Cheer for your friends.Have I mentioned before how much I love my job? When was the last time I told you what a blessing it is to spend my days with the men and women at Edgewood? Am I making you jealous? *wink* OK. In all seriousness, I am a blessed woman to be able to "work" where, and with whom, I do. And I had another glimpse of that delight this week during exercise class. I've mentioned my "neighbors" across the hall here before. B, and his wife U. B had a stroke and has pretty much no use of the right side of his body, and has HUGE difficulty communicating. His wife is exceptionally patient and kind, but also gets quite worn out in caring for him. So, this week B came to exercise class and U stayed home to read and get a little "break". The first thing we do during exercise class is throw a beach ball around. I stand in the middle of the group and toss the ball to each person. They catch it and toss it back to me. Now, picture B - who has no use of his right arm. I tell him the ball is coming and gently toss it high in the air so it comes down on his lap. And B, with all the strength and coordination he can muster, traps the ball on his lap with his left arm. Then - using only one hand - he maneuvers the ball and rolls/tosses/drops it back to me. And the crowd cheers excessively. The smile on B's face was a beautiful thing to behold. But I think I was even more taken by the grace and kindness being displayed by his peers. They weren't cheering because B caught the ball and threw it back to me with stellar form and amazing precision. Rather, everyone in the room knew there was a pretty good chance the catch and/or the toss were NOT going to be successful at all. (They've seen failed attempts already.) So, it wasn't a cheer for performance. Instead, it was a cheer for persistence. For courage to try when it would be easier to quit. For being willing to hope in the midst of hopelessness. It was a group of friends communicating to another, We know your situation is difficult. We know what it's like to struggle, too. And we're so proud of you for not giving up. We love you! I stood back and looked at the men and women around me, and I thought I had never seen such a wonderful group of friends before. And I thought, I want to be just like them. Cheer for your friends. Do you have a friend who needs your support today? Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.
Friday, August 29, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Remember last week when I told you Josh was recording the baby turtles hatching?Well, as any good grandma would, I have to share the video! This one is fun, too. A time lapse of one little guy emerging from his shell. Proud Papa released all the babies on Tuesday. What a great experience it was for him!
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
In Michigan, they say there are two seasons: Winter, and Road Construction.And it ain't Winter right now, folks. *sigh* So, Sunday as we were driving home from Holland - after we drove to Holland from Wheaton - we were a bit discouraged to come upon backed up traffic. Which we knew was from construction about five miles yonder down the highway. When we'd been creeping along for about 15 or 20 minutes, we noticed cars ahead of us going through an "Authorized Vehicles Only" turn-around. (Love those signs, by the way. Always know where to find my "Z" when we're playing the Alphabet Game!) Some vehicles which were past the turn-around were even retreating back to it, so they could get to the other side of the highway and seek an alternate route. Matthew asked what those cars were doing, and I said the drivers probably knew another way to get where they were going. A few moments later - when we were closer to the turn-around - Brian looked at me and asked, "Do you really think they know a better way?" Knowing what he was thinking (That he wanted to follow suit and use his "smart" phone to
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Monday, August 25, 2014
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Josh has been very excited this week.Pacing around the house and investigating progress checks like an expectant father. Because his turtles have started hatching. Several weeks ago, one of Josh's buddies found a nest of turtle eggs which had been dug up - apparently by a predator. Knowing Josh's affinity for all things "turtle", this buddy carefully gathered the eggs and brought them over to my young herpetologist.Since Josh had incubated some turtle eggs last year, he had everything necessary to care for this new batch. And he got right to work making them a suitable warming station. However, not knowing when the eggs were laid, Josh couldn't predict when they would hatch. So, he's been like a nervous father-to-be for the past week, or so. Always wondering, Are they going to hatch today? They finally did start hatching. So far two have made it out of their eggs, and a third one has begun chipping away. (Update: As of Wednesday night, we have 10 baby turtles. Three eggs are left to hatch.) And, like a proud Daddy, Josh is recording the "births" with the intention of making a video for his youtube channel. You know, to inspire and educate other budding herpetologists. I love watching my son caring for these turtle eggs. Particularly, since these eggs were "rescued" from an attacked nest, Josh is happy he has the opportunity to hatch them. Without Josh's help, probably NONE of these turtles would have made it. His heroic act makes Josh very proud. Josh's careful study and application of what he has learned makes his mom very proud. But all this hustle and bustle around the excitement of the hatching eggs - all of Josh's "new daddy" behaviors - has me asking a very important question. Does this make me a Grandma??? ****************************************************************************** Brian and I are going to Wheaton today to help move Elizabeth into her dorm room. Will be with her until late Saturday. *smile* Soooo, no blogging here tomorrow. May grace and peace be yours in abundance this weekend!
