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!


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!


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.


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).


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.


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*


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!


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!


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*


Monday, April 03, 2017