Friday, September 29, 2017

Where I've Been, and Where I'll Be

Confession: I haven't been thinking much about blogging this week.

Actually, the blog posts which made it up were created last weekend.

The thing is, I am speaking at a women's event Saturday morning and I have been concentrating on my preparation. So I've been a little MIA in the blogosphere.
And, the truth is, I am going to be speaking at women's retreats for the following two weekends (Oct. 6-8 and 13-15). Sooooo, for the next two weeks my focus will be on preparing for those events and the blog here will likely get ignored. Please don't take it personally. But I believe the women at the retreats deserve my best effort.

Most likely I'll pop in here now and then, as God leads and gives me opportunity. I just didn't want to leave you wondering where I was. *smile*

Please pray for me as I speak at these events. I want to be HIS vessel, bringing HIM glory.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

My Birthday Surprise

I had the best, best surprise last Friday!
Brian had told me he was going to take me out for dinner for my birthday.
And I thought, OK. This will be fun.
And I went along with my day, looking forward to dinner with my husband.

But late in the afternoon as I was walking through the kitchen, and just glanced out the window - I saw Matthew pull into the driveway and get out of the car with Elizabeth.
And I'm all, Awwww, you guys! You pulled a fast one on me for my birthday. A surprise visit. You're so sweet!!!
And then I was thinking, Oh, are you coming to dinner with me and Dad?
Because it seemed rude to leave when Elizabeth just arrived.
Annnnd, that's when I learned it was Brian who was behind the whole thing. The kids weren't crashing his dinner plans. In fact, there was something even better planned!
Brian had arranged for Elizabeth to come home on my birthday - not only for a surprise visit - but so that we could have a family portrait taken.


But that wasn't the end of the fun.
That is, the photographer was a good friend of ours so we enjoyed lots of laughter and playful banter during the photo shoot. And when the kids got together for a "kid picture" (Which is highly over-due. I think the most recent one is from eight or more years ago!) Matthew suggested they do a "Slav squat". Which apparently is a pose where you squat way down, and don't look happy.
And somehow, we all agreed that would be funny - so they did it.
I look at this picture now, and I cannot help but burst out laughing because I remember how hard everyone was laughing as the pose was being set - and how difficult it was for all three of them to have those "looks" long enough to snap a picture.
And there they are. My happy kids.
I just hope I don't start laughing the next time one of them has a look like that on their face "for real". *wink*
Yeah. So we got our pictures taken, and then we all went out to dinner together.
It was a wonderful birthday surprise!!!


Monday, September 25, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

As of Today...

I am closer to my 90th birthday than I am to my original birthday.

Happy birthday to me! I'm 46 today.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Organic Cotton Grocery Bags

Are you in the market for an Organic Cotton Grocery Bag?

Because I know where you can get one! Just follow this link.

My daughter is doing an internship in Chicago this semester at Foresight Design Initiative (FDI), and they are selling these bags (and coordinating lunch bags) to build up their scholarship fund. That is, each summer FDI hosts a leadership program for high schoolers who care about sustainability issues - and approximately 80% of those kids come on some sort of scholarship.
So, besides supporting kids and a great cause, besides getting an attractive and responsibly-made bag, purchasing this bag *might* make you as adorable as my girl.
I guess "modeling services" falls under the heading of "Intern Responsibilities".
Lucky for them, they got such a pretty intern. *wink*


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

HE Rocks

I did my homework.

I studied the leader guide.

I made notes, and reviewed, and did my best to understand how the lesson ought to flow.

And I prayed. I invited the Holy Spirit to dwell among us and lead.

Then I thought better of it, and I begged the Holy Spirit to invade our space and guide us with His heart. I confessed that I didn't even want to think about trying to lead the lesson without HIM.
I begged, Holy Spirit, please come!

And, guess what???

HE did!!!

God dwelt among us in the Person of the Holy Spirit at Precepts yesterday, and it was glorious.
HE led the discussion. HE revealed insights and gave understanding. HE moved in our hearts.
HE even stuck around and spoke through the video lesson.
And I?
Am still doing a praise dance in my thankful heart!

How have you seen God's Spirit moving in your midst this week?


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

She Makes Me a Better Woman

Ahhhhh, my girl came home this weekend!

