Friday, July 31, 2015

This Week with Grandma

I think I learned something new about serving this week.
You know Jesus' parable about the sheep and the goats, in which He teaches that when we do something for "any one of the least of these [His] brothers," we've done it for Him? That has long been a motivating passage of Scripture for me. The lesson in those words makes me eager to serve others, because I want to serve Jesus. And I have tried to help my grandmother understand that principle when she becomes self-conscious about how much I need to do for her.
I am happy to do it.
Because I would gladly do it for JESUS!

Well, lately her need has increased. Quite a bit.
She hasn't been getting out of bed much, and when she does get up to move around she needs escorting.
I hold her steady when she brushes her teeth, and sometimes I simply hold the pan and a cup of water so she can brush her teeth in bed.
She needs assistance pulling down her pants to use the bathroom - and most of the time she doesn't even go TO the the bathroom, but uses the commode beside her bed. It just makes more sense to use the commode by her bed - rather than expending precious energy walking across the hall.
And so I do these things for her.
It was one afternoon - in the midst of helping Grandma with these needs and listening to her apologize because I had to empty and clean the commode - that I discovered this new view of serving. I was thinking about doing it for Jesus, knowing I would do it with joy, and wanted to tell Grandma once again about this perspective. But then I realized, I could actually be doing it FOR Jesus. That is, I know Jesus loves my grandmother and He wants her needs to be met. He wants her to be well cared-for. However, Jesus isn't here in bodily form. He can't physically do the things she needs to have done. Instead, I get to be His hands and feet. That is, I get to serve on His behalf.
And that perspective just made my heart overflow with delight. Jesus loves my grandma and wants her needs to be met with love. And He has chosen me to do it. I get to do all this for HIM!
Yes, LORD. Whatever You say.

Have you ever considered this perspective on serving? How does it effect your heart and attitude?


Thursday, July 30, 2015


Soooooo, Mindy got her bath.

But it didn't happen Tuesday, as we had said it should.

And Josh didn't participate in the chore, as I said he would.

Yep. That's pretty much the way it played out. Brain said the boys should give Mindy a bath Tuesday and - in spite of his argument/other plans - I said Josh would be helping. Period.
But neither event occurred.
So what happened???
Let me 'xplain.

When I got up Tuesday morning, Josh's Jeep was gone. Which meant he was gone.
Gone fishing, that is.
As it turns out, the kid got up at 4:45 to meet his friend for an early morning catch. Yes, he is that committed to his obsession hobby. And when he got home in the early afternoon Josh was full of excitement about an opportunity he had to go fishing with another friend - in "20 minutes." I reminded him about the dog bath, but honestly - I was so wrapped up in the things I was juggling that I just didn't want to make an issue of it at the moment. So I settled for a verbal nod that the job would get done.
And when Brian and I got home Tuesday night from some work we were doing and Josh said, "Doesn't Mindy look nice after her bath?" I was totally ready to apologize for doubting him. Until I looked at the dog and saw she didn't look like she'd been bathed - and then I looked at Josh and saw that silly grin on his face. Yeah. He got me!
By then it was dark outside, and too late to send the boys and the dog out for a bath. So I figured the bath would have to happen Wednesday. (The thing I neglected to account for was that Matthew would be at driver's training all morning, and Josh was scheduled to cover the afternoon/evening shift at work.)
So Wednesday afternoon I made an executive decision and told Matthew to come outside with me to give Mindy a bath. Which we did. Because she needed it. And I wasn't going to make Matthew do it alone. However, in the back of my mind I was looking for something I could assign Josh to do - since he had managed to "get out" of washing the dog.

But as I began to ponder odd jobs around the house which need to be done, I got a picture in my mind of Josh outside Sunday night. He was digging up dirt, placing it around the driveway, and planting grass seed. And he was working hard at it. I asked Brian if he'd assigned the job to Josh and he said he hadn't. Josh was just taking it upon himself to do.
Then I recalled seeing Josh out Monday night with the hose - watering the grass seed. Without being asked. He even watered some flowers I recently planted.
As these images played around in my mind, I began to wonder if it was really necessary to assign him another job. Oh, we have some progress to make with regard to the way he responds to me when I ask him to do things, but I realized I need to see Josh for the good kid he really is. Sometimes (too many times) I get uptight about certain teenage behaviors, and I feel like I need to come down hard on my son. You know - make sure he knows who really has the authority in this house. *ahem*
But other times, God gives me pause to take my eyes off myself and my ridiculous desire for control - long enough to recognize that I really have good kids. And so, in light of the things Josh does around here (many without even being asked) I am officially reneging my claim that he has to help bathe the dog.
And I am not going to add a replacement duty.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Living on My Knees