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Sunday morning, I took a trip. I wasn't expecting it, but smack in the middle of our worship time - Jesus took me on a little trip to some 24 years ago. It happened when we were singing Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, and we got to the second verse. I sang these words:
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.And suddenly I was back in college - thinking I was "fine" - not knowing I was a lost little sheep in need of a Savior. I was never opposed to God or Christianity. Hey, I've attended church for as long as I can remember. I just didn't know there was such a thing as a personal relationship with Jesus. Frankly, I thought He had done what He needed to do, and now the world was left to fend for itself. So, there I was - a stranger, wandering from God, not realizing I should (or could) be doing anything differently. Until Jesus pursued me - very cleverly - helped me understand my need, and made me HIS. Every time I read a verse like Jeremiah 29:13, You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart, I thank God that He did not wait for me to seek Him. Because I honestly thought I was fine, and I don't know when I would have ever gone seeking after Him. Indeed, His grace is amazing. So, that's my story. How did you come into a relationship with God? OR, if you haven't begun that relationship, what is holding you back?
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
...I found a sweet note.It was on the fireplace mantel behind some pictures, and has to be at least four years old. I'm not sure WHY that was it's location, because until Saturday - when I was dusting - Elizabeth was supposed to be dusting every Saturday. And the way I have always told her to clean is to take all the items off a shelf (dusting each as you take it off) and then dust the entire shelf before returning the items to said shelf. I'm sure she never cut corners with her chores because she wanted to get on to bigger and better things. Yet, somehow, this dusty note was hidden behind some picture frames. *Hmmmmm* Anyway, I read the note and was filled again with love and delight for my girl. This is what it says:
Elizabeth, You are a shining star girl! Thanks for being such an example of Philippians 2. I want to specifically congratulate you on your simple obedience to Christ last Wednesday at Impact through baptism. I am convinced that the obedience you displayed helped fuel countless others in their faith journeys. Keep running to Jesus girl! You are dearly loved and appreciated.- JordanI stood by the fireplace reading that note, wanting to tell her the exact same thing. Keep running to Jesus, girl! May your heart and life continue to be used by Him to fuel others on their faith journey. I think I'll take this note along to Wheaton on Thursday when we go to move her into her dorm. That she may find encouragement on the days when "home" feels too far away.
Posted by Karen Hossink at 6:00 AM
Monday, August 18, 2014
Friday, August 15, 2014
Dancing is a state of mind.Oh my goodness! We had so much fun Wednesday night! It was the Great Chili Cook-Off at Edgewood, and after we had our fill of several different kinds of chili - we sat back to enjoy the music of the Easy Idle String Band. But not for long. No sir! Because you just couldn't sit still listening to that music. I loved looking around and seeing all the toes tappin'. It was great fun. I was standing next to L while the music played and she urged me to get a conga line started. Now, I'm not used to conga lines mixing with banjos, but I couldn't refuse L - so we got one going. And that's all it took. The very next song was a group dance. The singer encouraged us to get a group out on the floor (We'd cleared the furniture away, "Just in case". *wink*) so Shelly and L and I recruited as many folk as we could. Then the singer and band led us through a circle dance, and we all had a blast. Hoopin' and hollerin' like we was down on the farm dancin'! The thing is, a few of the folks had to abandon their walkers to come dance in our circle. And they were holding hands a little bit tighter than the rest of the gang. In fact, when it was time for my "corner" and I to swing each other around, I just put my hand on his shoulder and walked a circle around him. It was much safer that way! But there is no way anyone is going to be telling H that he wasn't out on the floor dancin'. Cuz you could see it in his eyes. He was dancing his heart out! And when the song was over, the nurse and I escorted H back to his chair so he could catch his breath. H wasn't the only one cuttin' up a rug. B left his walker, L left hers, and so did S. Granted, none of them would have won a prize in a talent show, but that didn't matter one bit. Each one was dancing up a storm in their mind, and no prize could have matched the joy shining on their faces. And that realization is what taught me this week's lesson: You can do what you love and experience joy in an activity even if you're lacking in ability. Get out there and have fun! Dancing is a state of mind. Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
I imagine you were as devastated Monday as I was when you heard of Robin Williams' death. So many thoughts running through my head. Questions. Memories. More questions. I didn't know Mr. Williams had battled depression. I mean, who woulda thunk it? He was always smiling, laughing, being fun and funny. How could there be a depressed bone in his body?
