Friday, November 30, 2012


This has been a super busy day for me. Rushing around getting ready for Dean's birthday party tomorrow afternoon. He was at his adult day program and that allowed me to get much more done. Keep in mind that with my shortness of breath, it takes me twice as long to do half as much. So I am just now winding down as the Sabbath hours begin.

One of the things I did today was bake some macaroon cookies, which have always been Dean's favorite. I saw a recipe in a magazine that had little Hershey's kisses in the center of them and it looked much easier than my own recipe, so thought I'd give them a try.

Dean was ravenously hungry when he came home, so I gave him a few of the coconut cookies that didn't look the best. Later, I was disappointed to find the little trash can by his recliner full of coconut that he had spit out. He said he couldn't chew them. Oh, great, I make coconut cookies and now discover that he can't chew coconut with his eight remaining teeth. I guess he can just enjoy the Hershey's kisses that were left over. At least they will melt in his mouth. But it just won't be the same.

God created a beautiful world for His children, including me. How disappointed He must have been when Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden because of sin. There is still a glorious creation of natural beauty to enjoy. But it just isn't the same. Sabbath is a great reminder of our Paradise lost and our Paradise regained. For now, we'll settle for a kiss from God, but later on we'll get the "whole cookie".

They really are tasty, if you like coconut!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Give Me Oil

I was taking a stroll down memory lane today, going through a box of photos that we were given after Dean's father passed away last year. It was so special to see these glimpses into Dean's past, because I had never seen most of them. They were buried in his parents' house somewhere. I had little idea what Dean looked like as a child, let alone as a baby.

My purpose in this activity was to have some of the photos on display when he has his birthday celebration this weekend. But the outcome for me was a melancholy feeling, as I was forced to acknowledge the changes that both Dean and I have been through over the years.

The most striking change was after his accident. Instantly, it seemed, I was married to a man far beyond his chronological years. And I, in turn, have aged much too quickly, due to the stresses of caregiving, and my own oxygen issues.

But there is some happiness in my heart when I remember that we are still the carefree little boy and girl, the shy teenagers, and the purposeful young adults that we once were. They're still inside us somewhere.

Why, just the other day Dean totally surprised me when he found himself under the hood of our car. Granted, it was just to check the oil and add a quart, before we made a short trip out of town. But to me it was noteworthy enough to get out of the car and take his picture doing it. It was so typical of him to do these kind of tasks for us before his accident.

Thank you, Lord, for these little reminders that our bodies may be failing, but You never fail us. You have given us what it takes to survive this aging planet of ours. Help us to be filled with the oil of your Spirit, so we will be ready, no matter what the exit from this world looks like for us.

Can't put on his socks, but can still add oil to a car!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Remember the Landmarks

I just happened to find myself downtown today, looking for a parking space somewhere near the State Office Building, so I could attend a coalition meeting for caregivers there. Having just changed purses before I left the house, I neglected to include in it any coins, so was hard-pressed how I was going to get parked and inside before the meeting started.

Finally, I saw a parking space close enough that offered easy access and room for the big Lincoln I drive (my dad's old car). The meter showed I had about a half hour left, so I planned on finding my meeting place inside and letting someone know that I would have to get a dollar changed and get my meter fed before I got a ticket. I'd just be a little late for the meeting.

Wearing a visitor tag fastened to my coat, those I was meeting with cautioned me to just act like I knew where I was going and I could get in and out of the building easy enough to take care of this business, without having to return and pick up another visitor tag.

No problem. I thought I indeed did know what I was doing and where I was going. But when I took one of the many the elevators back down to the first floor, and hurried outside to feed the meter, I suddenly found myself lost, which was preferable to my car being lost, heaven forbid. Although that thought did occur to me as I proceeded to walk frantically all around the block to the other side of the building, where I hoped my car would be obediently parked.

As I made my way back inside and up to the fifth floor, I consciously remembered landmarks this time, so I could truly know where I was going, instead of taking the wrong door out, when it was time to go home. I'm ashamed to admit that I was concentrating so hard on finding the correct way out later though, that I neglected to return my visitor tag.

Let's just say that at that point I knew where I was going, but didn't know what I was doing.

