How Can Little Become Much?

“…’If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, Move from here to there,’ and it will move, Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matt. 17:20 HCSB    

I received extraordinary encouragement from the book “Fierce Convictions-The Extraordinary Life of  HANNAH MORE-Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist “.  Though she is little heard of, yet she had a great influence as a Christian woman in the 18th century.  It so greatly inspired me, I  am going to share with you a few bits and pieces of it.  After all, she also lived to the age of 88 and was not idle in her service.   She serves as a great example to us in our senior years.

Early Years of Life

Briefly about her beginnings, she was born in 1745 near Bristol, England.  In those days ladies were only supposed to be learning cooking, sewing, embroidery, dancing, etc.  But Hannah had such a thirst for knowledge that her parents encouraged her and provided opportunity  whenever they could for her to learn others subjects as well, like classical languages and mathematics.

Hannah was one of five girls.  The family plan was for the girls to open a school of their own since teaching was the only profession acceptable for woman of that  period.  This they did with the oldest of the sisters at aged 20 being the headmistress and second oldest supporting her.  Hannah was only 13 when they started and was a pupil at  first but became a teacher at the ripe old age of 16 in this school.  They taught subjects like French,  Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Needlework as well.  It was quite unheard of in those days and caused quite a stir, but it was profitable enough for the sisters to retire in 1789 after 30 years.   Then they handed it over to a former pupil who kept it open to at least 1808.  Their financial management, high principles, and benevolence led to the success of that school.

This school was only the beginning.  Through its students, the school became connected to the theater.  As a pupil, Hannah, had started writing poetry.  It was well known that she had writing talent.  Through the theater, she cultivated social connections that gave her opportunity to write more.  She even wrote plays that were performed at the theater.  She even made the 120 mile trip by coach to London Theater Royal annually, and did so for 35 yrs.   Hannah developed some close friendships and remained close friends with Eva Garrick (whose husband managed the theater) for 43 yrs after his death.

Hannah never married though she did receive a couple of proposals.  The engagement lasted 6 years and the prospective groom backed down three times, after which Hannah had had enough and refused any other offer after that.  For that matter, none of the five sisters ever married.  Either they were really close or maybe after seeing what happened to Hannah, they decided not to pursue that avenue.

Spiritual Growth

Though Hannah had come to faith while young,  John Wesley was a major influence, having built a chapel in 1739 a few miles from the Mores’ home.    It naturally took some years, but she did grow from just plain ‘piety’ to ‘an understanding’  to ‘the heart’, but it was a process that started in her family.  Her faith was a ‘religion of the heart’ in her day and age.

During the years of her society life in London, she read a book called Cardiphonia by John Newton (wrote Amazing Grace.)  Over several years following , she became increasingly unhappy with life in high society and turned more fully toward the Christian faith she had assumed all her life but not completely embraced fully.  She went to visit Newton’s church to talk which led to another step toward an increasingly evangelical and personal faith.  Hannah began perceiving how evil slavery.  William Wilberforce who was a member of parliament; spear headed the legal efforts to end slavery.  He and Hannah became close friends in this battle.  What William did in the public sphere, Hannah did in the private sphere.  It wasn’t till the end of both their lives that they accomplished their goal, but it was something that they worked on together through out the remainder of their lives.

One other thing worth mentioning was the struggle to relieve the suffering of the people in the neighboring village where the More sisters lived.  They talked and decided to start a “Sunday School.”  Sunday schools in those days were schools held on Sundays for poor children because they have no means for formal instruction.  Sundays were the only days the children did not have to ‘work.’  The sisters scoured the countryside.  Patty and Hannah rode on horseback and on foot to talk, explain, cajole, bribe, beg, for children to have the privilege to go to school.   When it finally started, they taught reading, arithmetic, Bible, catechism, knitting and spinning.  She worked with the Sunday schools for over 30 yrs.  They closed after her death but became the basis for primary schools  educating English children today.

Hannah did suffer illnesses during her life also.  Many of the symptoms she suffered sound a lot like migraines of our day and possible clinical depression.   The very thing that sustained her to the end was prayer.  Her convictions and passions did not change in the end of her life; touching many areas of life, literature, education, morality, religion, and abolition.  If a woman of this time period who didn’t have all the advantages we have; could live such a godly, moral influence and example; how can those of us who have so many advantages not strive to do the same?  Hers sounds like a life well lived.  Though she did not have what we do today, yet she had much influence.  I encourage others to read to see how this ‘little’ lady became much to inspire them to do the same.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KQ2G7QS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 “Forgiveness is the economy of the heart. Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.”– Hannah More

Read more: https://www.christianquotes.info/quotes-by-author/hannah-quotes/#ixzz4s8gHyZxpHannah More

 

 

 

 

Are We Ever Too Old to have Purpose in Life?

