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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Rise and Shine!

Perhaps you are aware of the way I wake Matthew up most mornings.
Well, I was surprised to learn yesterday that someone else found out about it.
That is, Wednesday morning I received a text message from one of Matthew's friends saying:

This morning I was awoken by loud screeching noises at about 6:45...To my surprise it was Matthew's alarm clock AKA his mother with his morning greeting lol
This friend had been over at our house Tuesday night, and my first thought was, Were they on the phone all night, and somehow still had a connection this morning? Did all Matthew's commotion seriously go through the phone and wake his friend up???
So I responded with,
You heard that???
It was in his response that I learned Matthew's friend had crashed on our couch for the night, so he was just down the hall when I harassed woke up Matthew.
I laughed at the realization of the display I had unknowingly put on for this young man, and responded to his text with a brief explanation of how I wake Matthew up if he hasn't gotten up with his alarm.
He replied with,
I read about it on your blog, but it was funny to witness it happening.
So there you have it. Reading about our antics on my blog is one thing. But if you really want to enjoy a laugh, you'll have to hide out in my house and witness us first-hand. *wink*

Karen

Monday, April 10, 2017

Friday, April 07, 2017

Lovely Moments

My friend, Lovely, enjoys doing crossword puzzles. (Another reason I think we're perfect for each other!) In fact, last week when I visited her we spent a little time playing a word game on my phone. And since she seemed to have fun with that game, I decided to try another one this week. So I took Scrabble with me when I went to see her yesterday. Lovely couldn't remember if she had ever played Scrabble before, but she was eager to give it a go.
As it turned out, Lovely struggled a little bit with remembering the basic rules. Sometimes she chastised herself for dropping tiles, or picking up too many. However, every time she made a play she would smile in satisfaction at her accomplishment. Even so, when we finished playing Lovely commented that she didn't think she performed very well. And she told me the story again that she didn't go to college - because her father died when she was young and her mother couldn't afford to send her to the university.
"Oh, you did fine," I tried to assure her. "Besides, you'll get better every time we play. And think of this: You're so good, you didn't need to go to college! Most other people have to go to college, but not you. Rather, you are so good, the college hired you to work for them!"
(It's true. She was a secretary at Michigan State University.)
Although Lovely is a humble woman, I could tell by the certain sparkle in her eye - she was pleased with my evaluation. And so we agreed, as we continue to work on her Scrabble skills we're also going to reign in her habit of chastising herself.
I got her to agree to that strategy by pointing out that she surely wouldn't let me say the same negative things about myself which she was saying about herself. She couldn't argue with me then. *wink*

When it was time for me to leave, Lovely asked me how many children I have. And she wanted to know their ages. (We have this conversation just about every time I visit.) I told her that my daughter is going to be 21 next week(!) and she gasped - as she always does - because she said I didn't look like I am old enough to have a child that age. (We have this conversation regularly, too.) And I told her I have good genes. My mom doesn't look 75, and my grandma didn't look 95 when she passed away, either.
"Ahhh, so you have good genes," she agreed.
Then I said, "Oh! That reminds me of a joke! But it's kind of gross. Do you mind?"
She didn't mind.
So I asked, "Did you know that diarrhea is hereditary?"
"Uh, no. I didn't."
"Yeah. It runs in your genes!!!" Get it? It runs in your JEANS!

We had a good laugh with that one.
Hope you did, too.
Have a great weekend!

Karen

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

A Mother's Tale of Woe. And Hope!

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched (wo)man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 7:15-25
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
I am not the only mother who sometimes thinks these words could have been extracted from her very own heart, am I?
The other night I chastised Josh for putting half a bag of croutons on his salad. (OK. Maybe I'm exaggerating. A little.) And he came back with something like, "Gee, Mom, you could have been happy that I'm eating salad." Which is so true. The boy almost never eats the vegetables I make for dinner. Many nights I don't even suggest such consumption anymore. Because he's 19, and I think we're past me needing to tell him what to eat.
Anyway, I feigned despair and said, "Oh! I have failed you. Forgive me!" And we joked past the moment. But the memory has stayed with me, and it's driving me nuts!
I find myself often prone to noticing the things my kids do wrongly, or simply don't do at all. Like undone or incomplete chores. Or drowning out the taste of vegetables with using too many croutons. And I tend to point out their error.
You missed some spots on the table. Will you please wipe it again?
I asked you not to eat pizza in the guest bedroom. Go sit at the table.
The trash is nearly overflowing. Will you empty it right now, please?
Is all that dirt from your shoes?
Do you really need that many croutons on your salad???
And on it goes.
Most of the time, my requests are legitimate: The table needs to be cleaned thoroughly. Pizza on a white bed spread is a recipe for disaster. The trash needs to be emptied. One should check their shoes if they've been walking in mud. i.e.Fishing!

