27 Things

7299How does one celebrate that 27# are gone? By getting rid of 27 buckets of papers and 27 other things (clothing and household). That is why I accepted the challenge of 27 hangars.

 

You read that right – 27 hangars left in the closet and wear only those 27 things for 3 months.

 

Once the clothes are done, I will move to the shoes! Sweet Shari at 27 hangars was shocked at the number of my shoes. (And I didn’t even tell her those 50 pair exclude the summer sandals…shhh don’t tell!)

 

Not that things aren’t getting challenging – with events and approaching holidays, I am determined to follow as closely as I can. I am gaining ground (or is it losing it to get rid of all the papers I am going through? But I am seeing the possibility of getting through the elimination and organization process. I am hoping to finish the papers this week.

 

IMG_1712I found with the diet that what puts off cravings is really good food, so I’ve learned to eat more often and more intentionally. I’m still learning to keep myself hydrated by using a timer.

 

What’s keeping me motivated – 27 praises from Psalm 27:

 

Psalm 27 Good News Translation

A Prayer of Praise[a]

 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
I will fear no one.
The Lord protects me from all danger;
I will never be afraid.

When evil people attack me and try to kill me,
they stumble and fall.
Even if a whole army surrounds me,
I will not be afraid;
even if enemies attack me,
I will still trust God.[b]

I have asked the Lord for one thing;
one thing only do I want:
to live in the Lord’s house all my life,
to marvel there at his goodness,
and to ask for his guidance.
In times of trouble he will shelter me;
he will keep me safe in his Temple
and make me secure on a high rock.
So I will triumph over my enemies around me.
With shouts of joy I will offer sacrifices in his Temple;
I will sing, I will praise the Lord.

Hear me, Lord, when I call to you!
Be merciful and answer me!
When you said, “Come worship me,”
I answered, “I will come, Lord.”
    Don’t hide yourself from me!

Don’t be angry with me;
don’t turn your servant away.
You have been my help;
don’t leave me, don’t abandon me,
O God, my savior.
10 My father and mother may abandon me,
but the Lord will take care of me.

11 Teach me, Lord, what you want me to do,
and lead me along a safe path,
because I have many enemies.
12 Don’t abandon me to my enemies,
who attack me with lies and threats.

13 I know that I will live to see
the Lord’s goodness in this present life.
14 Trust in the Lord.
Have faith, do not despair.
Trust in the Lord.

27 Praises

  1. The Lord is MY light (personal light on my personal path)
  2. The Lord is MY salvation (part of His story is my story – redeemed)
  3. The Lord protects me from all danger (which includes all that overwhelms me and would divert me from the best path)
  4. I don’t ever need to be afraid (cannot trust and be afraid at the same time)
  5. When evil attacks me, it will stumble on its own
  6. Even if enemies attack me, I will still trust in God
  7. Through Christ I have authority to directly ask God for guidance
  8. The Lord promised He will shelter me in times of trouble
  9. will be made secure on a high rock so I can triumph (spiritual battles)
  10. I have the privilege to offer sacrifices in His temple
  11. Because I know Him, I will sing (in tune in heaven)
  12. Remembering what God has done for me I will praise the Lord
  13. God calls me to come worship
  14. His Spirit gives me confidence to say I will come, Lord (or as True Woman said it, YES LORD)
  15. I can review my stories of what God has done and shut up the lies that God would hide from me, be angry with me, or abandon me.
  16. Though I sadly have the story that my mother abandoned me in many ways, Jesus was all that she could not be for me – and more.
  17. I praise God for the excellent teaching of pastors and teachers, and leaders
  18. I praise the Holy Spirit for teaching me personally to apply what I learn
  19. I praise for future promises – that God will lead me safely
  20. I praise God that though I have spiritual enemies, I have far more spiritual encouragers and prayer partners
  21. I am thankful for the evidence of God moving in my life, and know that God will continue to be present in my life as He promised
  22. I praise God that He is trustworthy.
  23. I praise God that because of his past trustworthiness, my faith deepens
  24. I praise God that because He is trustworthy to keep His promises, I do not despair.
  25. I praise the Lord that my taste buds are changing and that it will continue.
  26. I praise for what I have been able to let go, and praise for more victory on the horizon
  27. I praise for improvement in areas of letting go – health having more flexibility, finances provided step by step, and more time to write that was previously taken up with managing all that was so consuming and overwhelming.