 

“Do not cast me off in the time of old age;  Do not forsake me when my strength fails.  “ Psalm 71:9

I saw a motto on a college sign recently that said   “Come find your purpose”.  Hopefully that is the idea when college age kids go to college, they do find what they like and/or learn some skills to guide them in finding their purpose in life.   Isn’t that something that we do throughout life though?  Maybe there are a few who always knew what they wanted to do; but many do not.  While your’re young as a child, you basically go to school, play, do chores, etc.  When you go to college, you have to figure out what you want to do for a living, what is your purpose?  A job or career becomes your purpose.  Marriage and children give you purpose also.  Are we ever too old to have a purpose or to serve God?

Is Age a Barrier for Serving?

I started searching around on the web and ran across some good encouragement and insight which I will be sharing here.  First of all,  I read at this site:  “Age is no barrier, no offense before the throne of God.  A willing heart is all He seeks….”        

The Bible never says anyone is too old for God, (nor does He say you are too young either) but there is no age limit on serving God that I can read or see anywhere.

“Everyone who is called by my name, And whom I created for My glory, Whom I have formed,  even whom I have made. ”  Isaiah 43:7    All you need to do is be called by God and be willing.    Whether we are old or young, we all still are here for a purpose.  As long as you are willing and available, God can use you no matter what the age.

Secondly, God used many in the Bible  who were older.  Moses was 80 before he began his most active service for God.  (Exodus 7:7)  Joshua died at 110 years old after helping the Israelites conquer their land. (Joshua 24:29) Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90 before they had Isaac. (Gen.17:17)    Zachariah and Elizabeth were very old before they had John the Baptist also.  (Luke 1:18)  Simeon and Anna both lived to old age serving in the temple, awaiting the birth of the Messiah. (Luke 2:25-38)

We know that Paul the Apostle called himself ‘the aged’ before he died and Apostle John wrote his works at the end of the first century. (Philemon 9, John, 1 John, Revelation).  Daniel the prophet served through quite a few kings in Babylonia and we know he was not young when he died.  Job lived to over 140 yrs. (Job 42:16)  Reading this assures me that age doesn’t stop you from having purpose or serving God.

What about present day?  Are people still out being active?  You can find them if you look.   Specifically looking at women,  I think of Mother Teresa, Corrie ten Boom, Catherine Booth, Hannah Moore who lived  to be 88, and even Anne Graham Lotz who is about 69  and serving as head of the National Day of Prayer Organization and has written books.  Those are just a very few examples.    We may retire from secular jobs but we do not retire from service or having a purpose in the later years of life.

Is Culture a Barrier?

FREEBIE SAMPLES: —->

Sometimes our problem in finding purpose maybe related to our youth-oriented culture. Wisdom and experience of the elderly are not appreciated and society is too quick to put those who are older ‘out to pasture.’  Other cultures reflect the scriptural norm where elderly are revered; wisdom and experience are appreciated.  They continue in roles of influence until death.  http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/10-10-16-how-different-cultures-take-care-of-seniors/

Lastly consider, perhaps you think at retirement that you’ve already done your part in serving…..What’s left?  What lands are left to conquer?  (Josh. 13:1-7)  ‘Helping  hands’ needs are always present in the church, or sharing God’s love, sending cards or making phone calls or visiting the homebound,  Don’t forget children who’s love to hear your stories, younger women who need to be mentored, volunteering for a charity that you never had time to do before.   Blogging is another option that quite a few older people have started doing.  I will be sharing some of those other blogs soon for you to look at if you don’t already.

I know of one older lady who couldn’t walk and felt pretty useless the later years of her life.  She told me that the one thing she discovered she could do was smile at others when she was take out and about. She could only brighten someone’s day with a smile or encourage them, but it was the one thing she could do.  People enjoyed that smile!   If we are willing and available, God will bring opportunities our way, even if its just a smile or a kind word.

Other scriptures to consider:  2 Cor.3:5, Psalm 71:18,19; Isaiah 46:4, Psalm 92: 12-15, and Psalm 37:25 which says:

 “I have been young and now I am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Or his descendants begging bread.”

Don’t forget to take this survey to help this blog out, thanks!  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7BSXHKX

 

A Place for Dad-Exploring Living Options

Even to your old age  and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  Isaiah 46:4

Hello there!

When you get to senior age, you may need to explore your living options.  You may decide to stay where you are, or downsize to a smaller place, join a living community, live with a relative, or have to stay in a facility where you can get the care and security you need if none of the above is an option.  As we get closer to that age, we are beginning to consider a few of those options. However, what about our older senior parents who are still alive? They are in that season right now.  How do you decide what options are best for your senior parents, or how do they decide what is best if they still are able?

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/aging/elder-care/5-senior-living-options1.htm

Living Options Dilemma

My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years back.  He still lived alone in his own house at that time.  Since he was in the beginning stages,  he was not in imminent danger or anything.  Dad drove, cooked, cleaned house, dressed and cared for himself and his dog, and even went dancing at senior centers.  Hence, he was a fairly active senior citizen.

