Friday, January 30, 2015

Getting Ready for Granny

Just three more days!

My grandmother is moving in on Monday, and we've been busy around here getting ready.
Monday at lunch time, this is what the bathroom looked like.
And as of Friday morning, this is its condition. My plan today is to finish the painting.
And, yes, that is a cross on the wall. I was getting excess paint out of the paint brush. *grin*
Annnnd, here's Grandma's room. Ignore the bathroom re-model supplies all over the place.
Just notice the fresh paint on the walls.
And no more "poop"!

Today - in addition to me finishing that painting in the bathroom - we're having the carpets cleaned, and I WILL put away all the re-modeling supplies. Sunday I'll be at Grandma's helping with some final arrangements. And THEN, we ought to be ready to bring her home!
I am so looking forward to having her here.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

To Hide, or Not to Hide

I hide because I 'm afraid that if I am known, I won't be loved.
I heard this statement during the sermon at church on Sunday.
And wrote it down because it rang so true.
See, I lived in that hiding place for a very long time. A young mother, bogged down by insecurities and imperfections, wishing she had it all together - like it seemed everyone else did, afraid to let her true self and struggles be known. Oh, that was such a lonely existence!

The crazy thing is, sometimes I still feel that urge to hide.

Even though I have experienced the freedom of being open and honest, even though I am grateful for the grace to be real, sometimes I am still afraid that if I am known I won't be loved.

I'm not the only one who feels this way, am I?

So what's a real girl, living in a real world, with real struggles, and a real need for love to do?

I don't know about you, but I have to run to Jesus first.
I need to remember who I am in Him: Forgiven, Redeemed, Made new, Chosen, and LOVED. I cannot hide from Him. He knows everything about me. (See Psalm 139.) And still, He loves me.
I wonder, what would happen if we had the same confidence that we would be loved by people as we do with Jesus? Better still, what would happen if we loved other people without judgement and as freely as Jesus does? What if we let Him love through us?
Seems to me we'd see fewer people hiding.

What do you think?


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

God Came to My Pity Party

Sunday afternoon I was making some Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread. (One of the requests from certain men in my household is: Now that I have "more time" because I am not "working", would I please make those yummy breads I used to make?)
So, I was making the bread.
I had two loaves in the oven and was sitting in the adjacent room while they baked. I don't know how long into the baking process is was, but at some point I heard an odd noise and then a buzzing coming from the oven. I walked into the kitchen to see what was going on and discovered the oven had turned off. It still had power - because the light came on when I opened it - but the control panel was completely dark and the oven wasn't generating any more heat.
Sooooo, I closed the door quickly and left the two loaves in the oven for a long time - hoping in vain that they'd finish baking. (Actually, the ends baked enough for one or two good slices and you could carve a slice off each side, but the middle was a gooey mess.)
And then, I sat down at my computer and thought of all the snarky, pity-me-please status updates I could post on Facebook so the whole world would know how inconvenient my life had just become.
I mean, really.

My oven wasn't working.

Never mind that I still had a working stove top and microwave. Never mind that I could go to the store and buy a yummy loaf of bread. Never mind that I could load my family up in the van and go out to dinner if I wanted to. Never mind any of that stuff. My oven was broken. And as a result, my life just got harder. And I thought the world should feel sorry for me. So I was going to come up with a clever status update to garner the sympathy I deserved.
But instead, I logged on and saw this picture which my friend had just posted along with this thought:
I was going to complain about my dishwasher breaking but then I saw this...and I remembered what it is so easy to forget...

And, boy, was I ever convicted of all I'd forgotten.

I don't recall inviting God to my pity party, but I am so glad HE came and reminded me of what's true.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Right Before My Eyes

So, I told you a couple months ago about Josh and his new Jeep. And how he wanted to drive it so badly, but had to wait until he was gainfully employed and could start making car payments.
Remember that?

Well, he's been at his job for nearly two months now and I have been simply delighted by what I'm seeing.

