Friday, July 21, 2017

Lovely Moments

Awwwww, my sweet Lovely.

My heart is always filled with joy when it's time to visit her.

And this week, the anticipation was a little higher than usual. Because I received an email at the beginning of the week letting me know Lovely had been temporarily moved to another facility. She was experiencing severe pain and needed round-the-clock attention. So my concern was "on alert," and I wondered what her condition would be when I saw her.
It took me a while to find her in the new place, and when I did find her - I found her sleeping. So I sat by her bed and just looked at her. And as I started to pray, her eyes fluttered open.
Not wanting to startle Lovely, I slowly moved into her line of vision and said, "Hello, Lovely." And I sort of expected her to be a little confused - because she often is. Except this time, she wasn't. She smiled at me and I am pretty sure I could tell by her expression that she recognized me.
That she remembered me.
And my heart was doubly filled with joy.

She sat up and we looked at the pictures I had brought from my Colorado trip. Lovely enjoyed the pictures and the opportunity to marvel at the beauty. She even commented on the handsome-ness of my dear husband. (As she does every time she sees his picture.)
A short time later, her son came to visit and the three of us shared moments of laughter in the midst of conversation about years-gone-past.
Soon, her daughter arrived, too.
The four of us together found things about which we could laugh, and I enjoyed seeing Lovely look fondly at her children. But the moments passed too quickly, and soon it was time for me to go.
I told Lovely that I won't be able to see her next week (And she gave me the cute little pout she gives whenever my next visit is going to be delayed.), I kissed her cheek and told her I love her, and I took my leave - realizing how blessed I am to be even a small part of Lovely's life, hoping (a bit selfishly) God continues to allow us to have these lovely moments.

What lovely moments have you had this week for which you can give thanks to God?

Karen

P.S. As I mentioned to Lovely, I am not going to be around next week - which includes the blog. If God says the same, I'll be back here July 31.
Keep holding on to HIM!!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Watchin' My Babies Grow Up

I've just got to say, I love my daughter so very much.
Among many other things, I treasure seeing how she loves so well. How she seeks to be the hands and feet of Jesus to her friends and all those around her. And I am thankful for the ways her efforts to love others spill over onto the rest of us as her family.
That is, approximately seven years ago Elizabeth made a friend at school. And over the past seven years, that friend has become a part of our family. To the extent that we refer to this friend of Elizabeth's as our honorary daughter. (In fact, that's the way we refer to a couple of Elizabeth's friends. *grin*) She has always been welcome in our home and we've been able to be an extended family to her - offering all kinds of support as she's needed it.

And it's truly been a joy.

Well, this honorary daughter of ours has been living with us (in Elizabeth's room - since Elizabeth is gone for the summer) for the past two months. And one of the things we've been doing during these months is helping our honorary daughter navigate the world of "adulting". We've seen her find jobs (Not a new thing for her. She's a hard worker. But she was unable to work for a while and this was a big step.); learn about and make a budget (Including some of the hard choices that come with living on a budget.); make grown-up decisions which weren't always easy to manage; search for a place to live which was safe, suitable, and stayed within the budget; and yesterday, we got to see her get the keys to that place.
Ahhhh, another baby bird leaving the nest.
Through having this young lady living with us, we have also been able to get to know and love her boyfriend. He's become an honorary son to us, and it has been a joy to watch him walking into the ways of "adulting", too. The road ahead of them will surely be difficult at times, but God is faithful and I trust Him to lead them.

And so it is. For both the children I have physically birthed, and those who are children from my heart - I am trusting their futures to the LORD. As I watch them grow up, as I watch them make decisions and take action and sometimes make mistakes, as I occasionally want to step in and do "it" for them, I find myself praying and trusting my Father.
Because He is their Father, too.
And He is good.

Karen

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

God Sightings

*When you're looking for a place to live and nothing's working out, and just when you feel like you're out of alternatives a near-perfect option becomes available...
*When you're checking your grocery receipt (and you don't usually do it) and you catch errors totaling over $25...
*When you take the receipt back to the store and for some reason part of the error is returned to you in cash, and you go to another store to pick up something you forgot you needed, and the cash you just received at the other store provides you with perfect change...
*When ends aren't meeting and you don't know how they will and then somehow, they do...
*When you've got a bunch of things to do and not a lot of time to do it, and lines are quick, and lights are green, and you remember this morning you asked God to order your steps...
*When you've been praying for a long time for a family who was in a serious accident, and you find out that everyone is finally out of the hospital and living under the same roof again...
*When you're doing yard work and you notice the intricacy and beauty of a flower...
*When your pregnant friend lets you feel the baby kick...
*When the encouragement you needed arrives via text message at just the right moment...
*When a kind stranger smiles and lends you a hand...
*When you find the courage to do what you did not think you could do...

...consider yourself blessed, because you've seen the hand of the Almighty at work.

I compiled this list of God sightings from my own experiences and those of a couple friends over the past several days. Please add your own in the comments. I'd love to hear of the ways you have seen HIM, too.

Karen

Monday, July 17, 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

Somebody's Missing

So, I spoke during chapel last night at the women's mission.
And as I have been doing since February, I scanned the room to see if H was present. Because I was eager to hear an update from her about how her circumstances are progressing. (When I was there two weeks ago she told me she was on a waiting list for an apartment and I wondered if she had any news about when she might get into it.)
However, as I looked around the chapel, I didn't see her. I asked a woman sitting near me if she knew H - was hoping I might find out from her about H's housing situation.
But she didn't know H.
And I was left to wonder.
And my wondering is going down a very hopeful track. I'm thinking maybe that waiting list reached H and she is no longer a guest at the Rescue Mission. My hopeful imagination is telling me maybe H is taking a major step toward getting back on her feet, and that she is probably telling everyone about God's power and faithfulness expressed in her life.
True, the only thing I know for sure about H is that she was missing from chapel last night. But I also know a few things for sure about God:
*HE is faithful.
*HE knows where H is and what she's doing.
*HE is working for her good.
I am so thankful for these things I know about God. They give me confidence that wherever H is today, it is well with her - because she's in His hands.

How does what you know about God help you face what you don't know about everything else?

