Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Are We Done Yet?

So yesterday I was downstairs sorting laundry and, as I turned the corner to take the first load into the laundry room that contains the washer and dryer, I nearly stepped into a puddle Mindy left behind.
(Not sure if she's getting more stealthy or just broadeneing her range. Usually when she pees on the carpet she does it in plain sight and I notice it as soon as I enter the basement. This one came as a surprise.
*And when I say surprise, I don't mean a happy surprise. Grr.*)
I groaned and went to get my cleaning supplies - to take care of her mess before I continued with my original chore.
And, yes, I glared at the dog each time I passed her. I mentioned how annoyed I get with her messes. And I might have even engaged in a bit of a stare-down with her at one point, hoping to drive home the message that I really wish she would stop peeing in the basement.
I admit. I may be giving her too much credit, acting as if she understands English and can interpret non-verbal communication.
Annnnd, in a short while everything was done and I thought that was the end of it.

Silly me.

I should have remembered God never wastes an opportunity to speak to my heart.
Because as I sat at the breakfast table - with Mindy in view - I was sort of still grumbling to myself when I had the sense that I just felt God nudge me.
So, you get tired of taking care of Mindy's accidents, do you? You think she ought to know better by now, do you? You're ready to be done with forgiving her, are you?
Gulp.
Suddenly I knew where He was going with the line of questioning. I realized God is sooooooo much more patient with me than I need to be with Mindy. I became aware once again of His grace which covers me even though I know better. And I could not deny the fact that He forgives me more times that I can count. So I smiled at His methods of teaching me, and I bowed my head and humbly thanked my Father for His grace and mercy toward me.

Then I had a thought. OK, God. Have I learned my lesson? Have I done a good job? Huh? Have I? Because if I've learned what You wanted me to learn, maybe You could get Mindy to stop peeing on the carpet???
I'm not sure, but as soon as I finished that thought, I might have noticed a slight rumble in the heavens as God shook His head and sighed, Oh, Karen. You're missing the point.

*blush*
I'm thankful He's so patient with me.

Karen

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Touched by an Angel

Awwww, she's gone and done it again.

My sweet Angel has absolutley blessed my heart!

That is, yesterday I attended her Home-going celebration and I learned so much more about this precious woman of God than I could possibly have known from our Tuesday afternoons together.
I heard about a lifetime of faithfulness which started when she accepted Jesus as a young girl, and continued as she followed Him all the days of her life.
I heard about Angel calling out "Preach it!" during sermons, getting so excited about the reading of the Word of God that her whole body shook, and dancing in and out of her seat at church.
Her grandchildren told stories of driving hours and hours to visit her, the unconditional love she poured out on them - and the prayers she prayed over them before they left. (Including, Lord, don't let this boy drive too fast while he's going home.)
There was a man who looked to be in his 70s who told about Angel taking in his family and caring for them when he was making bad life decisions. He told how God used her and - loved through her - to change their lives.
There was the woman who told about never being able to leave Angel's house with a negative attitude. Because no matter what this woman was feeling, no matter what she said - Angel was always able to find the positive side of the situation and inspired her to grab onto it.
But I think my favorite testimony of all came from a young boy about the age of 10. One of Angel's great-grandsons. He wept as he told of the days when he would visit his grandma after school, when he would come there sad - but she would cheer him up. Sometimes, he said, when he was 5, or 6, or 7 - his grandpa would tell him not to go into Angel's bedroom and disturb her. But when Grandpa turned his back, Great-grandson would sneak into Angel's room, and she would talk to him. She would love him. And she always sais it was OK for him to "disturb" her. I sat in the church listening to this boy - on the verge of tears, myself - saying, "Oh, baby. Sweet baby," wanting to wrap him in my own arms and love him some more for Angel.
But more than any other feelings, I sat in that church full of thanksgiving to God for the work He has done - and the legacy which continues - through Angel.
And I decided, when I grow up? I want to be just like her!!!

Karen

Monday, April 16, 2018

Friday, April 13, 2018

HIS Ways, Not Mine

Many are the plans in a (wo)man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21
Ahhh, sometimes I have to laugh at myself and the plans I make.
And sometimes I just laugh at myself - regardless of my plans. *wink*

See, Tuesday I spoke for a group of moms, and as I was wrapping up I invited them to visit my blog - as a way of keeping in touch and keeping encouraged. I *might* have said something like, "I try to post something every day Monday through Friday, to encourage and lift up."
And that really is my goal.
But obviously, it doesn't always happen.
Like this week, when Tuesday's and Wednesday's activities didn't allow me time to write. And I sit here laughing at the irony of telling a group of women, "I usually post daily on my blog" - the day before I'm going to be unable to post for two days in a row.
Yes. I do believe God enjoys a sense of humor.
(His own, that is. I am not sure He's so impressed with mine. Haha.)

So, there's that.
I make plans sometimes, and God has a different idea - and we go with His. Because I am not about to argue with Him. And His plans are always better, anyway.

Yeah. There's that. And there's also this.
The other side of the HIS ways, not mine equation.
A long time ago God called me to a speaking ministry, and I love it. Love, LOVE it!
In fact, there is nothing I love more than talking about Jesus. (I mean, I love God more than talking about Him, and I love worshipping Him more than talking about Him. But, you get my point, right? My spirit soars when I get to talk to women about my Jesus!)
OK. But there is one part of this speaking thing about which I don't get particularly excited. That is, the "marketing". The need to find women's ministries and introduce myself to them and let them know about what I do, blah, blah, blah. But it's necessary. I get that. And so I do it.
A few times a year I spend days searching for churches, reading their websites to learn about their women's ministry, placing calls or sending emails to make contact with them, and praying, "OK, Lord. It's up to You. I've done what I can. Now I'm waiting on You. If You want me to minister to the women at this church somehow, I trust You to make the next move."
And, honestly?
It gets discouraging sometimes when months go by and not a single word comes from anyone.
But then moments like this week happen, when I get an email from someone at a church with whom I have not been in contact for nearly a year. In the email she says one of the women's ministry leaders asked her to contact me and the next thing I know I am scheduled to speak for their Christmas Tea in December. And I could swear I hear God speaking to my heart something like, Dear one, remember? We're going with MY ways, not yours. You said you would wait for Me. You said you would trust Me to move. (Yes, I know you didn't want to wait so long. But, remember, My timing is perfect.) I'm moving now. And I will continue to move. All you need to do, dear one, is be faithful and wait patiently.
Just be faithful and wait patiently, He says.
That's all.
OK, Lord, but I'm gonna need Your help!

