Thursday, July 31, 2014

My First "Last"

...er, maybe it isn't the "first". I mean, I've already been through her last day of kindergarten, and her last day of middle school, and her last day of high school. And her last prom. And her last first job. Annnnd her last experience as a camper at summer camp. So, I suppose what lies ahead would more appropriately be called a "new" last.
But it feels like a "first" to me, because we are entering new territory.
And, besides, I like the word play.

First last.

So, that's what it is.

This coming Sunday is when it will happen: the last time Elizabeth and I will be serving in Sunday school together before she leaves for college. Because the following Sunday we'll be visiting my parents, and the Sunday after that? She'll be in Wheaton. *sigh*
I've known the day is coming. Goodness, for eighteen years I've known the day is coming! But now it is less than two weeks away, and the impending good-bye - along with the significant change it will bring to our lives - has become undeniable.
I am still going to be her mom. I am still going to love her and care for her, and offer her guidance whenever she needs it. I am still going to be her most faithful prayer warrior.
None of that will change. Ever.
But many things will change. Especially the frequency with which I get to see my daughter. Our "together times" will decrease. (Though hopefully they'll become even sweeter.)
For me, once I left for college I never really "came home". Summer jobs kept me out of town for my first three years, and after the fourth year, I got married.
I have a sneaky suspicion Elizabeth will follow a similar path.

SO, for all practical purposes, August 3 may very well be the last time Elizabeth and I will ever serve in Sunday school together.
And I don't know who should be the recipient of my condolences.
Our girls, because they aren't going to get to play with Miss Elizabeth anymore, and won't be able to see this lovely teenager who cherishes each of them.
Or me, because my little girl is leaving the nest. *sniff*

Karen

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why I Don't Write Novels

I just finished reading Karen Kingsbury's book, Between Sundays.
And I loved it.
('Course, that's the way I've felt about almost every book of hers I have read.)
Anyway, I just loved the story. BUT there was one time I thought I might have been able to do a better job than she did in writing the book. Because there was this time, rather early on, when two of the characters were talking and I was just waiting for one to ask a critical question of the other. If he had asked the question, information would have come out which most likely would have answered some pretty big questions and provided clarity - which would have allowed them to move forward in their relationship, and skip over a lot of pain.
I mean, I was sure it would all work out in the end and ***spoiler alert*** it did. But I thought, C'mon, Karen. You're writing this story. You're in control of it. Why don't you just reveal the information NOW so they can get on with life???
Because waiting? Is not my favorite thing to do. And I didn't want the characters in this novel (whom I was growing to love) to go through unnecessary trials. It just seemed so reasonable to me to let them know all the information and move along.

And that, my dear friends, is why I don't write novels.

Besides the fact that I would have really short books, I fear I would also have really shallow characters. Because as the story went along in Between Sundays, the characters grew in beautiful ways. Karen Kingsbury used their pain and struggles to get them to evaluate themselves. They faced their pasts with honesty, and allowed God to use the bad for good. They learned what it meant to trust their Creator. They learned about humbling themselves. And by the end of the story they had become absolutely beautiful characters. They loved purely and honestly. They looked beyond the outward appearance. They truly wanted what was best for one another. And I was so excited for their future. I knew it would be glorious.
Because of who they had become through their trials.

And that is when I discovered my reading of this novel was a great big object lesson God was using to speak to me. Just like Karen Kingsbury was writing Between Sundays, and she was in control and knew how things would turn out - so God is writing my (& your) story. He is in control. Completely. He knows how everything is going to end. He knows all the information, but He doesn't reveal it all up front. Rather, God allows us to go through times of pain and struggle - and He uses those experiences to shape and grow us. To make us into the people He wants us to be.
And even though I am not a fan of waiting, I can trust that it's all going work out in the end.

Ahhhh. That understanding makes me feel a little more peaceful. How about you?

Karen

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Just Watchin'

Last Thursday, Matthew had a job to do. Brian had asked him to wash the screens to the windows, and had them leaning up against the house. Just waiting for Matthew to get to them.
I had reminded Matthew a time, or two, that the screens were waiting. And, finally, I came out and asked, "So, Matthew. When are you planning to take care of your chores?"
**Honest moment: Matthew was using my computer, and I wanted to use it. I thought my more direct question would motivate him to get to work - which would allow me access to my computer. Confession finished.
So, anyway, Matthew hopped up to wash the screens. And I sat down to play work.
Except, I found myself spending more time staring out the window at my boy than looking at the computer screen and getting things done. Because he was working so diligently. And he was being careful to do a good job. And I just stared at my son and realized how much he's growing up. I was proud of the hard work he was doing. I was somewhat surprised that I was sitting and observing, rather than constantly reminding him to stay on task. I was noticing that my little boy has really become a young man.
I sat in my chair, staring out the window, just watchin' my son. Loving every minute of it.

