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Showing posts from March, 2023

Promise, Purpose, and the Passage

 Most of us have specific scriptures that we hold onto. My mom's was Isaiah 26:3 that says God will keep those in perfect peace, as we keep our minds on Him. Psalm 57:1 has been an anchor for my soul since 1986 when I ill, and the doctors couldn't find anything wrong. It speaks of trusting Him and remaining under His shelter until calamities have passed. One I've come to cling to in my caregiving journey is Isaiah 43, that promises the flood won't overflow us, and the fire we walk through won't devour us. Even when we are holding on to God with every ounce of strength we have - there's this in-between part. it happens between the promise and fulfillment. There's a period of time that becomes more about the journey. God sent Moses to get the children of Israel out of Egypt. But as soon as they ran into difficulty at the Red Sea, they started talking about dying. They lost sight of where they were going, and the Who - had brought them out of Egypt with a might

Cave Appeal

 Many caregivers can feel like they live in a cave. When I first started on this caregiving journey, I felt like I'd been violently sucked out of the life I was accustomed to and into a dark, lonely cave. As a very sociable person, this was one of the hardest things for me to work through early on. The other biggie was trying to find a schedule. I'm over-analytical and function well in an organized schedule, but one was not to be found. Lol.  After years of teaching school, working in the church, and lots of other social doings and goings, I found myself very alone. It felt like everyone had disappeared. In retrospect, they did. But I also found that I retreated to the back of the cave for soul safety. I had a lot to deal with and to work out. Life had changed abruptly, and it never returned to the "norm." During the shutdown, our cave dweller lives became the norm for much of the world. But as they ease back to their "normal" activities, I am finding I'

Between a Rock and a Hard Spot

  Who can count the times they've found themselves between the proverbial rock and hard spot? Faith has a way of getting us squeezed between the two. We know God is God. We know He hears our prayers and that He has extended His grace, mercy, compassion, and love to us. But it doesn't always feel that way. For me, it's very frustrating when I know what God can do, but don't see Him doing anything. At least, that's how it feels.  Frustrations soon get me tied up in an emotional knot until I'm unable to think clearly anymore. As mad as I am at God's perceived silence, I still continue to talk to Him and pray. That frustrates me more - but I can't think of a better place to run, even if it seems like He's turned a deaf ear. My emotions say He is far away - but faith says He's right here in the storm with me. Oh, the caregiver journey. It's got so many twists and turns, cliffs, and rocks it's easy to find ourselves stuck emotionally between a

Always On Call

 I was reading a post on caregiver "self-care" this morning. It mentioned how we are always on call. I started thinking about that and realizing my lack of breaks of late. The lack of a break and midnight runs to the ER just don't mix. Hence, I've been out of pocket the last few days due to running behind.  Whether we are full-time caregivers or long-distance caregivers, we are always on. It's so easy for our lives to become imbalanced, and midnight runs to the hospital don't help. Lol. No matter what our caregiving situation is, we don't get real time off. Our phones must remain on for those just-in-case moments. It can be tiring and wearing, especially on our emotions. I was praying about that this morning. Okay, so I was whining about it to God. Lol. But He listened anyway. I realized God is always on call too. He designed it all that way. I love that He is always there, always in our here, always listening to our hearts and seeing our silent tears. Whe

Is It All Broke?

  Do you ever have those times when you feel like everything is broken? Maybe it starts with an essential appliance, like the air conditioner or a dryer. Or, for some, it's a less-than-perfect primary vehicle. Other times, it can feel like it's the whole "system" that's broken and leaving caregivers stranded. Sometimes, it's our emotions that seem to be broken beyond repair. And on occasion - it can seem like everything has spiraled down to being broken all at one time. Beyond frustrating, right? What are we supposed to do with all those crazy thoughts? How do we handle negative emotions that stem from stuff that's just not right? Let's see. We can file complaints that get lost or ignored, even ADA complaints. Talking to supervisors is useless. It can seem like no one wants to work anymore, they just want to get a check without expending much, if any, effort. We are left stranded in every sense of the word. Does God have a cubby hole for all that? Lol.

