Friday, September 26, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

'For better or for worse' is beautiful.

I've written about B and U here before. They are the couple who lives across the hall from the Activity Room. B has suffered a couple strokes, and the last one left him unable to use the right side of his body, and unable to speak very much. Because of our close proximity, I have witnessed many of their trials as they navigate through growing older and dealing with the effects of B's most recent stroke. Sometimes U just has to leave the apartment for a while - or have B leave - so she can gather herself together and have a little peace. And I totally understand her need to do so!
Well, on Monday, U was given a break she hadn't planned on. And wasn't wanting.
That is, B was taken to the hospital. Turns out he had a minor infection and just needed antibiotics and some time to heal. But U was beside herself while he was gone. She missed him so.

Wednesday afternoon I was by the front office when an ambulance pulled up with B. They were bringing him home! But U didn't know he was coming.
Since I was in the right place at the right time, I had the privilege of taking B back to his apartment and I just wish I'd had a camera with me to capture his homecoming. U was outside sitting under a tree reading a book when I found her and said B was home. She got right up and came inside where I saw B sitting there with his left arm stretched as wide open as he could get it. U approached him with her arms spread open, and then these two wrinkle-y folks embraced and gave each other the sweetest kiss I have ever seen.
All B could manage to say was, "Yeah. Yeah. Yeah." But I'm pretty sure he meant something like, "I love you, U. I'm so glad to be home and see you again. And I am so thankful to have you as my gracious and loving wife. Thank you for sticking with me through all of life's ups and downs." Yeah. I'm sure that's what he would have said if his words were cooperating with his heart.

'For better or for worse' is beautiful.

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

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Confessions of a Water Waster

One of Elizabeth's chores was to wash the dishes after dinner.
Now that she's gone to college, the boys have taken over that job - alternating nights, so neither one of them has too much of a burden. *wink*
So far, it's been going pretty well. But I often feel like I'm watching money go down the drain. Because Matthew uses so.much.water when he does the dishes. (Picture ADHD/OCD boy getting carried away as he gets busy rinsing every single grain of rice off a dish. Now, multiply that picture by at least ten.)
So, I find myself thinking, How much money is it costing us - in water usage and sewage - for that boy to wash these dishes? And I wonder if I ought to attempt another dish-washing lesson/demonstration.
Or just be thankful he's doing the job.
After all, he's doing the best he can, right? Nothing I tell him will really make a difference, will it?

That's what I was thinking. Until I recalled something that happened when I was a young kid.
My dad used to get frustrated with me because he thought my showers were too long. And I didn't understand what the big deal was. I mean, I wasn't messing around. Showers just took me a while. I had long hair, ya know.
So one day, my dad asked me what I was doing in the shower and I made my case. I had to shampoo my hair, and use conditioner - which I had to leave in for an entire minute before rinsing it out, because that's what the instructions on the bottle said to do. And, of course, I had to soap up and rinse my body. I was NOT messing around in there. Just doing what I had to do.
Then my dad said this, "OK. So you shampoo and rinse your hair. Then you put in your conditioner and soap up your body while you wait that minute, and rinse your body and the conditioner - and you're done. That doesn't have to take so long."
And, honestly, it was like a light bulb went on in my head. Soap up my body while the conditioner was sitting in my hair for that minute. Why, I'd never thought of that! I always stood there under the warm shower and counted 1-Mississippi, 2-Mississippi, 3-Mississippi, 4-Mississippi...60-Mississippi while the conditioner did it's thing. Then I'd rinse it out and soap up my body and rinse off. It never occurred to me that I could combine those tasks.
I thought my dad was brilliant for coming up with that idea!
And I've been showering that way ever since.

And so...I ask myself again, Should I give Matthew another lesson in dish-washing?

Yeah, maybe. But I think I'll consult with my dad, first!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Amazing Grace

Have you ever heard someone give a beautiful testimony of God's amazing grace?

