Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Boy and His Snowman

My children had a snow day Monday. Bad roads in the early morning hours gave them a three-day weekend. And they were happy.
Besides laying around and playing plenty of video games, the kids went outside and made themselves a gigantic snowman. It was quite a process - involving a make-shift ramp for the mid-section, and breaking/re-making the top piece.
And since Joshua allowed me to post pictures of him last week, I felt obligated to post this one at his request.

My boy and his snowman!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Are You Worried?

I saw this quote on Facebook a few days ago, and just had to share it with you here.
Oh, how true it is!

If you prayed as much as you worry,
you wouldn't have anything to worry about.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Can You Help?

I have never done anything like this before - using my blog to ask for donations - but today I'm changing my rules. For this one time.

Many years ago, my older brother was dating a woman. I remember inviting the two of them to come to church with me and my family, and he said, "Oh! S would never step foot in a church!" (I recognized his use of her as an excuse... But also noted her disdain for church and all things God-related.)
In time they ended their relationship, though I often heard about the things going on in S's life. And I frequently wondered, What is ever going to come of her???
Well, let me just say, things got pretty bad. And at the bottom of her pit, S discovered God and His amazing grace and love for her. Brian and I were shocked when we met S years later - and found out she was the same S who had dated my brother. Only, she wasn't the same, because Jesus had made her into a new creation.

S and I have remained friends to this day, and I continue to marvel at the grace of God as He works in her heart and life. It's beautiful!
Well, this is S's daughter. She and her husband are facing a huge mountain right now, but I am confident it is not too much for God to handle. Will you please read her story and pray for her? And if God puts it on your heart, will you please make a donation to their fund?

Thanks so much!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Lessons From the Edge

This week I have more of a concern than a lesson.
As I listen to the wonderful music played by our guests, and as I see the residents' faces light up while they sing along, I have to wonder, What are my children going to listen to when they're in a retirement home in 70 or 80 years?

I was recently sitting in the atrium with a resident, listening to a young man playing some big band tunes on the piano. E was all smiles as she told me she'd grown up listening to those songs. And we sang some of them together.
E isn't the only one who expresses these feelings about the old songs. Many residents tell me about the special memory they have with this or that song. And the smiles on their faces as they sing along is pure delight.

So,I'm a little worried about what my kids are going to do when they're retirees.
Somehow I just can't envision a group of 80 & 90-somethings sitting around a piano singing, I'd catch a grenade for you, Throw my hand on a blade for you, I'd jump in front of a train for you, You know I'd do anything for you. Oh, I would go through all this pain, Take a bullet straight through my brain, Yes, I would die for you, baby. But you won't do the same.

Am I crazy? *wink*


Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Boy and His Dog

I was laughing as I watched Joshua on the floor with Mindy. He was playing with her as if he, himself, were a dog. He was on all fours, barking and bouncing around. I think she was really enjoying her friend!

Of course, as soon as I got the camera out - he stopped.
He said, "Mom! I'm 15."
Apparently that means I can't get video footage of him being "cute". *ahem!*

But he did let me snap these pictures. My 15-year-old little boy, and his dog:
He's taking driver's training now. He's becoming a giver. He's taking responsibility for schoolwork, and actually puts forth effort. (Not always in a stellar way, but he's improving!)
And as I watch my son playing with the dog, I almost don't even remember the struggles we had when he was a young boy. Almost.

So thankful for all God has brought us through. And His faithfulness which I know will continue throughout our lives.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Imagine This

I sat with seven of my favorite Edgewood residents yesterday and had a great Bible study.
We were talking about prayer. Specifically, about praying and not giving up.

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Luke 18:1-8
We shared stories of the times we've prayed and prayed and felt like nothing was happening.
We addressed these questions, When you're being persistent in prayer, and it seems like God isn't doing anything, what do you do? and, When you're faithful in prayer and you trust God, and He says, 'NO,' does that mean He isn't faithful?
And together we agreed that God's timing is perfect. He's never late.
God's will is perfect. His 'no' is better than our 'yes'.
God's wisdom is perfect. He can handle what we don't understand.
Yet, we admitted - even with this knowledge - waiting is hard. Persevering in prayer can be hard.

Then God put a thought in my heart, and I said to the group, "Imagine this..."
Imagine you've come to the end of your life and you're sitting in heaven with God, and He speaks to you for the very first time. He says, Well done, my good and faithful servant. And you're expecting Him to say something about how you used your talents. But instead, He goes on to say, I saw you when you were praying. I heard you asking Me to intervene in your circumstance again, and again. I saw the tears you cried. I felt the pain in your heart, and I cared for you. I knew when you felt like I wasn't doing anything, but I saw you continue praying anyway. And when the time was right, I moved. I saw the faith you have in Me, and your perseverance in prayer. My child, you delighted My heart by your prayers of faith.