My daughter sent me a text yesterday asking me to pray for her - and the girls in her cabin at camp this week. So I am praying! I am praying God will be glorified and that He will overwhelm Madi, Natalie, Alyson, Halie, Riley, and Elise with His love as He pours it out through my girl.
Then I got on Facebook, and I became aware of so many circumstances in which people need prayer.
So I prayed for Kimberly - that God would grant her wisdom, and eyes of faith to see where He's leading.
I prayed for healing for Weston and courage for his parents.
I asked God to fill Stephanie with the grace and strength she needs to get through her situation. Because I know she can't do it alone. She needs HIM!
I prayed for those 14-year-old boys who've gone missing in Florida while they were fishing. And for their mommas. 'Cuz I know their hearts are hurting.
I saw an update from a friend and understood why God had prompted me to pray for her in the morning. And I prayed for her some more.
Throughout the day, I saw yellow cars and red trucks - which reminded me to pray for Emma and Mike. My husband texted me to pass on a prayer request - so I prayed for Amber. I glanced at the clock at 11:11, and prayed for my husband. I checked the daily request for War Room, and prayed for the Kendrick brothers. And in my multiple interactions with Grandma, I asked God to carry her.

More and more, I am learning to live life "from my knees." Sometimes I really get down on my knees, face to the ground, seeking God's intervention. But usually I am up and moving, living life. Under the constant awareness of my/our need for God, and delighted that He wants to hear from us.
So today I want to invite you to join me in this move.
*Let us humble ourselves before Almighty God and acknowledge our desperate need for Him.
*Let us turn from our own ways and seek His, that we may walk in them.
*Let us call out to Him in each moment, trusting that He's listening and able to come to our aid. Even more, that He wants to come to our aid!
*And let us give thanks and praise to the One who is worthy.
I love the LORD, for her heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

Psalm 116:1-2
War Room is coming to theaters August 28. Trust me. You don't want to miss this movie - or the movement of prayer which I believe will follow.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Overheard on the Roadtrip

Josh and Matthew: Can you open the windows back here? Mindy stinks.
Brian: Yeah. She needs a bath. (pause) Hey! That would be a great job for you two tomorrow!
Josh: Correction. That would be a good job for Matthew. Josh will be fishing.
Brian and Me: (in unison) (practically) Uh, no. Work comes before play.
Josh: Not for Josh. He'll be fishing.
Me: Tell Josh if he blatantly disregards our instruction, he'll be sorry.
Josh: Josh doesn't care. He'll run away.
Me: Oh! Well then tell Josh he'll have to provide his own housing and clothing and food and... I don't think he'll like that option.
(Parental chuckling from the front seats.)
(Additional parental banter and warnings for "Josh.")
Josh: (over the sound of highway noise and parents) Josh can't hear what you're saying. He isn't even listening.

And so it is with our teenager. *ahem*

But, rest assured, he will be helping with that dog bath! *wink*


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Because I Can't Do "All Things"

It is almost time to start preparing dinner as I type these words.
So far today I have prepared dinner for Friday and Saturday, made muffins for tonight, changed beds and washed/folded sheets (OK. There is one load finishing in the dryer right now. Er, it might be done. I need to check on that. *ahem*), taken my son to and from driver's training, stopped at the grocery store, and taken care of various other little tasks in preparation for a short trip I'm taking Thursday-Saturday. None of which have included preparing blog posts.
Soooooo,for the sake of my sanity (and to increase the likelihood of getting everything else done) I am officially putting this blog on hold until Tuesday, July 28.
LORD willing, I'll be home from my trip (I'm going to a suburb of Chicago to receive training in teaching Precept Bible studies. Can't wait!) and back into the swing of things by then.

And so, I leave you with this:
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

Psalm 46:1-3


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Let Us Pray

If you've been around here lately, you probably know I am over-the-moon excited about the upcoming movie War Room. Because it is all about prayer.

And if you know me at all, you know I am deeply passionate about prayer.

