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Showing posts from December, 2022

Still the Same

 Well, it's almost a new year, and I guess you know what that means! Pretty much nothing, huh? Oh, if we write the date now, we'll switch out the last 2 for a 3! That's about it. There's no magic potion or button that gets pushed at midnight to signal anything new except on a calendar. I do like a new year, as it gives us a chance to reassess the previous year and choose what we'd like to change, set new goals, and things like that. But really, nothing changes at midnight tonight - but that's not all bad. We'll wake up tomorrow still caregiving, still working, still doing our daily chores while the rest of the world gets to take a holiday. Hopefully, some of us will get precious time with friends or family to make the day brighter. But whatever caregiving situation we are in won't change tonight when the clock strikes 12. Again - that's not all bad! When we wake up tomorrow in a new year, we'll still have everything God promised us. We'll fin

One More Time

 Does it ever seem like your thoughts get stuck running along one track and it's hard to get them back where they need to be? Mine do. It seems I so easily get sucked into the black hole of emotions and horrible thought patterns. Honestly, it can be difficult to get my head back on the word and where it needs to be. Like David, I find I must encourage myself in the Lord  many days. Sometimes, it's many times every day. Lol. This year has had a lot of ups and downs, just like every year, right? And here we are in the last couple of days and I'm looking for ways I need to change. In the middle of that, I can be hard on myself. I'm starting to think caregivers do that a lot. Am I right? There is always something left undone at the end of the day - sometimes it's us! Lol. Each evening we can be swamped with all the things we wanted to get done and didn't. We met each demand made on us as well as we could and cared for our loved ones to the best of our abilities. But

Stay in the Game

 I love football! I used to spend hours playing it in the yard. My mom loved it then too, but only because it kept me out of the house for entire afternoons. Lol. I am an old-school Houston Oilers fan; that's where fandom all started for me. I loved Earl Campbell and still do. As I watched him and some of the other greats from that era, I learned to love the game. More recently, since becoming a caregiver, I started enjoying college football.  Last night, I watched a bowl game. Arkansas was ahead 35 to 13. It was the final quarter, with not too much time left, when Kansas started an epic comeback. They were able to tie the game with seconds left on the clock, which sent the game into the first of a historic three overtimes. They lost in that third overtime, but they played with heart and guts. They stayed in the game when the world thought they were out. The Liberty Bowl will now go down in history as one of the most thrilling games of the season due to a team that never gave up an

Peace Agents

 This morning, I'm running super short on time, so I thought I'd share the live devotions I did on FaceBook earlier. Plus - I have an announcement!! I'm working on creating a YouTube section just for caregivers. It'll be private, so no one can access it without the links. Let me know if you'd like to have access. Until then - here's today's devotion on being a peace agent.

Spent With Grief

  This morning, my emotions were all over the place. Who even knows why right? It just happens sometimes. Maybe it was a memory that sparked sadness or the crazy, rough dreams I had early this morning. (No, I didn't have pizza last night! Lol.) I chose to spend my morning devotions in a very familiar place - Psalm 31. It's been a long-time favorite psalm of mine, and it's loaded with good stuff to meditate on all day. I read through the entire psalm before really landing anywhere. But I had a hard time just skipping by verses 9 and 10. David describes his eyes wasting away with grief  in verse 9. Then, in verse 10, the psalmist says my life is spent with grief and my years with sighing. (NKJV) Boy, did I feel it this morning. Grief may come in waves, or it may set up camp - but it comes. I think caregivers deal with different types of grief. Those who are caring for parents miss the person their parent was and deal with the emotions of a huge role reversal. Those of us cari

I Wasn't Ready

 I never dreamed that Christmases alone would be in my future. But there it was. We had invites, but life didn't give us the go-ahead, so we ended up spending Christmas Eve and Christmas alone this year. It was okay; I was just a little surprised that it happened to us. I don't know why. So, if you spent the holiday alone, I'm sorry. It's a sinking feeling. Sure, I tried to scan Facebook a time or two, but all I saw were all the happy families spending great times together. I just avoided social media for most of the day, got a lot of work done, and tried to push it all out of my mind. But, boy, did it nag. I wasn't really emotional about it, but it sure hung over my head all day long for the two days. I'll plan differently for next year, that's for sure. While I focused on working and getting a few projects done, I kept reminding myself that it was no big deal. But nagging thoughts like I'm not important to anyone kept trying to gain ground in my head.

Grace Enough

 The holidays are particularly hard for many caregivers. I'm kinda used to not getting together with family during the holidays; there's usually some reason. Last year, we'd been exposed to Covid on Christmas Eve and missed the family get-together. Today, it's just too cold to take Chris out, even though it's warmed up to a balmy 16 degrees! Not being able to celebrate traditional holidays can make the loneliness we feel year-round seem even deeper. I'm so thankful that His grace is enough to carry us through every lonely moment. Sometimes, it's in the darkest hours of our souls that we find His sustaining grace.  We can rest assured that His grace is enough for the holidays too. Jesus doesn't take Christmas off, even though He could celebrate His "birthday." Lol. Whether we have a house full of loved ones and gifts, or we are spending the days alone with our loved ones, His grace is enough.  About this time of year, I start reflecting on the y

The Rest of the Story

  When I was a kid, we often listened to Paul Harvey on the radio. One of my parents' favorite spots was his "The Rest of the Story." Mr. Harvey would lead in with an interesting, familiar story. Then he'd fill in all the gaps that were not as well known. Most of the population knew the "end" of the story, but there were so many interesting details worked in to help the person or persons reach their end goals. It was always so inspiring to hear of how people overcame adversity to achieve major life goals. He'd always end with, "And now, you know the rest of the story."  I wonder what the rest of our stories will look like. Maybe none of us will do anything the whole world will know about - but what we do every single day is still extraordinary. In essence, we are laying down our lives for our loved ones. But sacrificial love isn't talked about too much these days. Maybe it's because we live in such a selfish society that they can't