Karen

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Disorders are NOT Logical

So, the other day I was talking to someone about depression - and what it looks like in my life. And as the conversation went on I began to understand why disorders are so hard for non-disordered-people to understand.
That is, as I spoke about my tendency to take what I hear and turn it into an attack on myself (That's the disordered part of me!) my friend suggested I ought to recognize that the speaker didn't intend to be critical of me, and I ought to laugh it off. Or, when I am in a situation which is not going as I had hoped, rather than berating myself for being a failure I ought to realize the situation won't be hard forever and try to look on the bright side.
And as I listened to her giving this very good advice, I was thinking, Yes! Of course. That's what I ought to do. And I know it. Everything you're saying is logical and makes sense and I know it's the logical way to handle a circumstance.
Chin up!
Cheer up!
Don't be so sad.
And if a disorder like depression could be managed with logic, that - right there - would be my answer. Unfortunately, disorders aren't logical. That's why they're disorders. Because something isn't working like it should be - as it would be - if it were all in order.

It's kind of like me saying to my young friend who has an eating disorder, "C'mon, sweetheart. Just eat something. You know you need to. Your body must have some nourishment. You cannot get better if you don't eat."
All true statements.
All logical and good.
All of them make sense to me!
But not one of 'em is helpful or productive for my friend.
Because disorders are NOT logical. And, therefore, they cannot be treated, managed, or cured with logic.

All that to say, do you know someone with a disorder-of-some-kind? Ever wish you could snap your fingers and get through to them? Get discouraged because they aren't taking your logical, rational, reasonable advice and suggestions? Ever feel frustrated because you don't understand what's going on inside of them?
Eh, don't feel bad - most of the time we don't understand, either!
And so we (all!) must cling to Jesus, trusting Him to help us (and help us help each other) get through this not-always-logical thing called life.

Karen

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

LOVE is Patient

Yesterday morning I walked into the kitchen to discover a counter FULL of dishes which had not been washed the night before - by one of my sons who claims he always does them before he goes to bed. (We've argued over my desire that they get done right after dinner. And compromised that the time frame could be extended to at-least-before-bed.)
But yesterday the kitchen was a mess when I walked into it.
And that did not make me happy.
Nonetheless, I pushed through my disappointment in a job-not-done and went downstairs to exercise. However, as soon as I reached the bottom of the stairs I noticed a suspicious dark spot on the carpeting - and I knew Mindy had peed on it.
That super-duper did not make me happy.
I mean, seriously. She has these "accidents" waaaaaaay too often. *ahem*
I begrudgingly cleaned it up, and went on to my work-out. And in the middle of that, I noticed a small shovel which I'd been seeking this past weekend. I was doing some weeding Saturday morning and could have benefited from having that shovel - but, no! The last person who used it (a nameless son of mine) didn't put it back after he'd last used it, and no one could find on Saturday. But there it was in plain view Monday morning - adding to my angst of things-not-done-right-around-my-house.

I am not sure how it happened, but somehow I persevered and finished my exercises. *wink*
And when I sat down to eat my breakfast, and I bowed my head to pray - the strangest thing transpired. Thoughts of the un-done dishes, the peed-on carpet, and the not-put-back shovel flooded my mind.
For a moment I thought of the guilty parties.
Then I thought about some of the (many) times I have not done what I was supposed to do - or have done what I wasn't supposed to do - and my view of the morning's guilty parties changed. Before I had even thanked God for my food, I found myself thanking Him for His patience with me.
And oddly enough, my cereal tasted an awful lot like Humble Pie.

Karen

Monday, July 10, 2017

God's Ultimate Desire for You

Hahahaha! This thumbnail totally cracked me up.
I couldn't resist choosing it. Especially when Matthew told me he'd be proud of me for "getting out of my comfort zone" and posting it. *wink*

Karen

Friday, July 07, 2017

Lovely Moments

Lovely didn't answer her phone when I called yesterday to see if I could come visit.
But last week she wasn't feeling well, so I imagined she just might not be able to answer the phone and I decided to go over, anyway.
When I arrived, she was sleeping on her couch - still in her nightie - so I just sat on the adjacent love seat and prayed for her. I listened to her breathing, I watched the expressions she was making on her face (must have been having an interesting dream...), I considered the stories she has shared with me and wondered at all the things she has experienced in her life, and I asked God to give her peace.
When Lovely awoke she said she felt "out of it", but that didn't last long.
I knew she hadn't gone to the dining room to eat (They had brought a tray with her meal on it into her apartment.) so I offered to warm up her lunch, hoping some nourishment would help her get back to normal. And as I was re-heating the main course, Lovely got started on the chocolate cake. I walked into the living room with her lunch and observed, "Oh. You're starting with dessert today?"
She smiled and said, "I love chocolate!"
And that seemed to be the end of her feeling-out-of-it troubles.
We laughed about chocolate being the answer to solve every problem, and with just about every bite of cake she took, Lovely reminded me again how she loves chocolate. The rest of our visit centered around her lunch. The egg roll was delicious. She didn't realize how hungry she was. She wanted another bite of this thing which was so good - though she didn't know what it was, but she sure did like it! (It was still the egg roll.) And, oh yeah, she really loves chocolate!

As I reflected back on our visit, it occurred to me things are changing. This was two weeks in a row that Lovely hadn't been to the dining room for lunch before I came. It's been almost a month since we've reminisced about her younger years. (Although she did brag about her husband being the sweetest soul on earth. I don't think a day ever passes without that thought going through her precious mind.) It seems our recent visits have found me with greater responsibility for keeping the conversation going. And she is lamenting more frequently about being "old".
To face reality I understand I must admit that my Lovely moments may not last much longer. But I am thankful for each one I've had - and for as many more as the Lord allows.

With whom are you (or should you be) cherishing lovely moments today?

Karen

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Everything to Me

When my heart is disturbed, when my spirit needs to be reminded of what matters, this is one of the songs God consistently uses to set me right.
Needing it at the moment, and praying HE encourages you, too.

Karen

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Adam Raccoon: Back in Print!

Adam Racoon - back in print

That was the message in the subject line of an email I received which made me so very, very happy.
The email was from the publisher, informing me that last November all eight titles of the Adam Raccoon series had been re-released in beautiful hard-cover books. I'm telling you, I love LOVE Adam Raccoon and this news made me feel like I'd just been reunited with an old friend.
That is to say, my kids grew up with me reading Adam Raccoon to them, and in a moment of what-was-I-thinking - when the kids had out-grown children's books, and grandchildren were nowhere near my thoughts - I sold all of my Adam Raccoon books in a garage sale. Then one day when I wanted to buy a copy to give as a baby shower gift, I discovered they were out of print.
And my heart sank.
Because I thought, How am I going to re-build my collection for the day when I have grandchildren running around and I want to read these wonderful books to them???
I mean, I know there's always Amazon (In fact, I have purchased Adam Raccoon books through Amazon many times to give as baby shower gifts. Actually, there are two sitting in my room right now waiting for a special little boy to be born!) but Amazon doesn't have ALL the titles. And I wanted to re-build the whole collection. *sniff*
And now I can.
That is, now I'm going to!

