Saturday, October 12, 2013

Ready for change: Consider Big Tex!

Adapting to something new can be hard.  We recently went to the state fair of Texas. There is a new and “improved” Big Tex who stands high with brand new boots, brand new clothes, and a brand new voice. The old Big Tex built in 1952 caught fire last year and was destroyed.  So the choices were 1. no Big Tex or 2. a new Big Tex.  Some people were devastated over the loss of the traditional one that burnt.  But great measure was taken to assure that this new one is authentic and even better in ways.  Honoring the past doesn’t have to mean never changing anything.  We must be open to new traditions while holding onto the best of the past.  Big Tex is the perfect example of that--it was not a choice to hold on to the past in his case because the old one was gone.  In caring for your parent, you will have to have changes that occur--in their medications, in their living circumstances, in their mobility and abilities to get around and therefore where and when they can go places. I remember the first year my dad did not choose to go the state fair-he was tired all the time and frequently felt weak--it just seemed like too much trouble to him.  I couldn’t believe that he was okay with giving up this lifetime of tradition--we never missed a day at the fair.  But, for him, it was time.  We missed him that first year and we brought him salt water taffy; he was happy (although diabetic!) with that.... Honoring your parent doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing forever--change will be necessary as they age (and as we all age and change).  Hold on to what you can and be flexible with the rest.  In all areas of life, if we learn to be flexible in our control of people and circumstances, it will serve us well.

Friday, October 4, 2013

We recently had a room painted from red to a neutral taupe color. I loved the red color that we painted when we moved in--I chose it and paid to have it painted that color.  But over time, I have grown tired of it... and wanted to update-have something lighter, more neutral, brighten the room.  The transformation was amazing.... doesn’t even look like the same room! Nothing else has changed but a coat of paint.  In just a few hours it went from darkness to light.  It went from dated to updated..  It made me think about how could I update myself?  Is there anything I could “paint about myself” to have a makeover, be refreshed, on the inside that is?  (I wouldn’t mind an outside makeover too but that’s a topic for another day!)  I know that I am changed when I spend time with God.  I have perspective that I do not have when I don’t pray.  I gain a peace in the middle of storms, receive strength that is not my own, am given comfort when feeling sorrowful.... In essence, I am changed when I spend time in God’s word and in prayer.  I have recently had the opportunity to lead some women in prayer and we pray using the ACTS method-
S-Supplication (requests)
Adoration--praising God for WHO HE IS and his character  Confession--in light of His greatness, how do I fall short-recognize it, name it, regret it and ask forgiveness.
Thanksgiving makes me stop and think of all HE HAS DONE (not just his character qualities)... list them out--thankful for the weather, your health, family, ability to walk, think, talk, the Bible, mexican food, the state fair, your pets, your new outfit, twinkies, don’t stop until you can’t think of anything else! And lastly, when you have focused on WHO HE IS, sorry for where you fall short, thankful for what he has done, then you are ready to make your requests to Him which we call supplication. It’s a great way to make a change-from the inside out!

Romans 12: 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I  have many friends these days dealing with hard parent issues--when to take away driving privileges, where/where to change living situations, power of attorney forms, decisions regarding hired help for a parent, is it time for hospice yet, this list goes on and on.  It may seem like you are walking the path alone--especially you only children out there. I keep thinking of a great and famous psalm in which to cling to and perhaps memorize:
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.  (see complete Psalm 23 below!)
The rod and staff refer to the analogy that we are the sheep and that HE is the shepherd. The rod and staff keep the sheep on track-they are instruments to reel them back in when they wander.  I understand that sheep are not smart animals. The cannot find their way alone, not find food or water, not able to distinguish safety from danger.  They need a shepherd to protect and defend them.  He never leaves them alone; He walks alongside them in all situations, by waters for refreshment, near meadows for rest; he even leads then when they have to walk in the darkness.  There is no need to fear evil because he protects them.  We have a heavenly shepherd able to do the same for us.  Even though it feels like we are alone in this journey, we have a good shepherd to walk through with us.  And we have others that we can ask to pray for us when we are having the hard time and we can do the praying when someone else is having the hard time.  Sometimes it feels as though we cannot fix a situation--many times we cannot... but no matter the struggle, we can pray to Him and rely on his word to give us strength.