How easy it was for me to get lost in the small confines of a city block today. I pray I can do better on my trip to our heavenly home. It's obvious that my only chance is with Jesus Christ, my Divine Navigator and G.P.S. And how nice that at this heavenly destination, there won't be any visitor tags to worry about returning.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pen Passion

Dean was at the height of his "caregiven" glory today when his bath aide, nurse, and chore provider all happened to have him on their schedules for the same time. Four pretty women in the room all at once, he said. Smart of him to include his wife in the count.

Most of the home health people know by now that Dean has a passion for ink pens. Every time they get him to sign something, which is at the end of each visit, he makes an effort to beg, borrow, or steal their pen. He has a thousand persuasion strategies, and he uses them regularly and systematically.

First, he tries to inadvertently lay their pen on top of his own ample stack after the signing, hoping they won't notice. Then he appeals to their pride by admiring their pen's qualities, but quickly shifts over to a pity plea by mentioning how much he needs it in his collection. Next, he lays a guilt trip on them by referring to the other nurses and doctors who have been generous in parting with their pens. Keep in mind there has been laughter, a strategy in itself, between each of his ploys, so by now many a nurse just throws in the towel and either sacrifices her own pen or promises to bring him one the next time she visits.

Isn't this how persistent I should be in wanting the Holy Spirit in my life? How many strategies should I be using in order to win the victories and peace that only the Spirit can offer? I believe my prayer tonight will not be over until I have gotten either the prize or the promise from God, the Comforter, my Holy Caregiver. Where's the passion?

One of his many boxes of pens..look carefully--one might be yours!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The "Stranger"

As a rule, Dean is very friendly with strangers, but today when he began conversing with a young man who came into the doctor's waiting room, Dean talked to him as if they knew each other. To my knowledge, they had never met, and although the "stranger" was polite and responsive, it appeared that he really didn't know Dean. They both carried on a quite lively conversation though.

When we got to the examining room to see the doctor, Dean told me privately that he thought he knew the "stranger" somewhere. He was sure of it, but he didn't know where. To Dean, it didn't really matter. Almost everyone enjoys Dean's friendly banter, because he really doesn't know any strangers. Never has.

For Dean, the Bible admonition to beware, lest we find ourselves entertaining strangers unawares, hold no threat. How easy our witnessing would be if we could all be so friendly with those we meet.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Road Trip

As painful as road trips with Dean sometimes are, today's little jaunt to visit relatives in Council Bluffs wasn't bad at all. We listened to Prairie Home Companion on the radio on the way there. His comments about my driving took second place to his commentary on the trailer trucks and models of vehicles we saw on the highway. And on the way home, we were entertained by bluegrass music, rather than by Dean's limited musical repertoire.

As a matter of fact, he was on such a roll that when he started to read a church bulletin out loud on the way home, which I knew would be from cover to cover, I asked him politely if he could just read it to himself. His reply was "probably not", as he proceeded to read it out loud, just under the volume of the bluegrass music. I tried to keep my focus on the music instead of his bulletin monologue. I guess I could allow this one departure from the unexpected.

While there, we visited pleasantly with my cousins, even though I was worried that our cross conversations would send his behavior spiraling downward any minute. He does not do distractions well. But we kept him amply supplied with cookies and a soda, so he was able to overlook the fact that there was another conversation going on in the room besides his own. About the time I felt he might start repeating his stories, it was time for us to go.

Reflecting on our day, I see that I'm on a road trip to heaven. Am I focused on the right things as I whiz by others on life's highway, or am I criticizing the driving of others? Am I satisfied with the talents others have, or am I trying to outshine them with my own performance? Is my conversation with others always respectful and loving, or am I interested in drawing attention to myself?

When I think about it, Dean's struggles are really no different than my own.

Showing Your Thanks

I'm amazed and grateful for what different families bring to the Thanksgiving table and to the event itself. We are all brought up having holidays a certain way, but then we get married and find ourselves shocked that not everyone celebrates the same way.

For instance, when I was first married, I found out that not everyone had homemade noodles and ambrosia on their meal menu. But it was also a shock to discover how much more taste is packed into sweet potatoes, when they don't come out of a can. And the same for cranberries. I found out how easily you could make your own whole berry sauce and how actually divine it would taste with a small dollop of real whipped cream. These additions came from Dean's family, where we spent most of our holidays in the first years of our marriage.

Now that our daughter is married and we have been attending their larger festivities, I am learning other wonderful things about Thanksgiving. As much as a linen tablecloth, your best dishes, and even cloth napkins make it a special feast, the food tastes just as good, no matter what it's served on. As a matter of fact, it's rather nice to have the attention drawn to the people sitting at the table, rather than the table itself.