Are you waiting for God to show you His ways? How's that going???

Karen

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sometimes, You Just Get Silent

I've said it before, and I still believe it's true.

I think the hardest phase of parenting is...
...the one you're in right now.
Because you've made it through the phases you've been through. And they didn't kill you.
You're pretty sure it's going to get better. Somehow. So you have hope for the future.
But the phase you're in right now? It's so hard!!!
Because it's the present.
And you're living it.
Right.now.

And, wow. Some of these present days are really tough.

Last week Brian and I had a good, albeit difficult, conversation with our 20-year-old son. (Actually, I didn't do much of the conversing. I was mostly biting my tongue and praying.) And I guess the "success" of that discourse threw me off, because I thought it meant we had reached a point of being able to talk things out rationally.
I figured we could now get past emotion and rely on reason to guide our interactions.
Apparently, I was mistaken.
Because yesterday that same son was really upset about something. He'd gone fishing all day Sunday and was uploading footage onto my computer yesterday to edit into an awesome video for his Youtube channel. In the process, he discovered that none of the video included audio. Something happened - and he didn't know what - which resulted in "my whole day being wasted!" So, Josh said. He was mad.
And pretty sad, too. I heard it in the tears that almost dripped from his voice.
So I went into problem-solving-mother-mode and I tried to suggest things which might make his outlook a little brighter. Cuz it really stunk seeing and hearing my boy so disappointed. I made my best effort at being both sensitive to his pain and realistically optomistic. The ideas I offered were - I thought - good ones. It's stuff I would have tried if I were in the same position. And it all seemed reasonable to me. If Josh could get past his emotion, I thought he would benefit from my opinions.
But, no.
My son was able to come up with a rejection for each proposal I made. Even when I tried to explain myself more clearly. He wasn't having any of it. And it seemed like we were about to start raising our voices with each other. Over a situation in which I was just trying to help!
So I got silent.
Because I didn't want to get into a shouting match while trying to help my son.
And as I sat in the silence I prayed for him, asking God to lift his heart. I thought of 101 encouraging words I'd like to say, scriptures I'd like to share, and pieces of advice I'd like to give. But I stayed silent. Because God wasn't nudging me to speak.
Only to pray.

For an instant, I longed for the days when I could simply pick Josh up and give him a kiss - and see all his troubles fade away. Because I wanted so much to ease his burden. But then I remembered those were also the days of car seats, and poopy diapers, and temper tantrums, and a bunch of other things I don't miss - and I decided to be thankful for today.
Yeah. Even though I've been doing this mom-thing for nearly 22 years (Tomorrow. Elizabeth turns 22 tomorrow!) it's still hard. Every day is a new situation and I'm learning as I go.
How thankful I am that when I don't know what to do I can just get silent - and pray!

Karen

Monday, April 09, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

Touched by an Angel

Ah, some visits are kinda sad.
Angel is dealing with some kind of chest congestion, and was in bed and hooked up to oxygen when I visited her this week. I could tell her body was tired, and her spirit seemed worn out, too. She agreed to have me read the Bible to her, but not with the gusto she usually has.
So I opened up to Mark 1 and began reading at verse 29. I read about a Savior who healed people who came to the door of the house where He was staying. I read about a Savior who touched and healed a leper. And I continued through chapter 2, verse 12 - reading about a Savior who healed a paralyzed man in the midst of a sermon.
By this time, Angel was clearly asleep so I stopped reading. And I started singing.
Amazing Grace.
Jesus, Your Name is Power.
Soon and Very Soon.
It Is Well.
How Great Thou Art.
I held her hand and sang softly, tapping the rhythm with my thumb on hers. I thought of the Savior who healed so many. Who still does. Who will heal Angel one day - here or in heaven. And I realized, even in the midst of sadness there is joy.
Because of Jesus.

Yes, even in the midst of the sadness of today - Good Friday - there is joy.
It's Friday, but Sunday is coming!
*****************************************************************************************
Just a note, I am going to be "off" next week for Spring Break. The plan is to be back on April 9.
Happy Easter, friends. HE is risen!

Karen

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Just this Once

It won't be the end of the world if my son doesn't get clean sheets this week, will it?

That is, yesterday I stripped his bed and took the sheets to the laundry room to put in the washing machine. But when I opened the washer I discovered it had gotten off balance with the previous load and hadn't finished the cycle. So I adjusted the sheets and towels which were in the washer and let it run its course. It was time for me to leave for an appointment, so I left Matthew's sheets and some other towels in a laundry basket by the dryer. I would take care of it later.
The thing is, when I got home in the afternoon and went downstairs to finish the wash I noticed the laundry basket looked a bit emptier. Upon closer examination I discovered Matthew's sheets were missing. And I thought, Oh. He saw that there were no sheets on his bed, and knew I must have washed them. He found them here in the laundry basket and figured I must have taken them out of the dryer and left them laying here. (Even though it drives me nuts when people leave clean laundry in the basement after taking it out of the dryer. Apparently I don't complain about that enough. Otherwise he would have known I wouldn't have done that. *ahem*) So, he decided to be responsible and take his sheets upstairs and make his bed. What a good kid!
For an instant I contemplated going upstairs and taking Matthew's sheets off his bed again and putting them through the wash with the towels. But I didn't feel like doing it all over again couldn't bring myself to force Matthew to put sheets on his bed twice in one day, so I reasoned - what he doesn't know won't hurt him. Just this once.

And since I'm pretty sure he never reads my blog, I feel confident this will remain our little secret. *wink*

Karen

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

What To Do With Difficult People

Do you have a difficult person in your life?

Someone whose attitude rubs you the wrong way?
Who has views different than yours, and talks about them profusely?
Somebody who constantly behaves a certain way - which absolutely drives you nuts?
Even when you tell them how you feel about it???

Argh! What is one to do with a person like that?