My siblings and I all lived several states away, however, we were concerned about dad and started doing research.  We explored living options and started to prepare ourselves for what was to come.  The doctor prescribed medication for Dad and he was doing well.  He kept his doctor appointments regularly and functioned as he always had.

Back in the eighties he had started driving the some 1800 miles to go see his kids.  We enjoyed his visits and were glad to see him.  When he developed Alzheimer’s, the trips became a source of anxiety for all of us.  He would start on a trip fine, but by the second day of driving he would get lost or pass out from low blood sugar.  Next, one of us would receive a call from the doctor or police station. Finally we planned which one of us was available to go pick him up and get him home. After a few days of visiting, he felt fine and had forgotten how he arrived.

We took him to visit houses and assisted living places in our area.  He seemed very open, but said he needed to sell his house first.   Much as we understood,  we offered to help, but he refused.  Eventually, we arranged for a neighbor(a retired nurse) to check on him everyday and take him a meal so we knew he’d be getting fed and have an idea he was doing okay.  This went on for a couple years.

Freebies examples:

Decision Time

One day my uncle(dad’s only living sibling)took my dad to a doctor appointment.  Dad could no longer legally drive at that point.  Since the doctor wasn’t happy with my dad’s communication skills; he evaluated further him for a  period of a few days.  Furthermore, they decided that my dad could no longer live alone.   Then my brother and uncle took steps to take care of dad’s needs.

Since we lived several states away, it took a while to find a place.  Even though the doctor preferred a memory care facility,  my brother found a place that would accept him in assisted living as they assessed him still capable of it.   As a result, we explored a few different options.

Should we move him to live with one of us?    Would a memory care or assisted living home be better?  Perhaps a smaller residential home that provided such care with fewer residents would work?  Could he keep his dog?   Would the VA help with expenses and how to get that started ?  What about dad’s house and vehicles and other belongings?  Finally,  what about medical care?  Since we needed input from someone else, both my brother and I did consult with someone to advise and do research based on what our needs were.  Consequently, the organization I used was called  A Place For Mom.

Probably some of you may have faced a similar situation and had to make choices on what was best for your aging parent.   What affected your decisions?   It is obvious that no one choice is best for all, each situation is a little different.  The parent’s health, mental condition, financial assets, and family support is different in each case.  I’d love to hear from some of you what worked for you and why.   Consequently here is a survey you might do to help out with the information posted in this blog. 

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7BSXHKX

Thanks for your time!

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the things which you think you cannot do.”— Eleanor Roosevelt

 

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Struggling with Caregiving?

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”.  Habakkuk 3:17-18

Greetings readers!

Are you struggling with caregiving? I learned some  caregiving  principles when I  recently read a book that I am going  to share with you called, The Art of Caregiving.   I lost my mom to cancer some 15 years ago .   This book gives valuable tips in caring for those with cancer.  It was written by Michael S. Barry in 2007.  He is a Reverend who also spent year ministering to the needs of cancer patients and their loved ones.  Even though the focus is  on caring for loved ones with cancer,  the principles and ideas he shares can be used with a loved one going through any type of debilitating disease, as well as the big ‘C’.   Many of our loved ones that we care for do have diseases or conditions like that, therefore I found this advice and insight very encouraging and enlightening to hear.

ATTITUDES TOWARD CAREGIVING

A few chapter names so you get an idea of what’s in this book are for example;  Principles of Caregiving, the Roles we play, When its Hard to Focus,  Flow into Joy, and Boundaries in Caregiving.  They actually cover more material than I can possibly mention, but I touch on these few to give you an idea.

When the author starts talking about caregiving,, he discusses what a privilege it is and how our attitudes toward caregiving or ‘the patient’ will greatly affect the quality of care we give.

Caregiving is more than an act of love; effective caregiving is an art of love”

Caregiving is a great privilege, and it is as demanding as it is rewarding.  To do it well requires us to examine our own attitudes.  We need to assess our beliefs about disease and discomfort and how we face difficulties in our own lives.”.

This is very true. If we don’t feel good about caregiving, then it will come out in how we do it.  If we feel great  about it, are glad to have the privilege to do this; it will more of a blessing for the ‘patient’ as well as for the caregiver.  Make no mistake, caregiving is difficult and at times seemingly has little reward, but if there is anything one can do to make it more life-giving and enjoyable, then we should focus on that because when it is more enjoyable, it still isn’t easy, just easier.

PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF CAREGIVING

As the book progresses, he goes into the more practical aspects of how to give active care and support to the one you care about.   In the chapter about Being a Real Friend, you would read something like this:

“It is fundamentally impossible to worry while at the same time trusting in God.  Complete trust in God dissipates worry; they are mutually exclusive. “

While there are always things to be concerned about, we also need to have a certain amount of faith.  If we are lacking in faith, then it definitely will not help in trying to life the spirits of the one we support through this battle. The caregiver must also take care of his own needs to better be able to assist his loved one. The author then gives practical resources and tips to look into for support and professional help for the caregiver and the  one with cancer.  A couple of those sites mentioned are:  http://www.ourjourneyofhope.com/     and   http://www.caregiver.com/.   On top of that are ways to deal with stress and boundaries in caregiving.   We definitely need to know our limitations, and what only God can do when trying to encourage the one with cancer.

