Friday, February 27, 2015

It is Well

If you read many of my Lessons From the Edge posts, chances are you have read about my dear friend, B, and his wife, U. They are the couple who live across the hall from the Activity Room, so I saw them all the time. B is the man who suffered a stroke which left him unable to use the right side of his body, and unable to communicate effectively with words. (He can speak words, but only a few. And he cannot put his thoughts into words which make sense to anyone.)

But he can still sing.

B used to be the pastor of a church in Lansing, and when I worked at Edgewood one of our favorite things to do was to go on walks (I would push B in his wheelchair.) and sing old hymns. During one of those walks, B and I decided we were going to sing "It is Well with My Soul" in the talent show this year. So, when I turned in my resignation at the beginning of January, I did so with a promise to B that I would come back for the talent show.
Well, the talent show happened this afternoon, and I had the complete joy of sharing the "stage" with B and his wife. (That's U playing the piano.)

I hope you enjoy it even half as much as I did!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

HOPE is a Beautiful Thing

So, for Christmas my wonderful husband got me a new computer. (The kids had been begging me to get a new computer for some time, but I am just too cheap to spend the money. Would rather spend the time waiting for pages to load.)
And, alas, it worked.
I didn't have to spend the money.
Brian did it for me! *wink*
Anyway, last weekend I finally got around to transferring files from my old computer to the new one.

Yes, I realize it took me almost two months to do it. Don't judge.

In the process of going through old files, I found something I about which I had completely forgotten. There was this one file titled "Lyrics" and I was about to delete it, figuring it was simply words to a hymn which I'd typed so I could use it for Bible study at Edgewood. But I opened it just to be sure, and smiled at what I found inside.

Looking in the mirror and what do I see?
The reflection of someone staring back at me.
She’s got my hair, my eyes, my face.
But what’s on her heart? That mark of grace?

What happened to the woman I used to know
Whose heavy heart was her greatest foe?
What happened to the anger and bitterness?
Where’s the despair and hopelessness?

Jesus I know You took them,
I know You’re transforming my heart.
Your Spirit lives in me.
Now hope is within me.
And each day is a brand new start.

I wrote those words some seven years ago. Although I am not a song-writer, apparently there was a song in my heart since I called the file "Lyrics". Not sure I'll ever finish it, and if I do - I don't know that there will ever be a melody written for it. But whatever happens (or doesn't) it made me smile just to remember from where Jesus has brought me.
I am so thankful for the HOPE I have in HIM.

Tomorrow is the first day of Lent. This year I have chosen to fast from Facebook during Lent because I wanted to give up something which is often a distraction. Which would allow me to spend more time with God - allowing Him to work in my heart.
As I thought about it more, I realized that blogging is also often a distraction/time-sucker for me. (The blog is a good thing, and the time I spend writing is worth it. Nonetheless, I want to do everything I can to keep this time for Him.) So, I have also decided to fast from blogging during Lent.
Actually, I will probably check in on Mondays with a video devotion to share the encouragement I am finding in Jesus as I spend this time with Him. But I'll leave the final decision about that option up to Him.
So, until later - May grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

This Week with Grandma

I have decided to start a "new" Friday feature here, to share things I'm experiencing with my grandmother and to keep you updated on how she's doing.
Because I know several of you are praying for her. (THANK YOU!!!)

So, here we go with the first This Week with Grandma edition...

I was going to write today about one of the ways God has spoken to me through my grandma about His love for caring for us - and I will likely share that story someday - but the sweetest thing happened Thursday, and I just have to tell you about it.
Grandma was rather sick last weekend and has made slow progress in getting healthy this week. (She is doing much better now.) So, Thursday when I had to leave for a little while, I did what I could to make sure she had everything she needed. And when I got home I saw that she was laying in bed resting.
I wasn't sure if she was sleeping, or not, so I walked into her room to check on her. (And on the way, I stopped into the bathroom to turn off the light.) When I reached her bedside, Grandma looked up and apologized for leaving the light on. Then she went on to explain why.
She had eaten her breakfast and gone into the bathroom to wash up after I left. While she was in the bathroom she began to feel dizzy, and that made her nervous. (Because she has fainted a couple times recently - and didn't want to fall in the bathroom.) So, she said, she "asked Jesus" to help her make it safely to her bedroom. And we smiled at each other, because - obviously! - HE did.
It was delightful to see the sparkle in my grandmother's eyes as she bragged about how Jesus had cared for her. So we talked for a minute about Jesus, and how thankful we are for His faithfulness.

And it occurred to me that I have so much to learn about depending on Him.