According to the majority of the internet (That is, the memes I see on platforms like Facebook and Pinterest.) the best thing to do is get them out of your life.
For example:


I see these memes frequently, and sometimes they make me chuckle as I think about some of the people in my life who fit into the "difficult" category.
But as of late, I am taking a much different view about what to do with these difficult people. That is, God is using a number of avenues to show me that He uses - not just the troubling moments in our lives - but the tiresome people, too, to refine our character and make us more like Jesus. As we learn how to deal graciously with people who aren't easy to love, we begin to love like Jesus does. As we become better at responding with kindness to people who have annoying traits, we start looking less like us and more like Him. And I soooooo want to look more like HIM!
Although our nature is to want to eliminate difficult people from our lives, I am becoming convinced that God allows them into our lives for a good reason.
Please know, I am talking about difficult people - not harmful people!
And so, when it comes to a person who aggravates, provokes, exasperates, or *ahem!* irritates me, I will submit to God and trust Him to use the circumstance for His good purpose. I will ask Him to soften my heart and strengthen my resolve, that I may respond with love like He does.
After all, my life would be awfully lonely if I only allowed into it people who never aggravate, provoke, exasperate, or irritate me.
And if I'm honest? God's Spirit is humbling me.
I understand that I am a difficult person, and I need grace, too.

Karen

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

It's the Little Things

So, yesterday I had a list of things I needed to accomplish and I got started on it right away.
After I slept in until 7:39, that is. (You know. 7:30 + one tap of the Snooze button.) Hey! I needed rest to tackle my stuff. *wink*
Got my workout in, had breakfast, got showered and ready for the day, sorted laundry and got it going, made my bed, and was ready to head out the door to go grocery shopping. Part of me wanted to delay my departure so I could put the first load of laundry in the dryer and get another wash going, but I decided to just keep moving.
I got through the store, unloaded and put away groceries, and went downstairs to switch over the laundry. But when I got down there, something was amiss. The laundry I'd left in the basket was gone. So I proceeded to the laundry room to see what was going on, and I discovered the task I planned to do was already done. And I smiled as I realized Josh had switched over the laundry for me. Without even being asked. As in, I didn't even hint about him helping.
He just did it on his own.
Of course, I wanted to acknowledge, and appreciate this behavior of his, so I sent a quick text saying, "Thanks for advancing the laundry for me."
Moments later, I got one back which said, "Thanks for going to the store!"

And that pair of behaviors (Advancing the laundry and thanking me for going to the store) blessed this momma's heart in the most beautiful way. After years of training up a child, battling over chores, longing to feel appreciated but doubting the day will ever come, your son goes and does a little thing which produces great amounts of hope. Ahhhhhh.

Who knows what I'm talking about???

Karen

Monday, March 26, 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

I grew up watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood on PBS.
My OLDer brother and sister used to tease me about watching a "baby show" but I didn't care.
I loved Mr. Rogers!

I had no idea this movie had been produced, but I saw the trailer earlier this week and now I really want to see the movie.
The thing is, as I watched the trailer I was reminded of how nice Mr. Rogers was. I remembered how his kindness made me feel loved - right through the TV screen. And I thought, How might our world be different if we all watched an episode of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" every day?
In a place and time with so much violence and so little concern for one another, I think we would do well to spend half an hour every day singing nice songs and believing everyone around us is our neighbor.

Karen

Thursday, March 22, 2018

She Said YES

So, Sunday, Elizabeth's sweetheart led her on a bit of a treasure hunt - which ended here:

And she called in excitement to tell us all about it. *Awwwww*
Honestly, it wasn't a surprise. Phil asked Brian's permission to ask Elizabeth to marry him a while ago, and they've been talking about it for some time. But it's all official now, and so exciting.

Yep. My baby girl is going to get married.
And I am delighted!

Karen

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Following HIS Lead

OK, so this isn't working out as I'd anticipated.
That is, I have been attempting to write a post about what happened in my day on Monday - but I haven't been able to write anything worth your time to read.
What I mean to say is, so much more important than the details of my day is the fact that God is good - and His ways are best.

Monday I let go of my plans in preference to following God's lead, and I was blessed to witness His faithfulness. In spite of not doing what I planned to do - because of responding to the prompting of His Spirit - God worked out the details and allowed me to do the things I planned to do.
Just not when I planned to do them.
Did you follow that logic?
I didn't do what I planned to do, rather I did what God led me to do.
And God worked out the details so I got done all the things I planned to do. In a different order, with a slightly different approach, according to HIS plans, and all for HIS glory.
And it was beautiful. So beautiful.

Listen to God. Follow the promptings of His Spirit. And be amazed by His hand at work in, through, and aound you!

Karen

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

He Knows Me Too Well For My Own Good

I love a bargain.
Love, LOVE a good bargain!
In fact, to me the only thing better than a bargain (Except Jesus. NOTHING is better than Jesus!) is telling everyone I know about the good bargain I found.
So last week when I received multiple emails about Younker's Goodwill sale, I took notice. And on the day one of those emails included a coupon for $50 off a $100 purchase - I took extra notice. Because I still had Christmas money sitting in my wallet which I have been entirely too cheap to spend.
I printed the coupon, and went to the mall that evening after dinner.
And, oh my, did I ever get some deals!!??
Check this out:
* 3 sleeveless blouses (Two of which are Calvin Klein - not that I care about name brands, but the information adds to the value of the story. *wink*)
* 2 light-weight cardigans
* 1 long-sleeve tee
* 1 pair of pants
Manufacturer suggested retail price for all seven items: $305.
Amount I paid after mark-downs, $50 off $100 coupon, and 30% Goodwill coupons? $84.43
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks to me like the amount I paid (which, by the way, includes sales tax) was only 27% of the MSRP.
Yeah. That is the way I like to shop!

Anyway, when I finally got home each one of my guys - the one I married, and the ones to whom I gave birth - had to got to hear all about my shopping trip and the amazing bargain I got. How many times did I say, "The MSRP was $305, and I only paid $84.43!"?
I was so pleased with myself and my deal!

So, the next day I came home from visiting elderly friends and found Josh on the couch when I walked in the door. After polite greetings and inquiries about one another's day, I said something like, "Oh, but you're never going to believe the candy bar I got. The price was $1.39!" I was just about to bemoan the fact that it hurt to spend that much for a candy bar, because back in my day a candy bar was only 25 cents, when Josh asked with a hint of sarcasm, "Oh, but how much did you get it for, Mom???"
I just hung my head and chuckled. Josh totally called my bluff.
I refuse to spend money on over-priced clothing because I know I can wait until it goes on sale, and then I'll get an amazing deal.
But an over-priced candy bar which calls my name when my tummy is grumbling?
Honestly? I probably would have paid $2.00 for it.
I mean, I would have grumbled - but I would have paid it.