At first I was entertained by the stories he would share about "rescuing" children who were going the wrong way down the sledding hill, or who were in the path of someone else coming down the hill. (Josh works at our county park, manning the sledding hill.)
But more recently I have been impressed by the maturing he seems to be doing. He talks about his responsibilities on the job. He plans his schedule and activities so he is on time for work. He pays attention to his income and budgets accordingly. And the other night as I sat and listened to my son sharing stories about work, I realized - He's growing up. Right before my eyes.
I've been in this place before. At all the different stages of childhood. I remember the delight of seeing him learn to walk. How precious it was when his little voice started making real words. I loved watching my baby become a toddler, and then a little boy who turned into a big kid.

It occurred to me the other night: I'm watching my big kid become a man.

And I love it!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Getting Ready for Granny

The day is quickly approaching!

My grandmother will be moving in with us in 10 days.

And there is much to do to prepare.

For one, we need to transform this room:
This is currently the boys' bathroom, but it will become Grandma's. *Read that: The boys have been responsible for cleaning and maintaining this bathroom for seven years. My philosophy has always been, If that tub is clean enough for you, fine. But, honestly, I would never get into it. And there is no way on earth I would dream of having my grandmother use it in it's current condition.* So, I'm excited about the changes we're going to make. New floor, tub, tile, vanity, fixtures, and paint. Pretty much the whole thing. We have a guy coming in to do the big stuff - floor, tub, tile, vanity - but I need to get it prepped. That is, clean, prime, and paint the ceiling, remove the border, and clean the walls. (Did all that Wednesday.)

We also need to fix up this room:
Grandma will be using this room as her bedroom. Once upon a time, it was Matthew's room. Then it became the guest room (a.k.a. Nick's room). And now, it is Grandma's room. In here, I just need to clean and paint the walls. Was thinking about painting the ceiling, too, but after I did the bathroom my neck clearly objected to any more time in that uncomfortable cocked position. I agreed.

In the process of prepping the bedroom for paint, I was a bit shocked to find poop on the wall.
I'm guessing poop has been there for a while, as I hope don't think my boys (at 14 and 17) are still fixated with that word. *ahem*
Anyway, I tried to scrub the poop off the wall but it wouldn't budge. So I'm just going to paint over it.
Don't judge.

And now you know how I'm spending the next several days.

What are you up to?


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Have We Really Come This "Far"?

My son (and I am not mentioning a name, to protect the guilty...) wrote thank-you notes this week.
It might have taken some cajoling and a few more days than I wanted, but the job is now done.*ahem*
By "done", I mean the notes are written and the envelopes are addressed. And it was the latter of these two duties which seemed to cause the most brain-strain.

I told my un-named son where to find the addresses of the relatives to whom he was writing thank-you notes, and thought that was all I'd need to do.
Until I found an addressed envelope on the kitchen counter.
The name of the recipient was clearly written in the center of the envelope. But the address was written in the upper left corner(!). So I took the envelope to this un-named teenage child and explained what-I-thought-he-already-knew about addressing envelopes. And after some eye-rolling (His, not mine!) and questions like, "Can't I just draw an arrow?", this son of mine justified his lack of knowledge.
"Mom," he said (in a get-with-the-times tone of voice), "no one writes letters anymore. We text!"

And I thought, Really? Is letter-writing really a lost art?

Somebody, PLEASE, email me your address. I feel a great need to send something in the mail right now!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Would Jesus Do?

Do you remember the W.W.J.D. bracelets?

Did you ever own one?

I do.
And I didn't.
But lately I have been asking myself that question again.

See, I have this friend...who has a friend...
And my friend's friend has been coming to church with her recently, and that's a great thing.
My friend's friend is also in a band of sorts, and plays in clubs and bars. And the music and dancing is rather sexual in nature.
Anyway, my friend thinks it would be good to be supportive of her friend and go see a show/concert. But she's torn between supporting her friend, and condoning the sexualized performance and music. And I totally understand!

That's why W.W.J.D. has been on my mind.