So, a few days ago when I watched this video and prayed this prayer - with one of the creators of War Room - I was moved all over again. Renewed in my desire for our nation to come before the LORD in prayer. More eager than ever to see how HE might use this movie to spark a movement of prayer like we've never seen before.
Would you pray with me now?


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mom to the Rescue!

Saturday night I was in the middle of an intense situation when my phone rang.
OK. I was playing Words with Friends on Facebook when my son called me Saturday night. But I'm kinda competitive. And I was working on a really good move. Probably against "Meatpiesi." And I'm tired of losing to him - so it was an intense situation. *ahem*
Anyway, I saw that it was Josh calling and figured I ought to answer the phone. When I did, I heard a somewhat stressed-out voice on the other end asking me to come to the fishing dock. Seems he'd accidentally hooked a snapping turtle while fishing and he needed help setting it free. And, yes, he wanted me to come right away. Never mind the very important business to which I was already attending. There was a turtle's freedom at stake here. And if you know my son, you know turtles rank above - well - above everything. It is also true Josh could've just cut the line and let the turtle go, but then he would never know if the hook came out. Besides, he would've lost his fishing lure. And fishing equipment ranks right up there with turtles, you know.
So, I did the only rational thing I could do. I jumped up from the table, told Grandma and Matthew I was going out to help Josh rescue a turtle, applied bug spray - and I was off!
I arrived at the dock to find Josh assessing the situation. And he quickly shared with me the game plan. I would hold the fishing pole while Josh climbed through an opening in the railing so he could stand on a board which ran under the dock. Then I would put the pole down and pull up the line to raise the turtle to within Josh's reach. Josh would grab the turtle as I let go of the line and put my arms around his waist, so he could grasp the hook and free the turtle without falling into the lake. Then Josh would release the turtle, grab hold of the railing, and I would release him.
To my delighted surprise, the idea played out just like Josh had prescribed it. Well, except for that one moment when I seriously thought I was going to lose my grip on him and send him swimming with the fish and turtles.
Oh, and before he released the snapper Josh asked me to take a picture. And what kind of blogger mother would refuse that request? *wink*

As I walked back to my van to go home I pondered, I just drove all the way out here to spend all of two minutes unhooking a turtle. Why??? And that smile right there gave me the answer. Even though I couldn't really care less about snapping turtles and fishing lures, to my son they're incredibly important. And if it matters that much to him, I'll always do what I can to help.
Because he's my son.
And I love him.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

This Week with Grandma


I'm feeling a little dizzy - due to all the ups and downs we've been experiencing.
A few weeks ago I mentioned that my aunt was in the hospital, and that Grandma was concerned about her daughter. Well, Aunt Sue is still in the hospital. And Grandma is still concerned.
That last sentence is a gross understatement, by the way.
I'll spare you the details and ask you just to trust me when I say - it's been a long journey.
BUT early this week we got an encouraging report from Aunt Sue's doctors/tests. I wish you could have seen how much Grandma perked up that day. Yet as hours and days passed without further good news, I watched her going down again. Each time a text or email came from Aunt Sue, Grandma would get a little rise. However, if the message wasn't sufficiently informative she would slip again.
So this week has had moments when Grandma's eyes had their sparkle and she wore a smile on her face. It has had just as many moments when her eyes have been filled with tears. She told me one morning as she lay in bed crying, "I'm angry. I'm angry at everyone! I'm angry at God, and the doctors. I'm angry!"
And I saw underneath that expression of anger something beautiful.
Something very, very beautiful.
I saw a woman who became a mother over 77 years ago - and the love for her children which has been growing every day since then. I imagined the days when my aunt was a little girl, perhaps in bed with a fever - and I could see Grandma kneeling by her side holding a cold cloth on her head, and rubbing her arm. I saw in my mind a young mother speaking comforting words to her little girl, probably singing something like On the Good Ship Lolipop. And the weak smile I imagined on that little girl's face would give her mother the comfort of knowing she was able to do something to help her baby feel better. Oh, the love of that momma for her children.

Yes, as I watched my almost 98-year-old grandmother crying and being angry at "everyone" - that is the picture I imagined. Because I have listened to her heart. I know her concern comes from years of loving her daughter. And I'm pretty sure the real reason she's angry is because she can't be by her daughter's bed tending to her needs and doing everything she is able to help her baby get better.
So, in spite of the dizziness, I am thankful for the picture of a mother's love which my grandma has given me this week. May I love my children fiercely, like she does - until I take my very last breath.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Beyond the Pits

Life is hard. We all know that.