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Top Ten Things About Sending Your Daughter to CollegeI saw post with a title like this last year and decided to save it for my own encouragement - knowing "my day" was coming. And, since Elizabeth is leaving for college today, I decided to re-read the list - and write one of my own.So, here it is: *cricket* *cricket* That is, I got nothin'. I can't think of a single "Top" thing about sending my daughter to college. *I'm going to miss her. *I'll be the only girl in the family now. *Dinner table conversation is going to be AWKWARD. To read the rest, please visit me over at Amanda's.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I almost went into panic mode last week.We have just come up on the end of the term for our cell phone contracts, so Brian ordered new phones for the entire family. And (almost) everyone has been so excited about them. Josh's phone broke a few months ago, so he has been using an old one. Elizabeth's went ka-put recently, so she's been using her hold one. Brian keeps moaning about his battery wearing out too quickly, this and that button not functioning properly, and something else I can't recall at the moment - always following up the complaint with an I-need-a-new-phone-statement. And Matthew? Well, he just likes new shiny things. So, why was I ready to panic? It's simple, really. I didn't want a new phone. After two years of using my current phone, I am feeling quite comfortable with it. (Although I still forget that it automatically capitalizes the first letter of a sentence when I'm texting. SO I OFTEN END UP PRESSING 'SHIFT' AND TYPING IN ALL CAPS. Then I have to delete every letter and start over again. But I'm getting better. *ahem*) Besides, my phone wasn't broken in any way. But we decided to order me a new one, figuring my current phone might not last another two years... So, anyway, the panic. On Thursday, the phones all arrived and the kids quickly opened the box, found their phones, and began to activate and program and personalize and whatever-else-you-need-to-do-to-a-new-phone. I heard lots of new ring-tones - which was fun. But Elizabeth got frustrated because she was having trouble with the activation. Then, she couldn't transfer all of her contacts. And she lost her pictures. Matthew was upset because some of the icons were in different locations on his new phone, and he wished they hadn't changed. I sat there thinking, If the kids are having this much trouble getting their phones in working order, how am I going to manage mine? I don't even want to attempt it. Wonder if I can get Brian to do it for me. I *might* have started feeling light-headed. But then I remembered something which calmed me down. (And it wasn't a Bible verse reminding me that nothing is too difficult for God.) I remembered my phone isn't broken. So I don't need to use this new one right now. I can put it safely away in my closet and let it sit there until I have to use it. And maybe by that time I will have gained enough technical confidence to face activating and programming all by myself. Yeah. I doubt it, too.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Friday, August 08, 2014
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.Sometimes that Murphy's Law thing drives me nuts. *Why is it that when I forget to buy eggs, someone decides to have an egg sandwich - so that ONE egg I needed for a recipe is gone? *Why must rain fall only on the days when there is no umbrella in my van?*And tell me why, oh, why do people call me during church ONLY on the days when I forget to silence my phone? I'm telling you, Murphy and I are NOT good friends. His stupid Law has bitten me about a hundred times too many. But this week? It made me laugh. We were working on a craft at Edgewood which required an iron and ironing board. And since three are better than one when it comes to getting things done, Shelly and I both brought our ironing boards and irons from home - to add to the one already at work. Monday afternoon, taking into consideration how much ironing we had left to do, Shelly asked me if I would be willing to keep my ironing board at Edgewood to use again Tuesday. "Sure," I said. "It isn't like we ever use it at home!" And we shared a knowing laugh. Then, Tuesday morning as I sat eating my breakfast Brian walked into the kitchen and asked, "Hey, where is the ironing board?"I think I spat my cereal back into my bowl before I looked at him and groaned, "REALLY???"I simply could not believe my husband was asking for the ironing board. I couldn't remember the last time I saw him ironing, and on the ONE day the ironing board was missing, he wanted to use it? REALLY??? I broke the news to Brian - that he couldn't iron Tuesday morning - and explained the reason why. We looked at each other and just laughed. Muprhy's Law is the only way we could explain our little situation. Fortunately, this time his stupid Law was laughable. But, be careful because you never know when he'll strike again. *wink* Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.
Thursday, August 07, 2014
As a general rule, I am not a fan of doing my kids' chores. I mean, the jobs belong to them. I do enough other work around the house - and at work(!) - and really do not need to be doing their chores. Can I get a hearty mommy-amen?!However, there are occasions when I am willing to break my own rules. Like Tuesday night. I got home late from work and as I was on my way out the door after dinner to run an errand, I reminded Matthew of a chore which still needed completing. When I got home from the errand, I saw the chore was still undone. And I was ready to chastise Matthew when I entered the house. However, he was washing the dishes. (Elizabeth's chore - but she was at work.) So I remained silent about the matter. Thinking, surely he would have it completed when I returned from the next errand I had to run. Except, when I returned from my second task that evening the trash and recycling containers were still by the road. And when I entered the house again, Matthew was still washing the dishes. Specifically, he was about to undertake cleaning the grate from the grill and seemed overwhelmed by the size of the job. (I am NOT a fan of that chore, either!) But he took the task outside and got to work. At that point, I decided to bring the trash and recycling containers in for him. Honestly, it really is a minor task, yet I wanted to do something to help. Something to remind Matthew that he isn't alone. So I went outside and started to wheel the trash container to the garage. Matthew looked up from the grate he was scrubbing and called, "Thank you!" The smile on his face was delightful to me. And I knew my mission had been accomplished. My boy felt helped. And my heart was happy.