But the response I got about the croutons let me know how I must sound when offering all these corrections.

It took me back to days when I was at work and I felt like my boss noticed and highlighted every little (and I do mean "little") thing I did wrong. I remember so often wanting to ask if she noticed A, B, and C which I did very well. It was in those days I said to myself that I would never speak to someone that way. I would never make a person feel as though they aren't doing anything right. Rather, I would always remember to point out the things they're doing well.
Yet, here I am - doing that very thing to the people I love most.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
*heavy sigh*

However, I find hope in Paul's words to the church in Rome, because I am reminded that I am not alone in my struggle. I am a wretched mess, yes. I do the things I don't want to do, yes. But through Jesus Christ and by the power of His blood, I am being delivered. God is changing my heart, and He is sanctifying me.
Lord, I come to You with a broken and contrite heart, asking only that You would make me into the woman YOU want me to be. May I be a reflection of my loving Savior!

Karen

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

I Had it so Good

I'm sensing another round coming on of, I'm sorry, Mom, for the things I did when I was a kid.
You know, those certain feelings you get after taking a trip and answering, "Are we there yet???" a bazillion times. Or the sinking sensation you have in your stomach when your teen is out too late, and the phone rings. Sometimes it's simply no, it isn't ever simple(!)- going shopping for school clothes. But, whatever it is - and whenever it happens - sometimes we moms have a sudden urge to call our own moms and apologize for the things we did as a kid. Because we didn't know what it was like to deal with our whiny selves. *ahem*
Have you been there?

I was there once again Sunday evening.

I was standing at the sink washing green beans, snapping off the ends and tossing the beans into a pan. For a moment I re-visited the dream of having my own garden in the back yard. How great would it be, I thought, to have my own garden? To grow all the green beans I want, and tomatoes, and zucchini, and squash, and strawberries. And maybe even some corn...
But we don't really have a good place for a garden. And I can only imagine how difficult it would be to keep all the local critters from helping themselves to my hard work. But, but...I would so love to have a garden and grow my own vegetables, and snap my own beans, and can my own tomatoes.

And, just like that(!) I was transported to a memory from my childhood.
I was sitting on the porch with my mom and my sister, grumpiness all over my face, as I snapped the ends off of a bazillion green beans and broke them into 1-inch pieces. Grandma Peggy had a garden behind her house, and every summer she gave us lots and lots of green beans. That is, every summer we HAD TO go to her house and spend DAYS (It was really probably only an hour or two, but it felt longer to the younger me.) picking beans. And then we came home and spent DAYS (^^^Same.^^^) sitting on the porch getting the stupid beans ready for my mom to freeze.
And I hated that task.
I whined and complained about having to do it.
The stupid bean chore was almost as torturous as stringing cranberries and popcorn every December to put on the Christmas tree.
Nearly ruined my life, so I thought.

But Sunday evening as I stood by the sink preparing the green beans for dinner, I pondered how good I had it as a kid:
*Fresh green beans from my grandma's garden. Every summer!
*My grandma labored and toiled - planting, weeding, watering, tending - and I got to benefit from the bounty of her work. (Not to mention the corn on the cob she also gave us.)
Ahhh, I was a kid. And I didn't appreciate how fortunate I was - to have a grandma who gardened, and a mom who knew how to preserve the produce. I only knew I didn't like chores.

I see things so differently now - as an adult.
It makes me want to apologize to my mom.
And it gives me hope that one day my kids will realize how good they had it, too. *wink*

Karen

Monday, April 03, 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

God is Faithful

Once a month I speak at chapel for the Lansing City Rescue Mission's women's shelter.
Last night was my March night.
And, once again, God delighted me by displaying His faithfulness.

