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Showing posts from May, 2023

The Supposed To's

 Do you ever feel haunted by "supposed to" thoughts? I'm pretty sure none of us grew up thinking we'd be spending our years as a caregiver, even though most of us thought at least at some point that we'd provide some level of care for our parents as they aged.  But here we are, taking care of our loved ones. It may not have been our dream, but it is our reality today. Our parents were supposed to  grow old, retire, and do all the fun things they put on hold while they were raising their kids, right? Our kids were supposed to go to college, get jobs, and build lives and families of their own. But things don't always work out like they are supposed to, do they? I think that dealing with some of the things that were supposed to happen according to what we all deem as "normal" is one of the hardest parts of caregiving. Thinking along those lines can bring on depression quickly. If I don't nip it in the bud, it can escalate until I am in an emotional

The Welcome Mat

Lately, I've been studying on prayer and meditating on the various passages. One thing I've noticed is that there are so many different types of prayers scattered throughout the Bible. They are not all made in distress. Some are purely giving thanks. They range in content based on the pray-er's unique situation. But this morning, I found myself reading Solomon's prayer as he completed the building of the temple. The prayer he offered as he dedicated the structure to God was beautiful. God immediately filled the temple with His glory, so He must have been pleased! But there was this one little phrase that hung in my thoughts. The entire prayer is worth the read as it is a heartfelt display of King Solomon. So, take a minute to check out 2 Chronicles 6 because it'll give you a lot of food for thought! Verse 29 is the one that caught my heart as I was reading this passage today. In the verses preceding this one, Solomon talks about all sorts of struggles, challenges, o

Earth Shattering

 This morning, my mind was racing with all sorts of stuff. We all live in a very hectic world. There's a lot going on, even if we weren't caregivers. Add caregiving responsibilities, choices, and tasks to this hectic lifestyle, and it's easy to become completely overwhelmed. Just taking care of another whole person is overwhelming most of the time, right? As I realized my mind was racing so much around so many things I need to do and choices I need to make, I grabbed for a scripture. It's familiar, and we mention it a lot on this blog. Psalm 46:10 reminds us to be still  and, at the same time for us to know He is God.  Those two things helped me calm my heart and mind. I had to first be still . That takes a lot of work for me! Lol. I'm not sure I can fully acknowledge Him as God until I can get my mind out of hyperdrive, though.  Once I thought of the scripture, I opened up my Bible to take another look at the entire psalm. The first verse is another anchor for my s

Before and Behind

 The last few weeks, I've been working on my morning routine. It's funny how as a caregiver, routine is everything and nothing all at the same time. Having a routine is usually a good thing for our loved ones - depending on the nature of the care they need. But inside that routine, we have to allow for flexibility. So, I took the early morning hours to do some changeups. That's when I get my devotions in, and I try to get my walk in too. That way, those days that get super busy super fast don't make me shuffle the things important to my own mental, physical, and spiritual health.  In the shift, I've found that some things are going much smoother. Other things, not so much. Lol. So, I'm ahead - but I'm still behind at the same time. Man, that doesn't seem fair, does it? But alas, it's the caregiver's life! How in the world I can feel accomplished and defeated at the same time is beyond reason. Yet, that's right where I find myself day after da

More Than a Glance

Each caregiving journey is unique. There are, of course, a few elements that are going to be similar, no matter what the specific dynamics are in each situation. One problem I've had to overcome is taking my son out in public. It seems that state parks and outdoor venues are more comfortable, and honestly, the people we encounter are friendlier and more likely to offer help if I need it. This last weekend at Red Rock Canyon, several people offered to take photos of us. That was such a kind gesture.  But in the day-to-day setting, it's not always that "comfortable." People of all ages tend to stare. A lot. I get it when kids stare, I just wish parents would encourage them to ASK!! Instead, they often push them along. I don't know which is worse, being ignored, shunned, or avoided. I don't like to be uncomfortable, and I don't like making others feel uncomfortable, so we avoid going out a lot.  I have one place I like to go, but the door is so difficult to n

The Unseen

 As caregivers, much of our day goes unseen. We may often get invites for various activities without anyone realizing what all it takes to get us there. For many of us, it's not as easy as just jumping in the car and heading out. Behind the scenes, there is a lot of planning that goes into the shortest, simplest trips, even to the grocery store. Over time, we can get our processes down so that it becomes a little easier - but others have no idea what all goes into it.  The other day, I was trying to get home in time to tutor a student. They had already arrived by the time I got to my apartment. I felt so vulnerable as I unloaded my son from the van and took him inside. Like they were getting a minute view into my caregiving side. I felt so - uncovered. It was almost as uncomfortable as feeling naked in public. LOL - not quite, though. (blush) So, it took a lot for me to start making a few reels around my caregiving tasks. It turns out that people respond well to it. I've not go