Later the same day I watched him building with his Legos. And those same feelings came over me. It was such a joy.

Do you love someone? Then, today I want to encourage you to take some time and just watch that person. Don't say anything. Don't make a show of it. Hide if you need to. But just spend some time watching them.
Then come back here and tell me how wonderful it was. *grin*

Karen

Monday, July 28, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

Just make the call.

Are you super busy? So much to do, and not enough time to get it all done?
Oh, I can so relate! With the many roles we play and the various people who need us for this, that, and the other thing, being super busy can simply become a way of life. (And may be cause for us to re-evaluate what we're doing, and questioning the necessity of those activities. But that is another post for another day.)
Anyway, I understand being busy. But this week, I saw busy in another light.
And I didn't like it.
I was visiting with one of my favorite ladies at Edgewood, and she told me she'd just had a really bad night. She said she wasn't sure she was going to make it through. As in, she was kind of expecting to die that night. And the thing is, she said, no one would have known about it until noon the next day when someone from the kitchen brought her lunch to her apartment. She was expecting a call from her daughter that morning, but the call never came. So no one would have missed her. Because her daughter didn't call.
This dear woman went on to explain that her daughter is very busy. She's having some work done on her house and is expecting visitors. And she is involved in this and that activity. She is very busy. So it's understandable that she didn't call.
But she was supposed to call.
M was expecting her call.
But the call didn't come.
Her daughter is a very busy person, after all.

And that's what I kept hearing. M had so hoped her daughter would call, but she didn't. Because she's busy. And even though she didn't say it in so many words, I know M was very saddened by the missing phone calls.
As are so many other men and women I know at Edgewood. Sad, because someone is too busy to visit - or at least call.

Reflecting on that conversation was rather convicting for me. I thought of the many times I have considered calling someone to check in on them, or stopping in for a quick visit - even if just to say, "Hi!" But then I have gotten involved in another activity and time got away from me, and I never made that connection. Because I was "too busy".

I'm so sorry!

Are you "with me" in that conviction? Know what? I bet your phone is real close to you right now. Maybe even in your hand? If your heart is feeling convicted, too, if there is someone whose day would be brightened by simply hearing your voice, do us all a favor.

Just make the call.

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's Who I Want to Be

The LORD detests men of perverse heart, but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.
Proverbs 11:20

A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but the LORD condemns a crafty man.
Proverbs 12:2

The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.
Proverbs 12:22

He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.
Proverbs 15:8

The LORD detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness.
Proverbs 15:9

The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
Proverbs 15:29

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.
Proverbs 17:3

All a man's ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart.
Proverbs 21:2
As I have been reading the book of Proverbs - besides thinking a lot about my words and seeking wisdom - I have been overwhelmed with a desire to be the woman God has created me to be. I read these verses about what the LORD loves, and what He detests; about what delights Him, and what He condemns, and I just want to live a life which pleases Him.
And those last two verses have really gotten me, too. Being who He wants me to be isn't about what I'm doing on the outside. He knows my heart - and it all has to be right there. So I pray, LORD, change me. Make me into the woman You want me to be. Please work in me that which is pleasing to You today.

How does God speak to you through these words from Proverbs?

Karen

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Sky is Falling

Er, no it isn't. That's my husband and daughter!

That's what I was thinking last Thursday as I stared up into the sky and saw two little dots. Something was definitely falling from the sky. Just moments before, I had seen the airplane in which my husband and daughter were flying. And now there were those two little dots, getting bigger and bigger.
Finally, there was a burst of "big-ness" and that's when I started breathing normally again.
Because that is the moment I knew the parachutes had opened, and two of my greatest loves were going to live to see another day.

The crazy thing is, all this drama was intentional. That is, my husband and daughter jumped out of a perfectly good airplane - on purpose.
In other words, they went skydiving.
The adventure for Elizabeth was a graduation gift from her aunt and uncle, and she has been looking forward to it for years. Brian jumped, too, because he couldn't bear the thought of not getting in on the fun. And I? Was given the option to jump, but I couldn't imagine myself hurling toward the earth at 120 miles per hour spending that much money, so I chose to stay on the ground and observe.
And, honestly, I was super excited for the two of them. I knew how much they were looking forward to the insanity adventure, and I was happy to see it take place. BUT - just as honestly - I did have a feeling of concern which was relieved as soon as I saw that parachute finally open up. Something about knowing two of the dearest people in your life are racing from 10,000 feet above the ground at 120 miles per hour (Don't know why the instructors had to repeat those statistics so many times. If not to make a wife/mother nervous!) does a number on your nerves and imagination.

In the end, both Brian and Elizabeth were ecstatic. And given the chance (and the money!) I know they'd do it again in a heartbeat.

And, maybe I will, too. Maybe. *wink*

Karen