Do you have 27 things you could get rid of?

Do you have 27 things you can praise God for?shoestogo

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Honoring a Civilian-Veteran – Bob Olson

Apologies as I did not realize the first portion of Bob’s story loaded out of order.

I will load several pages a day.  Some might question my calling Bob a veteran, because he did not qualify for military service. He was determined, though, to serve his country, and found he could still help through a civilian position. He was totally committed and wept every time he shared his story of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

I believe there were many like Bob, behind the scenes, without the official titles, just as there are in many areas of our lives.  And so I honor this example of example, experience, dedication, and loyalty.

 

olsonbobex5001 olsonpagetwoolsonbobexp3

 

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After Losing a Child – Get UP!

7226“It’s not going so well,” was the honest answer recently from a dad missing his little girl, gone too soon.

 

My heart breaks with him, and other parents, because I totally get it though I find it hard to be as vulnerable.

 

A few blogs ago, I mentioned that I was going to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) in memory of our daughter, Laurie, and bringing her Bible with me.

 

We are studying the gospel of John 5:5, and that is where I got the ‘Get up!’ title

 

getupIt seems harsh, but here is why it impacted me so much: I’ve been thinking about this phrase for months, since Laurie said it to me in a dream during that time when I struggled to get out of bed and face a new day. I’d gone back to sleep and dreamed she got up close in my face, like she did since childhood when she wanted to make a specific point. In her no nonsense way she said, “Mother, GET UP!” and I woke up laughing.

 

But I wasn’t laughing tonight.

 

Jesus was saying, “Get up!” to an invalid in the alcoves of the pool of Bethesda, near the gates in Jerusalem. One of hundreds of blind, crippled or paralyzed people waiting to be the first person in the water when an angel stirred the waters, he wanted to be healed.

 

This man, an invalid, had been there for years! Imagine watching others get healed before his eyes… Each time was he more depressed, more hopeful because it happened, or both? This went on for years. Then Jesus came.

 

And Jesus asks the man the most peculiar question – “Do you want to be well?”

 

wheelchairdreamWhat would today’s people say? Joni Earickson Tada said it herself…“Duh!” “Of course I wanted to get healed.” (And then she went on to talk of infirmities deeper than physical and of a  healing deeper than the physical).

I came to know the Lord in 1964.  But how long has it been that I acted upon Jesus questions and commands?  How long have I kept some infirmities that I’d really not wanted to be healed from if it meant giving up a dependency, a comfort, or whatever kept me in that category of not being whole or fully realized? How long have I used the excuse that I am what I am?

Did the man realize Jesus knew how long he had been there? Did he think about his response before he chose not to directly answer Jesus’ question?

He said, “Sir – when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool.”

And “By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”

 

Were those just facts, were they excuses, or were they proof that he daily did what he could to get where someone could lift him in the pool? Or, was he asking Jesus to get him to the place of healing?

 

IMG_1413Jesus hears more than just the words we say. Jesus hears the heart, and amazingly, Jesus said,

Get up

Take your bedroll

And start walking.

 

Then I remember how it feels when I sit on my leg or foot for perhaps an hour. The limb grows limp and numb and it is very hard to get up, let alone to stand on it or to walk.

 

I wonder if this man had ever stood in his life.

 

Could it be that Jesus, was speaking into this man’s soul, commanding it to get up, and the invalid couldn’t do anything but, because Jesus, the creator and sustainer of all creation, commanded it to be so.

 

Or, was Jesus’ command made to empower, strengthen and encourage the man to ‘get up’ as my daughter said to me?

 

sadbywaterIf I were that man, I would be as amazed as the onlookers when my body rose up (after 38 years!) and then bent over and picked up the bedroll without falling back down, and started walking!

 

 

Every morning I hear in my soul…

 

Get up! if you believe it, activate it.

then start walking….

 

Whichever of my disabilities – be it physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or some combination,

IMG_2596Jesus still asks me, “Do you want to get well?

