Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Negotiator

So yesterday morning I was getting ready to do laundry and I checked in with Matthew to see if he had any. I knocked on his door, heard some sort of groan, and opened the door. He was still in bed, and his hamper was empty (But there were clothes all over the floor...) so I told him I was about to do laundry - and invited him to bring any clothes downstairs which he wanted to be washed.
I proceeded to sort the laundry and put a load in the washer and took care of a couple other tasks which needed completing. And moments later Matthew and I crossed paths in the kitchen. Our conversation went like this:
Matthew: I took my dirty clothes downstairs.
Me: OK. Did you sort them into the loads I had already made?
Matthew: Yep. I did that.
Me: Great. Thanks.
Matthew: You're welcome. Oh, that'll be $5.
Me: Blank stare.
Matthew: Five bucks. I charge five dollars for sorting my laundry.
Me: OK. Cool. I am charging $5 for washing your clothes today. So I guess we can call it even.
Matthew: Sorta shrugs his shoulders and leaves the scene.

Yep. Just call me the Negotiator.

Karen

Monday, July 16, 2018

How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

So, I was planning to edit out the first thirty-or-so seconds of this video, but decided to leave it in for fun. *wink*
The back-story is: on the first take of this post my video guy (aka, my husband) "took" a picture - rather than recording a video. And just before we started the second take I said something funny about his technical know-how and, well, I had a hard time controlling my laughter.



Karen

Friday, July 13, 2018

No. Not Tears!!!

I know I have mentioned previously that my girl is in the throes of job-seeking, and building an adult life.
There was that thing on Monday about praying for her to remember to turn her eyes upon Jesus.
It continues daily as she applies for jobs, goes to interviews, and searches online for more opportunities.
And it got more tender yesterday as we sat together at the table, each working on different things. Elizabeth asked my opinion about a job (and sounded kind of despondent in her delivery) so I paused and looked up from what I was doing. Just in time to see a tear drip from her cheek onto the table.
Then another.
And another.
And my momma's heart nearly burst.
Because I do not like seeing my girl cry!!!

Oh, how I do NOT miss those days of searching and wondering and not knowing what the future holds. (Er, I guess not much has changed. *ahem*) Anyway, I don't miss being a young-twenty-something trying to figure out who I am and what I should be doing.
If I could, I would step in and take over this phase for her - just so she could avoid the struggle.
Because I really don't like it when my girl cries.
How I wish I had all the answers - and could tell her just where to go and exactly what to do.
If only there was a way for me to make her journey seamless. So she wouldn't go through hard times and she wouldn't have to expend so much effort. So there would be no more tears!
But I know the only thing I can really do for her is pray.
And when I pray, I am reminded that God uses the struggle. He grows us through hard times. Our efforts are not wasted by Him.

And He holds every tear.

So I will continue to ask my Father to lead my children. (I'm including my future son in that prayer!) I will persist in encouraging my girl to seek His face. And I will keep trusting that He knows what's best and He'll do what's best in the time that's best.
Even if that process involves a few more tears.

Karen

Thursday, July 12, 2018

This is Dedicated to the One I Love

So, I have a new elderly friend I'm visiting as a volunteer with Great Lakes Caring.
She's a sweet, sweet lady and I've been seeing her for a couple of months. I can't remember if she's 95 or 96. But I do remember that she loves Jesus, she used to be a seamstress, she loves crossword puzzles, and she and her family survived the concentration camps in Japan during World War II.
Dear One (That's what I'll call her.) is hard of hearing and her memory is fading, so our conversations are a bit limited. Often it's just me asking her questions which she can answer briefly, and telling her stories about my family. (And my garden. I keep her updated on my garden!) Regardless of how much she does or doesn't say though, I cherish my time with Dear One. She is a kind soul whose smile brightens the room, and I love that we always end our visits with prayer.

So I'll do whatever it takes to see her each week.