I'm picturing Jesus reaching out to a person, meeting them right where they are.
At the well.
Or the bar.
Or in a pit.
I see Him free of condemnation, while clearly standing for all that is good and pure and holy. And I'm imagining the love in His eyes as He speaks truth and invites this person to follow Himself.
Then I think of my friend going to one of these shows, listening to sexual lyrics and watching similar dance moves. I feel the tension within her of wanting to meet her friend in a supportive role, but being broken over the brokenness of the circumstance. I picture my friend's friend coming to her breathless after the show, full of excitement from the rush of just finishing a performance, and asking expectantly, "So, what did you think????"
And I wonder, What would Jesus do?


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Can't Believe...

...I fell for it!

I have taken on a new addiction over the past several days.
Last week I was helping my grandma clean out some drawers in preparation for her move, and she gave me a Jumble book. You know what I'm talking about, right? The puzzles which have four scrambled words for you to figure out, and then a corny riddle-of-sorts to solve.
Well, I happen to love these puzzles. And now I have an entire BOOK filled with them.
Sitting on my kitchen table.
So, yeah.
I sit down frequently and go through several pages.

Sunday night Brian and I were sitting at the table together and I had my Jumble book open. Now, Brian doesn't get into these puzzles to the extent I do, but occasionally he humors me and tries to participate. However, Sunday, he was blowing my mind.
I was working my brain, unscrambling words like a crazy woman, and having a great time. But then I got stuck. Just couldn't see the word within the jumble, and I peeked at the answers in the back of the book.
Or twice.
OK. Maybe three times.
Then Brian's brain seemed to kick in. Because as I was about to cheat get help again, he blurted out the answer. And I'm all impressed (and jealous) and telling him how smart he is. And a couple minutes later, he did it again. And again!
Of course, at this point I am starting to think - Alright, Buddy. Slow down. Give me a little more time. If you can get these answers and you don't even like this game, surely I can solve them, too. Just hold your tongue and keep your smart-self to yourself. *hmph*

But then he could no longer contain his laughter, and Brian blew his own cover.

I looked up from my puzzle and took note of Mr. Smarty-pants' computer screen. He'd found a website that allowed him to enter the letters with which I was struggling, and it unscrambled them into the word I needed. All Brian was doing was typing in letters and reading the answers to me. Acting as if it was his own wit and wisdom coming up with the correct responses.
And, to think I'd been sitting there all impressed (and annoyed) that he was figuring out the puzzles which had me stumped.

Such is life with my clever man. *smile*


Monday, January 19, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

What's Next?

It's been less than 48 hours since my work at Vista Springs-Edgewood has ended.

I began my return to the home front by changing beds, and washing sheets and towels. Not too bad. In fact, it wasn't nearly as tedious as I remembered it. (And, I'm not saying those chores didn't get done while I was a getting-paid-to-work-mom. *ahem*)
Then there was that part of the day when I updated social media sites with my change in employment.
And I began to wonder, What do I say bout myself now?
Can I still be called a stay-at-home-mom when one of my children has nearly flown the coop, and the other two are needing me less and less?
Or should I be known as a stay-at-home-grand-daughter, since my greatest concentration of effort will be going toward my grandmother's needs?
I simply deleted Vista Springs-Edgewood from my LinkedIn account, so now it says "Christian speaker and author" there. And I wonder, Will I find myself with a greater focus in that realm? I have a couple of women's retreats coming up for which I'll be speaking. Maybe God is going to open more of those doors?

The fact is, my future is a mystery to me.

But I know God knows.
I know HE sees tomorrow, and next week, and next month, and the month after that one. I know God has control of the details. He's holding it all in perfect balance. He knows what's next.

And that is all I need to know.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Favorite Card

Yesterday was a beautiful "last day" of work. Going to save the details for my own memory bank. But there is one thing I just HAVE to share.
Seems a group of people got together under the direction of my awesome co-workers to make cards for me. They were beautiful and had such nice sentiments.
But there was one which stood out to me more than the others.
It was a plain white piece of paper. Contained none of the pretty stickers or pictures the others had.
On the front was this simple message: Warning ~ See inside.
And inside it said this:

visit often
I will
haunt you!
And it was signed by one of my (many!) favorite people.
Though, he could have left it unsigned.
I'd know his handwriting anywhere.
Yes, his handwriting and that fun sense of humor he has.