Well-made plans get tossed aside by unexpected circumstances.

Perfectly good days are ruined by horribly bad news.

Otherwise happy lives become saddened by harsh reality.

In the end, a bowl of cherries leaves us with the pits.

And that's life. Right?

As adults we have come to expect the unexpected, and learned to deal with the disappointments. Sometimes things don't work out the way we'd hoped they would. You can't always have what you want. I've heard and said that line more times than I can count...
So in recent days when my son has been faced with the harsh reality of needing a new transmission and rear brakes for his Jeep - which means he owes his parents more money, and he can't buy the fishing gear he'd like - my knee-jerk reaction is to say something akin to,
"Welcome to adulthood, kiddo. That's life!"
But I've been thinking about my words and what kind of mark they're making. And I decided I really don't want to paint a gloomy picture for my son. (For anyone!) I have spent time despairing through my days, and God gave me hope in the midst of them.
Why would I pass on anything but hope to anyone else???
So, a couple days ago when Josh got up early to work for some friends to earn a little extra money, I sent him this text:
I know you're frustrated about your Jeep. And you'd rather be fishing than working. Not sure how God intends to grow you through this difficulty but I trust He will. And I pray He'll draw you close to Himself through it all.
I love you!
I know my words won't solve his problems.
He still has bills to pay, work to do, and fishing equipment to do without.
But if I can welcome my son into adulthood by helping him learn to seek God and trust that He's working good things - even when our circumstances scream otherwise - I will consider my job done.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Watch Your Mouth

I sat in Large Group on Sunday, listening to the lesson. It was about our words - how they can be helpful or hurtful. And the teacher shared that God wants us to use our words in a kind manner. To encourage and build up, rather than to tear down.
"Because words are a powerful thing," he said.
They stay with us long after they've been spoken.
I looked around the room at that moment, hoping and praying the kids were all listening. Because my mind had already gone back 33 years to the words spoken to me by a classmate in fifth grade. ("Spoken" that is, via a note passed across the classroom.)
She'd written:

The only reason you want (this) is because you can't have (that).
And you can't be different!
Yes, it has been 33 years. And I still.remember.each.word.

The thing is, she was right.
I had been trying so very hard to fit in. I wanted to wear designer jeans and Nike shoes - like the popular girls did. I couldn't wait until I was 12 and could get my ears pierced - like the other girls. I wished I could get hot lunch, instead of bringing my brown bag - because that's what most of the kids did. Oh, how I longed to be invited to birthday parties and sleep-overs with the favored crowd.
But, for the most part, I wasn't.
And with the reading of this note, I became aware that the writer (who was, of course, one of the prominent girls) was keenly aware of my want. More than that, with her words she was confirming my different-ness. Her confirmation hurt more than being kept out of the childish play-ground dare which had started the whole exchange.

So I thought of this circumstance from my fifth grade year, and really hoped all the kids in Sunday school (None of whom have made it to fifth grade yet!) were listening. I prayed God would speak to their hearts, so they might always use their words to build - and never to wound.
Because words are powerful.
They stay with us long after they've been spoken.

Remember that little rhyme we learned as children?
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Well, I came up with a new one. It suits my experience much better.
Broken bones from sticks and stones will surely heal one day.
But scars and hurts from unkind words are likely here to stay.

As we returned to our classrooms for small group time - and talked about helpful and hurtful words - even as I willed for the girls to take the lesson to heart, I found myself renewing my own commitment to helpful words. My teenagers often challenge my resolve with their teenage behavior *ahem* and I must rely fully on the power of the Holy Spirit to stay the course. But, by the grace of God, I believe it is possible.
Yes, LORD, please guard my heart and my mouth. Please produce in me words of kindness, gentleness, grace, and love. That everything I say may honor You and benefit the listener.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"Live" From Cran-Hill Ranch

Did you attend summer camp when you were a kid?

And while you were at camp, did you participate in cabin clean-up?

Perhaps there was a friendly competition between cabins to see who could maintain the tidiest abode?

