Friday, August 29, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

Cheer for your friends.

Have I mentioned before how much I love my job?

When was the last time I told you what a blessing it is to spend my days with the men and women at Edgewood?

Am I making you jealous? *wink*

OK. In all seriousness, I am a blessed woman to be able to "work" where, and with whom, I do. And I had another glimpse of that delight this week during exercise class.
I've mentioned my "neighbors" across the hall here before. B, and his wife U. B had a stroke and has pretty much no use of the right side of his body, and has HUGE difficulty communicating. His wife is exceptionally patient and kind, but also gets quite worn out in caring for him. So, this week B came to exercise class and U stayed home to read and get a little "break".

The first thing we do during exercise class is throw a beach ball around. I stand in the middle of the group and toss the ball to each person. They catch it and toss it back to me.
Now, picture B - who has no use of his right arm.
I tell him the ball is coming and gently toss it high in the air so it comes down on his lap. And B, with all the strength and coordination he can muster, traps the ball on his lap with his left arm. Then - using only one hand - he maneuvers the ball and rolls/tosses/drops it back to me.

And the crowd cheers excessively.

The smile on B's face was a beautiful thing to behold.
But I think I was even more taken by the grace and kindness being displayed by his peers. They weren't cheering because B caught the ball and threw it back to me with stellar form and amazing precision. Rather, everyone in the room knew there was a pretty good chance the catch and/or the toss were NOT going to be successful at all. (They've seen failed attempts already.)
So, it wasn't a cheer for performance.
Instead, it was a cheer for persistence.
For courage to try when it would be easier to quit.
For being willing to hope in the midst of hopelessness.
It was a group of friends communicating to another, We know your situation is difficult. We know what it's like to struggle, too. And we're so proud of you for not giving up. We love you!

I stood back and looked at the men and women around me, and I thought I had never seen such a wonderful group of friends before. And I thought, I want to be just like them.
Cheer for your friends.

Do you have a friend who needs your support today?

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, August 28, 2014

Turtle Update

Remember last week when I told you Josh was recording the baby turtles hatching?

Well, as any good grandma would, I have to share the video!

This one is fun, too. A time lapse of one little guy emerging from his shell.
Proud Papa released all the babies on Tuesday. What a great experience it was for him!

Karen

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

We Don't Know a Better Way

In Michigan, they say there are two seasons: Winter, and Road Construction.

And it ain't Winter right now, folks.

*sigh*

So, Sunday as we were driving home from Holland - after we drove to Holland from Wheaton - we were a bit discouraged to come upon backed up traffic. Which we knew was from construction about five miles yonder down the highway.
When we'd been creeping along for about 15 or 20 minutes, we noticed cars ahead of us going through an "Authorized Vehicles Only" turn-around. (Love those signs, by the way. Always know where to find my "Z" when we're playing the Alphabet Game!) Some vehicles which were past the turn-around were even retreating back to it, so they could get to the other side of the highway and seek an alternate route. Matthew asked what those cars were doing, and I said the drivers probably knew another way to get where they were going.
A few moments later - when we were closer to the turn-around - Brian looked at me and asked, "Do you really think they know a better way?" Knowing what he was thinking (That he wanted to follow suit and use his "smart" phone to get us lost find an alternate route...) I responded, "Probably not. Some people just feel better if they're moving than if they're standing still."

That statement hung in the air for a moment before I realized the Truth in it.
I mean, really. We all know it's true in driving. How many times have I chosen a different route to avoid a train, or buses, or construction, or any number of things - and taken just as long to reach my destination as I would have if I'd waited where I was? Somehow, even though it takes as much time, I feel better because I'm moving - rather than sitting still. Waiting. In one place. Not moving.
Don't tell me you have never done the same thing!

But it goes beyond driving.

I sat next to my husband, contemplating the wisdom of taking traffic matters into our own hands, and realized I sometimes put God up to the same challenge.
*I don't like waiting for my kids to mature, and begin to think of things I can do to move along the process.
*My own immaturity drives me nuts, and sometimes I question why God doesn't just zap me with instant wisdom and discernment.
*Watching people I love struggle with unemployment and infertility and other loss often leaves me wishing there was something I could do - some connection I could make, or insight I could provide - to cut short the wait.

Sometimes all we can see is the long line of cars in front of us - and our need to be still and wait nearly suffocates us.

