Observations of an older woman

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I love my Mom and she loves me but even in our close relationship things like this come out of our mouth:

Me: Mom, you aren’t making any sense!

Mom: Well, you aren’t making any understanding.

Followed with an eruption of laughter from both sides.

After spending 6 weeks together interrupted by only a few days here and there I learned some things about my Mom.

  • She has a simple, child-like faith that roots in trust and dependence on God. She’s always trusted Him but when she became a widow she stepped into a new depth of relationship with God that made her depend even more on Him. It has produced a beautiful trust and security in Him alone.
  • My Mom is a hard, methodical worker not afraid to admit she’s slower than she used to be but works within her minimal confines.
  • She takes praying for a good parking spot seriously. I made a comment about it “not working” as we circled a slammed parking lot with zero spaces and she quickly said, “Honey, we’re not done looking yet.” No lie, less than a minute later a man came up to our window and said, “Do you need a parking spot? I’m about to pull out and you can have my place if you pull around.” It was directly in front of the doors we were about to walk through. She looked at him and said, “Sir, you are an answer to prayer.”
  • She loves a good deal and will never stop comparison shopping. Frugal she will always be and overly generous she remains.
  • My Mom can still tell a great story. Especially funny ones. We were circled up at our kitchen table with a few friends of mine and she told my all time favorite story. The one where my Dad was a pallbearer at the wrong funeral! A Jewish funeral at that….complete with him wearing a beanie and everything. She’s the best story teller ever.

So yeah this older woman who I’ve known for 40 something years still inspires me and intrigues me. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have spent so much time with her this Summer. It’s not that I’m learning new things about her I’m just seeing what has always been there up close and personal as an adult. And we see things different when we’re grown and have families of our own. I’m a blessed daughter and I do know of one good thing that has come out of the broken leg chronicles….my time with my Mom.

 

What’s been going on….

So this is where my family has been for the last two weeks…….

Randy and Sophie were at Woodlands Camp the first week. Randy spoke and Sophie was a first year overnight camper with one of her good friends from school. They had a BLAST!

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The second week they were here……..

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Destin, Florida with my side of the family.

We thought it was best for me not to travel since I’m still dealing with quite a bit of swelling in my leg and knee so my gracious Mom stayed with me for the two weeks.

And we did this……

organized the linen closet….. (more like she did)

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Made funny faces……

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Had lunch with two sweet blogging friends that drove down to see me. The front porch laughter and conversation was such a delight.

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We also had breakfast every morning on the front porch. I’ve never sat as long as I have in the last 8 weeks on our front porch in all 4 years of living here. It has been such a joy.

We fit in a lunch at a cute cafe downtown…..

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It really was a sweet time for us and I will always treasure the time we had together. My Mom gave up her week in Florida with our family to stay with me. Randy would have done it but he and the kids both needed the break so I was so glad they went. It was not easy to be away from them for those two weeks but we managed fine. Our church was sweet to call and ask if we needed anything, took out our trash for us and made it clear they were available to help in any way. I’m not sure what I would’ve done without my family and my church these last 8 weeks of recovery. Such a gift.

Well, that’s why my blogging lips have been silent of late. I didn’t want to be all, “Me and my broken down body, and 74 year old Mamma are staying by ourselves these two weeks so just come and rob us and take all our jewels that we don’t own.” Ha! I’m kidding.

Anyways, it feels so good to have my family back home. I missed them a lot.

As far as a leg update: I go back next week for an X-ray and to talk about therapy. I’m walking more with a boot and ankle brace. I get tired quickly and tend to be up and around for about two hours and then crash. I will be excited (and a little scared) to start therapy and to get back to normal again! whoo-hoo!

 

 

 

Loving our neighbors of different lifestyles

A friend recently asked us, “My neighbors are gay, how do I respond to them?” Her concern was loving them and showing them the love of Jesus without sending a message that she condones their lifestyle.

So how do you love your gay neighbor?

Hesitantly? Conditionally? With lots of up front statements of our beliefs on sexuality?

No, I don’t think so.

I believe we are called to love our neighbors – gay or straight – the way Jesus loves us.

John 13:34  – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

What’s interesting in this verse is the result that comes when we love the way Jesus loves. Do you see it? It’s not that people think we are soft or unwavering in our faith. But instead it sends a message that we are a true disciple of Jesus Christ. We don’t need to worry about being misunderstood by others – because we will be misunderstood in this life as we live it for Jesus. But our goal to is to love others the way Jesus loves and by that everyone will know we are his disciples.

