Monday, March 31, 2014



Friday, March 28, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

You really will use that math some day.

Do you remember being in math class in high school?
If you were anything like me you wondered, Why do I need to learn this stuff? I'm never going to use it once the test on this chapter is over, anyway!
I mean, I loved my Geometry teacher, and the class was fun. But - Really! - in normal life, when do I ever need to prove that two shapes are congruent? And who cares what the volume of a glass is? If I want to know how much water it holds, I just turn on the faucet and fill it up!

But this week at Edgewood, something strange happened to me.

I used Geometry!

As I was setting the chairs up to get ready for exercise class, D asked me, "How far is it around a circle that is 12 inches?" After some clarifying questions I understood that he was looking for the circumference of a circle with a diameter of 12 inches.
I thought for a minute and said, "Well, if I remember correctly, the formula for circumference is pi times radius squared. And if the diameter is 12, the radius is 6. So that would be 3.14 times 36." And I got out my trusty calculator (because I was too lazy didn't have enough time to figure it out long-hand) and determined the distance to be 113 inches.
Which I immediately reported to D.
Then I was curious why he'd asked me the question so I asked him, "Why did you wonder?" D told me he was trying to figure out how far he'd just "gone" on the pedaling gadget he was using. He knew the pedals were 12 inches apart, but didn't know how to figure out the rest. With the information I had given him, D could now multiply 113 inches by the number of rotations he had gone and find out how far he had "traveled". He was so happy!
And I thought it was pretty cool that just 27 years after I studied it, something I learned in Geometry proved useful in my every-day-life.

So, when your kiddos complain to you about the things they "have to learn", tell them to persevere. Tell them I said, You really will use that math some day.

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

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Overheard From the Kitchen

Saturday night I was in the kitchen making dinner when Matthew called from the family room, "Mom, what's for dinner?"
"Bean burritos," I replied.
Then I smiled in anticipation of the squeal I knew would be coming.
Matthew loves bean burritos and always has an enthusiastic response when I'm making them.
And, sure enough, he let out a happy howl-of-sorts. To which his friend must have given him a strange look because Matthew went on to say, "Besides taco dishes, bean burritos are the most amazing thing she makes."
At which point, I think the smile on my face grew two inches on each side.
I'm not sure why it is, but I always get happy when my kids like what I'm making for dinner.
And when they brag about it to their friends?

Our dinner guest Saturday night asked me to share the bean burrito recipe with his mom. *grin*
And I thought I would take it one step further and share it with all of you. Just follow this link. (BTW, I add a cup of cubed cooked chicken to the recipe. We love it that way!)

You're welcome. *wink*


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Choices, Choices, Choices

Your child is getting on your last nerve.

Your boss won't listen to your suggestions/complaints/frustrations/needs.

The cookies you made for tomorrow's bake sale have burned.

Someone ate the last of the ice cream, and you really wanted it!

You don't know how you're going to make it through another day of trials, mistakes, and utter disappointment.

Is any of this resonating with you?
Do you feel as though every day moment is coming at you with fists at the ready to punch you in the gut? Such that you're always on the defensive, ready to strike back at the first sign of attack?
And, how on earth are we supposed to be women who reflect the goodness of God when we're living in circumstances like these which I have described???
Granted, some of the circumstances which drive us to the edge can seem rather trivial. I mean, how bad is it really when someone else eats the last of the ice cream? But when these things pile up on each other, well, it's kind of like that straw on the camel's back. Ya know?

So, what's a woman to do when her world looks like the enemy, but she wants to grow in godliness?