We hosted a baby shower for one of her best friends, so Elizabeth crossed our threshold for the first time in over four months. Yes. I've been counting. *wink*
And it kind of surprised me how much time I spent anticipating her visit.
*I made our dinner menu to suit her vegetarian-ism.
*Cleaned up the living room for the baby shower, but left the decorating for her - because I knew she'd enjoy it, and would do a lovely job. (She did. Both!)
*Took clutter off her bed and set it aside. (Yeah. I didn't go crazy and clean her room...)
*Verified that she could join us for Krav Maga Saturday morning.

But as much as I enjoyed preparing, it was what Elizabeth did that made the biggest impact.
That is,
*I watched my daughter genuinely and enthusiastically greeting loved ones (her brothers and friends) who she hasn't seen in a long time.
*I saw her taking time to talk and listen - to go places for the sake of building relationships.
*I listened to her share her heart with friends about real thoughts and struggles, being authentic and vulnerable - rather than resorting to shallow conversation, which would have been easier.
*I observed her care for humanity and creation.

And, in spite of the fact that I have spent the better part of the past 21 years trying to shape her character and lead her in godly living - this weekend I felt like she was teaching me.
I looked at my girl and thought, Wow. When I grow up, I want to be like her!!!

I thank God for the young woman He has made Elizabeth to be.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

I Haven't Forgotten

Earlier this week, I found out the retreat in November for which I was scheduled to speak has been postponed to this coming spring. *sad face*
During my email exchange with the coordinator discussing the details, I was reminded of a post I'd written in the past. And I decided to look it up in the archives.
Thus I read about Trusting His Best:

So, I had this thing to which I was really looking forward.
Might have been obsessing about it a bit.
And then, just like that, it was over before it even started. Not gonna happen the way I had imagined. At all. And I was tempted to be disappointed.

But then it was as if God asked my heart, Why should you be disappointed with My best?

Why? Indeed!

God used that moment to remind me this "thing" is not about me. It's about HIM.
HE knows what's best. HE's working out what's best.
And HIS best is still best - even if it isn't what I wanted.

Honestly, I was almost in tears because of the initial disappointment. But after God had that little talk with my heart, I was almost in tears for an altogether different reason.
HE cares enough about me - about my holiness and my relationship with Himself - to do the hard thing. To say NO to me. To risk me being upset with Him. That is, God loves me too much to give me everything I want. Because HE knows what's best.

And I'm learning to trust HIS best.

Are you?
The thing which really got to me while reading that post is this: I don't even remember what the event was, about which I was writing. And believe me - I've thought and pondered and searched the recesses of my mind, but I cannot fathom what it was that tempted me to be so disappointed.
But I haven't forgotten the lesson God taught me in the midst of it.
Even though it was nearly five years ago.
And that difference right there - between what I don't remember, and what I haven't forgotten - has convinced me to trust even more in God's propensity to do the best thing.
*peaceful sigh*


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

We Had a House Guest

Sunday morning as he was getting ready to go to church, Josh found a kitten.
Apparently it was sitting on the tire of his truck, or something. And when he went to look closer, the little kitty scampered under the hood and found a hiding spot on the engine.
But Josh is a smart cookie, and he popped the hood to get the kitty.
However, the kitty was faster than Josh was smart, and by the time Josh got into a position where he could grab the kitty - it had run under Brian's car and found a place under the hood there.
Somehow, Josh managed to get a hold of the frightened kitty (along with several bites and scratches) and put it safely in our house before coming to church. Unfortunately, I don't think he heard a single word of the sermon, as Josh's first words when we were leaving church were...I don't remember. But they were about the cat - not the sermon. *wink*

Anyway, when we got home I posted about the kitty on our neighborhood website, and Josh had already plastered her cute little picture on his Instagram.
Especially because the two of us are allergic to cats, I was eager to find this kitten's family. However, as time passed and no one responded - coupled with some of the kitten's behaviors - we began to think this little girl was orphaned, not lost.
So we established a 24-hour deadline for someone to respond, and agreed to give the kitten to a good home if nobody claimed her.
And I had the pleasure over that 24 hours of watching my man-child tenderly care for that little critter. She started out seeming very afraid of people - hence the bites and scratches Josh acquired in trying to catch her. But as the day went on and Josh tended to her, that little kitten became quite friendly with him. He carried her almost everywhere with him, rubbed her back and belly, saw to it that she ate and drank, and made her comfortable when she was sleeping. Never mind that his allergies were kicking in. He took an antihistamine and kept right on loving that fur ball.
Monday he was laying on the bed in the guestroom, doing stuff on the computer with the kitten curled up by his stomach - and he called me into the room so I could hear her purring. I could tell Josh was pleased that the kitten seemed to now feel so comfortable and happy with him.
Almost made me want to keep her.


