Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hope in Christ


As of yesterday, mom is home with hospice.  She had a stroke last week. It was a surprise even with her health problems and they discovered two new brain tumors.

The fact that that I have had peace this week and strength can only be contributed to God.

Two years ago, our father passed away and it seems like that was just yesterday and now we face it again with mom  but we don't face it alone. God is always with us.

Deuteronomy 31:8, The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

I honestly thought that mom would pass away in the hospital, but God allowed her to come home for her final days. We would rather her be here with all of us than at the hospital.

In times like this you are reminded that every single day, minute and second is precious. Every day is a gift from God and every single day His mercies are new. I love Him.

In the darkest times, God's light shines the brightest.  In the darkest times, God's grace deeply abounds and His presence is so evident and His peace passes all understanding. It really is a beautiful and bittersweet time.

If you are a parent, you know how time quickly flies by and before you know it, your child is graduating high school, or college and getting married and having children of their own and suddenly you are a grandparent and you are wondering how in the world your child or children grew up so fast. Really, in a blink of an eye, they are grown and out of the home.

That's how I feel about watching both of my parents in their final days on this earth. Tears and deep sadness can hit you at any moment and I am thankful that God cares about every tear that all of us shed.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Ps. 56:8

He observes them with tender concern. Jesus is so sweet and caring.

Through all mom has been through in her life, mom has always loved God and she will tell anyone who is taking care of her in the hospital about God and she has been a tremendous witness for Him in her suffering.

I am not going to lie, I am a little jealous that she will soon see Jesus face to face. I don't want to lose her but I don't want her to suffer anymore. I know she will be out of pain and no more suffering and no more tears and she will be healed and whole but we will greatly miss her.

It's an odd feeling to think that we will no longer have parents on this earth.

A  few verses that comes to mind right now:

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.  For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thess. 4:14


Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. Romans 8:18

Keep your hope in Christ, He will not fail you. 



Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Blessings




 Amen!

AND a few beautiful photos to end this post. Happy Sunday and may God richly bless you today.








 AND Just because ...:)


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rest

Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Ps. 37:7

Some times you can look at a photo and you can see yourself in the location that the picture was taken.

This picture goes perfectly with the verse written on it.

I can "see" myself on this porch drinking a cup of coffee reading my Bible or sitting on the porch watching a sunrise or sitting here so relaxed that I fall asleep. :)

OR HERE:





It's good to rest in the LORD and wait on Him. It's also easier said than done at times.

In reading this and thinking about the resting and the waiting, some times you can start your day off thinking the "thing" you've been praying about won't happen soon; but  God can surprise you with an IMMEDIATELY or SUDDENLY and then your head will be spinning and then it won't feel like the waiting was long at all and God ushers in the NEW...

But God....

Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had prepared for the people, because the thing came about suddenly. 2 Chron. 29:36




Sunday, May 24, 2015

Friendship


People come and go in and out of our lives for many different reasons. Some are only meant to stay for a season others for a lifetime.

There are some friends that you only see a couple of times in a year but when you get together it's as if you were never apart. 

Some friends travel through similar journeys as you and each of you can encourage each other along the way.

Some friends you have known a life time. Some since high school,

All are a gift from God.

I have a friend who lives in the same town as myself and we are walking very similar journeys. She is caregiver to her elderly dad who is on hospice and we are caregivers to our mom. I won't go into the details but suffice it to say, we know what each other is going through and we both have been doing this for about the same amount of time.

It amazes me how God had our paths cross several years ago and He knew we both would be walking this journey we are on at this present time and He is drawing us even closer through this and it is a gift from God.

Now, God has a sense of humor. For example: Neither of us get to leave home for very long and it's usually to go run errands, grocery store etc... 

One Friday night, I decided to do my grocery shopping and get it out of the way. Even though it was late and I was exhausted, I decided to go and get it all finished.

My friend and I pull into the gas station and as we are almost done and getting ready to leave, here comes my friend. We both got out of our cars and hugged each other and laughed at funny it was to see each other that time of night and of all places the gas station. It was very cold that  night but we stayed by the gas pumps catching up, sharing life and laughing. 

We have been meaning to get together to have lunch but due to mom's health and my brother having health issues it hasn't been possible.

Yesterday, I had to go out and shop for mom's birthday. 

I am rarely at the mall but yesterday I was looking for pajamas and we walked into TJMaxx and didn't see anything and then we walked all over the mall and couldn't find anything and we decided to go through TJMaxx one more time. 


As I was walking through the purse section, I look up and there is my friend. Lora. We both were surprised to see each other and excited! 

She left to go to her home and get a gift she had for my friend and myself and we waited on her in the store,

By the dressing rooms we stood there visiting with each other and catching up with her dad and her family and vice versa.

