Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I pray you enjoy this day with family, friends, and good food.
See you back here Monday!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I'm Too Young for This, or, I *Might* be Living in Denial

I won't be doing a Lessons From the Edge post this week. (Thanksgiving Break, you know.)
But if I was, I'm sure it would have something to do with what happened at work yesterday afternoon.
We had our monthly birthday party and while we were getting the dining room set up, I was chatting with my volunteers about my family's recent deer "adventures". To bring you up to speed, Josh got a deer Sunday afternoon. He and Brian decided they want to process it themselves, so it is presently hanging in my garage. About 12 inches from my vehicle. *Eeewww!* AND, Sunday evening "someone" put the deer's heart directly on the kitchen counter. As in, muscle to formica. No plate, no wax paper, no nothin'! I was not pleased with that decision and turned to Facebook to, uh, vent.
Also in the dining room at that time was our piano player for the party. He and I are Facebook friends and he'd seen my status update Sunday. So he joined in on the conversation, too. It was fun to laugh together about it all.

Then it happened.

The piano player said, with a large grin on his face, "You're so funny! You remind me of my mom. She would be reacting to this the same way you are."
On the one hand, I thought, Oh, that's sweet. I remind him of his mom.
And then I thought, Wait a minute. I know he's only in his early twenties, but I'm pretty sure he's got older siblings. How old is his mom? How old does he think I am???
Suddenly, I was feeling older than I want to. And I wasn't sure I wanted to remind this young man of his mother anymore. Because I'm too young to feel old. *ahem*

Any idea what lesson there might be for me in this circumstance? Cuz I'm not seeing it! *wink*


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Not My Normal Monday

What started off as a "typical" Monday afternoon quickly became an "atypical" Monday afternoon.

I walked into the house after work to find Matthew playing one of his favorite X-box games. And after I said, "Hello," I asked him if all of his homework was completed. Matthew said, "Yes," so I continued on to my room to change my clothes. Passing through the living room, I saw a basket of laundry which needed folding so I turned around to continue my typical Monday afternoon routine.
Peeking my head around the corner, I asked Matthew, "Have you folded your laundry today?" And I was fully expecting to enter into our usual dialog.
Matthew: Oh, yeah!
Me: Pause the game and take care of the laundry.
Matthew: I can't. I'm in the middle of something important.
Me: Pause the game, Matthew.
Matthew: Just a minute. I'll do the folding, I promise!
Me: OK. But when I come back out here after I change my clothes, you need to be folding that laundry.
Matthew: I KNOW. I will!
...Several minutes pass. I return to the scene. Matthew still sits in front of the TV. The laundry has NOT been folded.
Me: (bordering on angry) Matthew, pause the game right now and go fold that laundry.
Matthew: (clearly annoyed) But, Mom! I can't!
Me: Then turn it OFF and take care of your job.
Matthew: But
Me: Do it!
Matthew: (huffs, gets up and goes to fold one measly basket of laundry)

So, that's what I was expecting to happen after I asked my usual Monday afternoon question.
Instead, this is what happened:

Matthew: Yes. I almost turned on the TV and then I remembered the laundry. And I knew you would make me stop playing and I would get annoyed. So I folded it before I started playing.

My son is brilliant! *grin*


Monday, November 25, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lessons From the Edge

Sometimes, you've just gotta say it like it is.

We often joke during our lunch break about how easy it would be to produce a sitcom by reproducing the things we see and hear each day. I'm quite certain this scene would be in one of the episodes.
Honestly, I am NOT making this up. I truly participated in the following conversation this week at Edgewood.

I was in the atrium welcoming a musical guest and helping community members find seats when I saw V approaching. I walked over to her and asked if I could help her find a place to sit. She said, "No. I'm just trying to get away from him." And she gestured toward the other side of the atrium. "He's after my body."
My decision to not follow her gesture with my eyes was intentional, as I really did not want to know to whom she was referring. *wink* So I looked right at V and said, "Oh, my. I guess you can say something like, 'No, thanks.'"
V has got to be in her late 70s or early 80s. She has always seemed rather reserved to me, bordering on prudish. (Yes, even to ultra-conservative me. Haha.) So I fully expected the conversation to end there. But, no. She had more to say.
"Oh, I don't know. He's after my body. And I don't understand. There are so many younger women here." (I wasn't sure if she was referring to the mid-70s crowd, or what. I smiled and continued listening.) "I don't know why he wouldn't go for a younger woman. Unless..."
And this is when a certain sparkle shown in her eyes, "...he just wants someone with more experience!"
V looked pretty proud of herself at that thought, and took a seat to enjoy the music.

