Thank You, U.S. Veterans

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I honor you, the Veterans of these United States of America.

I am a proud widow and a daughter of military veterans.

This day makes me stand proud although sad.

It makes me sad for all those who have lost their lives due to war.

I honor those veterans who return with physical, mental, emotional wounds.  I am so very sorry.  I pray for you and your families.  I honor the families who serve alongside of their husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, grandchildren for they are serving this country as well.  Thank you to each and every one of you.

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My husband, Kenneth, was an United States Army combat veteran, 101st Airborne Division/Co. B 3/506; served in Vietnam, 1968-69 serving from 1967-1970.  Kenneth died this past June 7th of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a recognized type of cancer caused by Agent Orange.  Yes, Kenneth served on the ground fighting in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.  Agent Orange was definitely present there.

Yes, this next photo is my Kenneth in 1967 when he was going through the U.S. Army Airborne School (or Jump School {as he called it}) as part of the 101st Airborne training in Fort Benning, GA.   (P.S. I wish I had known him then!! : ) )

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Kenneth, you were a soldier once…and young, along with so many others in so many wars.  I look at this photo of you and see such a very young man…a boy!  Boys, now girls too, tend to fight the wars, don’t they?

“The Class of 1965 came out of the old America, a nation which disappeared forever in the smoke that billowed off the jungle battlegrounds where we fought and bled. The country which sent us off to war was not there to welcome us home. It no longer existed.” *

In the Prologue of We Were Soldiers Once…and Young, the authors were speaking of the Vietnam War.  That is the war my Kenneth fought in.  He came home with what we now call PTSD, but there was no label back then.  They just came home and did the best they could.  Kenneth made it.  I am sorry he fought in that war.  I am sorry we as a nation fought in that war.  I am sorry so many died in that war.  I am just sorry about all wars.  I do not like arguments let alone wars.

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I am sorry that we did not welcome you home as all service men and women deserve.  So I say to you and to all Veterans, Welcome home.

Kenneth in Vietnam

Kenneth, I have always been so proud of you.  I respected you and loved you with my whole being.  Although I did not know you back then, I am so glad and grateful I was blessed to call you my husband for twenty-five years.  Thank you for marrying me and loving me as you did.  You were the best husband and friend to me.  Thank you, Love.  I am so sorry that Lymphoma took over your body though (for my loss).  You are with Jesus now and that is the best news of all!  Praise Him.  Praise the Lord.

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My father was a Navy doctor, a “lifer.”  He loved his Navy.  He served in WWII in the Pacific and then went on to be a part of the post-war Manhattan Project (Bikini, Eniwetok Islands) where radiation exposure took his life by Pancreatic Cancer.  He practiced medicine in the Navy for 20 years until he died at age 46.

My Daddy died when I was 12.  Thank you, Mama, for loving us through such a difficult season of life, of death, for all of us.

My parents are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

My family is honored.  We miss them.

Daddy, I miss you so much.  It has been 58 years since you died, yet it could have been yesterday.  I sometimes feel like I am still 12, having that giant Daddy-hole in my heart.  I love you so and wonder at all I missed by God taking you home so early in our lives.  I am glad we had Mama for almost 99 years.  She had a hard row ahead of her with three girls-me just on the verge of becoming a teenager.  But we made it.  We all turned out well.  Daddy, thank you for loving us so.  Thank you for your dedication to the Navy and being a doctor.  You were loved by so many and missed by so many.  I pray I will see you again one day on the other side.  I love you, Your oldest daughter

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Freedom is not FREE…never will be either!

Freedom comes with a huge price…one worthy of a fight…but where do we as the United States of America draw the line.  As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ending of WWI, while pondering WWII, especially this weekend as our nation celebrates Veterans Day, how many wars does it take to be free? How many lives?

Where have all the soldiers gone
Gone to graveyards, every one
Oh, when will they ever learn

Oh, when will they ever learn? **

When will WE ever learn?

