Brian and I are leaving tomorrow morning to go to Mexico. We're going to spend five days with Elizabeth while she has a break from school. We'll get to meet her friends. Apparently she has some sort of baseball/softball game lined up for us to join with them. We're planning on lots of walking and sight-seeing. And we'll be attending Easter services at a Spanish-speaking church. I am so looking forward to it all. *big smile* We'll be home for a few days, and then we're piling into the van and heading to Florida with the boys for their spring break. Get to see over half of my family while we're there, too. Plus dinner theater, zip-lining over an alligator zoo, some kayaking, and hopefully a day or two just hanging at the beach. When that trip is over I will have seven days in which to make final preparations for a women's retreat at which I am speaking on April 16. Plus, of course, I'll be back to work at GLC and all the typical duties around the house which didn't get done while we were gone.All that to say, Ima hafta take a break from blogging for a while. I anticipate being back April 18 - with plenty of pictures and hopefully some great stories. In the mean time, keep your eyes fixed upon the One who died, was buried, and was raised again - so that you could experience new life and forgiveness of sins.
Monday, March 21, 2016
Friday, March 18, 2016
Sometimes I get to participate in/provide the TLC at GLC.And sometimes I have the distinct joy of observing it. Such is the case with the story I am going to share with you today. On Monday, a new lady moved into our memory care unit. She had been living at home under the care of her children, and the time had come when they simply could not do it anymore. So, she came to live with us at GLC.It was beautiful to see the way so many ladies welcomed our new friend, and their eagerness to have her join in our activities. Yet sweeter, still, was their genuine concern for her. This dear woman was very confused on her first day at GLC and continually asked when her children were coming to take her home. She asked other questions which clearly demonstrated the battle she faces with her memory, and the ladies around her wanted so dearly to help. Some started asking when her children were coming, too. While others tried reassuring her that she was in her new home, and everything would be fine.When I got to work on Thursday, I saw that the scenario had changed significantly. Our new friend had stopped asking about when she was going "home." She seemed comfortable walking around and talking to people. And she came with the rest of the ladies to play Bingo. It was after that game when I got to see another act of TLC on the part of our wonderful residents. Everyone was walking back to their neighborhoods for lunch, and the new lady turned the wrong way. I saw several of the others call her name and point her in the right direction. They were watching out for their new companion. The beauty of their kindness was transcended only by the grace they poured on her when she acted embarrassed by her mistake.The folks at GLC are a population of people who easily get discouraged and feel down-hearted because of the struggles they have with their minds. But this week I witnessed women getting outside of themselves and caring for another who needed them. I saw women who have walked the same road come along side a fellow sojourner to help make the trek bearable. It's what friends should do. And seeing their TLC in action made me admire these dear women even more than I already did. Is there someone in your life who needs a little extra encouragement today?
Thursday, March 17, 2016
OK. Just need to vent a minute.I feel like I am fighting a losing battle in my kitchen. I buy groceries weekly (sometimes weakly...) and I try, I really do try to get the things my "men" like to eat. There is always a list on the refrigerator upon which they can write anything, ANYthing they want me to get at the store - and I'll get it. (Yeah. Matthew once put a PS-4 on the list. That isn't what I mean by I'll buy anything you want at the (grocery!) store. I didn't get it for him. *ahem*) Anyway, I try to keep them supplied with food for lunch and snacking. But, somehow I hear complaints weekly (Not weakly! I mean, I may be weak when I hear them, but they are not expressed weakly.) that there is nothing good to eat. **Read that: There is nothing ready-to-go. Because - oh - making your own sandwich is sooooo much work!** So, earlier this week I decided to delight them. I made eight pork chops for dinner and secretly hoped they would all do an inner back-flip when they packed their lunches the next day. Sometimes I dream too big. When Brian realized there would be leftovers, he was at first happy - then groaned because he remembered he was going out to lunch the next day. Really??? And then, just a couple hours after dinner I saw Josh in the kitchen eating two of the left-over pork chops. And I'm all, "Wait a minute! I thought you'd take those to school for lunch tomorrow." And he's all, "Why? I'm hungry NOW."And I'm all (internally), Whatever. I try to get it right, and it never works out. Blah. Ever have one of those