I will never throw that card away!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Saying Good-bye

I performed this song for my year-end-solo, senior year of high school.
My way of saying good-bye to very special friends and treasuring memories.

I won't be singing it today, but I will do my best to cherish all the memories I've made over the past four-plus years with some of the most amazing men and women I will ever have the privilege of knowing. Not to mention my wonderful co-workers.
I have no intention of being a stranger. I WILL go back and visit, and call Bingo, and lead Bible study - whenever they ask me to and I am able. But the truth is, it won't be the same.
And I am going to miss these folks like crazy!
So now, if you care to join me, I invite you to share a moment with me to shed a tear as I think about how difficult this day is going to be.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Not So Fast!

He burnt the pasta.
Not quite sure how a person burns pasta while boiling it but, apparently, you can.
(And to his credit, he kept the burnt portion out of the main meal.)

And the garlic was clumpy.
But I promised him - it's always clumpy when I saute it, too.

Really, those were his only two offenses. And, somehow, my husband thought those errors ought to be enough to eliminate him from consideration for future dinner-preparation responsibility.
And I'm all, Wait a minute, buddy. Not so fast! For all the times I have messed up a meal and suggested I should be fired, for all the times I have forgotten to buy an ingredient at the store and offered to turn in my resignation, for all the times I have made the wrong decision and just wanted to hand over my "mom hat" - and for all the times YOU have been gracious and have given me Oh, you'd better believe I'll give you another chance at making dinner.

P.S. I love you!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Don't Be Surprised *re-post*

Too sick to make a new video, so I'm relying on the archives. Even though this video is nearly five years old, I pray God will speak to where you are today.


Friday, January 09, 2015

Lessons From the Edge

Well, I didn't plan to take a hiatus the past couple days, but I've been a bit under-the-weather - and entirely too pathetic to post. Not that I'm feeling stellar now, but I can think and type - so here I am.
OK. Excuses out of the way. Now, on to this week's lesson.

Bitter and Sweet really can go together.

Have you ever heard a person describe a situation as "bittersweet"?
My experience with bittersweet has been rather limited. In fact, I can only think of the times when a precious Believer has been escorted to Glory. Bittersweet for sure - as we miss the one we love so much, but rejoice in the fact that they are finally Home. Our heart aches and it is happy at the very same time.


This week I have seen a way - outside of funerals - in which bittersweet may be applied.
Tuesday at the end of Bible study I made the announcement that next Wednesday will be my last day on staff at Edgewood. And that is bitter. Very bitter.
Because I love those folks so much.
I delight in every interaction I have with them. Tuesday morning Bible studies lift my heart. The simple joy of creating something pretty with sparkles and glue makes me smile. It is an incredible blessing to know God is speaking through me to make a difference for today, and eternity. Oh, how I am going to miss singing with B. And teasing U. And witnessing M's growth in Jesus. And helping L solve problems.

Bitter. Bitter. BITTER.

So why would a woman in her right mind walk into a bitter situation like this one?

Because of the sweet.

In the weeks following my departure from work, we are going to do some significant remodeling of a bathroom. I am going to be repainting our guest bedroom. We're getting the carpets shampooed, cleaning out a closet, and moving a bunch of furniture. Not to mention, we're upgrading our TV package so we get the Big Ten Network.
Yet while all that is nice, none of it is sweet.
Our reason for the changes is what is sweet: We're getting our house ready for my 97-year-old grandmother to move in with us. (And, yes, the Big Ten Network is a necessity for her. Like, it's as important as her heart medication. *wink*)
You must believe me, friends, when I tell you there are enormous amounts of sweet all over this circumstance.
For various reasons, Grandma is needing more care than what she's able to receive right now at Edgewood. I can provide it for her at my home. (Not to worry. She has professional care-givers who will continue to maintain her medication and who will help her with showers, and any other medical needs which may arise.)
Besides that, she won't have to miss any more family functions. Rather than staying at her apartment because it is too much for her to navigate entering/exiting cars and climbing steps at my house, she'll simply walk into the dining room or living room - and there we'll be!
When I think of all the things my grandmother did for me while I was growing up - reading me stories; singing songs to me; bathing me; letting me play with her aprons; letting me play with Play-doh(!); teaching me card games; making me the world's best open-face-cheese sandwiches; playing games with me outside; taking me on a trip with my cousin out west when I was 10 years old; giving me her and Grandpa's extra car when I was in college, so I could live off campus - because they didn't want me walking/biking to campus; teaching me how to bake a pie crust; and the list goes on... It fills me with absolute delight to be able to give back to her.

