Silence

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For God alone my soul waits in silence;…  Psalm 62:1a

Silence
Still
Quiet

Falling Snow

Mourning Doves’ cooing

Hush
Peace

Recalling my mother’s delight

Stillness, silence allows thoughts to surface
to flow
love felt
peace envelop
joy encircle

The gifts of life have a chance to permeate
to exude

Silence often begins with seeing and hearing the world around me

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.  Revelation 8:1

Quietude
Stillness
Wordless
Peacefulness
Tranquility
Feeling the tenderness of His Love upon my heart
Words of His Word soak in, 
drawing meaning of what He means

His silence teaches me that I am to be silent

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

The LORD’s silence is not of this world.  
The world demands noise, talk, loudness, busy-ness, 
too much going IN 
with nothing of substance able to go OUT
too much world going IN
not enough of Him going IN
and nothing of Him going OUT

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; … Ecclesiastes 3:7b

Time, moments with Him in silence … 
necessary … in relationship.
Go with Him to pray
Be with Him to learn
Look at Him to reflect
Quietly, still, in silence
and I slow down whether the world around me does or not.

But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him.  Habakkuk 2:20

Father God, Your beauty surrounds me in the stillness, in the white.  The gentle touch, as of an angel’s wing, glides across my face, reminding me that You are here.  Father, I sense Your love in the silence, Your peace in the stillness.  How I love the breath of air in the silent, in this cold air.  It gives me hope, calm.  My breath is Your breath for You first breathed in me to give me life.  You first loved me to teach me love.  You are my first Love.  In this quiet, I sense You and know that You are near.  I draw near to You for Your Presence is so real, so lovely this day.  Your touch tenderly caresses my face, yet is silent.  Oh, how I love You, my LORD.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

beblacksig

 

Re-post with changes, additions, deletions

Photo: https://pixabay.com/en/winter-nature-season-trees-sky-20248/   by Larisa-K/Russia

Journaling Your Way Through Caregiving, Part 2

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My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.  Psalm 45:1

As I began this series about journaling and caregiving, I shared how important writing my thoughts and feelings is for me.  In Part 1, I gave a variety of ways to journal.  Today, I want to share why journaling can be good for your well-being.

There are many benefits to journaling.  A journal does not argue with you nor talk back.  They allow you to vent, release bottled up feelings, relieve stress, and can clarify thoughts and ideas.  They give voice to things felt inside such as guilt, anger toward yourself, the care receiver, or even family members.  Journals can hold your frustration, heaviness, and can take some of power away from these feelings.  They allow you to rationalize some your required decisions, see both sides of them by writing down pros and cons.  In a journal, you can list or organize events of the care recipient whether physical, emotional, or mental, symptoms noticed and behavioral changes, doctor visits with the outcomes or listing the questions needed to be asked prior to the visit.  Notes can be made of other appointments, medications taken and any changes in medications, plus any noticeable changes of the care recipient when trying a new drug.  Records of eating habits and changes in habits can be duly noted.  Journals work for bills needing to be paid, or tasks that need doing, or just making a grocery list.  If you are a paid caregiver, keeping track of tasks you do, but family may be unaware of, may help with future pay increases.

Journals can be a place for both positive and negative issues, concerns, habits.  They can be a record of events, memories, appointments, changes.  They can handle questions you have for the family, for God, for yourself.  Thoughts can be finished in them, thoughts you began during a moment of quiet.  Journals give unconditional acceptance and they offer silence.  You may be able to gain a new perspective, restore a bit of sanity too.  Journals offer a balance to this life when things seem and are hard.  It is a place to find joy or gratitude in a moment.  Praying can be calming and can be a reminder as to how and when God answered those prayers.  Writing poetry can be a creative outlet that may be much needed.  Even writing down recipes can give the family something new to try around the table.

Studies have found that journaling reduces anxiety and stress by giving some relief, allowing the journalist ability to handle some of life’s stresses far better.  They have found that there are less doctor visits, improved lung and liver function, lowered blood pressure, even a relief of some symptoms of asthma and Rheumatoid arthritis.  It can even lessen depression, and placing one in a better mood.

“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” Matthew 13:51-52

Jesus spoke to the scribes who became His followers. The word scribe here refers to a clerk, public servant, secretary or recorder, possibly a teacher of the law.  As a scribe, and as we understand His word, the storehouse is filled with the treasures of this new creation that we continue to become, plus it can contain God’s truth, grace, salvation, and love.  We can draw from all as we write before our Creator!

