Friday, October 30, 2015

This Week with Grandma

...We learned how to compromise.

Monday was a bad day for Grandma. And when it was time for bed, I just didn't feel I could leave her alone. I contemplated curling up at the foot of her bed, or just sleeping on the floor in her room. But I decided it would be better to sleep on the couch. I would be just 10 feet away from her room, and would be able to hear her easily if she needed anything.
So, I grabbed my pillow and my special blanket and took my place on the couch. (Josh and I crossed paths and he said, "Ah. Not a good night between you and dad, huh? You got the couch." *Funny kid!*)
Right around 3 o'clock in the morning I woke up to the sound of Grandma stirring in her room. So I got up and assisted her, then went back to the couch.

Tuesday was a little better day for Grandma, but I still had questions about whether or not I felt comfortable sleeping in my bedroom Tuesday night. And - as if Grandma could read my thoughts - she asked, "How did you know I needed your help last night?" I said simply, "I was sleeping on the couch so I could her you." And Grandma said, "Oh. I don't like that." (She never wants to "inconvenience" anyone.) Although I tried to reassure Grandma that her safety is more important to me than where I sleep, she didn't seem convinced. And she tried to get me to promise to sleep in my bed that night.
Let's just say I get my stubbornness from my Grandma, and I was not prepared to give in quite so easily to her demand request. So I countered with, "How about this? If you promise to use your whistle if you need help, I'll promise to sleep in my bed."
She agreed.
And we were pleased that we could come up with a solution which satisfied both of us.

Just goes to show you, love and creativity can overcome the tenacity of two stubborn women. Karen

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I Guess I'm One of "Them"

So we're sitting at dinner the other night talking about presidential candidates, and Matthew brought up a conversation he'd had with a friend about one of them. Apparently one or more candidates (From which party? I honestly can't tell you.) are proposing the nation-wide legalization of marijuana. And it seems Matthew and his friend got into a lively discussion about the topic.
Well, at the mention of said legalization I felt my eyes roll toward the back of my head.
It wasn't an intentional reaction, really.
More of an involuntary response reflective of my attitude toward such a law.

And Matthew didn't miss it.

He immediately defended their conversation by flicking his hand in my direction and saying, "It's because of adults like you who take marijuana too seriously" - or something along those lines - "that this issue isn't understood." Truthfully, I don't remember exactly what he said after his first six words, because I was too busy laughing at how I'd just been categorized.
Adults like you.
I'm not sure, but I think I might have achieved a new level of my-teenager-thinks-I'm-a-dork.
And frankly? I'm OK with that.
Because some day he'll be an adult like me, too. *wink*


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Come, Lord JESUS

Ah, so much happening in my little corner of the world right now. Big things, little things, inconsequential things, and some things which hold the potential for eternal significance.
And then I stumble upon this video and suddenly I am unaware of the troubles and excitement around me, and I can only think of longing for heaven. To be in the presence of my Savior - with all the redeemed - singing His praise for all of eternity.
Because there will be a day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory and praise of God the Father. HE will gather together all the redeemed from very tribe and nation, and we will be with HIM forever.
I keep re-playing that video and imagining what it might be like.
In that day.

Sorry I couldn't embed the video here. The embedding feature was disabled on this video. But please do follow the link and join in the worship. You'll be so glad you did.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Order My Steps

So, the highway provided quite a bit of background noise.
Trusting you'll be able to hear me over it.


Friday, October 23, 2015

This Week with Grandma

You aren't a problem.
You're my grandmother, and I love you.

Those are the words I spoke in response to my grandma's statement Wednesday night:
"I didn't realize I was going to be such a problem."

And I meant those words. From the bottom of my heart.

Grandma has been having increasing difficulty with day-to-day life and activities, and it's all getting her down. I lay in bed praying for her Wednesday night and was reminded - she was created by God and is eternally cherished by HIM. God wants her to be well cared-for in these days on earth and I am privileged to be one who gets to help provide that care.
What an honor to serve her.
To serve HIM.