Grandma asked Jesus to help her make it from the bathroom, across the hall, to her bedroom.
It isn't that far.
Probably 10-12 feet.
But He knew her need. He cared. And He escorted her safely to her bed.
Made me wonder why I sometimes think I should only ask for His help with the "big" things. Helped me understand there is nothing too "silly" for which we might request help.
Now that I think about it, this story and its lesson goes right along with the first thing I wanted to write this week. God really loves to care for us.
And I am so glad He is allowing me to care for my grandma so I can learn this lesson more clearly.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What a Deal

One of the benefits of being an "at-home" type is that I am free-er to choose when I do my grocery shopping. I love NOT having to go to the store on the weekend. It is so much more peaceful during the week. Ahhhhhh.
But last Friday something went terribly wrong on my shopping trip.
Because it took me nearly two hours to complete the task.
Granted, I saw a friend in the soup aisle and chatted for a minute or two with her - and then I saw her again in produce and chatted some more. But there is NO WAY those conversations were the cause of my extremely long grocery run.
No, I believe my extended stay at the store must be attributed to the length of time it took me to get through the check-out lane.
You see, there were a lot of people at the store Friday morning. Which meant a lot of people had to go through the check-out lanes. And I did a very silly thing when it was my turn to pick a lane. I stood in line for one lane and looked to my left, which allowed me to see a shorter line. So I did what any hungry, impatient person does when they want to be done shopping.

I switched lanes!

What I didn't realize at the time was the lady at the front of my "new" lane was purchasing nearly half the store and it was going to take a very long time for the cashier to ring her up. As in, I think I was in line for at least half an hour. And while I waited, I got to watch the man who "took my place" in my original line check out and leave just as I was finally starting to put my groceries on the belt. *ahem*

I don't suppose it will come as a shock to find out I was grumbling to myself about my long wait. Whining in my heart that "they" should open up another check-out lane, or two. And invite me to be first in line. Because - clearly - I had better things to do than stand in line waiting to pay for groceries.
And, I trust it won't be a surprise to learn that God met me there.
In the check-out lane.
In the midst of my grumbling.
I was looking at one of the several boxes of cereal in my cart and realized I did nothing to get it there, except take it off the shelf. Somebody else grew the wheat, and harvested it, and made it into cereal.
Likewise, I didn't milk the cows, or collect eggs from the chickens, or grind the beef, or grow the broccoli or lettuce or carrots or apples or potatoes or lemons or... Or anything else.
I thought about the hours and hours and hours of work other people put into producing my groceries, getting them to the store, and putting them on the shelves. And I realized my two hours spent at the store to get all that - was quite a bargain.

I just love it when God fixes my focus. How has HE helped you to see things more clearly?


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Teens Need Mom, too. (Sometimes)

OK. All moms of teens out there are going to understand what I mean.
Those of you with babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers are just going to have to trust me.

It is sweet to be needed.

Hold on. Those of you with extreme young'uns, I told you. You need to trust me on this one!
I remember well the days of my children being needy, needy, needy. The picture is still very clear in my head of how exhausted I was by the constant whining and calling of my "name". Mommy! Mommy! Mooooommmmmyyyyyy!
Oh, how many times I wanted to change my name to something, anything else.
But then something happened.
The little kids grew up to be big kids and started needing Mom less.
And at first, that was OK.
Great, even.
I enjoyed NOT having to put kids in car seats every time we went somewhere. I remember thinking it was so cool that they could buckle themselves into the car
Then there were the shoes. I was so proud of my children for learning to put them on without my help. Especially the ones they actually had to TIE. (Truth be told, both of my boys have figured out how to tie their tennis shoes ONCE, such that they can take them off and put them on without ever touching the laces again. *insert eye roll*)
More freedom came when the kids started getting their own breakfast and lunch. They simply didn't need Mom so much anymore. And it was delightful.
Because I didn't feel so overwhelmed by needs, needs, NEEDS.

But something happened which I hadn't expected. I began to feel useless. Like all anyone needed me for anymore was physical sustenance. You know, to get the groceries and make meals. And I found myself looking longingly at the mothers of young 'uns in the store who had to got to bundle up their children to take them outside, and who were asked for pennies so said children could ride the pony at Meijer. I looked at the little boy hugging tightly to his mommy's leg in the check-out lane, and the baby held to her mommy's side in a sling and thought, Isn't that precious?
And I realized I was missing being "needed".