So it leaves the question, “How do we love like Jesus?”  We know that only Jesus could die in our place and pave the way to redemption. So it’s not like we can do that kind of love. He paid that ultimate price and because of that those who have a relationship with Him have the supernatural ability to love others with His love. The fact is we can’t love our neighbors on our own – no matter how straight, gay, Christian, non-Christian they are. It is the Spirit of God in us that allows us to love others the way Jesus does.

Anyone can offer up a hospitable “welcome to the neighborhood” and take over some fresh baked cookies. But that’s not what John 13:34 is talking about. Jesus-love is much more that sweet Southern formalities. It goes deeper than that.

So our advice to our friend? Love your neighbor by getting to know your neighbors. Spend time with them. Have them over for dinner. Celebrate happy times with them. Invite them to church. No need to look over your shoulder wondering what people think of you because as you love your neighbor with Jesus- love they will know you are His disciple. And as that becomes apparent you will be amazed at the conversations the Holy Spirit will open up and the opportunities for you to share the truth of Jesus’s love for both your neighbors and yourself. Because really? We might be living a heterosexual lifestyle but we are no different in our daily need for Jesus as our homosexual neighbor. So why would be withhold our Jesus-love to anyone?

Linking with Holley, Kristin and Jennifer

 

 

 

Putting into practice “soul talk”

Our weekend was a great one topped off by me getting to go to church Sunday morning. Oh how I missed being there these last 7 weeks so it felt wonderful to sing and worship with my church family. The next morning we sent Sophie off to overnight camp and had a great day at home.  Monday night I went to bed and out of NOWHERE I started feeling weird. Panicky. Just all around strange. It mimicked the feeling I had when I came home from the hospital. A panic attack I guess? Yeah, I think so. It felt like all the blood in my body rushed from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. It felt either cold or hot – I’m not sure which. And then I felt like jello. My heart was not racing and I didn’t feel like I couldn’t breathe. I just felt weird.

My Mom was upstairs and I didn’t want to call her. Mitchell was playing a game in the other room and who wants to call on their teenage son to come comfort the fears of his grown up Mother. So I  sat there and prayed to God. I prayed the feeling would go away.

Then I remembered my Bible Study homework I did that day – Fight Back with Joy by Margaret Feinberg. We talked about “soul talk” and how when we get in a position that is really difficult we can speak to our souls using scripture. Part of our homework was to write out a “go-to verse” for those times of fear and frustration. I quickly found my homework and turned to the verses and read them  aloud. The white board that sits next to my bed with lists of medications and therapy reminders was quickly erased and filled with my soul talk scriptures. As I wrote them out I claimed them aloud and told God I was trusting Him. Around the border of the verses I wrote out attributes of God that I could remember.

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I texted a few people who prayed for me right then and there. My mom came downstairs and we prayed together. And about 20 minutes later I was asleep.

I am still baffled by this occasional fear that I’m dealing with since the accident. My sister asked me what I was thinking about when the episode came on and I told her “nothing. I was just getting in bed to go to sleep. I wasn’t worried about anything.” But I guess subconsciously I was insecure without Randy being here. He’s done SO much for me the last 7 weeks and I believe I had more security in him than was probably healthy?  I don’t know.

And here’s the reason I am sharing these things on this blog. Quite a few people have thanked me for sharing what I’m going through publicly. It has helped some people in their thought process as they too walk through a difficult season of life. It has made some people feel like they aren’t the only ones going through tough stuff. If I can help point others to Jesus through my struggles, mistakes and even fighting my fears then may it be so.

So if you think about it would you pray for the comfort and peace of God to wash over me from head to toe as I go to bed? That fear would be trumped and demolished by God’s perfect love. I would love to return the favor and pray for you as well so please let me know how I can pray specifically for you tonight as I crawl in bed. I promise to do it.

On a random awkwardly funny note…… I’m learning to navigate instagram a little more and the other day I posted something about church and added a #bodylife and then later realized that I had posted a picture of me and Randy and our churchy selves in the midst of a collage of half naked body builders. Oh yes I did. Picture huge musclemen in speedos and then there’s me and Randy. #veryawkward #notthebodylifeIwastalkingabout

 

 

 

Helping our kids navigate social media

Our teenage son is wanting to have his own Youtube account so he can upload videos. He has no other personal social media outlet at this point because I’m a nazi Mom when it comes to protecting my kids online. I’ve seen too many families and kids hurt by the crap that’s out there. Addictions started by accidentally discovering porn and major self image issues because of bullying and cruelty online. However I do think social media can be a great way to express oneself and to point others to Christ if done appropriately. And let’s face it, it’s the world our kids live in. We can’t keep the from it forever. But we can guide them through it and set some healthy boundaries.