I've been thinking about this question quite a lot lately, as I meet with some friends with the goal of spurring one another on toward being the women God has created us to be. We're reading "Growing Your Faith" together, and the author provided insight to our question. Well, not our question specifically, but close enough. *wink*
The fact of the matter is, every day we are faced with choices in how we're going to respond to our various situations.
Your child gets on your last nerve, and you have a choice: You can blow up at him; or - stop, breathe deeply, and pray. Ask God to remind you what a blessing that little terror boy is. And give thanks.
When your boss won't listen, you have a choice: Let it affect your attitude and the way you respond to other people in your day; or -stop, breathe deeply, and pray. Remember that God always listens to you. That He loves listening to you. And give thanks.
And the cookies... What are you going to do? You could let the frustration come flying out of your mouth to hit some unsuspecting family member in the face. Or - you could stop, breathe deeply, and pray. Ask God to help you have right perspective. They're only cookies, after all. Perhaps you could run to the store and buy some that their bakery didn't burn. Give thanks for that store. And the car you have to get there.

And on it goes.

The thing is, big or small, every day we.have.choices to make in response to our circumstances.
*We can choose to let our circumstances run us over and demolish our spirit and character.
*OR, we can choose to invite God into every moment. We can surrender our desire to explode to HIS desire to work in us. And we can grow in godliness, in spite of our circumstance.
By the power of His Spirit, we can do these things.

The choice is yours.

What will you do?


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Like Mother, Like Daughter?

We both have brown hair.
Our eyes are similar.
We like the same music.
Both of us enjoy reading.
We laugh at the same jokes.
You'd be surprised if you heard us belch.
And we both love God with our whole heart.
These are some of the reasons I am sure Elizabeth is my girl.
She's just like me in so many ways!

But I've been noticing another similarity over the past couple years which has me wondering if she inherited more than my witty charm, refined tastes, and astonishingly good looks. *wink*
That is, I notice her crying an awful lot. Often times the tears come with little or no prompting. The other day she did her best to convince me nothing was wrong. She just had to cry. She thought maybe she was too tired. Whatever the reason - she couldn't stop the tears from coming.
And as I sat there watching her - searching for the words to say which would give her some level of comfort - I couldn't help but wonder.
Did my girl get my wacky Serotonin issues, too?
The question came to me because I saw so much of my old self in the girl sitting across the table from me. The look of hopelessness and helplessness. The expression of frustration at not knowing why she couldn't stop crying. Or why she was crying in the first place. The despair.
It was all too familiar to me.
And I wondered.
Still do.
The thing is, I don't want to project my struggles onto her.
So I hesitate to ask the question. Because I don't want Elizabeth to take on something that isn't true of her - just because I suggest it.
Annnnd, on the other hand, I don't want her to battle with a thing until she's nearly 40, just because she doesn't realize she's battling it. Don't want her to simply think she's odd and needs to suffer with her oddness. Wondering what on earth is wrong.

So I'm doing what I always do when I don't know what to do. I'm asking my Father to lead me; to show me what I need to see; to move me where I need to go.
And I'm waiting.
Trusting. And waiting.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

It's important to look out for the new kid.

I'm telling you, I have the best job ever.

Because I get to witness the most beautiful acts of human kindness.

This week, it centered around a new woman.

E moved in over the weekend and - as many people do - she has had some trouble getting acclimated to her new home. She is often confused about where she needs to be, why she's at Edgewood, and what she's supposed to be doing.
So, she asks lots of questions.
And sometimes seems as though she can do nothing but complain.
But, do you think that behavior ruins the demeanor of the fine folks at Edgewood?
Oh, no, it doesn't!
Wednesday afternoon I walked past E as she sat in the atrium with three other ladies around her. They called me over to ask a question, which is when I discovered they were inviting E to come to Pizza Night. I heard them telling her how fun it is, and how much they would love for her to participate. These ladies were encouraging E, in spite of her sometimes harsh disposition. They were loving on her. I saw E smiling. And beginning to look comfortable.
And I thought, Look at these ladies. Each one of them remembers what it was like to be "new" here. Each of them understands the uncertainty, and the hint of fear associated with moving in. And they want to help E with the transition. They have been where she is, and they want to help her through.
I was so proud of them for expressing care, and reaching out to a woman in need.