So, my friends, I am asking today that you would pray for my grandma. Please pray that God would ease her pain and lift her spirit. But, more than that, please pray that HE will help her understand how precious she is to Him, and that serving her is NOT a problem for me.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Is There Really a Difference Between Toddlers and Teens?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post highlighting the differences between teens and toddlers. Today, I'm wondering if I got it wrong.
Because of my boys.
Oh, I'm telling you, their behavior of late is making me wonder if there is a difference.

Exhibit A:
I'm in the basement yesterday morning working out. (Go, me!) And the boys are coming and going from the bathroom down there as they always do on a school morning. When, suddenly, they're both in the bathroom and I hear Josh call out, "Why are you following me???" And an argument ensues in which Matthew denies following Josh, claiming he is simply there to brush his teeth. (The fact that he's got a toothbrush in his mouth and foam falling out of it seems to indicate he's telling the truth.)
But Josh doesn't want him in the bathroom (I'm remembering the days of, "Don't touch me!") and begins to threaten Matthew. The next thing I know, Matthew is screaming, "Mom! Mom! Mom! Help me! Josh is going to throw soap on me!" And, although I try to let it slide (Because, honestly, they're old enough to figure out problems on their own.) when Matthew's plea goes up a decibel, or two, I approach the bathroom. Where I find Matthew foaming at the mouth (The toothpaste, remember?) and Josh at the ready with a bottle of soft-soap aimed at his brother.
I let out a heavy sigh (Because I was in the middle of my workout, or because I was astounded by my sons' behavior? You decide.) and asked, "Seriously, Josh? Do you really want me to treat you like you're three years old?" He responded that would be fine, so I said, "OK. First thing, hand over your phone. Toddlers don't have phones."
At that point, Matthew made a teasing noise which was probably intended to communicate, Ooooo. She got you. What'cha gonna do to me now??? and slipped out of the bathroom to finish brushing his teeth in the kitchenette. Josh put the soap down, and I went back to doing pistols. Or kick-backs. Or something.
Within a few minutes, the two of them were rushing out the door to go to school and I was thankful they seemed to be acting like young men again. Of course, that demeanor could change at any moment.

Never a dull moment around here!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Decision America

Have you heard about Decision America 2016?

I couldn't agree more with Mr. Graham, and that is why I have committed to praying for the Decision America Tour. Our world needs hope, peace, help, guidance - which only the LORD can give. These are desperate times, but God is greater and we can trust Him. So I am inviting you to join me in this prayer movement.
The Decision America team is asking people to start community prayer groups as we head into 2016. I am having people come to my house to pray once a week. (If you're in the area and you'd like to join us, please email me for details.) Perhaps you could start a prayer group in your neighborhood?! There are details on the website.

People need the LORD. Let's show them the Way!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Family Affair

About a year ago, our family began supporting a little boy from Kenya through Compassion International. (His name is Muthiani and his birthday is May 18. My Matthew's birthday is also May 18 and we thought "Muthiani" looked vaguely similar to "Matthew," so we figured it must have been a match made in heaven.) In fact, in that same weekend about 300 children from Muthiani's village were sponsored by families from my church. Since then, we (that is, the church at which I am a member) have taken on a partnership with Compassion in serving this village.
Recently we became aware of a big need in Makueni. During the dry season - when there is NO rain - water is very scarce. And whatever water can be found is VERY expensive. A system could be constructed which would gather and safely store water during the rainy season, but it is expensive. So, someone came up with the idea to have a couple fundraisers at church to collect the needed money so our kids can have ample, safe, affordable drinking water.
Our family decided to participate in the 5K Walk/Run - Brian, Josh, and me as competitors, and Matthew as a volunteer. And can I tell you? It was so much fun to do together.
(Of course, Elizabeth was missed. *sad face*)
At first, Brian and I thought the boys might balk at the idea - because reaching a consensus on doing anything as a family is tough-going most days around here. But they didn't. There was camaraderie, a little smack-talk, and even some looking out for each other. I was delightfully surprised.

