Trying to make it through life with His help.

Posts tagged ‘Lord’

Being Thankful for Family

Whew! I’m not sure what it is about Sundays, but two weeks in a row now, my Mom has had a bad day on a Sunday. Maybe it’s that she’s put up with not “going home” for another week, and she’s gotten tired of it, and decides that today’s the day!, and she tries to do something about it. I don’t know, I just don’t know.

Sunday morning began, for me, being awakened by my Dad. He came in my room and told me that Mom had just called my cousin Martha, (who was named after my Mom, and just happens to be a nurse), to come get her and take her home. Being the sweet person she is, she told Mom that she was on her way and would come get her. So, a little while later, she and her husband arrived at our house.

They came inside, bringing our Sunday paper with them. (See? That’s sweet. Not everyone would have brought it in with them.) She and Mom went into the living room while her husband, Jerry, Dad and I stood in the dining room and talked for a little bit. A few minutes later, Martha and Mom came back out, and said they were going for a little drive.

Mom and Martha were gone for a while. She drove Mom all around, seeing familiar places, and talking the whole time. You can easily see that Martha is good at what she does. She’s so sweet and patient, and knows what to say, and when to say it.

It’s comforting to have family around when you need them. The Lord knows who you need when you need them. Not that any of my other family members wouldn’t have done the same thing. I truly believe that anyone Mom would have called that morning would have dropped what they were doing and come to see her just because she asked them to. That’s just one of the great things about having such a big ol’ wonderful and loving family.

I know things with Mom aren’t going to get any better. I know they could if that’s what the Lord wanted. Wouldn’t that be wonderful to receive a miracle like that? I know He can do anything He wants to do, and I wish he would give my Mom back to us. But I don’t know what His will is, so all I can do is just pray for it to be done. I have asked for us to be put on every prayer list I can think of. So, there are enough people agreeing for something to happen. I did hear from two different people this week that there is actually a promising cure for Alzheimer’s and Dementia now. But, of course, it’ll take years upon years for the FDA to approve it and get it out to those who need it, IF they ever approve it at all. So, I know it’s possible. Plus, I heard ‘my’ song today, “God is On The Move”, by 7eventh Time Down. It’s just a little reminder to me that He’s still there taking care of me and all that is around me. His way of telling me He’s got this.

Do you have something you feel that the Lord uses to get your attention? Something that happens where you think, “OK, God, I know you’re there. Thanks for watching over me, yet again.”? If you’ll just listen, I bet you’ll experience God.

Thanks for listening.

Being Terrified

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You’d think after my last post, (YESTERDAY), I might be better at not worrying, right? Well, that’d be a big ol’ NOPE!

Geez. Things hit you out of left field when someone you love has dementia. As I was leaving to go to church today, my Mom asked if she could come with me. I was a bit taken aback because she stopped going to church a few years ago for various medical reasons. I asked, “You want to go to church with me?” She said, “No, I thought you could take me somewhere. I’m not supposed to say it, but I thought maybe you could take me home.” (She’s been asking us for weeks now when we were going to go home. They have lived in the same house for 52 years, so, we’re not sure exactly where she’s wanting to go.) Once again, I told her if she could tell me where it was, I would gladly take her there. She turned around, waving her hands, and shaking her head, saying, “Never mind. Just never mind.”

Dad told me to go on to church, it would be ok. So, I made the short drive to church. One of the first things my teacher does is take prayer requests. So, I asked her to put my Mom and Dad on the list. I wanted to say more, but tears welled up in my eyes and I couldn’t get anything else out. We went on with the lesson, and my phone tumblr_lle1iri7zy1qbatwqo1_1280buzzed. I got up and out of the room as soon as I could, but I missed the phone call. It was from my Dad. I knew something must have happened because he wouldn’t have called me otherwise. I listened to the voice message. Mom had disappeared. She had walked off and he couldn’t find her. I could hear the fear and worry in his voice, which is such an unusual thing for my Dad, who has always been so strong. I ran back in the room, gathered my things and ran out.

By this time, I was barely able to see because of the tears. I knew I was going to have to pull it together, at least enough to drive home. As I walked to my car, two young men came up to me and asked if I was ok, and if there was anything they could do. I quickly explained what had happened and asked them to just please pray that she would be ok. Once I got out of the church parking lot, I didn’t have to stop at all – a total miracle since there’s at least eight stop lights between church and home. I tried not to speed, (much), but it was difficult. At one point I thought it might be a good thing if I was pulled over, then I could get the Officer to help find her. But, I just wanted to get home and make sure my Mom was found and ok.