The thing that amazes me is that it wasn't a coincidence, it was all God and His perfect timing.

Another thing that amazes me, God knew we both needed to see each other and visit with each other even if it was at the mall by the dressing rooms.*grin*

Another thing that amazes me, we both are going through difficult seasons but when we get together and talk about it all, we laugh and it hit me yesterday, if we can both go through what we are going through and still laugh, that is a  miracle and a gift from God and we are going to make it through this with God and each other. 

This saying is so true, "what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger." Amen. :) 

I'm so thankful to God for blessing me with a great friendship with Lora. She is a true gift from God.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Embracing the New

I have heard and I have read in so many places we need to embrace our place  and bear fruit in whatever season God has chosen to put us. Very true. Embracing the place you are in keeps our attitude in check and keeps  us from grumbling and complaining

This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples .John 15:8

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, Philippians 2:14


Today, I was thinking that it's also good to embrace the new things God wants to give us.

Embrace new beginnings.

I was reading a post from Beth Moore and my friend  actually shared it on Twitter today and even though I read that post when Beth had written it, I read it again and this time I took my time in reading it and I gleaned more from it today than when I first read it.

You can read Beth's post HERE.  The blog post title: Letting Go of What's Dead.

I said, I gleaned more from rereading it today than when I first read it, here is the reason why.....

Yesterday, I was preparing to have my prayer time and I felt God leading me to open this bin that I had stored old journals in and books and Bibles that I longer use or for that matter, that I can longer read because of my vision. Anyway, I picked up a few journals and was reading a few things I had written and then I picked up a book and opened it up and a piece of paper fell out.

It was something that I had printed off and I don't know who wrote it but here is what it said:

God doesn't call subs. How that spoke to me. I hope it encourages those of you who are waiting. Stay in His Word, talk to Him about your dreams and desires. He called you and He placed that desire in your heart. There are no accidents. Be ready girls! You never know when He will pick up your game piece and set you in a new place! Be ready at a moments notice!

I realized that it still hurts that we lost our home in 2009, and some of things we had to leave behind. I have given God those hurts and disappointments and told God that I am ready for the "new" whatever that may be. I can't get back what was left behind but God can sure bring something new into my life and my family's life that will be His very best for us.

If you read Ephesians 1, you will read that God is in charge of everything. In charge of it all. He has the final word on everything!

I guess, I am writing this for those who have lost hope. Continue to pour out your heart to God. Tell him your hurts, disappointments, your dreams  or desires and leave it with God. God will give you His very best. He is a God of restoration and you can be waiting and waiting and waiting for God to answer you or provide for whatever you need, etc... and then suddenly....God moves.

We just have to be ready to move with Him when He moves or when He tells us to move. :)

Embrace your place but also embrace the new when God brings it into your life.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Life with Dementia

Dementia:
 chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning

I have decided I am going to journal this time with mom. I want to do it for our family and I want us to be able to look back on the goodness and faithfulness of God through this time.

Mom has brain cancer along with dementia. My brother and myself and a friend, who is more like family have been caring for mom for two years in our home since our father passed away. The anniversary of his death is this week along with what would have been mom and dad's 53rd wedding anniversary. Dad passed away two days before their wedding anniversary.



We have seen a rapid decline in mom's health in the last year. She had a cataclysmic event in her life and it was a seizure that was so bad that the doctors thought she wouldn't make it through the night but God had other plans for mom. We don't understand it but God says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8.

Her personality has changed and she doesn't really do much since her last seizure coupled with the fact that she was given a behavioral medicine that she was allergic to and that almost killed her.

She has had so many setbacks with seizures and reactions to medicine that she can't do anything unassisted. Some days she needs help with feeding herself. She uses a wheelchair because she can't walk much. She takes a few steps and that's it. Usually, she has to be picked up and put in her wheelchair or she would fall in the floor.

I hurt my back a year ago trying to get her off the toilet and I am not able to pick her up at all. My friend and my brother are both suffering physically from holding her up to go to the bathroom or get in her chair or get in bed.

She is on  new medicine for nerve pain in her feet. She has constant pain. She can't hear very well and she can't find her words on most days and she has many moments of not remembering how to step over to her chair or how to feed herself and she forgets how that she's washed her hair while in the shower and she has such a hard time with remembering how to bathe herself. We have to constantly repeat instructions to her. We try to allow her to do it herself because it's good for her as long as she can but we are there to assist her with anything she needs.

It's very hard to watch. Two years ago she was walking some unassisted and home health was able to rehabilitate her and that gave mom strength. After about eight weeks, she would be  back at square one and home health would have to come  out all over again for a few months.An unending cycle.

This time it's different. Home health therapists are not able to hold her up and mom just can't do this anymore. I know how bad she wants to but she can't do the things they ask of her.