If the mind of the care recipient still holds memories and they are able to communicate, let them write thoughts and feelings.  Journaling just might be good for them.  If they cannot write, but can tell you stories, you might be able to write their words as they tell you about their past.  If they ask over and over what day it is, you might have them journal every day the day of the week, the date, the weather, and even some of their feelings in a word or a few.  When they ask again what today is, draw them back to this journal.  Possibly with recall, they will be able to find this information on their own.  Using a journal to draw, scribble, or doodle can also be a way for them to release that creative spirit, even enjoy themselves for a few minutes (and give you a break as well).  I recently did a workshop on journaling and caregiving during National Caregivers’ Month.  We gave new, blank journals out to all there.  A caregiving wife gave her husband one of these journals and doodled some swirling lines on one page, then handed him a few crayons.  He completely lost himself in this activity.  As I wandered around the room after I finished talking, I saw that she had written on his completed page, “G… really enjoyed himself.”  She saw what this small activity had done for her husband and could possibly help her when she needed a few moments for herself or other duties.    

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”  Revelation 21:5

These are precise words to a prophet with a specific assignment, yet God can commission His children to write for His purposes.  God could have communicated with mankind in any way He pleased.  One way He chose is the written word.  Even if no one else ever sees the words you write, He may be using them for your edification, for your learning, to show You His love for you.  Do not shy away from using this tool.  Be open to His voice as He speaks to you through His Word and the words you place on the pages.

Father, as You walk with us through this journey of caregiving, show us why it is so important to express ourselves through the written word, through coloring or doodling.  I pray that we are able to place our lives in Your hands as You guide us to open floodgates or open pinholes of emotion, stress, duties, or familial relationships.  May our minds be set upon You as we lay the pen to the tablet.  Etch Your Words before us so that we stay close to You.  In the Name of Jesus, we pray.  Amen.   

beblacksig

I would like to share a few other resources with you.  Some may help with the journaling and others are may be a benefit in giving you islands of calm amidst chaos or stress:

Brackey, Jolene, Creating Moments of Joy for the Person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia: A Journal for Caregivers, Fourth Edition

Boss, Pauline, Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope While Coping With Stress and Grief

Carter, Rosalynn, Helping Yourself Help Others: A Book for Caregivers

Free, Betty, Quiet Moments for Caregivers – Devotional and Worship Ideas for Care Givers and Care Receivers

Out of print but available online through used bookstores; excellent devotional.

Hughes, Holly J., Editor, Beyond Forgetting, Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer’s Disease  (http://www.beyondforgettingbook.com)

Levine, Carol, Living in the Land of Limbo: Fiction and Poetry about Family Caregiving  (anthology of short stories and poems about family caregivers written by renowned authors and many others)

Mace, Nancy L. and Peter V. Rabins, The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss, Fifth Edition (**I highly recommend this book for reference and important information.**)

Newmark, Amy and Angela Timashenka Geiger, Chicken Soup for the Soul-Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias, 101 Stories of Caregiving, Coping, and Compassion

Rosenberger, Peter, Hope for the Caregiver: Encouraging Words to Strengthen Your Spirit 

Sheehy, Gail, Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence

Journaling Your Way Through Caregiving, Part 1

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I have journaled since I was in high school.  It has been my way to express myself, to pray, to release emotions, and to create.

My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.  Psalm 45:1

As I praise the LORD, so too may my pen place the words or the drawings down in a creative way that glorifies God.  Not all journaling will be praises, but it can lead to time with Him and time in prayer for those we care for and about.  When we fill our hearts with praise, the power of that praise can come tumbling out on paper.

I willingly took on the care of my mother with the help of facility staff and a Christian woman twice a week.  We cared for her for fifteen years.  I have two sisters, but they live thousands of miles away so their annual visits were really all I could count on from them.

As a caregiver, no matter what your individual circumstances may be, there will always be many things that cause you to need an outlet of some kind.  There usually are unrelenting demands, no time for yourself, stress, and frustration.  You may feel a physical toll on your body, loneliness, anxiety, even depression.  On top of these and other stresses, if there is a struggle with family members over the way you do things or have an accusation tossed out about you by an angry sibling or even by a dementia-riddled mind of the one you care for, you feel burdened and weary.  Feelings as a giver of care well up and can be a heavy weight upon you.

I found that journaling was a way for me to release some of these thoughts, stresses, and emotions, plus it gave me a way to organize tasks and to pray.  But you might ask, “How do I find time to journal with all I have to do?”  A few possibilities for a time out might be while the care receiver is napping and you have time to sit, or while waiting in the doctor’s office, or even starting your day 20 minutes earlier or staying up a few minutes longer.  Yes, there will be some days or weeks without time at all.  That’s okay.  I am not suggesting you begin journaling so that you will feel guilty when you cannot.  Just do the best you can!