Karen

Monday, March 19, 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018

Touched by an Angel

I just received an email notifying me it's time for a TB test. Because it's been a year since my last one - which means I've been volunteering with Great Lakes Caring for an entire year already. I had six months of Lovely Moments, and now I am blessed to be Touched by an Angel.
What an incredible joy!

So, this week when I visited with Angel we had a short conversation when I arrived, and then we moved right into reading the Bible. Have I said before how much I love how much Angel loves hearing His Word? I know I have! *smile* I suggested we start with the Creation story, and Angel agreed - so I opened up to Genesis 1 and began reading.
I enjoyed hearing Angel's various vocal responses to what I read, but by the time I got to The Flood, she was asleep and the room was quiet - except for the sound of my voice.
I think it was the lack of extra sounds which allowed me to concentrate more on what I was reading. And I think it was my extra thoughtfulness which allowed for my train of thought. That is, as I read about "how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time," and, "The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled," (Genesis 6:5-6) I wondered, What does God see when He looks at us today?
Have you ever wondered the same thing? Have you ever contemplated how evil mankind was before the Flood that God regretted making him, to the extent that He washed it all away and started over? Are we in 2018 more or less morally deficient than Noah's contemporaries?

I wonder.

I paused in my reading to ponder the thought.
Then Angel awoke, and I started reading again from chapter 37. Together, we delighted in God's faithfulness to Joseph, and we marveled at His ability to take what man meant for evil and use it for good. We sat there - Angel and I - in the presence of God who is holy and perfect and righteous in every way, and we praised Him. We thanked Him for His goodness and mercy. And we rested in the knowledge of God's enduring love for us.
I'm telling you, friends, it is such a deep, deep joy to spend an hour with Angel every week and to have her point me to the Father - even when she barely says a word.

Karen

Thursday, March 15, 2018

"J" is for Jesus - and Jenga

So, you know I love JESUS.
And I love talking about Jesus.
Especially every Sunday morning at 9:15 with my 3rd and 4th grade girls at church.
But the girls and I have another "J" love. That is, before we start talking about Jesus - as girls are arriving to class - you can usually find us involved in a good game of Jenga.
And this past Sunday I got a picture of our tower, because I was so excited about how well we were balancing it on a relatively "skinny" base. See?

I tend to be the one who likes to take pieces from the bottom, and sometimes one or two of the girls will get into it with me. However, this particular young lady was intent on de-constructing and re-building from the top. So I was taking blocks from the bottom and putting them on top, and she was taking blocks from the next-to-the-top, and putting them on top. We kept each other on edge as we anticipated the tower toppling. (As it did right after I snapped this picture!)

The thing is, while there is nothing I love more than Jesus - and talking about HIM - my heart flows with joy by simply playing Jenga with my girls. (And Walk the Dogs. We love that game, too!)
Because if Jesus were here on earth in the flesh right now? I think He would probably make time to play with these girls. I think He would make them feel like they're really, really loved. And then I think He would tell the girls how they could have a relationship with Himself.
But since He isn't here on earth in the flesh right now, I count it a privilege to stand in and do what I think He would do.

Is there somewhere you are/could be standing in for Jesus?

Karen

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What's LOVE Got to Do With It?

So I've been thinking about love lately.

The outlook for lasting relationships in today's world, that is.

This thought process started with a conversation I had recently with one of my honorary daughters.
She was telling me about some relational struggles she's having and how hard it is to persevere when most of her generation is telling her to just quit. To send him packing. To get rid of the difficulty and start afresh with somebody else. ***read that: Someone with whom there are no problems - which will make for a suitable replacement - until said stand-in reveals he has issues, too. At that time, previous suitablity becomes null and void and must be re-replaced with another proxy who will suffice until inevitable complications surface. Repeat ad infinitum.***
I was simultaneously pleased and saddened.
Pleased that my girl recognizes the madness.
Saddened by the reality of the whole situation.
It seems like our world has become a place where struggle is taboo and comfort is to be elveated above all else. Where the most important factor in a relationship is our personal "happiness", with no room for personal character growth via strife, conflict, or serious effort. For many people, a relationship in 2018 is a situation in which you shouldn't have to give up your preferences, where the "other" is expected to please you in every way, and offenses are unexcusable.
And it breaks my heart.
Because there is no way a relationship can survive those standards. And standards like those are going to produce shallow people whose lives are based purely on feelings, and who will never make it in an imperfect world.

My honorary daughter and I were talking about romantic relationships, but the current state of affairs isn't limited to those connections. We see it in families, neighborhoods, peer relationships, in the church, and at work. If one party offends another, today's world allows the offended to righteously declare that they have been wronged and move on to find someone who will treat them better.
Nevermind addressing the offense, dealing with the differences, and growing through the process.
Nah. That's too much work!
The thing is, I remember a time - some 25 or 26 years ago - when somebody told me about lasting love, which makes for a lasting relationship.
It's love that has a will.
It makes a decision, doesn't depend on feelings.
It stays in the mix when times get rough.
And it commits to seeking the best outcome for everyone involved.
I have lived and received this love in my marriage, my family, and my friendshps - and I have seen it in the lives of many people around me. It isn't easy, but it is possible.
And it is imperative for a lasting relationship.

So that's what I've been thinking. What do you say about it?

Karen

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Never Say Never

I always think of this song when I say, "Never say never."
Ah, yes. An American Tale. My favorite movie from 1986!
Anyway, I found myself saying "never" to a certain possibility for many years. And now it's going to happen. So I have been happily singing this song for days.

That is to say, do you remember a while ago when I mentioned a vacation I wanted to take with my husband - but he thought it was too expensive? So rather than nagging begging continually listing off all the reasons we should go being a pest about it, I decided to be quiet?
Well, I am not sure what happened (Except maybe God was smiling on me!) but Brian recently suggested we take that vacation. He brought it up again, after I had stopped mentioning it, y'all!!!
You've got to know I jumped on it and we made our reservation.
And last night it got very real.
The confirmation email arrived with our cabin assignment.
Yes. Cabin - as in a cruise.
As in a 10-day Panama Canal - Caribbean cruise next January with Kathy Troccoli and friends.