I found this book to be a valuable resource.   It is not dogmatic in insisting there is only one way to do things because there really isn’t.  There are different cancers, different treatments, and different people respond differently.  It is great to explore different options, and to be able to use different methods of caring also.

The Art of Caregiving definitely encourages all this.  I just wish I could have had a resource help like this when I was caring for my mom with cancer.   I think I might have been able to handle things a bit differently.  Truthfully, when I first started reading it, I  wasn’t looking forward to finishing it.  When I finished, however, I felt very encouraged and  blessed.  Hope, joy, encouragement and a positive outlook were woven throughout the book. I trust many of you would benefit from reading it also.

One more tidbit to end this post:  “The goal of caregiving is to create a physical and emotional environment where, in spite of the possibility of death, the order of the day is joy, not sadness.  Hope, not despair.  Life and living, not fear of death and dying.”

“A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions.”   Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

 

 

 

 

Three Ways Jesus Cared For His Mother

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”  Proverbs 31:30

Greetings!

I would like to share with you something that struck me this past Easter Season.  One of those things was the way Jesus cared His mother.

SEVEN SAYINGS OF JESUS

Perhaps you also have read or heard of the seven sayings that Jesus uttered while He was dying on the cross.  In case you haven’t heard them before, I will mention them here:                                                                          

  • “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:24
  • “Truly I say to you, ‘Today you shall be with me in paradise.'”  Luke 23:43
  • “Woman behold your son. Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!”   John 19:26-27
  • “I thirst.”John 19:28-29
  • “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”  Matt. 27:46
  • “It is finished!”  John 19:30
  • “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit.”  Luke 23:46

Any of these sayings would be worth studying about in and of themselves and when they are studied altogether, they give an awesome picture of our Lord and His sufferings while He was on the cross.  The one I would like to focus on briefly however,  was third one that  refers to  how Jesus cared for His mother while He was on the cross.

JESUS’ VIEW OF WOMEN

Before we talk about that , I would like to point out a couple ways He had already showed  care and respect for her.  If you look at the verse:

“When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Jn 19:26

Many may ask,  “Why did He call her ‘Woman’ instead of mother or mom,  or some such title?  If anyone addresses their mom as ‘woman’ today instead of mother or mom, it would sound very disrespectful.  Even in John 2:9  He called her ‘Woman’ when they ran out of wine  at a wedding and Mary  went to Jesus for help.  It seemed slightly disrespectful then, even followed by a mild rebuke reminding her that it really wasn’t the time for Him to show Himself and His powers.   Yes, it would seem so,  but that is today in Western 21st century culture, whereas the Bible needs to be interpreted from its Eastern historical and cultural context of that first century.

My Bible dictionary tells me that when the word ‘woman’  is  used in direct address, it was not a term of disrespect but of honor.  Also when you compare with other Scripture, you will find that Jesus also used the word ‘Woman’ in other situations.  Not only in John 2:4, with His mother at a wedding,  but in  John 4:21 with the Samaritan woman,  Jn. 8:10-12 with the woman caught in adultery, Jn. 20:13,15 with Mary Magdalene, Luke 13:12 when He healed a woman of illness, and Matt.15:28  where He spoke with the Syrophoenician woman.   One source I read say this a ‘quirk of translating from one language to another’.  The term ‘woman’ could also be thought of as”madam”.  It didn’t matter if He was addressing His mother, the Samaritan woman, Mary Magdalene, or the Syrophoenician  woman.  He addressed them all the same and it was always considerate.

At times He addressed the women as daughters  showing His love, compassion  and value of them. (Luke 8:48, 13:16; Matthew 9:22)  This causes me to conclude that Jesus treated women respectfully in how He spoke to them.   Not only that, but the fact that He even spoke to them at all in public was out of the ordinary.    It was not common to be seen in public speaking to women at all.  Yet Jesus did, and He was polite when He did it.

JESUS’ CARE OF HIS MOTHER

At the cross Jesus hung,  after being put on trial, beaten, mocked, stripped, flogged, and now nailed to the ‘tree’.   He was definitely exhausted, weak from blood loss and shock,  rejected by the people and abandoned by most of His disciples.  Mentally He was suffering, as well as physically, and emotionally.  Lastly, He was even momentarily forsaken by the Father.  He was at that time in the most intense pain of His life.  Yet, even then He took time to take care of His mother.