It is sweet. Very, very sweet.

So this will be my last Lessons From the Edge post. While I intend to continue visiting my friends at Edgewood, my time there will be significantly reduced. And that is bitter. But the sweet I'm about to experience by having my grandmother here is going to be over the top. I just know it.

Bitter and Sweet really can go together.

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

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Tallying My "Cool" Points

So, how did you spend your New Year's Eve?

I had eight teenagers in my house.

Three were mine. The other five were their friends.

And, believe me when I tell you. It was noisy here!
But it was also fun. Lots and lots of fun.
The teens arrived with items to contribute for a pot-luck style dinner, which we all ate together.
After dinner we played a board game and shared plenty of laughter. Then we went into the living room for a couple more games.
The first game is one you should probably play with your own kids.
Yes. It was that fun.
To set it up, get a BUNCH of candy and a roll, or two, of plastic wrap. Begin by wrapping a piece of candy in the plastic, then add another piece and wrap some more, and add more candy, and keep going and going until you have a great big ball of plastic wrap full of lots and lots of candy. Every now and then (like every 4-6 feet) cut the plastic wrap and start rolling with a fresh piece.
To play the game you need the ball of plastic/candy, two dice, and plenty of participants. One person begins unwrapping the plastic while the person to their left rolls the dice, trying to get doubles. When doubles are rolled the dice-roller takes the ball and starts unwrapping it - while the next person to the left starts rolling the dice.
And so it goes: one person unwrapping the ball while another rolls dice in order to get a chance at unwrapping the ball.
(BTW, you get to keep all the candy which is released during your turn.)
When we played, it was a room full of flying candy, screaming teens, tons of laughter, and a healthy amount of frustration every time a piece of plastic wrap ended. Because, believe me, there's a lot of pressure going when you're trying to find the new beginning so you can start getting more candy - before the person next to you rolls doubles and takes the candy ball away from you.

So, we played that game. Then we played Black Jack - using the candy we'd just collected as our "money" for betting. Eventually, we found ourselves in front of the TV counting down to the New Year. We yelled and popped our noise-makers, and yelled some more.
Then I said good-night to the kids and went to bed.
But not quite to sleep.
You see, these eight teenagers in my home thought it would be a great idea to stay up all.night.long. And to achieve a feat like that necessitated noise. Lots of it.
I had agreed to the all-nighter. I knew it was going to be loud. But I decided I would much rather lose sleep and have my kids under my own roof, than loose sleep because I don't know where they are, or what they're doing. Ya know?
So, after I'd had all the fun with them that my 43-year-old body would allow, I went to bed. And I lay there not sleeping, rather listening to the squeals, stomping, banging, and laughter coming from the other end of the house. For hours I lay in my bed, falling asleep occasionally - only to be woken up by another scream, or round of laughter - and I thought about how happy I was that my kids were having fun.
I thought about how glad I was that my daughter wanted to spend the evening at home having fun with her friends, and how great it was that they'd included my boys in the party.
I recounted nights when I'd told the kids, as I was going to bed, "You need to keep the noise level down now, so I can sleep." And recalled Elizabeth's hopefulness and caution as she requested permission for this loud all-nighter. And her happiness when we said, Yes.
Then I closed my eyes, listened to the laughter, and tallied my "cool" points, while I didn't sleep. *smile*


Monday, January 05, 2015