Can you just imagine being there? Oh! I want to delight my Father's heart with prayers of faith!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lessons From the Edge

I really have no reason to complain.

Did you get out of bed today on your own?

Can you bend over and pick up something you dropped on the ground?

Do you remember the name of the city where you were born?

Could you tell me the names of your brothers and sisters?

Do you have enough strength in and control over your hands to make your bed?

A lot of the wonderful people I encounter at Edgewood each day cannot answer "Yes" to these questions. Yet they are thankful to be alive. To have people around who can help them with what they cannot do.
Oh, sometimes they are discouraged by their limitations, but mostly they smile.

Then I consider my life and the "troubles" I face:
*I don't want to get out of bed, but I can.
*I get frustrated by the trash certain family members leave on the floor. And I don't want to pick it up. But I can.
*I have too many responsibilities. Too many names and faces and dates and commitments to remember. But I can. Especially with the help of the calendar on my phone. *wink*
*I don't want to make my bed every day. (After all, I'm not the only one who sleeps in it. *ahem!*) But I can.

And after a minute or two of reflecting on these very basic things I can do, I realize:
I really have no reason to complain.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Stand-In Pray-er

Saturday night I went to bed and forgot to turn my phone off.

When I picked it up Sunday morning I noticed three text messages and started to read them.
They were really one message. One very long message - a late-night prayer request which had been sent by a friend.
As I stood there reading, I was feeling sorry that I hadn't seen the request Saturday night when my friend was experiencing her deep need. Though I know God is not bound by time, and my prayers for her Sunday morning would still be heard.
But just about the same time I had that thought, Elizabeth said something which made me smile. She'd heard three text messages come in Saturday night and wondered if it may be some sort of emergency. So she picked up my phone and read the messages. And she - my dear daughter, who didn't even know the woman sending the text - paused to pray. Because she knew God was listening, and He could do something about this woman's need.

What a delight to know my daughter is willing to stand-in and pray when I cannot. I love her!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Turn to You

Experiencing some rough spots over the past 48 hours, and God used this song to calm my heart last night.

Praying it will be a blessing to you, too!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Sunday was Joshua's birthday.
We had a family gathering at our house to celebrate, and while I was busy getting things ready in the kitchen Brian came in and asked for the camera. Honestly, I was a bit surprised by his request, as he isn't usually the one going around snapping pictures. But I told him where it was, and got back to my task.
Moments later, he came back into the kitchen and showed me this treasure.

That's my 95-year-old grandmother, surrounded by my children, my niece, and Elizabeth's beau. She was telling them about her life as a kid - about the differences between then and now. (I think she was throwing some stuff in there about not getting too over-loaded with electronics...) And they were hanging on her every word.
Or at least they were listening politely.
The main thing is, these kids were giving her their undivided attention, and she was loving it.

Who needs your undivided attention today?
What a blessing we give when we just listen!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Lessons From the Edge

Saying, "See you tomorrow!" doesn't always mean you will.

It's a sad lesson this week. But an important one, nonetheless.

When I got into work Monday, everyone was bustling around.
The police had just left, and the paramedics were on their way. Because one of our residents died Sunday night in his sleep, I was told.
I was shocked. "D died??? But he's so - full of life!"

And he was.
Took daily walks.
Always met me in the hallway with a hearty greeting.
Wore a smile wherever he went.
And never had a harsh word for anyone.
D was a true delight.

But - just like that - he was gone. Went to sleep Sunday night, and never woke up.

One of the special things D did was looking out for G - whose husband recently died. The one at whose funeral I sang. D sat at their table in the dining room, and always made sure G had what she needed. Salt? Pepper? Butter for her roll? More water? D watched out for her. And at our staff meeting Monday morning, we all wondered, How is G going to handle this news???
I agreed to be the one who would tell her.
It took G a short minute to understand what I was saying, but once she got it she repeated several times, "But yesterday he said, 'See you tomorrow, G!' He said, 'See you tomorrow!' How could he be dead?"
I prayed with G. And we remembered together the hope we have for eternity because of what Jesus has done for us. His shed blood covers our sin, so we may be forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God when we receive Him. And that's a very good thing!
But the pain of earthly loss is real, and I couldn't overlook her sadness. Nor could I forget what she kept repeating. He said, 'See you tomorrow!' How could he be dead?