You know, stories from people who have been lost in the world - addicted to alcohol, strung out on drugs, enslaved by prostitution. Many of them are looking for a way out, but can find none. Rather, they are imprisoned by a long list of choices, circumstances, and painful memories.
But then God...
...comes in and rescues them from their pit of despair. HE gives hope to the hopeless. Life to the dead. And everything changes.

Oh, how I love those stories!
I am always moved by the power of God to transform a life.
I have given Him thanks, just imagining where that person would be if God had not stepped in with His amazing grace.
And then, honestly? I have often thought, Wow. I wish I had a story like that.

But just a couple weeks ago, I realized I do have a story of God's amazing grace.
That isn't to say I suddenly came to terms with a past of crime and addiction. Rather, I realized God's grace is just as amazing without drama as it is with it.
See, my story isn't filled with a lot of drama. I grew up in the church. Went through the typical teen years, but never did anything really crazy. (I mean, I double-pierced my ear at my best friend's house and kept it hidden from my mom for a month. I snuck around with a *much* older guy for a while. And I was promiscuous. But in my mind I was still a pretty good kid.) Through it all I continued attending church, believing in God, saying my bed-time prayers, singing Christian songs, and feeling like my eternity was secure.
Whereas some people knew they were headed in the wrong direction, I thought everything was OK with me. I wasn't "seeking" God, or answers, or anything else. I was blissfully unaware of my need.
And that's why I believe God's grace is so amazing in my story.
God looked on me from heaven and saw a little lost girl - who had no idea she was lost. He saw a girl who was walking toward a Christ-less eternity - who didn't even know it. God saw a girl who simply didn't know how much she didn't know. And some twenty-five years ago HE opened her eyes to the Truth. It wasn't a dramatic conversion, rather an understanding of the complete Truth - followed by an obedient and transformed heart.
The little lost girl was found. Her eternal address was changed to Heaven. And God continues to this day to teach her the things she doesn't know.

And that is amazing grace.

How have you experienced God's amazing grace in your life?


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Gift for my College Girl

Feels like a long time since I've been sitting at the keyboard, typing out a post for this blog. I had a good break. And I'm glad to be back at it now.
One of the things I did over the past weeks was to make a gift for Elizabeth, and I want to tell you about it today. A friend of mine heard about this idea on Family Life Radio and passed it on to me - thinking I would like to do it for my girl. *I'm so glad she did!*

This is how it went:
I gathered ten envelopes and wrote one of these statements on each envelope:
*Open when you bomb a test.
*Open when you're overwhelmed.
*Open when you're facing a tough decision.
*Open when you don't know what to do.
*Open when you feel like giving up.
*Open when you feel alone.
*Open when you're anxiously awaiting an answer.
*Open when you regret something you've done.
*Open when you feel a cold coming on.
*Open when everything is going great.
I wrote a note to Elizabeth for each situation. I prayed for her as I wrote - knowing God is timeless and will answer those prayers when she faces each circumstance. To the best of my ability, I shared words of wisdom from my mother's heart which I pray will comfort and encourage her each time she opens an envelope. And, because I am a huge fan of carrying scripture in my pocket, I also included a piece of paper in each envelope with a scripture verse appropriate for each situation. I suggested Elizabeth carry the verse with her and read it often.
Then, I put all the small envelopes into one BIG envelope and sent it off to Wheaton.
Even though my girl is becoming a woman, even though she is spreading her wings and learning how to fly, she is still my girl and I am still her mom. And I am delighted God has put me in a position to care for and support my daughter - even when we aren't under the same roof.

What words of encouragement would you have written regarding any of those circumstances?


Monday, September 22, 2014

ALL of God


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Confessions of an Uninspired Blogger

OK. I'm just gonna say it like it is.

I haven't felt much like writing recently.
That feeling is very unusual for me, because I LOVE writing. But as I've "needed" to prepare this week's blog posts, I just haven't felt like it. And I don't want to write something, just to have a post. It has always been my desire here to share my heart - that you might somehow be blessed by stopping by for a visit.
So, I'm not going to fake it for the sake of posting. I'm feeling a little *blah* at the moment and I'm going to take a break.
Thanks for the grace to be honest.

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

~Psalm 40:1-3