Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mmmmmm. That's Good!

I saw this gem on Facebook.

Don't do something permanently stupid, just because you're temporarily upset.

Sometimes I am silenced by depth of wisdom in a few little words.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

41 or 12? Sometimes it's hard to tell...

Last week, Matthew had a little melt-down.
It was an "early release" day at school - which the kids generally LOVE - and when I got home from work, Matthew was watching a movie. (Probably because he'd gotten all his homework done as soon as he got home. haha) And as I began preparing dinner, he moved to the family room to play some of his favorite X-Box games.
I am not totally out of it. I realized he had been probably filling his extra couple of hours that day with lots of screen-time activities.
Something very interesting happened when I told the kids it was time to set the table.
Matthew could barely MOVE.
At first I thought he was just mad because I made him get off the X-Box to set the table. But then I realized it was because Matthew was soooooooo tired. Seriously. Every move he made came with extensive effort. In fact, he had to rest his head on the table as he placed the napkins.
It was quite a sight to see. *wink*
Matthew's drama sleepiness continued through dinner, and when Elizabeth was ready to leave for youth group, Matthew said he couldn't go. He was toooooo tired!
Although Brian and I told Matthew it would be good for him to go to youth group and be active - because he certainly hadn't been active playing video games and watching movies all day! - he continued his lethargic protest.
I knew he would perk up at youth group (He always does!) and really wanted him to go. But in his desperate plea for us to recognize how tired he was, Brian gave him a choice: Go to youth group, or be in bed - lights out; no books, games, or otherwise - at 8:00.
That's when the water works started. Tears, and cries about how unfair Brian's options were.

And just about the moment I was rolling my eyes at Matthew's drama, it was as if I could feel God's elbow gently poking my side. It was as if HE was directing my attention to the numerous times I have cried and protested about the decisions God has put before me.
Oh, I know God knows what is best. HIS wisdom is perfect. I should listen to Him and do what He says. Every time, and without questioning.

But sometimes I don't.

I guess sometimes I act more like I'm 12 than 41. *ahem*

How old are you acting today?


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beauty and the Beau: Sadie's Edition

This weekend was the Sadie Hawkin's Dance at school for Elizabeth, and - of course - she asked Nick to be her date.
And - of course - they were adorable!

They were even crazy (in love) enough to agree to pose for pictures out in the snow!

Brian and I were chaperons for the dance, and had fun watching all the kids dressed up and excited about the evening. We were "stationed" at the end of a hallway, to make sure kids didn't go where they weren't supposed to, which meant we didn't get to "see" the dance. However, Beauty and the Beau made several trips out to visit with us. So we didn't feel totally out of it. *wink*

As we sat, Brian and I reminisced the dances we went to years ago, and it was fun strolling down memory lane. Who woulda thunk - when we were freshmen in college, dancing at the Halloween party (when I told him I was never going to get married!)- that 23 years later we'd be chaperoning a dance for our princess.
Twenty-three years ago my life was so different! I didn't know Jesus. I was on a path which was all about me. What I wanted. What I cared about. What would make me happy. Me, myself, and I. They were the three people I loved most. Who woulda thunk dating Brian and consequently meeting Jesus would have changed my life so completely?

I never thought of that option.
But I'm so glad GOD did!

I have no idea what the next 23 years hold for Beauty and the Beau.
But GOD does.
And I've learned I can trust HIM!

What has God done in your life - which you never would have thought could happen? Karen

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lessons From the Edge

You're only as old as you behave.

I'd like to introduce you to Elmer.
Of course, he's one of my favorite residents at Edgewood! *wink*
Elmer loves life. He's fun and spunky and eager to do things. Honestly? I don't really know how old he is, but - however many years he's been on this earth - he doesn't act like it! He's a kid at heart. And that's one of the things I love so much about him.
Last Saturday, I caught him on video, dancing (with the daughter of another resident) at our Valentine's Party.

Remember: You're only as old as you behave.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

HE Will Make a Way

By now, I'm sure you've read about the Among Friends Conference coming to my home church March 15 & 16.
Several months ago I had the idea that it would be great for Among Friends to come to Trinity. And - as often occurs - when you have the idea, you end up with the bulk of responsibility to make it happen. And I was OK with that.

Honest moment:
Last Sunday I was in a mood, and I made the statement (to myself), I am NOT going to do something like this again. Ever. I was tired of the work, and didn't want to put in any more effort. I wanted someone else to do it, so I could just buy a ticket and enjoy the conference - without the struggle.