So, whether you're a mom, or a grandma; or you're going to be a mom, or a grandma; or you know a mom, or a grandma - if you love kids and you love Jesus, you really need to check into Adam Raccoon.
And a little insider information I found out about which may be of interest to you:
*The publisher is almost done with some activity and coloring pages for the series and they should release as a free download on their website later this month or next.
*The Signature Set which includes the slipcase and signed art card and from Glen Keane is only available through their website. Promo code BRUBAKER will work for free shipping on domestic orders of the Signature Set.
Annnnnnd, just in case you need a preview, here's a recording I made several years ago of one of my favorite (They're all my favorite!!!) Adam Raccoon books:




Karen

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Top Ten Things I Learned on Vacation

10. Sometimes it's better to get it all done at once. 

In planning our recent trip to Colorado (to visit our girl, since she's doing an internship there this summer...) we thought long and hard about how we were going to get there. That is, I am not a fan of driving long distances because, well, because it takes so long. So we checked out the option of flying. However, I am even more not a fan of spending a lot of money, so we quickly ruled out that alternative. And taking the train wasn't going to be much better, so we acquiesced to the driving plan.
Only that decision didn't entirely solve the problem.
That is, Brian proposed driving straight through - from Michigan to Colorado. And I was all, Nooooo, that will be so long! And I am not a fan of long car rides. But, if we didn't drive straight through, that would mean paying for a hotel room along the way and, well, I am even more not a fan of spending a lot of money... So, I complied with Brian's proposal and we made plans to drive for 18+ hours.
And, can I tell you? That was such a good idea!
We stopped along the way for gas and lunch and dinner, and were in our hotel room by 11:00pm local time saying, "I can't believe we were in Michigan this morning, and we're already in Colorado!"
I was so glad we got to start our fun the very next day - instead of having to drive more. 
Indeed, sometimes it's better to get it all done at once. That is, sometimes we need to admit that somebody else was right. Thanks, Brian!

9. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

We did a good amount of hiking in Colorado, including one day in Pine Valley Ranch Park along the North Fork South Platte River. During that particular walk, I became enamored with a pretty pink flower I kept seeing along the trail. I know, I know. I become enamored with just about anything pink. But this one was special. I figured it must be some kind of distinguished specimen. Maybe one of Colorado's home-grown treasures. So I took pictures.

But when I showed the pictures to Elizabeth at the end of the week she told me it was just a Thistle - with a bit of a disapproving tone in her voice. And I'm thinking, Thistle. Sounds like whistle. And you whistle when you're happy. This flower must make people happy. 
Until Elizabeth told me, "Mom. It's a weed."
But it's pink! And it's pretty.
Then I realized: plants in which some people find no worth can be precious to others.
And I thought, Hmmm. The same can be said for people, too.

8. Having a GPS doesn't preclude the need to have a plan.

OK, I know I have been accused of being a Luddite.
I admit I can be guilty of holding on to "old ways".
I realize there is value in embracing today and taking advantage of the technology we have.
But sometimes batteries die, and signals get lost (especially in the mountains!) and it would be a good idea to know how to get where you're going without having to rely on said batteries or signals.
And that's all I'm gonna say about that one. *wink*

7. Murphy's Law can find me on horseback. 

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
That stupid adage follows me everywhere I go.
We were in the Rocky Mountains on a 2-hour trail ride and everything had been going smoothly. So I decided to get my phone out and record some of the scenery. What could go wrong? I thought to myself. We're just moseying along. Everything's good. I can ride one-handed for a few minutes.
If only I had heard ol' Murphy snickering in the woods.

 

Yeah. My horse got spooked by something and started running, so I dropped my phone.
Fortunately, the phone didn't get stepped on by a horse. It was dusty, but no damage.
I guess Murph gave me a pass on that one.

6. Things that look like trouble aren't really trouble when you trust the leader. 

One of our more adventurous days was spent white-water rafting down Browns Canyon in the Arkansas River. Yes, even my 72-year-old mother-in-law came along. Go, Grandma!!! 
That's her in the blue helmet. Haha!
 One thing we learned very quickly on our adventure was the importance of listening to, trusting, and obeying our leader. Mike was a great guy, and he had been down this river many, many times before. He knew the location of every rock and rapid. He knew how to steer and when to turn us. He called out "forward, 3" or "forward, 4" and "forward, 2 more" at all the right times to get us to give the raft the power he needed to steer us in the right direction.
We might be headed toward a rapid, or approaching a big rock we thought we should avoid - and we might be tempted to start paddling "away" from it. But our strict orders were to row only when and how Mike instructed.
 And when we worked as a team - trusting our leader - we made it safely through and around every obstacle we faced.
Something tells me white-water rafting could produce a parable about trusting Jesus.

5. Scary is a matter of perspective. 

Another adventurous thing we did in Colorado was riding bikes down Pikes Peak. For those who don't know why that would be considered an adventure, let me just tell you: our bike ride started at over 14,000 feet above sea level, and lasted approximately 19 miles. And when we were riding in the van to the top of the mountain I experienced several moments of honest-to-goodness fear.
See, the driver was very comfortable with mountain driving.
Sometimes she would turn her head to address a passenger's question and I would want to scream at her, "Keep your eyes on the road! We could slip over the edge and fall to our death in a matter of seconds! Don't drive so close to the edge!!!"
Because from where I was sitting in that van, it really did seem like one inch to the right was going to be our end. And my heart was on edge. (Pun totally intended!)
Then we got to the top and I got out of the van, and I felt comfortable enough to walk around and see just how high we really were.

And how far down we could fall if we slipped.
And I thought, I'm really going to ride a bicycle down this mountain?
But the craziest thing happened.
I got on the bike, rode around the parking lot a bit to get acclimated, and when we started down the mountain and I was riding in the middle of the lane - even when I was in the lane on the outside of the mountain - I felt totally secure.
I wasn't scared.
My mind didn't scream at me about being careful to not fall over the edge.
Seems that being in control of my own "vehicle" and feeling like I wasn't on the edge of the road changed my outlook. I had the perception of being safe. And that's when I learned that scary is a matter of perspective.

4. Spicy Uno brings people together. 

I've mentioned Spicy Uno here before. And if you haven't tried it, I'm telling you now: you must!
I don't think I have more fun playing any other game than this one.
In addition to the fact that my 17 and 19-year-old sons will play with us, I love Spicy Uno because it brings all kinds of people together. From my husband to my sons to my mother-in-law to my daughter's roommate (who we had just met) we had a room full of diverse people who were laughing together, having fun together, enjoying time together, not looking at smartphones together.
And this momma's heart loved it.
If you're looking for a way to create some good family/friend time, check out Spicy Uno!

