Loving Beyond

Loving Beyond

Have you had the experience of going way beyond what you imagined you could?

When I was in High School I played Volleyball🏐 and I will never forget the workouts. My Freshman year I was sure I would die. No joke.

We ran, threw up and ran some more.  I adored my coach but she pushed me physically beyond what I could ever imagine I could do.

How about you?  Have you thought you found the end of your physical ability only to be pushed beyond that place?

I look back on those days and remember I would have given up and never learned the extent to which I could push myself. I gave 💯% and then some and I did make it!  My coach knew I would.

I often think of the time I spent caring for my dad in the same way. There were many weeks that I was tired and just wanted to stay home or I was so frustrated, I wasn’t sure how to keep providing the best care for him. 

BUT I was able to keep showing up and loving him.

💕 Love was the most important thing I needed to bring to him in each and every interaction

The journey of caregiving was longer than I first imagined but I’m thankful for the time I had to show Love to my dad when he needed it the most.

At times even Loving him beyond what I thought was possible!

4 Tips for Embracing Goodbyes and Fresh Starts

January is the time of fresh starts.  Many people enjoy a fresh start, I’m not sure that I am one of them. 

To me a fresh start means letting go of what has been normal or at least the known, it might not have been great, or bad, or good, maybe just somewhere in between but it was known and I like that.

Starting things new always leaves me feeling concerned.  Will I be able to do it?  Will I like it as well as the old way?  Will I miss what I have done before?  These are just a few questions that lead to my concern.

I have learned strategies to help me leave the concerns behind and embrace the new:

1. Watch my question/thinking-

The questions we ask ourselves can determine what direction our thoughts go so we need to be aware of those questions. (See Question Thinking for more

When I am feeling concerned about changes I ask myself questions that will help me to see all the possibilities in the new situation.  I also make sure that I don’t allow myself to dwell on the questions that lead down the path of what if.  Stay in the here and now so as not to get stuck in a pit of despair.

2.  Have a Thankful Heart-

We know from brain research that we see more of what we are looking for.  When our focus is on all the blessings in our lives we see even more of them.  They are there whether we are looking for them or not. 
So during a change, I try to take the time to be even more intentional in focusing on all I have to be thankful for. 

If you need some help with this one check out my Review by Rayna on The Kindness Challenge.  It is a great read.

3.  Consult Wise Counsel-

Proverbs 11:14 tells us “Without good direction, people lose their way;  the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.” (The Message)

I’m so thankful for friendships and mentor relationships that poor into my life!  I encourage you to take a look at the relationships in your life that pour into you.  Be sure you have a council of wise souls to walk with you through life and especially change.

4.  Prayer. 

Yep, you probably knew this would be on the list.  When I take the time to listen in prayer then I am always more ready to embrace new. 

The Lord is faithful to meet us where we are and guide us to where He has for us to go.  Seeking His counsel is most important and impactful in my life.

So change is here
A new season has dawned my childhood home is being sold. 
The place I spent 43 years calling home. 
The place I grew up. 
The place I played dolls, studied my spelling words, shot baskets and mowed the grass.
The place I spent hours with my Mom listening to music and caring for her. 
The place I enjoyed ping pong, baseball and loving my Dad well until his last breath will soon be someone else’s home. 
When I think about another family making great memories in our home it makes me smile. 

I am so thankful for all that 18605 E 28th Street South meant to me and my family and I pray it will be a blessing to them also.

As I am grieving this one more loss, I am trying to stay focused on the blessings of now!  I have wonderful memories of a great childhood, lots of hugs and kisses, and a home that has been there for a really long time.  More importantly, I have a home with Farmer, filled with love, laughter, and many memories as well. 

I will never forget the old but I am focusing forward on all the blessings yet to come. 

Goodbyes are not easy no matter what kind they are but they do open up room for Hellos! 

So I’m moving on in anticipation of what 2019 will bring- thanks to thinking right, being grateful, and consulting wise friends and of course my Lord.

 

What things have you found are helpful for you to embrace goodbyes and new beginnings?  Share your comments below. Thanks! 

Caregiver, You are an Advocate

The word advocate brings up different feelings in different people.  I seem to have deeply inborn need to stand up to injustice, especially for those who have no voice of their own.  My sister, on the other hand, is drawn with compassion to the person hurting.