Sometimes, you've just gotta say it like it is.

***Just to be clear, I am not advocating for this stuff to be going on with the folks at Edgewood. Well, except the married ones. It just struck me as terribly funny when V got that air about her and made that statement. Reminds me of something I might have seen on the Golden Girls.

Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

All Work and No Play...

...doesn't often happen around here.

Last weekend we got busy raking and bagging leaves. BUT before we got to bagging, Josh and Matthew wanted to take a break from work to enjoy jumping.

What fun do you have while you're working?


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Positive Self-Talk, a la Psalm 42

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savoir and my God.

~Psalm 42:5
I am presently memorizing and meditating on this verse.
And I'm lovin' it!
I picture the psalmist, discouraged by his circumstance, and giving his soul a pep talk.
Telling himself the Truth.

I don't know if the writer struggled with clinical depression. I doubt if they had any such understanding in his day. But - as one who does struggle with it - I am inspired by his way of dealing with the down times. I can almost hear myself echoing his words, Why are you troubled, Karen? Why the long face and heavy heart? Don't waste any more time feeling depressed. Get your focus back on your Father! HE is your hope and salvation. HE will redeem you. Even in this.

Oh, what the Truth does for my spirit!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Matthew, the Deer Slayer

Opening day. His first deer, ever.
Matthew was so excited. And I was, too. So happy for him!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lessons From the Edge

You gotta follow the rules.

I'm a "rule follower" by nature. Following the rules is not new to me.
But I don't like people telling me what to say/write. So when I am TOLD what to say, well, that little rebellious nature in me rears its head. And I want to NOT say what I've been TOLD to say.

OK, background information complete.
You probably know (if you've been reading here with some consistency...) that Edgewood has just come under new ownership. And with new ownership comes new rules. Which one can find if they read their new Employee Handbook.
Who reads that stuff, anyway?
I do. I'm a rule follower, you know!

So, as I was perusing my new Employee Handbook my attention was peeked when I came to the section about social media - which includes any blogs we may happen to write. Apparently, anytime I mention or discuss matters pertaining to my work at Edgewood (gah! I need to get used to calling it Vista Springs Edgewood...) I now need to include a disclaimer at the end of my entry, freeing Vista Springs from any ties to my words or opinions. Because I am so controversial in what I say here. *wink*

So, I'm buckling under the pressure. I'm going to say what I've been TOLD to say. Even though I don't want to. Because I'm a rule follower, remember? And in case the new boss-man (or anyone else up the chain) reads one of these Lessons, well, I don't want to get fired for insubordination.

You gotta follow the rules.

Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gone Adventuring

We had house-guests last weekend.
Elizabeth's boyfriend, Nick (aka Beau), and their friend, Emma, came for a visit. And they had a full weekend. Raking leaves, watching movies, dinner out with friends, Sunday school, youth group...and somehow at the end of it, they were looking for more. Elizabeth asked me if they could go on an adventure. She said they wanted to go somewhere she'd never been in Okemos, and "have an adventure".
I knew they just wanted to be together and have fun - exploring the land - so I said, "Ok."
With that, they looked at some area maps and headed out the door.

An hour, or so, later Nick and Michaela (Elizabeth's BFF - who joined in most of the weekend's festivities) came into the house laughing. They wanted me to come outside to see what they'd gotten. Nick grabbed the camera and - honestly? - for a moment I was afraid of what I might find when I stepped out the door.
Did he really need to capture my reaction on film?

Turns out I didn't need to be afraid. The thing they'd gotten was an old toboggan.
And the way they got it was by playing the Bigger or Better Game. They started off with a penny and traded themselves up to a great-big wooden toboggan. They had a blast doing it, as they made good memories. And now we have a new sled for when the snow falls.

Love my adventurers!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

HE Sees

She had nothing to say about it. No choice in the matter. She simply had to do as she was told.
Pushed into a man's arms and bed, she wound up pregnant and mistreated.
And she ran.
She ran into the dessert where she could be alone. No matter. No one would notice, anyway, would they? She was an insignificant slave girl. Unloved and unseen. Who would care if she left her miserable existence?

