Hello Dear Friends,
I write this message to let you know what has happened this last several years…as previously promised to many.
For those of you who have followed me on YouTube and Instagram know there has been a series of emergencies and family that have passed away. Out of my efforts to help protect my parent’s/family’s privacy, I chose to refer them to “my family member”.
My Parents were very special people in my life. When all things were amiss, they always kinda stepped in and tried to help. They didn’t always know what to do…but they definitely tried. And I knew they were always there.
My Daddy had many struggles this last many years with his health but he kept plugging away. And literally after many in and out of hospitals, rehab, etc….he literally was on the phone while in the hospital giving directions of what to do here and there. As they were taking him from his regular room to ICU, I asked him for his phone…so he could rest. He was a very very talented man when it came to numbers. And he truly had the gift of giving. There were some that took that for granted for sure, but as he traveled his journey he tried to help. I pray and know the Lord is blessing him now. We were all so blessed by him. And as he continued to work until his death, for those of us helping with his health and at times care…he was definitely not giving up. 😉
As his time came to close on this earth, we were all able to be with him and say goodbye. And he was able to tell all goodbye as well. I was so beyond thankful for this. Being the closest in proximity to my parents, it was a huge weight I felt to be sure to keep my siblings informed. And my prayer always that everyone could be there as his time drew closer to an end. He very much made his lists…who to call, his funeral program and even his obituary. In many ways this was great…and for those who felt left out or slighted…there was really nothing we could say or do. We had to honor our Daddy, and we did our best.
My Dad loved my Mom very very much. And for years, he would talk to me about Mom’s care…in case anything happened to him. So I listened and made notes. And she loved him as much if not more. Even in her own illness, she loved him and continued to dote on him.
I was blessed to realize and address my Mom’s health the last 10 years. I had noticed she began to struggle with her memory. So I immediately began taking her to every doctor I could to slow down what I recognized to be happening. My Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She was a very active and bright woman. She was a teacher by her university training. She ended her working career helping my Daddy in his practice as he moved it from a large practice in an office to an at home office. He would get up every day and go work in his office. And Mom would work in the kitchen close by until he called her for help. She became his secretary, data entry and all around gal Friday. Mom loved helping Dad and when she wasn’t helping him…she would be attending all her clubs, loving her family and cooking amazing meals for Daddy and all of us. As her memory began to struggle it was a hard transition. Not only for her, but also for Daddy. He was losing his friend, wife and helper. As I watched them both, it was a very heartbreaking yet interesting journey. Each day she became even more and more sweet with her Alzheimer’s. And it was clear how much they loved each other…but he Daddy was truly overwhelmed with her transition and loss.
He would talk to me with many many tears and tell me how much he missed her “sass”. As their daughter, friend and helper…I knew that all was changing. But I also realized it was her blessing and ours as well. She wasn’t angry or sad many Alzheimer’s patients struggle with. She just loved each moment to the best of her abilities. And that is the most beautiful legacy she could leave. I miss her pure joy when I would enter a room. As if I had been on a long journey and she missed me the most…even if I had just stepped out for 10 minutes. Yes, I missed my friend every day but I knew I didn’t get to write her story…nor Daddy’s. I used to think I would fix this or fix that. Then in the end…I knew I knew nothing!! The Lord knew the very very best for each of them.
We saw those that were truly there because they truly loved them. And then we saw those that were there for less pure motives. As you walk this journey with your parents, the worst thing is to see those that take advantage of the situations. And then there were those that sometime floated between the two perspectives. Most importantly, they were my parents and I was protective for sure. But honestly, that was my job…and I wouldn’t be any less protective looking back. As I had someone fuss at me…I thought about it as I listened to them repeat a caregivers complaints. And with a good pause as others jumped in and defended me…I looked the family member square on and said…I was quality control. And even now, I would encourage others who may find themself on this road…you be quality control. I will never regret that role…ever.
If there are those caregivers that push back from correction and guidance while working to provide care….they do not need to be working with your family unless there is the ability to be correctable. And yes, these are hard decisions, but even one of the specialist doctors were recommending letting certain caregivers go due to the end effect of serious “stress on the patient”. The situation lends itself to friendships being assumed. And this happens on both sides. There still needs to be a professionalism that is upheld. Listen to those who are a part of the health care journey. It may be hard…but in the end you must do what is best for the patient/s and what is best for the family “in the trenches” so to speak. I will address more on the perameters of these relationships that I wish I had better understood in the journey in my future blogs.