Well, that's the way they do it at Cran-Hill Ranch. Every day "Hektor the Inspector" travels to each cabin and awards up to 22 points based on the cleanliness (or lack there-of) which he finds. And while my boys were at camp last week, their cabin (Yes, a BOY cabin!) had a goal of scoring a perfect "22" every day. Unheard of for boys, you might say, but these guys were willing to do whatever it takes to be the Twice-reigning Champs. (They did it last year!)
Whatever it takes, including writing and recording a parody of Taylor Swift's "22".

Get ready for the boys of RC5...

Ode to Hektor the Inspector

You're in our room
We know what for
You're checking right when you walk through the door.

We just showed up
To clean up
Cleaning the way that we do for a 22.

Everyone else in the room can clean it
Everyone else but you.

Hektor you judge our room like nobody else
The way that you check our room gets us overwhelmed.
But when you look at the floor it's so hard to tell.

You don't know (oh,oh)
We're just a bunch of teenage boys.
If only you saw where we go pee
You'd understand why we scrub it so desperately.

Right now we're singing to you and we can't believe
You can't tell (oh,oh)
You can't tell we're teenage boys (oh,oh).
We're lookin' for that perfect score.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015

This Week with Grandma

Did you read the post about the book Grandma and I were reading together?
OK. So the post was more about God's power unleashed through prayer than it was about us reading a book together. But I needed an introductory sentence. And that one seemed to work. *ahem*
Besides, that was a really good post (Because of God - not me!) and if you missed it, I'm using this opportunity to send you to it.

Anyway, we both finished the book and enjoyed talking about it with each other. And we're planning to read its sequel. In the meantime, however, one of the books I had asked the library to send for Grandma has arrived - and when I read the description I decided I'd like to read it, too. So I checked out a copy for myself, and now we're reading another book together. And a really neat thing happened as a result yesterday.
We were having lunch and I brought up something I'd been considering as I read our new book. And, oh, if we didn't get into a wonderful conversation about it. The two of us sat at the table for a long while sharing our hearts. And some of the hurts which hide there.
As I sat looking at Grandma - listening to her heart, and wisdom about family and relationships - I thought, I am so stinkin' fortunate. Ninety-eight years of experience is sitting right here. Right here! And she's talking to me. Sharing with me. Understanding me. Who gets to do this???

I thought I was doing something nice for Grandma when I picked up that book for her to read. And when I checked out the second book, I figured it would bring her a little piece of joy. In my mind - it was all for her. And then I discovered the blessing is mine, too.

How have you been blessed by surprise?


Thursday, July 09, 2015

This Isn't the Post I was Going to Post...

OK, honestly?

I just deleted the post I had written for today.
I mean, it was suitable. Had a few clever lines. Probably would have gotten a chuckle from some of you. But my heart wasn't in it.

And that won't do.

You see, I have been trying diligently to have new posts scheduled to go up every weekday. I even have a little pattern I try to follow: Monday-video devotion, Tuesday-something kid/mothering/marriage/family, Wednesday-something spiritual, Thursday-something kid/mothering/marriage/family, and Friday-This Week with Grandma. Not sure if you ever noticed.
Doesn't really matter.
It's mostly to satisfy the control freak tidy side of me. *ahem*
Anyway, I have recently been motivated to have less and less of me doing things - and more and more of the Holy Spirit running the show. Because I want everything I do and say to be a beautiful reflection of God. And that is only going to happen when I surrender completely to His Spirit.


Including with this blog.

I want even the words I write to be of Him. I want the Holy Spirit to minister to the heart of every person who reads here - with His heart. Not with words I type just to fill space in the blogosphere.
So, from here on out - if I "miss" a day of posting please know that I'm not just being lazy. (OK, there's a chance that I am. But it isn't likely. *wink*) Rather, I don't want to waste your time with words that have no heart. If there are words on this blog, you may be assured you have been prayed for and so has the message.

May these words of my mouth (keyboard!) and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14


Wednesday, July 08, 2015

War Room: So Much MORE Than Just a Movie


As I type this post, I have just finished watching a 45-minute online event with the filmmakers of War Room. While they talked a bit bout the movie (And had some very cool things to share. Especially the story about how they "found" Miss Clara.) the bulk of the program was about the heart behind the movie. That is, a call for God's people to humble themselves and return to Him in prayer.

Oh, how we need HIM!