3. People don't have to be "like" you in order to be liked by you. 

It's easy to like people who are like you, isn't it?
You talk the same, dress the same, eat the same, think the same. 
It's easy to get along with people like that, you know?
But during our time in Colorado - and with the various adventures we took - I had several opportunities to meet people who were not like me.
There were those with lots of tattoos, women who went without bras, some folks with interesting piercings, and others who looked as though they hadn't been to see a barber anytime in the past 12 months. They were people who - on the outside - didn't look anything like me. People who - had I not been placed with them by an outside influence - I might not have engaged in conversation or relationship. 
Yet, when I spent time with them, when I learned about the people inside the appearances - I discovered beautiful souls who were a blessing to know, regardless of how they look, or talk, or act, or eat, or whatever else sometimes divides us.
Made me wonder how many times I have missed a friendship just because a person wasn't "like" me.
Let's not do that again!

2. I need JESUS.

Ahhhhhh, the most important things I learned(And not for the first time, I might add). Numbers 2 and 1.
Let's be real: 
The trip was great. 
We had fun adventures and made good memories.
But it was also full of struggle for me. 
Although I am doing much better with regards to dealing with depression, there are times...(Like when I'm in close proximity to family 24/7 and I'm trying to keep peace, make decisions which will satisfy everyone, guide plans to best utilize our resources, answer the same questions repeatedly, and not blow my top - you know, when I'm on "vacation".) 
Yeah. 
There are times I feel like I'm losing the battle with my depressive tendencies. When my insecurities rise to the surface and the negative self-talk crushes the timid voice of truth which is trying to come through. When every little thing I hear someone say gets turned around in my head to be a jab at my very existence. When I'm pretty sure everyone around me is certain I am a failure.
And then, Jesus.
Jesus steps forward in moments like this one - when we were climbing to the top of a waterfall, and I stayed back because the climb got too steep for me. So I stood by myself, taking in the beauty of what I was seeing, overwhelmed by the majesty and power of our Creator God who could make such a display with rocks and water. And in that moment HE reminded me - His Voice of Truth spoke to my heart - that when I am weak, HE is strong. Though I am inadequate, HE is enough. My insecurities don't limit Him. HE is all I need.

  

1. God's plans are best. Always.

And, the number one thing I learned on vacation - which God has shown me time and time, again: 
HIS plans are best. Always!
It was our last night in Colorado and I had an idea of something that would be special to do with my daughter on our "final" night together. But it didn't happen as I had imagined, and the disappointment - in combination with the week-long struggle I described in #2 - was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I could do nothing to hold back the tears any longer. So, I wept.
Yet, as God would have it, something different happened which was far greater and more significant than the original plan I'd had in my mind. Yes, HE did immeasurably more than all I had asked or imagined (Eph. 3:20) 
And my heavenly Father graciously reminded me that I can trust Him to do what is good.
Even in the face of what looks disappointing.
I pray, my friend, that you may also be convinced of this wonderful Truth.


Karen

Monday, July 03, 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

Lovely Moments

As I was driving over to see Lovely yesterday, I noticed a moth clinging to the base of my windshield. I was on the highway, going 70 MPH, and that little guy was struggling to hold on so he wouldn't be swept away by the wind.
And I do mean struggling.
As in, I was nearly ready to pull off to the side of the road to let him fly away peacefully - because he made it look like staying safe was such a hard task.

Then I noticed what song was playing on the radio, and how perfectly it fit with the scene playing out before my eyes. So I grabbed my phone and recorded my insect-friend's journey - that I might share it with you. (I love that God speaks through every.little.thing!)
On the days when you're feeling like this little guy, when life seems to be dragging you through a 70 MPH wind, my friend - stop holding on, and just BE HELD.

Karen
P.S. I'm taking a vacation! Will be away from the blog for the rest of the month. See you in July! :)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

When You Begin Your Day...

by asking the Holy Spirit to order your steps, and take you to the places HE wants you to go - to do the things HE wants you to do:
*You might find that your time is spent in ways you hadn't planned.
*Which may mean you haven't the time to devote to creating a blog post.
*Which is fine. Because you've trusted God to lead you.

May your day be filled with promptings of the Holy Spirit, leading you to the good works HE has prepared ahead of time for you to do.

Karen

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

HE Heard

Oh, how I love it when God shows Himself.

Monday morning I posted the video I had recorded Sunday night - about my need to trust God.
My knowledge that I could/should/wanted to trust Him, even though the circumstance is troubling.
In the recording of the video I prayed, asking God to give me the strength to do what I cannot do on my own. And even though I was "recording" a video to be posted here, my prayer was real. That is, I wasn't just saying words for the sake of a blog post. I was seeking the help of the Holy Spirit!
So, anyway I put a link to the blog post on Facebook and was eating my breakfast while perusing other Facebook postings when I came across these words written by a friend of mine:
It is going to be a wonderful day...Trust Him. Every detail of your life matters to Him. He will restore the years as He has promised!
I read them.
And I read them again.
And I thought, Are YOU talking to me???
And, yes, I read those words one more time.
I thought about the truth that every detail of my life does matter to God. That HE sees all, and knows all, and is able to do all things. Yes, HE is even able to mend broken relationships and restore what has gone missing. Our GOD can do all that!

I mean, just look at what HE did in the span of twelve hours.
I prayed and asked for His help. And HE heard.
His Spirit prompted a dear woman hundreds of miles away from me to type out a hope-filled message.
HE saw to it that those words would appear on my Facebook page, and HE gave me the grace to understand that HE was speaking to my heart - in response to what HE heard in the outpouring of that same heart the night before.
And that ministry of His Spirit to mine increased my ability to trust.

Oh, thank You, LORD, for hearing, and speaking, and growing my faith.
Thank You for what You're going to do in my circumstance.
Thank YOU!!!

Friend, HE hears you, too.

Karen

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Thanks. I Think.

*groan*

"I am so stupid!" I complained.

And then my knight in shining armor asked, "What happened?"

So I explained that I had just typed out a message to send to a friend on Facebook and instead of hitting "enter" to send it, I inadvertently clicked on the "x" in the upper right corner. And a message popped up informing me I hadn't yet sent the message, and asking if I really wanted to leave the page. Annnnd, I clicked on "OK" without thinking through what I was doing.
The result?
The message was gone, and I was left groaning - and condemning myself for my stupidity.
"Oh," he said. And I looked at him with an invitation to keep talking.
"Well, I was going to argue with you about being stupid. But..."
We locked eyes, laughed, and said simultaneously, "That was stupid."