As the oldest son in that culture,  He technically was responsible for her care since her husband was dead.  He looked at His disciple, John, and His mother; then asked John to care for ‘His mother” and “His mother” to go with John from that moment on.  (NOTE– According to Matt.20:20-21 [this mother of James and John], Matt. 27:55-56, Mark 15:40-41, and John 19:25; the same woman seems to be Mary’s sister-Salome-who was James’ and John’s mother, and thus likely a  cousin of Jesus). http://www.forerunner.com/blog/jesus-cousins-were-the-apostles-james-and-john

It always touched me that even amidst His pain and suffering, Jesus did not neglect the care and responsibility for His mother’s needs since He would no longer be there for her.  He did not hesitate to (1) speak to women in public, (2) alway  addressed them respectfully, and (3) He cared for the needs of His mother even at the lowest point of His life.  Jesus is even the prime role model  for this.   I am beyond astounded at His love, care and mercy in treating His mother the way He did.  Even while suffering, He kept giving, loving, caring.  What an amazing God!

“As a Daughter of the King, your purpose is not to turn heads, your purpose is to turn Hearts toward the King.”  @GodFruits.com

 

About Transitioning to Retirement

“Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”  Ephes. 5:15,16.

Hello there  C. O. S readers!

I have  been wondering a lot more lately about transitioning into retirement.  What is transitioning anyway?    As I looked it up I came across a definition like this:  “a movement, process, change from one stage, state, position, subject, etc; to another”.     When I try to do research I find there is a lot out there about transitioning into retirement.  I have read about as little as 3 stages up to 6 or 7.   Hubby has been talking about it and we know it is approaching.  Since I know definitely that it is coming soon,  what do I expect?  Will things flow smoothly?  Will I have to make major adjustments or major decisions and if so, can I start now or do I have to wait till it is imperative or legal to make certain decisions?

STAGES

Life is managed a lot in  stages.   In my own  life,  I can personally think of many transitions I have made through the years. I am remembering , for example, from childhood to adulthood, from singleness to marriage, from childless to fruitfulness, from spring season to autumn season, from non-believing to believing.  We can find stages life, stages of death, stages of marriage or divorce, stages of grief or loss, stages of love, stages of pregnancy, stages of change, of sleep,  and stages of dementia or cancer.   Therefore, why not talk about stages of retirement?   It helps to break events up into stages that we can go through a little bit at a time.  It is easier to measure our progress and makes the events of life more manageable.   The stages of retirement can be found on quite a few different sites.

Not only can you find the different stages of retirement, but you can find websites that deal with  just financial preparation, others with psychological aspects, and still others discuss the emotional aspects.

I will mention the emotional stages here briefly.  I found these on this site   and is mentioned in at least one other blog I know of.

  • Pre-retirement-The Planning time
  • The Big Day-Smiles, handshakes, farewells
  • Honeymoon Phase- I’m Free!
  • Disenchantment-This is it?
  • Reorientation- Building a New Identity
  • Routine-Moving On

THE NITTY GRITTY

Right now, I am in the planning stage of transitioning to retirement,  so what does that mean?  Yeah, retirement is in the future.    Our health is fairly good and our house is paid for.  Perhaps adjusting the budget is the next thing to work on.   Then maybe down sizing and or moving from our nice sized home to a smaller one.  Also I  definitely think we will need part-time jobs for each of us focus on.  Besides that we should be able to focus on some hobbies, maybe go traveling?  I am one who dislikes changes and if I have to change, would rather do it gradually; easing into it.  Just thinking about all these changes almost overwhelms me,therefore the more time I have to prepare, the better it usually goes for me.

However, one article I read said this:  “As reality sets in, only 24% of boomers express confidence that they will have enough resources in retirement vs. 37% five years ago.”  Therefore, it is a concern.  My understanding is that the millennial generation now outnumbers the baby boomers, but some 60 million or so boomers is a good portion of the present population.  Conclusively, we need to get busy planning boomers!   It is fast approaching.

But to sum it all up,  transitioning to retirement will involve and affect everyone in a family in some way. Planning and preparing is  not something that should be taken lightly.  From financial changes, physical changes, changing living arrangements, social activities, emotional and spiritual changes…….. Be serious and thoughtful about how all this will play out and don’t just take it for granted in our changing economy that everything will work out.   “Also in terms of the difficulties that come with retirement whether it is health or financial, I think these are crucial conversations to be having with the next generation. It is really a family project when people retire, and financial or health problems are a natural part of almost every families’ lives and members should discuss how everybody collectively be clear-eyed and speak frankly about what a future is and how to best plan.”

One assurance I do hang on to in spite of all the changes that may come, our God remains the same. He is timeless and unchanging, and for Him one day is as a thousand years. Though all His works may come to end, “But Thou art the same, And Thy years will not come to an end.” Psalm 102: 27  I am so grateful I have an unchanging God to see me through this transition into retirement as well as all the other transitions in life.

By the way if you wish to comment, click on the post title on the right and it will bring up the post for you to comment at the bottom. Thanks!

