Being Woven

Is Giving Care Different During the Holidays? – @ Soli Deo Gloria Connections

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I am honored once again to continue my series on caregiving as a guest writer at Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood Connections.

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Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,….

Christmas is coming. This time of year can be joyous as we celebrate the birth of our LORD and enjoy family and friends. Holidays can bring stress too. Being the main caregiver can add additional stress, changing the entire dynamics of the traditions of your Christmas (and other holidays).

As caregivers, you may be wishing that the holidays were over or anticipate them with a dread because you just can’t handle the stress of all the “doing” that you find is expected. You may find that you have been alienated by your caregiving duties. Friends don’t call or come by as they once did. You can’t find anyone to watch your care receiver so you may go with your husband to his office party. You have family coming into town to see the parent you care for and you hold resentment towards one or more of them for their lack of support or for telling you how to do something even though they never offer actual help. You dread the encounter, yet do not want to start an argument. You just wish it all were behind you. Your care receiver struggles to recognize pictures accompanying Christmas cards, getting agitated for their lack of memory. Or they don’t recognize where they are because the Christmas tree is taking up the corner where a certain chair is the rest of the year. These issues may occur year-round, but with the added expectations of holidays, you almost would rather skip them. Know that you are not alone. [… Join me over at Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood Connections for the rest of this post.]

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Peace

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As I look at the world from my small vantage point in South Texas, I want peace in this world.  This is God’s world, my Father’s House.  He placed me in it but did not promise me that all things would go easily nor perfectly.  He did promise He would never forsake me nor leave me.  He promised me His love and the peace that passes all understanding.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

The world I see surely does not know this peace either for it just does not seem to exist in the broad world I can see with my eyes.  But God’s peace is not our peace.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9

Yet, by faith, I know He is here and cares and loves.  This faith, this belief, this trust…I am learning.  He is teaching me that He is faithful and true in all He says and does.

One day…

John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of kings on earth.
To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him. Even so. Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty.”  Revelation 1:4-8

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Today, I wait as I am…

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@ Granola Bar Devotional – Caregiving: Ceaseless–Holiday or Not

Featured Devotional @ 

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Christmas can be joyous as we celebrate the birth of our LORD and enjoy family and friends. As caregiver, you may be wishing that the holidays were over or anticipating them with a dread because the expected and extra “doing” is added stress. You have family coming into town to see the parent you care for and hold resentment towards one or more of them for their lack of support or for telling you how to do things when they never offer actual help. [for the rest, please join us @ Granola Bar Devotionals…]

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Memory’s Music – SDG Connections: Caregiving Series

Soothing Moments

Let me introduce my Mama to you. She has since passed away to be with the Lord, but in this picture, she was 98 years old with dementia and diabetes, living in a nursing home within two miles of my home.  This picture was taken on her last birthday.  She has earbuds in her ears, attached to an iShuffle, listening and singing to a French opera singer from her childhood days, Lily Pons.  She listened to Christmas carols sung by the likes of Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, a few patriotic songs sung by Kate Smith, and a musical piece called “Maple Leaf Rag,” composed by Scott Joplin in 1899.  She sang, even reaching the extremely high notes of Lily Pons.  She directed the music with her hands.  She played the piano with her fingers on the arms of the chair when the “Maple Leaf Rag” came on.  She would tell me stories about her Italian bricklaying father who made all in the house be quiet so he could listen to opera on Saturday morning radio programs.  Mama loved that time with her father and playing this music brought that whole scenario back to life for her. She told me stories of her Chicago upbringing and about all of the vaudeville shows and silent movies with the good music being played by the live piano or organ player. I downloaded these tunes for Mama about two years before she died.  She enjoyed music so when she was awake and in the mood to listen I would put those earbuds into her ear and she loved it.  She was amazed that the “little bitty thing” could hold all of that “great music” for her to listen to.  Even though I could not hear her music, I knew what she was listening to for she told me each piece, the singer or the piano player.  And she would want me to hear it too!  This became quite a special event for her and I absolutely loved it, for her sweet sake!  Music takes us to places and things remembered, may it be as children, teens, adults, or to landings in our journey through life, a special moment, or a special person. With today’s internet, the music from era upon era is available. I was actually quite amazed to find Lily Pons (whom I had never heard of) who began singing in the late 1920s. Mama would have been in high school at that time.

Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
lift up a song to Him who rides through the deserts;
His name is the LORD;
exult before Him!
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in His holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home;…. Psalm 68:4-6a

Music needs to be something that the person can relate to so finding out the tastes of a person is important…. (Read the rest @ Soli Deo Gloria Connections)

 

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#GiveMeGrace 
@ Lisa Epperson’s SeeSpeakHearMama

 

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He Has Dealt Bountifully With Me (@ Granola Bar Devotional)

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(I am blessed to be a guest devotional writer today over at Granola Bar Devotional.)

