Friday, May 25, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

God has the freedom and authority to change my plans.

It's Thursday as I write this entry.
Thursday is my day off at Edgewood. It is the day when I usually do most of my blogging. I write my Lessons From the Edge post, record my Monday devotion and write as much of the next Tuesday-Thursday as possible.
Because, who knows when I'll have a good chunk of uninterrupted time outside of my Thursdays???

So, anyway, as per usual I was planning to do my weekly blogging today. But as I sat having my quiet time a little while ago, I specifically said to God - I will do whatever You want me to do today. It wasn't too long after I made that statement when I remembered there are currently two Edgewood residents at the rehab facility near my house. And I have had it in my heart to go and visit them. And here I am - with time to do it today. Except that I "need" to get my blogging done!
Yes, it was right about there in my thinking when God reminded me what I'd just said to Him.

I will do whatever You want me to do today.

So, dear friends, here's the deal:
I'm going to take a nice walk over to that rehab facility now. And I am going to spend time visiting with D and B. I want to encourage them and pray for them and remind them how much our God loves them.
But that means I won't have time to do my blogging for next week. So, I'm calling it a blog-break. Because, God has the freedom and authority to change my plans.

Provided my plans don't change next Thursday, I'll be back here Friday with another Lesson.
I pray you have a fabulous week, enjoying the presence of God!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Maybe I Deserved It

Last Saturday was wonderful.
I had nothing to do which required me to get up at a certain time, so I hadn't set my alarm.
Brian and Joshua were gone for the weekend, so I wasn't awoken by Brian stirring in the morning.
Though I woke up on my own a few times, I just rolled over and went back to sleep. I was totally lazy, and I loved every minute of it!

Then, like a bolt of lightning - and without warning - Matthew came bounding into my room. He plopped onto the bed beside me and started talking. He was full of energy and excitement and just wanted to share it, I guess.
Brian and I have a sleep number bed and Matthew was quick to grab Brian's controller and went on to let ALL the air out of Brian's side of the bed. Then he rolled around and carried on about how comfy it was to lay in the little nest he'd just created. In spite of how small he is, and how deeply sunken into the bed he was - Matthew managed to make enough commotion to keep me from falling back to sleep.
Then he took the controller again and filled the mattress up completely. He was amazed at how fun it was to be lifted up in bed like that, and he told me so. Loudly.

Once the mattress had finished filling, Matthew asked me to hand him the pillow which was laying on the floor next to my side of the bed. So I reached over and got a hold of the pillow, then suddenly had a wonderful idea. Which I simply couldn't resist.
With the pillow in my hand, I quickly swung my arm backwards toward Matthew and got him right in the face. And a heated pillow fight ensued. Complete with lots of laughter.

As I came to the conclusion I would NOT be going back to sleep, I felt a twinge of sadness. Why did Matthew have to come in and end my lazy morning?
Then I considered my routine for waking Matthew up for school. The kid doesn't rise easily, so I do what I have to do. It may involve poking, tickling, blanket stealing, occasionally a wet-willy, and sometimes I simply drag him out of bed. And as I thought of what I do to him five days a week, it occurred to me: Maybe I deserved this Saturday-morning-visit. *wink*


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jesus Stopped

I have come to love those words.

Jesus stopped.

You'll find them here in the story of Blind Bartimaeus. Specifically, in verse 49.
You see, Jesus was with a large crowd of people leaving the city of Jericho when a man by the name of Bartimaeus started calling out to Him, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Bartimaeus was a blind beggar and many people told him to be quiet.
Think about it, Jesus was a busy Man. Just read the previous verses in Mark 10 if you don't believe me. EVERYONE wanted a piece of Him! I imagine that's why Bartimaeus was being shushed. People must have thought Jesus was too busy, too important to take time for a blind beggar like Bart.
But Bartimaeus called even more, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" And that's when He did it. In the midst of His busy-ness and the crowds who pushed in on Him, Jesus stopped.
He called Bartimaeus to Himself, asked what he wanted, and gave him back his sight.

Have you ever felt like you weren't worthy of Jesus' time and attention? Ever felt like He must be too busy running the universe to have time for the likes of you? Have you heard discouraging voices telling you to stop calling His Name?
Jesus stopped for Bartimaeus. I believe He will stop for you, too.

Keep calling!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Call Me 'Cabbie'

"Mom, I need to go to the store to get something for my project."

"Mom, can you pick me up from practice today?"

"Mom, we're ready to go to the skating rink. Can you take us now?"

"Mom, we want to go to the movies. Will you take us?...And pick us up?"