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”  Fred Rogers

Using Christian Caring Tools part 2

 

“And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly  I say to you he shall  not  lose his reward.”  Matthew 10:42

Are words the only caring tools we can use?

I knocked on the door and waited. I wondered if I was really doing any good using the tools I was using?  Seems like I had to wait longer certain times than others, but eventually the door was answered and I sat down in a comfy chair. Leaving more than an hour later, I pondered…What had I done for that time? Basically I listened and asked questions, at times sharing Scripture and at times praying. It didn’t seem like much , but the elderly lady I visited enjoyed it greatly.  It didn’t seem like much, but it meant a great deal to her as she wasn’t able to get around to socialize very much.

In addition to the first two already discussed;  the third tool  is  ‘Affirmation or Blessing.”  This tool reminds us who is in charge and working, assuring people that God is still with them; and gives comfort to people, encouragement, and helps to train our thoughts.   In addition to being positive, affirmations need to be based on truth to be effective.  Formal written prayers or affirming words, or just using verses written out are effective; read or memorized.  (Numbers 6:24-26,2 Corinthians 13:14, Philippians 4:7-examples)   It depends on the situation.  Even something like “God bless you and be with you.  May He shower you  with His hope, joy and peace.”   Consider the person’s needs and your preferences as well.  If you speak with assurance and conviction, it will come across in your words.  This is a very encouraging Christian  resource. Click this link for some more examples.


Furthermore,  besides our words, talking and sharing with someone, or praying with them,  gluing them altogether are the actual actions.    Even though it  is easy to say we care about someone,  deeds usually demonstrate the truthfulness of our words.  It just means doing simple things like taking a meal to someone,  giving them a ride, giving them a drink, taking them shopping, going out for coffee, etc.   All these type of ‘acts’ are an important tool for giving support or care; however, not only are they for seniors,  but any others going through difficulty as well.   Supporting with our words is helpful but  being  willingness to  give of our time, speaks louder than words.

“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” James 1:22

Finally to review, the four Christian caring tools we have discussed:   1) Prayer with the person,  2)Sharing scripture,  3)Affirmations of truth,  and 4)Acts of service.   We not only can give good care as a Christian, we can share the source of encouragement, healing, comfort, strength with the  person we care about;  using  these tools.  I hope they prove useful to you the next you visit someone in need and enrich your caring experience.

May our Lord bless and keep you in His service.

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“You are to pay special attention to those who by accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.”  Saint Augustine

 

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Using Tools for Christian Care

 

“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me. ”  Matthew 25: 40

                                   Caring for Others in Need

Have you ever heard of ‘Tools for Christian Care’?   What does a person dealing with depression for several years, someone who lost their parent, an elderly widow going through health issues, and an older woman who has lost the use of her legs all have in common? These are the type of people that need the tools I am going to talk about.  They are for giving aid and encouragement to others.   We are commanded as Christians to love one another.  Therefore, when we have relationships with  those who are hurting, we have the opportunity to give the love and care that people need in situations such as

  • …life too much to handle alone right now?
  • … health, your attitude, or your relationships suffering?
  • …adjusting to a new job, a change in marital status, a serious illness, the death of a loved one, a recent move?
  • …. don’t have anyone in your life who really cares?

Everyone goes through difficult times. Having someone to listen, to share God’s love with you, can help you get through the stress, or loneliness you may be experiencing.   Just being able to share your burden with others lightens them for you.  Sometimes you need to go to a professional counselor or pastor or therapist, and that’s ok. Basically I am referring to assisting people who have normal coping skills intact, their thinking in order and their emotions controlled. For some reason, they just need a little extra support, encouragement, prayer with them and for them, and sharing of their burdens. https://www.stephenministries.org/stephenministry/default.cfm/917

Of course, it is important to take training if you wish to be involved in your church or organization doing this on a regular basis.  However, these tools are valuable to know for anyone who is in a  relationship with a hurting person.  It doesn’t matter if the problem is physical,  financial, marital, or related to loss of a loved one, etc.  These special tools are available to anyone to use as a Christian lay person, to support someone having a hard time making it through a crisis.  I would like to share a couple of them here and a couple in the next post.  Even though no professional training needed for these, but it is helpful to have knowledge of the person you are with and familiarity with the tools. To learn more- Christian Caregiving-a Way of Life.

First of all, one tool to use in caring for others is prayer.  Prayer is a talking to God. He wants us to approach him and share our concerns with him in prayer. He tells us to “Cast our cares on Him for He cares for us.” (1 Peter 5:7) God listens and He understands  and supplies any kind of need.  When you pray for others, it  benefits your relationship and the other’s at the same time.  It results in an intimate personal experience that stems from being honest and open with each other as well as God.  You both draw closer to God together.  Through prayer, you are taking your burdens to God and bonding with the other person in the process.  Remember, only pray when the other person is willing and ready to pray, never trying  to force it.