Then came yesterday, and God's mercy for my tired heart.
God spent some time showing off. HE was providing, answering prayer, and showing me how HE is in the business of making a way. Where there seems to be no way. And I was reminded of the blessing of being the one who works hard behind the scenes. Because it's here - behind the scenes, doing the leg-work - where you get to see and experience the blessing which occurs before the conference even starts. I can honestly say now, I am blessed - yes, delighted! - to be where I am, doing what I'm doing.

What struggle are you encountering right now, which God might be using to bless you?

Oh! And I really hope Kathy sings this song at the conference:


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Late Night One-liners

The other night Elizabeth was at a friend's house to help her friend through some personal issues. Shortly after 10:00 Brian and I decided it was time for bed. We both had to go to work the next morning, Elizabeth was going to be driven home by her friend's mom, and there was really no reason for us to stay up later.

So, to bed we went.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 10:30, I heard Elizabeth's sweet voice outside our door.
I told her she could come in, and as she opened the door to find us both in bed she asked, "Oh! Are you trying to sleep?"
Without missing a beat, Brian replied, "No. We're trying to have a party."

I'm beginning to think his wit never sleeps. *wink*


Monday, February 18, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lessons From the Edge

If you know what to expect, you don't need to be upset when you get it.

I've been noticing something happening among people at Edgewood. A lot of them are very predictable in the things they do and say.
Like F. He tells the same stories over and over again.
I pretty much have them memorized - line for line.
And so does everyone else. *wink*

If you know F, you just know - within a few minutes of talking to him, he's going to start telling stories about his time in World War II. He'll tell the one about skinny dipping for a bath, the Japanese girl who spoke perfect English, and he'll remind you that in bomb disposal - you can never make a mistake.
Personally, I find his stories charming. But there are those around Edgewood - other residents, mostly - who get tired of hearing the stories. And they complain. They tell other people, "Oh, don't get him started!" And sometimes, they simply get rude in the things they say to and about F. He ALWAYS tells those stories. Why can't he just shut up?!

And those complaints got me to thinking.
Yes, it's true. F does ALWAYS tell those stories. You can count on it. And the way I see it, since we all know he ALWAYS tells those stories, we should expect him to do so. And if we know what to expect, it seems to me we ought to be mature enough able to make a rational decision about how we're going to respond.
For those who enjoy F's stories, the response is easy. Laugh along with him like it's the first time you've heard the story.
But for those who don't, it seems to me there's a choice. 1)Be annoyed, complain, and allow the situation to upset you. OR 2)Recognize this is something he ALWAYS does, realize he isn't even aware he's told you this story a hundred times already, and remind yourself hearing the story again isn't going to seriously harm you in any way.

Oh, I know the complainers have their own memory issues, and that may play into their complaints. But the whole scenario got me thinking about life outside of Edgewood, too. How many times do we face situations with people in which we know exactly what they're going to do or say - we know what to expect? Yet, we allow ourselves to get upset and bent out of shape when they do or say the very thing we expected them to do or say!
For example, I have a certain relative who ALWAYS feels the need to tell me (or anyone with whom she is riding) where to turn, when to put on the turn signal, etc. and it drives me nuts!
But I have realized, since I know she's going to tell me to do what I already know to do...I can just expect it, let it happen, and move on. If we know what to expect, I think we would make much greater use of our time and emotional energy by planning a response which won't involve us getting into a fit. Ya know?

If you know what to expect, you don't need to be upset when you get it.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Among Friends

Four weeks from tomorrow Kathy Troccoli, Jennifer Rothschild, and Dr. Jeanne Porter King are coming to Trinity Church in Lansing for the Among Friends Conference.

And I.can't.wait!

The past few months have been busy for me, as I have been heading up the coordination of this event. And I know the next four weeks are going to be nuts, too. But to have a church full of women receiving the love, comfort and encouragement of God - and loving HIM in return(!) - is going to make all the effort soooooo worth it! That, and the fact I get to spend time with girlfriends at a hotel that Friday. No going home for this momma! Nope. Going home defeats the whole "get away" aspect of a women's conference. *wink*

Any of my Michigan friends who want to join this event, just email me. I can reserve tickets for you!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Six-Minute Attitude Adjustment

I was super tired Monday night and thought it would be a great idea to go to bed early.

After a few delays, I found myself in bed. Exhausted. (It was no longer what I considered to be "early" but I'd made it, and I couldn't wait to get some rest.) When I'd been asleep for maybe half an hour, I was awoken by a ringing telephone.
Of course, the phone is on my side of the bed, so I answered the call.
It was Joshua.
He was at school for rugby practice and needed a ride home.
Seems the kid who was going to give him a ride didn't make it to practice Monday night, and apparently no one else could give Joshua a ride home. Believe me, I asked!