 

Matthew Henry’s Commentary explains that to ‘get well’ meant being made whole.

He paraphrases, “Arise, and walk. God’s command, Turn and live; The proof of spiritual cure, is our rising and walking.

 Walk: embark (aboard a vessel), get into, reach (a pool). So I am commanded to begin the journey…

 

… even if it means carrying that thorn within me

 

…even if it means being willing to Get Up each morning, choosing to let go of hiding my brokenness, and revealing evidence of being comfortable in habits I’ve allowed to live in my heavily scarred temple

 2033

…even if it means to let others see me visibly limping

 

 

 

 

 

Because – if others can see Christ despite my ability to do nothing to change my sadness or my weakness… If others can tell that something …no…some-ONE enables and empowers me to not only get up, and to get out of the bed of my despair, but to face each new day and walk

 

hospital_bedTruly such an outcome would be miraculous.

 

 

 

 

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A Lemonade Eulogy – Looking for the Gold

1-pitcherlemonadmintI saw a beautiful thing recently. A friend whose family lives at a distance experienced the passing of an abusive and difficult family member. Similar to my story of being guardian for my volatile and challenging parent, no other relative would take on the task of eulogizing her family member.

 

Also similarly, we have both been redeemed from the circumstances of our past. We had long ago shared, agonized and prayed over those circumstances and leaned into the Lord to accept a new legacy of our choice. She chose on that day, long ago, not to accept the hurtful worldly legacy, but instead to break the chain and give honor wherever she could find it. I was still surprised and touched to hear her honor her remaining family members with select memories that brought to mind

 

Philippians. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

 

Have you had a situation like that? Were you able to find something that was true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, or that had any excellence, or any (little) thing worthy of praise?

 

1-marlenelemonadeWhat happened when my friend filled her mind with those things listed in Philippians 4:8, and only allowed those things to dwell there – even in the dark of night when those ‘other’ memories come to taunt us that our past is also our future? Her lemons became lemonade – her future covered her past.

 

My sisters always find the gold in life circumstances and brought hope many times as I grew up and while being guardian to my mom.  Marvel came to see Mom in 2010 and led Mom to the Lord!  Talk about turning bitter to sweet🙂

My Aunt Angie helped me to make lemonade with my mother’s obituary too, looking for gold and finding bits to remember and rejoice in. Below is a part of Mom’s lemonade-eulogy – and thanks to my friend I’ve thought of more since then. If you have lemons in your life (and who doesn’t) I hope this gives you some ideas to journal, to find some gold for which you also can give thanks, and make some life-lemonade.

 

mommarvangie-1Freda Eva (Cudnohufsky) Christian – February 15, 2012

Mom loved to tell stories of life including tales of her 15 siblings, rationing and delivering baskets of food through the depression, learning to bake for her family (of 16) at 9 years of age, and carrying her lunch in a Karo syrup pail to the one-room school in Pound, WI. Mom enjoyed preserving food, making herbal decoctions, being part of the Hermansville IXL history, and sending her young husband to work on the Soo Locks with raisin filled cookies, poppyseed and roly-poly (walnut-raisin) breads. She was limited to an 8th grade education, and her life goal for her children to graduate high school was exceeded by all five. Freda was also proud to earn certificates in community classes for ceramics, computers, nursing and music. She played gospel music by ear on the organ and keyboard and was thrilled to receive birthday cards from Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea.

 

ErinColgroveFreda’s moments of pride including singing and tap dancing for the Senior Abidon Follies, being a Tupperware and Avon representative, helping her husband Clarence operate a grocery store in their First Street Home in Hermansville and later Christian Appliance Center in Norway and Hermansville, and a postyard near Hermansville.

 

If like my friend, you have had years of separation, or as my experience in the last span of time we had together, much bitterness was made sweet, I know we both experienced refreshment, and I believe you can too.

 

Take another look with us, would you, at Philippians 4:8 and go on a gold hunt as you write in the name of one, two, or three of the most difficult personalities in your life.

 

mommarvelfav005Lemonade, you will find, whether on a hot summer day, or in eulogies of the days of our lives, can bring deep refreshment and be an example to those who follow in our steps.

