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Friday, September 30, 2016

Guess What's Happening Tomorrow!

Join me tomorrow for the kick-off of another great 31 Day Writing Challenge...

We've done it before:

31 Days 2013  Grace for the Caregiver

31 Days 2014  Mapping the Journey

31 Days 2015  A Letter from the Battlefield

31 Days 2016  The Truth about Cancer {and a little hope}

We're turning the heat up on Cancer and you don't want to miss even 1 day!!

Meet you back here in 24 hours!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

With Eyes of Mercy...

Thank you Matthew West for words of encouragement this day...

Hearts resting in Peace because of His Mercy,

In Grace, Always,

Sunday, September 25, 2016

From Pain to Purpose

So... these last few weeks... disheartening, difficult and discouraging...

As Dad's health deteriorates, our life has become more complicated.  He has become more needy...and more demanding... we know he is struggling with the letting go of the life that has always been his.  Letting go of the independence, the abilities, the choices... Letting go of the person he still is deep, deep inside... None of that is easy. 

And so the neediness.  And the demands.  And the irritability.  And the depression.

I have struggled as well.  Trying to meet those demands, trying to ease the hurt.

And failing miserably many times.  Brothers, grandchildren... all have stepped in.  And yet, the stress seems to increase... for him... for me.

Today, as I drove to the store to fulfill another demand... (fresh corn on the cob and butter pecan ice cream... dinner plans change on a whim!), the radio played music to soothe my nerves.  And finally words penetrated the chaos that swirled in my head...

When you see broken beyond repair
I see healing beyond belief.
When you see too far gone
I see one step away from home

How many times can one heart break?
It was never supposed to be this way
Look in the mirror, but you find someone you never thought you'd be

In a moment, Matthew West captured the heart of our most recent days...

Oh, but I can still recognize
The one I love in your tear stained eyes
I know you might not see him now, so lift your eyes to me

When you see broken beyond repair
I see healing beyond belief
When you see too far gone
I see one step away from home

It turned my thoughts to Jehovah, the One who cares infinitely more than I can ever imagine...

So hold on, it's not the end
No, this is where love's work begins
I'm making all things new
And I will make a miracle of you

I see my child, my beloved
The new creation you're becoming
You see the scars from when you fell
But I see the stories they will tell

Faithful God, He triumphs over the deepest despair.  I am reminded that God doesn't look upon troubles the same way we do... for dad... for me...

Where we see debilitating stress, He sees opportunity opening.

Where we see impossibly hard, He sees the growth beginning.

Where we see crisis, He sees a grace maturing.

Where we see piercing pain, He sees His powerful purpose...

You see worthless, I see priceless
You see pain, but I see a purpose
You see unworthy, undeserving

But I see you through eyes of mercy

Graced beyond words for His eyes of Mercy this day,


Thursday, September 1, 2016

An Unconventional Solution...

An elderly parent...

A chronic illness...

Widowed and alone...

What's a family to do?

Ya'll have followed our know how Mom's pancreatic cancer diagnosis hit from out of the blue and tore our hearts into shreds.  It was never supposed to be like this!  Mom was younger than dad, healthier than dad and certain to live longer than dad... assumptions that we realized much too late left us anchorless and clueless as how to live life well without her.

And these last few years have seen us stumble through the journey in rather regular bursts and sputters.

The grieving, the growing, the learning...we've all come to accept (but not always like) the new normal of our lives.

That new normal revolves around Dad.  For all of us...

But mostly, that new normal has happened for me and my brothers...

Through these past few years, it has increasingly fallen on us to make sure he was cared for emotionally and physically. 

We carefully navigated the obstacle course of respecting his independence while at the same time ensuring his safety and quality of life at home.

And then the emergencies and hospital stays began.  For the past 8 months we have experienced multiple health crises and emotional decisions...

Rehab centers and a army of specialists... 

Tests and prescriptions and nebulizers and therapists...

Dr appts and naps...

Breakfasts and lunches and dinners...

And thru it all dad has wanted, desperately, to stay in his home.  Would we be any different??

Watching his favorite tree blossom in the spring...

Enjoying fellowship and shortcake with a visiting brother-in-law...

Sitting out on his own patio, just because he can...
(wind was nippy that day, blanket cocoon!)

Dinner party with his own dining room...

And breakfast in his favorite recliner...

And so... in a God-thing, perfect timing, never underestimate your strength or His plan kind of way, the Farmer and I found ourselves between homes, and very available to step in and be the help he needed.

The between-homes part has been a journey in and of itself and perhaps one of these days I will find the words to share the back story of our grand adventure {and the way some dreams take on a perfectly splendid life of their own}

But the between-homes part is where we are now and we've come to realize with greater clarity than ever before how God placed us in this space and time for a ministry so much larger than we could ever have imagined.

We have become the Care-Givers for Dad.  In a rather unconventional way.  Rather than move him to our home, we've taken over his guest room and become, simply, the hands and feet he needs for this portion of his life's journey.

These past 8 months have been filled with a completely full and overwhelming amount of emotional baggage, and I'd be lying if I said that it's been all roses and rainbows.  I have shared much about the real (and ugly) part of caregiving... it's true, we're not saints, just real,(so real) love-you-no-matter-what, don't-have-a-clue-how-to-do-this kind of people.  We've been there.  We are there... 

It's been the little things as well as the big ones. The mundane and the monotonous mixed in with the frantic and dramatic.  Fixing the meals, minding the meds, watching his favorite sports with him, paying the bills, midnight ER runs, picking up milk, trimming the rose-bushes, changing the sheets, wringing our hands waiting on test results, wrangling with insurance, chauffeuring to dr appts, giving hugs, listening to stories, cleaning toilets and doing laundry... and always, always watching the time dwindle.

And we know that day is coming...

So, for today, we will fix a meal, dole out meds, watch some pre-season football
and give a big hug.

Just because we are Blessed to be able to.

It is Grace enough for this moment...

Love, Always,