And I am so stinking excited!!!
I never thought I'd get to go on a vacation like this one.

So, yeah. Never say, "Never."

Karen

Monday, March 12, 2018

I Wasn't Expecting That *A Re-post*

I had a very full weekend, and just didn't have time to make a video devotion for today. So last night I sat down to view my archives and I found this video from 2015.
My heart was encouraged as I listend to these words of truth again, and I pray yours will be, too.

Karen

Friday, March 09, 2018

Touched by the Holy Spirit

I usually write about Angel on Fridays, but not today.
That is, I visited her Tuesday afternoon, and enjoyed reading the Bible to her. But my heart is on another thought at the moment.
What I mean is - all week long I have been experiencing unplanned conversations, longer-than-expected interactions, heart-convicting messages, and urgent calls to prayer. And in each instance, I have wanted to be obedient to God's Spirit - saying what HE wanted me to say, doing what HE wanted me to do, being who HE wanted me to be.

God is putting a desire in my heart to be more like Jesus, relinquishing my control on my life and submitting fully to HIS.
Indeed. I want to be touched by the Holy Spirit, a faithful host to Him, His instrument.
Oh, the desire is there so strongly. Yes, my spirit is willing. But my flesh is so weak.
As God is shaping me and building Christ in me - I am becoming more and more aware of my pride, my tendency to judge, my self-righteousness. (Ouch! It hurts to put those confessions out here for everyone to see.) I am becoming more and more aware of my need for Him to change me, to make me like Himself. And my heart cries out, Yes, Lord. Please make me like YOU!

Yeah. So that's what has been on my heart lately.
Pray for me???

Karen

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

When It Seems Hopeless

I was plugging my phone in to charge Monday night before going to bed, when I noticed a text from a friend. So I responded to her, and we went back and forth a few times before I said good night - and promised to pray for her.
Then I lay in bed thinking about her, and about what she'd just told me.
A doctor's diagnosis she received recently.
It isn't life-threatening, but it seems pretty hopeless and I was feeling at a loss for how to pray.
God, will you comfort her in the midst of the pain?
But her pain is physical. Where's the comfort in that???
Will you give her peace in spite of her circumstance?
Peace in what? The thought that maybe tomorrow it won't hurt as much as it did today? But what if the next day the pain is excruciating???
God, would you give her hope in... No. I can't ask for that. It's too Pollyanna-ish. She needs help now.
See, the thing which came to my mind to pray for her was that God would give her hope for eternity. That she would remember this life and its trials are only temporary. There will come a day for every believer in Jesus Christ when God will wipe away each tear. There will be no more death, no mourning, no pain.
And that Day will last for all eternity. Oh, what a glorious hope!
I felt I ought to pray for my friend to be comforted - to have peace - in this eternal hope.
But then my flesh started arguing. Started accusing me of taking the easy way out. Sure. Just pray about "one Day". Never mind the reality of today. Just think about the Day when it's all going to be better. You Pollyanna, you. Who really thinks like that??? Such that I began to doubt if my prayer was reasonable, or if it truly was a cop-out because I didn't know what else to say.
So I lay in bed wondering.
What would God have me pray for my friend???

Then, as He so often does, God spoke to my heart.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Hebrews 12:2 came to my mind:
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Are you seeing what I saw?
Jesus looked ahead, past the trial of the present - to the joy set before Him!
Jesus knew there was something of far greater value than what He was enduring, and that hope carried Him through.
Jesus thought "like that" - and He was no Pollyanna!
And, as if that reference to Jesus wasn't enough, yesterday in my Precepts class the speaker on the video we watched went on for a few minutes about the truth that the life we're living now is NOT our best life. Rather, our eternity with God is going to be our best life.
This life is broken and temporary.
Eternity is going to be perfect, and forever. Hallelujah!!!

Thank You, JESUS!!!

Are you facing a circumstance which seems hopeless, too?
Just as Jesus was able to endure the cross because of His confidence in the joy which would follow, I pray God would strengthen you with the hope of eternity as you trust in Him.

Karen

Monday, March 05, 2018

Friday, March 02, 2018

Touched by an Angel

Ahhhh, my sweet Angel continues to delight my heart.

This week she was awake when I arrived to visit, but talking didn't seem to be on her agenda for the afternoon. I told her that I'd brought my Bible along, and asked if she would like me to read to her. Seriously, I just LOVE how Angel loves listening to God's Word. She perked up and said, "Yes!"
So I opened up to the book of Acts, and started to read.
And Angel responded to what I read, as we often paused to talk about what was happening. When I got to chapter three and read, "One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon," I glanced at the clock on Angel's dresser and it was...3:00. So I said, "Angel, it's the time of prayer. Should we stop and pray?" And she responded with another definitive, "Yes."
So we did.
We praised God for who He is. We worshiped Him. We thanked Him for His presence and power and graciousness. We prayed for our world, that we as a people might turn back to God in truth and faithfulness. And I'm telling you, as much as I love reading the Word to Angel, I love praying with her even more.
Mmhmmm.
Yes, Lord!
That's right.
Mmhmmm.
Amen!
She is a woman of prayer, I can just tell it.
And when she agrees with me in prayer, when I hear her heart murmurings, when I sense her joy in the Lord - I picture a woman who has been seeking Him for a lot of the past 100 years. I get the feeling she could tell stories for days and weeks of answered prayer and the faithfulness of God. I have the sense that I am in the presence of a true prayer warrior, and I am encouraged to keep on seeking God - even when it's difficult and I feel like giving up.

What a blessing it is to have my life touched by this sweet Angel.

Karen

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Late Night Ramblings

Have you ever thought your child was home, called him to set the table for dinner, and discovered he isn't home, after all?
So then you figured he must be at work, because where else could he be?
But then you think, Wait a minute! I don't remember seeing him this afternoon when I got home from picking up the van. And you start to think, What if he got into an accident after he dropped me off at the shop to pick up the van?
But you know that's a ridiculous thought, because - surely - you would have seen the accident when you were driving home the same route he would have driven.
So you try to dismiss the thought.
But it lingers.
And as the evening progresses you consider texting or calling your child, just to be sure he isn't dead is at work. But you think you're being silly, and you tell yourself, Of course he's fine.
Except your anxious mother's heart is arguing with the rational part of your brain. So you can't go to bed when you want to because you'll just feel better if you see him walk in the door after work. Because even though he's totally fine, and the police would have contacted you by now if he'd been in an accident, and you're over-reacting by worrying, and all that stuff - you just want to see him with your own eyes.