With her dementia, she thinks things are happening that aren't really happening. She becomes angry and violent. Behavior not typical for mom but typical for someone with dementia.

We have tried our very best to care for her and keep her out of a nursing home.

It's getting harder and harder to be able to do this. We have lost half our income in caring for mom and that is added to the stress and anxiety along with her health issues.

We haven't been to church but a few times in the last two years and we feel like shut-ins. A lot of people don't understand why it's so difficult to go to church but it takes three people to handle mom and we just can't be there.

When dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, I had just started as a team leader at church for the prayer ministry and we were involved in small groups etc... that all came to a halt when we had to immediately start caring for mom.

 I don't expect anyone to understand what we are going through if you haven't been in our shoes. We all go through hard times. I am very aware that people are going through harder things than we are and life is just hard. However, the top priority is taking care of mom

God has  reminded me of how short life is and it really is as short as a vapor. People matter to God. How we treat each other, how we love each other matter to God. I have a friend going through something similar with her spouse and she has been out of church for over a year and was able to go to church for the first time in a year last Sunday. I was so happy for her. She finally got the help she needed in caring for her husband so she could go out and do some things on her own.

I miss church. I grew up in church. I miss being with a church family. It's hard. I miss mom's life she had before this last, life changing seizure. I hate that she had to go through this.

Mom gets cards from two people. A group of ladies at her former church and a cousin living in another state. That's it.  People with dementia like to be social, even if it's just through sending a card or a phone call.  That's hard because mom can't get in an out of a car without a lot of effort anymore, She always asks me to buy one card for her cousin and I end up writing in the card but I read to her what I have written and then I mail it for her and she is as happy as she can be. :)

On some days, mom will have a good day. By that, I mean a day where she is awake and acting like her normal self. It's so bizarre.

There are a lot of different emotions that come with caring for an elderly parent. There are times of pure exhaustion and there are times we would like to get away for a dinner or a weekend. That is where help would be nice.

It's okay for us to say we are tired. It's okay to want( need )a break.  When mom says things to us in her anger or violent episodes, that's hard to not take personal but every doctor has told us, "don't take it personal." We are handling it better now than we did in the beginning and we were told those who care for her full time are usually the ones that get the brunt of verbal attacks. We found this to be true.

Dementia robs the entire family.

One thing I miss the most, seeing mom read her Bible. I miss this for her, because I know she wishes she could read.  After her last seizure her vision hasn't been the best and she can't really read or focus anymore. Anyone who knows mom,  knows she read her Bible every day. Any given day, you could walk into their home and mom would have her Bible on her lap and she always prayed.

I have heard so many elderly people say that at their stage in life all they could do is pray. I say, it's a gift and a ministry all in itself. It's the most important thing any of us can do.

All of this reminds me of this section in Scripture:

Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”—
2before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;
3when the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop,
when the grinders cease because they are few,
and those looking through the windows grow dim;
4when the doors to the street are closed
and the sound of grinding fades;
when people rise up at the sound of birds,
but all their songs grow faint;
5when people are afraid of heights
and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
and the grasshopper drags itself along
and desire no longer is stirred.
Then people go to their eternal home
and mourners go about the streets. Ecc. 12:1-5

I still hear mom praying at times after she has gone to bed.

That makes me smile. For her and me. :)

To be continued.....


Monday, May 4, 2015

Off the Beaten Path

Yesterday, God blessed our area with  gorgeous weather and at the last minute, I decided to pack for a picnic and head to the mountains.

It was a beautiful drive and we decided to go off the beaten path and stay away from some of the more popular picnic areas and it was nice and quieter.

However, the first place we stopped looked very nice, we got out of the car and I went to the bathroom while the rest of the family found a table and unpacked the car. I came out of the bathroom and walked down to the spot and there were so many gnats that you couldn't hold your head up. At that point, I was looking around to see what died. :)

I made the quick decision to pack it up and find another place.

We found a small and quiet part of the Park and really only two drawbacks:

1. The road to get there was gravel and full of pot holes. They did put up a sign that said, Warning: damaged road. We went ahead anyway because at this point and time it was around two o'clock and we were starving. None of us had eaten much before we left.

2. The bathroom. I haven't seen a bathroom like that since I went to Colorado and near the continental divide was a bathroom that was basically a hole in the ground. Same here. At least it was clean and they had toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

The tables were nice. The area was flat and each spot had a grill and the creek was beautiful. I love to listen to the water. It was very peaceful. As soon as I sat down, I saw a deer running by the stream.

Some times you have to go off the beaten path to find some of the most beautiful places.

Tuber on Pigeon River




Island - left side

We are so blessed to live in this area.

Have a wonderful week!