Monday, August 31, 2015

Fight or Flight? Or PRAYER?

Busy days are ahead for me, so I am going to take a blog-hiatus.
I hope to be back around September 9 or 10.

May grace and peace be yours in abundance!!!


Friday, August 28, 2015

This Week with Grandma

*heavy sigh*

It's really hard for me to let things go sometimes.

And this week I have learned that letting go doesn't necessarily get easier with age.

Last weekend we took a short vacation to enjoy some family time before Elizabeth went back to Wheaton. I had planned for Grandma to stay at home with a couple different people, but the plans fell through and she ended up going to a local care facility from Thursday afternoon until Sunday evening. And, let's just say, she did not have a good experience there.
At all.
In fact, she said if the need ever arises again - she'd rather stay home alone than go back there.
Then she said, "Let's just not talk about it anymore."
And I was only too happy to oblige.

The thing is, within the next day or two she was talking about her experience again. Followed with her resolve to not talk about it anymore. Except that - she keeps bringing it up.
While it's true she's almost 98, her mind is good. So I don't think she's talking about last weekend because she doesn't remember she's been talking about it already. It just seems to be weighing heavily on her mind. And it makes me sad to see her re-living unpleasantness over and over.

I wonder: Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we keep rehashing things we'd rather forget? And, more importantly, How do we put an end to it?


Thursday, August 27, 2015


Some time ago a friend of mine suggested I should consider hosting a women's retreat.

To be honest, my first reaction was to think she was crazy. Although I liked the idea - because I love being together with women and leading them toward God - I just couldn't imagine putting together my "own" retreat. It seemed like too much for me.
Nonetheless, I thought about her proposition from time to time. And several weeks ago I mentioned on Facebook that I was praying about the idea.
Hadn't thought about it for awhile, then Tuesday happened.
Seemingly out of the blue, another friend asked me how the retreat was coming. I'm sure the look on my face said something like, Wha? Retreat? Huh?, because she followed up quickly by saying she'd seen something about it on Facebook. So I told her it was just an idea for now. And she said it sounded like something to which she might like to bring the ladies in her Bible study group.
As we were parting I told her, "If God says, Go, I'll do it!"

And can I tell you? I have almost NOT stopped thinking about it since then. (Well, except for when I have been flooded with thoughts and prayers about War Room, and all I pray God will do through a movement of prayer among His people.) I am seeking His heart, wanting to know if God would have me put this retreat together. I've been dreaming about how I would format the time, getting excited about what I pray God would do and how He would speak.
And because I am so desperate for God's hand to lead me in everything I do, I am asking you to join me. Would you pray for me, too? Would you ask God to speak to my heart - to enter my dreaming - and show me if this retreat is where HE wants me to go?

Because I don't want to do anything without HIM!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

War Room is Coming Soon!

To say the recent past has been zoo-y would be a gross understatement. (Yes, that includes our mini-vacation. *ahem*) But there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. (And sometimes a light part-way through it. Like a very wonderful sister-in-law who steps in and lends a hand so we can do things like take our daughter to college. Thanks, NH!)

Most especially, I am looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel which is the movie War Room. I'm going tonight to see it with a bunch of folks from my church.
It opens in theaters on Friday. Go see it!!!
*Trust me. You'll be glad you went.*


Monday, August 24, 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Family Vacation


It's been busy around here, getting ready for a short family vacation before Elizabeth goes back to Wheaton on Monday. Sooooo, all things blog are on hold for a couple days, too. Monday's video devotion is set to go, and - God willing - I'll be back to writing on Tuesday.

May grace and peace be yours in abundance today. And always!


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Answered Prayer

*****ALL GLORY TO GOD! Everything in this post is meant to give God the glory HE deserves. I seek to be obedient - not for my glory - but for HIS.

It's something I do all day long. Part of my desire to have unending communication with my heavenly Father. It is my response to His gracious offer to listen, to hear me, to be my GOD.
I seek His face.
He speaks to my heart.
I ask for guidance.
He nudges my spirit.
I call on Him.
He moves.