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Ahhh, it is so nice to welcome the arrival of real spring-like weather in Michigan. I daily check the progress of various flowers which are popping through the dirt. It would seem that the snow shovels may now be safely stored away. Annnnnd, I took Mindy for a nice long walk.I enjoy walking the dog. It gives me good time to be alone and quiet, to think thoughts, to pray, to dream, and to mentally compose blog-posts. Besides, the exercise is good for both of us! But I enjoy our walks the most when God does something which speaks to my heart.Saturday while we were walking, Mindy and I encountered another dog. Now, Mindy doesn't know how to play nicely with other dogs and gets very anxious around them. So when we were within 20 yards of the other dog, I tightened up on her leash and took her to the edge of the sidewalk. She was pulling at the leash, trying to jump at her peer, practically turning flips in the midst of all her angst. Meanwhile, the other dog (a great big Black Lab) just meandered on by with his master - not even on a leash - seemingly unaware of the feisty little hound which resembled a cat on hot bricks. The other dog-owner and I exchanged greetings as we passed by, and that could have been the end of it. Except, God kept the scene playing over and over in my mind as I continued walking. It struck me how that Lab was so calm and, yet, so focused. So focused, it seemed, on walking with his master. On keeping his eyes on the path. Not getting flustered by peripheral distractions. Just keeping in step with his master. Attached only by faith and loyalty. And I thought, Yes, Lord. That, right there, is a picture of how I want to be with You. I want to trust You so much that I will walk fearlessly by Your side. I want to be so confident in Your care that I don't even notice the disturbances in the distance which aim to intimidate me. I want my faith in You to run so deep that my only concern is staying with my Master. Yes, Lord. Please make me more like that...dog. Yeah.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Several months ago I had fun writing this post about some of the differences I have seen between how my kids used to be, and how they are today. And this past weekend, I encountered a difference which I hadn't included on my original list. So, for those of you who may benefit from knowing this one ahead of time, here it is:Toddlers will proclaim in a loud voice that they "don't love you anymore," when you've done something they particularly do not like. However, those words won't stick with you for long - because you know they aren't true. It will just be a matter of moments until that toddler is at your side, holding your hand, and exchanging I love yous with you again. Teens will proclaim in a loud voice that you "don't even care how they feel," when you've done something they particularly do not like. Those words will make your heart sink - because you know they aren't true. And you're wondering if your teen will believe you when you say, "I love you," and tell him that you do care. Yeah. So that was a piece of my weekend.I'm telling you, parenting is not for wimps! LORD, please give each one of us the grace and love we need to raise these children. Oh, we need you in every moment of every day. We cannot do this parenting thing on our own. Please fill us and lead us with Your wisdom and mercy.
Monday, March 14, 2016
Friday, March 11, 2016
My husband is participating in a fitness competition.And he is simultaneously battling some kind of sickness. Which, doesn't bode well for his performance. Which, is leaving him pretty discouraged.So, the other day he asked me, "Will you still love me even if I don't make it to Regionals?" I said, "Of course I will." And then I thought to take it a step further. I said, "Brian, I'll still love you even if you stop working out and get all flabby and stuff." I wanted to remind my husband that my love for him does not depend upon his athletic physique or performance, nor upon any other kind of condition or performance. I love him, because I promised both him and God that I would - some 22 1/2 years ago!So, all these thoughts about love and "even if" got me thinking about some of the love I see expressed at GLC. I see "children" older than me visiting and doting on moms who can no longer speak to them. I see other "children" holding the hand that once held their's, to guide the one who once guided them. I see a wife tending to the needs of her unable-to-communicate-much husband - who once vowed to provide, protect, and care for her. I look at these examples of tender, sacrificial love and I realize - back in the day, these folks probably couldn't imagine this is where they'd be "some day." Yet, here they are. Still loving. They all inspire me. Are you committed to loving the people in your life, "even if"? Do they have confidence of your unconditional love?
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Ahhhh, that was such a good movie!BUT, I am not writing about cinema on the blog today. Just thought it would be fun to borrow the title for my post. *wink* Anyway, Tuesday night I had a little fun with Matthew. Brian and I were on our way to our room and noticed Matthew laying on his bed - with the door open, the light on, and his earbuds in. It looked like he was asleep, but we weren't sure. I called his name, popped the earbuds out, and called his name again. No response. Brian got a big smile on his face and asked, "What should we do to him???" This, from the guy who was known to torment his little brother when he "woke up" at night to go potty - by constantly turning him in the direction opposite the bathroom. Yeah. I didn't have any form of torture in mind for our sleeping boy. Instead, I leaned over his nearly-as-long-as-mine-body and started singing "You Are My Sunshine." Just like I used to when he was a little guy. And when the song ended, I leaned over a little bit more and kissed his almost-sixteen-year-old-cheek.*Be still, my momma's heart.*Then, with a smile on my face and in my heart I turned off his light, spun around to see my husband's grinning face, and went to bed myself.