Even so, Josh had located someone to give her a forever home (a friend of a friend...) and Monday after dinner our house guest took her leave.
But not before I got a picture. *grin*
Aren't they sweet???


Monday, September 11, 2017

Ask - and Wait in Expectation

Click here for more information about Ladies' Day at Rockford Reformed Church in Rockford, MI.


Friday, September 08, 2017

Lovelier Moments

My dear friend, Lovely, had her 91st birthday on Tuesday.
And on Wednesday, she took her final breath on this earth.
For the past several days, she had been mostly sleeping. Eyes only opening briefly and intermittently.
But one of her children told me at the end they were praying over her and in that moment she opened her eyes - as if seeing Jesus and her loved ones welcoming her home.
I have heard stories of other people opening their eyes at the last moment, and it delights my heart to think of them seeing Jesus.

So, for now my Lovely moments have come to an end. Though I trust God will lead me to another precious soul with whom I will be able to spend lovely moments.
And, more than that, my heart rejoices to think of Lovely having lovelier moments with her Savior. Indeed, the loveliest of moments!


Thursday, September 07, 2017

And In Other News

A rubber band pistol was confiscated in Algebra class yesterday.

The student was sent to the principal's office, charged with possessing a weapon of math disruption.

May your day be filled with laughter, good puns, and the joy of the LORD!


Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Krav Maga, Anyone?

Have you heard of Krav Maga?

It's a pretty intense military self-defense training and fighting system.
I first heard of it a couple weeks ago, and last night? I found myself at a Krav Maga class.
Yes. You read that statement correctly.
I - who am made happy by pink, purple, and sparkles, I - who love to pray and study my Bible, I - who do my best to keep my nails nicely filed and in shape, I participated in a Krav Maga class.
Learned elbows 1,2,3,4,5,and 6; ear smash, head-butt, eye gouge, elbow; and how to break a choke hold. And, honestly? I'm glad I went.
Not necessarily because I am interested in learning fighting techniques.
Rather, because all my guys were there, too.

That is, once upon some time ago, Brian and Matthew learned about Krav Maga and got interested in it. Josh must have heard them talking about it and got interested, too. Then Brian started looking for a Krav Maga training facility near us and found one. He told the boys, and they all decided they'd like to try it out. And Brian invited me. (He thinks it would be good for me to know self-defense.)
And I'm all, No, thanks. Not interested. Wait!!! This is something we could all do together???
So, although I could hardly be less interested in it than I currently am, I went along to check it out. Because if we can find an activity in which both of our boys willingly, even enthusiastically, participate?
I don't care if I don't care. I'm there!

So it is. We haven't made a final decision about signing up for classes. But if the guys want to do it, I'm in. Because connecting with them is worth the effort it will take to get over my lack of interest.
Besides, who knows? Maybe some day a foolish thug will think he can mess with me because I'm little. Ooooooo, he'll be in for a BIG surprise!


Monday, September 04, 2017

Friday, September 01, 2017

Lovely Moments

We greeted each other with smiles and kisses.

I told Lovely about Elizabeth's new adventures in Chicago.

We sang Amazing Grace together.

I read Psalm 23 to her as she drifted off to sleep.

And she woke up so I could say good-bye and pray for her when it was time for me to leave.

Besides those interactions, most of my moments at Lovely's place yesterday were spent talking with her daughter - who is in the midst of making decisions about where her mother is to go, and what is to be done for her now that she has entered her end-of-life phase.
It's hard stuff.
And she really needs your prayers.
So, would you please take a moment to pray for Lovely's daughter? For comfort in the process of saying good-bye to her mother, and for peace in her relationships with her siblings.
And while you're praying, remember to thank God for each of the moments He has allowed you to have with your loved ones.