Psalm 23
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walkthrough the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.You anoint my head with oil;my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
-Psalms 23:1-6 (NIV84)

Monday, September 16, 2013

We have lots of changes in our lives-our married son and his new wife are settling into their new routine; our son that recently went to college is doing well-joining fun groups and meeting new friends! Our daughter who is the only child left at home is now a junior which makes her an upper classroom at her high school--which offers every type of activity you can imagine... So our role as parent is changing quickly and dramatically! I have never been good at transition. I usually like to remain in the status quo... forever if possible, especially if I like the stage I’m in! I remember frequently hoping my kids would freeze and we would enjoy that stage longer. I also remember when my role as being my parent’s child began to change. In regards to my mom, I was newly out of college when she began to decline quickly--I remember being 24 and helping her little fragile body into the bathtub--this wasn’t the way it should be; she had just helped me get through my wedding plans. And with dad, I was much older but still had fairly little kids when he started getting more fragile and stopped driving. Change can be so hard especially when we do not choose it. When WE choose it, we usually have the resolve to push through until we adjust. When we don’t choose it, we may just want to go back to bed! When caring for your parent, there will be
decisions that you don’t choose; there will also be decisions that you may choose that your parent would not choose. Persevere until the new role becomes the new norm. That’s my plan!

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Monday, June 28, 2010

It won't happen to me

It won’t happen to me! I remember in nursing school a very defining moment. It’s been over 20 years and I still remember it. We had a rotation in geriatrics and were going to be working in a nursing home for a period of time. The instructor was sharing information about what this experience would/could look like... She asked for a show of hands from us: who of us thought that we would end up in a nursing home? Not one of us 21 year olds thought it would happen to us. Isn’t that life? The teenager who thinks they won’t be one to get caught, the drinker who won’t get pulled over by the cop, you can fill in the blank.... we all think that it WON’T happen to US.

Don’t you think it is a little like that for the aging parent? We all think/hope/expect that we will be the one to die in our sleep peacefully and never endure a difficult diagnosis. We won’t burden anyone else and will always be self sufficient. We will be the strong one, the one who has everything in perfect order and control over the future. And we certainly won’t be the old person who has strong opinions or speaks negatively! We will age in perfect grace and never burden anyone and then when every piece of paper and relationship is in perfect order, we will die in our sleep. If your parent is suffering from some illness physically or mentally, I can almost guarantee, they did not think it would ever happen to them. SO what can we learn from these unexpected twists and turns in life? I think having patience while serving our parents, realizing that it could indeed be us someday. Also. applying “the golden rule”, by doing to others as we hope they will (or someone filling the job for me) do for me!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Memorable events

Celebrate! We all have had many celebration moments with our parents.... from holidays to graduations, to weddings and babies....The Lord celebrates in the bible with feasts and parties and we too, need to be thankful for those people in our lives and celebrate with them. We need to remember the usual dates such as birthdays and holidays but what about remembering those we love on less emphasized important dates like their parents birthdays (do we even know these or know their parents full names for that matter?), D-day or Pearl Harbor if they served in WWII, or their anniversary (even if the spouse if gone)?

Create a memory! Make a special meal or cake for them.... Watch a home movie together of “the good ole days”...vow to spend some time with them with no cell phone or computer for a certain amount of time. Show them old photos and relive fun memories.

Take their picture! It is true that none of us may look better than we do today so stop waiting for yourself or them to look perfect... capture the moments now. Take individuals of them, take with with your children, take them with

each individual child, .... don’t wait for the perfect set of circumstances--take pictures while you have them!

Luke 15:24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.

2 Chronicles 30:23 The whole assembly then agreed to celebrate the festival seven more days; so for another seven days they celebrated joyfully.

Monday, June 14, 2010

summer vacations

SUMMER REFRESHMENT: Many of you will be leaving town this summer and have the concern of leaving your parent while you are gone. It’s not unlike leaving your kids especially when they were little. You want to get away and perhaps, really need a break, but there is a tug in you that makes you concerned to go. You may also be looking for someone responsible to be checking in on them or even perhaps delivering meals, and for sure someone locally for them to contact in case of emergency. It needs to be just the right person, who really cares and has the same type of judgement as you-discerning what to handle without you and when/if you may really need to be contacted even if on vacation. You don’t need or want to know every detail but don’t want to be isolated if a situation arises that needs your attention.

When you leave, you will be leaving lists and locations and phone numbers. You will plan and coordinate and double check and wake up in the middle of the night to double check again.

But it is important that you GO and get refreshment, even if it seems like alot of work to set things up to be able to go and get away.

Trusting in the Lord to provide the details and coming to him as he calls you to when you feel tired and weary. He is a God of order and cares about the details so call on him to provide for your parent while you are gone.

Proverbs 3: 5 TRUST in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

If you are not able to get away this summer, ask the Lord for refreshment in other ways. It may be in the form of a small unexpected blessing that puts a smile on your face or gives you peace; or a mini vacation that raises your spirits through fellowship with a sweet friend, a funny movie or a great book. Renew your spirit through God’s word every day so that you fill yourself up and have something to give those depend on you!