So, at 10:22 I got out of bed to go retrieve my son. And I was not happy about it.
Why is my sleep being sabotaged like this tonight? Why didn't he tell me earlier that his friend wasn't at practice? Then I could have sent Brian to pick him up gone and picked him up earlier! Why did we even say Joshua could play rubgy? Practice starting at 8:30 is ridiculous!

Fortunately, by the time I had stumbled out of bed, put on my shoes and coat, gotten my keys and made it into the van, I had spewed out all my annoyed thoughts.
God spent the five or six minutes it takes to get to school reigning in my negativity, and leading me in a better direction.

As I drove I recalled a post I'd seen on Facebook earlier in the evening. It went something like, "You spend years wishing your parents would get off your back, only to realize later - they were the only ones who really had your back."
God showed me in that moment - I had a choice. And how I responded to my choice would cause Joshua either to want me to get off his back OR to realize I had his back.

When Joshua got into the van in just a few moments I could:
*lecture him about securing a ride before he got into a situation where he's stuck without one.
*remind him how tired I was and make sure he was suuuuper thankful I got out of bed, rather than telling him to WALK HOME.
*spout off about how inconsiderate it is to tell someone you have a ride home, when in reality you don't. And then just wake them up and expect them to come get you.


I could:
*greet him nicely and ask how practice went.
*bite my tongue when I wanted to start lecturing.
*resist the urge to yawn dramatically, with the intent of evoking guilty feelings from my son.
*tell Joshua I was glad he felt safe calling and asking me to come get him.

The good news is, I chose the latter.
Joshua didn't need my lectures or my drama. He knew I wasn't happy about getting out of bed to go to school at that hour. I didn't need to reinforce his desire for me to get off his back.
As we drove home, I admitted to him the transformation of attitude I'd just experienced, and I hope he understood that his mom really does have his back.
And even as I reflect on the circumstance hours later, I am reminded and thankful for the ways GOD has my back. Oh, so thankful HE kept me from spewing tired, angry words at my boy!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ten Years Ago Today

Hmmmm. I wrote about it in my 100 Things post. (Was that really 1255 posts ago???) Other than that blurb, I don't think I've talked much about it here.

But today marks the 10-year anniversary, so I'm thinking about it. And I feel like talking.

Ten years ago today I had brain surgery to remove a little portion of my brain which had been causing me to have seizures for about 18 years. Go ahead and read my 100 Things if you'd like more details. I don't need to re-hash them here.
Just want to reflect for a moment on the goodness and faithfulness of God!

The past 10 years saw me grow in the LORD, and my understanding of how HE is working in my life through my trials and struggles. This decade was the beginning of my speaking/writing/blogging thing. It was the time when light was shed on my sons' attention difficulties, and the ensuing years of struggle - turned growth. It was during this time period when I learned my own struggle had a name: depression. And it has been these past years when I have seen God taking me through that trial, as well.
The past 10 years have had wonderful highs and difficult lows, but God has been faithful at every turn.

I remember laying in recovery ten years ago today, having a HORRIBLE response to the anesthesia, actually asking God to take me right out of my body - because that's how terrible I felt. I'm glad HE made me hang in there through the pain. The past 10 years have been so worth it!

Have you ever taken the time to consider God's faithfulness over a span of something like 10 years?


Monday, February 11, 2013

Friday, February 08, 2013

Lessons From the Edge

We need to be built up.

Because so many residents pour out their hearts to me, my boss told me this week that she pictures me like Lucy sitting behind a sign which says, The Doctor is in.
Ahhhh, it's fine with me. I love being in a position to sit and listen to their stories. I learn so many good lessons and interesting things by listening.
But, honestly? Sometimes the stories just make me feel sad. Like B's Story.