It's great when we can avoid arguments. *wink*

Karen

Monday, June 12, 2017

Friday, June 09, 2017

Lovely Moments

Ahhhh, Lovely.
She is such a bright spot in my week.
And I thoroughly enjoy the hour-or-so we spend together each Thursday afternoon.
Yesterday when I arrived, Lovely was not in her apartment - so I went searching for her in the dining room, where I found her finishing her lunch. We chatted with her table mate over their last few bites, and then debated between going for a walk outside and chilling out in her apartment. Ultimately - the chilling out option took precedence, as we had to go back anyway to put her left-overs away. And by the time we got there, Lovely wanted to rest.
She keeps telling me not to get as old as she is. Says it's hard on the body!
So I opened her curtains to let the sun shine in, and we sat together to talk about dogs and kids and changing times and what life was like during the Depression. She told me many things which she has said before, and a couple of new memories, too. And I was reminded how precious it is to have a friend who is twice your age.

When I left Lovely, I went to Merry's to say, Hello, and share a hug.
I couldn't stay for a visit with Merry today, because I had another appointment.

That is, I needed to help someone else get to her appointment.

We currently have a house-guest staying with us (I'll call her Hopeful, because she is!) and she has been actively seeking a job. Hopeful has been busy applying for various positions and yesterday afternoon she had an interview. So after I visited Lovely and Merry, I drove Hopeful to her interview. As she got out of the van I said, "Knock 'em dead!" and she smiled as she responded, "Uh, I don't want them dead. I'd like them to employ me!" Good point.
Anyway, as she was interviewing I was praying - asking God to provide for her needs. Annnnd, when she got back into the van, Hopeful declared, "I nailed it!" She will find out within the next 48 hours if she got the job. But I know right now that God is faithful, and I trust He's doing a good thing in and for her.

And in writing it all out I realize - my life is full of lovely moments. Yes, there are hard times. Yes, I struggle frequently - with motherhood, and otherwise. But God shows me each day that there are lovely moments, and I am thankful.

How about you???

Karen

Thursday, June 08, 2017

I Heard it Through the Grapevine Walls

In a perfect world, children and their parents would have completely open communication. Each would tell the other their secret dreams and aspirations. There would be no apathetic responses when one asks the other about their hopes for the future. No blank stares when questions like, So, what are you thinking about for life after high school? are posed.

But I don't live in a perfect world.

In my world, sometimes a momma has to resort to eavesdropping overhearing conversations to learn things about her offspring.
And when that happens?
This momma gets happy.

Such was the case last night.
Matthew was playing games online with some friends. He had on his headset and was carrying on a conversation when I walked past his room to say goodnight. And as I went into my own room I heard him saying, "Yeah, I signed up for Physics next year, even though I don't need another science credit. You know, just for LOLs."
*pause*
"Well, I figured I'm going to need to know that stuff for my career."
And I'm all, Wait a minute! Did those words really just come from my son? The same one who says, "I dunno," whenever I ask him about college 'n stuff???
And there arose in me a glimmer of hope that the guidance we're trying to give as parents and the prayers I'm offering to God on behalf of my son, may actually be producing something fruitful.

Thank You, God, for the glimmers!

Karen

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Bless His Heart. He Tried!

Have I mentioned here that Brian recently bought a new (New to him, that is.) car?
Well, he did.
And since that day he's been spending a lot of time watching Youtube videos about changing the oil, and the transmission fluid, and the brake fluid, and just about everything else he can change on that car. He's like a little kid with a brand new toy.
So, this past weekend Brian was in the midst of another maintenance project when I noticed him going through my kitchen utensils and pulling out the baster. I had a bad feeling about what he was going to do with it. And moments later he approached me asking if it was a "good" baster.
"Well, it's the only one I have," I replied.
Brian wanted to know if he could use it for changing the brake fluid. You know, would that be OK with me. He'd, uh, wash it when he was finished.
I said I didn't care if he washed it, or not. Because if he was going to use it for car stuff, I was going to buy a new baster. I am not going to take a chance of feeding my family brake fluid for dinner.
He said, "So, it's OK for me to use it? You don't mind getting a new one? I mean, I wasn't sure if it was a Creative Memories baster."
Uh, he meant Pampered Chef.

And I chuckled, realizing a guy with his toys has trouble keeping track of a girl and hers.

Karen

Friday, May 26, 2017

Lovely Moments

Murphy and his annoying Law just might be the end of me.

I went to visit Lovely yesterday, and - as usual - we had lovely moments. We talked about many of the same things we usually discuss. Lovely laughed every time I told a joke, even though she's heard them all before. (Well, not ALL of them. There were a couple I'm sure I haven't told her before.) We even discovered another connection which makes our world smaller. That is, Lovely used to attend the church of which my aunt is a member. My aunt was over last weekend to help celebrate Matthew's 17th birthday and when I mentioned Lovely's real name, Aunt Sue said she thought Lovely used to go to Plymouth Congregational. Lovely and I have found several connections since meeting, and it was fun to confirm another.
When my time with Lovely came to an end, I went to visit another woman who lives in the same facility. This woman - I'll call her Merry, because she is! - used to live at Vista Springs when I worked there, and it has become my habit to spend time with her after my moments with Lovely. Anyway, Merry and I were talking - trying to solve all the worlds problems - when my phone rang.
It was Josh.
So I answered.
He got out of work earlier than expected and wanted me to come pick him up.
I explained that I was visiting a friend and would leave to pick him up "in about 10 minutes".
Only, you know how it is when you're visiting with a friend, right?
It was more like 15 or 20 minutes later that I finally said good-bye to Merry, and I could just picture Josh pacing at work. Waiting for me to get there. Soooooo, to say I wasn't paying close attention to my speed as I was driving would be quite accurate. Actually, to say I was aware that I *might* be going faster than usual would be completely true. But I was thinking about picking up my son - and the fact that I hadn't left Merry's when I told him I would leave.
So I was late.
And I hate making people wait for me.