Found any gold lately?

 

 

 

 

 

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Finish it!

1-laurieangieFinish it!

 

Clean your plate! There are children overseas who are starving and would appreciate that food.

 

 

Finish it! (conscience speaking) you paid good money for that.

 

7214Do it again – you missed some – you didn’t finish the job!

 

(I left the worst for last and now I just want to be done with it so I hurried)

 

I started that building/cleaning/sorting/writing project /diet… (fill in the blank) days – weeks – months – years ago – I need to

 

Finish it!

 

IMG_1918_2Come on – you can do it – finish the race – a few more steps! (I didn’t think I could finish, but with the coach spurring me on, I did it!)

 

Have any of those Finish It challenges been part of your life? (mine too)

 

The gospel of Luke talks about finishing what we begin

 

Luke 14:29-30 “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

and in the book of Acts, Luke sets an example and encourages us further:

Acts 20:24 “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

 

Paul, in First Corinthians, gets even more personal and specific with us:

2Cor. 8:11 But now finish doing it also; that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability

 

Three Steps to Finishing – lessons  from the above verses:

  1. Identify your course and calling which you had a desire to start with the intention of completing it.
  2. Identify what has gotten in the way in your life that you need to clear out so you can continue on the path to fulfill that course and calling.
  3. Return to your first love – recall the inspiration of your calling and recommit yourself to that course by outlining the steps you need to take to – Finish it!

yieldIf you have a challenge that needs prayer to completion, let me know (comment, personal message or email) I’d be honored to pray for you and with you, and to help you track your path to fulfillment whether it is your calling, your course, or your closet!

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Necessary Abundance

2037I got a note recently from a prisoner.  He was day-dreaming about food he hadn’t had in a long time – chocolate covered peanuts, soda, and other treats – I could practically see him salivating, he wrote so descriptively.

 

 

Following that came a second note saying, scratch that first note – those things were not necessary things.  He had his Bible and warm clothes.

His note made me think of Job 23:12 “I have not departed from the command of His lips;

I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

                 That verse from Job made me review my responses to cravings: How often does that happen to me?  Do I consider God’s words more necessary than my food?  And of course, it was natural to wonder – what do I consider necessary?

The interesting thing was that God spoke to me two days prior (thanks to the example of friend Shonda) and I sent funds to the prison for him to purchase extra goodies – “unnecessary” things.

7289God had already provided for him the answer to his longings and cravings – before he had them!  And God does the same for us.

2Pet. 1:3 says –  His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

All that we need has been provided and is ready – even before we know what we need, or  realize it is okay to ask.

Matt. 6:8 “…your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him.”

Eph. 3:20  Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us

Isn’t it awesome that God considers all things pertaining to life – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, as necessary – and has provided them as a necessary abundance!

Jesus said “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

I’d love to hear what God has provided for you recently!

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Years – After Losing a Child – Forever Changed

laurie-12Days and weeks and months, and yes, years are passing since our daughter went to be with the Lord.

 

Some things are forever the same.

 

 

 

 

I am still Mom to two daughters and a son. (and 5 other precious souls in miscarriage)kev-n-sibs-1969

I still have the confidence of all three of my children, as I knew when each left home, that wherever life took them, it had begun with the Lord, and would continue there too into eternity.

I am thankful for the evidence of that faith each embedded in my heart. I treasure them all.

 

 

But other things are forever changed.

 

I’ve read a lot of precious, cute and sometimes well-meant but dubious thoughts of how to grieve – and how to heal toward being whole again. And I’ve talked to a lot of people who have lost a loved one, and all confirm what I feel.

 

our3kidsThat certain wholeness cannot return, will not return, until we rejoin them and we are one again.

 

I accept that, because in truth, were I to say any differently, I would be denying the power and closeness of our relationship.

 

Just about anything I can think of that was once complete – a whole, and now has a part missing, can never be the same. There may be a way to work around the missing portion, to function with the gap, to treasure what remains, and/or to attempt with various things to fill the gap, but nothing will or can ever complete the whole in the same way.

 

And I appreciate that.

