Dementia And A Miracle

 

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Hello friends!

It’s been quite some time since I’ve been here with laptop in hand, ready to write.   Guess I needed this time of reflection to process a life changing news.  And so, the best thing I knew to do was to push the pause button on this blog.

If you have been following for the past several years, you know that I write about life, struggles, and how to stay faithful and positive.  What you don’t know is what prompted me to begin this blog in the first place.  I believe now that hearing a medical diagnosis, either for you or a family member takes time to accept and come to terms with.  News like this can paralyze you THIS MUCH!

In His still, small voice God prompted my spirit to speak and open my soul up to everyone who reads this.  And I know I had to be obedient to His call.

Several years ago, my husband, at the young age of 52 was diagnosed with dementia.  To say this news rocked our entire world is an understatement!  We were crushed on every side and hopeless.  How in the world does a young, vibrant, healthy, retired paramedic, firefighter get this kind of news?    How does this kind of thing happen to us?

We spent the next year in a complete blur. My husband and I had no words, only deep sorrow.  Several times a day our eyes would meet for several seconds and then we would just walk away.  There was nothing we could say, and felt like there was nothing we could do.  All we had were raw emotions to feel and many tears to shed. We were doing the things that needed to get done around the house and that’s about all the strength we could muster up. We were numb!

As the weeks progressed I didn’t know where to turn, but the one thing I knew is that I was going to fight and fight hard!  I took a leave of absence from my job and began looking into stem cell studies that he would be eligible to participate in.  Shortly thereafter, we were informed that he was eligible and several months later he was undergoing extensive testing to prep for the study.  Then on November 8, 2016 he received stem cells.

It’s has now been 3 years since that November day and he remains stable.  By the grace of God, the disease hasn’t progressed much.

Today, we continue to fight the good fight.  We continue to walk our journey as best as possible with the changes that have occurred thus far.    It has taken some time, but I now enjoy life again with a “new” guy by my side.  I’ve finally learned to embrace his new personality and to feel joy again.  The joy of the Lord is OUR STRENGTH.

My increased patience, the strength I carry, and the peace I experience daily I know all come from God.  He walks alongside our little family and sticks by us through it all.

My family, friends, and church community continue to pray for a miracle in this situation and believe it will happen.  God’s promises are true and we hold on to each one of them.

Each day I wake up with an expectant heart that today will be the day our miracle comes.

 

 

 

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Come As Is

 

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We all have irritating habits. No one is perfect, but oftentimes we tend to focus on others’ faults more than our own.  Why is that?   First, it’s much easier to see faults in someone else rather than admit to our own faults.  It’s much easier to point the finger at someone else rather than to reflect on our own shortcomings.

But the beautiful thing is THIS . . . That is NOT how God sees us.  God accepts us just as we are, expecting nothing in return.  He knows our deepest self and has knowledge of our worst thoughts, and yet He still loves us!

So why can’t we learn to get along?  Why can’t we accept others just as they are?  Because we need to see people thru the eyes of God, with love and acceptance.  When dealing with difficult people, we need to pray for discernment so that when they “hurt” us, we can focus not on WHAT they did, but rather on WHY they did it. Keep in mind that hurt people, hurt people.

Starting today, let’s begin to humble ourselves so that we can be more accepting of others, knowing we ourselves are flawed. Open your mind and your heart.  Have a “come as is” attitude when meeting people or dealing with the people God has placed in our lives.  Learn to love them for who they are today, not who we think they should be.

After all, many of us are trying to do the best that we can, with the trials that we face, in an oftentimes chaotic and uncertain world.

 

Stop, Look, Listen, And Trust

pexels-photo-459225.jpgFeeling weary, heavy, burdened?  Life can do that to us, right?  Take a moment out of your day to breath in God’s promises. Stop and focus on who God is and how much he loves you.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea . . . Be still, and know that I am God.”

Psalm 46: 1-2, 10.

The Difference between liking and loving Someone

What is the difference between “I like you” and “I love you”?

In case you’re wondering, Buddha answered this beautifully.  In such a profound, yet simplistic answer, this is what we all need to remember.

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When you LIKE a flower, you just pluck it.

But when you LOVE a flower, you water it daily!

One who understands this, understands life!

Choose Forgiveness

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When you choose to forgive, it won’t change your past, but it will change your future.

Forgiving is not a gift to someone else.

Forgiving is your gift to yourself.

If you can find it in your heart to forgive, do so today.

If you can’t, then pray about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My “Spiritual Breakfast”

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Breakfast. Nutritionists recommend that we start each morning with a well-balanced meal. Our mornings set the tone for the rest of the day. We all know that! In fact, we have all experienced this whether in a positive or negative manner. But what if we think about our mornings a little differently by adding something extra. What if we add a “spiritual breakfast” to our morning routine by feeding not only our bodies, but our spirit. I can tell you in my own life this has had a tremendous impact. In fact I have found that I can have something simple to eat, such as coffee and a piece of toast and feel good. However, if I go without my spiritual breakfast, I feel empty, like something is missing. After all, we are spiritual beings having a human experience, not human beings having a spiritual experience.

My “spiritual breakfast” consists of reading 7 simple, but powerful spiritual disciplines. Whether I’m going to work, or just sitting on my couch in my pajamas on a Saturday morning, this list gets my day started with a fresh and peaceful perspective.