I like to have a journal the size that I can carry with me so that I can journal when I have time, wherever I am.

There are many ways to journal.  The written word is the most common, done in any kind of notebook or journal-type book.  It can be a place to express emotions, pray, organize things to do, dates, or appointments.  You may want to write down various events that occur in the days of your care recipient, such as changes in behavior or habits, illnesses or hospitalization, etc.

A number of resources may be of help as you begin this part of your journey:

Budd, Luann, Journal Keeping: Writing for Spiritual Growth

DeSalvo, Louise, Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives

Goodwin, B. Lynn, You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers  (http://writeradvice.com/ywmtdw.html)

Karpinski, Marion, A Guided Journal for Caregivers – A Journey into Renewal and Well-Being

  • Pennebaker, James W., Writing to Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma & Emotional Upheaval

Using prompts can help you get started: “Sometimes I wonder…,” “If I let myself cry…,”  “I wonder what my mother would write about me.”  Here are a few resources where prompts may be found:

  • http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/Journaling-for-Caregivers-148782.htm
  • http://www.caregiving.com/articles/blogged/community-caregiving-journal/ (journal prompts)
  • Another way to journal is to draw or doodle, using a sketch book.  That may include expressing emotions whether wild or calm.  Sketching pictures or freeform doodling can help you describe what you are going through, name people to pray for, express feelings with colors, write Scripture using an art form.  I use colored pencils.  I find this method to be extremely soothing
  • (MacBeth, Sybil, Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God; http://prayingincolor.com)
  • A calendar with large areas at each date allows for writing short snippets to help with recalling an event or behavior, dietary changes, etc.  Cutting pictures or words from magazines, making a collage to express feelings or thoughts can be a creative way to journal.  Copy down a quote that means something special, adding your own notes.  Choose a song to reflect upon that brings your heart comfort and peace.  Or write a list of special memories.  The ways can be endless.

I like to have a journal a size that I can carry with me so that I can write when I have time, wherever I am.

If you want your words to remain completely private, I suggest writing or drawing.  Then, tear up or shred the paper.  Writing things down does help to vent and give expression to what you are feeling and going through.  Nobody needs to read it!

Father, You love us and care about us and the precious person you have placed in our care.  We pray for Your wisdom as we endeavor to do Your will and for Your ways to express that which is curled up inside of us, to draw, doodle, and color the creativity You have given us, to pray in Your Son’s Name, to place our lives in Your hands through ways written on a piece of paper.  Even, Father, when we make lists of things to do or groceries to buy, may we always be mindful of You.  Father, guide us and teach us as we lay the pen to the tablet.  Etch Your Words before us so that we stay close to You.  In the Name of Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

beblacksig

See Part 2 of Journaling Your Way Through Caregiving

The Master Weaver – a Poem and Praise

This poem has been around for years and years, yet it fits so beautifully with me, my blog, and my life being woven by God, the Master Weaver.  I have been a weaver and spinner of wools for years, and know the time it takes to create a weaving, a simple wall weaving or a pillow.  Imagine the intricacies of this body we live in, the skin, the eyes, one’s creative side, or our emotional makeup, and  so much more …  : )

I pray that I remain patient and hopeful as the LORD, my God, weaves the woof over and under the warps.  One day He will, yes He will, be finished with me.  I shall meet Him face-to-face.

 

 The Master Weaver

Our lives are but fine weavings,
that God and we prepare,
each life becomes a fabric planned,
and fashioned in his care . . .

We may not always see,
just how the weavings intertwine,
but we must trust the Master’s hand,
and follow His design.

For He can view the pattern,
upon the upper side,
while we must look from underneath,
and trust in Him to guide.

Sometimes a strand of sorrow,
is added to His plan,
and though it’s difficult for us,
we still must understand.

That it’s He who flies the shuttle,
it’s He who knows what’s best,
so we must weave in patience,
and leave to Him the rest . . .

Not till the loom is silent,
and the shuttles cease to fly,
shall God unroll the canvas,
and explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needed,
in the Weaver’s skillful hand,
as the threads of gold and silver,
in the pattern He has planned.

 

Psalm 139:13-17

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

were written in your book

before one of them came to be. 

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them! 

LORD, thank You for weaving me into the girl that I was, the young woman I have been, the woman that I am today, and the one I shall be in the remainder of my days here on earth.  As You complete this woven woman, LORD, make me complete in You.  One day I shall meet You face-to-face and be Your woven masterpiece.  I am grateful.  I love You, LORD.  Amen.