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  1 Peter 2:16 ESV

For He Himself is our peace, Who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making

peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  Ephesians 2:14-21

Jesus paid the ultimate price for our/my freedom.  You offered Your Son as the Sacrifice to redeem Your children to You.  I am and will be grateful forever, Abba Father.  May I live as You have called me to live, Father God.  Thank You for these men and women who have served and are currently serving this country.  I pray that we do not forget them but honor them in this life for the honor with which most have served. I lift up those today who came back from war with scars on or in their bodies, minds, and souls. Protect and heal them, Father. I pray for the families of those fallen soldiers, the families of those who are currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, in other areas of this world where they are in harm’s way.  I pray for the families of those who have returned from war injured in one way or another.  Oh God, be with them each and all.  I lift up our Coast Guard who are risking their lives to interdict the drugs and the cartels who are making these runs.  I lift the military who have been called to our Southern border alongside the Border Patrol.  I pray You give them and the government wisdom and compassion regarding those many who are seeking asylum to a country they hope is a better place to live.  Oh, Father, there are so many concerns.  I pray on my knees before You. Thank You for hearing my cries.  May we each turn to You and know that You are God and Father of all.  Amen.

 

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American Flag:  http://wallpapernpictures.blogspot.com/2012/07/american-flag.html

Fall in Arlington National Cemetery/Veterans Day:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/11/11/veterans-day-weekend-fall-color-at-arlington-national-cemetery-photos/?utm_term=.ca70a6b848a1

Private photos from my own collection of Kenneth, Daddy, gravesite at ANC

History Repeating Vietnam/Vietnam Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C.:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_Veterans_Memorial

* Quote: from “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young” by Hal Moore and Joe Galloway

**  from “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” by Pete Seeger, 1955

O Holy Night

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But the people of God will sing a song of joy,
like the songs at the holy festivals.
You will be filled with joy,
as when a flutist leads a group of pilgrims
to Jerusalem, the mountain of the LORD
to the Rock of Israel.  Isaiah 30:29

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Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.   Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?  When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.  You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.”

Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For He took notice of His lowly servant girl,
    and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
    and He has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
    to all who fear Him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
    He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
    and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped His servant Israel
    and remembered to be merciful.
For He made this promise to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and His children forever.”  Luke 1:42-55

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When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.  Luke 2:15-20

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Father God, such joyful news You have given me in the beauty of Your Son, Your One and Only.  You have brought glad tidings to us all.  May my ears be open to hear the words of the shepherds.  May my eyes be open to see this wonderful “thing” that You have done.  May my heart be open to hear Mary’s heart-words.  I thank You for blessing me with the saving grace of Christ Jesus.  I bow humbly, Father, in adoration and respect and honor.  I love You so.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

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Birds and Me

BE FOREWARNED:  many photos and two short videos  : )

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I have been watching birds on cameras through Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology or American Eagle Foundation/USDA.  I watch the Albatross in Kauai, Hawaii, the Bald Eagles in Washington, D.C., Ospreys in Missoula, Montana, and the Red-Tailed Hawks in Ithaca, NY.  There are others as well, but these have been my favorites to watch.  Yes, I am a birdwatcher in real life too, but these birds either do not visit South Texas or they are hard to spot.  I certainly do not get to watch them raise their young.

Birds species can be so unique in the way they care for their young.  These that I am watching have laid the eggs and then sat upon them, frequently tidying up the nest around them.  The mate that is off the eggs goes hunting or fishing, bringing the feast back to the nest.  With some species, only the female sits on the eggs while the male hunts and gathers, whereas other species share in both the nest and hunting duties.  It is quite interesting to me.  These same ways continue once the eggs have hatched and they have their nestlings.  When very young, the parent continues to sit upon the babies until food arrives.  The parents are so careful in the way they straddle and finally sit over the young.  Take a look at this video to see this phenomenon.  Those large yellow talons never touch the chicks.  (The video is only 53 seconds.)

As they grow, there is less sitting over the nestling and more sitting with the nestling.  This young Laysan Albatross cuddles up to a parent in the nest.

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Red-Tailed Hawk parent gently feeds first of three born to this family in Ithaca, New York on the Cornell University campus.

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Mr. President and The First Lady in the National Arboretum — 2016 with Freedom and Liberty:

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From tiny (above) to juvenile (below)

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Parent birds teach their young.  The juvenile bird begins to imitate the parents in feeding themselves with food brought by a parent, flapping their wings and hopping, practicing for that day when they will fledge (fly on their own).

This is Liberty and Freedom dancing in the rain.  The video is 9:35 minutes long, but just watch the first few minutes of practice and more practice.  It will make you smile when they begin hopping too:

 In the case of Albatross, the parents head to sea, leaving their young to practice alone for their big day of flight before heading out to sea.  It is on its own for food for a time as well.