The value and the particularly unique intricacies of a soul are not replaceable.   Tweet that

 

1-lauriechicagoYes, we learn to live with the space in our heart. Some days I embrace the space she filled because I had that immense joy.

Other days I grieve for things I wish I had said or done and then I laugh because I know she would ask if I had PMS or something and get me a cup of hot tea and a piece of good chocolate.

 

Some days I smother her siblings, some day I cry for seemingly no reason, and every day I sigh, and then pray for those to whom she gave life.

 

And every October I think of her as I go to a particular just-for-me event she started me in the habit of with a ticket for my birthday. I just bought a ticket for next month’s event.

LaurieMomairportI am also completing conquering some concerns she had on my behalf. And when I recently re-read some of her notes about BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and how she said it made the most lasting impact on her spiritually I made a commitment in her memory and signed up for 30 weeks of understanding some of the depth and faith that made her who she was.

 

I am bringing her Bible with me.

 

I am expecting it will impact me too. And those forever changes will be good.

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Offended? Who isn’t!

7217We all get offended – every day – but the bigger issue is how we respond to offense.

“The way that we respond to challenges is always giving others an opinion of God. And as they look at how we respond, do we adorn the gospel? -Nancy Leigh DeMoss

 

I must think of this a hundred times a day. I view everything as a test and a challenge that I have a choice to:

  • accept offense or not and
  • react to it
  • or to stop and give God control
  • and then respond

 

It is really hard sometimes but the eternal benefits so outweigh the temporary satisfaction of a ‘smart’ reply and the regret that (eventually) always follows.

 

7330Everything really that I choose to do (or not do) every day can feed into that attitude and ultimately affect the response(s) I will give.

 

I’m finding that often one choice affects many actions and reactions:

For example, if I choose to stay up late and not get much sleep, the following day it can lead to

  • feeling irritable, or being irritable to others
  • having foggy thinking for a good part of the day after rising
  • skipping exercise the next day
  • not being hungry at mealtimes, causing insulin drops and increased reactions as listed above, or grabbing something quick and not necessarily nutritious, then feeling sick
  • This irregular lifestyle choice also leads to potential for not being available when others who keep a normal lifestyle may need my full attention and concern.

 

So what does this have to do with my theme and calling to Be the Miracle?

 

2314The main thing is that every choice I make, every day, has a larger influence and result than may first appear. I want to be ready to answer the call should God lead me to minister to someone, and therefore each decision should be made with the question of whether this will improve my physical and spiritual functioning, my attitude, and if it will “adorn the gospel.”

 

The dictionary defines adorn as:, to adorn, like wearing a necklace, to draw attention to, to make attractive

 

Titus 2 lists negative behaviors we can drop, and other behaviors we can increase in order to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.”

 

The Greek word for adorn in that verse hadar , means to honor or respect

 

1-Nev2lateMomAnd that word honor is defined showing or giving dignity, with honesty, fairness, or integrity through one’s beliefs and actions

 

On one hand it seems a tall order to suggest or require that the way we respond to challenges should always or in every way show honor to the doctrine of God.

 

On the other hand, it’s the way my husband and I want to treat each other.   It’s would be pretty hard to convince the neighbors of the desirability of a godly marriage if they only heard us screaming at one another (or at the neighbors for whatever reason).

 

This little challenge speaks to me to make it a habit when choosing an action or behavior, to wonder: will this response show honor to the doctrine of God . . . or not.

 

KimafricaHave you been offended recently?

Have you had to make any choices yesterday or today?

Have you had opportunity to adorn the gospel?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are You That Woman?

When the phone rings late at night, every parent and grandparent knows the concern that tightens your stomach, and the prayer that forms on your lips before you pick up the call.

 

Dave34Date-stamped on our hearts was news delivered one August night when I answered the late-night ringing. My daughter’s concerned voice brought me to full attention, sudden fear gripping my heart. “The family chiropractor’s radiologist saw something in Dave’s x-ray” she said, “and Mom, they think it could be cancer.”