The two of us made a great team in helping my Dad as he was no longer able to speak up for himself.  I hope that you are finding a team to support both you and your loved one as you are on this journey of caregiving.

Another person on my Dad’s team was his wonderful doctor.

During most of our journey, I would not have described Dad’s doctors as wonderful.  We more often than not felt unheard and pushed aside as we tried to advocate for him.

If you find yourself in this place with the doctors you are currently working with then find new doctors.  Again, if you don’t feel that your loved one’s doctor is on your team then you need to find a new team member.

It really can mean the difference between life or death.

Dad had successful surgery for melanoma in 2013 but developed MRSA after surgery.  After this struggle with infection, it seemed to become a consistent problem.  My sister and I would see symptoms of him getting sick and pursue medical help, before it laid him out completely, only to be told he was fine.  But within days he would be far from fine and it would take quite some time for him to bounce back.

It was so frustrating. We dealt with the same thing time and time again, until we found a doctor who listened to us and respected that fact that we knew Dad well and she could trust us.  The last few years of his life were thankfully much easier on all of us.

This is just one example of being an advocate as a caregiver, there are many more.

Being your loved ones’ advocate is one of the most important roles you will play as a FAMILY caregiver!

How have you found yourself being an advocate for your loved one?  Do you find it easy? I would love to hear how you handle your role as an advocate.

Are you ready for 2019?

Are you looking forward to 2019?

I started off 2018 with some of you focusing on what I wanted it to be in the Be Group!  We took to time to really think about who we are and what we want to become by drafting our Personal Manifestos.

I choose to end my manifesto with the statement:  I will find JOY Always!

At the time I was not sure exactly why JOY was my word for the year but I knew the Lord wanted me to focus on JOY.
Joy popped up in many places from a t-shirt that said “Choose Joy” in Washington DC while on the March for Life to a fun sign that lights up.

It wasn’t too long before the weekend with Dad became very difficult.  He was often not nice and I was having a hard time remembering to focus on the joy.

When I would bring it before the Lord He would whisper, focus on the joy!  Both the struggle and joy are both present.

Throughout the first 6 months of the year, that truth was needed over and over again.  After Dad’s passing, it became even more important to my daily life.

What brings you joy?  Here are just a few things I have focused on:

  • Owen & Novalee
  • my clients
  • Farmer
  • my sister and her family
  • Praise and Worship songs
  • my church family
  • my dogs
  • Mexican food
  • chocolate
  • sleeping in

Life is filled with many joys even in the middle of the tough stuff.

I’m thankful that in 2018 I was able to find the joy!

Would you like to start out 2019 with more purpose and vision than any other year?  You can.  

 

Join me in the Be Peacefilled in 2019 Group.

We will be meeting on Thursdays @ 7pm CT for 5 weeks. By being a part of the group you will learn to:

 

 

   

Check out the details!  I would love to have you be a part!

Learn More

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL ENDS JAN 3RD!

Caregiving During the Holidays

Being a family caregiver during the holidays might mean long time traditions have to change.  As both my parents Alzheimer’s disease progressed, we found they were unable to celebrate the holidays in the same ways that our family had in the past.

Mom became anxious when she was around a lot of people, so we found we had to stay home more.  Dad still enjoyed people just wasn’t able to go and do the things he used to on his own.  During my time caring for Dad, I was blessed to be able to join him in one of his traditions.

Each year Dad was able to attend a special performance of Kansas City Symphony.  He loved to see all the people, enjoy the holiday spirit and especially join in the carol sing-along they held at the very end of the concert.  Since I was there most Saturdays, I got the opportunity to make this a new tradition as well.

Each year we got dressed up in our holiday attire and ventured out to the concert.  After the concert, we would stop for a special treat of ice cream!  This year I will not be able to attend but I am enjoying the memories he and I were able to share!

If you find yourself at a point where the holidays are not what they once were due to the need to adjust to your Loved One’s changing abilities, take heart.  This season of caring will not last forever, but the new memories created will.

My prayer for you and your loved one is that you will find a way to make an intentional effort to make some new traditions or the very least new memories this holiday season!

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