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I would cry out, “How long, O Lord? How long” as I would leave the nursing home where my mother spent the last five years of her life. Due to a terrible fall and surgery, Mama would never be able to fully walk again. Previously, her mind had slipped into a roller coaster of dementia-ridden fear, repetition, accusation, jealousy, confusion, and hallucinations. Diabetes turned to Type 1 at age 85, making her insulin-dependent until the day she died at age 98. Then in her last year of life, she got an extremely painful, odd cancer.

I loved my Mama dearly and she loved her family. I loved to see her smile, hear her laughter, feel her motherly arms around me.  She lived near me the last fifteen years of her life where I watched and lived her life daily so also watched the hard side to aging.

Mama was one of those 1940s gals who went to work for the war effort. ….  [Find the rest here @ Granola Bar Devotional…]

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Gratitude Each Day…Every Day

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:12-13

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Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Veterans Day…

commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.

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Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty.  The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem In Flanders Fields. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red color became a symbol for the blood spilled in the war.

When I was a girl, we wore the poppies on our dress or blouse, men in the buttonhole of their shirt or suit jacket.  The graves were marked with a paper poppy also.  People sold them on the street corners on November 11.

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Most countries changed the name of the holiday after World War II, to honor veterans of that and subsequent conflicts. Most member states of the Commonwealth of Nations adopted the name Remembrance Day, while the United States chose All Veterans Day (later shortened to ‘Veterans Day‘) to explicitly honor military veterans, including those participating in other conflicts. “Armistice Day” remains the name of the holiday in France, Belgium, and New Zealand.

No matter what this day is called, it is in honor of all of the military veterans (and their families).

I thank you.  Those three words do not tell you just what you mean to me.

You have joined our Armed Services to uphold this country’s freedom and honor.  You are a hero to me, no matter what job the military gave you to do or which war you fought or whether you even fought in a war.  You are my hero because you are a veteran of the United States Armed Services.  I am forever grateful.

My heart is heavy with such thoughts of war upon war, men and women giving their lives, bodies and minds may be less than whole after conflicts, the return home to find that the world looks different after serving in combat.  BUT…I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done, are doing, and will be doing.

And I also thank the families, the wives, the children of all of those who served and are serving right now.  You have sacrificed much and I thank you.

Can I tell you that “I love you?”  I do.

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I understand.  My Daddy was a career Navy doctor who took doctoring seriously as he served in the Pacific theater in World War II.  He became a part of the post-WWII Manhattan Project as the United States continued to test atomic and hydrogen bombs (Daddy served @ Bikini and Eniwetok Islands.)  He became Chief of Medicine and later a physician for the Surgeon General and Secretary of the Navy when they traveled.  He wrote curricula for the internship and residency programs for new Navy doctors.  There is so much more to my father’s military history, yet much will never be known by me as he died of Pancreatic cancer when I was twelve.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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My mother served alongside Daddy, but on the home front.  She worked for the Naval Supply Depot in San Diego and Los Angeles, California, during WWII.  She served as a Navy doctor’s wife at the various bases we lived.  She was the President of the Navy Doctor’s Wives Club in San Diego.  Mama was proud to be in the Navy with her mate.  She never remarried, raising us three girls alone after Daddy died, and lived to be 98.  The Navy and the friends she made were lifelong.  Mama is now buried with Daddy at Arlington.

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I am a proud daughter of them both and am honored to have them buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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My husband is a Vietnam Veteran who served in combat with the United States Army, 101st Airborne, 1968-69.  I am blessed to have this man by my side now although I was not married to him at the time he served.

Near Los Alamos, NM


I stand proud of my heritage and my husband.

And I stand proud of each and every Veteran in this country.  

Thank You.

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“In Flanders Field”: http://highgate-rsl.org.au/remembrance_day.html

In Time … Eukairos

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Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16 

εὔκαιρος -- eukairos
In time…
The Greek meanings for this word in this context may be: the opportune moment, the right time, the seasonable time


God provides the blessings from heaven in His perfect moment for my specific need.  God’s time is really all there is.  No matter what my schedule looks like, my time is in His hands.  My need is His because He holds that in His hands too.  His timing for answers, for blessings, for provision is perfect, eukairos.  I cannot rush Him nor can I change that which is perfectly His.  All is as it should be.  And I must accept that.  Yet, I should never doubt that my part is to enter the courts and come boldly to His throne where His grace is overflowing.  Kneeling before that throne, before the LORD, is my place.  Praying, asking, carrying the boldness He gives to me, taking it all directly to Him, laying it down at His feet, are my jobs in His time.  He hears my prayer, He knows my needs and my requests.  He will answer with His perfect answer in His perfect timing.  He gives me grace and mercy for today, for this very moment I stand in.

My time is God’s time … the opportune moment, the right time, His seasonable time … and not mine.  Grace rains down upon me in His perfect moment and from moment-to-moment until the right time is nigh.  