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Endless amounts. That's how much.And I, for one, am forever thankful. Between the yellow car prayers, the mat-carrying prayers, needs which are shared on Facebook, personal requests, and on-going concerns I have been spending a lot of time praying. Sometimes I remember a need which was shared with me weeks ago, and I bring it to God. And some requests are almost automatic - rolling off my tongue as easily as I breathe. Monday morning as I was praying for my mat-friends and my Facebook friends, I was struck one more time by God's faithfulness and power. I "remembered" a request which I'd previously forgotten, and I thanked God that the need had never left His mind. And as I contemplated my inability to really DO anything for these friends, I thanked God for His un-ending ability to DO everything for them. It's amazing when you really think about it - God's ability to see and know and do all things. Sometimes I feel like I'm asking so much, bringing too many needs before Him. Occasionally I wonder if I am over-loading the stores of heaven with too many prayers. But then my Father graciously reminds me just how much HE can handle. So I return to my knees (Well, unless I'm driving...) and thank God for His power and faithfulness as I lay more needs at His feet. Is there some way I can pray for you today?
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Dear Lovely Young Lady, I am so thrilled you have decided to marry my Josh. Er, I'll really work on putting an end to calling him "mine". He has chosen you, and I will honor both of you in that choice. But, before you speak your vows and make the marriage final, I feel obligated to give you full disclosure regarding what you are getting yourself into. I know. Josh is charming. He's funny. He's handsome. I'm sure you think staring into his gorgeous blue eyes is the best way for you to spend the rest of your life. You love him. I get that! But, dear young lady, I would not be a good mother-in-law if I didn't tell you everything I know. I must be honest with you! Before Josh met you, long before he knew the feelings and desire he has for you were possible, he committed himself to another love. I remember one night when Josh was 16 years old and we sat around the dinner table listening to him talk about this love of his. He had spent years caring for this creature and thought about it almost constantly. Never would a day go by when Josh didn't speak of his devotion to his love. In fact, that night around the dinner table Josh figured he would be with this love of his for the next fifty or sixty years. And he was serious! This turtle has a long future with Josh. And you, if you choose to accept it.I hope this isn't coming as a shock to you, but I feel you really must know the truth. His love for this creature has been growing for so many years, and I really don't think he'll be willing to give it up. That's why I wanted you to know. Before it's too late.Sweetheart, I know strong feelings of love have a way of keeping us from seeing clearly sometimes, and the words I'm typing here might not be convincing you of Josh's devotion to his other love. So, I feel I must also include pictures. It is for your good, dear. Please don't be angry with me. But you must understand my son's behavior before you commit to him in marriage. You see, he does things like this:
Monday, August 04, 2014
Friday, August 01, 2014
You don't have to be sturdy to carry a friend.I have said it before, but I'm going to say it again. And I'm sure this won't be the last time: I love, LOVE the Bible study group I meet with weekly at Edgewood. I LOVE THEM!!! This week, we looked at Mark 2:1-12. This passage recounts the time when four men brought their paralyzed friend to see Jesus. But the crowd was so great around the house where Jesus was speaking that the men had to take their friend up on the roof, dig a hole in the roof, and lower their friend on his mat down to where Jesus was standing. We read and discussed the text, trying to gain an understanding of what was happening. We talked about the things in our lives which leave us feeling paralyzed - like we can't make any movement to change the situation. And we spent time praying, asking God to help us. And then... Then the most beautiful thing happened. We remembered the friends who need us to carry them. *The one who was in surgery, having cancer removed at the very moment we were meeting. *One who is in a re-hab facility. Not doing well. *Another who is facing some struggles we really don't know about. *And a sweet couple who is living with the challenges of life-after-a-stroke. Where one cannot communicate, and the other is trying desperately to understand. And although I sat there with my eyes closed and I couldn't see anyone, I heard the voices of men and women praying earnestly for one another. I sat in a room full of men and women who often have trouble walking, whose arthritis sometimes leaves their hands un-usable, and many of whom cannot safely pick up something weighing more than five pounds. And I witnessed them - together - carrying four of their friends on a mat to Jesus. It still makes me smile to think about that fellowship. That community. Where I realized we (I count myself among them, even though I don't live at Edgewood.) are more than just a community of people who live in the same building. We are a community of Believers who have the opportunity and responsibility to carry one another to Jesus. And as I gazed at the walkers, and canes, and wheelchairs around the room, I realized another important lesson: You don't have to be sturdy to carry a friend. Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.