Then, like music to your ears, you hear the garage door open and close - and you walk out and see your son cuddled up on the floor with the dog. And you rush over to him and hug him and tell him you love him, and you're so happy to see him.
You confess the worry you've been battling for the past few hours, and he says, "You know, you could have called me."
Then you're all, "But I thought I was being silly. And you wouldn't have been able to answer, anyway..."
And he says, "You thought I was dead, and you didn't even call me???"
And you're left trying to figure out how to convince your son you really do love him, even though you didn't call...

Has that ever happened to you?
Yeah. Me, neither.
Good night. My son is home, and I'm going to bed now.
*wink*

Karen

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

When HE Speaks to Your Heart

"Please inquire of the LORD on our behalf, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is warring against us; perhaps the LORD will deal with us according to all His wonderful acts, so that the enemy will withdraw from us."

Jeremiah 21:2
Taken out of context, the above request sounds completely reasonable. Appropriate, even.
I mean, who wouldn't - who shouldn't - call upon the LORD and trust in all His wonderful acts in a time of desperate need?
Who shouldn't call on the wonderful acts of the LORD in a time of desperate need?
I'll tell you who.
Someone with an unrepentant heart who has been ignoring God's call to turn from "his" wickedness for the past 20 chapters. Someone who suddenly thinks the LORD is wonderful, though he has been among those forsaking God and worshiping idols. Someone who seems to only want to seek God now that the devastation about which HE warned, over and over again, is coming to pass. That's who!
Ahhh, but such is the circumstance we read about in Jeremiah, chapter 21.
King Zedekiah, sending Jeremiah to the priest to inquire of the LORD. Even though Jeremiah had already been faithfully proclaiming the word of the LORD for years. Over and over again, he prophesied to the people that they needed to return to the LORD whom they had forsaken. They needed to stop worshiping idols, building altars, sacrificing their children - or else, God was going to bring devastation on them from the north. But the people didn't listen. In fact they sought to take Jeremiah's life because they so despised the message he delivered.
And NOW the king thinks he can simply "inquire of the LORD" and all his troubles will be removed?

REALLY???

On the one hand, I am shocked and sickened that a people could treat the LORD so frivolously. I am angered that they could mock Him so: Ignoring His holiness and His call to treat Him as such, yet cozying up to Him and calling out His "wonderful acts" when they need them.
On the other hand, I guess nothing has changed. And maybe that's why I find this study of Jeremiah so disturbing - because the things the people of Judah did to dishonor God are the same things I see in the world today. We may not be building altars to Baal, or burning our children in sacrifices - but we are surely forgetting God. We are doing what is right in our own eyes, we are worshiping many things rather than the One True God, like the prophets in Judah - we proclaim, "Peace, peace," where there is no peace, and we are sacrificing our children in other ways.
All the while declaring that a "loving God" would never send anyone to Hell.
Presuming upon His grace without surrendering our ways to Him.
Acting like we know better than God how we should live in the world.
Ignoring Him.

But what is going to happen when His patience with us comes to an end?
Men and women of 2018, we must seek the LORD and follow His ways. NOW!!!

Karen

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Do the Right Thing

I spent 2 hours and 15 minutes in the movie theater, watching Black Panther.
Would've rather been reading a book, or playing Scrabble. But my boys (the Big One, too) wanted to see Black Panther. So - for the sake of spending time with them - I went to the movies, too.

I stood in Matthew's bedroom watching his new computer keyboard flash and wave with colored lights. I received a brief demonstration and lesson covering the basics of changing the colors, patterns and effects of the lights. As well as a tutorial on how said colors assist a serious gamer in his gaming objectives.
Dinner ingredients were sitting on the kitchen counter waiting patiently for me to assemble them. Accepting my son's invitation to come into his room and see his new keyboard, however, seemed to be the better use of my time.

Everyone had finished eating dinner and I sat with them at the table listening to lots of talk about Josh's plans for his fishing channel on Youtube, purchasing fishing and video equipment, and some fishing trips he hopes to take this coming summer. I even tried adding to the conversation when I had something to say which I thought Josh would find helpful.
About 15 or 20 minutes into the conversation I started becoming keenly aware of the shopping list and dinner menu which were waiting to be created by me. But I reminded myself that my 20-year-old son was eagerly talking to me, and I realized the chore could wait.

The thing is, I have recently become aware of how very easy it is to miss the people who share this house with me. Everyone has different schedules filled with work and school and hobbies and other responsibilities. Rare is the night that we all sit down together for dinner anymore. In fact, one night last week I ate all by myself!
Some time ago I heard a statistic along the lines of "the average parent talks to their teenager less than 90 seconds per day". I remember thinking that was a ridiculous claim - until once last week when I wasn't sure I'd even seen my son all day.
That realization - in combination with a telephone conversation I had with my daughter, and some Holy Spirit promptings - is moving me to do the right thing, rather than the preferred or pressing thing. I am asking God to open my eyes to the opportunities He gives me with these boys. While they're growing up to be men (and I often feel pushed aside and unneeded) I am asking Him to give me the grace to do what feels unnatural, in the interest of connecting in the arenas they're willing to share with me.
And as I write this post while Brian and Josh are watching "The Walking Dead" in the adjacent room, I am also thanking God that's their thing. Because - even with HIS help - I'm not sure I could get into that show. *wink*

Karen

Monday, February 26, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

Billy Graham's Hope

Whew!
It's been a busy week.
Thus the reason I haven't posted since Monday...

But more than all the little things going on in my little life, I am fixated on the Homegoing of Billy Graham on Wednesday.
Perhaps you saw Kathy Lee Gifford respond to it on Megyn Kelly's show. (If you didn't watch it here.)
Chances are you've seen this quote, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”
If you have spent any amount of time with your eyes and ears open over the past 48 hours, I'm sure you have seen and heard story after story of this man's faith and the hope he has in Jesus.
I know I have!