Do you recognize this story? It is the circumstance in which Hagar found herself in Genesis 16. But the story doesn't end with the same despair with which it began.
On the contrary, Hagar had an encounter with the angel of the LORD and found a hope she'd never before imagined. The angel told her to go back to her mistress and promised he would increase her descendants. Then he told Hagar that she was pregnant (Although she already knew...) and gave her details about her son's life.
Imagine with me what that must have been like for Hagar. This girl who had been treated like a piece of property - who probably felt unnoticed and forgotten - had just been spoken to by the angel of the LORD. He told her things no one else could possibly know about her. How could he know these things?
Unless, unless...
He actually saw her!
Genesis 16:13 says,
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
And that's where the hope entered her life. Suddenly she was NOT unnoticed. She was seen.
The God who created the world saw her!

I am so encouraged by Hagar's story, and the implication for my life. God sees me, too. Every moment of every day. Even when I am feeling alone and unnoticed, HE sees.
Are you in need of this encouragement today, my friend? Do you feel like nobody sees you, or understands the things through which you're going? May you find hope in El Roi. The God who sees!
And if there is any way I can pray for you and your circumstance, please let me know.

Love to you!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Laundry Lessons

One of the things Brian has done to lighten my load since I've been working at Edgewood is this:
He gathers the laundry, sorts the loads, and puts them through the washer and dryer. He had a fairly short learning curve, and only has questions occasionally now. But the other night, Brian hit me with a question which still makes me laugh.

He held up a blue t-shirt and said, "So, I've got this shirt and the tag says, 'Wash separately.' How do I do that?"
Me: Seriously?
Brian: Yeah.
Me: You wash it without anything else.


That was our conversation.

And Brian looked at me like I was the most brilliant person on the planet. I love it when I can impress him that easily.
Then I went on to explain the most probable reason for those instructions - to prevent the color from bleeding onto lighter clothing. And I told him to just throw his shirt in with the dark load.
"Are you sure it'll be OK?" he asked.
"Yeah. I'm sure."
Since I am apparently so brilliant when it comes to laundering, he took my word for it.
I love that man!
And I am so glad he can answer my silly questions about car care and plumbing and appliances and the like.
We're good for each other. *wink*


Monday, November 11, 2013

Friday, November 08, 2013

Lessons From the Edge

We all need a little help from our friends.

We made fall door banners this week. I saw the idea in a magazine and thought it looked fun. And certainly it would be easy enough for the men and women at Edgewood to make. I would do all the grunt work - the measuring and tracing and cutting. All they'd need to do is choose their pieces and glue them to the banner. What could be easier than that???
In spite of how simple I thought I'd made the task, there were some who had troubles. One, in particular, just couldn't figure out how to apply the glue, where to put the leaves, etc. She was struggling. (But she has such a sweet personality, she never did get upset about her difficulty.)

And I was filled with joy.

Not at her struggle, mind you. I was filled with joy because I had the opportunity to witness friendship in action. While SH struggled with her craft, SY patiently and lovingly guided her through it. I kept hearing statements like, "Try this," "Hold it this way," "That looks nice," and "I'll help you with that."
SH has memory issues which affect her ability to do most things other people consider "easy".
So I watched with delight as SY helped her with the simplest of tasks. Without judgement, condemnation, or belittlement. SY just saw the need, and she helped. And SH accepted SY's assistance graciously. It was beautiful to see the two of them working together.

Your mind might not be foggy like SH's, but I be it's true you need some help today.
*Has life got you bogged down by "too many things to do"?
*Maybe you're fighting a cold (or messed up your knee!) and you need someone to step in and give you a hand?
*Or, is it that nagging heart-ache just looking for a shoulder to cry on?
Whatever your need is today, when you see a friend offering assistance please accept it without shame or embarrassment. It's OK to need, and it's OK to receive.

We all need a little help from our friends.


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Mom, You Need to See This

My hubby came across this video and showed it to me.

I'm so glad he did!
Because most of us are hyper-critical of ourselves and I think this video has some hope to offer.

Soak it in, dear friend. Soak it in!

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Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Another Favorite Song

I have so many favorite songs! I can't help it. God uses music to speak to me and touch my heart - and there are just so many that reach me tenderly. *peaceful sigh*
Most of my favorites come from Kathy Troccoli, but occasionally God sneaks one in from another artist. Like this one. I heard it for the first time last month when Brian and I were at the marriage retreat (click on the link if you want info about the retreat coming in March) and I still delight in the lyrics every time I listen.



Tuesday, November 05, 2013

I've Come a Long Way

Last Friday Elizabeth had a bunch of girlfriends over for an Ice Cream Party.
We introduced her to Jersey Muds this summer when we were vacation and she wanted to share the freezing-cold-sugary-goodness with her friends. So they went to the store, bought all the ingredients and came home to assemble the amazing confection.
The girls watched with eager anticipation as Elizabeth concocted the Muds.