When I was a few miles from home, my Dad finally answered his cell phone and told me that he had found her. She had walked five houses down the street to a neighbor’s house…in 90° heat. We live in an older neighborhood, where the houses aren’t stuck so close together you can reach out the window and touch your neighbor. There’s actually room to roam. You know, like neighborhoods used to be 50+ years ago. So, this wasn’t just a few feet, but closer to a quarter of a mile. That may not sound like it’s too far, but for an 85 year old who can’t walk well, that’s a LONG way. Thankfully the neighbor, a woman who’s children I had grown up with, was home and brought Mom back to us.

Apparently, Mom had wanted to go “Home” so badly, that she was willing to strike out on her own to get there. I later found out that she had told Dad that she would walk until she dropped to get there. So, when he left the room for a few minutes, she did just that. Thankfully she didn’t drop, though, or get too far.

As much as I would like to tell you that I didn’t worry, or fear, I’d be lying if I did. And, I’m not going to do that. Heck, I’ve already told you that I cried all the way home, which doesn’t exactly mean I was too confident. I knew He was with me. I talked to Him all the way home. But, I think that being strong and confident in the Lord is something that most of us have to work on, or build up to. We’re so used to doing things for ourselves and/or relying on someone else to do things, that relying on Him isn’t necessarily the first thing we think of. Even though it should be. I’d really rather not have to be tested on this again, but I think it’s the only way we learn to trust him fully. I just hope I get better at it sooner than later, because I’m not sure my heart can take too many more days like today.

Thanks for listening.

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Being Troubled

John 14 (KJV)

14 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

When I started thinking about this post, I looked at an online Thesaurus for words that could mean “worried”, but not have the same feeling as worried. Because, I really do try not to worry about things. I mean, that’s what He tells us to do, right? He tells us to “Fear not…” 365 times in the Bible. Do you think that He would have said it that many times – one for each day of the year! – if He didn’t have things covered? He keeps telling us that He’s got this, and yet we still worry and fear.

I’ll confess to you that since my Mom’s dementia has continued to get worse, I find myself worrying about what is to come. To be my age and still have both of my parents is something of a miracle in itself, I think. When I find myself worrying, or even trying to figure out what to do if ‘this’ or ‘that’ happens, I remind myself that He has already got it all planned out, and no matter how tragic it seems at the time, what ever happens will be the best way it could have happened, and all will fall into place as He sees fit. Remember that “Thy Will Be Done” part of the Lord’s Prayer? That’s what I try to remember throughout all of this. But, it can be difficult…

It’s gotten to the point where we shouldn’t leave my Mom alone, at least not too long. She forgets where you’ve gone, and in the last year or so she’s become more unstable on her feet, so she could fall and hurt herself and no one would be there to help her. Again, I get it, we’re worrying about things that could happen. But, even though I know He’s watching over her every step, He still expects us to be responsible and help ourselves out. So, we don’t leave her on her own for too long, or too often.

Every week, it seems there’s something new. This week, she’s started wanting to sleep upstairs in the den instead of downstairs in her bed. We haven’t figured out the reasoning behind this yet, but, so far, we’ve been able to talk her into going downstairs. For me, it’s because she could get up during the night, and fall down the few steps going downstairs. Just think about how disoriented you are if you wake up in the middle of the night, then multiply that by about 100, and that’s how she feels. She can barely stand up by herself, she’s still mostly asleep, which means she’s disoriented, and then add in that she’s very unsteady on her feet, and, the probability of her falling is extremely high. If that were to happen, we might not hear her fall. And, even though as she keeps reminding me, “I’m still the mother.”, {smile}, I can’t sleep knowing she may fall and hurt herself during the night if she’s not where she should be. Last night I determined that I would just sleep up there with her, but thankfully Daddy got her to go downstairs.

I’m not sure what exactly I’m trying to get across here, but the thing is, for many of us, we just feel helpless as our parents get older. I believe I may be in the minority of those who feel responsible to help their parents out. The world isn’t as it used to be when I was growing up. Far from it. We’re all so busy with our own lives that we don’t have time for those who mean the most, or those who should mean the most.