And as I am taking it all in I have one prayer:
That God will use Billy Graham's death as significantly as He used his life.
I cannot begin to imagine how many souls were saved - how many people found new life in Christ - through the ministry of Billy Graham. It's staggering.
But now that we find ourselves so frequently reeling in pain and outrage at the senseless deaths of terror and mass shootings around us, I wonder if the beauty of Billy Graham's death might lead even more people to eternal life.
See? We're so accustomed to pain and sorrow when we think of death. And even though tears have been shed by many over Billy Graham's passing, the overwhelming story is of a faithful son being called Home to his Father where he will surely hear HIM say, Well done, My good and faithful servant.
It's a story of fulfillment.
Of a man finally reaching that for which he has been longing his entire life here on earth.
It is reunion and joy and holy celebration.
And in the midst of the pain we experience in this world, I pray many will hear Billy Graham's story - and will know there is hope. His name is JESUS and He came to earth from heaven. Sent by the Father to take on the sin of the world. Jesus lived a sinless life and died in our place to pay the penalty for our sin. He was buried, and God raised Him from the dead, and brought Him back to heaven where Jesus currently sits with God on His throne preparing a place for His children. Now everyone who confesses their sin, repents, and receives the gift of salvation God offers us through Jesus no longer has to fear death.
Oh, friends, our death on earth is NOT the end of life. Because of Jesus - our death on earth can be the beginning of eternal life in heaven. That is the hope onto which Billy Graham held.
That is the hope God holds out to each of us.
If you have questions about this hope and how it can be yours, please leave a comment or send me an email. I would LOVE to talk with you about it more.

Karen

Monday, February 19, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

Touched by an Angel

Mmmmmm, Angel was different this week.
That is, she wasn't awake and talkative like she has been for the past few weeks. She had taken a bath right before I arrived, and was wiped out. Complaining of a headache, and just wanting to close her eyes.

Well, one thing was the same. She still wanted me to read scripture to her.

So I sat by her bed and read Psalms. Occasionally Angel would repeat the words I was reading, otherwise she remained quiet. And in between psalms, as I turned pages in silence, I wondered at the difference I see in Angel from one week to the next. I remembered when our visits used to be silent like this one, how they became more lively for a few weeks, and were now back to tired and quiet.
I remembered when my grandma was living with me and how I often saw her change from day to day. One day she'd be great, and 24 hours later I would wonder how much longer she had on this earth. Things could fluctuate so quickly.

Then Wednesday happened, and the shooting in Florida.

And I was reminded yet again how quickly a moment can be transformed.

The thing is, we just don't know what tomorrow holds. We don't even possess our next breath.
Let's not waste a single one!

Karen

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Listen!!!

Oh, friends.
This is my heart right here - coming out of Francis Chan's mouth.
From the study I am doing of Jeremiah with my Precepts class, to the condition of our world - this is my heart! The video segment is 12 minutes long, and so worth every second.

Karen

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

It Isn't That Easy

Last week I saw this on Facebook:

The version I saw was a video. The top frame showing a nice trip down a peaceful path in the woods - the bottom frame showing bottles falling and spilling pills everywhere.
I read the words, "This is an antidepressant," and I thought, If only it were that easy. How nice it would have been seven years ago when I discovered depression was the reason I could cry at the drop of a hat, the reason I could take just about anything someone said to me and turn it into a negative slam on my personhood, the reason I often felt like the world was crashing in on me - how nice it would have been to take a walk in the woods and feel all better!
Ahhh, but it just isn't that easy!

When I found out I have a condition called depression, I started taking medication. And I started learning how to think better. That is, I began engaging in a lot of self-talk - which means when a circumstance arises and I start going down the path of negativity, I talk myself out of it. I remind myself the person who just said something to me doesn't really mean I'm a failure. Sometimes it means I recite scripture to myself because I need to hear Truth. I remember once when I realized I had forgotten to get gas and was about to start berating myself for it - I literally spoke the words out loud, "It's OK, Karen. It's OK."

Before taking an antidepressant, my immediate response to almost any circumstance was to belittle myself and rehearse all the reasons why whatever was going on indicated I was a failure. And to cry. Crying was always a part of it.
When I started taking the drug I felt like somehow it gave me space in those circumstances. Rather than going right to beating up on myself, I had a moment to hear what was said and evaluate it. I had time to think better. I didn't rush into condemnation, rather I began to think rationally. And I cannot tell you how that time changed me.
Eventually, I began to think, Maybe I don't need to take this medicine anymore. Now that I know how to think better, maybe I can manage depression on my own! So I weaned myself off the antidepressant.
Twice.
That is to say, I didn't learn the first time how bad of an idea that was. It took me two attempts to realize that for me - it's more than just knowing how to think. Somewhere inside my brain there is a chemical imbalance, and I need medical intervention to achieve harmony.
Since then, I have come to understand one very important thing. God is using this medication to carry me. He could lift me out of the pit of depression any way He chooses, and it appears he's chosen a drug.
Here's the thing: I am confident that God is not ashamed of the way He is working in me. And if HE isn't ashamed, I won't be either!

Karen

Monday, February 12, 2018

Friday, February 09, 2018

Touched by an Angel

If your arrival was received with a warm smile and bright eyes...
If you shared laughter over silly jokes...
If stories of days gone by brought joy and illicited happiness...
If moments of silence were spent in peace...
If singing made your heart soar...
If you're already looking forward to your next visit...

You must have been touched by an Angel.

Karen

Thursday, February 08, 2018

He's Just Like Me, Too!

Tuesday I wrote about one of the ways Elizabeth is just like me.

Today, it's Josh's turn.

See, this morning we got into a conversation about how we respond to one another when we ask for something to be done. That is, I tried explaining to Josh that when I ask him to do something around the house and he doesn't reply to me I think either 1) He honestly didn't hear me, thus I should repeat the request, or 2) He did hear me but he's ignoring me, thus I should repeat the request with a bit more force enthusiasm.
Josh insisted that he always responds to me - though sometimes the response may simply be with a glance my way, or a raising of the eyebrows. I followed up with a request for a verbal reply, otherwise I probably won't know he "responded" and I will repeat myself.
That is the moment he informed me that I really ought not repeat myself because he finds such behavior annoying, and will intentionally go slower to spite me.