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One of the three Red-Tailed Hawks takes flight from near the nest:

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A fledgling often stays near the nest, continuing to be fed by the parents for some time.  Once flying becomes second nature to the juvenile bird, most receive lessons in hunting and fishing.

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“The eagle is observed to have a strong affection for her young, and to show it, not only as other creatures by protecting them and making provision for them, but by educating them and teaching them to fly.  For this purpose she stirs them out of the nest where they lie dozing, flutters over them, to show them how they must use their wings….”  Matthew Henry

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“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”  Matthew 6:26

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We are similar in a number of ways:

  • Parents care for their young: both may be involved, but not always.
  • As infants, we depend upon our parents to feed us, change us, place us into bed.
  • As children, we continue to depend upon our parents for many years, although we begin to spread our wings, gaining some feeling of independence.
  • One day, when we are old enough, and, hopefully, mature enough, we spread those wings and take flight.
  • …to name a few

Parents teach their young, guiding them to walk by holding their hands, eventually stepping out away from them so they begin to take steps toward the parent.

‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.  Exodus 19:4

God is our Father, teaching us.  He is a patient Father.  He waits as we take steps.  He reteaches, if necessary (usually so! at least for me!).  He draws us out to walk in His Way, to be obedient to His commandments.  He loves us and nurtures us.  He keeps His hand in ours.

And God said, Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth Genesis 1:26

I ponder the ways of these birds and my own existence.  You created me…ME!

For You formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139:13

Father God, You blessed me with wonderful earthly parents who cared for me tenderly and dearly.  They loved me.  They raised me up that I could fly.  And I have flown and hope I will continue to fly.  My earthly parents are with You now, yet their love is still with me.  Thank You for them, Father.  You care for me so much more than I can know…yet one day, I will know You, Your Holiness, Your Sovereignty, Your Love.  You are my God. 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Matthew 6:33-34

I seek Your Kingdom, Father.  Show me the way. 

But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah  40:31

I want to fly with You for the rest of my earthly life and then on to Heaven to be with You…one day. 

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I’LL FLY AWAY by Albert Brumley **

Some glad morning when this life is o’er,
I’ll fly away;
To a home on God’s celestial shore,
I’ll fly away.

CHORUS:
I’ll fly away, O glory,
I’ll fly away;
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I’ll fly away.

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“A Regal Couple” —  http://www.eagles.org/dceaglecam/about.html

Video:   American Eagle Foundation/DCEagleCam — http://www.slate.com/articles/video/video/2016/03/bald_eagle_chicks_hatched_at_national_arboretum_video.html

Laysan Albatross by Linda van den Heever:  https://twitter.com/LindavdHeever/status/738811736409681921/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Red-Tailed Hawk feeding newborn by keysfishin:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/81381146@N06/26491567641/in/photostream/

Bald Eagles with two eaglets:  https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Ckhh94GWUAA2AxS.jpg

Bald Eagle with Freedom and Liberty: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23dceaglecam&src=tyah

Video of Liberty & Freedom dancing in the rain/© 2016 American Eagle Foundation, EAGLES.ORG”

Laysan Albatross chick practicing wing-flapping skills:  https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CkiOKYCVAAAsLbL.jpg

Red-Tailed Hawk taking flight by keysfishin:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/81381146@N06/26953158963/

Bald Eagle adult with juvenile:  https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=juvenile+bald+eagle+fishing+with+adult&view=detailv2&&id=B46BB7286E88F6C4170CC1682DC880085885587F&selectedIndex=1&ccid=NqGIBWck&simid=607997538543667549&thid=OIP.M36a188056724e13121ed5f3373687b56o0&ajaxhist=0

Baby Learning to Walk photo:  http://www.fellowship.ca/AWordFromSteve

Flying Bald Eaglehttps://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Free+Pictures+of+Bald+Eagles+In-Flight&view=detailv2&&id=371DEF5AFFC30C6C9055F494279CDFB0566974F0&selectedIndex=56&ccid=SSmBjioE&simid=608035965620391302&thid=OIP.M4929818e2a049a1f248cb977a990d061o0&ajaxhist=0

**  LYRICS “I’LL FLY AWAY” AS REPRINTED IN “ALBERT E. BRUMLEY’S OLDE CAMP MEETIN’ SONGS.” Camdenton, Missouri, 1971, p. 11;© 1932, renewed 1960 Albert E. Brumley and Sons.

Memorial Day — 2016

Memorial Day carries so much emotion for me.