I can see from these observations that our church family will grow and get better, when we all bring our best to the table too and learn and adapt new and better ways to serve God. Let's keep that in mind as we approach His throne with thanksgiving this season. Show God your thanks by your offerings of service to Him.

whipped cream, cranberries sauce, and fruit salad (what a delicious combination!)

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Shirt

My usual practice isn't to be out shopping on Black Friday, but it just so happened that I found myself in a store today with my nephew, when I found a plaid flannel shirt that would be perfect for Dean. It is heavy enough, with its quilted lining, to keep him warm in the winter. And since he's been pretty coat-resistant these days, and yet saying he's cold in the house at times, this shirt seemed like the perfect answer for him.

When I brought it home, he liked it immediately with it's snaps for buttons. He put it on his T-shirt-bare frame, and even came up to me just before bedtime and said it might even make a nice nightshirt. Thankfully, he did take it off though before retiring. Had me worried.

God has offered me a special robe too. It will keep me warm in all kinds of weather. It's also a free gift. I can do nothing to earn it. He delights in seeing me so in love with His robe of righteousness that I will choose to wear it forever. It's a one-size-fits-all. Why would I ever want to take it off?

Notice his rolled-up sleeves. I don't know why I bother with tall sizes!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Remembering Me

We had a super good time with in-laws tonight. The Thanksgiving food was great and the visiting was lively. We met in a different venue--the community room of my daughter's apartment complex. So, the setup was a bit complex with multiple trips to transport food and other items.

As often happens, we vastly overestimated how much we would eat, so several families went home with leftovers. But that's alright. You kind of expect that with holiday meals. It just seemed more daunting, because of the work of transporting the food all over again.

I usually find myself taking pictures at family events like this, and consequently I am seldom in any of the shots, which is kind of nice, as I don't feel I'm very photogenic anyway. But today my husband asked to take a picture of me when my two granddaughters were sitting on my lap. It was just the kind of shot I would love to have, so I got up, went clear across the room and gave him the camera to get our picture. It didn't come out the best, but I was grateful for Dean, thinking of me not being in any of the pictures.

For a man with dementia, he remembers me. And I'm thankful for that.

That's me and the two girls, clear across the room. He just took it from his comfortable spot on the couch.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cinnamon Factory

I am not a crafty person. Oh, I have creative juices flowing, and I think I have an eye for beauty, but my hands are not my friends when I work with just about anything. I try not to blame it on being left-handed. I just don't have much patience for material objects of any kind.

Case in point. Earlier this week, I thought on a whim that my daughter could use a break from motherhood so she could get her house cleaned for the holiday coming up. So I offered to take my two granddaughters for a few hours in the afternoon and work with making some little gifts to give to those coming for Thanksgiving.

We did ornamental, scented cookies made with applesauce and cinnamon. Someone had told me about them and they sounded easy enough for my handicraft-challenged hands. Plus I saw on the internet how you could make a heart with two candy canes and pour melted chocolate in them, and just let them harden in the refrigerator. Keep in mind, I wasn't just thinking of keeping it simple for two eager toddlers. It had to be easy for me too.

To make a long story short, I've spent hours this week tying tiny ribbons on these cookies and assembling some gift boxes to put them in, filling bags with the candy cane hearts, writing on tags and putting them on the bags. Not to mention having my house smell like a cinnamon factory all week as the cookies dry out.

I've come to the conclusion that my gift of patience comes easier with people than it does with things. So, this evening, as I labored over the finishing touches of this project, I have been conjuring up images of the smiles on my granddaughters' faces as they distribute the little boxes to their guests tomorrow. That will be reward enough for my madness.

Grandma's lil' workshop table

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving a Care

With a board meeting over in Hastings this morning, I wasn't sure how I would find time to get ready myself and also help Dean get ready for his adult day program before I left. After helping him get his clothes and shoes on, I had to set out his clothes, medical folder, and towel for his bath aide and nurse who would come in the afternoon. Then make sure he had taken his pills, eyeglasses, cap, and cane, and had the day of the week changed where we post it prominently in the living room. I also had to remember to put an insulated bag out for the Meals on Wheels when it came. Then uncover and feed the bird, let the dog out, bring the trash can off the curb, and dress and try to get a bite to eat myself. But somehow it all fell into place and I arrived precisely at the scheduled time and place for my car pool ride to a Brain Injury Association meeting in Hastings.