Here are the 7 spiritual disciplines and a short description of what they mean to me personally:

  1. Celebrate everyday – you woke up this morning, let’s start there. You have food on the table, a place to call home. Celebrate! Life is short!
  2. Be steady on the inside – no matter how crazy the world seems, do not allow that craziness to get inside of you. Breathe!
  3. Be anxious for nothing – anxiety is “fear of the future”. The past is gone and the future is still not here. Learn to live in the here and now. Worry robs our joy. Remember the present is the only moment we truly have.
  4. Pray with gratitude – Start by thinking about 1 or 2 things in your life you can be grateful for and give thanks for that. With practice you can add to your list.
  5. Think about what you think about – this is a BIG one for me! The mind is a powerful thing. Think about positive and good things. And when the bad thoughts start creeping in, just like a T.V., change the channel in your mind. This takes practice and a lot of will power, but the more you do it, the better you will get.
  6. Follow good examples – remember that we learn and teach others not by what we say, but by what we do. Try to do good always and with good intentions. And if you fall short, don’t be too hard on yourself.
  7. Learn to be content – stress happens when we wish our current situation to be different than what it is. Be accepting of your life, your current situation, and what you have or don’t have. Remember things always change!

For me, these spiritual disciplines have been life changing.  Today, my hope is that you can begin to practice saying these spiritual disciplines on a daily basis.  I can assure you little by little these mantras will become a huge part of who you are and will change the way you begin to view your world and those around you.

The Best Advice I Ever Got . . .

For the times I’ve failed . . .

The best advice I ever got was a Hug.

 

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For the times I’ve lost my way . . .

The best advice I ever got was a gentle nudge.

For the times I’ve misunderstood others . . .

The best advice I ever got was an open heart.

For the times I’ve been upset, angry or irrational . . .

The best advice I ever got was unconditional love.

For the times I wasn’t the best friend, sister, mom, or daughter I could be . . .

The best advice I ever got was forgiveness.

Sometimes the best advice you can give someone doesn’t involve using words.

5 Things I “LOST” When I Disconnected From Social Media

 

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It has been 10 days that I made the decision to give myself a break from social media.  A “fasting” period if you will.  And let me tell you, it has been quite the experience!

Although there were several motivating factors for my “social media fasting,” one of the primary reasons for this journey was my need for daily “social media check-ins.”   My “check-ins,” if I’m being honest, have evolved from approximately twice a week, to anywhere from 2 to 6 times a day! And that just didn’t sit well with me!

Today I am at the end of my 10 day fast.  And in these past 10 days I have gained perspective, and learned new things about myself.

But what I’d like to share with you all are the 5 things I lost that stood out to me the most.

  1. I lost the need to compare myself to others.

Let me explain. Although they say, “a picture says a thousand words”, it does not!  A picture is simply capturing a moment in time, a second of our lives.  We post tons of pictures on social media and the majority are happy, beautiful ones.  However, it does not say the whole story.  We often look at a picture on social media and silently “wish” we could have THAT life.  But what we need to remember is that this is only one moment in their life and it doesn’t tell their entire story.  Each of our lives consist of ups and downs, happy, positive seasons and seasons of trials and sadness. There is no one exempt!  Remember this when viewing others pictures on social media and comparing your life to theirs.

  1. I lost the need for others to know what I am doing.

While there is nothing wrong with posting a small blurb of where you’ve been, I no longer feel it is necessary to let everyone know what I am doing on a daily, weekly basis.  It is okay to go somewhere and not have to let everyone else in on it.

  1. I lost my lack of focus.

I’d like to believe that I’ve always been a pretty focused person.  Sure, in the past I would lose some focus from time to time, but social media derailed it!  And so, these past 10 days I have given my full attention to the things that truly matter in my life.  I have more time now for the things that fill my soul with meaning and purpose.

  1. I lost my need to impress others.

I have never been the type of person to feel the need to impress others, however after a period of time, social media can do just that.  I no longer feel the need to post anything that doesn’t serve me or others at a deeper level. I am at peace with what others might think, simply because as long as I am pleasing God and being true to myself, nothing else matters.

  1. I lost my fear of “disconnecting.”

We live in a world where we are digitally connected 24/7 and when we aren’t, we don’t know what to do!  These last 10 days have given me freedom!  Freedom to use my “free” time in a more productive manner.  I no longer feel I’m a slave to checking in on something that brings zero benefit to my personal life. So now, I’ve had more time to read books that inspire me.  I’ve had more time to have meaningful conversations with others, so that I can learn from them or help them in any way I can. And last but certainly not least, I’ve had more time to simply “be still.”  For in my stillness, I find the answers I am searching for.

In closing, I will leave you with this thought . . .

Sometimes by losing, you win.  And, by giving up something, you gain so much more.

 

 

 

 

Love Is . . .

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Love is happy about doing good

Love is kind even when it’s difficult to show it

Love wants to understand and not condemn

Love wants happiness for the people they love EVEN more than for themselves

Love forgives

Love accepts without judgment

Love inspires others

Love will pick you up when you fall

Love shows up when everyone else leaves

Love gently speaks the truth

Love has empathy, shows respect, and understands

Love restores

In Life, you and I may have everything,

but it will mean nothing if we don’t have LOVE.