Interim

When my husband and I began to seriously to consider the idea of moving my parents in with us things began to happen fast. We say now that we never felt so “pushed” forward. It was all rush rush and not of our own doing.

I am of that infamous “sandwich generation” – the ones caring for parents while still caring for and raising their own kids. The longer our family does this the more folks we seem to run into that are doing the same thing! Is it something I would’ve chosen? I look at it- this new life- as just having fallen into it. It’s right up there with the cancer my husband fought through 4 years ago… and the addiction crisis that revealed itself in our precious son 2 & 1/2 years ago.
My mother’s hydrocephalus and my dad’s dementia are just other bends in the road.

I’ve saId it before, but the strangest thing to me is that God was never surprised by any of it. Why did He not stop it then? Why not change it up? But who’s to say He didn’t? Either way-He knew. Definitely the most amazing thing is that He’s had a plan and a point for all of it. Whether I can see it or not, He promised that these “things” would be used for my good. I marvel to think that we still haven’t seen all those ways.

There has been a really great series that Andy Stanley has been doing at church recently called “In the Meantime” (Meantimeseries.org). I had to laugh at the title because when we moved to this new house with parents in tow, I privately named the property “Interim.” This set up, like many of the situations we’ve found ourselves in the past, is temporary. In the grand scheme of things, it can not last forever. Yet when I’m tired and feeling cranky (like this week!) and doing a task for the 1,000,000th time… It’s not that easy to remember .

And so as my ever-loving Father always seems to do, sent a message to remind me today that’s ok to wonder why, and how, and say again I need help. And it’s also ok to know I can’t do it alone in my strength and my wisdom because I am so humanly limited! I was encouraged to pray for myself and ask continually for His wisdom and strength for me… in this interim :)

Good timing! ForGlorySake -Anna

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G R A C E

I think about it constantly. It’s on my lips every day. I read about it again just this morning in a perfectly timed email. Grace. Can we truly ever dig to the bottom of it’s well? Can we define it’s meaning or understand the how of it? Sometimes I don’t see it happening when it’s happening… then all of a sudden I realize, “Oh Wow! This is a God-thing, He’s all in this whatever is going on and it’s such a good thing!”

It’s not like I wake up unaware that God walks with me, orders my days and guides my path. But I’m human. I get caught up in the mundane, next thing, details of life. Stuff just happens. And then all of a sudden in-the-midst there’s this revelation (again) that God knows my name and where I live and He’s actively doing something in my midst! …Is it like that for anyone else? I talk to Him all day long, believe He hears me, then am completely blown over when I see Him miraculously moving mountains around.

Just recently our family was asked if we could babysit a 9 month old… every Saturday. Add something new to the plate- really? Turns out this chubby little ray of sunshine who pops in once a week, makes my mom smile, and all of us laugh! He brought with him a heart-tie to a single young mom who just happens to be skilled with elderly folks, especially dementia patients! There’s also a pre-school big brother who loves to play the games my dad plays, like roll the pool table balls around for hours on end!

Our big family has easily become a family connection to someone who 3 weeks ago had none. No sweat, just living day-to-day stuff. Give and receive, the amazing way God seems to do His thing. I think He’s slick. Sneaky in the best possible way. He comes in the side door and if you let Him, steals your heart and shows you, “with Me all things are possible.” I wouldn’t choose anyone else to watch my back or plan my future.

So blessed by grace every time.

 

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope.

With less of you there is more of God and His rule.

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you.

Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less.

That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”

(Matthew 5:3-5, MSG) 

Amen, Amen- ForGlorySake! -Anna

Unforeseen Blessings

Unforeseen Blessings

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Dirty Faith

David Z. Nowell, president of Hope Unlimited, one of our favorite ministries just published a book, Dirty Faith. It’s thought provoking and convicting having everything to do with his work in Brazil among the street children. My husband and I love what this group does! Mr. Nowell’s challenges all followers of Jesus to take up an attitude of compassion and willingness to get involved serving the least of these. I had to put the book down this morning to tackle other chores, but since I’ve got a moment… these are my practical thoughts.

Spending Myself

I don’t want to wash another dish, change their sheets again, or clean that bathroom one more time, say, “No worries, it’s no big deal” or come up with another meal for them -and for my family too… But what if that were me?

So I sweep the floors, tidy the rooms, hang up clothes, put away dishes, wipe off the counters… because someday that might be me.

Say  “yes” to babysit, drive to meet a young mom, take her baby, bring it back. Care, pray for them… because that could’ve been me.

Listen to a life-story, pray for the right words, hold hands, cry, be torn-up inside. Pray together… because if that were me, I’d be broken and lost.

Say, “I love you,” hug tightly, open the door, offer a bed, treat them like my own, hope for the best, don’t be too shocked by the worst, offer something to eat… because maybe I’m just lucky “to have”… or maybe I’ve been strategically placed because He wants me to share.

Care ’til it hurts, give with nothing expected in return, listen, feel, laugh, touch, be available to whoever He brings… because this is what He asks of me.

Can I offer anything less

than at this moment

in this spot

to just be willing to LOVE.

-GET IN and GET DIRTY with your FAITH!

ForGlorySake -Anna

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Tied Feet

Elizabeth Elliot always said, “Children tie the mother’s feet.” -I’d like to add aging parents to that thought!