We use a screening service called “Net Nanny” for all our digital devices in our household. We love it. So through Net Nanny you pull up safari and it blocks out based on your settings (low, moderate, heavy) junk that’s out there. You can also monitor your child’s Facebook account through this service as well.

So here’s some basic guidelines that we are working through with our kids before they have any kind of an account where they’ll be taking and uploading photos & videos.

1) Post to God’s glory – doesn’t mean everything you post has to be about God but be sure He’ll be happy with what you’re posting.

2) No taking pics/videos or uploading pics/videos of yourself or others in inappropriate ways:   *no bathroom shots *no undies pics *no private part pics  (you’d just might be surprised at how this needs to be communicated even among Christian kids. Sexting somehow seems totally okay in the minds of many kids.)

3) Never post personal identifying information like your full name, address, age.

4) Don’t use bad language.

5) Don’t cut other people down.

6) Don’t post to brag or build yourself up.

7) Limit the selfies. 

8) Be helpful to others in your posts.

9) Don’t lie in your posts.

10) Try to point to God in creative ways in your posts.

11) Nevah evah link “likes, thumbs ups and comments” to your worth and identity. “Likes” don’t determine anything about value so don’t look to the number of likes to affirm who you are or what you’re posting about.

12) This world can be cruel and at some point you will get negative or mean comments – determine now that you will not let that crush you. See #11.

13) Remember that God’s view and the world’s view will always collide on this earth. Be a light and represent God’s view whenever posting on social media. Constantly ask yourself, “Is what I’m looking at and what I’m posting representing God’s view or the world’s view?”

What else would you add to the conversation with our kids on uploading to social media? 

Linking with JJennifer, Holley and Kristin today because I like these chicks.

 

Learning to trust God in deeper ways – not always getting right but He’s patient with me.

Randy and I went to my Dr’s appt. on Friday expecting to check in with my Orthopedic Dr. for the first time since surgery and then go home. Little did we know I’d be getting my cast off. We were told it could be 6-8 weeks. So it was an amazing feeling to have it come off but it was also suprisingly hard. Like I held it together for a really long time in the Dr’s office but as soon as we pulled in our driveway I fell apart into a huge puddle of tears. Randy was the typical man going, “What’s wrong? Did I say something? Are you hurting? What’s going on?”

I couldn’t really even tell him what was wrong because I didn’t know myself what was wrong. I just felt extremely exposed and vulnerable without my cast. I kept thinking something was going to land on my leg and break it all over again before it completely healed. Randy said, “Apparently you were emotionally attached to your cast.”  I think I was. Go figure! What girl in her right mind would rather keep a cast on than make a day’s progress towards getting back into cute snappy red shoes? Hellllooooo, the answer is nobody!

So it’s like I was all freaked out because God was answering the prayer we’d been taking to him on a daily basis. A prayer for fast and complete healing.

I was struggling with the thought of something else happening. Beginning to have thoughts that I was one of those people who just had random bad things happen to them. Randy stopped me and said, “Melody, you’re not that person and that’s not our God.” I knew he was right. I was falling into victim thinking and thoughts based on fear instead of based on love. God’s immense love and watch care over me is a reality and He wasn’t about to let me slip out of his grip at this point in my life. I could trust Him and let the fear go. It would be okay.

And so that’s where I am today. Learning to trust my God in deeper ways. Not always doing it right but learning to do it better.

On another note: I am doing a study on joy by Margaret Feinberg and I love it. It’s called Fight Back with Joy and it’s awesome! I’m doing it with a few neighbors and a friend from church and my Mom. I just love all of her studies. She is my kind of gal. She and Angela Thomas are my favorite Bible Study authors of all time although there are some other incredible authors out there that I also love.

Okay, well, enough about me and my woes. What is God teaching you of late?

4 ways to help your kids have summer devotions

Oh how fast the Summer can fly when you’re swimming, camping and vacationing! And it’s so easy to let our time in God’s word be neglected. How much harder for our kids to keep their time in the Word if they’re not being encouraged by their parents. So here’s just a few thoughts on how parents can help their kids cultivate their walk with God.