Actually, other than the fact that we shouldn’t worry about things as much as we do, I do know that what I’m trying to get across to anyone out there willing to listen. It’s that you should build a good relationship with your parents, (and grandparents), before it’s too late. I know there are those of you out there who feel you can’t for one reason or another. And, it may not be your fault. But, make the effort. If you don’t, you may regret it.

I’m in a unique position in that I live with my parents. So I’m with them every day. Do I wish I had my own place? Sure. Do I have a job that would allow me to do that at the moment? No. Do they need me here with them, and are they glad I’m here? Yes, very much so to both questions. I like to think of it being a mutually beneficial situation. 🙂 I ask myself all the time if I didn’t live with them, would I see them often? I would like to think I would. But, I also understand that “life” gets in the way and we don’t always do what we should or need to do. There’s always tomorrow, right? No, Scarlett, not necessarily. Tomorrow isn’t promised.

Let’s not forget grandparents. I grew up, for the most part, without any grandparents. So, when my ex-husband practically refused to spend time with his grandmother because she was almost deaf, I couldn’t understand it. I knew it was difficult, but I also knew that eventually he might regret not spending time with her. When it comes to your grandparents, please, oh, please, don’t forget about them. Make the time to go see them as often as you can. They love you like no one else. Listen to what they have to say. There’s wisdom there, there’s stories of their childhood that no one else may know. They have lived through so much more than you realize, and you need to hear it. I really think you’ll be amazed. Pull out the box of old photos that every grandparent has and go through it with them. Each photo represents a snippet of their life. If you don’t know the people in the photos, ask!, before it’s too late and they don’t remember.

The Bible says, “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2-3).

I think for now, in writing this all down, I’m just hoping that if there’s someone else out there who is going through something similar, you will know that you’re not alone. Not only are there others out there who share the same experiences, He’s there for you, too, if you’ll just let Him be. He will never push you into letting Him in, it’s totally your choice. But, He can, and will, do so much for you. Just let go, and let Him.

Thanks for listening. 🙂

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Being Heartbroken

My Mom has dementia.

The first real signs of it were several years ago when I was in the hospital. Dad and I, for the most part, put her behavior and forgetfulness down to the fact that she was very tired and worried about me. And, while being tired and worried certainly didn’t help, it was the first time I saw my sweet Mother confused about what she was confused about. That’s the only way I can describe it.

Over the years, it has steadily gotten worse. Since I lived in Atlanta at the time, I didn’t see her on a regular basis. It wasn’t until I moved home that I saw first hand the steady decline of her memory. It started out with her not being able to remember the word she was trying to say. I can’t remember a time when my Mom didn’t have a crossword puzzle around somewhere, because words had always been fun for her. She still has one around, but, rarely picks it up.

Yesterday when I came home from work, she was busy looking around the house for something. This is common these days. She misplaces things very easily now, and Dad or I have to find them. (Mostly Dad since he’s with her more and knows where her frequent ‘hiding’ places are.) After a while, I asked her what she was looking for, because she kept looking out the door and windows and going outside. She said she was looking for ‘that man’. I told her he was upstairs.

“No, not him. I know he’s there. I’m looking for the other one.”

“Mama, he’s the only one here.”

“I know that.”, she says frustratingly. “The one I’m looking for says his name is David, and that he wants to marry me.”

I smile, knowing, of course, that’s my Daddy. But she’s looking for the ‘young man’ she fell in love with 63+ years ago, not the older man who is upstairs, and loves her even more today than he did back then.

When Daddy comes downstairs for dinner, he tries to explain that he is the one she’s looking for, but she doesn’t quite believe him. She asks him for ‘his’ phone number because he’s got to have it. So, I quickly text my brother and tell him about the situation, just in case she calls him and thinks he’s Daddy from years ago. But, that doesn’t happen, she, at least for the moment, still realizes that my brother is the Jr. of our two Davids, and not the one she’s looking for.

While dementia is a horrible thing for anyone to live with, and those who love them to live through, there are some sweet and funny moments. They’re just so cute when they happen and you can’t help but laugh, which really helps. I’ll give you a couple of examples: When I was in the hospital, they had given me oxycodone pills for the pain. Mom has always been a worrier. I’ve often told her she’s a “Professional Worrier” because when she doesn’t have anything to worry about, she’ll manufacture something! But, that’s my Mom. Anyway, she came to my bed and said, “Do you need one of your oxymorons?” I couldn’t help but laugh. She looked at me strangely and asked me why I was laughing. I told her, “It’s oxycodone, Mom.” To which she replied, “Well, you know what I meant!”, and laughed. Then, just a few weeks ago, I went upstairs where she and Dad were watching tv. I asked them what they were watching. They both answered at the same time, Dad: “American Ninja Warriors”, while Mom came out with “Ninja Turtles”. I couldn’t stop laughing for a while at that one. I don’t even think she knows what a Ninja Turtle is, but she’s heard it somewhere. She’s priceless. Always has been. But, even as difficult as these days have been, and will be, I wouldn’t take anything for the time I get to spend with them both.