Well, last week I watched a video of a man in a grocery store randomly paying for people's purchases. And my heart was simply delighted by the responses of each recipient of his kindness. There were tears. And hugs. Praises to God. Expressions of relief, and humility. And pure joy. It was a beautiful thing.
And I thought, Oh, if only I had the means to do pay for others' groceries. How fabulous it would be to be able to go out and bless total strangers (Strangers to me, but not to God) like that! And I spent some time day-dreaming about how much I would love to bless people in this way.
Then I stopped just thinking about it, and I started to PRAY. I asked God to provide for me the means to go out and pay for groceries of complete strangers - as an expression of HIS love for them. I couldn't imagine how such a provision would come about, but I asked anyway.
So, the next day Brian was opening up some mail which contained a credit card. He activated it over the phone, then gave it to me and said, "Here you go. Don't use it for groceries." And I'm all, "Wha???? What is this? What's it for?" He went on to explain the card was a pre-paid credit card. A rebate from the tires he recently purchased for his car. It contained $70, and he was giving it to me.
As a gift.
To spend however I wanted.
Except for on groceries.
Now, I am not a rocket scientist, but it didn't take me too long to figure out that God had just answered my prayer. I had asked him to provide me with the means to pay for someone else's groceries - and here in my possession was $70.
So I said with a great big smile, "You mean don't use it for our groceries, right?"

I spent the next couple of days in excited anticipation, and when Saturday came - God and I went to the store to bless a few people. While I was thanking God for His provision and the opportunity He had afforded me, I asked Him to lead me to the people He had already chosen to receive such a gift. There was sweet lady named Laura; a young man named Mike - and his son; a man who has "heard of people doing this, but has never had anyone buy [his] groceries" - and who was kind enough to listen to my story about how God worked it all out; a woman who wondered, "What did I do to deserve this?" (I told her she was 'here' and God loved her - those were the only requirements.); and a woman I know from church who is having some financial troubles, and who just "happened" to be at the store the same time as me. (Yeah. I see no coincidence there. Only providence.)
And, can I tell you? I haven't had that much fun since I don't know when. A girl and her faithful God, hanging out by the check-out lanes, on a mission to be a blessing.
God is good.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Turtle Daddy

You already know my Josh is a nature/animal lover.
And I am pretty sure I've mentioned in the past that he has a certain affinity for turtles.
But have I ever told you about him incubating turtle eggs???
I know. I could search my archives and answer that question myself. But that would take more effort than I feel like exerting at the moment. *ahem*

Anyway, for the past three or four years, my son has been incubating and hatching turtle eggs in his bedroom. On some occasions it has been because the original nest was attacked by a nasty old raccoon, and Josh was saving the eggs which remained. And on other occasions he has simply come across a nest and taken the eggs home to incubate. His stance is that he's doing the turtles a favor because in the wild, it is very rare for all of the eggs to hatch. Be it an attack from a nasty raccoon, cold weather, or some other obstacle - it just isn't normal for all the eggs to hatch. That's why he has been so proud of the 100% hatch rate he's had in previous years.
My son, the Turtle Daddy: Saving the turtles of mid-Michigan - one clutch at a time.

Here he is with this year's first hatchling.

Once they have all made their way into the world - and when their yolk sacks have all dried up - Josh will take the current brood and release them in a near-by pond. Then he'll put away the tanks and heater and all the other equipment occupying the space on top of his dresser until next year. And he'll get back to having a one-track mind on fishing. But until then, I can expect him to keep me updated with multiple-times-daily hatch reports. The most recent news is that turtle #2 has his head out of the shell, with the rest of the body expected to follow soon.

Now you know.


Monday, August 17, 2015

You Can't Do This

...But HE Can!


Friday, August 14, 2015

This Week with Grandma

I just discovered something about myself.

Something which may be helpful to any number of people who cross my path.

Here it is: If you want to get on my good side, do something which makes my grandma happy.