1) Make devotions a part of your kids daily routine. Put it on the chore chart or however you communicate daily household responsibilities. This is a personal area of growth and maturity that can become just as regular as brushing teeth and taking a shower. Don’t feel bad about making a scheduled time for reading God’s Word as part of your child’s day. Some people resist “making” their teen go to church or their child read the Bible for fear it will turn them away if they don’t desire to do it in the first place. But consider the fact that we are called to train and disciple our children in the truths of God’s Word. And like any trainer will tell you there will be times when our trainees do not want to do what we ask them to do. It doesn’t mean you give in to their desires. You do what you know is best for them at that time for a greater purpose while praying God shapes their heart in a way that can only be shaped in communion with Him.

2) Show them how to have personal time in God’s word by doing it with them the first few times. Find a great devotional book for kids such as:

The adventures of Average Boy Devotional Book or Jesus Calling for kids (not letting me link for some weird reason). Both are excellent books. Average Boy Devotional book is hilarious and great for boys ages 8-14. Jesus Calling is great for younger ages as well.

Get a fun snazzy journal for them to record what they learned from the daily devotional as well as write any prayer requests.

3) Make it simple. No need to get all preachy and long winded. Let God’s Word speak for itself and the Holy Spirit speak through your kids. And then talk about it together. Pray and then end for St. Pete’s sake. If we turn this into a day of church at home you just might lose them.

Eventually our kids can do this on their own and that’s what we want for them….to become independent in their God-dependance.

Right now our son has more independence in his devotional time than our daughter. He’s 14 and she’s 8 so that makes sense. Mitchell takes his own time and uses his iPod to look up verses and answer short questions after each chapter in his Average Boy Devotional book. Sophie reads on her own and records in her journal but then she checks back in with me and shares with me what she has learned from her time with the Lord. I love this part of our relationship. Mitchell and I touch base a few times a week and talk about what he’s learning. It’s been really awesome to see them transition to time with God with me to time with God themselves. There is no greater joy than to know your children are walking with the Lord. And this is one way we can help our kids walk with the Lord.

4) Watch for the fruit of God’s word and reference it. What good is reading God’s word without putting it into practice? So when you see your child putting what they learned into practice or you see evidence of the truths they learned in their devotional time be oh so quick to point it out to them. Recalling where God is at work will help them watch for God sightings on their own.

Have you found some good kids’ devotionals lately? If so, I’d love to hear about them.

 

 

 

Practical cups of cold water

I share this post after having been on the receiving end of encouragement for the last month. “Cups of cold water” as Jesus puts it in Matthew 10:42, “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

I am taking note of how God is using others to encourage our family and lift us up during a difficult time. Not because I’m “keeping track” but because I want to learn how to be a better server of cold water to others when I’m back on my two feet again. And who knows, maybe you’ll get some ideas through this post and can serve someone one of these cups in your local church. Regardless of this post or not – it is the Holy Spirit who leads us to do for others if we will listen to his voice. We don’t have to have tips and articles to know how to serve others. He tells us. But I have learned a few things while being down that I’m hoping to share with others.

Cup #1: Cleaning and teaching a child to clean.

A lady came to clean our house this week which was so helpful to us. I’m surprised she didn’t get clobbered by all the dust bunnies that have grown in the last month. When she came she brought packaged dust wipes, windex wipes and a swiffer. And she not only cleaned but she showed our eight year old daughter how to do it as well. I’ve never used any of those products in cleaning – just good old fashioned clothes, mops and paper towels. But these packaged products really made it easier to use for Sophie. Our friend got our home cleaned up so nice and then a few days later I noticed Sophie pulling out all the products again and doing it herself. I resisted the urge to tell her she didn’t need to do it since it had just been done but I wasn’t about to stop my girl from cleaning! It might be a short lived phase of her “wanting” to clean the house but I will enjoy it until it wanes. Ha!! Anyways, I just thought that was so practical and helpful for this lady to not only clean for us but to leave the products and encouraged our girl to do it as well. 

Cup #2: Dropping off Paper Products.

One lady brought over a ton of paper products, plastic silverware, plates, cups, bowls, etc. We have used parts of it every single day at every meal. I’ve never thought of taking plastic and paper goods to someone who has just had surgery and will be down for a while but it’s a huge help.

Cup #3: Offering to push your wheelchair on a walk outside. 

Another lady offered to take me for a walk down our street in my wheelchair. She said to call whenever I wanted to get out for a walk. A great help when you feel like you’re overworking your daily care givers. I plan to do this because I know the offer was sincere.

Cup #4: Bring magazines.

One neighbor is keeping me stocked with magazines every week. I have never been a huge magazine girl but I’ve turned into one the last two weeks! I am really enjoying them. A variety has been wonderful.

Cup #5: Meals.

