Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Are You Worth?

I remember hearing a story like this when I was a little girl:

A young boy was feeling badly about himself. He didn't make the cut for the baseball team, the girl he liked had a crush on someone else, and his project didn't get selected for the science fair. He told his dad he felt worthless.
The boy's father got big eyes and said, "I sure could use an extra hand at work! If I give you a million dollars, will you cut off your hand and give it to me?"
Shocked at his dad's suggestion the boy replied, "No way! I'm not going to cut my hand off for any amount of money!"
With a satisfied look on his face the father commented, "See? You aren't worthless after all. Your hand is worth more than a million bucks, and that's just a small part of who you are!"
Seems to me I thought the story was a bit ridiculous, but I understood it's point. The boy's worth couldn't be derived from his accomplishments or popularity. He had worth simply because he existed.

It's been quite a while since I originally heard that anecdote, but I found myself needing to remember it the other day.
I was feeling badly about myself. I got an email which hurt my feelings. Something someone said made me think they didn't like me. And it looked like a speaking engagement to which I'd been looking forward wasn't going to work out. Found myself paying attention to negative thinking and it was definitely affecting my outlook. I was feeling worthless.
Fortunately, before I got lost in a pit of depression God reminded me from where my worth comes. It isn't derived from my accomplishments or popularity. My worth comes from Jesus.
I practiced telling myself the Truth, and began singing. (Because singing is very effective therapy for me. *grin*)
Even though I wasn't immediately swept into a feeling of euphoria, I remembered my worth. The Creator of the universe loves me so much He sent His Son to earth to pay the price for my sins (and yours!) so I (we) could be reconciled to Himself. I matter to God - not because of anything I've done, or can do - but because He loves me. Period.

And that Truth right there? Is powerful enough to pull me through those moments when depression starts to rear its ugly head.
How about you? Whether or not you struggle with depression issues, when you're feeling down how do you handle it? What are you worth?


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Think I Get it Now

Have you ever heard an "older" woman say to a "younger" woman who is in the middle of a struggle with her children, "Oh, dearie! Enjoy them now. There will come a time when you'll miss these days!"?
Perhaps someone has spoken those words to you!

Honestly, until recently I have always thought those women-who-have-gone-before-me couldn't remember what "these days" were really like. Figured in an attempt to maintain their sanity they had simply blocked the hard times from their memory.
Selective memory, you know. A survival mechanism.

But a few recent conversations with fellow moms-of-older-kids has shed some light on that statement for me. I think I get it now.
When my kids were toddlers I could buy them and dress them in whatever clothes I wanted. They didn't care about current trends, name brands, or particular styles. I told them they looked adorable, and they believed me!
But NOW? I dare not go shopping without them for fear I will get the wrong style. And when I do take them out to get things, I rely on the faithful prayers of my husband to get us through.
Picky, picky, picky!
I mean, seriously! How can this color of jeans really feel better than that color? Why does it matter if the cuff on the sleeve goes this way or that? What difference does it make whether the jacket zips or buttons???
I walk through the store, trying to be patient. Really trying! But I find myself at a loss to understand how a human being can be so picky about their clothing. It's in those moments when I remember "these days" and - forgetting the tantrums, the missed-potty accidents, the drawn-out bedtimes, the arguments over toys, the fits about snacks, and the agony of clean-up time (Am I missing anything?) - I remember how in "these days" my kids were so easy to clothe, and I realize how much I miss them.

*****You caught the sarcasm, didn't you? *wink*


Monday, October 29, 2012

God & Details

BTW, Kaira, I moved to the side just for you! *wink*


Friday, October 26, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

Heaven is going to be glorious.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Revelation 21:4

If I could add to that list, I would like to add that there will also be no more dementia or other mental disease. Because the past couple weeks at Edgewood the pain of death and dementia and mental disease have been real.
*One beautiful woman lost her battle with cancer.
*Another woman had to move to a facility where she could receive more care because of a mental disease which has progressed too far for us.
*And as I was leaving work Wednesday, still another woman was being moved to an Adult Foster Care because her dementia has gotten so much worse than when she first moved to Edgewood.

I look at these women whom I have come to love, and I get so sad.
Yes, the one who lost her battle with cancer was a believer. I know she is resting in the arms of Jesus now. In fact we prayed together just days before her passing, and I know she was looking forward to being with HIM. Still, her husband is alone now, and my heart is sad for him.
And, yes, the two other women had their quirky characteristics. To be honest, many of our residents were bothered by these women because of their mental issues. But I love both of them. I have delighted in them. And I am going to miss them so!