My mind immediately went to the numerous occasions when I was a teen and the family was getting ready to go somewhere. My dad had a habit of rushing us because he had this incessant need to be on time way early to everything. I would be in the bathroom, curling my hair and brushing and spraying it. And re-curling some spot because it just wasn't right. Then I would hear my dad call from downstairs that I needed to hurry because it was time to leave. I would think, What? You want me to go faster? OK.
And I would sllooowwww doowwwnnnn.
Yeah. I think I know where Josh gets it.

And I suddenly feel the need to call my dad and apologize. *wink*

Karen

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

God Said NOT to Pray???

Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not listen when they call to Me because of their disaster.

~Jeremiah 11:14
Are you as shocked as I was when I first read this statement from God to Jeremiah?
Did He really just forbid prayer???
I mean, it sure looks like it, doesn't it? The God of the universe who has been sending Jeremiah to the people over and over again with a call to stop worshiping other gods, to stop being faithless and adulterous - and instead return to HIM - has just said not to pray, for HE will not listen when they call to Him because of their disaster.
Because of their disaster.
Because of their disaster.

Ahhhh, that phrase makes all the difference.
God was refusing to listen to another cry for help, another plea for mercy and removal of the impending disaster - from a people whose hearts remained hardened toward Him. As long as the people continued to worship idols, as long as they trusted in deceitful words and continued with their wicked practices - while assuming they were safe from harm because the temple of God was in their midst - until they humbled themselves and returned to HIM in Truth, God was not going to listen.
But what if the prayer for the people was not with regard to their disaster? What if, instead, the prayer was for their hearts? Would God listen if somebody asked Him to have mercy on their souls? Would God listen if an intercessor pleaded with Him to soften the stubborn hearts, to open the blinded eyes, to unstop the deaf ears? Would God hear the prayer of one who was crying for the repentance of His people?

I believe HE would.

So that has become my prayer for our world as I watch what is happening. As I see laws passed which forsake God's laws. While standards which HE set in place at the beginning of time are tossed aside in the name of not "offending" or "hurting feelings." When I read, Shall I not punish these people, and on a nation such as this shall I not avenge Myself? (Jeremiah 5:9 & 29) and think about how the nation in which I reside resembles one such as this.
I am praying for the Truth of God to come back to us, for the hearts of men to be receptive to It. I am praying for our leaders (in the Church, as well as in government) to humble themselves and turn to God in faithfulness. I am asking God to strengthen those who are devoted to righteousness and to give them courage to stand up for what is right. My cry is for the cleansing of our hearts and our return to the One who has the power to destroy or restore.
Because if we continue to be faithless, if we refuse to embrace a reverent fear of our Maker, if we presume upon His mercy while we pursue our own sense of what is right - I don't think He is going to listen.

Karen

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

She's Just Like Me

Last night Brian, Josh and I were talking about Elizabeth while we ate dinner. (Matthew was at work. Otherwise we would have had the family virtually all together. haha) Anyway, Elizabeth had just called and we were talking about the conversation we'd had with her. Which led to an assessment on the guys' behalf of her bountiful frugality. (Like how I linked two opposites there?)
Almost in tandem, as Brian and Josh evaluated Elizabeth's approach to money and material things they turned toward me and exclaimed, "She's just like you!"
And I thought of the list of reasons why they were right.
*The debate Brian and I are having right now about getting a new bed. I think it's fine and we shouldn't spend money on a new one. He thinks it needs to be replaced.
*The thrill I get from looking at my receipt each week and seeing how much money I saved with mperks.
*My tendency to go straight to the SALE rack whenever I go shopping.
*My refusal to buy things which aren't on sale. I really don't like paying MSRP.
*The way my boys used to roll their eyes when I insisted the store brand is just as good as the name brand.
*Then there were my tennis shoes sitting across the room - nearly free of any sort of traction on the sole - which I have yet to replace, because besides the bottom - they're fine.

I mean, I guess they had valid reasons to make their judgement. I don't like spending money needlessly. I love finding deals. It makes me happy to be resourceful and make things "work".
My girl is the same way.
And even though Brian was on the edge of mocking me for my cheapness frugality, I have never once heard him complain about how much I spend on clothes. He doesn't fear that I'm going to go crazy on shoes and belts and purses to match. And he doesn't grumble when I tell him I really don't need a gift for Mother's Day or our anniversary or my birthday.
I'd say he's a pretty lucky guy to have a thrifty girl like me.
And there's a guy out there who's going to find a nice catch in Elizabeth, too.

All this talk about how I don't spend a lot of money has me thinking that over the course of our 24 years of marriage, I must have saved enough money for us to take a certain vacation which Brian thinks is too expensive. Hmmmm. I wasn't going to bring it up again, but maybe I should... *wink*

Karen

Monday, February 05, 2018

You Are Beloved


Mindy had a couple of scratching episodes while I was recording this video - sorry 'bout the noise her tags make in the background. *wink*

Karen

Friday, February 02, 2018

Touched by an Angel

Ahhh, how sweet.
She did it again!!!

For the second week in a row, Angel was awake and alert during my visit. I mean, I am delighted to see her anytime, and it is a blessing to sit and read the Word of God to her even when she is sleeping, or falling in and out of sleep.
But when she is awake, and when she engages with me?
Ooohhhh, how sweet it is!
And so it was on Tuesday. She smiled and greeted me as I entered her room, we paused as I read from the Gospels (Her choice!) to talk about Jesus, and we sang our favorite song. There was a certain sparkle in her eyes which I don't see very often, and she even laughed at a joke I told her. LIFE flowed from Angel, and it was a beautiful thing to behold.

It's kind of a tricky balance to achieve, you know? The tension between she's-been-alive-for-almost-101-years-so-she's-tired and she's-still-living-so-let-her-have-some-fun. Often when I visit I am torn between prompting her to wake up (Because I know social interaction is important.) and letting her sleep as much as she wants. (Because, well, she's almost 101 years old - and that's a lot of hours of being awake!) So on the days when Angel is awake of her own volition, I like to bring as much sunshine (SONshine!) to her as I possibly can.
Psalm 139:16 often comes to my mind when I'm thinking about Angel. "Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." I don't know how many more days God has ordained for Angel, but I sure am thankful He chose to weave our lives together for an hour every week. Because as much as I know this arrangement is "for her," I feel like I'm the one who is most touched.

Is there someone with whom God is prompting you to spend some extra time each week?

Karen