War Room is a fantastic movie. The acting is excellent. The filming is top-notch. The story line is remarkable - and scores a "zero" on the Cheese-Factor. (Which is crucial in my book!) But I could say the same things about a number of movies I have liked. And none of those other movies have captured my heart the way War Room has.
Because War Room is so much MORE than just a movie. I knew it was when I saw a pre-release screening in May, but listening to the filmmakers just now - and the heart behind the movie - has me bubbling up with excitement all over again. Seriously, friends, I feel like I'm going to burst.
The troubles in our world are too numerous to count. The condition of our nation, the state of our collective (im)morality, the outlook for our future if we maintain this path... It leaves me feeling so hopeless and overwhelmed.
But did you know each great movement in the Church was preceded by a great movement of prayer?
And I think we'e on the verge of another one.
We must join together, humble ourselves, repent, and seek the face of GOD in prayer. We must!

So I am begging you to join me in this movement. Because that's what I think War Room is - a movement. Tell your friends. Ask your pastor and church leaders to check it out. (There is another 45-minute online event on Thursday, July 16 at 1pm CST. I'd be happy to forward the email with link in it to whoever needs it. Or, I bet you could contact Lifeway and ask for it.)

Above all, please pray.
I have so much faith that God is in the middle of this movement and wants it to explode.
Please pray with me that HIS people will respond in faith and obedience.

And now, for a little taste of the movie. One of the funny scenes. :) Karen

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Can't We All Just Get Along?

One of my daughter's friends got engaged last week.
Elizabeth was so excited about the news she called me from camp while on her break to tell me.
Said it was all over Facebook.
So the next time I was on Facebook I went to her friend's page to get the details for myself. (Cuz she's a girl I love so much. And I wanted to congratulate her, too.) But when I got to her page I saw her posting about being sad because of some people's response to her news. Seems certain friends felt dissed because they found out about the engagement via social media, rather than a personal announcement - face-to-face, or at least over the phone. And they let her know how upset they were with her.
Mind you, this young lady has been in a residential treatment facility for the past I-don't-know-how-long for an eating disorder. She's hardly been able to flit around like a social butterfly. Rather, she's been struggling to get better, battling her sickness, and seeking healing. And somehow her friends feel like she should have contacted them personally to let them know of her engagement.

This friendship debacle reminded me of a situation I faced just a little over 15 years ago.
An instance in which I failed to meet someone's expectations with a certain announcement, and lost a friendship as a result.
I was a MOPS table leader and had just gone through a difficult time. At seven months pregnant I broke my left knee. That kinda altered the way I was able to do life! Fortunately, I had lot of great support - largely from the women at my MOPS table. The MOPS year ended and shortly after that, Matthew was born. Adjusting to life with an infant and a 4 and 2-year-old was challenging, to say the least. But after a couple of weeks I had enough time/energy to make a baby announcement. And I made sure to send it to all the ladies at my MOPS table - because I definitely wanted to let them know.
Annnnnnd, a week or so later I received a letter in the mail from one of those ladies. She was not satisfied with the impersonal baby announcement I'd sent. After the support she'd given me through my broken-leg days, she figured I would call or visit with the announcement. She went on for a while about how she believed I was de-valuing our friendship, and how let down she felt by receiving an announcement "just like everyone else."
That was probably right around the time I had a neighbor threatening to call CPS on me. (Joshua had made a habit of walking out the front door when I was busy with the baby, and she didn't think I could adequately manage my children.) So, between chasing kids and changing diapers I wrote a letter to K, apologizing profusely for hurting her feelings and asking for her forgiveness.
I never heard from her again.
I still think of K from time to time. And pray God will continue His pursuit of her heart. But I have yet to understand why a baby announcement sent through the mail was enough to end a friendship. And I often wonder, what would our relationship be like now - 15 years later - if we'd not fallen apart?

I share those stories to say this: If someone in your life (be it another mom, or somebody else) doesn't live up to your expectations, please give her grace. Maybe there is something going on in her life about which you have no knowledge. Maybe she can't do everything you wish she could do at the moment. Perhaps your expectations aren't as crucial as they seem.
Rather than lashing out, why not give her a call and share an encouraging word?
A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

Proverbs 25:11


Monday, July 06, 2015

Friday, July 03, 2015

This Week with Grandma

You all know my grandmother is almost 98 years old, right?
And, as such, she struggles with a lot of things about which folks my age don't even give a second thought. In fact, they're things which bring her spirits down and cause her even to cry sometimes.
And I get so sad when she tells me about "another bad night" or her "achy legs." Wishing there was something I could do to lighten her load.