Honestly, some days I feel like my van should be yellow and have a sign on the roof which says, TAXI.
Between my taxi-driver moments I play barber and chef, tutor and stock-boy, among other things. And sometimes I wonder, What's the point?
I sat one morning praying for my children, telling God my desire to be their cheerleader, counselor, confidant, and companion. I didn't understand how the hum-drum tasks were going to get me there.
But in the stillness of the moment, God helped me to understand.

Those five and ten and fifteen minute stints in the van, going from here to there - when there are no distractions; the twenty minute haircuts, when I have their undivided attention - because they want to make sure I don't mess up; the countless hours time spent nagging helping with homework, when they hang on my every word for their love of learning - haha...just making sure you're paying attention; those moments when I'm with my kids doing things I don't necessarily consider "life-changing" - those are the moments in which I can grow as their cheerleader, counselor, confidant and companion.
They're growing up.
They don't need me like they used to.
But they still need me for some things, and I am realizing those moments can be just as formative as the ones when my children needed me for everything.

So the next time they summon the taxi, I'll look forward to a nice conversation. Even if it is only for five minutes.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

Everything is better with a friend by your side.

Solomon said two are better than one, and I saw the truth in that statement this week.

I went to a rehab facility to visit one of my favorite residents. He’s been in the hospital and now is going through rehabilitation so he can get strong enough to move back home.
While I was there, it was time for D to go to physical therapy, so I tagged along. The therapist put weights around D’s ankles and gave him an exercise to do. Only D wasn’t very excited about it. As in, he wasn’t trying very hard. So I cheered him on and started doing the exercise with him, counting each rep and encouraging him to make a good effort.
The therapist had D do a few more things and then it was time to walk. It was also time for me to get to work so I said, “I have to go now. So I’ll walk with you.” But when the therapist told D to stand up, he just sat there. He repeated the command, “Whenever you’re ready, stand up.” But D kept not moving. So I looked at him and said, “Let’s stand up together. On the count of three, come on. 1, 2, 3.” And we both stood up.

The scene reminded me of many other times someone at Edgewood has been hesitant to do something, or go somewhere. But – somehow - just saying, “Come on. I’ll do it with you,” has gotten them to move. Because they weren’t alone. Solomon was right.

Everything is better with a friend by your side.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

I'm Not Mean Anymore

(But I guess I'm not as smart as I used to be, either.)

There was a time when Joshua called me the Meanest Mom in the World. All.the.time. It wasn't my intention to be mean, but he reminded me consistently - I was mean.
It occurred to me recently, however, he hasn't given me that title in quite a while. In fact, I can't remember the last time he said anything remotely close to it!
Made me smile to think about how I've grown.

I'm not mean anymore.

But just as I was about to pat myself on the back for being not mean (I'm not sure I can go so far as to call myself 'nice' yet. *wink*) I realized something.

It used to be Joshua called me the Meanest Mom in the World when I was disciplining him, or when I wasn't giving him what he wanted. Basically, when he didn't like what I was doing or saying. And while he doesn't say I'm mean anymore, it seems there is another problem.
Now when I say or do things he doesn't like, Joshua tends to say, "That's stupid!" And I have noticed Matthew is quick to follow suit. Only, he usually says, "That's so dumb!"
So, before I was able to pat myself on the back for being not mean, I realized it might be true that I am not smart anymore, either.

And I'm wondering, is that an improvement???



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

That HE may be Noticed

I don't remember where I heard it, or who uttered the words.

Was it in Sunday school? The sermon? Someone's prayer? Or a passing comment?

I really don't remember.
But the image has stuck with me and I can't let it go. I don't want to let it go!

Sunday I heard someone say something - or pray - about Jesus being noticed when a person enters the room. That HE may be noticed more than that particular person.

And I thought, YES! That is what I want!

When I enter a room, when I speak on a platform, when I write a blog post - or even an email. When I do any of those things, I want to do it in such a way that HE may be noticed more than me.

Yes, Jesus. That You may be greater and I may be less!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sooooo Past Percy

About a year and a half ago, Matthew discovered a love for reading. He couldn't get enough of Percy Jackson. In fact, Matthew was quite upset when he finished the last book in the series and was going to have to wait several months *gasp!* for the next book to be published.

But, alas, he survived.

Although he hasn't been reading Percy Jackson lately, Matthew still enjoys reading. Elizabeth introduced him to one of her favorites and the two of them raced each other through that series. And one of his classmates recently got him hooked on another book. It is a delight to see him reading.

However, homework - especially book reports - continue to be a struggle for him us. Matthew does not like reading when it is required of him, particularly when it also involves writing.
How does a mom deal with that double negative?

Percy Jackson to the rescue!

