Monday, November 11, 2013

Praise His Name

What does it mean to you to "praise God?" I read something this morning that struck me and kind of sharpens the focus a little in the way I'll pray from here on. It said it's telling God "how great He is and why you think so." I should tell Him why I think He's so great. I like that. It's very personal because I have many reasons why I think He's so great.

Now I know some would see this in a negative light, so let me just clarify. We're not encouraged to praise God because He's conceited or egotistical. He's not up there quoting Bette Midler in Beaches saying, "But enough about me, let's talk about you. What do you think of me?"  Nor is He forgetful. He knows full well who He is. He does not need us to remind Him. No, praising Him is for OUR benefit. We need to remember who God is everyday. When days are good, we need to remember that all good things come from God lest we get prideful. When days are bad, we need to remember who He is so we remember why He's the one to go to to get through those bad days. If you need more of God in your life for any reason at all, then by all means, begin by praising Him! Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people.

Praising God focuses our attention and our hearts on Him and that's just how we need to be. So if you'll please excuse me, I'm gonna go get my praise on!

Be blessed!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Starting Over...Again

The dreaded scale, while all to often the least favorite item in my home, can also be quite the motivator. Depressing, yes but motivating just the same. Depressing because I'm creeping ever closer to the weight I was at months ago, which freaked me out then as it does now. Motivating because I hate that weight and don't want to be there ever again. Something's got to give. I feel awful. I look awful. How could I let myself get back to this point? All the hard work I put in, all the money spent and all the big talk, yet here I am - again. Granted, I've battled my share of annoying injuries - heel spurs, shin splints, back problems, etc. but had I stayed on track even with just the food, I would likely be that much closer to my weight-loss goals.

Failure. Wimp. Quitter. These words rattle around in my head tempting me to soften the sting over a boston cream at Dunkin Donuts. But no. Not gonna happen. I already overindulged at breakfast and I've decided not to let that fact sabotage me any further. Instead, I went walking. It's been a little while since I did that and it felt good. It took me nearly 20 minutes to walk a mile but walk a mile I did and then some. It's a bit disappointing to remember my happy dance in the middle of the street not that long ago over having walked/run 3 miles in only 50 minutes in addition to having lost nearly 20 lbs!. That was progress right there and I was so proud of myself. The fact is, if I did it then, I can do it. I can and will work to get back to that point and beyond.

I am no failure, wimp or quitter. That would only become true if I decided I was content with my weight and health as it is now and I'm NOT. There's a saying that goes "Without the 'test' there's no 'testimony'. Weight-loss and a healthy lifestyle doesn't happen overnight. My testimony will be one of overcoming my challenges and staying consistent despite the ups and downs of my journey.  

So here I am, starting over - again. So, I suppose it's not the worst place to be.

Be blessed.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Letting the Dust Settle

As it turns out, my last post was the breaking point. Things got really bad that day. I mean, really bad. Scary bad. My husband ended up cutting his trip short, getting home very late that night. He brought his dad to the hospital for evaluation the next day. My FIL stayed there for a few days and from there was transferred to a skilled nursing facility that specializes in Alzheimer's. It's a sad place but unless you can pay big bucks for a really nice facility, your choices are severely limited. Unfortunately this is where he needs to be from this point on. We could no longer handle his violent outbursts. The stress on everyone was just too much and safety had become a major factor for all involved.

It's been a rough, emotional couple of weeks since. We did as much as we could for as long as we could and one might think it should have been an easy decision - a no-brainer but there was absolutely nothing easy about it. Just necessary. And yes, right. I don't have many regrets about having him here as long as we did but among them are the effect it had on my kids. It was hard on them. The grandfather they knew, loved, and enjoyed being with is gone, overtaken by an illness that has made their once loving grandfather awkward and increasingly scary to be around. It's so sad.

The dust, however, is beginning to settle. The tears don't flow quite as often for my MIL. Her sister is going to stay with us for a while. That's a huge blessing for all of us. My FIL seems to be adjusting ok to his new home. I put a photo collage together for him to hang on his wall, which he seems to like and will bring pictures that the kids have made to him periodically. My hope is that it will not only make him smile but let the people who work there realize that he's not just another one of their Alzheimer's patients. I want them to see a little of who he was before Alzheimer's hit and changed him; a man who has family and friends who love him still. I want them to see him as special, to feel and show him kindness and compassion. That's my hope.

I'm so thankful for God and the way He's taken care of us through all of this. No, it's not the way, I would prefer but I trust in His sovereignty and am grateful to see His hand of mercy over and over. I pray He touches your life in just the way you need it today.