Monday, March 07, 2016
Friday, March 04, 2016
When you work with people who are accustomed to being forgetful, who frequently doubt their ability to accomplish tasks, and whose self-esteem is sometimes diminishing - there is almost nothing better than seeing them succeed.Even at little things. And that's something I've been able to do at GLC. See people succeed. Over the past couple of weeks, I have had several opportunities to work on jigsaw puzzles with different residents. Some have approached the task saying they're no good at puzzles. Others love doing puzzles but realize their minds "aren't what they used to be," and - therefore - think they won't be able to help much.Ahhhh, but I am not so easily deterred! Besides, puzzles have a sort of magnetic affect on me. I am drawn to them, and will jump at the chance to work on one with somebody.Anyway, I have experienced the special challenge of convincing people who are doubting themselves that they really can succeed at a task. Sometimes I have to nearly sit on my hands to keep them from grabbing puzzle pieces and putting them together, but in the process I am seeing residents delight in getting a job done. We look at the open spaces, discuss what the missing piece probably looks like, then search the table until we find that piece. Always, I let the resident pick up the piece and put it in place. And, always, there is a proud smile on their face when the piece fits. During the time we're sitting at the table looking for puzzle pieces, we also spend time talking. About today and "yesterday." About life philosophies. About lunch. About whatever comes to mind. (Sometimes repeatedly. *wink*) And that's a joy. But the greatest joy by far, is the pleasure I see on the residents' faces with each piece they snap into place, and the little celebration we have when the project is completed.How can you build somebody's confidence by setting them up for success today?
Thursday, March 03, 2016
I saw you at the dentist's office today. Heard you telling your son to be quiet. You thought he was making too much noise by playing in the corner. Playing, that is, with the toy which was put there to help him pass the time while he waited for sister to get her check-up. Just wanted you to know - the noise didn't bother me. And I don't think anyone else in the waiting room noticed it much, either. Truthfully, I'm pretty sure we all understood he would have rather been somewhere else, and was simply trying to occupy his time. None of us were thinking your son was too noisy, or that you're a bad mom.I recall seeing you at the airport once. Remember the time your children - I think there were three of them - were holding onto the floor-to-ceiling pole and chasing each other around it? Of course, you remember. You were mortified by their behavior. You told them to sit down and be still. Told them to, Behave! I wish I would have said this at the time, and I'm hoping somehow you'll see these words now: It's OK. Your children weren't bothering anyone by being children. In fact, I was pretty impressed that they were sticking so close to you! And, honestly? I thought their game was kinda cute. I don't go out to eat very often, but I now I've seen you a few times at a restaurant. You have that certain look of nervousness, and often don't really seem to be enjoying yourself. Rather, you appear to be quite preoccupied with trying to keep your child quiet, and focused on the table in front of her. I have to tell you, I don't mind when your daughter reaches over the booth and touches my head. She's just exploring. No harm done.Oh, and when you notice me repeatedly peering in your direction, please know I am simply admiring your precious little guy. He's adorable and I can't get enough of those cheeks! By the way, I didn't see you at the grocery store yesterday. But I heard you. At least, I heard where you must have been. That is, I heard your toddler screaming. And I can only imagine how you must have been scurrying trying to quiet him down. Because you felt humiliated by the noise, and the appearance that you couldn't contain your child. Can I just say, no one was more bothered by the outburst than you? Quite frankly, all the other moms in the store were just glad it wasn't our kid who was crying. My point in writing this letter, Mother of Young Children, is to let you know the noises, the outbursts, and the carrying on aren't as bad as you think. Consider who's watching: moms like you are in the same boat and feel your pain; moms like me have been where you are and empathize with each moment; and anyone who is judging you probably never had children and doesn't have a clue. (Or they haven't had children yet, and will change their tune when the time comes.) So, please, accept this offer of grace from me to you. Let it rest in your soul until you are convinced you're OK, even when your child is being noisy. And then, extend the grace to your little ones. Cause they need it too! Much love,
Wednesday, March 02, 2016
Seriously. I have the email to prove it! Though I don't understand why it was delivered to my Junk E-mail folder. The thing is, while I would love to have $5 million given to me (Can think of soooooo many good things to do with it!) I really don't need it. I have all I'll ever need in Jesus. HE is enough for me. No. HE is more than enough!The Son of God left the glory of heaven to come to earth. He lived a sinless life, yet died a criminal's death. All so we could be forgiven. Then God raised Him from the dead. So we could have new life. So we could be restored to a right relationship with God. Simply by confessing our sin, believing in Jesus' atoning death and resurrection, and receiving His gift of salvation.Yeah.With His blood, Jesus bought new and eternal life for me. For all of us who will accept it. Because of what He did, we can know God. We have hope for today and all our tomorrows. We have security through the storms of life. We once were lost, but now we're found.And there is NO amount of money that can do what HE DID.Have you accepted HIS offer?
Tuesday, March 01, 2016
If this kind of retreat sounds like something your heart needs, please visit my website for more information and to register.