Secondly, a valuable tool to aid others is the Bible.  The Bible records how God ministered to people and deals with many different human concerns, experiences, and situations.   Since you probably’d like to take one with you, then use a small one so as not to intimidate when you visit.  It would be good to mark down some passages or know them by memory.  Maybe  you may also share a few thoughts or explain them, but it is not always necessary. Furthermore, never manipulate or bombard people with your judgments.  It is best to  let the Bible speak for itself and bring reassurance, understanding, correction, strength, etc.  The Scriptures are definitely an important aid to keeping up one’s spirit in a crisis.

These first two tools involve using your words and words from the Bible.  Hopefully, just from having mentioned the first two, they will give you some ideas and encouragement.

Consequently, don’t be guilty of thinking your words don’t matter.  “Words change our relationships, our demeanor, our entire system of beliefs, and even our businesses. Being a planet or not being a planet makes a major difference, just as the words “I love you” or “I hate you” have majorly different meanings behind them. Words have a powerful and undeniably overwhelming influence on us – for good and, at times, for bad. Think for a moment how words have changed your life.”

http://www.askingsmarterquestions.com/words-have-the-power-to-change-our-lives/

In addition…Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  Ephes. 4:29   They have influence.

I hope reading about these tools may benefit you and give you a couple ideas about sharing with the person you care for.  Thanks for reading and join me next time in sharing about a couple more tools to use in caring relationships.

 

 

By compassion we make others’ misery our own,  and so,  by relieving them, we relieve ourselves also.”     Sir  Thomas Browne

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Preparation for Surgery

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16.

PREPARATIONS FOR SURGERY

 

Preparing for mom’s Surgery:

Since I have been through the experience recently, would like to discuss some points on better preparing for surgery.  When I took my mom to her exploratory surgery, it didn’t seem like it was a big deal. I don’t remember doing much preparation for it. They knew she had a tumor, but they wanted to explore and see if maybe that one had come from somewhere else. They decided they needed to explore her lungs since she seemed to have a lot of respiratory issues.  I don’t remember her being offered anything else, scans or CTs, or anything like that. She’d had some other tests and they knew about a tumor there, but they wanted to be sure what they were dealing with. I had kids at home, hubby was at work and no other siblings were available to help. I took her to the hospital and we checked in.

When she went back to prep for surgery, she assured me she was ok. I left to go home and check on the kids. After making sure everything was running smoothly, I left to go back to the hospital(thankfully it was close by). I saw people checking in and out and after an extremely long time, I went and asked again. Finally someone went back and checked, my mom was done, and they called for me earlier to tell me?  I didn’t think they could possibly have done it the brief time I had gone home, but surgery was finished. She had bled a lot(she had anemia) and that worried them so they had tried to call for me; but hadn’t found anything else suspicious. I was thankful she came through it alright; but it still worried me.

Preparing for hubby’s surgery

More recently, my husband had surgery…I remember it seemed to take a long time.  We read, followed doctor instructions, took tests and made arrangements ahead of time. On the day of, only a few people were in the waiting room so there didn’t seem like there was a big backlog or anything, but waiting seemed forever.  I had gone to the bathroom, walked down the hall a couple times, gone and looked at the farmer’s market outside the building, and even been to Starbuck’s to coffee with a couple friends who came to visit.  When I went back in, I saw other people go in to see their loved ones.  I busied myself looking at my kindle as I sat next to my daughter and son.  I was thankful that they were there.  It was comforting not to be alone.

At last the nurse came out and said the doctor was ready to talk to me and I went into the meeting room.  He came out and told me everything had gone fine with the surgery, but had my hubby been complaining of his other hip yet?  I told him, yes, he had but it wasn’t that bad yet. Anyway, he told me the surgery was fine but his left side was actually shorter than his right and they tried to make up for it by making the part a little bit longer also.  He should be okay, he probably won’t even notice.  I thanked him and had to wait a little while before he came out of the anesthesia , but I was relieved that at last it was over and everything went well.

It took him a while to wake from surgery so they awoke him and transferred him to another room.  There they took his vitals and ordered him food.  He couldn’t eat much so he gave it to my son.  A physical therapist came in and helped to be able to get up and go to the bathroom.  They explained about his medications and gave instructions on what he should to do at home to care for his wound, and his mobility limitations. When he was able to take a walk down the hallway, they said he could go home.  It was about 4:30 pm after being there by 6 am. It made for quite a day. The healing process was about to start.

In thinking about those two different experiences, I realize there are things one can do to be better prepared for surgery, or help their loved one be prepared.  Sometimes it happens suddenly in crisis, but when it is planned; we can take steps to get ready for it. There is a very good chance that as we get older, we will be facing surgeries of one kind or another. Let’s look at some points to prepare for surgery.

