Monday, February 29, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

On Sick Leave

Sooooo, there's this cold virus in my body which is attempting to kick my butt.
(I may have overdone it yesterday by traveling to Belmont to speak for a MOPS group. But God's Spirit spoke to struggling mommas and it was totally worth it!)

Anyway, in the interest of getting better all my spare minutes for the next little while are going to be spent resting - not planning and writing blog posts.
Lord willing, I hope to be back Monday with a video devotion.

May grace and peace be yours in abundance!

Karen

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Four Arms

Recently our conversation at the dinner table turned to stem cells - and how they can be used in various ways to treat diseases and provide therapy. It must have been a topic in science class that day, as one of the boys mentioned that some researchers had been able to reprogram adult cells to revert to stem cells in living mice. But noted that they haven't been able to fully control the process just yet.
Without missing a beat, the other son contributed, "Yeah. And that's too bad. Cuz the mouse has five legs now." And he chuckled at his wise crack.
Also without missing a beat, I responded saying, "That's no big deal. I have four arms!"
When they looked at me with eyes that said, Yeah, mom. Whatever, I quickly pushed my sleeves up and presented my forearms.

Their eyes rolled and their chuckling stopped immediately. But I sure got a good laugh out of it.

Fore-arms. Four arms? Get it????

Ahhhh, I crack myself up!

Karen

Monday, February 22, 2016

I'm Going to Keep Praying

So, I went a little longer than usual today. Praying and trusting it will be worth your time.
I'm thinking it'd be great if someone invited me to share this topic at a women's retreat or other event.
Cuz I'd really love to dig into it more!

Karen

Friday, February 19, 2016

TLC at GLC

I had the most delightful conversation with a charming man at GLC on Monday.
Well, really, it was about a thirty to forty-five-second conversation which we had anywhere from 15 to 20 times. And it just kept getting more delightful with each repeat.

To be honest, things started out slowly and there was a time when I wondered if I'd be better off just giving up attempting to talk to this man. But once we got past trying to identify his interests, and discovered that he had gone to a Catholic school (which he really liked) in Lansing, we were on a roll. I was able to pinpoint two Catholic schools which he thought *might* have been where he attended. But he wasn't sure. After a few minutes the name of another one seemed to slip out of his mouth and when I repeated it - he was sure that was the school he had enjoyed for so many years.
From there, we were trying to figure out the name of the street upon which he had grown up. And, sure enough, a short time later he said the name of a street which I know to be near his school. He determined that street was the location of his childhood home.

And, so, our conversation began:
Him telling me the name of the school he attended and liked a lot, and the name of the street upon which he grew up. (With me reminding him of the street name as necessary.)
Me commenting that the street was very close to the school, and asking if he walked to school.
Him confirming that, yes, he did walk to school every day. And liked it. Then asking me the name of the street I lived on in Lansing.
Me, answering.
Him repeating it. "Yes. Clemens."
And, somehow, that always got us back to talking about the school he liked so much.

Truthfully, I do not know how long the two of us sat together repeating that conversation. But I do know every second of it was time well-spent. When I first sat down with this man, he seemed a bit unsure of me. But by the time I had to leave he was smiling ear-to-ear, shaking my hand, and thanking me for visiting. And, while I don't know if he'll remember me the next time we see each other, at least now I know how to get him engaged in a conversation.

Is there someone with whom you have been having trouble communicating? My hope is this little story will give you the inspiration to persevere with TLC until you encounter a break-through.

Karen

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I Need Wisdom

Help!

Something, or someone, has robbed me of all kinds of wisdom.

Really.
Twenty-seven years ago when I was a senior in high school, I knew SO MUCH.
As in, I was even smarter than my parents. (OH, they knew nothing!)
I knew what a senior in high school should be able to do.
I knew what was reasonable (and UN-reasonable) for a parent to ask of an almost-adult.
I could list off rationalizations for why one ought to be able to go here (or there), to do this (or that) - regardless of what parental units thought was wise. (Did I mention, they knew nothing? From what I could tell, I figured they had never even been teenagers!)
Fortunately, I was also a fairly good liar. And since I earned high grades and had a goody-goody reputation, I could make my way around the ridiculous restrictions they put upon me. It was a good thing, too. After all, they knew nothing and how else was I going to make it through my senior year?

So anyway, everything was favorable back when I knew it all.