The things I see at Edgewood - the progression of mental and physical deterioration - truly sadden me. I hear residents talk about the perils of aging, and how they wish they could do things like they did yester-year. And I am tempted to adopt a negative attitude about this aging process.
But then God reminds me that HE is redeeming this world. HE is making all things new. I remember we are NOT alone to face the aches and pains of aging, or the confusion of a demented mind. God holds our hand and walks us through the trials of this life. And there will come a day when He will wipe away all our tears, when death and aging will have nothing to say to us anymore because the old order of things will have passed away. Oh, how I long for that day!

Heaven is going to be glorious.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Have You Ever Seen a Fire-breathing Turtle?

Remember the computer apps class I mentioned a couple weeks ago, in which Joshua has fun photo-shopping pictures?
Well, he did it again.

This is the new wallpaper on my laptop. He put it up, and I have no idea how to change it.
No worries. I like to be reminded of my son's creativity and imagination. *smile*


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Among Friends

You have no idea how over-the-top excited I am!
On March 15 & 16, 2013 my home church is going to be hosting Kathy Troccoli's Among Friends Conference, with special guests Jennifer Rothschild and Dr. Jeanne Porter.

God has used the ministry of Kathy Troccoli to draw me closer to Himself - to make me authentic in my relationship with Him - and I am eternally grateful for what HE has done through her. It is for this reason I am so excited this conference is coming to Michigan. Because I want other women to be drawn close to Him; to hear about and experience hope.

Kathy and her events administrator were at Trinity (my home church) last week sharing their vision for this conference. Listening to them boosted my enthusiasm for what is to come.
Better yet, for who is to come!

I know many of you who read Surviving Motherhood are nowhere near Michigan. But lots of you are! And it is my hope and prayer that you will be one of the who at Among Friends this coming March. Please consider this your personal invitation to come. And if a blog post isn't personal enough, send me your phone number and I'll call you to invite you. Really!

For more more information visit the Among Friends website.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Interpretation

The other day I was at church preparing for an event that evening when Joshua called. He wanted to know if I was home from work yet. I responded by saying, "No, honey. I'm at church right now and won't be home until probably 9:30 or 10:00 tonight."
In all his teenage charm, my son let out some sort of grunt and hung up.

A moment to think about the time and my son's schedule allowed me to realize Joshua was calling me from cross-country practice, looking for a ride home.

Another moment to consider the grunt he'd just uttered led me to my interpretation. I think he was trying to say, OK, Mom. I'm sure I can find a friend here who will give me a ride home. I'll figure it out. No problem. Oh, and thanks for all the times you drop what you're doing to come and pick me up. Love you!

Yeah. I'm sure that's what he meant! *wink*


Monday, October 22, 2012

HE's Here

Oops! I stopped recording just a touch early. But you know the drill...
Have a wonderful, JesusFULL day!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

There is joy in giving.

We took another field trip this week. Went to Kean's Store in Mason. Partly so some residents could shop, largely so they could reminisce.
On the way home, L suggested that if we were able to stop by Dairy Dan's, she would treat everyone to an ice cream cone.
I took a quick vote, and everyone agreed.
Next stop? Dairy Dan's!
I pulled into the parking lot, parked the bus, and took orders. Then I went to the window, paid for our ice cream, and - two by two - brought ice cream cones back onto the bus for everyone to enjoy. And did they ever enjoy them! The smiles and squeals of delight would have made you think you were with a bunch of little kids, not adults in their 70s and 80s!

While I fully enjoyed the enthusiasm of my senior friends (and the soft-serve twist I was consuming!) it was L's response which fueled my greatest delight. (You see, her typical stance on all-things-money is that she doesn't have enough of it, and everything is too expensive. So it was a surprise to hear her offer to buy ice cream for everyone.) When I looked into her eyes and gave the most sincere expression of thankfulness I could, she gave back a huge smile and said with cheer, "You're welcome. I've been wanting to do this for the longest time!"
And the distinct sparkle in her eyes confirmed for me, there is joy in giving.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Let's Think About This...

A typical morning in my house involves a lengthy process of getting Matthew out of bed, several reminders for him to stay on task, knocks on the bathroom door telling him his shower has been long enough, a count-down to when he needs to leave for the bus, and - finally - a frantic sixty seconds of throwing a lunch in his back-pack, finding a coat, and getting shoes on before heading out the door.

Oh, I forgot to mention the four or five times I say, "Do you have everything ready to go?"