Not Strong Enough

 Do you ever have people compliment you by telling you how strong you are? Occassionally, it happens to me. I try to  be gracious and thank them for their kind words. But inside, I feel oh so weak.As survivors and overcomes of the many obstacles of life, we may look strong. We may also catch some flack for being so independent.  But when people don't show up for us, and that happens a lot for caregivers, we learn to kick into survival mode and I can do it myself mode, right? Then they say - you are so strong. I'm like, yeah, right - it's because I have to be. Experience Speaks Loudly One time early on in my caregiving journey , I had two routes for my son's future treatment. I called together those who I thought were going to be helpful in his care, as I needed some input. After I explained the options, they both just shrugged their shoulders and said basically, "it's on you, so do what you feel best." I was deflated and disappointed. I trudged forward. Is

The Sifter

 Do you ever feel like you're living life in the sifter? You know the one - where Jesus told Peter that Satan had asked to sift him like wheat. Then, Jesus prayed that Peter's faith wouldn't fail? I always wondered why Jesus didn't pray that Peter wouldn't have to go through all that. Why didn't He pray that Peter would just be strong - but isn't it the sifting trials in our lives that build our faith in God? Maybe they are responsible for making us lean in to Him a little more closely. This morning, I found another scripture like that. It's in John 17:15. It's Jesus' final prayer before He heads to the cross. He prayed, I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. (NKJV) Sifting is going to happen, and we don't even get an exemption card as caregivers. Sometimes, it's the caregving that acts as a sifter, trying our faith. Hard things are going to come our way, that's a giv

Songs in the Night

This morning, I read the story of Paul and Silas in the jail. The account is found in Acts 16. It describes how they were beaten and thrown into prison, not based on something wrong they did, but due to greed on someone else's part. In verse 25, it says that about midnight, Paul and Silas began to sing and pray. Now, my first thought in those midnight moments  of my life is not always about singing or praising God. Of course, I had to wonder what in the world they were singing about. No matter what the words were, no matter what they were singing, it was about God. And that's why they had songs in the night. When we find ourselves in tight spots, we can still sing about the goodness of God. Why? Because our circumstances didn't change His goodness. What we go through doesn't change His grace. His mercies are still new every morning - no matter what the morning brings. I have to wonder how our situations might be changed, or at least our attitudes, if we sing about our u

Small Stuff

I'm starting to think that there are no easy days for caregivers. Each day is somewhat mundane, doing the same tasks over and over and never really getting "done." But in the middle of that, we never know what kind of wrench may get thrown into the mix. A surprise doctor visit. A phone call in the night. Delayed shipments. A sudden fever. We never know what a day, or a long night, may bring. Keeping a positive outlook and fighting to keep our "heads above water" are two real things we face pretty much every day. Of course, that doesn't mean every day is bad. But most days are hard, even though we have our caregiving routine down to a T. I am in a caregiver's group on Facebook, but I don't hang out there much. It is a safe place to vent and air out emotions. But it seems to get a bit whiny to me. I don't need that. When I share, I try to post positive things. As caregivers, we have so much on our plate, and it does get overwhelming. How do we keep

No Contingency Plans

 Here we are, making it day after day. One day we just look up and realize it's been years on this caregiving journey. We didn't plan for it. Didn't count on it. Had no expectation of it, but here we are, just relying on God from moment to moment to make it through each day. (Enter: big sigh.) I don't even have the imaginative capacity to imagine what life might have been like without the hard left onto the caregiving road. I'd like to think I would have trusted God anyway. I'd like to think I'd have held onto Him and His promises with a grip just as tight. If nothing else, caregiving has taught me how much I need Him and how grateful I am that He chooses to walk the road with me instead of just waiting for me at the end. I really don't have a contingency plan. There isn't any other hope, direction, or goal outside of trusting Him for each breath. And I'm not looking for one, either. I am so content that He's got me no matter what. I know I c

Going Through

 This morning as I was reading, I found myself in Proverbs 12:13. It says, The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble.  (NKJ) I first noticed that it did not  say that the righteous would be able to avoid trouble. Instead, it says - we'll come through it. No one is exempt from trouble. If we are breathing, we're going to go through stuff. However, through  is the key word for me today. I remember sitting with my Daddy, who was grieving over my mom. She was not herself, having some form of dementia. She remembered us for a long time but eventually did not. Daddy was crying and asking why this had to happen to such a beautiful person. I just cried with him because I had no answer. Caregivers are often in some stage of grief, whether we are grieving over the person we lost through death or the one who is slowly fading away. Some of us grieve for the person we lost, even though we are still caring for their bodies. We don

Still Writing

  When I woke up this morning, I was just grateful. That may have spilled out wrong - there wasn't anything wrong except another long night, but I was just overcome with gratefulness. I spent some time thinking about how God has carried me all these years, even BC (before caregiving). Overnight, Chris had woken me up a time or two, and then I couldn't go back to sleep. I hate those unproductive hours, but they happen. When I finally started waking up and shaking off the early morning grogginess, I started thanking God for keeping me hidden in Him. I thanked Him for being with me and never leaving. That's when I had this thought  - that He's still writing my story. Over the years, I've had people talk to me about writing my caregiving story in a book. But my answer has remained the same. There's not a happy ending. So, this morning as I was meditating on Psalm 139 and how God watches us be formed in the womb, I realized that He didn't stop there. He's sti