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.
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*


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.
"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*


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.


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???


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.



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.



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*


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"??!!


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!


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!


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.


Monday, May 01, 2017