even those of you who aren't in the neighborhood could make the trip.
How fun would THAT be??? *wink*


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

I Think I Just Spoke with my Daughter's Future Mother-in-Law

So, Elizabeth went to summer camp and made several good friends. However, there is one particular young man about whom she has continued to talk.
The two of them text scripture references back and forth to one another, then compare thoughts on the verses. At one point Elizabeth said she was praying about N, wondering if he might ever be "more than a friend", but she said she's content to just be friends.


Well, with the end of summer right around the corner, the kids (Elizabeth and her friends from camp) have been rushing to make plans for another get-together before the school year starts. Since two of them live in Grand Rapids, the plan was for Elizabeth to go to them and hang out. And that was fine with me.
But, was it OK with N's parents?
Before a young lady came to pay a visit to her son, N's mother wanted to talk with me. I liked her already! (Imagine, another mom who cares about the kids with whom her kid hangs out!) Anyway, during our conversation N's mom told me their position on dating and friendships and - wow - did I ever appreciate what she had to say! I listened to her with a certain amount of surprise that someone else felt the same way Brian and I do.
She went on to tell me that N is very fond of Elizabeth and talks about her frequently. But what delighted me most is what she said next. That N is particularly drawn to Elizabeth's spiritual strength and her desire to be a beacon for Christ among her friends.
Oh, yeah. I liked N when they were simply texting verses to one another. But to know that he admires her so much, and that he loves her love for God...

OK, they're just kids. But I see some potential here! A great kid with a great family whose values so closely match our own? I'm open to the possibilities. *grin*


Monday, September 03, 2012