When I was there in January I met a precious woman who had been at the Mission for just a couple of weeks. She was visibly responding to the message I shared, and I could tell God was stirring her heart - so I sought her out after chapel to talk with her. "H" told me her story, we prayed, and I was incredibly touched by both her pain and her hope.
Before the February chapel service began I saw H and she told me with great excitement that she had just gotten a job. After chapel she told me about the process she'd gone through in finding the job. It was a wonderful story of seeking and waiting and trusting, and the joy H exuded was contagious. I was so happy to be able to witness God's move in her life, and have thought of and prayed for her many times over the past several weeks.
So, last night I was eager to see H again and ask how her new job is going. We sat together after the chapel service and she told me, "Oh! It's wonderful!!!" With a tear in her eye she went on to share that her boss is very pleased with H's performance and just the other day gave her a connection to help H get into an apartment. H told her boss she hadn't expected to be so cared for at work - that her boss's kind gesture was beyond what she had even hoped for.
I had closed my message by singing "My Life is in Your Hands" and H told me when I was singing it was as if God said to her, Yes. Your life is in My hands.

I realize that God's work in H's life may mean she isn't at the shelter when I go back in April. But this is one case in which I will not be disappointed if I don't get to see my friend again.
Because God is faithful.
Because H is in His hands.
And because I know we can trust Him.

Karen

Thursday, March 30, 2017

I Didn't Tell a Lie

I told her it sounds wonderful.
And it does!

I told her I'm excited for her.
And I am!

But, well, my mom-heart is a little less than enthusiastic.
The thing is, Elizabeth keeps growing up and experiencing new things. She continues finding bigger and greater adventures to take. (Like the internship she's doing this summer in Vail, CO - about which I was responding in the opening statements of this post.) For goodness sake, she's going to turn 21 years old in a couple of weeks!
She's hardly my little girl anymore.
So, as I ponder her future exploits I find myself forgetting about things like, oh - how colicky she was as an infant, the trouble we had figuring out how to nurse, and the sneaky ways she always seemed to get me into "one more thing" before tucking her into bed.
Yeah, I don't think about the struggles so much these days.
Instead, I'm facing the reality that this coming summer is the last one before she graduates from college. So when she moves home for a week or so in May - before going out to Colorado for the summer - it could very well be the last time she "moves home." Rather than remembering the hard times, I'm considering the passage of time - and recognizing that our time is limited.
The fact is I am reaching the time which, as a young mother, I thought would always be "forever" away.
And while I am truly, truly, truly delighted for my daughter, and I think it's exciting that she has these experiences ahead of her, well, I'm also a little sad.
Because part of my mother's-heart still sees her as my little girl.
And the thought of releasing her to the big world out there?
Well, it makes me feel kinda blue.

Karen

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

This Makes Me So Mad!

I had an odd experience yesterday in my Precepts class while we were discussing Colossians 2.
I got mad.
And I don't usually have that emotion when I'm doing Bible study.
But yesterday, well, I did.
You see, one of the main reasons Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians was to warn them of false teaching and doctrine. He said in 2:4, "I say this so that no on will delude you with persuasive argument," and again in verse 8, "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ."
(He says more of it, but we were only studying verses 1-10 this week.) So - obviously - a large part of our discussion and the teaching time focused on false teaching and our need to be grounded in the Word of God so we know Truth, and can discern lies.
Well, the further we got into our lesson, the more I felt myself getting mad. I was angry that false teachers are out there spouting off fine-sounding philosophies and clever arguments, which are trapping people and leading them away from God. The idea of deceivers lurking around looking for unsuspecting prey to devour with their distortion of God's truth enraged me. But as I was beginning to become furious with people (false teachers, etc.), I realized the real enemy is Satan - the deceiver, himself.
He is the father of lies and will do whatever he can to steal us away from the Truth.
And that makes me so mad!
I sat in class with a heart burdened for Truth, with my spirit longing to protect vulnerable hearts from being lured away, wishing I could destroy deception. But I know I am not able to save the world. So, I pray the LORD of Hosts will crush the devil's efforts to mislead the children of God. And I beseech you, brothers and sisters in Christ, to get grounded in the Word of God so you will not fall.