But, alas, I have a senior in high school and it is becoming very clear to me that now he is the one who knows everything. As in - he rolls his eyes, mutters under his breath, and makes smart remarks just like I did when I was so brilliant.
The kicker of it is, now that I have twenty-seven more years life experience under my belt I figured I must have gotten wiser. But here my senior is - demonstrating his superior judgment - so assured he knows more than me. Just like I felt about my parents all those years ago.
So I'm doing the only thing I know to do. Yep. I'm calling on my Father to help me navigate this road and continue to raise this man-child.
Cuz there is no way I can do this without Him.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

~James 1:5

Karen

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Preach It

I've mentioned, haven't I, that I absolutely LOVE being in Precepts and studying the book of Acts inductively. That is, God is speaking to my heart, encouraging my faith, and convicting my spirit through this study. And I am delighted by His work.

Therefore, I feel compelled to share about our study again. About what I learned this past week, and how God continues to move.
I have spent the past seven days studying Acts 8. (This is the chapter in which the persecution of the church begins, and a whole lotta preaching about Jesus takes place.) And, let me tell you - in addition to holding the universe together in perfect balance, and attending to all the details in your life - God has spent the past seven days speaking to me through His Spirit, about speaking of His Son.
That is, I read about the church being persecuted and scattered - yet continuing to preach Jesus.
I studied the details of Philip traveling to Samaria and proclaiming Christ to the crowds.
Then Peter and John came along to invite the Holy Spirit to come upon the new believers, and as they went back to Jerusalem they preached the gospel in Samaritan villages.
And then an angel of the Lord sent Philip to preach Jesus to an Ethiopian eunuch.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!
Everyone was talking about Jesus.
And lots of people were being saved.

Then came the question: Am I preaching Jesus?

In answer to that question, I could not deny the sinking feeling in my heart.
While I freely share that I am a woman of faith, though I live every day to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus to the people with whom I cross paths, albeit I'll pray with and for anyone at anytime, and even though I encourage individuals to trust God with their struggles daily, I could not name the last time I shared the gospel with anyone. (Well, except for in Sunday School. But I'm not counting those instances - since sharing the gospel is typically "on the schedule.")

I imagine you've heard this quote:









I fully agree with the heart of the statement - that our every action should exemplify Jesus. But my spirit was convicted through the study this week that the gospel needs to come forth from my mouth, not just from my actions. It is highly unlikely that a person on the receiving end of my kindness is going to wake up the next morning saying, "Hey, I bet that lady was nice to me because Jesus Christ died to pay the price for my sins, that He was buried and raised again to give me eternal life, and I can experience that life if I will just receive the gift of salvation He offers."

Know What I mean?

I intend to continue living so people will be lifted up and pointed to Jesus by what I do. But I want to take it further. I am asking God to fill me with His Spirit and give me courage and boldness to preach Jesus everywhere I go.

Karen

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Overheard at the Dinner Table

Honestly, I am not sure how "incest" became the topic of conversation between my boys.

(I'm pretty sure I don't want to know. *ahem*)

Nonetheless, last week Josh and Matthew were arguing with each other about the correct usage of the word. Essentially, they were debating whether "incest" is a noun or a verb. One said, "You would say they are 'engaging in incest.'" And the other retorted, "No! You'd say, 'Do you want to incest?'"
Brian stepped in to put an end to the dispute and said, "I think 'engaging in incest' is appropriate."

When the boys' eyes got HUGE and the three of us started laughing hysterically, Brian realized his words didn't come out the way he'd intended.

Karen

Monday, February 15, 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

TLC at GLC

I had the very fun opportunity yesterday to sing at GLC.
My boss plays the piano, so we teamed up to provide a musical treat.
That is, we were hopeful it would be a treat. *wink*

We did several songs from yesteryear which the residents knew, and to which they could sing along. The songs were interspersed with stories, jokes, laughter, and some silliness - all with the goal of bringing joy to the listeners. We ended our program by singing a hand full of classic hymns.
Singing the hymns gave me opportunity to testify to God's love, and His care for us in our every-day struggles and trials. I know there are mixed backgrounds of faith in the men and women at GLC - from pastor's wives, to no religious interest at all - and I count it a privilege whenever I get to share my belief in any form. So I was particularly happy that we sang these songs of faith.

But it got better.

When we were finished with the music I saw someone waving her arm in the air. This woman has significant memory impairments, which affect her communication and social interactions. She is very troubled, and is frequently in need of help - somebody to take her here, or there; assistance in sitting up; answers to questions which she's asked a hundred times, already. So as I approached her, I was expecting to hear a request for some such assistance.
But that request never came.