All this activity reminded me how thankful I am that I don't have a regular daily job I have to go to. So many employed caregivers struggle with this additional activity every day. People don't have a clue what is involved in taking care of someone else, whether it's an adult or a child with special needs.

All caregivers need to feel supported and appreciated. November is the month to do it too. This is National Caregivers Month.

Romans 15:1 says "We then who are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves". Who among us are fulfilling this Christian mandate more than caregivers?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Focus on the Volunteers

For three days this week there is a Center for People in Need in our community that dispenses holiday food and goods to needy families. I went there today to see what kind of holiday cheer they could offer two old, disabled seniors on a pencil-thin budget. Fiscal difficulties are definitely one of the major problems reported by caregivers. This one included.

The first thing you notice, as you drive into the parking lot, is how many hundreds of low-income people are looking for something special to offer their families this Thanksgiving and Christmas. The parking spaces were filling up fast, and the place was overflowing with vehicles. Then, the lines of people inside and the waiting required because of the streams of people pouring in convinced me that there are more low-income people than I had realized in our town.

I didn't just notice the people there getting things though. There were also many smiling volunteers, who were valiantly and tirelessly distributing the items. I tried to focus on them, because it's so easy to become judgmental when you are sitting there "people-watching" in a place like that.

I was tempted to think that some of the "needies" there certainly didn't appear to be lacking in material goods. Take that young mother with the expensive looking cell phone, whose child was in an obviously top-of-the-line stroller. But you know, she may have downgraded from her internet connection at home and is reduced to the cell-phone kind only now. And I've seen nice strollers at garage sales too, so I suppose I can overlook that expenditure too. Personally knowing a young mother who fits this description exactly helped me overcome my temporary lapse into judgmentalism.

From now on, I'll definitely focus on the volunteers instead. ;-)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Remembering the Best

For a man who can't remember if he just had dinner five minutes before, my husband has remembered all week that we discussed going to church today. So I couldn't deny him the opportunity to attend the early service at the large college church this morning. I purposely only mentioned it that one time and waited to see if he would remember our conversation.

He mentioned it last night again for the first time in many days since we first discussed it, so I knew we would be going. I just couldn't deny him something that he has missed so much. Church attendance with him has proven very stressful for me in the recent past, and he has basically stopped attending our home church because of it.

But he wore his dress pants, street shoes, even tucked his shirt in today, like I requested. As a matter of fact, he was on his best behavior the whole time. We got there just as the service started, and left immediately afterward in order to meet the bath aide who was to arrive at the house at eleven o'clock. I, for one, breathed a sigh of relief when we pulled back into our driveway at home. All potential disasters averted.

What thrilled me the most though was the fact that he remembered that we talked about attending church today. For a man who forgets almost everything, even important things like food, it shows where his priorities lie. There is a portion of Dean's brain that isn't damaged or showing signs of old age. And that is his desire to worship God.

Oh, that we all had that priority straight in our lives. Forgetting all else, let's all remember God.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Missing Eyeglasses

Yesterday my daughter called and asked if her eyeglasses were still on the dining room table where she left them earlier in the day, when she was visiting here. I remember her distinctly putting them there, so we were both mystified when they showed up missing again from the table.

The first place I looked this time was on Dean's face. (See August 2012 "Connecting the Dots".) He was sporting thin-wired glasses, but they were bifocals, so we deemed him innocent this time. Then I checked the floor under the table and by the computer, but all were empty of anyone's glasses. By now, I was feeling innocent myself. The eyeglasses were evidently somewhere besides my house.

Then this morning as my nephew and I were about to walk out the door by the dining room table to leave for his work, he almost stepped on a pair of wire-framed glasses on the floor. They were invisible, lying on my dark-patterned carpet. It was fortunate that they didn't get crushed underfoot. Somehow they must have gotten knocked off the table and onto the floor, which proved to be a perfect hiding place for them.

God has promised to be a hiding place for us. When we get knocked around by life's trials, when trouble is looking for us, and when the pressures of life are about to crush us, God conceals us protectively amidst the pattern of His will. Seek His will and it will sustain you and lift you up in the end.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Unused Gifts

I was dreading this  morning's dentist visit with Dean. The receptionist called me last week and said, after talking with the university dentists that his regular dentist would like Dean and I to come in for a consultation about his teeth. She said it appeared he may have to have his lower teeth pulled.