Meals being brought to our home is probably the most practical help of all. Even though my Mom and Randy are here they are doing so many other things that cooking is the last thing they’re able to do right now. So the meals have been a huge help and source of encouragement.

Cup #6 Cards.

Cards – oh my, how fun it is to receive cards in the mail with handwritten words. I’m a lover of words, pen and paper so I will always be a sucker for a handwritten note. My church family and friends have inundated me with love in this way. It’s such an encouragement and every day I look forward to mail time! Ha! I feel like a kid at overnight camp waiting for mail call. OMGosh I’m going to be so spoiled rotten by the end of all this.

Cup #7 Gift Basket with practical things in it

I received a well stocked gift basket that truly made me think the person had the exact same injuries because the things in the basket were so helpful and needed at that exact time. I couldn’t believe it. Again, I know this is where the Holy Spirit leads his people to care for the needs of others. In it were things like: hand sanitizer, gum, pens, pencils, page tabs, book marks, lotion, hand wipes, snacks, magazines, thank you notes and plain note cards ( a huge need in a situation like this!), fast food gift cards, etc.

Cup #8 Drive by prayers

This is where our church family has simply parked in our driveway or by the street and prayed over our family. They didn’t come in but prayed over our night – for me to sleep well. For pain to subside. For comfort. And God heard these prayers and acted on our behalf. I believe in prayer. And I’m so thankful my church believes in prayer and gives this gift of cold water to others. It’s a cup that anyone can give and it costs nothing but has great reward. By far my favorite cup of cold!

Cup #9 Visits

This is another cup that anyone can do and costs nothing. The cup of presence. Short visits. Visits with prayer and visits sprinkled with humor. They all help the one that can’t get out regularly.

Cup #10 Texting Scripture

Love this because sometimes you just need to read God’s word in a text message. If God puts His word on your heart to share with someone consider texting it. I find this to be extremely encouraging. It might seem impersonal but think about how many texts you receive in a day. How much of it is God’s Words verses people in your life? I want my text messages to be peppered with scripture.

Well, folks, I could go on. I have felt so very loved by my family, church family and friends. As I mentioned in an earlier fb post there is no need to feel guilt for not doing any of these things because the Holy Spirit is who leads us in serving others. He uses the entire body at different times to meet needs and encourage others. We must not put pressure on one another to do this. Only the Holy Spirit needs to prompt us and as we respond in obedience our church and community will have their needs met in abundance.

 

 

“Adorable Walker” said nobody ever…. until now!

Before:

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After

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And let’s not forget about the potty chair.

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Oh my word, I just noticed the stain under the potty chair and it looks like somebody “missed” HA! but I swear that stain has been on the floor since we bought the house – it is so not what it looks like. Bahaha!!!!

I know you think you have the greatest sister in the world but it’s actually me that has the best sister in the world. She spent five days serving our family, spending time with the kids and turning my cold gray sterile hospital equipment into cuteness adorable fun. I love my walker and potty chair. All it needs is a furry pink lid and some dice for the walker. HA!!!! Kidding about the dice. We did go back and forth on adding fringe and texture. This is when I go too far and turn “cute” into pimped out weirdness and tacky with a capital T. Or as my sister says, “Melody, you are so fourth grade!” Like I can’t seem to get out of that immature age for some reason. I got stuck there all those years ago. Oh well, I might as well own it because I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

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So as my sister worked for hours on making my stuff cute we dreamed about becoming business partners in decorated diva medical equipment. But the thought lasted about two seconds.

Linda, thank you for being my sister and for loving me so well. I appreciate it more than you know.

Linking with Jennifer,Holley and Kristin

It’s all about where you let your focus land

What do you see in these two pictures?

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A laid up chick surrounded by…..

ice packs & meds

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A potty chair, wheelchair and walker?

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Or the blessings

Of cards from both young and old….(thank you preschool, 2nd and 4th grade and cheerleaders at CBS!)

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The encouragement shared through flowers and written sentiments from those who swing by.

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Where my eyes land and stay will determine the scope of the discouragement in a difficult season. If my focus is fixated on the sterile gray walker (which my sister helped change and pictures to come soon!) and the wheelchair and the pain meds then my outlook is downcast. But if I let my eyes and heart land on the sweet things like flowers, notes, and the love shown by my family and friends then my outlook will be different. Although it’s still a hard season it does not have to be overcome with discouragement. Staying in scripture is the number one thing that keeps my heart from becoming and staying downcast but next in line is focusing on the beautiful encouragement from my family and church family God has blessed me with.

So where are you choosing to let your focus land?

It makes a difference.

Linking with Jen today.