A Beautiful Thing

shutterstock_404347312.jpgWhen you care for someone with dementia there are numerous times that you find yourself tired and frustrated. The truth is, I find myself in this place just about every single day. I bet this is likely true for most caregivers.

My mother, bless her heart, repeats the same things over and over multiple times a day and even within a matter of moments. My responses start out genial and sane but toward the end of the day those kind responses can turn well, let’s just say, a little less empathic.

shutterstock_196486790When we go out for dinner she worries constantly about forgetting her purse. One night I decided that we would not bring her purse. Exiting the driveway, “Did I bring my purse?” Driving to the restaurant… “Where’s my purse?” Parking the car, “I can’t seem to find my purse.” Entering the restaurant, I feel like telling everyone, you go ahead without me I think I forgot that I had some brain surgery scheduled for, glance at watch, yah… now. Can you sense my sweet turning to sour?

Throughout her life, Mom has been the consummate loving mother and hostess. Doing everything for those around her and wanting nothing more than for everyone to be comfortable and well fed. I feel so ashamed when I get crazed. She has no control over it.

The other day when I was feeling below par, God winked. Permit me to explain. You see… there is this little female finch in our backyard that has been hanging around rather closely lately. We noticed right away that there was something “special” about her. Her flying ability is severely erratic. You can see her aiming for her evening feeding at the finch feeder, missing, and having to land and regroup on the thorny, non-sturdy rose bushes. shutterstock_479047948I could swear she gives us a look like “All good, I meant to do that.” Her feathers are matted and frazzled, giving her a disheveled look that kind of reminds me of how mom appears when I haven’t nudged her along to shower and change her clothes. This bird deserves a name, we decided on “Wanda”. Translated: “I ‘Wanda’ what that bird is thinking?”

Then, Wanda landed on our deck ledge, right beside us. Perhaps to say, “Hello” or just see what we were having for dinner. Hmm, I thought, “Why would you do that? There are six rather loud people out here and don’t you know this large white animal at my feet is considered a ‘bird dog’? Aren’t you afraid?” We decided she is most likely mentally challenged which has endeared us to her even more. So every evening we keep an eye out for Wanda.

Yesterday, Mom was out on her deck and the strangest thing occurred. Wouldn’t you know that little flighty finch perched on mom’s beckoning finger! Wanda sat right there on her finger for several minutes while she and mom bonded. Wild birds just don’t do that!

God had sent Mom a lovely, disheveled comrade that made us all smile and feel remarkably renewed! What He sent me that day through Wanda was a reminder. “Enjoy the innocence that I have put before you and in your mom and in this bird. The life I want for you is more than you can imagine and I have created nature to show you beauty in the world.shutterstock_354032558 Don’t get so overwhelmed that you miss it!”

This week, if you feel so inclined, share any “God winks” you have encountered in the comment section or simply journal one of your experiences so that others you know and love can benefit from it.

 

 

“I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“When someone’s lost, aimless and adrift

Take the time, give ‘em a lift

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery

But today, you can be their gift.”

“When God Winks at You” By Squire Rushnell

 

“Believe in God like you believe in the sunrise. Not because you can see it, but because you can see all it touches.” C.S. Lewis

 

“Nature is the art of God. Sir Thomas Browne

 

“Birds of a feather, flock together.” Proverb

 

Movie must see video: Beautiful Things by Gungor

 

 

 

Closet Space Case

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After many years of pondering the idea of having a walk-in closet, we finally bit the bullet and did it with our bathroom renovations. The decision wasn’t easy because its obvious location required us to kick our son out of his bedroom and move him to the guest room. In the end it worked to both of our advantages because we would get our walk-in closet and he would actually fit in his bed and have his own bathroom.

However; the journey to the walk in closet would include several months of no closet at all. So picture a room with a bed in the middle of a cluster of clothes, shoes and purses. Our clothes and stuff surrounded us like mosquito netting. It’s a wonder that our dreams weren’t all about living in a jungle of clothes.

shutterstock_448173454The ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui, is being mocked in our bedroom because it is based on the belief that our surroundings and their placement affect the harmony in a room. No harmony in this bedroom. It felt claustrophobic, chaotic, and in no small measure…confusing.

(Important note: I’m not ascribing to this practice. As Christians we know that only Jesus can bring true harmony. However, God is a God of order and I believe there is some solid reasoning behind certain aspects of this.)

It’s almost embarrassing to admit how happy I was when our new closet was finished. I overhead my son say to my husband… “What’s with mom?” “Oh, she’s just happy because they finished the closet today.” Hmmm. I heard that. “Do you really think that’s why I’m happy? Do I usually seem unhappy?” Yikes, that’s sad but, truth be told, I was very happy. No crime in that.shutterstock_485067463

I snuck back upstairs to check it all out again with my ear to ear smile intact and started the process of putting order back to our bedroom, giving everything its proper place and making a huge pile to give away. Yay! While doing my color-coded inventory I noticed a lot of white shirts. I can’t even tell you how many. Notes to Self:

 

  1. Don’t need any more white shirts!

  2. Pay closer attention to household budget.

  3. Enjoy all that you are blessed with but don’t worship your stuff or your new closet. It’s temporary

 

How about the people that surround us? Are we taking proper inventory of our relationships? Many times I get so caught up in “stuff” that my relationships don’t get the attention they deserve. Like a pile of clothes sitting in a corner collecting dust, do we forget about those who may need us because they are out of sight?

Paul and the apostles considered themselves stewards of the mysteries of God. It was their responsibility to take meticulous care of what God entrusted to them and most importantly, give it out to others faithfully.

This is where we are to take up the reins so Jesus can be known! God entrusts us with people He sends our way. We need to be aware of this and devote time and attention to cultivating these relationships.