How about you? Is there someone new in your sphere of influence? Someone who needs a little extra TLC?
Consider this your invitation to reach out to that individual.
Remember: It's important to look out for the new kid.

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

Thursday, March 20, 2014

More Than a Good Read

A couple of months ago A few months ago A while ago, my daughter's future mother-in-law gave me a book to read. She was finished with it and wanted to pass it on.
While it took me a while to get around to reading it, I'm so glad I did. Because this book - in addition to the great story line - is filled with treasures of wisdom. One-liners, and sometimes entire paragraphs. As I read, I often found myself looking for my pen so I could underline the treasures I was finding. Like:

And I found out that sometimes we just have to accept the things we don't understand.

Our limitation is God's opportunity.

But it was this one near the end that really grabbed me:
"Ever man should have the courage to stand up and face the enemy," I said, "'cause ever person that looks like a enemy on the outside ain't necessarily one on the inside. We all has more in common than we think. You stood up with courage and faced me when I was dangerous, and it changed my life. You loved me for who I was on the inside, the person God meant for me to be, the one that had just gotten lost for a while on some ugly roads in life."

Of course, this quote has extreme significance within the context of the story from which it came. BUT, I believe there are all kinds of Truth in that statement for you and me and the stories we're living in today. Because we all have perceived enemies. They may be neighbors, bosses, or colleagues. At times, we may even see our children or our spouses as enemies. They are the people with whom we disagree, who rub us the wrong way, whom we don't completely understand. We begin to think they are out to get us. Or at least want to make us miserable. But, We all has more in common than we think.
And, today, I want to encourage you to ask God to help you see the person inside. The one HE means for them to be. Ask Him to give you eyes to see like He sees, and a heart to love like He does. I pray you will have the courage to face the one(s) who seems dangerous to you today. May God's love through you have an eternal impact. (On both of you!)

And - in case you're super interested in this book now - it is called Same Kind of Different as Me. The authors are Ron Hall and Denver Moore. Annnnnnd, since I was blessed to receive this book from a friend, I want to bless someone else now. If you'd like my copy, just leave me a comment - along with a promise to keep passing the book around!
I'll pick a winner tomorrow night and get the book in the mail to you.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

This Little Saying has Changed My Praying

Go ahead and read that statement again.

And again.

If you're anything like me, it will take a day or two for those words to really sink in. But it will be totally worth the wait!
Several years ago, God led me to become a thankful woman. I thank Him for things all the time. And He blesses my heart - He changes my perspective - when I give Him thanks.
It's a beautiful thing.
However, the day after I read the above statement God gave me a new perspective. I sat down to eat my breakfast and bowed my head to pray. I said something like, "Thank You, God, for Your love for me. Thank You for Your grace." And then I paused. I remembered that statement and I thought, What if I didn't have God's love today? What if I had to live without His grace and mercy? In my pause, I realized some of my prayers had become not much more than words. I have gotten so used to saying, "Thank You, God, for Your love for me," that I have forgotten to really be thankful.

I have spoken, but I have not pondered.

Until God spoke to me through that clever little saying on Facebook one day.
Oh, how thankful I am for His intervention in my praying. Because I am pausing more now. I am thinking about the rote things I used to only say. Yes. I am slowing down and HE is drawing me close.

Thank You, Father. Really.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Progress Reports

Friday evening Josh asked to be taken to a certain fishing spot on Saturday. I had to go into work for a while Saturday afternoon, so I told Josh I would drop him off on my way. Actually, it wasn't "on my way". Rather it was out of the way. But you get the idea.
The problem is, I went shopping Saturday morning - which took longer than I anticipated. As in, I spent half an hour simply standing in the check-out line. *ugh* The result was, by the time I got home I had 15 minutes before I needed to leave for work. And in that time I needed to put groceries away, get dinner ready in the Crock Pot, and fix myself something for lunch. When Elizabeth asked, "Are't you going to take Josh fishing?" my heart sank in my chest (I'd forgotten that little detail.) and I said apologetically, "I can't do that now. Not enough time."
I fully anticipated Josh would start yelling and being angry at me because I was going back on my word. That behavior, after all, has been his typical response to disappointment. And I completely understood why he would be disappointed with this unexpected turn of events.