Annnnnd, that's just about when I saw the police car in on-coming traffic.
I observed in my rear view mirror as he turned around.
I continued watching as he turned his lights on and off to get people to move over.
And then he got behind me.
Only, when I pulled to the side, he didn't pass me - as he'd been doing to all the others behind me.
Nope.
He pulled over, too.
Super nice police officer, he was. Asked me if I knew why he had stopped me. Yes. And did I know how fast I was going? Yes. (As soon as I saw him on the road I looked at my speedometer. I was going 45, in a 35 zone. Oops.)
Long story, shortened - he came back to the van with a ticket for me. Said, although I have an excellent driving record, he had to do something because I was going 10 over. And if he lets people "off" when they're doing 10 over, they probably aren't going to change their behavior. (It didn't help that they guy looked young enough to be my son. I felt like I was being lectured by a KID!) And I'm thinking, Yeah. But the reason I have such an excellent driving record is because I typically obey the speed limit. I don't do 45 in 35s! Except for this one day when I'm in a rush to pick up my son from work, because he got out earlier than expected - so I'm admittedly going faster than I usually do. And you just happen to be on the same road as me. Stupid Murphy, and your dumb Law!

It's been several hours since that incident occurred. And I'm still trying to determine if there was anything lovely about those moments.
The prognosis is not good.
But I did learn my lesson: Let 'em wait! *pouty face*

Karen

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

It Takes a Cyber-village

So, Monday evening as we're getting ready to sit down for dinner, Matthew was in a quasi-panic state. He couldn't find his car keys so he was searching the house - going through the trash, calling everyone into action. But I (being the wet blanket that I am, and not wanting the food to get cold) said it was time for dinner, and we could look for the keys later.
By the time we had finished eating I had completely forgotten about the lost keys. But not so, Matthew. He started looking in, around, and under everything in sight. And before he totally tore apart the house I suggested he go look in his car. I mean, I have been known to leave my keys in the ignition a time, or two, and figured it was worth a try.

Though he scoffed at the idea, he went out to look.

And when Matthew came inside and told me the keys were - in fact - in his car, I didn't understand why he didn't have a happier demeanor. Until he added the detail that...the car was locked.
Oh.
"Do you have a spare key?" I asked.
He didn't.
"Oh. OK."
So I suggested Matthew get a coat hanger, or something, and try to break in to his car.
But he's never done that before.
Didn't know how to do it.
(Me, neither!)
So I did my best thinking and said, "Youtube it. There's gotta be someone who has posted a video about unlocking your car without keys."
Annnnd, there was! So Matthew got a hanger and went out to give it a try.

Side note: When I was in college I was at a weekend camp when a fellow student locked her keys in her car. One of the cooks at the camp was a former car thief, so someone had him come out to her car and - he got it opened in seconds. Totally God redeeming this guy's past! Anyway, I figured with a little coaching Matthew could do the same thing.

I figured wrongly.
He got the hanger stuck in the door and was beside himself. Fortunately, I was able to wiggle it out. But although the hanger was free, the keys remained locked away. So Matthew and I went back inside, figuring it would be best for Brian to get home and try breaking in before we called a locksmith.
And I decided to also tap into my most reliable resource: Facebook!
I posted a simple plea for help:
Bummer! Matthew has locked his keys in his car.
Any local friends good at breaking into locked cars???
Among the helpful replies and suggestions was this one: You guys need AAA.
And I'm all, Whoa! I think we do have AAA.
Brian confirmed it, I got on the phone to call for roadside assistance, and within half an hour a very nice young man was in our driveway breaking into Matthew's car.
It was beautiful.
And I couldn't help but shake my head, and laugh a little, at the notion that we would have ended up calling and paying for a locksmith, had it not been for my Facebook friend's off-the-cuff comment.

And so, when it comes to meeting practical little needs - I will continue to post my queries on Facebook, for all my friends to see.
Because it really takes a cyber-village to keep this girl on track. *wink*

Karen

Monday, May 22, 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017

When Time Won't Stand Still

One week after my girl left for Colorado, moments after I completed a discussion monologue about how to take on adult-like responsibilities for oneself, the very day my baby turned 17 years old - a.k.a. yesterday - Josh gave me hope that all this growing up isn't really happening.
That is, Josh sold his Jeep several weeks ago and has yet to buy a replacement vehicle. Which means most days he is scheduled to work - I drive him in. Because I usually have places to go during the day for which I need to use my van. Most of the times I've driven him to work he has been opening - so nobody is there when we arrive.
But not so yesterday.
Co-workers saw me bringing him to work.
And as I dropped him off, Josh mumbled, "I don't like you bringing me to work. I feel like a kid."
And there - for just a moment - I looked at my physically-adult-but-developmentally-not-quite-there-yet son - who wants so much to be a man and do manly things, who is anxious to be able to have the freedoms of an adult yet doesn't seem eager to tackle the corresponding responsibilities - and thought, But you are, aren't you? Aren't you still my little boy?

This new phase of parenting is a tricky one. Trying to convince a man-child that he needs to listen and learn - because he really doesn't know everything he thinks he knows. Attempting to teach "adulting" to one who would rather just go fishing all day. Wanting to do it all without losing one's ever-loving mind. All the while seeing a small blonde-haired, blue-eyed toddler in one's memory, just wanting to pick him up and never let him go - assuring him that Mommy will always be there to make sure he's OK.

Yeah. That's pretty much what it's like in my world right now.
Looking at my man-child, remembering my toddler - trusting that if I could teach him to walk and run, I can also show him how to fly.

Karen

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Who Am I?

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday which got me thinking.
And helped me discover an answer to a really big question.

Who am I?

That question was raised as my friend and I were discussing the stresses and struggles of trying to handle the multiple roles we have. Especially when we are playing two or three or more of those roles simultaneously.
For example - when we are serving with our family at a church function: We may be a wife needing to support her husband, while we're a mother who needs to restrain redirect rebuke manage her children, at the same time as we are a Sunday school teacher who ought to be a good role model, while also being a small group leader trying to make sure group members are plugged in to an activity - and attempting to be all these things to all these people all at the same time?
Well, it can be overwhelming.
And sometimes we end up blowing a gasket and damaging our witness.
Can I get a witness???

So, what's a girl to do?

My friend and I decided we need to be convinced of our identity in Christ first.
And make our moves from that position.
As I pondered that thought I said, "Yes. I am a child of God - first!" A child of God.
If I am a child, it follows that I don't know everything, can't do everything, need help.
And if I am a child of God, then God is my Father and it follows that HE is the One who knows everything, can do everything, will help me.
Therefore, in answer to the first question, I am a child of God.
And in answer to the second question, I need to surrender myself to HIM. That is, I need to accept my position as a child, and God's position as my Father. Once that's settled, I need to seek and accept guidance from HIM, being obedient to HIS direction, and trusting that HE will work in me that which is good and right.
Oh, that sounds so simplistic.
Too easy.
Almost too good to be true.
But if my heart would just be humble enough to accept that plan, to believe that's who I am...
I have a feeling I'd be feeling peaceful a lot more often.

What do you think???