B came to Bible study on Monday and I noticed his eyes tearing up a bit. Unfortunately, I needed to get home right away, so I wasn't able to stick around and talk with him. And I took Tuesday off, so I didn't see B again until Wednesday morning at exercise class.
He came in before anyone else and I asked how he was doing. That's all it took. B started to open up and tell me about feelings with which he's been struggling for a while. But then more residents came in for exercise, and B stopped talking. So after exercise was over and everyone else left, I walked over to B so we could talk some more.
He told me about his feelings of failing his wife. How he regretted the fact that work had kept him so busy it seemed he wasn't able to "be" everything his wife wanted him to be. And he talked about never ever seeing his own parents express affection to one another. I could only assume he had carried that model into his own marriage, and was now regretting it.
He told me about feeling inadequate as a son - the "110 pound weakling" who couldn't live up to his muscular father's expectations. He told me those feelings of inadequacy were deepened when his father (who worked at B's school) would tell him about another teenager at the school who was athletic - and whom B's father admired.
B told me he wasn't very good in most of his school subjects, and felt like a disappointment to his parents because of it.
And now he is left with an old body which is battling Parkinson's Disease, and he pretty much feels he'll be worthless for the rest of his days.

It broke my heart to hear this sweet old man reflecting on his life through the lenses of failure.
I wondered when was the last time someone spoke a kind, encouraging, uplifting word to him?
It sure seemed he didn't hear many of those words as a young boy growing up.
And I was reminded once more how powerful our words can be. Those spoken, and those withheld.

We need to be built up.

Who can you encourage with a kind word today?


Thursday, February 07, 2013

Things that Make You Go, Hmmmmm...

A couple of nights ago as Brian and I were climbing into bed - listening to the cold wind blow around outside, thankful for our nice, warm blankets - he asked me an interesting question.

Brian said, "If Adam and Eve never ate that apple, do you think people in Michigan would walk around naked?"

Just the thought gave me goosebumps!

Actually? If Adam and Eve never ate that apple, I think we wouldn't experience winter at all.
Oh, the snow is beautiful - to be sure.
But the extreme cold? It's got to be a result of the fall! *wink*


Wednesday, February 06, 2013



Is that even a real word?

My spell-checker doesn't think so.

It seems like such an impossible concept to me, I wonder why the word would exist!

But a conversation I had with a friend last week has gotten me to consider the idea.
We were discussing a misunderstanding which resulted in 1)a mutual friend becoming offended, and 2)the beginning of a rift which could have proved devastating - had Satan been able to run with the offense and wreak his havoc.
My friend said she thought we, as Christians, should be able to not become offended. That, somehow, we should be able to hear what other people say and - even if their words are disagreeable to us in some manner, or down right hurtful - not become upset about it.

And her words got me thinking.
*What if we were so confident in our identity in Christ that it didn't matter to us when someone else said we weren't "good enough" to be in their club?
*What if we were so secure in God's love for us that we weren't bothered by a particular person not liking us because of our stand on certain issues?
*What if we listened with so much grace that we heard the hurt in another person's voice, rather than letting their remarks hurt us?
*What if we had so much generosity in our spirit that we automatically assumed the best of another person's intentions, rather than the worst?

What if we really were unoffendable?


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad!

Matthew eats lots of apples.

I probably should just buy two bags every time I go grocery shopping, but that takes up too much room in the fridge. So I opt for a mid-week stop at the store.

Because Matthew eats lots of apples, and that second bag is always necessary.

Mind you, I am NOT complaining. I love that apples are his snack of choice!
The thing that bugs me is Matthew's habit of not throwing away the apple core when he's finished eating. It is not uncommon to find apple cores on the back of the couch, on the TV stand, on the end table, on the floor, or even on the seat of the couch. (You may want to watch where you're sitting if you come visit me sometime. *wink*)
So, the other day when I saw an apple core on the floor, I was quite sure I knew who was responsible for it. However, Matthew wasn't home at the time. I let out a sigh and walked over to pick it up. But - rather than throwing it away - I put it on a plate and set it in Matthew's bedroom. On his pillow!
Satisfied with my move, I told Brian what I'd done. He replied with a bit of a sarcastic tone, "I bet he still doesn't throw it away!"

I mulled over his comment for a moment and came back with, "Maybe so. But the apple core isn't on the floor anymore, and I didn't throw it away for him. Two out of three ain't bad!"

BTW, I checked Matthew's room before I typed this post and didn't see any sign of the apple core. Maybe he did throw it away!
Of course, there is so much junk on the floor of his room I suppose the apple core could be hiding there somewhere. *eye roll*


Monday, February 04, 2013

Friday, February 01, 2013

Lessons From the Edge

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas.

I've heard the saying before, What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But this week I am finding that statement isn't always true. And I suppose I'm part of the problem.
You see, we had a Vegas Party at Edgewood this week. And we had SO MUCH FUN, there is no way I am NOT telling everyone about it. So, what happened in Vegas for us - is getting broadcast all over the internet. hehe!
See for yourself!

Don't you wish you lived at Edgewood, too? *grin*