Well, yesterday her load was lightened a bit.

But it had nothing to do with me, or anything I'd done.

While Grandma was eating breakfast, her telephone rang. I ran into her room, grabbed the phone, hit the "talk" button and said, "Hello. This is Peg Sheaffer's phone." And the voice on the other end was one I recognized. It was a friend from Edgewood, calling to say. Hi!
So I took the phone to Grandma and announced, "It's Thelma!"
*cue: big smile on Grandma's face*

What happened next put a big ol' smile on my face.

I'm sure it was in response to Thelma asking something like "How are you doing?" that my grandmother started talking about her "bad" night. Only this time she didn't sound sad. In fact, she was laughing. Before I knew it, the two of them were laughing at each other's tales of woe regarding aging - including charlie horses and incontinence. The subject matter seemed a bit odd to me, but apparently among the aged it's fair game. Kinda reminds me of young mothers one-upping each other with labor horror stories, and diaper blow-out tragedies.
Anyway, after that phone conversation Grandma was in good spirits and ready to take on the day.

*cue the music*


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I Can Do Better Than That

OK. I know God is into details.

I am well aware of His ability to do more than I ask.

No news flashes with those two pieces of information.

Why, then, I wonder? Why do I ask for so little????

Last week my grandmother decided she could no longer read regular-size type. Her eyes had been bothering her and she was getting headaches - and reading anything but "Large Print" just wasn't working. So I logged onto our library's website and found a couple large print books she would like to read. And I ordered them for her.
But one is not available at the moment and the other is coming from somewhere across the state - so it'll be a while until it gets here. And Grandma really wanted something she could read right away. (She reads to help herself go to sleep every night.)
Our local library has an entire wall of "Large Print" books, so I told my grandma I would go to the library and pick up something which she could begin reading right away. She told me a couple of authors to NOT choose, but other than that - she just asked me to get something that sounded good.
I have been reading some Francine Rivers' books lately, and I felt confident that Grandma would enjoy her books. So as I drove to the library I prayed and asked God to let me find one of her books on the Large Print shelf. I really wanted to find a good book for Grandma! I realize, you may think I was being a bit eccentric with this book selection. But, you have to understand. Reading is very important to my grandmother. And she has very specific likes/dislikes. I have checked-out and returned more than a few books which she rejected. And, with the way her spirits have been so low lately, I just really wanted to find a book which would be a joy to her. Get it?
So, anyway, I was going to the library and praying for a Francine Rivers book to be available in Large Print. And as I approached the shelf and searched for the "R" section, I was so happy to see one.
BUT I was over-the-top happy when I realized it was "Her Mother's Dream." Because that is exactly the book I am reading right now. (HE's into details!)
And it's just so perfect.
Because we can talk about the story as we're reading it together.
And that will make Grandma so happy.
Because she loves to talk about the books she reads.
So I grabbed the book off the shelf, checked it out, and raced back outside. And as I drove home I imagined God smiling earlier as I had prayed - perhaps with just a hint of teasing in His eyes. While I was asking Him to let there be a Francine Rivers book on the Large Print shelf, I imagine He was probably saying, Oh, sweetheart. I can do better than that!

I have been thinking about this encounter with God and the book quite a lot over the past several days, and I have come to the conclusion that - as a general rule - I ask too little.
Do you?
And I don't mean just the book.
It goes beyond that.
I was thinking about a circumstance in my extended family - in which I have been asking God to intervene. And I realized I'm asking too little. God is able to do so much more than "intervene." He can change hearts and renew hope and mend broken relationships - and bring salvation.
God provided the perfect book, when all I was asking for was the author. So I have decided I'm going to ask Him to do what I know He can do. I'm asking for complete restoration for my loved ones. I'm asking Him to change their hearts and bring them into a saving relationship with Himself through Jesus. I'm asking Him to take this situation which looks impossible, and to use it for His glory. To make Himself famous in their lives and grow His kingdom.
Because when it comes to God comforting hurting hearts, and showing Himself to the ones who are hurting - Oh! He can do so much better than that!

Are you ready to stop asking too little?