The Right Answer

 When you first start out on your caregiving journey, there are tons (like millions) of questions. I had absolutely zero background in even basic nursing and caregiving. I knew some first aid and CPR since my mom was a nurse. Hearing her talk about her job and working with patients at least gave me a sense of what to do and not do during emergencies and certain situations. But caregiving? I knew nothing. I had tons of questions .  As I began to walk out the days, I found some answers. I also found out that the answers given in institutions of care, like nursing homes and hospitals, weren't always right or practical. It took a lot of stumbling and what I call playing guess-and-check to get answers to many of my questions. But guess what! I still have tons of questions. Every time Chris has an asthma attack or gets sick, I start looking for answers. What did I do wrong? What can I change to make things better? How can I change up our routine to help him? Lots of questions about thos

All the Gory Details

 You know I love the psalms, and this morning I found myself reading and rereading Psalm 37. There is a lot to hold onto in these few verses, but my mind got stuck on this one little phrase. Verse 23 says  the steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives. (NLT, 1995) My first thought was how precious that God is that involved in our lives that He walks with us through each day observing all we say and do. He is that ever-abiding presence who sees the tears and joys as they unfold every day. But then, I was like, wait. I'm a caregiver. Does God really involve Himself with all the gory details of the caregiver? It can get pretty weird around here. We never know what a day may bring. But it always brings some things like feeding, transferring, bathing, dressing, and yes - changing the unmentionables. God sees all that? And still sticks around? The stuff we do every day for our loved ones is what scares most people away! But there stands God.

Dare to Hope

 Over the weekend, my son and I traveled to Missouri for the funeral of my daddy's last of 6 brothers. It was a nice trip and wonderful to reconnect with family. But the time out of our "norm" was really good for my head. Sometimes, it takes breaking that day-to-day grind to help see more clearly. Of course, I packed the whole house for just a one-night stay. Lol. It's a lot of work to travel with a loved one you have to provide care for - I won't deny that. But the break from the normal was still wonderful. The 4-hour drive allowed me to gather my thoughts, get some of them lined out, and toss a few that were negative. The out-of-normal setting gave me time to assess where I am, what I'm doing, and how to proceed. However, there is a thought I've been toying with for some time, and it started taking shape during the trip. I've been trying to rearrange my mornings, so they are more productive. Finally, I started a devotional called, Command the Morning

Worth the Wait

 As caregivers, our days provide many opportunities to make decisions. Some of them are simple, and others are often life-changing. It's never easy to make decisions that directly affect another person. Yet day after day, we are faced with decision-making necessities. At any given time, we can have a list of decisions that need to be made. Hopefully, most of them are non-pressure decisions, so that we have plenty of time to consider every aspect. But for me, given too much time to think can suck me into a horrible place mentally and emotionally until I am totally overwhelmed and nearly rendered unable to make a good choice. This week, I've been suddenly faced with a big decision to make. I've been toying with some ideas, but it has become more of a necessity at this point. I was almost to the point of being overwhelmed and frustrated when it dawned on me that I can literally give it to God and wait for Him to answer. Novel idea, right?! My mind started rehearsing several sc

Precious Memories

  Today is my son's 39th birthday. I can't help but think  this is not the way it was supposed to be. He should have finished college (he lacked one semester), gotten married, traveled the world, and had kids by now. Life doesn't always play out on the roads our dreams make. I find memories both haunting and precious. I have wonderful memories of watching my kids in the marching band. I recall teaching Chris to drive, do laundry, and cook mac & cheese, like other parents. We spent time playing catch and served on worship teams together. He played the drums, and I was either on the keyboard or guitar. Countless hours were spent making music. We read together and did crazy stuff together. Once he was an adult, we'd sit around and discuss lots of philosophical matters while downing a couple of pots between us. One time, we were sitting on the porch, just finishing up a deep conversation and the last drop of coffee. We sat in silence for a minute, then I asked him if he

Still Trusting

 I woke up this morning to realize that I am still trusting God. How do I know it? Because the long list of to-dos and concerns running through my head were each one turned into a prayer. As I was praying through my mental list, I realized I was still trusting Him for answers. Even though they may not come immediately, by noon or in a way that I recognize them at all - the answers will come. Situations will be resolved. I'll get through. And in its most basic state - that is trust. That is faith. I'll share my FaceBook Live video at the bottom of this post. In it, I shared that Jesus calmed the storm and said those beautiful words that we need to be spoken to our souls every day. Peace, be still. And then, He turned to the disciples and told them they had no faith. But He still calmed the storm. They were learning to trust Him from the inside out. I dare say that, as caregivers, that is what we do every single day. Are you still reaching for Him? Do you still pray for answers?