2 Peter 2:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

2 Peter 3:17-18 New International Version (NIV)

17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Karen

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Confessions of a Mother Whose Kids are Nearly Grown

Dear Mothers of Young Children,
I know you're busy.
I know you're stretched in every direction imaginable, and you typically feel like there is not enough of you to go around. Some days you feel like a failure. Some nights you wonder when you'll ever be able to REALLY sleep again. And there are mornings when you dare to wish your angels would stay in bed quietly for just 10 more minutes.
Then you find yourself in the grocery store trying to get the last few items on your list before Junior completely blows his gasket, when Sissy wakes up crying (Because Junior just poked her face.) and your own tears are about to flow (Because, frankly, you're exhausted and you desperately want to go home and collapse, but you know as soon as you get there Junior and Sissy are both going to need something, anything, NOW!) - when some dear, elderly lady smiles at you and says, "Oh, honey, enjoy them while you can. They grow up so fast, you know. You're gonna miss these days!"
And you, you stare in outright disbelief at this life-form in front of you, wondering how she could produce such a vile message without actually uttering a single curse word.
Yeah.
It happens.
I know - because I've been there.
And I remember when I was there, I felt so hopeless.
I loved my children, but I hated the struggle. I wanted to be a good mom, wanted to cherish each moment, so wished I could enjoy it all. But, dang! Life with young children was so hard, and some days seemed as though they would never end.

Can you relate to the way I was feeling?

Oh, dear mother-friend, hang in there!
Because I've got good news. You're going to make it through the endless days and perpetual neediness. There will come a day when your precious little energy-depletors are going to take care of themselves.
And you're going to love it.
You are totally NOT going to miss those days. (My stance on that statement is this: I miss many of the moments. But I don't miss the entire day. *wink*)
Not when I am able to have a morning like this:
Saturday, I didn't have anything to do in the morning so I didn't set my alarm. Matthew had to work at noon, but he's big enough to manage. So I didn't worry about him. Instead, I lay comfortably in bed as I heard him get up, put his uniform in the washer and get his shower. I smiled at his act of responsibility then rolled over and closed my eyes. Some time later, my husband and I, uh, enjoyed each other. And chose to snuggle up and snooze for a while longer. I must have been sleeping when Matthew left for work, because when I finally got out of bed - it was after 12:30.
Oh, yes, I did!
(And it only had a little bit to do with the fact that I was still healing from being sick.)
Yeah. I am totally loving (this aspect of) this phase of parenthood!

Karen

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Down for the Count

Annnnd, the sickness which has been plaguing all my guys has finally caught me, too.
Not sure when I'll be back to blogging...

But I am sure God is good.
All the time!

Karen

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Finding Encouragement Here

Nations are in uproar,
kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice,
the earth melts.

~Psalm 46:6
This verse has been riding in my pocket, and stirring in my heart for the past six days.
I have worked on committing it to memory.
I've studied the key words in their original language.
I have meditated and ruminated and appreciated and concentrated and anticipated and investigated but never once become irritated, rather found myself fascinated - by the way God speaks through His Word.

And in my sanctified imagination, I see a picture like this:
Nations are in uproar. That is, my soul hears threats and howling coming from afar. The menacing noise gets louder and closer. The intimidation grows in ferocity - until my heart can take no more.
Then, kingdoms fall. That is, my spirit crumbles under the weight of peril which has been lurking, stalking, seeking to destroy me.
But, he lifts his voice. And a thunderous blare as mighty as a hurricane - yet contained in perfect restraint - whispers, Peace. Be still.
And, just like that, the earth melts. That is, the terror which threatened to undo me is rendered helpless. The danger dissolves and is swept away - at the command of the One who guards my heart.
And I am safe in His keeping.

I pray this picture will encourage your heart, as well.

Karen

Monday, March 20, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Lovely Moments

I swear, this volunteer role is just like having another teenager.