BUT Josh did not start yelling.

In fact, he helped bring in the groceries. AND, he made me a sandwich for lunch.

Yeah. My boy who has been known to flip out on a dime, maintained complete composure in the face of disappointment. He even went out of his way to be helpful.
And I? Couldn't let that behavior go by without saying something.
So that evening, when we were at the dinner table, I told Josh how much I appreciated his attitude in spite of disappointment. I didn't get all gushy and tell him how I'd been thinking about it all day. Not sure he would have taken to that very well. But I made sure he knew I noticed his progress. And I made sure he knew I was thankful for the growth I'm seeing in him. Because, goodness knows, I tell him when I am not happy with his behavior. I want to be sure to point out the good stuff, too!

Fellow mother, may I encourage you today to catch your children doing something well, so you can tell them you saw it?


Monday, March 17, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lessons From the Edge *re-post*

This one is from May 20, 2011.

Joy does not depend on circumstances.

Can I tell you about some other favorite residents of mine?
They are D and H.
D moved in a couple months ago and waited for H to join her. He was in a rehab facility, and D waited so patiently. I knew she was eager for him to join her, because every time I spoke with her, she'd say, "My husband is H. He isn't here yet. But he'll be coming." And she'd smile.
Oh, I wish you could have seen her after H finally arrived at Edgewood. That dear woman wore a smile bigger than any I've ever seen!
It was a beautiful sight to behold.
Since H came to Edgewood I have enjoyed many opportunities to talk with them, and to listen about their life together. They traveled around the country with a mission team and helped build (I think) 60 churches. They were teachers together at a small Christian school. They both loved music and enjoyed it together.
What a beautiful couple.

Well, last Friday, D passed away. And the first time I saw H since her passing was at Bible study on Monday. I put my arm around him and asked how he was doing. Without hesitation, H told me he was sad to not have her with him anymore but he was so joyful for her - because she is with Jesus. I've heard those words coming out of his mouth all week. I keep hearing joy, joy, joy.
Rather than focusing on his circumstance, H is rooted in Jesus.
It blesses me to hear him. H is reminding me to remember the eternal. Earth is temporary. Jesus gives us forever. Death is temporary for the Believer. We have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
And, Joy does not depend on our circumstances.

***As I was writing this post it occurred to me D may be walking around in heaven saying to everyone she meets, "My husband is H. He isn't here yet. But he'll be coming."


Thursday, March 13, 2014

The One-Handed Wonder *re-post*

From January 3, 2012

Can I just say? It's been a long time since I have played much Foosball.
And when I did used to play with some frequency, it was always with a partner. So I only had to pay attention to two handles. One for each hand. That was enough for me.

So you must understand, I am really not what you would call a Foosball player. I'm just NOT.

Have I made adequate excuse for what I'm about to admit??? *wink*

My mother-in-law got the kids a Foosball table for Christmas. What a great gift! They have been enjoying it tremendously. (As have their friends!)
A few days after the game was all set up, Joshua fractured his left hand. Had nothing to do with Foosball. Had everything to do with the fact that he wasn't thinking about the wooden frame inside the couch when he decided to punch the couch, in an attempt to scare his little brother. *sigh*

Now, if you think a hand in a splint would keep a teenage boy from playing two-handed games like Foosball, you need to think again. Joshua continued to play. With only his right hand.
Yes. One hand for four handles.

And when he challenged me to a game, saying he could BEAT ME, well, what was I supposed to do?
Of course I accepted the challenge. I mean, really! I had two good hands, and he had only one. How hard could it be for me to win that game???

Let me just say, it wasn't hard.

It was impossible!

The boy kicked my b*tt. *head hung in shame*

But, in one of our repeat matches I scored five goals! Never mind that in the game right before, he shut me out 10-0.