Don’t take for granted that someone will always be there, because they won’t. Put down your phone and interact with people, especially your family, and most especially, your parents or grandparents. Unfortunately, they won’t always be there, and believe me, you’re lucky to have them for as long as you will. My brother and I have been extremely blessed to have both of our parents as long as we have. Too many friends lost theirs long ago.

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Honestly, I don’t know where I’d be without my Faith, it’s what gets me through. There are things I worry about, I know better, and try not to because He’s there and has it all planned out much better than I could ever even try to plan it – IF I had any control over it. I have to remember to rely on Him, not me or anything or anyone else. It also helps to write about this, which He told me to do. Amazing how that works, isn’t it? He knows what’s best for us, and if we’d just listen, everything would work out like it’s supposed to.

I should have listened to Him a long time ago and been writing all this down. Apparently, writing is my therapy. 🙂  Thanks for listening.

 

Being Thankful

I have always had a blessed life.

FamilyI have two wonderful parents who are still married after almost 60 years, who love me and want to see me succeed, a big brother who knows all things car-related, with whom I am thankfully growing closer, who is raising a nephew who is so smart and well-rounded and a joy to watch grow up and an extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins that for many people might be just a little ‘too much’. But for me, they’re exactly enough. We are an eclectic and FUN! bunch, to say the least.

I know Thanksgiving has passed, but I have so much to be thankful for that I just felt like writing about it.

Christmas Eve is my absolute favorite day, and has been for as long as I can remember. This is the one time that, guaranteed, practically my whole family gets together. Of course the only other times this happens – as in most families – is for weddings and funerals. But at least this one night a year, we eat and talk and generally just have a great night of enjoying each other’s company. This Christmas Eve, we even had a snowball fight indoors. One of my cousins had bought a container of 40 snowballs, fake ones of course, and right before we ate, he and some others started throwing them around the room at people! Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera in hand, so I didn’t get photographic evidence. But it was hilarious. I’m guessing this might start a new ‘tradition’, but we’ll have to wait until next year to see.

After we’ve eaten, and the little ones have opened their presents, it’s time for the annual Dirty Santa game to start. If you don’t know what that is, then just click on the link for Dirty Santa and read the rules. What goes on during the game is hilarious! The more ‘stealing’ of presents that goes on, the better the game. It’s a lot of fun to try and figure out what will turn out to be the best gift of the night. This may or may not be a gift that is appropriate or even something most would want out on display… but it’s the one that either most people want, or gets the biggest laugh. Either way, it’s a lot of fun. This I do have photographic evidence of, but, I can’t post them here in order to protect the ‘innocent’.

Christmas is and always should be primarily to celebrate the birth of Christ. I mean, that’s what started it all, isn’t it? Not some jolly man who lives at the North Pole making gifts to give out to children. It’s a nice concept, but truly, if Jesus hadn’t been born, many of us would be living WAAAAY different lives. Some of us live a Christian life, go astray for a while, then find our way back, and are, (thankfully!), accepted into the arms of our loving Lord again.

But it’s hard to celebrate Christmas and not think of getting together with friends and family or the giving and receiving of gifts. But I think the giving of gifts may have started with the birth of Christ, with the three wise men. As long as we remember the Reason for the Season, I think we’re doing ok. However, wouldn’t it be nice if we could remember the reason for the season all year long, not just one or two days of the year? If we would live like it was Christmas every day, then I think our world, and possibly the world around us, would change dramatically.

Maybe we could each come up with a little reminder, print it out and put it somewhere we would see it every day to remind us to act like every day is Christmas. You could put it on the mirror in your bathroom, in your car so you could see it on the way to work, at your desk at work, on the refrigerator door… just any where you think you might need a little reminder during the day. It would remind us to treat those we see each day as we would during the Christmas Season. The reminder could be something as simple as the word Remember, or Christmas! or even a short phrase like Every Day is Christmas or Treat Every Day as Christmas or what ever you might come up with that would work for you.