Including descend a valley, or climb a mountain.
What I mean is, Dear One lives in a facility about a mile and a half from my house and the road which connects us is presently under construction. So yesterday when I was riding my bike to visit her (Elizabeth needed to use the van...) and I came upon a Road Closed sign, well, I just road around it as I have done before - figuring I would also have to ride around some hills of dirt and such. Except, as I got further from the sign and closer to the action I realized I wasn't going to be riding around anything. Because there was a great big valley going straight across the road. (Think, "Going on a Bear Hunt"...Can't go over it, can't go under it. Can't go around it. Gotta go through it!)
Seeing no other option, I called out to the construction workers for permission to cross.
All I got back was that they could not give (nor deny) me permission to do so.
Sooooo, I carefully walked my bike down one incline - then picked it up and manuvered up the other side. Stepping in significant amounts of mud and dirt on the way. *ahem*
But I made it through without incident, or need of rescue. *grin*

And after enjoying my time with Dear One, I did it all over again.
Only this time, I had a certain song running through my head. *wink*



Karen

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Lessons From the Garden

If you were around this part of the internet last week, you probably saw my first flower.


I am pleased to report, it has grown nicely.

And I am even more pleased to report, it has friends!!!

The beautiful colors (especially the PINK!) are my reward and motivation which keep me watering and tending to the plants in the midst of our very hot days. But sometimes I feel even more delighted by the little lessons I hear God whisper to my heart as I care for my garden and landscaping.
That is to say, I have been suspicious about a couple of growing things over the past weeks - and I think my questions are now being answerd.
You may recall in the beginning of my story about my flower garden, I mentioned planting seeds for flowers called "Everlastings". And somewhere along the way to the pretty blooms I have now, I thought the Everlastings had vanished. Because there was no sign of them anywhere, while my other seeds were producing greenery. But not too long ago when I was weeding I noticed some growth in the places where I had sown those seeds, and I decided not to pull the little guys - just in case they weren't weeds after all, but the Everlastings which I had written off. I even watered and fed them, fully aware that I might end up pulling them in time.
But now? Now I can distinctly see little flowers forming on the tops of their little stems, and I noticed more of the same growth in two other areas where I also planted those seeds. So I am really starting to think the Everlastings are OK. That, or some weed is going to add color to my yard.
And I am so glad I didn't pull them when I thought they might be weeds.
Which brings me to another part of my landscaping. I am growing mertyl under a tree in my yard and earlier in the summer I dug up a few peices of mertyl from the front of the house to aid the fill-up-the-space-under-the-tree process. *Read that: I am still working to overcome impatience.*
In spite of my best efforts to make the displaced patches of mertyl feel comfortable in their new location, one of them got all brown and brittle and appeared to die. But I kept watering it because I have heard rumors that mertyl is very hearty, and I thought - Why not??? Well, wouldn't you know it, a green thing started growing in the very spot that the mertyl died. But I tend to get a lot of weeds under that tree and I was ready to pull it along with all the others until I thought, What if? What if this isn't a weed, rather it is some hearty mertyl playing resurrection?
So I left it.
But every day for the next week I looked at it and felt disappointed because - aside from its green-ness - it really didn't look like mertyl.
Until yesterday!

Yep. I think that weed is, indeed, resurrected mertyl.

And as I pondered my weed-turned-mertyl (And the possibility that the other "weeds" are actually Everlastings.) it was as if I heard God whispering to my heart, Dear one, are you getting this lesson I've created for you? Do you see the picture I've painted? Sometimes the work I do doesn't appear at first the way it's going to manifest in the end. In the beginning, sometimes people and situations look more like weeds than like cultivated plants. But when you practice patience, when you slow down and reserve judgemnt, when you nurture a specimen even though you aren't sure what it is - dear one, that is when you give Me space to do My best work.

Ah, yes, LORD. Please cultivate patience in me!