Then Saturday happened.
My son (Who shall remain nameless - but you can probably figure out who he is, since I only have one licensed-driver-son. *wink*) called me in somewhat-of-a-panic.
He was lost, and "late".
(I subsequently learned that he wasn't late for work, rather he was late meeting friends to go fishing. Thus the panic in his voice. *ahem*) So I asked him to look for a street sign and then got on Mapquest to help him figure out where he was. It took a little time, but I was able to help him get turned around and on the right road so he could get where he wanted to go.
As we ended the conversation, I heard a very solemn and gracious, "Thanks, Mom." (Which may, or may not, have been followed by a sniffle. Which coulda' been allergies. I'm not sure.)
And as I hung up my phone, I smiled because I realized my son just needed me. And I got to help him.

It is sweet to be needed.
Because, these days? It doesn't happen that often.


Monday, February 09, 2015

Look For It


Friday, February 06, 2015

Grandma's Here!

This has been a very busy week.

Sunday night we got hit with a lot of snow.
I mean, A LOT OF SNOW.
So Brian, Josh, and I spent a good amount of time shoveling the driveway - because it needed to be clear for the movers Monday. But when I got up Monday morning I had an email stating that the moving company was closed for the day. (As was nearly all of mid-Michigan...) However, regardless of the snow Grandma expected to be at my house Monday, all the other arrangements were in place for her to be here Monday, and there was no logical reason to have her stay in her apartment another day.
So, she came over on Monday.
After, that is, I spent another 40 minutes re-shoveling the driveway with Matthew. (Didn't "work out" that day. And didn't feel one bit guilty about it, either!)
That night Grandma slept in my bedroom, I took the couch, and Brian opted for Elizabeth's room.
And it was all fine.
Tuesday morning I got breakfast for Grandma and then went to her apartment. While my aunt and I waited for the movers, we finished gathering together Grandma's final things, cleaned out the fridge, and even found something for which Grandma had been searching for months. *insert happy dance*
When the movers made it to my house and unloaded everything, that's when the real work began. (And I thought I had worked hard already. *insert eye roll*) Grandma and I got busy going through boxes deciding what should go where, trying to make her new home "home". Actually, that's what we've been doing for the past three days. And, we're almost there. Still a few things to put away, and pictures/ decorations to hang on her walls, but we're close.
I know many people have been praying for my grandmother and her move to my house, and to each of you I want to say, "Thank you!!!" Things are going well, and I am enjoying having her here. I'm sure I will have lots of stories to share in the weeks to come.


Thursday, February 05, 2015

Holy Disappointment

So, a couple days ago Matthew was sitting across the table from me, looking all thoughtful. And he said, "Hey, Mom, do you know what I think you and God have in common?"

OK. Interrupting the story here to give you a glimpse into my mind.

You have no idea how happy that question made me.
I mean, here was my son - thinking about God, and me! I have always tried to live a godly life before my children. I share with them the ways God encourages me, leads me, speaks to my heart. I seek to model a faithful life of prayer and trust. My heart's desire is to point my children to Christ.
And here was my son, telling me he believed I had something in common with God.
Oh, how my heart was smiling.
Did he see holiness in me? Maybe God's refining work in my life was becoming visible.
Or, perhaps he saw compassion in me. Was I reflecting the love of Jesus to him in a tangible way?
Was it faithfulness? patience? kindness?

What? Oh, what, dear son, do you see that God and I have in common?

I could barely contain my joy as I anticipated his observation.
Until he shared it.

Annnnnd, back to the story.

"Puzzles. You both like puzzles! You know, God created everything and scientists try to figure it out, so it's like a puzzle. And you like puzzles, too."
Puzzles, huh? I thought. The thing I have in common with God is puzzles. It isn't holiness, or compassion, or faithfulness, or... It's my love of puzzles.
I was hoping to hear something a bit more spiritual.

And then I realized I might be dealing with a pride issue. *ahem* *blush*


Tuesday, February 03, 2015

This is What I Was Talking About

Josh: Did you see gas is $2.19 a gallon?
Me: Yeah.
Josh: That stinks!
Me: Well, yeah.
Josh: Fortunately I have 3/4 of a tank right now. Hopefully prices will drop before I have to fill up again.

See? That's just what I was saying when I told you my son is becoming a man right before my eyes.
Before he started working and putting gas into his own vehicle and becoming responsible for himself, I NEVER would have had a conversation like that with him.
Brings a smile to my face to think about my boy being aware of gas prices. How many times has he asked to be driven here or there, and everywhere in between, and I've said no because gas was too expensive. And he would moan and I'd say, "Some day you'll understand."
I think "someday" has arrived.


Monday, February 02, 2015