This world is hard enough to live in these days, and in my opinion having a better attitude during the day can only help. If something as simple as putting up a personal reminder for you to see during your day helps you, then I say go for it! Then, if someone asks what it is, you can tell them and maybe it will help them, too.

Print me:

Treat Christmas

Tomorrow is the first day of my new life.

On Friday, September the 13th, I was laid off from work. This didn’t come as a complete surprise to me. I mean, there’s only so long you can have nothing to do at work and still expect to have a job, right? I helped other departments with filing and was doing some data entry for a new program being implemented. But, they could find anyone to do that. I just wasn’t needed any more. After 14 years, that’s what it came down to. My team of three was over-staffed by one. And this time, it was me.

Now, you may think I would be pretty upset about this. But, in fact, I’m not. Sure, I’ll miss all the friends I had made there, but that’s not enough to keep you in a place in which you had pretty much become miserable. Most of the people were great. I don’t think there was even one person I didn’t like to be around. (Which wasn’t the case a few years ago!)

You may be asking yourself, “Why, especially in this economy, aren’t you upset about losing your job?” And my answer would be, because I have faith in God. And I know that He has a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11). One that I have no way of grasping yet, and something that only He can make happen.

The last few years at work have been an emotional roller coaster. Being in the industry we were in, there were several layoffs. So, for over five years, we’ve all been waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop, wondering if we were next. We used to dread “Black Thursdays” as they became known, because that was the day they would let people go.

I had survived the layoffs and I have to believe it was for a reason. One I may never know, but He does. His timing is perfect. Often, the daily survival wasn’t easy, either. My boss drove me crazy at times, as many can do. I frequently felt like I was being picked on. (Which, as an adult, is just as frustrating, if not more so, as it was when you were a kid.) It seemed no matter what I did, it was wrong. I would just get into the groove of doing something and liking it and it would be yanked away from me, and I’d be doing something completely different. But, I have to say, that each time this happened, turns out, it was for the best. (God was obviously watching out for me, keeping me there for His reasons, not mine). Also, I’m not one to suffer change quietly…lol  So, if I was unhappy about the change, you pretty well knew it. I might stew about it for a few hours, but I always came around and went with the change.

Right after Labor Day, I had a major attitude adjustment. I knew it was going to be a particularly hard day. So, before going inside the building, I sat in my car for a few minutes listening to The FISH, (a contemporary christian radio station), and said a prayer. I gave the day over to the Lord completely. I knew this was the only way this day could be a good one. My attitude had gotten pretty bad, which isn’t like me. 98% of the time, I’m a very happy, upbeat and positive person. But the last month or so had thrown me for a loop. Change was coming, I just didn’t know how or when exactly.

That day was the first of many great days to come. Actually, it lasted until I was laid off.

When my boss came to me on Friday and said, “I need to talk to you.”, I wasn’t worried. As we started walking down the hall together, I figured out what was about to happen and I thought, “Oh, they’re going to let me go!” (I think I actually smiled!) As unusual as it sounds, I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t anxious. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t even mildly ticked off! And best of all, I didn’t get that sick feeling I think most of us get when something like this happens. I was totally and completely at peace. God had prepared me for it. He had told me to be prepared to leave, and apparently, I was.

Before letting me go, they offered me the chance of another position. This position was in telesales, {sigh}, which just isn’t my forte, at all. Appreciating the effort of trying to keep me employed, I talked to the manager of the department. Honestly, I probably could have told him what he wanted to hear and gotten the position. But I’d have been miserable. And, through out the ‘interview’, I couldn’t shake the “I need to get out of here” feeling, either. God was making it uncomfortable for me to be there any longer than necessary.

So, it took me a while, but I said my goodbyes and left the only company I’d been with since moving to the Atlanta area. Don’t get me wrong, there were tears. And unless you’re someone who has a lot more emotional control than I do, there’s going to be a few tears when saying goodbye to the people you’ve shared 40 hours a week of your life with over the last 14 years. It’s a bit sad that you won’t get to see them as often, or for some, ever again.

There was such a sense of relief, too. I’m hoping my stress level will go down. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been completely relaxed. I think I even sleep tensed-up.

So, to quote a familiar axiom, Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life. I am really looking forward to, and excited about seeing, what the Lord has in store for me. I think from this day forward I will be walking in my destiny. And by keeping my eyes on Him, I will stay on the path He has chosen for me.

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