I just looked over Matthew's last-book-report-of-the-year requirements. He needs to read a book which has also been made into a movie, then watch the movie and compare the two. I asked him what book/movie duo he was going to choose and Matthew told me since we already own the movie he would choose, "Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief". I smiled immediately and said, "That's a great idea! You really liked that book, didn't you? It will be fun to read again."
You know, trying to get him to think he's so lucky to get to do another book report! *wink*
Matthew sighed and responded in a sort of I'm-much-more-mature-now tone of voice, "Well, I used to like it. But it isn't as good as the books I'm reading these days."

Oh! Pardon me, Mr. Maturity. I didn't realize you were sooooo past Percy Jackson!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Today I'm at Biblical Friendship

In September, 2010 I realized one of my dreams. Spent the weekend at the gIRL Gathering with women I've met through blogging. It was a wonderful time to be together and encourage one another in the LORD. Today I'm sharing about that experience over here.

Sadly, I won't be able to attend gIRL this year. (Gladly, because I am going to be speaking at a women's retreat that weekend!) But if you can get yourself to Black Mountain in North Carolina (And if you aren't going to be at Cran-Hill with me!) I would highly recommend going. Time with God and His gIRLs is wonderful!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

I'm Getting Brave

So last week I told you about how impressive I am - making up my own recipe and everything. Well, today I am pleased to announce, I did it again!

When I was making my weekly menu I put "Baked Chicken" on the list. Yeah, I was a little lazy. Didn't feel like looking for a specific recipe, so I just planned to pick something when the time came. And when the time came, well, I felt inspired to try something new. As in, something new which no one had ever written down before. (At least I hadn't seen it. *wink*)

This is what I did: Coated my baking pan with olive oil and placed boneless, skinless chicken breasts on the oil. (Rather than "pounding" them to 1/4-inch thickness, I always slice each breast into two pieces. As if butterflying them.) I drizzled more olive oil on top of the chicken and sprinkled them with italian seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Then I covered the dish with foil and baked at 350 for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more.

My whole family loved it. And I quite agreed.

Hmmmm. Maybe my next book will be a cookbook! I can see it now: The Irritable Mother's Guide to Cooking. There sits me on the cover with a large knife in my hand and a silly grin on my face.

I am totally kidding!!! About the cookbook. Not the chicken. You should try it!


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

It Begins with Us

So, this certain issue has come up a few times recently.
And when things are repeated around me, I tend to take notice. And think about them. A lot.

I've been pondering the idea of vulnerability. Honesty. Being real.
It's hard to do, isn't it?
To be real, that is. Thinking about it isn't as difficult. But to actually be honest, and vulnerable - to really put yourself "out there" - well, it's just hard to do!
I started thinking about how I used to feel so alone in my struggles as a mother. Although I knew lots of other moms, I was pretty sure I was the only one who struggled. It seemed to me that everyone else was perfect; that they had it all "together". And I wasn't about to let on that I didn't. Therefore, I put on a face whenever we were together and I acted like I was just fine.
I acted like I was perfect, too.
Because if anyone knew I wasn't? Well, I thought they wouldn't like me.

Then something crazy happened.

God helped me understand that He is using my struggles for good. He showed me He's using them to refine me, and I discovered I could have hope in the midst of this mess.
And when I started talking about it? Actually confessing my struggles? I discovered there are a lot of other moms out there who are struggling, too. I am not the only one who isn't perfect.
To top it all off - and this is my favorite part - after I started speaking about my struggles, I can't tell you how many mothers approached me with tears and thanks, so grateful to know they aren't alone, either.

I realized for as long as I kept my struggle to myself, no one was the better for it. I was miserable, and other moms like me thought they were alone, too. But when I started talking, that is - when I got real, and honest, and gave vulnerability a chance - it was as if a whole new world opened up. Not only was I set free to be real, but so were the women with whom I spoke. And we have developed a bond, a community of support and understanding. I love it!

All this thinking and reflecting has brought me to a conclusion. If we're tired of living among people who don't seem real, who never disclose their struggles, and who appear unwilling to be open - and if we want that to change - we need to be vulnerable, ourselves. I am convinced one person's honesty opens the door for others to be real. I've seen it happen so many times! So, if we want to have real relationships, we need to be real first. It begins with us!


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

She's Starting to Fly

Ever since she was a little girl, Elizabeth has dreamed of flying.

She used to talk about making wings for herself so she could soar like the birds. At times she wished she could just grow invisible wings to use whenever she pleased. It was quite entertaining to watch her little mind work as she pondered the possibilities.
Now that she's a little more grown up, her dreams have become a little more realistic. Elizabeth's latest dream is to get an ultralight aircraft. She figures it's more likely she'll fly with that machine than with the wings she has yet to grow. So now I am entertained by listening her talk with Brian about an ultralight.

Imagine, my little girl flying!