Well, That's Confusing

 We are fortunate to have a doctor that comes to our home to see my son. She was just here, but what she told me left me very confused. You see, Friday, Chris had a fever of 100.9, so she prescribed antibiotics. Her monthly visit was already scheduled for today, so that worked out well. But what she told me, I found very confusing.  The phone call I got late Friday afternoon concerning the x-ray results was that he had bilateral something or other. I felt like it was just some leftovers from Covid. Today, the doc said the x-ray looks exactly the same as it did when he came home from the hospital with Covid, but she did the antibiotics because he had a fever. She left me scratching my head. I have tons of questions, which in itself is not unusual - since I am the "Question Queen." Lol. Is he sick or not? Why would you prescribe antibiotics unless you knew he had an infection of some sort? Why are his lungs not clearing out? Frustration began to rise as I tried to figure out wh

Find a New Hobby for These Surprising Benefits

   Hobbies can help us connect to our creative side, spend quality time with our loved ones , and boost confidence, and, as notes, they can also promote mental and physical wellness . Whether you’re learning something new from a class or taking the initiative to tackle a project at home, practicing a hobby can improve your quality of life enormously. Looking for something fun to do with a friend or loved one?   Here are a few suggestions when you’re ready to find a fun new hobby to try:   Choose something that boosts your health   It can be challenging to take care of your overall wellness at times, especially when you’re busy taking care of family obligations. Learning to focus on your physical and mental health needs is much easier when it’s fun, however, and that’s where a hobby comes in. Look for one that helps you get active , such as a yoga class, or consider starting a walking group or joining a local organization that allows you access to swim activiti

Decisions, Decisions

  This morning, I stood in my kitchen trying to decide what to make for my son's breakfast. Usually, it's not a difficult decision. I blend oats, nuts, coconut milk, fresh berries, chia seeds, and fresh berries up to put in his tube. But since he's sick again, I thought I might do the chicken soup I made for him yesterday instead. Then, I thought I would make our usual "breakfast' for his lunch feeding and do soup later. It sounds silly in a way, but I just stood there trying to decide which route to take for his food intake today.  Tons of questions were running through my mind. Would the potatoes be too hard on his system? Aren't the eggs really good for him, though, they have tons of stuff in their yokes? Is the chicken too greasy? Then I got a bit frustrated just because I was having to veer off my norms and make a decision. Making decisions for others is not fun, especially when they can't express themselves. I also wanted to take him to a local car sh

The Great Escape

 The caregiving journey, like most journies, is made up of lots of ups and downs. I've "bragged" about it before, but I can go from super duper elated to completely down in the dumps and right back up again in under 10 seconds! Lol. No matter what the scenario, caregiving is not easy. In the best settings, emotions are easily fried, and we can become a frazzled mess, even if we never show it outwardly. Did you ever wonder if there was a way to escape? Escaping for a couple of hours can make a huge positive impact on emotions and help protect the caregiver's mental health. But - who gets to do that? Sometimes, caregivers get respite, but it may be too expensive or just not be provided.  No one will argue with how difficult caregiving is. But we know that in the midst of the hard spots, there are some wonderful memories and emotions too. Precious moments with our loved ones are invaluable. Fortunately, they are not always tainted with pain or worry. Wouldn't it be g

Celebrate the Small Stuff

  A couple of weeks ago we got on the C-train. Yes, we both had COVID, after three years of steering clear, we both ended up with it. Being sick is just half of the battle as a caregiver. With the fatigue of being sick and trying to push through that to take care of Chris, I just didn't have the energy to do any work. My mind was scattered and uncooperative. I ended up missing two weeks of work. This morning, one of the clients I thought I had lost sent me an assignment. It's a low-paying client, but I was so happy to see the assignment come through on my task app! I began to thank God for providing for us. I started thinking about the importance of celebrating the small victories we have each day. It's easy to get swept away with the tasks and responsibilities of caregiving. It's just as easy to be overwhelmed, and many caregivers deal with depression. We can wrestle with a number of negative emotions. When I began to thank God for this small victory, I realized how im

How We Wait

 As I continued reading through the Psalms this morning, I noticed that "waiting" on God came up many times. David often declares that he will wait on God. Sometimes, he was waiting on deliverance or answers. Other times, he was waiting for direction, peace, or victory. I was a little surprised at how many times I read the phrase, even though I talk about waiting on God a lot myself. In the last few verses of Psalm 25, for instance, David declares that he will trust God and that he would wait on Him. These two waiting and trusting  seem to go hand in hand. I may feel completely full of trust for God until I have to wait on Him.  Maybe it's all wrapped up in how we wait. When I get worked up about an issue - caregiving, finances, relationships - it's harder to wait on God. I am a bit hyper and active by nature, so I'm always trying to "do." But sometimes, the most progress is made when I can settle myself down and wait for God to act on my behalf. But tha