Karen

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Garden Update

Look! Look! Look!!!
It's my very first Zinnia of the season in my new garden. *smile*
I mean, it will get bigger. There will be more. And - together - they'll be so much more beautiful.
But I was so excited yesterday when I looked out my window and saw this little splash of yellow.
If you look very closely at the bottom of the picture you might see a couple little Alyssum flowers, too. They're there. Just not very plentiful.
At all.
Actually, the Alyssum seeds I sowed on the side of the house are doing much better.
See???
Anyway, back to the Zinnias.
As I considered how happy I am with my one little Zinnia - in spite of the fact that the current situation is nothing compared to the beauty of what is to come, I felt a bit of inspiration. Because I thought of Ephesians 4:11-13 which paints a picture of a unified, mature body of Christ demonstrating His beauty for all the world to see.
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
See? God intends for us to be a beautiful, mature garden - displaying His glory to the world.
That is what HE wants.
That is HIS goal for us.
It's HIS objective!
Yet, even though God's desire for us is something far greater than what we presently are, as I stood beaming over my one little yellow flower - delighted by what it is and what it will become - God's heart spoke to mine.
Yes, dear one, in the same way I am delighted in each person who choses to follow Me. I am not disappointed that you are not yet who I know you will one Day be. Hold on. I am growing you. I am maturing and uniting My children. I am preparing the body of Christ for glory. And I love each one of you today just as much as I will on that Day, too.

I pray this thought encourages your heart as much as it did mine!

Karen

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

My Declaration of Dependence

In spite of today being the official recognition of our country's independence from British rule, I am letting my rebellious streak shine and I am making my own declaration.

Of Dependence.


I declare that I am completely dependent on Jesus for life, both now and for eternity.
I declare that I am completely dependent on Jesus for the forgiveness of sin, because I cannot save myself.
I declare that I am completely dependent on Jesus for wisdom to know what to do, where to go, and what to say.
I declare that I am completely dependent on Jesus for hope through the hard times I face here and now, and for every struggle which will ever come my way.
I declare that I am like a branch, which is nothing without its vine. I need Jesus for life, and my life is in His hands.


Karen

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Where I Was & With Whom

Ahhhhhh, what a glorious, glorious week I just had!

I traveled with my family to the Outer Banks of North Carolina - to meet up with the rest of my family for a week of sun and fun and rest and sun and laughter and relaxation and sun and memories and did I mention my whole.entire.family was together???
It's been six years since we've all been together like that, and it was wonderful!
Annnnd, since I am still adjusting to the reality of alarm clocks, grocery shopping, doing laundry, and all the other harsh facts of life in the non-vacation-world, I am going to let pictures do most of the talking for this blog post.
Assuming I get a handle on life within the next 24 hours, I'll use more words tomorrow.
Thanks for giving me grace. *smile*

When we were together six years ago, we had a great time playing miniature golf.
So we decided to do it again.
And the teams were:
Elizabeth, Brian, my brother - David, my niece - Skyler, and my brother-in-law - Glenn


Josh, my sister - Kim, my brother - Chuck, my niece - Jacki, and Phil

My dad, my mom, my sister-in-law - Kristin, me, and Matthew
I should probably mention (for the sake of honoring my elders *ahem*) that my parents' team won the mini-golf tournament.

We spent most of the week here, at the beach:

And if we were too tired (or it was too hot) to walk to the beach, we could be found lounging by the pool in back of the house we rented.

When lounging by the pool or at the beach didn't exhaust us, we were able to make it to the small town to the north of where we stayed (The town's name is Duck. No kidding!) and enjoy a beautiful sunset.

And then this happened.
Apparently not everyone got the memo that I asked for them to turn around and act silly.

So, that's the snapshot version of why I haven't been blogging for a while.
It was time well-spent. So well-spent! And I'll probably reflect on that in a future post.
For now, I am thanking God for my family - and treasuring the time with them.
I enocourage you to do the same!

Karen