Er, maybe I don't need to imagine it anymore.
Elizabeth turned 16 on April 11, took and passed her road test on the 21st, and we went to the Secretary of State's office to get her driver's license on the 26th. Now my baby girl is out driving the van all by herself. She's driven a friend home, gone to the store to get things she needed, and picked her brother up from track practice. Among other adventures. I was scared by the idea of her driving alone at first, but now it's becoming - well - almost normal.
And as I pondered the reality that my little girl isn't really so little anymore, as I noticed the time for her to leave the nest is drawing nearer, I realized something. She's sprouting wings.

She's starting to fly!


Monday, May 07, 2012

Friday, May 04, 2012

Lessons From the Edge

Awfully good is NOT an oxymoron.

You know what an oxymoron is, don't you?
According to, an oxymoron is:
a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in “cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly.”
And if that's true, well, I suppose "awfully good" would seem like an oxymoron. Those words together seem incongruous.

But this week, I learned they aren't.

Do you remember two Monday's ago when I talked about God being our Help? That truth has been sticking with me, and this past Monday I found myself clinging to it.
I was having an awful morning. Feeling pushed and pulled in several directions. Finding out about this and that thing which went wrong. Wanting to respond graciously to people, but feeling like I was about to explode. There was, quite literally, another "thing" around each corner. And that was after only being at work for an hour!
I made my way through the morning constantly praying, JESUS, I need You to help me!!!

Do you know what I saw as I went through that day? Even through the whole week? Over and over again, HE was helping me.
* HE gave me courage to talk through an issue with a resident.
* HE gave me patience to listen to the same complaint. Again.
* HE provided people to volunteer for the events I am planning.
* HE spoke words of love and encouragement to me through several residents.
My heart was taking delight in all the ways GOD was meeting my needs.

What started off as an awful day became good, because I was able to see GOD's goodness in the midst of the awful-ness. And that is when I realized those words aren't incongruous after all.
Indeed, awfully good is NOT an oxymoron.


Thursday, May 03, 2012

I am so Impressive

OK. So, I like to cook. I am pretty comfortable trying new recipes and adding my own touch to them according to my family's tastes. Usually, they like whatever I fix.


I don't make anything without a recipe. I just don't. Because I lack confidence. Because I would rather leave the figuring-out-what-tastes-good-together up to someone else. Because who wants to think at the end of the day, anyway?

Well, one night not too long ago while I was laying in bed not sleeping, I was thinking about dinner. And I had an idea I wanted to try. So I put it on the menu the next week. (Which was last week...) And the night I made it, Matthew was walking through the kitchen and stopped to ask the obvious, "Whatcha doin'?" (I usually have the computer on the counter so I can follow my recipe. But this dinner was coming right out of my head. Maybe that's why he asked the question. Because he saw I wasn't using a recipe.) When I told Matthew I was making dinner from my own idea, he became very animated. "Really, Mom? This is all your idea? Wow!"
I smiled at his admiration, and left it at that.
However, when we all sat down at the table Matthew announced to everyone, "Mom made up this dinner all by herself. She didn't even use a recipe!" And the rest of the family responded with equal enthusiasm. I reveled in their compliments. I felt so amazing!

And I am quite sure I will NEVER tell them how simple the "recipe" was. Oh, no. I think I'll let them continue to think I am so impressive.


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Yeah. That was Me.

Last Thursday I was sitting at the table eating my breakfast when Joshua asked if I would please drive him to school.
Normally, I don't drive the kids to school unless they ask me about it the night before. 1) Because I want them to be responsible for getting themselves ready on time, and 2) because I need to plan that extra time into my schedule so I'm not late to work, myself.
But Thursday was my day off, and I must have been in a good mood, because I told Joshua I would drive him to school. Granted, I was sitting there in my pajamas and bathrobe, but I didn't care. Who was I going to see while I was in the van driving to school, anyway? So when the time came, I grabbed my purse, put on my slippers and said, "OK, Joshua. Let's go!"

As we were backing out of the driveway I looked at the dashboard and my heart sank. The yellow light reminded me, I was dreadfully low on gas. For just a second I thought about telling Joshua I couldn't drive him to school. But then I realized the bus had already come, and I couldn't change my answer now.
So I drove on wondering, Am I going to have enough gas to make it to school, back home, then back out to the gas station later today? Seriously, I was that low.
So I did what I thought was the wisest thing to do. After I dropped Joshua off at school, I kept right on going to the gas station.
At 7:45 in the morning.
On a very busy road.
With lots of people driving by. (Presumably, all showered and dressed.)

So, if you were driving by the Speedway on Grand River Avenue Thursday morning and you saw a crazy woman pumping gas, wearing her bathrobe and slippers, and you wondered, What in the world?
Uh, yeah. That was me.

And now you know why. *wink*