And all of them squealed with delight as they dug in. :)
And this is where things get amazing.
One of Elizabeth's guests had to work Friday at 5:00, meaning - she wouldn't be able to join the rest of the girls for a yummy dessert of Jersey Muds. And Elizabeth, as full of compassion as she is, couldn't bear for that to happen. So she asked me, "Mom, can I have my ice cream party before dinner?" *insert puppy-dog eyes*
Now, you need to understand. I am a stickler for not eating snacks before dinner. I don't want my kids ruining their appetites so they are unable to eat the good food I prepare for them. And filling up on sugar? *gah!* I didn't even allow Elizabeth to ingest refined sugar until after her first birthday. I was so uptight about that.

So, as I considered Elizabeth's request, and realized it would mean the girls probably wouldn't eat much dinner - because they were so full of sugar! - my first inclination was to say, "Uh, NO."

But I thought about my response before I verbalized it (Proof you can teach an old dog new tricks!) and I concluded ruining one's appetite for dinner with Jersey Muds one time truly would not be the end of the world. In fact, allowing for such reckless behavior *wink* might just be fun. For the girls, and for me. It might communicate to my daughter and her friends that they don't need to go somewhere else - or hide from me - when they want to do silly teenage things. Perhaps they would even become more assured that I am a safe person to whom they can come when they don't feel like any other adults are listening or understanding. Yeah. Maybe Jesus could even use Jersey Muds to help me draw closer to these girls.
So I said, "Yes." Yes to Jersey Muds before dinner - so all the girls could participate, and I could be a part of their good, clean (albeit too sugary) fun.
And I realized, I've come a long way!


Monday, November 04, 2013

Friday, November 01, 2013

Lessons From the Edge

We have to ask.

Tuesday my grandma didn't come to the dining room for lunch. So I went to her apartment to check on her.
She just wasn't feeling well. Needed to stay in bed and rest. We talked for a bit and then I had to leave. Grandma gave me her keys and asked me to check her mail later that afternoon. "Sure thing," I said, then kissed her and went on to my next thing.
A couple hours later, I was in the van rushing to get an errand done before going home. And I realized I'd forgotten to check Grandma's mail. Which is when I also realized I'd taken her keys off my wrist and didn't know where I'd put them. Doh!
I convinced myself to relax about it. I was going back to Edgewood in an hour, so I planned to find the keys and check/deliver her mail on my next trip. *Whew!*
The problem is, the next trip was super busy. (Meet & greet session with the new owner and residents/family members.) And when it was over I was in a rush to get home so I could join my family for dinner. When I was laying exhausted in bed that night, I realized once more I'd forgotten to check Grandma's mail look for Grandma's keys so I could check her mail. For just a second, I actually contemplated getting up and going into Edgewood to look around. My sleepy mind quickly nixed that idea.
So Wednesday morning I looked and I looked. Scoured the atrium. Searched the office. Looked around two other offices where someone might possibly have place "found" keys.
But I saw nothing.
So I looked some more. And still found no keys.
I walked upstairs to my grandma's apartment and sat down on the side of her bed. She asked, "Do you have my mail?" And I told her about losing temporarily misplacing her keys. But I assured her I would find them again. As soon as I got the newsletter started printing, I would get back to searching for the keys. "No need to worry, Grandma. God knows where they are!"
And I was off again, this time to get the newsletter going.

As I walked out of her apartment back to the activity room I prayed, God, I know you know where those keys are. You see them right now. Would you please lead me to them? And I trusted HE would.
I gathered a few pages for the newsletter from my desk then headed for the office. The remaining pages were somewhere in my boss's office so I went in there to find them. I looked over one desk, then another, until I found what I needed. I picked up the pages and as I turned to leave I spotted a set of keys on the other side of the desk. A double-take told me they were my grandma's keys, and I snatched them up for a closer look and a final determination.
Yep. They were hers!
God led me right to them while I was looking for my newsletter pages. *smile*

The thing is, I had already looked in this office for the keys. In fact, I thought I'd looked quite thoroughly. So, why, I wondered, didn't I find them the first time?
Well, the first time I hadn't prayed about it. I hadn't asked God for help. Really. That is the only difference I can make of the two situations. The keys were sitting on her desk as plain as day. Somehow, I just didn't see them the first time.
God used that "insignificant" moment to remind me of a valuable Truth. A lesson for me in every day. I am needy. HE sees. HE knows. And HE will help me. But I'll miss Him if I try to take care of things on my own.

We have to ask.