What can I say? I have an amazing son! *grin*


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why Does This Have to be so Hard? *re-post*

From March 30, 2011

Have you ever asked that question?
About parenting?
About marriage?
About any other struggle you're facing?

I know I have!

My small group is currently watching and discussing a video series about marriage by Paul Tripp, and Sunday night we had a great discussion about this question.
In the video, Paul was talking about God using marriage as a means of sanctification. As part of the process of making us more Christ-like. He said God will bring us to the end of ourselves so we realize we need Him. So we will remember we cannot 'do this' on our own.
And in our discussion which followed the video we came to the agreement that if 'this' wasn't so hard, we would never come to the end of ourselves. If all our circumstances were easy and light, we might think we can handle life just fine on our own. We might forget our desperate need for the LORD of the universe. In our blissful enjoyment of the ease, we might miss God.

And that would be tragic.

Not to mention the fact that we would be shallow creatures, who would break at the first sign of struggle.

So, what is your agent of sanctification? What is the struggle God is using in your life to make you more like Jesus?
For me, it is clearly parenting. And I think He may be using the whole 'working outside the home' thing, too. Every day as I struggle with these issues I realize my desperate need for God's grace. I see Him softening my heart, and strengthening my resolve to follow Him. To mimic Him. To be more like Jesus.

And so HE brings me to a point where I can truly be thankful for the hard times. Because He is using them for my good.

Something to think about today!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Humbling Moment *re-post*

From March 20, 2012

I opened up the drawer to get come crackers and noticed an empty box.

I started grumling internally because I get so tired of my kids' inablity to take care of empty boxes. Honestly! How hard is it to pick up the box, flatten it, and put it in with the recycling? It takes less than 60 seconds. How can their lives be so busy that they can't do this simple little thing? Is it pure laziness? Out-right rebelliousness? Do they do it just because they know how much it annoys me? What gives???
Then I noticed the back of the box. It had a bunch of coupons on it for cereal. And that caught my interest. Because, really(!), have you noticed the price of cereal lately?
Suddenly, I was glad the box had been left for me to find.
A couple days later I used those coupons - in conjunction with a special happening at the grocery store - and I got five boxes of cereal for less than $2.00 per box. Oh, yeah!

Why was I irritated with my kids for leaving that box behind? I mean, I'm sure they were only trying to help me manage our food bill. Probably each one of them had picked that box up to put it in the recycling, but put it right back when they saw those coupons. Yeah. I'm sure that's it!

There we go. My slice of Humble Pie has been consumed. *wink*


Monday, March 10, 2014

My Foot is Slipping *re-post*

I had an incredibly busy day last Thursday, which meant - no blogging for me!
Soooooo, I'm turning to my archives to fill this week with encouragement here.
I pray you'll be blessed.
This one is from January 31, 2011.


Friday, March 07, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

Love makes everything better.

So, I have another sweet couple to tell you about today. R and R. Part of what makes them so adorable is that they almost have the same first name. Except hers ends with an "a".
Yes, I thought they were precious before I even met them - when I'd only heard their names.

Anyway, Mr. R moved in to Edgewood several months ago, while Mrs. R was in rehab. She visited several times and soooo wanted to move in, but her body just wasn't strong enough yet.
So they waited.
Finally, about two or three weeks ago, Mrs. R moved in to Edgewood, too. And, oh! if you could have only seen the smile on Mr. R's face they day she came to stay.
I would have taken a picture, but his smile was too big to fit on the camera. *GRIN*

Needless to say, I have been thoroughly enjoying watching the two of them together at Edgewood. Holding hands, walking together, sharing glances. It's beautiful.

Then came Wednesday of this week.

We had one of our favorite musicians in to entertain, and Mr. & Mrs. R had front-row seats. I stood across the atrium from where they were and just watched in delight. They were singing along with his songs and laughing at his jokes. But I noticed something different between them and everyone else. While the entire community was enjoying the show, Mr. and Mrs. R seemed to be enjoying it a few notches more than the rest.
I watched, and I wondered.
And then I felt I understood.
R and R were enjoying the show so much, because they were watching it together - with the one they love.