I can't count the times I have talked to my son about getting to bed earlier so wake-up isn't so hard, and having things set out and ready to go so getting out the door isn't as difficult. So, last week when Matthew was going through another of his panic moments and Elizabeth said, "Why doesn't he just get ready earlier so he doesn't go through this every morning?" I laughed and responded, "What a great idea! We should think about that!"
Later that evening, when Matthew was calm, I said, "Elizabeth had a great idea this morning. Let's think about this..." And I went on to explain what she said. We talked about how frustrated he gets in his morning panic moments, and how much better it would be to be prepared and ready ahead of time. Even if that meant getting out of bed a couple minutes earlier. Even if that meant going to bed a little earlier.
I guess since it was Elizabeth's idea - not mine *ahem!* - Matthew was more willing to give it a try. And I'm OK with that. These past couple mornings haven't been perfect, but they haven't been panicky, either!

*happy sigh*


Wednesday, October 17, 2012


We had a great Bible study at Edgewood Monday, looking at Matthew 8:1-17. We talked about how amazing it would be to see such healings, to experience the power of Jesus like that. And how we would want to run around and tell everyone about what He had done in our lives.
It was so simple. The leprous man said, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." And Jesus said, "I am willing. Be clean." A statement of faith, and a healing granted.

But then we asked the question, What if He wasn't willing?
What if we asked Jesus to do something - to heal or deliver or take away our pain, and what if He knew the best thing for us was to endure our circumstance?
What if He knew we needed to live through the situation for the benefit of what we would learn?
What if facing the hardship would ultimately draw us closer to Him, or grow our faith, or shape our character in a way nothing else could?
What if HIS way was not our way, and what if He wasn't willing?

Would we, in the midst of our trial, be amazed by His power and wisdom? Would we want to run around and tell everyone about what He was doing in our lives? I suppose those responses are more likely to come with hind-sight. But I pray God will lead me more and more to trust Him in the midst of the pain, that I might praise Him for HIS way. Even when it is so far from mine.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beauty and the Beau

So, it's official. Elizabeth has a beau.
Nick asked her to be his girlfriend Saturday afternoon - before they got all dressed up for Homecoming Saturday night. And, honestly? I am delighted. These are two great kids and I look forward to helping them navigate the waters of their growing relationship.

Ahhhh, young love!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

A kind word makes a big difference.

Wednesday I drove a group of residents around for about an hour on a Fall Color Tour. (That's one of the things I love about Michigan - the beautiful change in colors every autumn. *ahhhh!*) I was hoping, yes - praying - for a lovely sunny day for our color tour, because the sunshine makes the colored leaves even more beautiful. But, alas, it was cloudy as we drove Wednesday.
Unfortunately, some of the residents made negative comments about the cloudy sky and I was disappointed for their lack of enthusiasm. Oh, how I wanted them to enjoy our trip!

But then I heard, what was that?

Oooohhhhs and aaaahhhhs coming from the seat behind me.
It was L, fawning over the beautiful colors.
"Would you look at that!"
"What beautiful colors!"
"Look at that Sumac! That red bush there, that's a Sumac. You can't get rid of those things, I tell you. My Don dug and dug and dug the ones in our yard, but they always came back!"
"Oh! That's lovely!"
"There's another Sumac. Do you know you can't get rid of those?"
"Oh, what gorgeous trees!"
Listening to L's positive comments was like music to my ears. The negative comments others had made were somehow drown out by her words. *Ahhhhhh!*

So, if you see someone today who looks a little down, may I encourage you to offer them a kind word?

A kind word makes a big difference.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Call Me "Jedi Mom"

My son has a computer apps class - and this is what he does in his extra class time. haha!

Hey, do you suppose this counts for staying in the picture??? *wink*


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Don't Have Enemies does this really apply to me?

Such was my initial thought as I read Luke 6 and came to the heading, "Love for Enemies".
Honestly, I haven't heard anyone cursing me recently. Can't think of the last time someone struck me on the cheek. And no one wants my cloak, let alone my tunic! So, what has this passage to do with me???
But I kept reading.
And God showed me my heart.
I read, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?...And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you?" (Luke 6:32&33)
My mind went to those people in my life who love me, those who are easy for me to love; and to those who are good to me, to whom it is easy for me to do good. And as quickly as I smiled at the recollection of our mutual kindnesses, "What credit is that to you?" shone a light on my heart.

Yes. There are people in my home and where I work who are easy to love, and for whom it is a joy to do good things. But there are some who are not. At all. In fact - while I would not call them enemies - there are some people in my life who I would rather ignore altogether. And it was right there - with that realization - that God spoke to my heart. Those people, Karen. Those are the ones I want you to love! Even when they are thoughtless and rude. Love them with My love.

So it goes. I really don't believe I have enemies, but I know for sure there are people in my life who are a challenge to love. And God is calling me to love them anyway. How about you?

Every day, by the grace of God!