I guess the principle has been around since well before my grandmother moved into my house, but it has become so much more obvious since then. Specifically, last week Grandma had some pain on the roof of her mouth. And when I say "some pain" I mean she didn't feel like she could eat, and she was miserable.
I have always liked my dentist and called them to see if she could come in for a quick exam. And since my dentist is very accommodating, I was not surprised - pleased, but not surprised - when they gave her an appointment for the very next day.
Let me just say, it would have been enough for me if they had simply greeted her the way they did. Everyone in the office came out to meet Grandma. They treated her almost like a queen. And she was enjoying it. In the exam room, people were equally as kind. And that was wonderful, too.
But Dr. Baker went absolutely over the top.
He spoke gently to Grandma, and listened patiently to her stories. Even the ones which had nothing to do with the pain in her mouth. He touched her arm when he spoke to her, and smiled at her, and made sure to explain everything clearly. He, himself, went and got something to help her mouth feel better. And Grandma was delighted by the time Dr.Baker spent on her. (She told me on the way home, "He is really smart, to have figured out what was wrong with my mouth!" But I think she would have thought the world of him regardless. Because he was so kind.)
All the rest of that day I was gushing to whoever would listen to me (just like I am now...) about how great my dentist is. Because everyone there made my grandma feel so happy.
And somewhere in the midst of my reflections on the subject, I realized the principle carries over to other people. For example, I might be irritated with Josh for something like not unloading the dishwasher. But then I hear him go into Grandma's room and ask about the birds. Suddenly her voice gets all happy and the two of them discuss gold finches and cardinals, and I am over the dishwasher bit.
Or, I get annoyed because Matthew has allowed himself to get distracted again instead of doing the chore I've asked of him (100 times!). But when he walks through the dining room and says good morning to Grandma and I hear how happy his attention makes her, I decide his attention deficits in other areas can be forgiven.
I guess when it comes down to it, I just really want my grandmother to be happy and feel loved.
And if you can to that for her? I'll be your best friend!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Answer is: Nothing!

Every day the War Room Facebook page has a picture with a quote and something to think about.

Yesterday, it was the following picture with this question to consider:
What will you do today that could possibly be more important than this?

Have you ever really pondered the fact that we get to communicate with the Creator of the universe?
That HE actually wants to hear from us?
That our praise and worship delights HIS heart???
And yet some days we think we're too "busy" to pray.
Oh, may I never make that mistake again! Whatever you're doing today, wherever you find yourself - will you join me in worshiping our God and King?
There is absolutely NOTHING more important you could do.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

We Are Family!

What do you get when Mom H. puts together a weekend for the family?

Lots of yummy salmon to grill.

A platter for your dorm room. You know. So you have something suitable on which to serve popcorn and cookies. *wink*

And a glass garden ornament.

For the past several years, my mother-in-law has been treating the family (i.e. her entire family of sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren) to a vacation of some sort. And this year we had a family weekend in Holland. The guys got up (way!) before the break of dawn to go on a charter fishing trip on Lake Michigan. They fished for a few hours (and got tossed around on the waves) then got their fish cleaned and cooked and ate it for lunch. The fish that didn't get cooked were filleted and sent home with the fishermen. Looking forward to grilling up that salmon in the near future!
Meanwhile, the girls got to sleep in and have a leisurely morning before heading to a Craft Barn where we were able to pick a project to create. Elizabeth painted a platter which she'll take with her to college in just two weeks. And I made a garden ornament to put in my back yard. It's mostly pink and purple (Shocking, I know!) and says across the middle, "PRAY." (Another shocker.) All I did was glue down little pieces of glass all over a bigger piece of glass. It will be put in some sort of really hot oven and melt together, and I cannot wait to see the finished ornament.
After most of us napped (Josh decided to go fishing again. Go figure!) we went on a dinner cruise on Lake Michigan to end our family adventure.

Honestly? Getting ready for the weekend out of town was a lot of work for me. A month, or so, ago I was thinking I wouldn't even go - because I was repeatedly unsuccessful in finding someone to stay at my house with Grandma. Then my angel showed up (Thanks, Debbie!) and I was able to go. But there was still a lot of prep work to do and at one point on Friday, I didn't think I was going to be ready for the trip. I was ready to throw in the towel.
Yet, somehow it all came together and in spite of my state of near-exhaustion, bordering on high-end grumpiness, we made it out Friday night.

And can I tell you? I am so glad we did!