Streams in the Desert

 The other day, I was having a great conversation with a friend via Messenger. He's a young man who is hungry for the word, so he had lots of questions. We were talking about Elizabeth and Mary and how both of their pregnancies were miracles but in different ways. By now, you know I have a "Google mind," as one of my friends says it. You say a phrase, term, or thought, and she says my mind opens up about 20 tabs, ready to go whichever direction the conversation leads. Lol. It's true, I must admit. I immediately thought of Hannah and how she prayed for a baby. God gave her a prophet, just like God gave Elizabeth the prophet John the Baptist. Then, I thought of Rachel praying for God to give her a baby, and she birthed Joseph, who would be instrumental in saving the nation. It started to seem to me that God has a wonderful way of turning a barren, dry, hurtful situation into new birth and life. He takes a barren womb and gives it life. As I continued studying this conce

Small Miracles

  I think we all hope for miracles. The caregiver may do this more than anyone. We read about some wonderful miracles Jesus did in the gospels. We even see miracles scattered throughout the Old Testament. Well, it all began with a BIG miracle, didn't it? I pray for a miracle touch for Chris every single day. And while he is consistently, continuously improving, I'm not seeing the "rise up and walk" miracle I've dreamed about. This morning, during my prayer time, I was praying for my son, for people who have been on my heart, and even for you, my fellow caregivers. As I prayed, I wondered why we don't see the miracles we know God can do. Early on in my caregiving journey, that was a great source of frustration: knowing that He can, but hasn't.  Then, my mind shifted to the fact that I was still praying. I had this thought: it's a miracle that I am still praying - that I still have faith even in great adversity. Even though life has had its unexpected tu

True Accessibility

Many caregivers care for loved ones with mobility issues. My son, for instance, is in a chair. My aunt, whom I took care of, walked with the aid of a cane or walker and still needed some assistance many days. Many places follow the "letter of the law" by adding accessibility features like ramps. But it doesn't take long to discover that even though they say they are "accessible" they are far from it. One business we went to has a very steep, short ramp to use to get into their building. It's accessible - but not safe, especially for older caregivers like me who need to push 200 pounds up that ramp! Lol. Calling ahead is no help. Most places will tell you that you can get a chair in their establishment. They fail to communicate what it may take to do so! One hotel told me I could get my son's chair in any downstairs room. And I could, but that was it. I could only get it in the room and turn the chair next to the bed to transfer him. He had no access to t

I Triple-Dog Dare You!

 During my personal devotions this morning, I found another gem. I call these "gems" because they are powerfully valuable. For so long, religion demanded that we squelch our feelings and emotions. Many of us grew up in an environment where if we "felt" anything, it was declared a lack of faith. Extremists labeled us as faithless if something bad happened to us. So those with situations were shunned by religious folks who silently shook their heads instead of offering a prayer and a hand up. Hopefully, you don't have a clue what I am talking about. But for those who do - finding out that our Bible heroes actually had feelings and emotions is helpful. Their faith carried them through their struggles - not around them. So, this morning, as I was reading a familiar passage in Lamentations 3, I found this phrase that stuck out to me. I was turning to read once again about how God's mercies (plural) are new every morning. I found a passage very similar to the one

Buttered Steps and Slippery Biscuits

 This morning, I was working on a couple of new devotionals that I hope to have ready to put in my bookstore soon. One of the things I was studying was how God orders our steps. I pulled out an old-school Stong's concordance, which is still based in King James. I found this very interesting phrase listed out of Job. It said, "I used to wash my steps with butter...." I had to look it up to see what in the world it was talking about!  I opened to Job 29 and started reading, and soon realized that Job was mourning his former life. He was listing out what his life looked like before he lost his children, his riches, and his health. In verses 2 through 6, he says, I long for the years gone by when God took care of me, when he lighted the way before me, and I walked safely through the darkness. In my early years, the friendship of God was felt in my house. The Almighty was still with me, and my children were around me. In those days, my cows produced milk in abundance, and my o

Pour It Out

  Lately, it sure feels like my proverbial plate is full. And by that, I mean it just feels a lot fuller than normal. Thoughts run through my head like traffic on busy highways. And yes, that is plural highways, because my mind has a LOT of traffic. Lol. Somehow, it just feels like things are stacking up - not bad things, necessariy, just things. Some days it's a constant struggle to keep my mind captured and under the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) I can't even say it's worrying, it's just a lot of individual "stuff" that has to be dealt with every single day. That's caregiving, though, right? So, this morning, when I "found" this verse in Psalms, I was like - man, do I need to do that today!  David says in Pslam 62:8, O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out you heart  to Him, for God is our refuge. (NLT) I stopped to think for a minute about the practicality of pouring out my heart before Him. My first thought was, does He r

Held Up

 One thing I hear from caregivers a lot is that there is often not enough help. Recently, I requested a few hours of respite just because I literally have zero breaks. For many of us, it's a 24-7 deal. Even for those whose loved ones can be left alone for any amount of time, it's still rough. Someday, I'd like to go somewhere and not feel like I have to watch the clock so closely. Even if we are given a few minutes or hours to ourselves, we can't turn "off" all the caregiving switches. Right? Who will admit to running caregiving errands while you are being relieved by a sitter or another caregiver? (We all do.) Anyone who tells you that caregiving is easy - just hasn't done it yet. It is indeed a labor of love. It may be instinctual. It is what we do. But the journey is rocky and rough at best, even if things go smoothly for 10 minutes now and then. (Lol.) So many factors feed into a single day; it's quite overwhelming, at best, even when things are go