  1.  Pray for wisdom and guidance.  Don’t neglect getting divine wisdom and guidance, it could make all the difference in the world.
  2. Inform yourself. Find out as much as you can about your surgery. What will happen before, during, after surgery. Get information from the doctor. Look up information online, watch videos if possible. Find out about any other options available to you and what results to expect.
  3. Talk to others who have had the same or similar surgery. Find out what went well and what helped them make it through.
  4. If your surgery involves a limb like shoulder, knee, hip and it is possible; then do exercise to strengthen it as it will help the recovery period go much quicker and easier.
  5.  Make arrangements to have someone to take you,be there with you for support if possible and be able to take you home. Follow doctor instructions as much as possible.
  6. Lastly, have some prepared meals ahead of time to cook if you have no one who is cooking for you and/or for taking you to post check up appts. if you cannot drive yourself.

Beyond all these points, be prepared to wait.  No matter who or the type of surgery, waiting always part of the process. Thanks for reading my points on ways to prepare for surgery. I hope they will help you the next time you may face surgery.  Feel free to leave on comment on anything else you did to prepare, or how these might have helped you.

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Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.   Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Age is Just a Number

TO VALUE  PEOPLE  

“You shall rise up before the gray headed, and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord.”  Leviticus 19:32

HELLO  C. O.S. readers!

When I was very young, I didn’t have a good perspective of what the value of an older person was.   Age wasn’t just a number then.  I  did not know much about value as a human being. There was an older woman that babysit the four of us from time to time. It was always a scary experience for us. She lived alone apparently and never smiled that I could remember. Very often  she would be reprimanding us;  telling us “Shut up!” She astounded us by speaking to us in that way. Our mom didn’t speak to us that way, so why was she so mean?  We didn’t think we were misbehaving very badly and could never understand that. Our grandparents, so prim and proper, brought us gifts, but they never talked to us that way either.

Our neighbor, when I was a teen, was an older man who bred pointers and sold them.  His wife died and I remember he seemed quite lonely as well as having health issues.  Eventually he ended up married again being  probably in his 60’s or 70’s.   He was quite neighborly at least and was friends with the manager of our house.

First  impressions of older people were not good for me.  I could never imagine being that age, and seemingly it would be forever before it happened.   I was rather apprehensive about it considering all I had observed growing up.  Remember too, the sayings like:  “The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be, ain’t what she used to be…”   Another one I recollect is “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks…”   If any  of these sayings were based on any iota of truth, it made older years something to dread.

 Do people think seniors are ‘washed out’? That kind of thinking bothers me.  Very frequently I hear about an elderly person being attacked and I think, doesn’t anyone respect their elders?  Why do attacks take place on those who are older and weaker? 7NEWShttp://whdh.com

A nurse says:”Much value is placed on the lives of infants, children, and younger adults.  However, older people are often devalued in American society.  We can see the bias toward youthful populations come to life when we tell the public where we work.”—  “The Elderly Are Devalued”.

Now, however, I do believe older people definitely have more to look forward to than when I was younger.  I started thinking…..if we devalue the elderly,  how can we change that perspective? One article reads: “Unless we change the way we view old age, the generation younger than the boomers will treat them the same way as soon as they show a few more wrinkles, or seem a bit shaky on their feet.”     http://oregonstate.edu—- Study: Elderly go from being perceived as capable consumer to ‘old person.’

How can we show value and respect to older people or encourage/support them?

First of all, we cannot put a price on the value on a human life; all life is sacred.  God created man in His image and old or young, ‘they’ all have value and worth.

Declaration of Independence even declares this:

” We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Matt. 10:29-31- “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Therefore do not fear, you are of more value than many sparrows.”   Young or old, we all have the same value.

Secondly, they have value for the right reasons.  As it is said,  they ‘silver in the hair’, or ‘gold in the teeth’, but some how I don’t think they want to be valued for those reasons.  Their value is much more in that they bring years or decades of experience into a conversation or situation.  They have experienced difficulties, joys, and griefs, and hopefully, successes also.    “Wisdom is found with the elderly, and understanding come with long life.”  Job 12:12   The ability to share with the up and coming generations the way in which you can navigate certain circumstances is invaluable.  A lot of times they also have a good sense of humor . Though many seniors don’t live close to their families, they still desire to share their lives with them and others. ( http://abcfastdirectory.com– church articles)

Third, a lot of seniors are living longer and longer these days.  They are also accomplishing more things and contributing to society. I read about a “great-grandmother, Mary Bochanis, who has been volunteering for 73 yrs. at the RED CROSS.” Dorothy Davenhill Hirsch at 89 yrs visited the north pole.  Minoru Saito at 77 sailed around the world.  At 95 Nola Ochs graduated from Fort Hays State University in Kansas.  It is very inspiring to read about the accomplishments seniors are making now a days.

To conclude, yes, there is still much value in old age. All people have worth, and seniors have much more knowledge and experience to share as well as opportunities to accomplish other objectives and feats.   There is much to look forward to and I’ve only just begun to touch on that.  More to come in the future on this subject.  Until the next sunset!

“Grow old along with me!  The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made.” Robert Browning

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