Time with family, making memories (and cute craft-y things!) is such a treasure. A high school friend of mine lost his wife unexpectedly last week. I'm attending her funeral Friday. And I know my friend and his four children would joyfully go through any amount of stress and busyness to get to spend an entire day with Anne again.
So I thank God for my mother-in-law and her generosity. I thank Him for the privilege of having Grandma in my home. Including all the extra "work" that involves. I thank Him for my family. And I pray HE will help me always keep a proper perspective on family, time, and interruptions opportunities.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Jesus Stopped: A Repost

Life has been quite, uh, full around here. So, in lieu of stressing out over making a new video for today, I found this one from 2012 in my archives. The message was encouraging for me to watch again. I pray it blesses you, too.


Thursday, August 06, 2015

In My Fridge

When your son has a pet turtle and decides to feed it fish,
and the turtle gobbles up a few fish quickly,
but mauls the rest and leaves them for dead -
because they were all up in his face and the poor turtle got annoyed
(stupid fish!)
and when your son is also an avid fisherman,
and cannot bear the thought of simply throwing the dead fish away,
because they would make great bait for catfish,
(and because he spent too much money on the *stupid* fish)
then you might end up with this view
every time you open your refrigerator:

Seriously. In the door of the refrigerator. Eye level.
Yes. This is my life. *ahem*


Wednesday, August 05, 2015

We All Need Some Compassion

For the past five or six years, I have been sponsoring a little girl through Compassion International. Her name is Noemi, and she lives in Ecuador. I just got a letter from her two weeks ago, in which she reminded me she is about to enter the sixth grade. But when I first "met" her, she couldn't even write! I cannot believe how much she has grown and learned in our short time together.
It is my absolute joy to be a part of this sweet child's life. I am particularly thankful because shortly after my sponsorship began, her father died - leaving her mom to care for Noemi and Noemi's little brother on her own. So I know my support makes a difference not only for Noemi, but for her mother, too.

I have recently been given another delightful opportunity with Compassion. I am going to receive packets for three children who have been waiting for sponsors, and I am going to pray for them - asking God to bring the person to me who will sponsor each child.
That's where you come in.
Will you prayerfully consider sponsoring one of the children for whom I will be praying? All the details of sponsorship may be found here on the Compassion website. Basically, it's a $38/month commitment. Plus, you get to write letters and send pictures to your child, pray for them, and contribute gifts for birthdays or Christmas or other special occasions at your discretion. It is such a joy!

Please watch the video below to get a better feel for the importance and value of a Compassion sponsorship. And then, if God is tugging at your heart to invest in the lives of one of these precious children - please let me know.


Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Lessons in Showering

Friday I got a bit of a late start putting my first load of laundry in the washing machine, and just as I was closing the lid Matthew came charging into the laundry room with a groan. "Ooohhh! I wanted to take my shower before you started the wash." Seems he was getting a late start on his day, too. *ahem*
Now, he thought, it would be another half hour before he could get in the shower without having all the hot water used up by the washing machine.
"Now," I thought, "is a good time to let him in on a little secret."
So I explained to my shower-needing-son that the washing machine only uses hot water while it's filling up. That, in fact, in just a minute or two it would be finished filling and he could take a shower without losing his beloved hot water.
However, knowing my son the way I do - and understanding the workings of a wash cycle - I felt it necessary to give Matthew further instruction. I explained to him that the washing machine wouldn't be using any more hot water, but when it was finished with the wash cycle it would go into the rinse cycle - at which time it would use cold water. And if Matthew was still in the shower at that time he would get blasted with hot water. Which can be almost as unpleasant as an unexpected blast of cold water.

The following is a nearly word-for-word transcript of the conversation which ensued.

Me: Right away when you get into the shower, wash your hair and your body. That way, when you're standing there like this *insert image of me looking up to the ceiling in a mock-daze* and the water gets suddenly hot, you can turn it off and get out.
Matthew: Uh, OK.
Me: Better yet, when you get into the shower wash your hair and body right away, then turn off the water and get out. *insert image of me looking like I've just come up with the most brilliant idea of the century*
Matthew: Uh, that's no fun.

Yeah, because wasting standing under running water for ten minutes is like having a party.
*insert eye roll*


Monday, August 03, 2015

A Time for Self Examination

I used these verses to lead me in prayer and through confession. Perhaps they'd be helpful for you, too.
Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

~Psalm 19:12-14