I mentally gasped at this possibility, since Dean only has eight bottom teeth left in his whole mouth. His main pleasure in living is to eat. How he is able to gum his food enough with no teeth on top is beyond me already. And with no teeth at all, I was picturing crock pot soups being on our menu almost every day and having to cook the life out of our vegetables even more than I already am, so he can chew them easier.

Thankfully, the outlook was modified some after speaking with the dentist herself today. They were only going to take out two teeth for now and provide him with a partial to take their place. Dean was not entirely satisfied with this prospect either, but he seems at least to have accepted his fate and agree to the procedure.

He didn't promise he'd wear the partial though. I could have predicted that. We have two sets of dentures at home somewhere collecting dust, because he refuses to wear them. And they are keeping company with state-of-the-art hearing aids on his dresser and two leg braces in the closet, just waiting for the man they were fitted for to wear them. Change is not his friend. I give the partial only partial odds, maybe 20% or so, of being in his mouth more than twice.

I wonder how many of God's gifts I have just laying around, waiting for me to use them. Are they becoming dust magnets, while I struggle along with my infirmities, ignoring the fact that help is practically at my fingertips? God's blessings and gifts are right under my nose. I just have to decide to use them. I rather think the change they would bring to my life would be of the positive variety. The odds are good for that. Like 100%.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Wolverton Mountain"

Dean seems to be doing more repetitive singing these days. He gets stuck on one song and sings it night and day. And with much gusto, I might add.

I was getting pretty tired of one song on his repertoire of late. It's called "Wolverton Mountain", an old country song that some of you might remember was popular several decades ago. It's about a beautiful, young girl who lived on Wolverton Mountain, secure from all suitors by an overprotective father. Dean has taken the liberty of substituting the father's name for MY father's name, and so it dawned on me that I was the "pretty, young girl". Instead of being annoyed and irritable about hearing the same song over and over, I began listening to it with more interested ears. It was nice to be the object of his affectionate singing.

Then I realized that God must enjoy our songs about Him too, no matter how frequently and in-eloquently performed. So, when Dean changes his singing to one of his hymns, I can understand God's enjoyment, and allow Him the same "I am loved" feeling I have when Dean sings about me.

If God loves Dean's singing, then who am I to not enjoy it too. Sing on, ol' man!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another Foot Injury

Last night I managed to get a rather long glass shard stuck in the bottom of my foot. It came out easy enough, bled for a bit, but despite all my first aid cleansing and bandaging, hurts pretty bad every time I take a step today. I have to walk on the heel of my foot, so once again I find myself hobbling around the house--reminiscent of last spring's foot fracture fiasco.

I've tried to use my injury as an excuse to get Dean out of his chair more often today, telling him he should be waiting on me, instead of the other way around. But it's a lost cause. He's staying pretty immobile these days, either in bed or in his recliner, except for the two days he goes to his adult day program or the few times I take him to the library, the bread store, our monthly support group, or our weekly Bible study.

So at least for today, Dean and I are both trying to stay in a reclining position. But he has obviously found more success than I have. He's had more practice.

Practice does seem to lead to more success. Even in our spiritual lives. The more I do to feed my faith, the stronger I feel in my Christian walk. Use it or lose it, as the exercise buffs tell us. Bible study, prayer, and witnessing are exercise for the soul.

Hopefully tomorrow my foot will also enable me to just walk around the house without pain. My whole body does feel better with exercise. And so does my soul.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Our Shelter in the Storm

Today has been one of the most gorgeously warm days of fall. Sunshiny, in the 70s. Just couldn't ask for better weather. It's difficult to believe that forecasters are warning us of a cold front moving in tonight, making the temperature switch digits around entirely, from a high of 73 to a high of 37 tomorrow. It will come about with high winds and thunderstorms this evening, even threatening power outages in some areas.

Having just finished a sweet, afternoon nap, I hear the wind picking up outside. So the forecasters knew what they were talking about. Our beautiful sunshine is even gone.

I'm sure this is how end time events will hit us. Suddenly and severe. But the Bible is our forecaster, and more than that, God is our Shelter in the Storm. He has promised to be with us to the end. And that's a promise that's sweeter than any nap. Let the winds blow!

