Father’s Day Forever Changed

Father’s Day is here and it is the first without my Dad.

Dad has been gone almost a year that is hard to believe.  It is mind-boggling in fact to think a year ago we were still working towards getting him home from the rehab center and he was doing ok.

As I think of a year without Dad, I couldn’t help but think of some of what he has missed.  Here are a few of the things I have experienced without him:

  • I listened to caring people in my life and stepped away from responsibilities to allow myself the space I needed for my shattered heart to start healing.
  • I learned I was more tired than I realized I was.
  • I learned that grief is overwhelming, difficult, unpredictable and unrelenting at times.
  • I said good-bye to my childhood home.
  • I found resting in Jesus’ arms, hugs of those that love me, and solitude doesn’t stop the grief but it does make it bearable.
  • I experienced all the holidays as an orphan and plan to learn to celebrate them again someday.
  • shared the pain of Dad’s passing with others who are caring for loved ones to offer hope and encouragement.
  • I am facilitating support groups for others who are family caregivers.
  • I have spent many hours playing, laughing and loving Owen and Novalee and I have fallen in love in another beautiful grandboy, Lawson!
  • I found a new church family where I am worshipping, walking and working for Jesus.
  • I have been blessed to work with amazing clients who are seeing themselves more clearly, growing in faith, and taking bold steps toward creating the life they want.
  • I have enjoyed being home on the farm full-time again and Farmer isn’t even tired of me yet :).

Life brings change.  Change brings room for new growth. 

I didn’t expect to say goodbye to my Dad when I did and I didn’t expect the adjustment to life without him here to be as difficult as it was but as always the love of Jesus, my family and friends has been just what I needed to choose growth in this season. 

I am so thankful for all the time I was able to spend with my dad and I know that he would be proud of me and the woman I am becoming through a season like this.

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.

Review by Rayna: Daring to Hope

Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and Beautiful is an amazing and encouraging read.  I was so blessed by Katie Majors’ amazing commitment and obedience to the Lord.

 

As a teenager, Katie went on a mission trip to Uganda which changed her life forever.  When she returned to the states her desire to follow the dreams she had before she went we completely gone.  She decided to make the move to Uganda permanently rather than to head to college.

 

In Uganda, she started a nonprofit called Amazima Ministries.  Her mission is Helping to educate and empower the people of Uganda with God’s love.

 

She is passionate about helping people, in this book she shares how she works with woman and families to find the love of the Lord and improve their lives in any way she can.

 

She is active in fostering orphans, providing lay health care, helping families be united after the death as well as adoption. This book is filled with stories of raising those beautiful girls and the challenges of loving and losing.

 

I was so encouraged and blessed by her open heart and home.  She shares how looking for blessings in even the small ways helped to heal her broken heart when one of her girls has to be returned to her mom after 4 years of being hers.

 

The wisdom shared in this book will bless and challenge you as you look to live out your life loving and serving as God has called you to, in your life, right where you are!

How to Settle In During a Hard Transition

How to Settle In During a Hard Transition…

According to Bella

Just 4 months ago Bella joined our Neises pack.  Bella is an 8-year-old pug.  I am a pug lover and had been looking for a female black pug to adopt for a couple of years.  Life had gotten too busy for her former family and they decided it was best for her to find a new home.  R Farm was just the right retirement home for her.

Moving to a new home is a BIG transition for anyone, even a dog.

This transition has been a challenging one for Miss Bella.  Since her move was something she couldn’t prepare for or even understand I think it was especially hard on her.

After Bella came home to live on the farm she became very frantic.  The panic got even worse when she couldn’t see me.

It took over a month before she would even stay in a room when I walked out of it.   It is hard to even describe how upset she became when I had to leave her.

Today she is doing much better.  She loves to relax on the back of the couch and look out the window.  She still sticks rather close, but she is even willing to go on short adventures around the farm.

I am still her favorite safe place, but trust is growing, and she seems to be embracing life as a Neises and all that entails.

As I sit in my prayer chair with Bella snuggled in my lap the Lord shared some special things with me about our relationship.  He brought this verse to mind and then shared with me how life with Bella has shown me this verse in a very real way.

Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Making big transitions in life is so much easier when you know the Lord.  When we make transitions, we can often be stressed by all the changes.

Like Bella, we can run around searching for anything that makes us feel safe.  Make sure you run to Him.  He is the only one who is always there, and He always knows what is going on in our lives.

 Be strong and courageous.

Learning to stand strong in your faith and courageous in the midst of change is an important habit to develop.

Find your comfy couch….Learn to rest and relax in Him.

Just because we can’t see Him doesn’t mean He isn’t there providing and protecting us.  Remember even in the difficult times we can rest in the confidence of His love.  As Bella has learned to enjoy lap time with me and time alone on the couch we need both too.

Time just sitting with the Lord, listening to His loving words and singing praises to Him is a must to grow in faith and trust in Him.  This faith and trust bring the courage to not be afraid even when we don’t understand what is happening in our lives.

Do not be afraid,

With fear behind you like Bella, it is ok to explore and to try new things.  If everything you have known has changed then I know you aren’t feeling much like exploring, you are actually longing to settle into a new safe routine.

Try a mindset shift, it will help you embrace the change.  Keeping in mind the Lord is everywhere.  There is nothing to fear.  These truths can help you make that shift so you can leave fear behind.

For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

I love how the Lord helps me learn in the most personal ways. I hope you find the lessons Bella has helped me remember have blessed you as well.


I would really like to hear how you have experienced peace in the midst of change in your life.  Please Share below.

 

If you find yourself in transition without peace I would love to talk with you about how coaching can help you learn that there is hope when life stinks! Let’s Talk.  Contact Me

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