LORD, may Your mercies calm me that I may hold still, being quiet, awaiting You in Your time.  I draw near and behold the beauty of You, my LORD.  May Your time become mine.  Gentle and kindness are Your graces over me.  Perfect are You and perfect is Your clock.  Amen.

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This is a “repost” from years ago, and with a few changes.

Cartwheels

Cartwheels

After 31 days of writing for the #write31days challenge, I am ready to do a cartwheel on a nice soft lawn to release the little girl that wants to go out and play!  Laura Boggess’ Playdates with God inspire me to play once in awhile, but playing has changed for me.  This 67 year old cannot play the way I once did nor can I play like I want to play.  A number of surgeries and new pieces and parts of a spinal column and hip prevent such sheer fun!  But…I can take my mind and heart out to play and they can do all the cartwheels they want!

Sheer joy!  What would be sheer joy to me today?

…praises to my LORD

…moments with my husband with my hand in his

…seeing doves, woodpeckers, sparrows all on the yard at one time

…having the fox family in the yard eating the Anaqua tree’s berries

…reveling in the beauty of the Word of God

…hearing God’s voice in my heart

…seeing my great niece sitting beside her grandmother watching Canada geese

…sharing a whole week with my youngest sister

…having a sweet time with a once estranged sister

…having the whole family together, especially since Mama is gone from this earth; purposing to get together

…a heart filled with love

…the gift of Redemption

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Shout to the LORD, all the earth; be jubilant, shout for joy, and sing.  Psalm 98:4

Sheer joy!  There is so much more that I could imagine, but these joys are real.  They are beautiful.  I thank God for each and every one.

For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me!  Luke 1:44

John was doing cartwheels at the first meeting of the cousins on earth.

and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes.  Have you never read,
‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have perfected praise’
?”
  Matthew 21:16 (Psalm 8:2)

Praising God is joy itself.

Sing for joy to God our strength; shout in triumph to the God of Jacob.  Psalm 81:1

Let us do cartwheels wherever we are and whenever the opportunity affords it.

Abba Father, You are so beautiful and so real to me.  I thank You for planting joy in my heart.  You give me real or pretend moments of play when I feel like a child.  I am grateful for those times.  I am thankful that You are with me to remind me of all the gifts that are from You.  Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.  By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures.  James 1:17-18  You have given me Your best, LORD.  With my heart, I turn a cartwheel of joy.  In Christ’s Name, I pray.  Amen.

 

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Beyond 31 Days @ write31days.com

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WOW!  What a challenge this 31 days of writing has been.  My initial desire was to focus clearly on the Holy Spirit’s teaching as I would prepare to write or make notes about a future post.  For the most part, I was able to be still and know that God was in my presence.  But, I will admit, that there were posts that seem rather unfocused in the looking back.  I think that the initial desire of mine is well and good, but possibly not something I am truly able to do every day for a month because I am not always tuned in and I found that I was needing to “try hard” on a few posts and that is not Holy Spirit led.  I think I prefer writing as the Holy Spirit leads me down His path.

But I have learned something about writing for this blog that is invaluable for the purposes for which and Whom I write.  If it is to be for the glory of God, then I must be in line with the Spirit of God.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,

nor the heart of man imagined,

what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.  1 Corinthians 2

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May my mind be fixed on You, LORD.  May I be clear and know that which You want written down here.  May each word be for Your glory, Father God, and Your glory alone.  I thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to guide my every step.  May I be still and know that You are God.  In the Name of Your Son, Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

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To catch up on the previous days of this 31 day challenge, you can find them listed here.

Photo and verse from VersaDay @ https://versaday.com/

31 Days of God-Woven Moments – October 31

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The law of the Lord is perfect,

reviving the soul;

the testimony of the Lord is sure,

making wise the simple;

the precepts of the Lord are right,

rejoicing the heart;

the commandment of the Lord is pure,

enlightening the eyes;

the fear of the Lord is clean,

enduring forever;

the rules of the Lord are true,

and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,

even much fine gold;

sweeter also than honey

and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover, by them is your servant warned;

in keeping them there is great reward.  Psalm 19:7-11

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Such beautiful words weaving over and under — the Word of the LORD, the Truth that It is, and just what it will do in the heart of the believer.  Read these verses slowly, emphasizing all that God points out to us.  These words become that perfection that is better than honey that is described near the bottom.  Sweet, nutritious, bountiful, a joy to read, a meditation that soaks in deeply.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

Father, I pray that as we read Your Word, we hear Your Truth with the eyes and ears of our hearts.  I pray that It will penetrate deeply to our very soul.  I ask for Your peace to rain on us as we read, that we will comprehend the vastness of the Truth, the beauty of Your world, the greatness of Who You are.  Your Word teaches and reveals.  It speaks to each one of us in various ways, yet You direct our understanding when we allow that.  May it be so.  Father, thank You for Your Word.  May I spend time in It with You more regularly and in a deeper way than I have.  I love You, LORD.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

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