Walking the Talk

After what is usually an exhausting day for Dean at his adult day program, our chore provider called about coming over yesterday and going for a walk with him in the afternoon, since the weather was so nice. She can get him to walk longer and farther than I or any of our family members. They ended up going all the way around the block. His only comment after she left was, "She's got more stories to tell than I do!" That's saying a lot for our family storytelling guru named "Dean or Idaho".

Sometimes it also takes a totally new person to reach others for Christ. What may not be working for us in witnessing may work just fine if someone else were to say the same things. It must be because our different personalities complement each other. And that's why a whole church is a better witness for a community than just an individual here and there.

I plan on going to church this morning. Help me, Lord, to find a way to serve, as well as a way to praise you, while I'm there. Because others need a "walk around the block" with You too.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Donut Overdose

One of our church pastors visited us today. It was so special that he remembered Dean's request of some donuts the last time he was here. The last time he was here he was telling us about his wife's cake decorating class and said he'd bring some cake the next time he came. But Dean let him know that he was especially fond of fresh glazed donuts. So that's what he brought today--some cake, but also some donuts. There were six of them, boxed up neatly, straight from the bakery. They looked and smelled so delicious. A very special treat for us.

As you guessed, Dean proceeded to eat four of them while we sat and visited. It was a good thing he only brought half a dozen, instead of a dozen. After the pastor left, I talked Dean into giving me half of the next donut to prevent him from having five in a row. And I quickly ate the last one too, just to remove the temptation.

I'm thankful for a God who hears my requests too, no matter how silly, or inconsequential, they may be. God wants to please us. We just have to look at the beautiful and fantastic world He created for our enjoyment to know that. Help me, Lord, to use your gifts as you intended.

(I doubt the pastor intended for Dean to overdose on donuts today. But not to worry. I think his stomach is made of iron.)

Hearing the Ocean

Every other Wednesday night, I get a bit of respite from caregiving. I so enjoy doing a storytime for the youngest ones at our church youth night (called Pathfinders, by some of you). These littlest ones have their own name, Lil' Lambs, and their own matching T-shirts too. I just read them a book before the meeting starts to give the adult leaders a few more minutes to prepare for the official activities.

Last night the book I read was about the ocean and besides all the little seashells I had to show them, I borrowed a big conch shell from a friend, after noticing it laying on her front porch. They all got to take turns trying to listen to the sound of the ocean in the shell.

One little boy was quite surprised when I told him I had borrowed the shell from his grandparents' porch. He didn't seem to remember that it was there, even though I have seen it every time I go to their house.

What goodies am I missing when I study my Bible? I'm sure I overlook treasures that are just laying there, ready for me to discover. that the sound of heaven I hear coming from that verse?

Here are the shells I had them pick up from a beach towel, spread out on the floor, er beach.
 Some of them were trying to hear the ocean, even from these smaller shells!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Winners AND Losers

I can't wait for the news coverage of the election tonight. I really enjoy the suspense of the outcome. We are definitely focused on the winner in this presidential contest. What is really sad to think about though is that someone will be a loser. You only have a 50-50% chance, especially with an election this close. And what will that be like for the one who doesn't win the election? After all the effort and money that goes into a campaign, it must be excruciatingly disappointing when the other side wins.

As a caregiver, I have grown accustomed to feeling the losses of someone who has lost a great deal of normalcy in his life. People with disabilities of any kind can easily fall into the category of loser, without someone by their side assisting and encouraging them to keep trying.

Our main purpose as Christians should also be to reach out to people who are losing out on eternal life. Because there is no greater loss than missing out on heaven. Introducing people to the greatest campaign manager of all time, Jesus Christ, is not that difficult a task. He will take over their life, just like real campaign managers do, and success is guaranteed. None of us have to be losers of heaven. We elect, or choose, to be.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dean, the Talker

Tonight Dean and I went to a potluck supper, hosted by the Alzheimer's Association local chapters. There was an assortment of persons, caregivers, staff and volunteers, and those with dementia or Alzheimer's there, but I was nervous about taking Dean to a group that I was unfamiliar with. Taking him somewhere and not knowing the size of the crowd, the location of the church, or where the dinner would be held was an act of real bravery on my part, I must say.

I had an idea that Dean would probably refuse to put his Levis and street shoes on for the event, so he came in lounge pants, bedroom slippers, and  the T-shirt/bib, he'd been sporting all day. The "Elmer Fudd" style hat and plaid flannel shirt he's worn all week completed his ensemble.

