Friday, April 29, 2016

Tee Hee at GLC

OK, so I'm tweaking this week's post a bit.
While I usually write about something touching which happened at work - with the hopes of inspiring us all to look for ways in our lives that we might demonstrate TLC - today I want to share a moment from this week which really just made me laugh.

I was at work Sunday afternoon when one of our new ladies was escorted into the building by someone who had taken her to church. Because she is still learning her way around the building, I offered to walk her back to her apartment. When we got there and went inside, she asked me about a message on her phone which was advising her to check the connection. The phone had no dial tone, so I did some looking around and discovered it wasn't properly connected. However, after I had plugged the line into the wall-jack there was still no dial tone.
I ended up on the phone (My cellphone, that is.) talking to Comcast in an attempt to find out if she had phone service from them. After much ado and phone calls to her sons, we got our answer: Phone service is forthcoming. And, in the meantime, she is to rely on her cellphone.

Her cellphone seemed to have problems. That is, when I called it with mine it wasn't ringing. I noticed, however, that the screen lit up when my call came in so I knew there was a connection somewhere. And decided to check her sound settings.
Sure enough, it was set to "vibrate". So I switched it to ring, rather than vibrate. Then I called the phone with mine, to make sure it would ring.
It did. :)

The ring volume was too low for her to hear well.
So, I adjusted it to "high".
And I called it again to assure everything was good.
It was.

When we were talking on our phones, she discovered she was having a hard time hearing me. So I adjusted the volume for the ear-piece until it was at the appropriate level for her.

When all was said and done, one of her friends (who had come over while I was on the phone with Comcast) indicated the adjustments I had made to the cellphone and said with a chuckle, "Isn't it nice to have young people around who know how to use these things??!!"
I gave a hearty laugh, and asked her - please - to reference me in a statement like that to my kids.
Imagine me, a "young person" who knows "how to use these things."
And I don't even have a smart phone!!! *grin*


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

When HE Speaks into My Frustration

I have just about had all I can take of my dog, I'm tellin' ya.

She has a bad habit of peeing on the carpeting. And laying on the couch when we aren't home. (Or when we're sleeping.) And I know she's been on the couch because her fur is
OK. I guess those are her only transgressions.
But they're driving me NUTS!
I mean, I am the one who cleans up after her and it's getting OLD.


Furthermore, Brian and I would like to get new carpeting in our home. But there is NO WAY we're doing it as long as Mindy is still around. Because if we put in new carpet, and she pees on that? Oh, I would get so angry!
So, I have noticed over the past month, or so, that I have been feeling less and less affection for that doggy.
And then something happened in my heart last night.
Brian and I were in the kitchen and I was complaining about another "accident" she had on the carpeting yesterday morning. In a semi-joking manner Brian asked, "Shall we put 'er down?" I probably elbowed him as I responded, "Of course not!" But we proceeded to bemoan her faults.
Then I looked at her, laying on the floor - head resting on her paws - with sad eyes looking up at us. I said wistfully, "I remember when she was a puppy and I just loved her so much," as I recalled the times she would snuggle on my lap and listen to me reading the Bible.

And that's just about the moment it happened.

God spoke to my heart through that annoying dog, just like He used to when she was a sweet puppy. I looked at Brian and I said, "Wow. I sure am glad God's love for me doesn't change according to my behavior and adorability." (Yes. I totally made up that word!) And I went on to mock myself with what He might say if His love were fickle like mine can be.

Whoa! Look at what Karen did. Lost her temper again and now I have to clean up her mess. Again.

Oh, she didn't! Another episode of not knowing what to do. And she wants ME to help.

Really, Karen? Must we go over this again? Can't you just trust Me the first time around?

I thought about God's gracious, unconditional love. I thanked Him for not loving me based upon what I do, or how cute I am. But because He has chosen to love me. Because loving humankind is His heartbeat. Oh, how thankful I am!