Karen

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Feeling Helpless from Afar

So, my girl?
Made it to Colorado just fine. Thoroughly enjoyed her roommate's companionship on the road-trip, was having a nice weekend with her roommate's family in Denver, and was looking forward to getting moved into her apartment and starting her internship Monday.
That's the report Elizabeth gave me when we spoke on the phone Sunday afternoon.
And my momma's heart was happy.

However.

But.

In spite of that good report.

Just a couple of hours later, she called Brian because as she was driving up the mountain - the engine quit. And she needed some advice.
Brian called our insurance company to get the car towed to a repair shop. And her roommate's family said she could borrow their car for the time being. Our responsible young lady even took it upon herself to say she would pay for whatever work was necessary on the car. And it seemed as though the small hurdle would be conquered.

However.

But.

In spite of that hopeful outlook.

Monday afternoon I got a text from Brian: Ouch! The Camry is dead.
Seems that little car got to protesting after the drive out west, and up the mountains, and just plopped right down and blew its little engine. (Guess it never read the story about the little engine that COULD.)
Since none of us wants to pay $7,000 to put a new engine in an old car, well, now we have to (help our girl) figure out what to do with a car that doesn't have anywhere to go. And can't get there, anyway!
Additionally, we're going to need to (help our girl) figure out how to get a new car - or decide if she can get by without one.
If she decides to do without, then there's the detail about how she'll get herself and her stuff back to Wheaton at the end of the summer.
And at this point, I'm thinking it's a good thing I know God knows how it's all going to work out. HE knew the summer would begin with this unexpected (to us) obstacle, and HE knows how it's going to end. HE is bigger than the mountain that killed the car, and the 1,300 miles separating me from my girl right now is not too much for HIM.
So, I choose to trust. Although I feel helpless because I am not "there" with my girl, I choose to trust in the One who IS.

By the way, if you know anyone in the Denver/Vail vicinity who needs some scrap metal - tell them I can hook 'em up with a lot of it! *wink*

Karen

Monday, May 15, 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Choosing Well

I could write a blog post tonight (Tuesday, as I'm writing...) for someone to read Wednesday.

But my daughter invited me to watch a movie with her and her friends.
And tomorrow she's leaving for Colorado - where she'll be until August when she goes back to school, where she'll be until next May when she graduates. And Who knows where she'll be after that???
So, I hope you won't take it personally when I say I am choosing to spend the evening with my girl, instead of thinking about a blog post.

Because Who knows how much longer she'll call this house "home"??!!

Karen

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Coming Home

It's time for this momma to hit the road!

That is, today I am driving to Wheaton to pick up my girl and bring her home - after completing her third year of college. Tonight I get to meet her new "interest" as we have dinner together, then we'll go to her church for a worship night, then back to her apartment to load up and get some sleep - before hitting the road again tomorrow to come home.
I cannot wait to have her back under my roof. (Even shampooed the carpet in the basement and cleaned her bathroom so she'll feel nicely welcomed back. *grin*) Although it will be for a very short time. That is, Wednesday she's leaving again - a few days visiting Grandma, then a trek out to Colorado for her summer internship. And yes, we're planning a family vacation to Colorado this summer to visit!

I know I've said it before, but this seeing-your-daughter-grow-up thing is tricky for a momma's heart. So proud to watch who she's becoming. Excited to observe her facing adventures. Enjoying conversations about adulting and preparing for the next steps. And remembering that precious baby girl I brought home from the hospital more than 21 years ago - recalling that I had to teach her how to eat and sit-up and walk and get dressed and brush her teeth and tie her shoes and...not sure my heart is ready to release her into that big world out there.

Trusting God will watch over and care for my baby girl.
And my momma's heart!

Karen

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Following His Lead

Early in April - or was it late March? I don't remember.
Anyway, about a month ago I saw a post in a Facebook prayer group of which I am a part that there was a need for an additional person - or two - to join a month-long, overnight prayer team. The particular time slot needing intercessors was Friday mornings from 2-4. Now, typically, my favorite thing to do on a Friday morning from 2-4 is SLEEP. But I guess the Spirit of God must have been moving in me because I found myself thinking, It's for four weeks. That's only four mornings. I can get up four times to pray. I can do this! So I sent an email and said, "I'm in!"
And let me just say - each of those two-hour prayer conference calls was amazing. What a delight to join with other believers to pray for our city, state, nation, and world.
What an absolute delight!!!

During the third call we were praying about abortion and the call leader told me about a Students for Life of Michigan event that was taking place the following week at Michigan State University. He suggested that I check it out and consider attending. And, I said I would.
That same day - after I'd gone back to bed to finish sleeping *wink* - I received a phone call from a friend I hadn't heard from in several months. She told me there was a Students for Life of Michigan event taking place the following week at Michigan State University, and she wondered if Brian and I would be interested in attending it with her. I chuckled to myself as I considered God speculating whether or not I would recognize His lead, and I said, "Uh, yeah. I think I'm supposed to be there."
And so I went, believing God wanted me there - not really knowing why.
Well, as the program began and the emcee took to the platform, I believe I found out the reason I was present. He opened with a bit of a plea for help. That is, Right to Life of Michigan is sponsoring an oratory contest for high school students, and the state-level competition is coming up May 6. As of the night of the program I was attending (April 27) they had not found the third person they needed to judge the speeches. I don't know the specifics of why they hadn't secured that third judge, but the emcee's delivery of the plea made it clear - they were getting desperate.
I immediately thought of the many speech contests I participated in as a youth - and how valuable those experiences were for me - and I turned to Brian saying, "Can I do it???"
So, I'm doing it. Saturday morning I'll report for duty and - with two other individuals - I will listen to and provide feed-back for 29 high school students as they present their pro-life speeches.

Not sure why God lead me to be a judge for this oratory contest - who I'll meet, or what He'll have me do while I'm there. But I know His plans are perfect and I will go wherever He tells me to go.

May your spirit be sensitive to His today in all He leads you to do!

Karen

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Is More Better?

Brian and I have a long-standing joke between us.

Standing for approximately 23 1/2 years, that is.

If I am ever running late with dinner, or we have a last minute need to rush things - he encourages me to turn the heat up a hundred, or so, degrees.
Want those muffins ready in five minutes? Turn the oven up to 450!
Need that roast done in half an hour? Crank it up to 500!
It's a joke now, but in the beginning my man really thought things would cook faster (and adequately) if you just increased the heat. Not sure how it happened, but one day he realized when it comes to baking - time and temperature are a science, not a math problem.
And when that happened? I thought I was done with the silliness.

Until last week - when I discovered my son suffers the same affliction.