 

This week take a little spiritual inventory:

  • What gives my life meaning?

  • What are my gifts and how have I used them?

  • How well have I learned to love, show kindness & tenderness?

  • Who has God put in my life that needs me?

  • Is there anything that I am putting before God?

 

After that… why not clean out a closet or two? The first activity will bring you true joy; the second will bring you great temporary happiness, until you mess up the closet again. J

 

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in it various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

 

“We can become so preoccupied with our own ambitions and distracted by the busyness of our lives that we become ineffective in ministering to those whom God sends to us. It is even possible to become so involved in religious activity that we are of no help to anyone. Regularly, take inventory of your life to see if you are being a faithful steward of every life God sends to you.” ~ “Experiencing God Day-by-Day” by Henry T. & Richard Blackaby

 

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were meant for another world.” C.S. Lewis

 

Monday Must See Video: Veggie Tales ~ Stuff Mart

 

 

Voices of Good and Evil

shutterstock_282688247How would you like to be introduced as the woman who said, “Satan is alive and well and had breakfast at my house this morning”? My friend must have thought that comment was a real knee-slapper, because whenever I see her she feels compelled to mention that line to whomever we are with at the time. I think to myself, “Terrific…to be known as the great drama queen!”

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In the Harry Potter series you are not to utter the name of the evil villain, Voldemort. Referred to as ‘He-Who-Must-Not-Be Named’, ‘You-Know-Who’ or ‘The Dark Lord’ because the mere mention of his name is thought to give him more power and bring his attention to the one who speaks it.

 

As the series goes on, it becomes obvious that You-Know-Who cannot be avoided so simply and the protagonists’ must be prepared for whom they are dealing. To make believe the evil is not there or to fear its existence without preparing to combat him makes his potential victims vulnerable.

Looking back, I have no remembrance of what exactly took place at breakfast that morning. However; I do remember vividly the pain was real and the enemy whispering in my ear, “You are a crappy mom. You should get your old job back and make some money!”

Later that morning about half way through our Bible study discussion, one of the daycare shutterstock_409811113helpers popped her head in the door. “May I see Christy please?” I looked at her and thought “Nope…Christy’s isn’t here today… no one here by that name.”
It turned out my son really needed his Mommy. That was me and I needed to own up to it. (Ha!) As I held his little hand walking down that big hall he looked up at me with wet eyes and a smirk, as if to say, “Ha… I got ya!” That he did, and he’s still got me. I’m his Mom, forever. (What a blessing!)

 

shutterstock_222869533The point is, if we believe in God, we must also pay attention to what He tells us about evil. Satan wants us to believe that living our lives as children of God is futile. He wants us to live in fear and anxiety. (Oh, he hates that I am putting this in words!) To be prepared for battle we must be able to hear God’s voice of truth above all other voices.

So study your Bible and pray with purpose to truly know your God. Meditate on this verse this week:

“In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.” Psalm 56:4

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

 

“As long as you know that God is for you, it doesn’t matter who is against you.” Romans 8:31

 

“The enemy isn’t fighting you because you are weak. But because you are strong.” Ephesians 6:11

 

“God speaks to those who take the time to listen, and He listens to those who take the time to pray.” Pinterest quote.

 

Monday Must See Video “The Voice of Truth” Casting Crowns

 

In Your Face

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I don’t like spiders and snakes. (Not the song, just a simple statement.) A few days ago, on my early morning walk, I walked full-on into an enormous spider web. The dance that it prompted as this particular spider’s masterpiece clung to my face, hair and shoulders made my Labrador look around to see if we were under attack or, possibly, to make sure no one was watching.

shutterstock_143723503Growing up, and still to this day, my sister and I despised spiders with a passion. My mother had no sympathy for us because she thinks spiders should be a natural part of a household. (My mom, a huge Charlotte’s Web fan.) “Oh girls, for heaven’s sake, they are harmless.”, she would say as she used an ultra-thin tissue to politely escort our spider siblings out the back door so that they could pop right back in at their pleasure.

My brother used our fear of spiders as a weapon to get us to make him milkshakes and other whims. His weapon of choice included a dead wolf spider in a coffee mug. (Code name: Wolfie) Whenever he wanted something that “Wolfie” mug appeared. I can still remember its premiere. Upstairs I heard a thunderous stampede accompanied by shrieking that could rival any Halloween movie. My brother chose to introduce Wolfie to my sister who is even more afraid of spiders than I am. From then on he had it made. My sister always gave in for fear of being sprinkled with spider particles in her sleep. So you can understand why my fear of spiders is ingrained in my psyche.

Lesson learned, so for this morning’s walk I was equipped for battle. I brought a long walking stick that I waved in front of me for web dodging purposes. As I walked confidently down the path, to my right my eye caught sight of the morning sun shining beams of light through the most beautiful, captivating, intricately woven spider web. I took a long look at my spider’s artwork and this time I was in awe.
How different that web looked when it was not in my face.

shutterstock_389041792Is there someone who you want so very badly to understand the beauty of a relationship with Christ? Remember it is not our job to weave a web to trap. We have to allow God to do the weaving. By living our lives built on trust and faith, God’s light will shine through our “web”. Will others stop to take a closer look? Let the Holy Spirit do the heavy lifting! We do not need to be in anyone’s face. We need to pray, listen, plant seeds and trust in our weaver. Don’t give up, the spider never does, and certainly our God never does.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends; With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9

 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Monday’s Must See: (Note to Carly: Great news! The love of Jesus is eternal.)

“God, he suddenly understood, was love in its purest form, and in these last months with his children, he had felt His touch as surely as he had heard the music spilling from Ronnie’s hands.” Nicholas Sparks, The Last Song