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Mom Stays in the Picture

Have you read this post? I followed a link to it on Facebook last week. It's gone viral and lots of moms have been responding to it.
So - while I don't usually post "outside" information on my blog - when I received an email asking me to publicize this post, I had to agree.
Had to, that is, because I so completely understand this mom and agree with her conclusion.

The post is rather lengthy, therefore, I'll be quiet now so you can pop over there to read.
And respond!


Monday, October 08, 2012

Friday, October 05, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

Joy can be found in the mundane.

Do you enjoy weeding? How about fixing broken down-spouts? Picking up trash?
Yeah. They aren't on my list of 'Fun things to do', either.
But over the past couple of weeks, I have been delighted to watch a certain man at Edgewood finding joy in those exact activities.

E is a great guy. Will talk your ear off if you let him! And in recent days he has busied himself doing all these tasks outside.
Nearly every day, he comes into the Activity Room and gives me the latest report on the things he's done. With a great big smile on his face. And I walk to the window with him so he can point out his progress.
I think it's great that E is doing these little beautification projects, but the joy he radiates is 100 times more beautiful.

So, tomorrow when I'm doing yard work I believe I will think of E and smile. Because, joy can be found in the mundane.


Thursday, October 04, 2012

I Know

Sunday toward the end of the conference I invited the women to spend some "couch time" with God - processing the things we'd been discussing, listening to what HE had to say to their hearts. And when we had done that, one woman shared with the group what she'd heard Him say to her heart. She gave me permission to share it with you here. Be encouraged!

I Know

I know you are broken,
but I can heal your brokenness!
I know you are hurting,
but I can take your pain away!
I know you are afraid of what will happen,
but don’t try to predict the future… it hasn’t happened yet!
I know you feel you are amidst a battle,
but the battle is not yours!
I know you think you need to have control of things,
but I’ve got this!
I know you want to be at peace,
but I am the peace you seek!
I know you want to be with me,
but I have never left your side!
I know you feel lost in the darkness,
but I am the light to find your way!
I know you feel hopeless,
but I am the hope for the world… I am your hope!
I know you are tired and weary,
but I will give you strength and perseverance!
I know you feel unworthy,
but you are worthy of all my love, and I love you!
I know you are seeking,
but I am what you seek!
I know you are disappointed in yourself,
but I have forgiven you and given you a new life!
I know you are concerned and worried,
but you will be okay… I’ve got this!

Connie Shaler, September 30, 2012


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Trusting HIS Best

So, I had this thing to which I was really looking forward.
Might have been obsessing about it a bit.
And then, just like that, it was over before it even started. Not gonna happen the way I had imagined. At all. And I was tempted to be disappointed.

But then it was as if God asked my heart, Why should you be disappointed with My best?

Why? Indeed!

God used that moment to remind me this "thing" is not about me. It's about HIM. HE knows what's best. HE's working out what's best.
And HIS best is still best - even if it isn't what I wanted.

Honestly, I was almost in tears because of the initial disappointment. But after God had that little talk with my heart, I was almost in tears for an altogether different reason.
HE cares enough about me - about my holiness and my relationship with Himself - to do the hard thing. To say NO to me. To risk me being upset with Him. That is, God loves me too much to give me everything I want. Because HE knows what's best.

And I'm learning to trust HIS best.

Are you?


Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Cran-Hill Report

Ahhhhh. *happy sigh*

I had a fabulous weekend at Cran-Hill Ranch with the Fall Women's Conference. What a delight to be with those women to share life and struggles and the goodness of God.
It was the first time I had presented the Don't Make Decisions While You're Running Uphill material in a conference setting, and I was pleased with how it went. God was present - speaking to hearts and touching lives. And I am forever thankful.
Looking forward to the opportunity to do it again!

Here's a picture of the group from Saturday night. Aren't they lovely?

Another very fun part of the weekend was the time I was able to spend with my new friend. That is, the mother of Elizabeth's goooooooood friend, Nick.
Also known as her potential future mother-in-law.
See, Nick and his family were spending the weekend at Cran-Hill, too. So Elizabeth wanted to come with me to the conference - in order that she might spend time with Nick. Which meant...Kaira (Nick's mom) and I were able to have some good hang-out time. (Including shopping for pants Friday afternoon. Since I forgot to pack mine. *eye roll*)
Kaira sat in on my speaking sessions and we spent time together talking about mothering and life and God and mistakes and grace...and, of course, Nick and Elizabeth. And what I discovered is - while Elizabeth has the joy of a new and special friendship, so do I! I love the relationship which is developing between Nick and Elizabeth, and I love that it means a new friendship for me, too. *smile*


Monday, October 01, 2012