As I played her words over in my head this week I was reminded: None of us owns tomorrow. We aren't guaranteed another day. We can only be sure of this very moment. So living and loving in this moment is what we need to do. Because...

Saying, "See you tomorrow!" doesn't always mean you will.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

He's Becoming a Giver

Many days it feels like the majority of my communication with Joshua begins by him asking, "Can I have...?", "Will you take me...?", "Will you get me...?" or in some other way asking for something.

Yet, when I have asked him to do something to help me around the house, my request has usually been met with scoffing, pouting, or simple refusal.
Such that I began responding to his requests in a different way. I began saying, "You know, Joshua, you're very good at asking for things to be done for you, but not so good at doing things for other people. You need to work on giving, not just taking." And, for the longest time, it seemed like my words went in one of his ears, and right out the other.
Fellow moms, you know what I mean, right?

In the past week or two I have noticed something happening in Joshua. Sometimes he opens his mouth and starts to ask a question, but then stops.
One day when he did this stop-mid-ask-thing, he proceeded to ask me if there was anything around the house I needed done. Well, yeah!
I told him the floor needed to be swept and washed. And he did it!
Then I told him there was some cleaning which was needed in his(!) bathroom. And he did that, too. Without complaining.
Then my son asked me if there was anything else I wanted him to do! (I couldn't come up with anything. I think I was too much in shock. *wink*)

At a loss for what else to say, Brian and I asked Joshua what was going on.
He said, "I'm becoming a giver."

Be still my heart!


Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Wait Patiently

I sat down last Tuesday to reflect on the year gone by, and pray about 2013.

This time of reflection has been a habit of mine for several years, and I really love doing it. Rather than a time to consider making "new year's resolutions," I like to think about the ways God has been active in my year - what He's been teaching me, how He's grown me, and the like.
Those of you who've been with me for a while may recall that God has taken me through a series of themes over the past four years. (Of course, I didn't catch onto it until the first year had nearly ended. Yeah. I'm slow. *wink*)
In 2009, the theme was TRUST.
In 2010, God's word for me was OBEY.
In 2011, He taught me about SURRENDER.
And I was convinced last year was going to be all about PEACE. Seemed like the logical conclusion to TRUST, OBEY and SURRENDER.

After reflecting on 2012, I still believe PEACE was the theme. It occurred to me, however, that most of the time PEACE was a conscious choice I made - rather than a feeling I experienced.
That is, most of the time I had to choose to be peaceful in the midst of circumstances which were anything but.
God continued to show me PEACE is the logical conclusion to TRUST, OBEY, SURRENDER. Even when I am not feeling it, I can choose PEACE because of what I know to be true about God.

And that is a very good thing!

As I sat in my bedroom with my journal and my thoughts, I began to ask the question, What next? And the phrase I'd been contemplating from verse 1 of Psalm 40 begged for my attention.


It seemed like another logical conclusion:
*I TRUST God completely.
*I will OBEY what He tells me.
*I SURRENDER everything to Him.
*I will be at PEACE with His actions in my life.
*Because of these four postures, I am going to WAIT PATIENTLY for God to move.

Friends, I believe 2013 is going to be a wonderful year! Will you WAIT PATIENTLY with me?


Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Young Love

They are so stinkin' cute!

Elizabeth and her beau. All smiles and laughter and happy to be together.

Elizabeth doesn't know it, but a couple of weeks ago I was reading over her shoulder while I was braiding her hair. She and Nick were texting, and it was all I could do to keep from breaking out in laughter.
See, Nick's mom and I were helping them get together the next day. (Since we live about an hour apart, we often "meet half-way" to swap one kid or the other so they can spend time together at the other's house.) Anyway, for whatever reason we were meeting half an hour later the next morning than originally planned. And this time delay was causing a certain amount of crisis for the two love-birds.
I couldn't quite read Nick's text, but Elizabeth's reply was, "They don't understand how vital it is that we're together!"
And that's where I almost lost it. Not that I am denying their affection, I just thought it so funny when I read her extreme statement. Because I remember feeling that way in my teens.

The truth is, I continue to be delighted as I watch this budding relationship. Delighted more than anything because of their desire to build everything upon their common faith in God. Their love is young now, but I have confidence that building their relationship upon God and godly principles will only make this young love mature into a beautiful thing. Whether that means a lifetime together, or a life-long friendship.

BTW, they're already talking about the lifetime together option, and are planning "all you can drink chocolate milk" at the wedding reception. Can't wait! *wink*


Monday, January 07, 2013