In time, I will write a series of blogs on HealthyLiving4Him.Wordpress.com on some basic observations. I just kept saying…someone should write a book about all of this. And though this blog is heartbreaking enough as I am beginning this at the end of my first Mother’s Day without my Mom. I know in time, the lessons learned could possibly help the next person who might have to walk a similar path. So please just check back in a month and look for that series of blogs.
So yes, Mother’s day comes to an end. My children as always were my blessings. My siblings were so sweet. And my extended family loved and supported me. I tried to not focus on the humongous loss in my life…but to focus on the here and now. And after all have gone to sleep…I write and that is ok. Today I read and shared with my siblings Beth Moore’s quote from Twitter: “If you feel like sobbing, do. If you feel like going to church on Mother’s Day would crush your heart, don’t. You won’t lose your salvation because you don’t want to go to church on Mother’s Day. Grab pen and paper and get alone with God and pour out your heart to Him in full…” AMEN!!!
After spending so much time focused on my parents and their health…I have a new walk. I have spent the last 3 months working nonstop on their estate and their home as well and my husband and I taking over my Dad’s practice. And…by the way, we are in no way perfect in any of these areas, no one is…we are just trying. And yes, there isn’t a book to tell you what to do here…and what to do there. It is a trial and error and seek as much help via prayer and professionals as possible. My parents did/do have a great attorney that has been invaluable as well as his admin. I am blessed beyond all words at all their advice. And then there were those that had walked in the Alzheimer’s steps as well that I sought endlessly for advice. And then finally, I cannot say enough about my parents’ doctors, nusing facility staff and hospice that lovingly helped us in the last days for both my parents. Their servant’s hearts are nothing to be given any less than full on praise!! And then the family that was family. The ones that loved, listened, encouraged, prayed for us, and at times…held me up. I am in awe at who rose to the top in such selfless love. We were all so very blessed. And above all else, I thank the Lord Jesus Himself for His endless love, guidance, wisdom and help for all of us. I still sit and shake my head in disbelief in all the blessings in this journey. It is what kept me going. Truly a Proverbs 3:5-6 journey. And I give the Lord praise in the good and in all the bad. I know all things happened for a reason. Though in my logic, I cannot understand always why…but I trust Him. And there is my peace.
We were all also able to be there with our Mom as she passed away less than 5 months after my Daddy. I was amazed at God’s timing and provisions for her life. Once she was moved to my hometown…it seemed everyone knew Mom. I was so amazed!! I literally had an EMT come sit with me in an emergency room after he was finished with his shift. And this was in a town over from where we all lived. And then there was the friend from Bible study who happened to work on the ICU wing who loved on me and brought me food and drink for our 8 day stay. And then the EMT shift leader who I ran into in the hall of the hospital. He immediately asked about my Mom. I was in shock he remembered me…much less Mom. Even my siblings couldn’t believe in less than 2 weeks in the nursing facilty how many truly knew Mom!! It was and will always be remembered as a true provision from the Lord. Not only did all love and care beautifully for my Mom…they loved us. Again, we didn’t have a clue how to walk through these journeys…but the Lord gave true blessings of incredible people that prayed with us, hugged us, loved us and yes…put up with me!! 😉 I was overly careful…but I look back now and am thankful for the opportunity to have been there. I also had this amazing support and love from so many of you via YouTube and Instagram. Thank you to each of you!!!! Your prayers and encouragements were beyond my meager thoughts and words!! I am truly blessed. This has all been a truly life changing journey.
So now people ask me as I finish up our last child’s homeschooling and both my parents are gone now (as I had planned to fully focus on them as my teaching was changing), what are my next steps. Well for now, the estate is full blown busy. Their house is being renovated and I am still working to get all cleaned out. And after over a year of emergencies, their office moved into an already messy house from our son’s wedding a year ago and boxes upon boxes of the items from their home always finding it’s way to our home. You know…pictures, movies, memorabilia for all the grandchildren/children and extended family…etc. If I spent the next year cleaning out our home alone…that would be a truly full time job. 🙂 And so with both, I continue. After all is finished, I will see where the Lord leads.
My first goal personally is to crawl back into the Word in a very different and deliberate way. Though Jesus never left me, I know my heart needs a different level of healing. There is not only the incredible loss of both my parents…but all the bumps on the road that have left me a little wounded or battered. And then it was the many years of slowing cutting this out and that out in order to be available in case of an emergency. And yes, there were endless years of if I left town…you know the rest. My sister began to tell me this as well. So as a result, I began to trim up all my different activities. And finally, my best friend of 17 years moving out of state with her own ailing parent.