That is, I called Lovely yesterday morning to see if I could come over for a visit. But there was no answer.
So I called again in the afternoon.
Still no answer.
And I'm all, What's wrong? Why isn't Lovely answering her phone? She didn't tell me anything about going on vacation. Is she in the hospital? Why didn't somebody call and fill me in on her condition???

I mean, I tried not to think the worst, but I love her. And I couldn't get in touch with her.
She's always answered her phone every other time I've called.
The difference in this instance was troublesome to me.
But what could I do?
It felt strangely similar to the times my texts to a certain child have gone unanswered. And I've imagined that child in some predicament in a fishing boat somewhere. And I have scolded myself for worrying, but what else could I do? It feels like if there is no answer, something must be wrong.

I'm not the only mom afflicted with this jump-to-the-worst-conclusion disorder, am I?

Somehow, I made it through the rest of the day and evening. And I tried calling Lovely once more.
This time, she answered!
And said I could come over Friday afternoon to see her.
So my Lovely Moments are not lost.
Just delayed.

Remembering again, how important it is to cherish each moment.

Karen

Thursday, March 16, 2017

There's Just Something Precious...

...about a sick boy.

I have a couple of sickies in my house right now. It started with Matthew (He stayed home from school Monday and Tuesday.) and now it seems to have moved on to Josh.
Except it hasn't left Matthew.
So, I guess it hasn't really "moved on".
Excuse the interruption. Just analyzing my word choice out-loud.
Er, in-writing.
Bahhh, there I go, again!

Anyway, poor Matthew has been practically coughing his lungs out for the past few days. He's spent lots of time in bed, and has been pretty miserable. And, somehow, the whole scenario makes me willing to do nearly anything for him - because he's just so precious when he's pitiful.

Like Monday afternoon, when I was sitting with my heating pad trying to relieve the pain in my back. Matthew plodded out of his room and asked how my back was feeling. "Eh, it's so-so," I responded. With a look of disappointment he said, "Oh, then I guess you don't want to go to Subway to pick up a sandwich for me." (He may be sick, but the kid still eats!)
Truth be told, he was right. I didn't want to go. Sitting with my heating pad felt so nice! But before I could get control of my mouth I heard myself saying, "It's OK. I'll go. You're sick."
And I went.

Then there was Tuesday.
I think I was laying in bed with my heating pad. (It has become my friend!) Must have been somewhere between reading a book and falling asleep, when I thought I heard a voice. But I was too groggy (or lazy?) to investigate. Then I heard it again and my conscience got the better of me, so I rolled out of bed and went to Matthew's room to ask if he had called me. "Yes," he moaned. "Can you get me a drink of water?"
"Sure," I said.
And I did.
Without even a bit of resentment for being dragged out of bed - because he is so darn cute when he's crestfallen.

Which brought me to Wednesday morning.
I was downstairs exercising (Very carefully, avoiding anything which would irritate my back.) when I heard Josh softly call out from his room, "Mom?" At this point, I didn't know what he wanted. Was he going to ask me what we're having for dinner? Did he want me to put something in the wash for him? Didn't he realize I was up early exercising because I had to get to church to do child-care for the moms' group, so I wasn't looking for interruptions to my routine??? But before I could voice my indignation (thankfully!) he asked, "Will you get me an ibuprofen?" and I realized - he wasn't feeling well, either.
Poor kid!
Of course I would get him what he needed. And wearing my leg weights up and down the stairs would do me some good anyway.
So I got the pill and a cup of water, and I didn't even mind walking into his smells-like-a-teenager room to deliver it. Because when my man-child is sullen, he's just so sweet.

OK, I am looking forward to both of them feeling back-to-normal, but I must admit: I kinda enjoy having them docile and thankful for their mom. *wink*

What do your kids do to tug at your heart?

Karen

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My Wishes for The Shack

If you live in America and spend any time on social media, chances are you are well aware of the controversy among Christians surrounding the movie, The Shack. No?
I did my share of reading blog posts and movie reviews both in favor of and opposed to seeing the movie. I read the book several years ago and already knew there were theological problems with it, and after reading a number of arguments for not going to the movie - I decided not to go.