My father served in World War II as a Navy doctor in the Pacific.   He continued his service to this country, not only as a physician, but as a Radiological Safety Officer in the post-war Manhattan Project where he was exposed a number of times to radiation in 1946/Operation Crossroads at Bikini Island and in 1951/Operation Greenhouse at Eniwetok Island.  When he was 46 years old, he died of Pancreatic cancer, a cancer known to stem from radiation exposure.  I was 12.  My sisters were 10 and 7.  We lost our father.  He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  I am proud of my father.  Our mother raised us alone with grief on her heart.  In 2013, she passed away. We had the honor of burying her with Daddy at Arlington National Cemetery.

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My husband served in the Army, 101st Airborne, Combat Infantry Soldier, in the Viet Nam War.  We, as a country, did not treat the soldiers of that war well upon their return.  I am grateful that there is respect shown for them now, but we should have acknowledged all that they did for us back then.  I am sorry to all of you Viet Nam veterans who might be reading this.  Instead of recognizing you as a soldier who was obeying orders, we looked to the overall picture of the war that seemed fruitless and was killing so many of you.  May I apologize for our mistakes and the dishonor we showed you.  I am so sorry. 

I love you, Kenneth, and respect you so very much…for all you did then and for the husband you are to me now.  I praise God for you. 

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Memorial Day is:

  • a day (and there ought to be 364 more days a year for this) to remember the many men and women who have worn a uniform of the United States Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard over this country’s history.
  • a day to remember why they wore those uniforms — to protect the United States of America and her citizens.
  • a day to remember that many have died in the face of an enemy during battle, protecting the people and the freedoms that come with living in this country.  Their blood was shed as they obeyed their commanding officers.
  • a day to remember that there are many, this very day, who are wearing one of these uniforms and are in harm’s way…this very day!  

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Look at the vast number of graves just in this one scene at Arlington.   On Arlington National Cemetery’s website, words there cause me to reflect: “Laying our Nation’s veterans and their eligible family members to rest with honor and respect, while treating their loved ones with dignity and compassion, is the cornerstone of Arlington National Cemetery’s mission.”
Whether we agree with or against things that are happening in this country, by this country, this is our country.  May we stand proud of the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, our National Anthem.  As we stand with our hand over our heart, may we be proud of these men and women in uniform for they are standing in obedience to the orders they receive from their commanders.  They are sent off to battle, some of which we may agree with with and some we may not.  They are doing in the name of the United States of America.

Father, we know that You are in control of this whole world.  You know what is happening right here in the USA.  Father, we pray that Your protection be around these soldiers who are fighting in harm’s way.  Please care for each and every one of them.  I thank You for the parents You gave me, for the husband I have today.  I am so very blessed.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.
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Father God

To ponder…

Does God feel like a loving Father to you?  Does He feel like the kind of Father that you could crawl up in His lap and snuggle with or swing in a swing with?

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He is.  I know because I snuggle.  I climb into His lap.  I swing with Him.  I know that I am held firmly and securely no matter where I am with Him.  He is my Protector and the Love of my eternal life.  I must trust Him in order to sit in the vulnerable position as the child above.  I am learning to trust more and more.

For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the One Who helps you.”  Isaiah 41:13

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.   Psalm 29:7

“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  Luke 18:17

Abba Father, You are the best.  You love me the way I am.  You strengthen me to do what You have called me to do and to be.  You hold me close that I know You are with me.  You teach me trust by being Who You are…my Father, my Protector, my Strength.  You are my All, Abba.  I want to learn and be the clay in Your hands.  I am sorry when I become afraid and lose my ability to trust You.  I am learning.  I thank You for Your patience with me and for being my Teacher.  I love You, Abba Father.  I pray in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

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Photo: by Antranias (Manfred Antranias Zimmer From Bernau am Chiemsee, Germany)  https://pixabay.com/en/family-leisure-parents-child-440607/

We Need Laughter

Mom- feb 2009 003_zpsfddathxaMoments to Lighten Up While Caregiving

“…And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Are you a caregiver of one whom is losing their mental abilities, maybe slowly, maybe rapidly? Are you caring for one who is confused often? who gets angry, who can no longer tie their shoelaces, who hides things and then accuses another of stealing? Or are you a giver of care for one with such physical needs that you, yourself, are physically exhausted much of the time? Are you caring for one who…? …and the list goes on and on.