Instead, she simply asked, "Will you pray for me?"

If you know me at all, you know my heart leaped at the opportunity.
I took her hands in mine and cried out to God on her behalf. Confident that HE was listening. Certain that HE sees her. Assured that HE will meet her needs.
And I will continue to pray for her - in and out of her presence.
Because there is power in the Name of JESUS.

To whom can you show TLC today, by praying for them?

Karen

Thursday, February 11, 2016

What She Said

Father,
My son is growing and becoming more independent. He likes to figure things out or himself. He doesn't always think things through and becomes frustrated when his plans fall apart. It's hard for him to slow down and take advice before he jumps into a new project. He tries to set his own goals and determine the road to achieve them, ignoring those who have more experience to share. His resistance to input and guidance is creating tension at home. He's hindering his success by refusing the help that's offered. He's having to learn life lessons the hard way, bringing unnecessary struggles and stress into his life. Give my son the humility to receive instruction and admit that he doesn't know everything. Show him that parents and teachers are on his side. Help him to see that accepting help is not a sign of immaturity or weakness - it takes wisdom and strength to face our limitations. Fill him with a quiet spirit that can be still and listen. May he gain understanding so that he can walk the path of life without stumbling...
From "When He Needs Good Advice" (p.59)
A Mom's Prayers for Her Son by Rob and Joanna Tiegen
I know Joanna Tiegen.
We've been friends since our girls were cabin mates at summer camp many years ago.
We've spent time together.
Shared the ups and downs of mothering.
Encouraged each other in both writing and speaking endeavors.
Disclosed struggles, and prayed for one another.
But I never knew she had a window to my heart (or a camera in my home!) until I read the above excerpt from her book the other night.
I mean, seriously! This is the stuff of the Hossink household of late.
Her words describe my boys!!!
And the prayer in which she lead me (I only quoted a portion of it above) echoed my heart's desire for these precious (albeit, at times, very frustrating) boys of mine.

Here at home, I have a front-row seat to the struggle of raising teen boys. Every day I have opportunities to see them try and succeed, or try and fall. And my mother-heart falls with them - especially on the days when their fall is because they refused good advice. BUT, I have a Father in heaven who knows what these boys need, who sees each step they take and knows what each outcome will be. I have a Father in heaven who listens to my prayers for my boys, and who has the grace, power, wisdom, and mercy to gently lead them down their roads to adulthood.
Oh, how thankful I am that HE listens. And cares. And responds!

Karen

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

HE Touched My Heart

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11
Lord, thank You for this Truth and the image which goes with it.
Thank You for holding me; for carrying me close to Your heart.
There is nowhere else I would rather be!

Karen

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

A Surrogate Mother

I saw my girl!

And I heard her voice!

Saturday afternoon, Brian and I had a Skype date with Elizabeth. And it was such a delight to see and hear her. We got to see her room, and the home where she's living in Mexico. Got to briefly meet her host parents. And we heard all about life in Santiago de Queretaro.
But, for the life of me, I was having a hard time concentrating on the things Elizabeth was saying.
Because she was clearing her throat frequently.
And she was sniffling.
I thought, Is she sick? Is she crying? Why would she be crying?
And I started asking if she'd found the vitamins she wanted to buy.
I checked on her fruits/veggies intake.
Asked about her sleep habits. Was she getting enough? (Because I know lack of sleep has health consequences. But with my girl, lack of sleep can also lead to weepy-ness.)
I realized this beautiful young woman - who has done very well acclimating to a new culture, new language, and new way of life - is very capable of making the necessary choices for her health and well-being. But inside, I started going all Over-protective-mother and just wanted to jump through the computer screen and tuck my girl into bed for an afternoon nap, or something.
Anything to feel like I was taking care of my girl.
Then, as if on cue, Elizabeth's Mexico-mom stepped into her bedroom and handed her a glass of cantaloupe water.
Unbidden, and unexpected.
A simple act of courtesy to show love and care for my daughter.

And I silently thanked God for providing another mother to watch over my daughter while she and I are so far apart.

Karen

Monday, February 08, 2016

Friday, February 05, 2016

TLC at GLC

Last Sunday in church, the pastor closed his sermon by reminding us about Matthew 25:31-40, which reads in part:

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
The pastor's point of application gave me pause to think of how I might do something for Jesus this week, by doing something "for the least of these brothers and sisters of [His]." Of course, my mind quickly went to GLC and the precious brothers and sisters who call it 'home.' Because God gives me opportunities to do something for Him every day I'm there.
Let's see.
This week I filed His nails when they were too long. I painted them when the previous manicure was chipping off. I sang with Him when His nerves were upset. I laughed with Him when He wanted to be silly. And I held His hand when He needed comforting.