Then I bent over a brushed a clump of dog hair off my jeans which Mindy had left there when she leaned against me. Did I mention she sheds like a maniac? Ugh. I am sick of cleaning up after that dog!

*ahem* Sometimes lessons take a while to sink in for me.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How to Survive Motherhood

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

~1 Chronicles 16:11
Yesterday morning I was thinking about dwelling on agonizing over a particular struggle I am having with a certain teenager in my house. You know how it goes - when you find yourself questioning everything, wanting to get it right, fearing that you never will. So, as I walked over to my dresser to put on my earrings I flipped my calendar to the new day and found the verse above staring at me.

And I thought, Yeah. That sounds like what I need to do!


Monday, April 25, 2016

Women's Listening Retreat

Follow this link to my website for more information and to register.

Oh, I forgot to mention in the video...If you want to take a walk with me during our free-time at the retreat, I'll show you the spot where Brian proposed marriage to me on April 25, 1992. *swoon*


Friday, April 22, 2016


One of my special friends at GLC is a man who used to live in Mexico. With my (very!) limited Spanish I enjoy greeting him, and try to have short conversations. Of course, I have told him all about Elizabeth - and I plan to bring her in to GLC to meet him when she gets home. So they can both savor a good Spanish conversation.
One of the things this man and I usually end up discussing is Mexican cuisine. Oh, he gets very animated and happy when he talks about his favorite foods. By listening to him speak in detail about ingredients and processes, and by watching his hands as he pantomimes adding spices to the dish he's describing, it is easy to determine that he has prepared more than a few of these delicacies in his day. And in the midst of one such description this week, I got the idea that we should have him prepare one of his dishes for our Cinco de Mayo celebration.
I shared the idea with my supervisor, and she's on board.
Now we just need to look into the logistics to see if we can really make it happen.
And this prospect has me very excited. Not only because I might be able to taste some authentic Mexican food. But because I just cannot wait to see how pleased my friend will be when he has the opportunity to "get in the cocina" and cook. If you could see the way his face lights up every time he starts describing one of his favorite recipes - you would feel my joy, too.

What a delight it will be to see him full of such elation.

Is there someone in your life who has a special hobby or passion? Why not show them some TLC by finding a way for them to engage in that activity in the coming days?


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Then There Was Florida

I could probably just let this picture say everything for me about our time in Florida.

It was sunny and beautiful and peaceful. Just like this picture.

We enjoyed time with family. That is my sister, brother-in-law, and niece live there - and my parents were visiting my sister, too. So we got to see them all. We went to an Alligator Zoo and climbed on a suspended obstacle/zip-line course. (Which happened to be right over the alligators. So on occasion if you slipped, you could imagine falling into the jaws of one of those hungry creatures. Haha!) We went to the beach and hung out by the pool. We attended a dinner-theater show. And we took a kayak tour of the intracoastal waterways.
Our supreme enjoyment of the sunshine and warmth *may* have been enhanced by the knowledge that it was snowing at home. But I would never say that out loud, for fear of retribution from my friends who were stuck in it. *wink*

We did get to experience some of that weather, though, as we drove through snow and ice on our way home. And even got to see the snow still on the ground for a day, or so. At that point, I was reminding myself of the conversation I'd had with our tour guide on the kayak trip - who said he couldn't imagine living in such COLD. "I would totally rather put up with snow for a couple months than have to live through hurricanes." Yeah. Easy to say when you're on the peaceful waters in the sunshine - with no trace of snow in the air.

Nevertheless, if it happens to snow here again before next winter (Which we all know it could. This IS Michigan!) I'll just look at this picture, click my heels together and repeat, "There's no place like Florida!"

Think it'll work???


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ten Things I Learned South-of-the-Border

1) Always greet people with a big smile, a hug, and an air-kiss on the cheek.
(Unless you're a guy greeting a guy. Then, skip the kiss.)
Such a warm welcome makes everyone feel loved and sets a great tone for your visit.

