Friday, December 19, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

First things, first.
An update on B.
He is back from the hospital, and has not received his miracle yet. But I'm still praying for it!

Now, on to this week's lesson.

There's more than one way to skin a cat.

Speaking of B, he is the subject of this week's lesson. As I have told you before, B suffered a stroke which left him unable to use the right side of his body, and unable to communicate. Typically, he says, "For dinner! For dinner! For dinner!" or, "Yah, yah, yah!" when he needs something. Other than that, it's pretty much yes, no, or I don't know in answer to the questions we pose in our efforts to find out what he needs. And, as I have mentioned before, B is able to sing.
So this week I decided to follow up on the suggestion I have received to see if I could get B to communicate his needs by singing them. I told him my idea and offered a couple phrases he could use, then sang them and had him copy me. We did, "I need the bathroom," "I want a pillow," and "I want a cookie," to the tune of You Are My Sunshine.

And the look of delight on B's face was beautiful.

But not nearly as beautiful as the next thing.

I said to B, "Try this one. 'I love my Jesus!'" And he sang, I love my Jesus! With a smile on his face, and tears in his eyes. It had been too long since he'd been able to say those words.
It felt like a huge break through. Oh, the possibilities! If he can think of what he wants and sing it, he will be able to eliminate so much frustration. (His, and everyone else's...)
And I truly think I saw hope in his expression.
To be honest, we have much work ahead of us. I want to practice singing these phrases with B. And he needs lots of encouragement to ward off his frustration, think about what he wants, and put those wants to music. But I believe he can do it. I really do.

While singing wants, needs, and desires may seem a bit unconventional, I am over-the-top excited about the prospect of B being able to communicate them.
Yes, it would be wonderful if his ability to speak was restored. We would rejoice, to be sure.
At the moment, however, he cannot speak. But he can sing. And it looks quite promising that we'll be able to help him communicate with singing.

There's more than one way to skin a cat.
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So you know - like much of the blogging world - I am taking a break for the next two weeks. Looking forward to time with family and friends, without any thoughts regarding posts.
Lord willing, I'll meet you back here in January, 2015.
Have a Merry Christmas!!!

Karen
Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Music to My Ears

...and my heart.

A couple months ago our family went to a Compassion International event and decided to sponsor a child. We chose our little guy because he shares Matthew's birthday, and his name is Muthiani - which sort of resembles "Matthew". Well, at least the "M" and the "th" do. *ahem*
So, anyway, this is a family affair. And every night at dinner we pray for Muthiani. We follow a monthly prayer schedule which Compassion provided, and each night a different member of our family prays for our little Muthiani.
I think you all know how much I love praying, and praying for this little boy on the other side of the world delights my heart. But may I just tell you - even more than praying for Muthiani myself - I love, LOVE hearing my boys pray for him.
Last night's prayer prompt was for Muthinai to make wise decisions. I sat listening to my son asking God to help this boy choose well in his life, to find friends who will encourage him along good paths, to follow Jesus, and to grow in his faith. And I thought, This is just like the prayers I pray for my son!

I have had the same thought on other evenings when one of my boys has prayed for Muthiani.
And I love it.
I love hearing words from their mouths which echo prayers from my heart. And I pray that as my sons pray for Muthiani, God will mold their hearts and build in them the desire to have the very thing in their own lives which they are praying for in Muthiani's life.

Karen

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Praying for a Miracle

I've written before in Lessons From the Edge posts about B -who lives with his wife, U, across the hall from the Activity Room. I have long been praying for him - for healing for his body, and restoration of his ability to communicate.
Well, yesterday afternoon B was having significant pain in his right leg. I went into his apartment to sit with him for a minute, and observed moments of agony when the pain became great. I placed my hand on his leg and B, U, and I began to pray. I recalled a story I heard from a man who experienced a miraculous healing, and remembered him saying he felt like a giant electric shock went through his body in the process. And I began to wonder if God was in the process of a miracle for B. I wondered if B was in for a healing.

And I asked God for that miracle one more time.

B ended up being taken to the hospital last night, and I don't know what his current status is. But I have been praying for the past 15 hours for his miracle. I will be going in to work soon, and hope to hear the latest on B. Please join me in praying for him.

LORD, please restore B's leg. Please let him walk again!

Karen

P.S. Interestingly, this week during Bible study we listened to a sermon B preached almost five years ago. And in that sermon he stated, "God still performs miracles."
How beautiful it would be to see one for B today!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Traditions

Today I am heading up to The Loft again.
And this week we are sharing about our Christmas traditions.

When I was a kid, to me - Christmas was all about the gifts. We would wake up Mom and Dad and they would go downstairs before us to "see if Santa came". At their cue, my brothers and sister and I raced to the family room and rejoiced at the pile of presents waiting for us. And we tore into those gifts, so excited to see what we had received. There were no thoughts of Jesus - even though the night before we had gone to church, lit the candles, and sang "Silent Night".
Jesus was never a part of Christmas morning.
It was all about the presents.

When we began having children and started thinking about our own Christmas traditions, Brian and I decided we wanted to make sure Jesus was at the center of it all. So we began our own way of "doing" Christmas.
Every Christmas morning, Brian and I and the kids gather together by the tree and the pile of gifts and we have an Advent service before opening presents. We take turns reading aloud the story of Jesus from creation to Christmas, and we light candles and sing carols along the way.
Now our kids are, well - kids, and over the years our celebration of Jesus has sometimes been chaotic, silly, interrupted, and probably even involved a "time out" somewhere along the way. For certain, it has never been "perfect". But it has kept our focus on Jesus. It has taught our children that Christmas isn't all about the gifts. Rather, it is about The Gift.

And that makes my heart happy.

Karen

Monday, December 15, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

Creativity makes simple things spectacular.

I am not a "crafty" kinda gal.
And, in some regards it feels like that admission should disqualify me from my job. Because how many "activity ladies" don't do crafts???
OK, it isn't that I won't do crafts. It's just that I am not crafty. That is, I don't can't come up with craft projects on my own. BUT, I am pretty adept at seeing cute things and imitating them. And it is that ability (taking a good idea and copying it) which has led me to this week's lesson.

Just look at the Christmas ornaments we made!

All we did was paint the ladies' fingers white then had them hold a Christmas bulb. When the paint dried they added eyes, buttons, and noses with paint, and a felt scarf with a drop of glue.
Then - Presto! - a gift for the grandkids.

And last month we made these adorable turkey-pins. Out of ribbon, googl-y eyes, and glue.

And, if that's what I can do by copying ideas with a bunch of ladies who usually tell me they aren't crafty, either, just imagine the spectacular things God can make with simple me and you!

Creativity makes simple things spectacular.

Karen
Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Brian and Matthew were cleaning the basement last weekend and came across a collage of pictures.

These are some of the gems they recovered...
My Grandpa Pete and me at my cousin's wedding ~ June, 1987

My little brother and me, backstage at Grand Ledge High School. I was Zaneeta, and David was Winthrop in The Music Man. ~November 1987

Brian, Elizabeth, and me in the hospital the day Elizabeth was born. ~April 11, 1996

Brian and Elizabeth at Cedar Campus in Cedarville, MI. We were there for "Chapter Camp" when Brian was on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He had a break and was taking a nap. I laid Elizabeth down next to him, she squirmed a bit, and then settled into the same position as Daddy. I probably should have been napping, too, but for some reason I was taking pictures. *go figure* ~May, 1996

Karen