I feel like I’m back at square one: constantly watching a wandering, curious. hungry!, “toddler,” who needs help in the potty. I’ve also come to realize (or rather remember) that I have a real problem with “parent guilt.” You know the unrealistic feeling that no matter who you are doing for, somehow someone else is still being short-changed. Whether it be another child, or neighbor or worthy organization, “wait” and “no” come long before any “yes.”

I remember when our children were small and those sermons at church about “getting involved” or school meetings on “volunteering” made me want to cry. I’m right back there, cringing in my seat at 47 years old! Good grief.

As I sat in a hot bath tonight, soaking my tired, soar back. I wondered why I can’t seem to do it all (for my family AND others)? …Then I laughed to think, how can I possibly do all I’ve already been given?! When I accomplish that then maybe I can branch out and volunteer for someone else.

In the meantime I’m going to let my ‘ol feet be tied and do the job God has assigned me to do right here – guilt free. For heaven’s sake, I can count my self as my own volunteer. Hooray for me! Sure glad I signed up :) At least it makes for short meetings.

ForGlorySake -Anna

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Wasps and Shugga

As much as I fretted over it, worried about it, thought I couldn’t come back to it… I’m back home caring for my parents and doing life!

Vacation was fun but not reality. When my sister asked if I was hiding in the closet with my bags still packed, I hated to admit it had crossed my mind. Do you think less of me? I’m selfish and weak …and without Jesus? Well, let’s don’t even go there.

It took a good kick-in-the-pants talking to myself, but I’m all in, heart and soul. I’d rather die trying to love all these folks God has graciously surrounded me with than live an isolated lonely life.

So far it’s been non-stop cleaning, cooking, driving, shopping, calling, paying, scheduling and weeding. I even killed a hornets nest up in a tree. And was later attacked by tiny wasps embedded in our front stone steps (that’s a 1st)!

“In the name of Jesus,” I told them not to sting my dad, who just stood in a cloud of nearly 100 swarming. He moves so slowly. He came through clean and I only got popped on one foot. I was astounded by God’s mercy.

Whether fixing another meal, scrubbing soiled carpet (again), or taking my dad for a car ride (he loves to ride anywhere), God goes with me and lightens the load.

Picking up our cute little flute player from high school band camp, I figured on a sad face as I was the last parent to arrive. Instead a big smile appeared as soon as she saw her Papa in the front seat. She understood why I was behind schedule. They grasped hands as he called out, “Hey Shugga!”

Ah that ever-available grace! He knows, he sees. I can trust this path to Him. He even sends a little Shugga with the stings ;)

ForGlorySake! -Anna

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Itch or No Itch!

I have to tell you what happened…

Family arrived, the sun was hot, waves were crashing, sand waiting- I was not gonna miss this! I hoped not to scare any little children and just went with the crowd. The rash I wrote of 2 weeks ago went right along with me.

Red and patterned with “streaks,” covering my back and right hip. The general consensus was I looked burned (lovely). But it was the itching that drove me bonkers.

Each day showed more evidence that daughter and mother did NOT have the same ailment! I googled my symptoms again and searched on until finding a similar-looking rash… from mushrooms??? I’ve never had a food allergy before. What unusual thing was I ingesting?

The only NEW product I had recently introduced to my diet was a vegan protein drink by Beachbody (creators of P90X). Shakeology. It’s full of “exotic superfoods” designed to support the immune system of all things. However, I think something in it didn’t like me. And looking online more specifically… I found a host of others it was making itchy also!

Those in my family who gave it a try, only a few developed 1 or 2 small red patches. Others saw nothing. I however, had been daily drinking my shakes -even as I endlessly itched. Never connecting the two.

Live and learn. In less than a week of my last sip I am nearly back to normal. I may never know the culprit by name (there are many strange & unfamiliar ingredients), or for absolutely sure if this is what caused my trial, but I will be a little more observant in the future. ;)
I AM JUST THANKFUL NOT TO ITCH! ForGlorySake-Anna

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A Bit Plagued…

Maybe it’s all for the sake of humility, but I prefer to hope it’s for His Glory…

I’ve been diagnosed with a case of Pityriasis rosea (don’t look it up-yuck!) or a virus on the skin- like a cold. My daughter left for a summer job in Hawaii with a small “patch” of poison ivy and returned covered in a rash. I developed something similar while she was gone. Dr says we (the only 2 out of 9 at home) must simply wait this harmless/common (?) irritation out.
Uh… I like action. AND I itch!!!

So since I refused steroids (!)- Veganism of the strictest order and all immune boosters are on the table -I’d grown slack.
Dropping all “stressors, “I’ve cut salt, dairy, meats, chemicals in any form (GMOs) & sugar again! Beefing up on fruits, veggies and gluten-free grains daily. I’m also taking Shaklee’s INTERFERON. Great stuff!

Maybe all the stress of the moving just caught up with me. Either way, as our whole family heads to the beach for a 2 week reunion, I’m looking rather scary in a bathing suit. This is an ugly red rash!
How does God get any Glory from this? Hmmm, I’ll let you know when I get a clue. -Anna

<strong>For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us! (‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭18‬ AMP)

Eat something healthy!

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