Caring for my mother for fifteen years tested my patience sometimes. I loved her no less. It was not Mama that I lost patience over, but it was the disease of dementia that shortened my fuse. Dementia was taking my parent away from me gradually and, sometimes, in harsh, ever-changing ways. Some days, Mama was clear-minded and in such a sweet place. Other days, she was confused, or angry, or short- tempered. She was usually not upset with me, but upset with her condition, her world. I could not care for her at home as my health, my back, would not allow it. I could not lift her. So she had to live where others would be caring for her more than I would, although I was with her most every day. Mama wore diapers. Mama slept a lot; she was vibrantly alert; she acted A.D.H.D.; she confused people, rooms, times; she used words she NEVER would use before and said things that I could not believe she said … OUTLOUD! I never knew who I was going to find when I arrived to see her.

Caregiving is exhausting, can be filled with love, is stressful, demands room for patience, and has plenty of room for impatience.  Caregiving NEEDS space for laughter!  Yes, I said LAUGHTER!  When Mama needed help and I would almost fall upon her, she would say, “Wow! sister, be careful. You almost fell on me. I wonder what would happen if you did?” And then I cuddled her and we both laughed. She would burp loudly and say, “I never used to do that so much, but I guess I can since I am 97!” And we laughed together! Moments like these would make the giving of care lighter, sweeter, even more loving. People with dementia can be funny as themselves, providing just the words or actions for laughter. Or one with autism may make a cute or funny face, giving a sweet second for laughter to erupt. Comments are often made that are so out of context by the one being cared for and when said aside from the actual incident, situation, or even television program, laughter just may be the answer. Whatever the incident, try to use it to be a laughable moment. No one may even know why they are laughing but it doesn’t and shouldn’t matter.

Did you know that laughter reduces stress? increases circulation? decreases blood pressure? relaxes muscles? reduces pain by increasing the endorphins in the bloodstream? Laughter has many more wonderful qualities, giving our bodies and our minds moments of relief, pleasure, and time out.

Absurdity changes the moment from arduously serious into life bursting anew:
“You find your car keys in the freezer.”

“Your wife tries to pay for groceries by pulling out a sanitary pad from her purse.”

“Your husband spends his afternoons “debating” the man in the hall mirror (the “nice fella” who happens to look exactly like him).”

A woman, standing in her doorway, hollering at the Medication Aide for some ‘Viagra’ when she meant ‘Allegra’ for her runny nose! (This one actually was my mother!! Yes MY Mother! My dear mother gave the staff a moment of laughter too!…along with any family members who happened to be in the hallway at that moment!! Mama had been watching far too many ads on television.)  Of course, the staff had to tell me this great story too which I continue to pass along!

You’ve gotta LAUGH! Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects. ~ Arnold Glasow

Laughter helps us walk through those tough times. Laughing with the one we care for and about also helps.

Loretta, a precious woman, would spend a couple of hours twice a week with Mama, as a caregiver, giving me those evenings with my husband. Some nights, Mama loved having her there, introducing her to everyone as “my friend.” Other nights, Mama just wanted to sleep. On those nights, Mama would tell Loretta, “If you are going to talk, I am leaving this room!” Loretta would chuckle to herself and say, “Then I will follow you wherever you go!” Mama would just close her eyes as a grin began to take shape knowing that her “friend, Loretta” would do just that!

The one who is now living in diapers who felt dignity has all but walked out the door, or the one who fell again, or the one who cannot speak words that once flowed easily from their mouth needs laughter and love. Watch a funny movie together, or call a friend who can make laughter erupt, or bring a child into the room who loves to make others smile. Laughter is a key to taking a hard situation and turning it around for even just moments. It is vital for the one being cared for, the giver of care, as well as some of the staff who happen to be in hearing range.

A laugh is a smile that bursts. ~ Mary H. Waldrip

In the assisted living facility, Mr. H. wanted the blinds up at mealtime so he could look outside. Mama faced the window and wanted them down because the sun was too bright. Rather than move around the table, she got up and lowered the blinds. Mr. H. raised them back, and Mama lowered them. This went on a few more times before Mama hauled off and hit Mr. H. She did not hurt him but both daughters had to be called like a parent is called to school. A meeting was held with the director, Mama, and me where Mama was told the rules and scolded. We also were told that this could not happen again as they could not keep her at this facility. As we walked out of the meeting, Mama quickly got ahead of me by about ten feet and said, under her breath, but loud enough, “Your mother’s Italian got the better of her.” I had to smile and thought to myself, “And your Irish too!”