I knew I'd have to draw some attention from his outfit, so I chose to wear my very bright red dressy blouse with shiny sequins. I've gotten compliments on it, so knew it was an attention-getter too. Besides, no sense in him getting all the limelight.

There were people our age and older, seated at some of the tables when we arrived. But Dean chose to sit at the table of the youngest-looking people there. The oldest turned out to be 26. Yes, before long Dean had asked them each their names and ages, if they were related, what they knew about Alzheimer's, if they drove, had boyfriends-girlfriends, what their dad did, and how many siblings they had. He continued to keep them entertained the whole evening. He kept trying to remember their names and guess their ages. Causing a chuckle at each failed attempt.

I was pleased that it was going so well, because the girls told us that their mother had passed away with Alzheimer's just last December. I hope Dean brought some sunshine into the evening for them. Dean's presence surely gave them some comic relief, in what must be a difficult stage of their lives, missing their mom.

Dean worries about not having a ministry, not realizing that he ministers every day to everyone he meets.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Time Confusion

Today we gained an hour in our day by turning the clocks back an hour. Some people actually got to sleep an hour longer, or at least it felt that way. But people with dementia already have enough trouble keeping track of time. It's a shame we do this to confuse them even more, let alone the rest of us who are willing to admit that it just doesn't make any sense to go through the ritual of changing all our clocks twice a year.

So many people are disgruntled with the system of daylight savings time. When man fools with time reckonings it often leads to confusion though, doesn't it? For instance, for decades and even centuries, man has been confused about the Sabbath and Sunday, which has come to be called the Lord's Day. It hasn't been that long ago when people actually referred to Sunday as the Sabbath. Now people are openly aware that they are not keeping the seventh-day Sabbath by worshiping on Sunday, but they feel that church tradition has sanctified the practice.

Whatever day you choose to worship on, keep in mind that when man, through tradition or legislation, intervenes with God-ordained time systems, it results in confusion. Just like the way we confuse ourselves twice a year with daylight savings time.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Holiday Fever

Yesterday I was home alone, with Dean away at his adult day program. I was suddenly aware that it was the second of November. I was getting in the Christmas mood a bit and decided to check out the closet that houses our decorations.

I know most people put up all their decorations at once and probably a lot closer to December than this, but with Dean so resistant to change, I decided maybe just the nativity scene would quiet my decorating cravings for now and not unnerve him too much. Besides, our first thoughts of Christmas should be about baby Jesus anyway, right?

I'm glad the Thanksgiving holiday comes before Christmas. It should ideally put us in a thankful state of mind, before the giving season in December begins. Sadly, many are teaching children that Christmas is mostly about them and getting lots of gifts.

So with that off my mind, here are my two decorating attempts this week. I hope they help our family keep their perspective about what and who these two winter holidays are really about.

I've had this particular nativity scene for years. My sister sent it up to me from Florida several years ago. It's probably not an expensive one, but it is so realistic looking that I just love it. And she knew I would!

I needed to clean off my dining room table anyway, so I decided a Thanksgiving-looking centerpiece for it would be nice. Dean made the cornucopia one year at his adult program, I made the ceramic dish that says "Give us this day our daily bread" many years ago, and my sister-in-law made the cloth that says the same thing. The lace underneath was my mother's. So, all in all, it's about family!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Miss Copycat

Today my granddaughters were over to visit for awhile. Jenna, 4, took out some crayons and a book and laid on the floor of the living room to color. Julia, 2, matched her sister's actions by lying on her stomach with another coloring book and some crayons. Everything Jenna said, Julia said, like an little echo. Jenna asked her to stop copying her, and told me she was tired of it. I tried to commiserate by saying I was tired of repeating everything for Grandpa too, because he doesn't hear very well.

We tell Jenna to be patient with her sister. She won't always be a copy cat. Hopefully, some day the copying will stop and they will be good friends.

I wish the same could be said about their grandpa. I must be patient with him too, but he will never stop asking me to repeat things. At least not in his or my lifetime here on earth. It does seem that I'm expected to have a heartier variety of patience than she does.

But this is obviously how our character grows. Jenna's learning to be patient now, because she will have bigger reasons to have patience in the future. By the time she's my age, she will have the patience to be married to a grandpa of her own.

There's still some justice in the world.

Miss Copycat and Miss Patience