Love makes everything better.

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

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Pillow Talk

Last week Brian and I were laying in bed talking when I decided I was too tired to keep up the conversation. I said, "I'm going to roll over now and go to sleep. And...if you get the urge to rub my back, please go ahead and do it."
(Just trying to set my hubby up to make it look like this loving thing was all his idea. Totally selfless. Yep.)
And I rolled over.
And waited.

No response.

So I tried again. (very sweetly)"Even if you get the teeny tiniest little urge. Go ahead and just rub my back."

Annnnnnd, he did!

Yes, friends, you may steal my tactics idea.

You're welcome.


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Kids Grow Up So Fast

I read a friend's post the other day about living in the moment with her kiddos. She lamented missing out on so much when they were really little, and encouraged young mothers to live the moments. Because kids really do grow up so fast.

And that got me thinking.

Scary, I know.

I recalled several instances in recent evenings when I have sat at the table after dinner watching my kids poking at each other, teasing, and just having fun. They've been borderline obnoxious at times, but all in good fun. And I found myself laughing right along with my husband - as we took in the scene before us. I remember thinking, Please don't ask to be excused just yet. I'm having too much fun watching you.

By many accounts, people would consider my kids "grown up". They get themselves ready for bed. I don't need to remind them to take showers. They make their own lunches for school. They are proficient in the kitchen - making cookies and brownies, pancakes and french toast, guacamole and several other concoctions. Quite simply, they don't "need" me like they did when they were little.
Because they've been growing up.
And I'm OK with that.
It's true, I miss the days when the kids used to "fight" over who got to sit on mommy's or daddy's lap after dinner. And I would give anything to have them jump on the couch again and snuggle with me while we watched a Friday night movie.
But they've out-grown those things.
Even so, the moments of teenagers are still memorable and worth cherishing.

Then I thought about the fact that my children still have a lot of growing up to do. Finishing school, deciding what to do after graduation, and beginning a new life in the great big world "out there". When that happens, they won't "need" me like they do today.
And I'm deciding right now that I'll be OK with that, too.

Because, regardless how "grown up" my kids get, there will still be moments to live.


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

I'm Also a Word Snob

So, last month I confessed here that I am a word nerd.
Well, I have recently discovered I am also a word snob . That is, I don't like it when people use words incorrectly.
Especially words with clear meanings.
Like "literally".
Which means actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy.
(In case you didn't know.)

Anyway, this word-snob discovery happened when I was eavesdropping on a podcast to which my husband was listening. The speaker was talking about another man whose podcasts have become very successful and he said, "He has exploded. The guy is literally on fire!" In a teasing manner I said to Brian, "Boy, he doesn't sound very compassionate. This other guy is on fire - and Mr. Podcast seems happy about it."
OK. I know what Mr. Podcast meant. But if I am to take him at his word - which is what you should do when someone is speaking to you, right? - then I'm having a hard time listening. Because if Mr. Newly Successful is literally on fire, and Mr. Podcast is that excited about it, well? I'm not sure he's the kind of guy I want filling my mind with information.
Ya know?

And that's when it finally sank in.
I don't want words to be worthless. Don't want them to lose their meaning. So it bothers me when people misuse them.
*If you're hungry, say so. Don't claim that you're literally starving to death.
*If you were just outside and it was really cold, tell me how cold you were. Don't tell me you were literally freezing.
*And if you have lots of work to do, by all means, get on it. And ask me for help if there's something I can do to assist. But don't tell me you're literally up to your ears in paperwork.

Because when you misuse words, they begin to lose their meaning. They become worthless as a mode of communication, because no one knows what you're really intending to say. When words are misused, they are stripped of their purpose. And that literally makes my skin crawl.



Monday, March 03, 2014

Be Faithful