 

A robust 14, Dave was an all-star football player. His mature focus and fierceness had earned him a reputation – and a number of hard knocks including broken bones, cuts and minor surgeries. Thus, it had been “nothing new” to have Dave discover a new ache over the summer. He played hard and would often ache all over when he got home but always laughed it off, saying he was sure the players he tackled hurt worse than he did! But Dave would not be preparing for his first freshman scrimmage after his paper-route in a few hours. Instead, he would be heading to the hospital. Numb with shock, we prayed for him and for the medical staff who would bring a diagnosis in a few short hours.

 

All thought of sleep had fled for me, and I headed for my stress reliever – the treadmill. Despite the lateness of the hour, I flipped on the CD player, climbed on the belt and began a light jog. The words “Come, now is the time to worship.” filled the air and I gasped at the thought. Worship. Now? Worship? That, I reminded my numbed brain, was focusing on the qualities of God.

 

SS07003As I ran, and the music played on, the words came.

Almighty, Benevolent, Creator, Divine…. Excellent, Faithful – GOD… like a cadence it blended as the music continued, “come, come…”

I really wanted to run – to run away from whatever we had to face tomorrow, but God was telling me instead to “Come.”

 

 

 

Full circle, it brought back memories of my tendency when Ken and I first married to “run” if I’d done something wrong. Sensitive to my wounded past, Ken would, instead of chastising me, open his arms and welcome me to “come” and to know love, forgiveness and healing.

It made it so much easier to deal with any situation to know that I was so kendee60s016cherished.

Perspiration blended with tears as I ran and ran, exhausting the alphabet and my body.

Calls of diagnosis, treatment plans and surgery went back and forth at a frantic pace the first 12 hours. I agreed to spend nights with the children so Dave’s parents could remain at the hospital and go to work from there.

 

 

My voice trembled at work the next morning… a good friend heard the pain in my voice and asked, “What’s wrong?” Her reaction to my news was memorable, and so like her: “I can help…I will…” She began brainstorming her skills and skills of others that she knew. Her assurances made me want to worship the God who was already proving his presence through her.

 

A shared burden is lighter, and I felt strengthened by her friendship and tender heart. I’d been wondering how I would survive this pain, and now her voice saying, “I can” rang in my ears. Meanwhile 16 family members greeted me from our Christmas family photo on the bulletin board, reminding me that they also would soon be treading un-familiar territory in their faith-walk. And what about David?

 

A soft-spoken, thoroughly athletic young man, Dave was built sturdily, like his Dad. From DaveNMarcWienkethe time he could walk he emulated his daddy-hero, playing football and baseball from kindergarten to high school. He later told me that he knew every part of “his story” was a part of God’s plan for him – even this ‘place’ in his life was where God meant for him to be. From the beginning he knew things were serious because his parents wept while praying before they went into the hospital. But he knew we were not fighting alone. Our angel of mercy had been busy, and her works were personal. Soon David’s arms held an autographed Green Bay Packer football, and he had the fresh fruit he longed for. My special friend somehow knew that if his family was cared for Dave could focus on his healing, and soon their arms, too, were filled with cards, gifts and email responses to bring to the hospital or to the siblings at home. Her inspiration had spread to hundreds who contacted others, who contacted others.

 

One woman’s open heart had begun a cascade of helps, prayers and examples of faith-in-action that continued throughout all 5 years of Dave’s cancer battle. Every time I think of her, I remember that one person saying “I can and I will” makes a huge difference.

 

Dave Fly1That one woman who personalized Dave’s need, enlisted a community of supporters and gave a family inspiration and hope that they did not have to fight the battle alone inspired me to look at people in need with new understanding and also say, “I can.”

 

Do you know that woman, or a woman like her?

or

Are you that woman?

If so, thank you on behalf of all grandparents, parents, siblings, relatives and dear friends who have needed someone in their chaos to say I can, and I will.

 

 

 

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Guardianship – Sometimes You’ve Just Got to Laugh

Guardianship is a heavy responsibility and sometimes the details and responsibilities seem overwhelming.  I’ve been chatting with some friends experiencing this (1 out of 4 women do) and thought I would post a true stress reliever story to encourage them, and all of you who might be in a challenging guardianship. Ah-la Sergeant Friday, the following is based on a true story, but names and details have been changed, just for fun because no one here was innocent.