He was being helpful as I was getting clothes out of the dryer, by putting the next load in the washer for me. I was delighted in one moment, flabbergasted in the next. Because I watched my 19-year-old son - who has been doing laundry for several years - dump two cups of detergent into the washing machine. (I might be exaggerating a little.) My jaw dropped as I witnessed him pour detergent directly from the bottle into the machine - around and around. Never mind measuring the necessary amount in the handy measuring cup, i.e.LID - he just poured it out. And I do mean POURED.
I'm all, "Whoa, there, son! That's too much!"
And he's all, "What??!! This is what I always do." I believe I then heard him mumble something about the clothes getting really clean. (And I might have mumbled something about hoping the machine didn't overflow with suds.)
Not long after that episode, the same son was boiling dried-out corn with the goal of softening it up so he could use it for fish bait. (The lengths he goes to for his fishing habit...) He'd been doing this for a couple days (Got 100 lbs. of said corn at the animal supply store, and wanted to make lots of bait.) and wasn't happy with the fact that it took a over two hours for the corn to get soft. As I was coaching him to turn the flame down once it reached a solid boil - to put the lid on it and let it simmer - he insisted that he needed to keep it at a rolling boil.
Because he thought it would cook faster that way.
My attempts to convince him that boiling water is the same temperature as simmering water, that I have been cooking things with simmering water for longer than he's been alive, that fast-moving 212-degree water is no more effective than slower-moving 212 degree water - fell short. He just continued adding water to the huge pot of corn whose liquid kept boiling away.
And I?
I shook my head in wonder, and tried to understand why the male species seems to always believe that more is better.

Karen

Monday, May 01, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I Can't Even Imagine

I am part of a Facebook-based prayer group sponsored by my church.
And if you know me at all, you know that prayer is one of my favorite things. Ever.
I believe with all my heart that God wants to commune with us through prayer, and I love the relationship I have with Him in it. I cherish the thought that HE is listening. That HE cares. That HE moves in response to our prayers according to His perfect will.
It comforts me to know I am never in a circumstance alone, because the Holy Spirit dwells in me, Jesus is interceding for me, and my Father is just a prayer away.
For these reasons, I can't even imagine being in the place of a dear woman for whom our group is praying right now. Among other troubles she is facing, she has recently been diagnosed with dementia.
She cannot remember things.
Apparently, she can't even pray.
Her daughter posted about it on our Facebook page:
She is a sweet lovely Godly woman - a prayer warrior - and unable to go to war!

I can't even imagine it. Can you?

A woman who has spent the better part of her 85 years fighting the enemy through the power of God in prayer, now cannot even pray for herself. The disease in her brain has robbed her of that ability. I wonder if she has also lost the cognizance to realize that God is with her in the midst of her pain and sickness.
The hopelessness of that scenario breaks my heart.
So I am doing the only thing I know to do.
And I am asking you to join me.
Would you please pray for this woman who cannot pray for herself?
Knowing she lived her life as a prayer warrior, I can only imagine how many people she has brought before the Father in prayer. Now, may we be among the many who carry her to HIM.
Her name is Thelma.
Thank you, friends!

Karen

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Just for Moms

I am super excited to have the necessary information to share with you about a Moms' Night Out coming up on May 13. The MOPS group at Faith Church in Valparaiso, Indiana will be hosting this event, and all moms (of all ages!) are welcome to attend. Doors open at 6pm and as I understand it there will be yummy desserts available at that time for you to savor while you enjoy fellowship with other moms - sans kiddos! The program will begin at 7pm - at which time I will be speaking and singing and offering lots of hope for overwhelmed moms.
Tickets for the program are $5 and proceeds will be donated to Hannah's Hope, which is a non-profit organization in Northwest Indiana serving children with special needs.

Tickets and additional information are available here.

I would love, LOVE to see you there!

Karen

Monday, April 24, 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What Did You Say?

Have you noticed that your children don't speak the same way you do?
As in, it's almost a completely different language. As if you were living in different worlds.
And it's so hard to keep up with their changing vernacular.
I mean, when I was a kid it seems like all I had to know was "cool". If something was good, it was "cool" and that's about as complicated as it got. But over the past several years my children have gone from calling good things "phat" to "all that" to "the bomb" to "bad" (I don't even know the current correct term...) and I have at times been guilty of using the wrong cool word to call something "cool". *ahem*

Then there's the texting lingo, which has often infiltrated our face-to-face communication. One will call out "BRB" when they're leaving the room for a moment, and another will claim the challenge they faced that day was "NBD". But it wasn't until a couple nights ago when I realized just how much that jargon has become a part of who they are.
Josh was doing his taxes and had a question about how to fill in a certain blank. The information being sought was identical to that which he had previously entered, so Brian said, "Just type 'same'," and Josh looked at him with a very quizzical stare.
He said, "Same?"
And Brian replied, "Yes. It's the same information."
Josh shook his head and said, "OK. But I feel like that's just like entering 'LOL'."
It took me a moment, but then I recalled seeing "same" going back and forth over texting conversations when one person could relate to what another person was saying. And I realized Josh was hearing Brian's instruction in texting lingo, not in adult-who-has-filled-out-hundreds-of-forms language.

The scenario honestly made me LOL.

Karen

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Lessons We* Have (Hopefully) Learned While Doing Taxes

1. Don't wait until the last minute.

2. Don't misplace your W-2.

3. If you do misplace your W-2, call your manager to get a new copy.

4. If you do #2 without doing #1, since #3 is going to take a while, file for an extension.

5. Don't expect your parents to do #4 for you, if you have not heeded their advice regarding #1.

6. When tax season rolls around again next year, refer to #1.

*And by "we" I mean my son(s).

Karen

Monday, April 17, 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Lovely Moments

What do you get when you put a ninety-year-old woman, and a girl half her age, into a room for an hour - with nothing to do but talk?
When they repeat old jokes, and laugh out loud - as if hearing them for the very first time.

What do you get when you bring together women from two different generations and leave them to discover what they have in common, and what makes them unique?
When they realize their hearts are very much alike, even though they come from dissimilar worlds.

What do you get when age and ability are not required to be the same, in order for friendship to be formed?
When memory lapses don't matter, and recurring stories are just as delightful to hear the seventh time as they were the first.

What do you get? I'll tell you what you get: Lovely Moments!
And I am so thankful for each one I have the privilege to experience.

Who in your world needs to see your kindness expressed through a smile and a listening ear (and perhaps a corny joke), even though you may feel you have so little to offer? Please receive this encouragement to slow down and spend time with him/her. You probably will not be able to grasp how much your presence means to them, but I can guarantee - your moments together will be lovely.

Karen