2) Don't worry about what the clock says. Everyone will arrive eventually, and you'll have a fun time.

3) Always have someone with you who speaks the native language.

4) If you don't have someone with you who speaks the native language, prepare ahead of time what you need to say. And practice charades, as they might come in handy.

5) If all else fails, smile and say, "Lo siento. No hablo espanol." Then hope ellos hablan ingles.

6) Paper Mexican pesos are sometimes worth the same amount as pesos in coin form. For some gringos who are accustomed to larger coins being worth only a quarter of a low-valued bill, this can be a tricky concept.

7) Never assume that a car will stop at an intersection just because it contains a "STOP" sign.

8) Cross the street at your own risk. (See #7.)

9) Appreciate everything you have. Many people work much harder for a lot less.

And finally...

10) Although K and W are somewhat rare, the Alphabet Game is much easier to play in Mexico than the United States because J, Q, and Z are everywhere! (Especially in Queretaro.)


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Our Mexico Trip

Oh, what a wonderful time we had in Mexico with Elizabeth!

Besides the extreme amount of walking to which our bodies *read that: FEET* are not accustomed, the constant need to remember to NOT drink the water (not such a big deal, except when brushing one's teeth), and the new habit required when using the toilet (ask if you want to know), it was more wonderful than I could have dreamed.
We flew into Queretaro and were met by Elizabeth and her host parents, who drove us to our hotel in downtown Santiago do Queretaro. After we got checked in, we began our tour of the city. And as soon as we walked out of our hotel, we had this view:

I loved the dolls on the roof, and the bright fabrics coming out the door. Even more than this store, my heart was thrilled by several stores which sold beautiful dresses. It is a Mexican tradition to have a big party for girls when they turn 15, which includes the girls getting fancy, frilly, sparkly dresses to wear.
Oh, to be a 15-year-old Mexican girl!!! *big smile*

Another view which caught my eye were the trees around Queretaro. They were all beautifully manicured like these:
Elizabeth's host-father is one of the people who maintains these trees. They were impeccable.

We were enthralled by the intricacies and details of the churches.

And Brian was quite taken by the beauty of his escorts against the backdrop of a Queretaro night sky:

In addition to all the sight-seeing and learning about the city, we had some great time getting to know Elizabeth's host family and friends. We spent one afternoon playing softball with a mixed group of Wheaton students, members of the youth group from the church Elizabeth attends in Queretaro, and her host-sisters. I'm not bragging or anything, but it is worth noting that I did get a hit both times I was up to bat. And I did score both times I was on base. (And I, uh, did have to take advantage of the rule that girls got five strikes before they were out. But what's a couple of extra strikes between amigos? *grin*)
We took at taxi to church for the 7:00 Resurrection service, ate breakfast with all in attendance, and stayed for "regular" church after that. Even though I couldn't understand most of what the pastor was saying, the love of Jesus filled the air for a delightful experience. And it was followed by an afternoon spent with Elizabeth's host family for an Easter dinner. First time in a long time that I haven't eaten ham and deviled eggs on Easter Sunday.

Then there was this very different tradition we observed on Sunday night. In the heart of the city, lots and lots of people gathered to watch the "burning of Judas." This paper mache creature was suspended in the air until after dusk, when he was lit and a bunch of sparkler-type pieces ignited until the whole thing eventually exploded. This act was followed by a couple more explosions (One was Captain America. That was kinda weird...) and then a fireworks display.

After spending five days in Queretaro with my daughter, I can fully understand why she says she wants to live there. Besides the beauty of the land and scenery, the Mexican people are so loving and kind - and the pace of life is calming. I felt welcomed and safe, and the gorgeous weather didn't hurt my opinion, either.
So, I will love visiting if Elizabeth ends up living there. But in my heart of hearts, I really hope she chooses somewhere a lot closer!


Monday, April 18, 2016