I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

Be blessed.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

One of Those Days

It's been another bad day. My FIL gets worse in his Alzheimers by the day it seems sometimes. There's no telling what will set him off. He can start out fine when he gets up and then the least little thing happens and it's downhill from there.

He likes to take the trash out to the garbage bin every day and this morning I wouldn't let him because the thing we've worked so hard to prevent from happening, did the other day. He snuck out and disappeared. I found him walking on a main road and managed to get him to come in the car with me. He uses the garbage thing as a means to get out the door.  That's not how he did it the other day but that's his general method. However because someone has to unlock the door to let him do that, we're able to keep an eye on where he goes and prevent him from going very far.

Well, since his disappearing act the other day, I'm not even letting him out the front door anymore because he doesn't listen to me. This makes him very mad as it did this morning and he's been on a tear ever since, grumbling under his breath everytime I go by and giving me dirty looks all day.

The man I came to call dad when I married his son is not the man that lives with us today. Alzheimer's has taken that man. I miss him. He was lighthearted and fun. Opinionated but kind. Irritating at times but loving and a proud grandfather. 

My house is very stressful today and my hubby's not home. This stuff wears on my nerves nearly to the point of tears sometimes. I've been praying for the peace of God to fall over my house or at least my heart all day today. I'm thankful I have God in my life because I don't know how I'd function without Him giving me strength for the day. Even when the tears come, I thank God for the ability to cry because it's a pressure release. I might explode otherwise.

As my dad used to say, "This too shall pass." And it will. This is but for a season. I just pray when all is said and done, that there will have been more days where I was patient, kind, loving and strong than days where I dropped the ball. As a friend of mine says, In His strength and by His grace.

Be blessed.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Living With Alzheimer's

Locks on the doors,
Locks on the screens,
Soon locking the pantry
Keep the keys unseen.

Maintaining the peace,
Preventing a fight,
Thinking ahead
So he can't take flight.

Keeping him safe
Is the primary goal.
Regularly missing
What Alzheimer's stole.

Stress is a constant companion these days.
Finding moments of peace
In small, fleeting ways.

Hearing him laugh
Or seeing him smile,
Makes long days better
At least for a while.

But the day is soon coming
That we'll all have to face.
Moving him out
To a different place.

Until that day comes,
We strive for safety and ease.
I hate Alzheimer's.
I hate this disease.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Alzheimer's - A New Experience

I haven't been on this blog in a long time and I'm pretty sure that's not the first time I've said that. With the changes that have taken place in my family's life in recent months, however, my sister suggested it might be a good idea to start writing again. That it might be therapeutic even - for me and perhaps others out there in the blogosphere. So here I am.

Six months ago, my husband's parents came to live with us. We moved them here from Europe due to health issues and the lack of help available to them where they were. My Mother-In-Law (MIL) is wheelchair bound and requires some help here and there, mostly with transferring; my Father-in-Law (FIL) is in mid-late stage Alzheimer's. My MIL speaks English fairly well but my FIL has lost it completely. He's reverted back to his original language. He used to speak English perfectly but now even his native language is understandable only 10% of the time and I don't speak that at all.

Where do I even begin with this tale? Life has become a challenge none of us saw coming, though in retrospect, there were signs, hints and glimpses if any one of us had been of a mind to decipher them. We weren't and we didn't. Even when it became apparent, denial has a way of proving itself a force to contend with. It's amazing how much he's deteriorated in such a short amount of time. I'm sure the move had something to do with that. It's hard on every single one of us. We'd had hopes of how things might be when they came here. No doubt they did too. Visions of going out to eat, to church, to school functions, etc. have not quite played out as envisioned. Disappointment sets in but that's life and we all do what we can to help, to keep things as normal as possible and to remember to have fun in spite of the challenges. But it's hard. Did I say that already?

Even though my FIL is in the mid-late stages of the disease, we're only beginning to wade through the confusion of how best to help him - where to go, who to talk to, etc. Some of my MIL's health issues have had to take precedence out of urgency or necessity so it's taking precious time to get his diagnosis, a treatment plan and to determine the best route to take for his care. They've been so dependent on each other for so long but the worse he gets, the more that dynamic changes. It's a worry and a stress on everybody both directly or indirectly. Tears come from time to time, at least for my MIL and me. For me, the tears are more of a pressure release. For her it's that but it's also grief over what she's lost and currently losing. I think Nancy Reagan said it best when she called it The Long Goodbye.

Because this is so new to my family and me, if you have in the past or are currently dealing with Alzheimer's, I would certainly welcome your comments and advice on what helped you and your loved one(s) to cope.

Thank you!