But then my husband invited me to join him and a group of friends for a showing and, well, I accepted the invitation.
Fully expecting to not be impressed.
However, as I sat through the movie I was impressed. Impressed by the beautiful portrayal of the gracious love of God. I honestly was grateful that I was there, that I had changed my mind about going. Because I saw representations of God knowing what we need, and meeting us there. I took in a tender scene depicting that Jesus cares about the pain we carry in our hearts - He cares deeply, and wants to comfort us. I cherished the picture painted of the Holy Spirit making beauty out of the mess that is us. These scenes - and many others like them - welled up within me feelings of thanksgiving and an attitude of praise to God for His amazing love.
And I thought it a shame that so many people would not come to this movie because of the negative reviews and "warnings" that it would lead people astray.
I thought it a shame for people to miss it, because it was so touching.

Yet even as my heart was wooed as I watched, I also had frequent feelings of disappointment. I was saddened by scenes which stopped short of presenting the gospel, and which missed opportunities to declare significant spiritual truth. That is, the movie did an excellent job of depicting the LOVE of God - and that made it touching. But it failed to display the HOLINESS of God. And if it had done that as well, I think the movie would have been powerful, not just touching.
I'm thinking of two scenes in particular, and if anyone were to ever re-do The Shack, these would be my wishes for redeeming them:
1) When the main character was with Papa and asked something like, "So You don't condemn sin?" And Papa replied something like, "Oh, sin is it's own punishment" (and I cringed in my seat) I wish Papa had said, "Oh, yes I do!..." and then had gone on to explain that sin is evil and must be punished. I wish Papa had told about how sin broke the perfect relationship which had existed between God and man, and brought death into our world. Oh, if Papa had made clear that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
And 2) when the main character was talking with Wisdom and was struggling to be the judge, when he couldn't bear to chose to send one of his children to Hell and cried out, "No! Send me instead!" oh, how I wished Wisdom would have gone into the gospel right there. I was yearning for her to say, "Don't you know? That is exactly what God did for you! He couldn't bear the thought of all mankind being condemned to Hell so He allowed Jesus to die in your place. Jesus took the punishment for sin which you deserved. He died and was buried so you could be forgiven. And God raised Him from the dead so you could have new life. Now everyone who believes in Him and takes Him as their Savior is freed from the grip of Hell and can look forward to eternity in Heaven."
I wish...

So, there it is. My response to the movie, The Shack.
I enjoyed it very much and was delighted by the beautiful picture it painted of the unconditional, unending love of God. But I wish it had also shown the undeniable holiness of God. I wish the gospel had been presented. If those aspects were included I would actively recommend the movie to anyone. As it is, if you choose to go - while I hope you will relish the love of God - please remember it is not an accurate representation of the Truth. Only the Bible can give you the Truth!

Karen

Friday, March 10, 2017

Lovely Moments

Whew! I didn't mean to go AWOL on you this week. But between life, intermittent back pain, and lots of naps - I just haven't been writing. Special thanks to those who noticed and checked in on me. *smile*

The good news is, I got to see Lovely yesterday.
I called in the morning to see if it was a good day for a visit and Lovely told me she had company at the moment, but would be free in the afternoon. So we made our plans and said Good-bye.
Well, when I knocked on her door in the afternoon and walked into her apartment I discovered someone else there with her. "Oh! You still have company!" I said. But they welcomed me in to join them.
Turns out it wasn't the same company she'd had when I called. It was a man who lives in her apartment complex who had stopped in after lunch to visit. (A budding romance? I dunno! *wink*)
Anyway, the three of us sat and talked for the next 45 minutes and had such a nice time.
Her guest was just delightful.
Yes, Delightful. That's what I'll call him.
Over the course of our conversation we talked about everything ranging from Tiger baseball and Michigan State basketball to using our hands as a Michigan map to raising kids and following Jesus. I even found out that Delightful attended the same church I've been a part of for the past 23 years. Now he goes to services at the chapel in their apartment complex. And we agreed that this Sunday morning he ought to knock on Lovely's door and take her along with him.
It was true joy to spend time with both Lovely and Delightful, as we shared thoughts and memories and plenty of laughter. Didn't get to the Bible study I had brought to do with Lovely, but that's OK. Next week I'll bring three copies. And if Delightful is there again, perhaps the three of us can go through it together!

Karen

Monday, March 06, 2017