Laughter is an instant vacation. ~ Milton Berle

Sometimes, taking every moment seriously just wore me down so I needed these breaks! Now, two years after Mama has gone to be with the LORD, I am still chuckling at some of the moments that brought laughter. I still hold onto our preciously sweet moments too. God is gracious as He allows a caregiver’s memory of the hard stuff to recede further from the surface as He brings the sweet and laughable memories to the top. I am so thankful to our God for that.

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations,The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.”  Psalm 126:2-3

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!  Psalm 126:5

Father God, You gave me the miracle of seeing You in ALL–in the small, everyday moments, and in the huge, mountaintop moments. I give thanks for the moment-by-moment love I had for my Mama and the love she had for me. Thank You for the laughter we shared, for the combing of her hair to calm her down, for the kiss on her forehead, and for the big hug she’d give me with such an “I love you, my firstborn.” You are restoring the years that wore me down by giving me a harvest of memories of the love and joy my mother brought to me, by reminding me of my dear parents and how much they wanted me. You satisfy me and I praise the Name of the Lord, my God. You have dealt wondrously with me, Father. Thank You. I lift each one here today who needs Your hand in their life. They may be caring for someone with dementia or cancer or autism. You know, Father. They need the joy of the LORD. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

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Children Are a Heritage From the Lord

backtoschool2School starts around here on Monday, August 24th.  Signs along the streets near schools or over the highways remind us that children are back in school, to drive safely.  Flashing lights warn us to slow down to 20 miles per hour because we are in a school zone.  Children are crossing streets under a school guard’s care.  The signs and signals warn us of the caution we should be taking as we near schools in our neighborhoods…young lives are at risk.

But does anything warn us of the ways of the world entering into the minds of our children whether at school, in front of the television or the internet, in the park, or even in the home?

“I believe that at birth, all children bear the stamp of their Creator.  Their purity and innocence is a great gift.  Once it has been lost, it cannot be replaced.  All the more, it must be guarded as a treasure which no one has a right to destroy.”   ** Johann Christoph Arnold, p. 133

“If we are going to protect innocence in a child, we need to cleanse our own hearts of pollution.  Our response upon encountering a child must be nothing less than reverence.  Perhaps because the word sounds old-fashioned, its true meaning has been blurred.  Reverence is more than just love.  It includes an appreciation for the qualities children possess (and which we ourselves have lost), a readiness to rediscover their value, and the humility to learn from them.  Reverence is also an attitude of deep respect….”  ** Johann Christoph Arnold,  p. 133-134

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”  Matthew 18:1-6

Children are beautiful creations and we need to protect them.  We need to teach them God’s values and what is important to Him.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven.”  Matthew 18:10-11

“For whatever else might define childhood, one thing is constant: it is the gathering place of life’s first and most indelible memories — the unalterable frame for all the experiences that accompany us through life.  And thus, in the end, the task of bringing up children is not only a question of effective parenting, and even less one of educational insights, theories, or ideals.  It is, first and foremost, a matter of the love we give them, which has power to awaken more of the same, even years down the road.”  ** Johann Christoph Arnold,  p. 161

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.  It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Psalm 127:1-3

Let us pray for our children and their teachers.  I am not a parent, but I taught and now I tutor.  I want to be the image of Christ in their little lives, as well as to their parents.  I want to do the right thing for and with these children.

Father God, our children are returning to school.  I pray for their safety, their protection by your legions of angels.  I pray for a loving, respectful teacher to guide them in the matters of learning.  I pray that the parents, grandparents, foster parents, be an example of Your Son to these children.  They need You more than anything this world can offer.  They need Your salvation as they raise these young ones.  May they each and every one come to know Your Son as Lord and Savior.  Father, please give the parents the wisdom to raise their children in Your Name, by Your Word.  Teach them what they need in order to raise their children.  Open their eyes to You, Lord.  By this, they can truly raise their children in the Name of Jesus.  Oh, how I want that because I want that for the innocent ones.  Children are precious in Your sight.  Save them from this evil world, Father.  I thank You that You have a plan for them and love them dearly.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

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** Arnold, Johann Christoph, Their Name is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World, 2014, Plough Publishing House, New York
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P.S.  This book is excellent and will be doing a book review on it soon on my “The Reader and The Book” blog.

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