It is an absolute joy to love and serve Jesus by pouring TLC onto the men and women at GLC!

Karen

Thursday, February 04, 2016

It's So Tempting

I've been thinking about my tasks around the house recently.

Thinking, that is, of how I might be able to get out of them.

For instance:
*I could skip shopping for groceries. And when one of the boys asks why I didn't refill the cupboards and refrigerator, I could explain that I didn't have time. Because I had to go to work.
*I could come home from work and lay down for a nap. When one of the boys asks when I'm going to make dinner, I could say I'll do it later. And when they ask me in another half hour when I'm going to make dinner, I'll reiterate that I'll get to it. Again, when they ask at the end of the day - just as I'm about to go to bed - I could apologize and say I forgot. That I'll do it the next day.
*Then there's laundry. I've been thinking I could simply not do it. Maybe go for a walk or read a book, instead. When one of the boys comes to me in the morning, distressed because they've no clean clothes to wear, I could smile sheepishly and say, "Oh. I got distracted and forgot all about the laundry."

Yeah. That's what I've been thinking.
I wonder if it would work.
I mean, I think it should.
Cuz those are the same excuses my boys have been giving me for the past I-can't-remember-how-long. *ahem*

Just keepin' it real here.

Karen

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Think About This for a Minute

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

~Acts 4:13
Are you familiar with the apostle, Peter, and the amount of preaching and teaching he did?
Have you read his sermons and witnessed his zeal for the Lord? (Acts 1:15-22, 2:14-40, 3:12-26, 4:8-12)
Ever admired his unshakable faith, as he stood before the rulers and respectfully defied their threats? (Acts 4:19, 5:29)

Do you remember from whence he came???

The unschooled, ordinary guy who put his foot in his mouth more than once, fell asleep during prayer twice, denied his Savior thrice, and failed the faith test over and again.
Yeah. That Peter.

And, yet, the rulers and leaders in Acts were astonished by his courage. Oh, what an inspiration it was yesterday - while watching the video during our Precepts class - to hear Kay Arthur suggest that if we're feeling less than adequate, what we need to do is spend more time with Jesus.

Karen

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Eavesdropping with My Eyes

I wasn't being sneaky.
Wasn't looking for anything I wasn't meant to see.
Honest!
This thing I saw was left out in plain sight on the kitchen counter and I just happened to read it when I was cleaning.
And it was so good, I picked up the whole stack and read them all.
The reading material in question is a stack of notes which all had "Josh" on them.
And when I glanced over a few words on the first note, I remembered my son telling me about a certain class project. That is, one of his teachers had assigned students with writing a note to everyone else in the class. Each note was intended to tell the reader what qualities and personal attributes the writer admired in the reader. So, naturally, when it came to notes containing positive things about my kid?
I couldn't stop by reading just one!

*I found out that Josh is perceived as "quiet" by a few people.
*Lots of students like his humor.
*Apparently he shares freely about his love of fishing during class, and a number of people admire him for his dedication.
*One girl said she watches all of his fishing videos on Youtube. Even though she doesn't fish.
*Several classmates commented on Josh's caring demeanor, and thanked him for being easy to talk to.
*And another girl gushed about his nice hair.
None of these revelations came as a big surprise to me.
I mean, Josh is a likable guy.
I already knew that.
But a few of his classmates talked about something of which I had no previous knowledge. Apparently Josh was in charge of leading a discussion during class one day, but wasn't there for some reason. In his absence, he sent discussion questions to school with another student so the class could carry on without him. And his classmates thought that was a good idea.
Ummmmm. So does his mom!
How about that? My son - who manages to leave all sorts of tasks forgotten or undone around the house (such that his mother wonders how he'll ever make it on his own) - had the foresight and responsibility to get the job done even when he wasn't there.
Nice.
I'm so glad I saw those notes sitting on the counter Josh left those notes sitting on the counter where he knew I'd see them. *smile*
***************************************************************************************************
Oh, the irony. Within eighteen hours of the time I wrote this post, the subject of it nearly got on my last nerve with a string of shirking-off-responsibility behaviors. And normal teenage-boy-attitude.
Ahhhh, the son I know and love.

*wink*

Karen

Monday, February 01, 2016