Here we are after the race. My goal was to run the whole thing, but with half a mile to go I had to walk a bit. Still, I finished third in my age group with a time of 28:03. I was happy with that. :)


Monday, October 19, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

Movie Night

Have you seen War Room yet? (If not, you need to go!)
If you have seen it, chances are you also saw the trailer for Woodlawn. It opens in theaters TONIGHT.
So there, now you know what you're doing tonight! *wink*


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

McHappy Mom

Sunday after church one of Matthew's friends was coming over. This friend moved a year or so ago and doesn't go to Matthew's school anymore, so it's been a while since he's been over. He's a nice kid, and I was glad for the chance to see him again.
In the past his mom has always dropped him off, and I was expecting the same Sunday. So when a truck pulled into our driveway, and T got out and came into the house - but the truck remained, I was a bit surprised.
But, whatever.
I greeted T and asked what he and Matthew had planned for the afternoon. He told me they were going to go out for lunch.
I paused.
And started putting the pieces together.
Me: Oh, you're 16 now, aren't you?
T: Yes.
Is he driving now? Is that why the truck is still here?
Me: So, you've got your driver's license, huh?
T: (smiling) Yes.
Oh. So, you're going to be driving Matthew today. But he's my baby. And I don't know if you drive well. Me: (trying not to appear concerned) That's great. How long have you had it?
T: Two months.
Panic may have flown across my face, because he went on to tell me he's been driving since he was 14. Always supervised, of course!
But, before I could object Matthew joined us in the family room and the boys were off to get some lunch. I almost had to post something on Facebook about my baby going out for the first time with his driving-friend. Another last-first.
But I refrained. *ahem*

And when they returned, my momma-heart swelled with joy.
Not just because of their safe return.
I mean, I was happy for that. To be sure!
But in addition, Matthew said something that just blessed my heart.
He told me he'd gotten a 10-piece Chicken McNugget for lunch. And as he ate it he realized, "I'm so glad I have my mom. I wouldn't want to eat this stuff every day."

Awww, bless my work-my-fingers-to-the-bone-to-make-healthy-meals-heart. He's grateful for my cooking!

Now that's what I should have posted on Facebook!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Friday, October 09, 2015

This Week with Grandma

Grandma has good days and bad days.
But I am thankful that even on the bad days, we can find reasons to laugh.

It was at the end of one such bad day this week when I stood in the hallway with Brian.
I was lamenting for Grandma her woes.
The memory troubles.
The extreme fatigue.
The feelings of confusion.
And Brian chimed in, "Yeah. I feel the same way sometimes, and I'm only 43!"
I paused long enough to be polite before I responded, "Uh, dear, you're 44."

At that point, we both burst out laughing!


Thursday, October 08, 2015

Dear Non-Stay-At-Home-Parents

I nearly choked yesterday when I was reading a friend's post on Facebook. Her daughter is about 20 months old and she was lamenting the challenge of being a stay-at-home-mom.
That is NOT the part which almost made me gag.
In fact, it was some of the comments her other friends made (I think in an attempt to encourage her???) that raised my hackles. They were comments like these:

I'm envious of the parents (girls or guys) that are able to stay home and be there for every minute...[Describes circumstance which produced guilty feelings]...Now multiply that by hundreds of little things that happen on any given day and you have to realize how lucky you are to be there for it all even when it gets tough.
I would give anything to be a stay at home dad! It's super difficult being a full-time dad, having a full-time job and having three kids that are actively involved in sports/school/band etc. I have not even one hour to myself,… Ever... And I mean,… Ever.
OK. I get it. Honest. I do!
It is so, so challenging to work outside the home AND inside. (I'm speaking from my own experience here. Not sure the dad quoted above comes home from work and makes dinner, continues the work of maintaining a home, etc. But that was often a breaking point for me.)