But I am learning (And sometimes the learning hurts.) that God is the One who knows the way.
HE knows the end result. HE knows how to get there. And HE knows what will happen during the journey. And the wait.
It may be hard to admit, but I think it's safe to say, we don't know a better way.

Karen

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Too Excited to Stay Sad

That's a pretty good description of how I'm feeling right now.

Yes, I'm sad that my girl is gone.
It stinks that I won't see her again until October.
My heart hurt when I only bought four ears of corn at the store Sunday - because Elizabeth wouldn't be at the dinner table.
I was kind of jealous of all the other moms at the store who were with their kids buying stuff for college (The MSU kids are back in town!) because there were still with their college-kid.
But I spent last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with my husband and daughter at Wheaton College - moving her in to her dorm, and going through orientation sessions - and now I am just too excited to stay sad.

I was impressed with Wheaton when we visited last summer. That's why I was so supportive of Elizabeth choosing to attend there. But, the time we spent at orientation - listening to faculty and staff and the president speaking, talking to other parents who already have children at Wheaton (and many who attended Wheaton, themselves), and observing life on campus - has increased my confidence and joy in the school in ways I could not have anticipated.
I fully trust God has led Elizabeth to this place for a specific purpose - to grow her and use her. And I am excited to witness the good things HE is going to do.

Yes. I'm sad I won't get to see her every day like I'm used to. But I am entirely too excited to stay that way.
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Oh, and I'm excited about sending notes and packages to her. That's going to be fun. :)

Karen

Monday, August 25, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Does This Make Me a Grandma???

Josh has been very excited this week.

Pacing around the house and investigating progress checks like an expectant father.

Because his turtles have started hatching.

Several weeks ago, one of Josh's buddies found a nest of turtle eggs which had been dug up - apparently by a predator. Knowing Josh's affinity for all things "turtle", this buddy carefully gathered the eggs and brought them over to my young herpetologist.
Since Josh had incubated some turtle eggs last year, he had everything necessary to care for this new batch. And he got right to work making them a suitable warming station. However, not knowing when the eggs were laid, Josh couldn't predict when they would hatch. So, he's been like a nervous father-to-be for the past week, or so.
Always wondering, Are they going to hatch today?
They finally did start hatching. So far two have made it out of their eggs, and a third one has begun chipping away. (Update: As of Wednesday night, we have 10 baby turtles. Three eggs are left to hatch.) And, like a proud Daddy, Josh is recording the "births" with the intention of making a video for his youtube channel. You know, to inspire and educate other budding herpetologists.

I love watching my son caring for these turtle eggs. Particularly, since these eggs were "rescued" from an attacked nest, Josh is happy he has the opportunity to hatch them. Without Josh's help, probably NONE of these turtles would have made it. His heroic act makes Josh very proud.
Josh's careful study and application of what he has learned makes his mom very proud.

But all this hustle and bustle around the excitement of the hatching eggs - all of Josh's "new daddy" behaviors - has me asking a very important question. Does this make me a Grandma???
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Brian and I are going to Wheaton today to help move Elizabeth into her dorm room. Will be with her until late Saturday. *smile* Soooo, no blogging here tomorrow.
May grace and peace be yours in abundance this weekend!

Karen

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Story Time

Sunday morning, I took a trip.
I wasn't expecting it, but smack in the middle of our worship time - Jesus took me on a little trip to some 24 years ago.
It happened when we were singing Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, and we got to the second verse. I sang these words:

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.
And suddenly I was back in college - thinking I was "fine" - not knowing I was a lost little sheep in need of a Savior.

I was never opposed to God or Christianity. Hey, I've attended church for as long as I can remember. I just didn't know there was such a thing as a personal relationship with Jesus. Frankly, I thought He had done what He needed to do, and now the world was left to fend for itself.
So, there I was - a stranger, wandering from God, not realizing I should (or could) be doing anything differently. Until Jesus pursued me - very cleverly - helped me understand my need, and made me HIS.
Every time I read a verse like Jeremiah 29:13, You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart, I thank God that He did not wait for me to seek Him. Because I honestly thought I was fine, and I don't know when I would have ever gone seeking after Him.
Indeed, His grace is amazing.

So, that's my story.

How did you come into a relationship with God?
OR, if you haven't begun that relationship, what is holding you back?

Karen