I knew from the start that guardianship for a cantankerous grandfather with a much-checkered legal past was not going to be easy. I didn’t expect any lighter moments, but some came in an unexpected place.

Granddaddy had called for a court hearing challenging the guardianship. There were three challenges: misuse of funds, preferred change of guardian, and return control of his 7239pension check. Gramps mysteriously refused to ride to the court with us, so my husband and I were in the waiting room with the list of challenges written out on a yellow notepad that rested on my lap covering a mound of paperwork.

Gramps hobbled into the courtroom with his 4-pronged cane and a woman whose face seemed familiar. His court-appointed lawyer pulled out a chair for Gramps and turned to me whispering, “He’s apparently convinced Diana, head of the agency you recently hired, to be his new guardian.”   A simple, “Okay” was my knowing response. My husband slipped me a hopeful note saying this could be my rescue, but I wrote back “Ha” and whispered to wait and see her response as details were revealed. Gramps had always been a charmer and easily portrayed himself as the victim.

We all silenced and rose as the judge entered the room. The purpose for the hearing, and challenges were read. Gramps’ attorney, and the social worker representing my concerns were introduced, and then the ‘fun’ began.

I was called to the bench first. As I shared some of Gramps past behaviors leading to the 7271guardianship, I could see the eyes of his potential guardian growing wider with shock and worry. The explained the challenges, and was obviously going to move to the next issue, when Gramps interrupted him. “It’s his fault,” he yelled, pointing at the social worker. “I should have got a contract out on him when I had the chance.”   His lawyer’s lips thinned with restraint as he leaned over to loudly whisper into his hearing-aid laden client, and we hid smiles of irony behind our hands.

Though the judge calmly told Gramps he would get his chance to answer in a moment, Gramps wasn’t done, and continued to malign the social worker. The judge calmly explained the procedure and asked Gramps to confirm that he could see and hear the other people in the courtroom. “I can see him,” he emphasized, pointing his finger at the social worker, “good enough to reach over and punch him in the face if I want to.” After the courtroom calmed from that and Gramps agreed to answer only when spoken to, the judge moved on to the next issue. Why did Gramps feel he should have another guardian? His answer, “Coffee,” was surely not what anyone expected.

“Coffee?” the judge repeated, requesting an explanation. “That stupid guardian poisoned coffeemy coffee last time she visited and I can prove it. I saved it and brought some so you can try it,” Gramps wound down, as he waved a small plastic bag in the air. Obviously restraining his humor, the judge remarked that he did not drink coffee and the court appointed lawyer would have to try it.   Amidst the chuckles, the potential new guardian moved next to me and wrote several phrases on the edge of my notepad as the laughter faded… “Oh, my …I didn’t realize”… “I can’t”…

I patted her hand and told her I understood, the courtroom was called to attention and Gramps was asked this time if he could get another guardian who he would want. Gramps first appealed to the young lady who explained to the judge why she was no longer interested and then he told the judge he had a friend who approached him just a bit ago and offered to help. When he was asked to recall the date of the meeting the courtroom broke up again as Gramps replied, “I don’t recall the exact date but it couldn’t have been more than 20 or 30 years ago.”

His lawyer rolled his eyes and the third challenge was brought up. “Let me ask you one last question,” the judge posed to Gramps, who sat up straight as he could, obviously thinking he was going to rule the day. “If you got your check back would you pay the rent this time?” Everyone leaned forward a little, wondering after previous outbursts how Gramps would reply.   I closed my eyes at his response. Grandpa cursed, yelling,   “H—No! – it’s just a waste of money.” Gramps’ continued dialogue was lost in another outburst of laughter at his outrageous answer.

When the judge returned with the decision there would be no new guardian, Gramps 7215furiously stood and waved his cane threateningly. “You – I don’t ever want to see you again,” he screamed. I moved back while the deputy restrained him, then kindly asked me if I’d like them to return Gramps to his apartment. While I thought it best he have time to calm down, I took a risk.

 

“How about it Gramps? I asked. “Should I come pick you up in an hour or two and we can pick up a nice lunch? – I’d pay…”

7296“You’re buying? Well, alright, but no coffee, ok?”

 

Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

 

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