The thing is, my experience as a stay-at-home-mom tells me the words these friends shared are NOT the things a mom in her place needs to hear.
Consider this:
*She knows she is fortunate to be able to stay home with her babies 24/7 (Trust me, she gets reminded of how "lucky" she is often.) but such knowledge can lead to guilt feelings - for wishing she had some time away. Because she doesn't feel like she ever gets an hour to herself, either.Yeah. While you're feeling guilty for missing things, she's feeling the same way for being tired of experiencing EVERYTHING.
*A stay-at-home-mom loses her patience with a child who just won't listen, or who can't express herself, or who is having trouble with potty-training. *Read that: wets his pants at least five times, daily.* And while she understands her child is just that - a child, she feels an overwhelming need to have a person respond to her on an adult level. *Read that: It makes for a really loooooong day when successful communication almost never takes place.* The result? More guilty feelings.
*Chances are, the stay-at-home-mom used to be a "working-woman." *Read that: She used to leave the house and get paid for the work she did.* She probably used to make significant contributions at work and feel appreciated by her co-workers. Unlike the work she does now - changing diapers, reading "Goodnight Moon" 20+ times a day, and being called "The Meanest Mom in the World" at least twice a week. Most likely, she thinks you're pretty lucky to get to go to work each day.

So, my non-stay-at-home-parent friend, may I ask a favor of you on behalf of the stay-at-home-parent-types? Although I am sure you are well-intentioned (You honestly think a look at your world is going to make her feel better about hers. I understand.) and although what you're saying is true (Being a working-parent is really hard! Again, I understand!), would you please refrain from telling stay-at-homers how lucky they are, and how much you wish you had it as easy as could be like them? Because from where they're sitting? It just doesn't appear the same.
The fact of the matter is - parenting is tough stuff no matter where we are, or what we're doing. Let us all leave the camp of you're-so-lucky-to-be-where-you-are and move on to I'm-having-a-hard-time-too-so-let's-help-each-other.



Wednesday, October 07, 2015

HE Knows

I always love going to church.
It is a delight to gather with my brothers and sisters in Christ to worship the LORD together, and to hear His Word preached for our edification and transformation. I just love being part of such a service.
But sometimes, God has a little something extra planned to make me cherish the experience even more.
Like HE did this past Sunday.

Our pastor was teaching about praying the scriptures and at the end of the service he gave us opportunity to put into practice the very thing he'd just been saying. We each had a list of topics about which we might want to pray, which were followed by a couple related scripture references. Since I had very recently decided to host a women's listening retreat and have much planning to do, the topic Guidance appealed to me and I "randomly" chose the second scripture reference listed. (If you know me, you know I don't believe anything is truly random.) I just love what happened next.
I opened my Bible, turned to John 10:27, and read,
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.
Did I mention that I'm hosing a listening retreat???
This verse is a perfect picture of what I pray will happen at the retreat.
*Women will come and listen to His voice.
*Women will be convinced that they are fully known by their loving Creator.
*Women will follow Him more closely as a result of the time they spend listening.

Friends, God gave me the agenda for the retreat in that one verse! And what blessed my heart even more than His attention to my prayer for guidance is the understanding that HE knows. HE knows what we need before we even know we have the need.
Before I sat in the pew last Sunday, before it entered my mind to host this retreat, before the leadership of my church decided to do this series on prayer, before anyone thought of creating a list of possible concerns and related Bible verses - God knew I was going to need to read John 10:27 as His guiding Word.
And HE made it happen.
Because HE knows.


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Direct Communication 101

Brian (sprawled out on the bed): Would you like to be a dear?
Me (knowing what he meant to say): No. I'd rather continue on as a person.
Get it? I was answering the question, "Would you like to be a DEER?"
Honestly, I crack myself up!

Brian (trying not to roll his eyes at my feeble attempt at humor): OK. Would you like to be a nice person?
Me (with a mixture of mock-defensiveness and disdain): Uh, I'd like to think I already am.
Brian (speechless)
Me (completely satisfied, and moving in for the direct-communication-kill): Would you like to ask me to do you a favor?
Brian (sheepishly): Yeah. I need my phone. Will you get it for me?
Me: Sure. Where is it?

See what I mean? Direct communication is so much easier.
But not nearly as much fun. *wink*


Monday, October 05, 2015

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Women's Listening Retreat

You'll find details and registration information here.