So I now try to go eat with a sweet friend who was there every step of the way. She and I seem to be working towards at least 1-2 times a month lunch. She unfortunately lives 45 minutes away…but the road is short between true friends. 🙂 And just the logistics of this sweet friend and adding to our already lovely friendship. I now life in a whole new world. I am not in hospitals, my parents home in their town, the nursing facilites, drs offices, etc. It is truly a new walk with very different people. And also, I am graduating out of the homeschool world I have been heavily invested in for the past 26 years.
Now I not only in my private time am I trying to dig into the Word through Bible study, I am journaling to the Lord as well with my memory verses and prayers. We have gone back to our family Bible study and it is wonderful!! I am still in search of a Ladies Bible study…as my old Ladies Bible study began to use the same study as the family Bible study…and now they are literally on the same lesson each week. So I am feeling led to seek out a different study. And Lord willing He will guide my steps. I know the Lord will begin to heal my heart and help me find good Christian women friends in the journey.
My parents have gone home to be with the Lord. And though it is hard now, there is joy and peace in knowing…they are with Jesus, healthy and together. And I smile every time I think, Daddy is now sitting with Jesus, Moses and Billy Graham having some really great conversations!! There is my peace. I believe in His Word and in His promises!! God is so good!!
I will be also sharing a question answer video on my JosephinesDesigns.com YouTube this next week. As well as I also wanted to share here. As I said earlier, I will share more on my other blog: HealthyLiving4Him.wordpress.com. So if you are interested…please feel free to visit. Also if you like, come by JosephinesDesigns.com on YouTube as well. We’d love to encourage you!! You are welcome!! 🙂
And if you have any questions, please email me at JosephinesDesigns.email@example.com and HealthyLiving4Him@gmail.com.
I pray each of you have a blessed, creative and lovely day….k
Photo by Min An from Pexels
Hello Dear Friends,
I am soooo excited to share with you a fun new event to my YouTube channel!! I have loved Creative Memories for many many years!! I loved when I was a consultant many years ago and I am thrilled to be apart of them again!!
Having a Grandmother with dementia and a Mom who recently passed with Alzheimer’s, memory keeping is invaluable!!! I loved working on albums for my family!! I loved making albums for my Grandmother and Mom. When they were confused, I would show them pictures and walk them through time by looking at their memory books. The nurses and doctors always thanked me. They knew that love and sharing memories was so much better than medications. And I must tell you though it didn’t heal their struggles, they both knew they were loved and they always could find a part of their history to bring them back to the present…as much as they were able. For my Grandmother it was always successful…for my Mom, I was so blessed that she found comfort and could always find something in her albums to remember.
Now they are both gone, and though I miss them both, I now am the caretaker of those precious albums and those incredible memories. It was a blessing then…and it is a blessing now.
Being a story teller is the greatest gift we can give to our families…I know this with all my heart. I know I have allot to be thankful for, and this part of my journey is a blessing from the Lord. And now it is my job, to pass on the stories to my children…and one day my grandchildren. And I will be thankful to have these family history books ready to share.
So come join with me and let’s build our family story journals together!!
Prayers and hugs…k 🙂
PS…There are 10 openings and each kit is $18.00 plus shipping. I will also keep a waiting list and if we have enough interest by April 27, 2018, I will gladly order more kits!! 🙂
I will be adding some fun goodies to each kit to encourage you in your memory keeping!! 🙂
After April 27th, each kit will go up to $25.00 plus shipping. So please hurry and grab your kit as soon as possible.
To order your kit today, email me at JosephinesDesigns.firstname.lastname@example.org
The first 10 people to order and pay for their kit will be signed up for the online class.
Every year, I plan on buying a traditional Advent calendar to help my family get ready for Christmas. I like the idea of daily Advent readings that help build anticipation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Unfortunately, I’m usually busy and forget to buy the calendar until after Advent has already started. There is so much going on at Thanksgiving, and then the parties start, and before you know it, Christmas is upon us. The calendar itself is not the most important thing; it’s about what celebrating Advent does for us during a very busy time of the year.
Advent is the season that starts four Sundays before Christmas. For hundreds of years, Christians have used this season to remember the coming of Christ, and to prepare for Christmas. It’s more than just a piece of history, though. So, why do we celebrate Advent? Celebrating the Advent season can help us today to follow Christ more faithfully in at least three ways.
Advent helps us focus on Jesus.
We’ve all heard the clichés like “Jesus is the reason for the season” and “Let’s keep Christ in Christmas.” Even though they are clichés, they contain nuggets of truth. One of the reasons that they exist is that it is just so easy to let all of the activities, and shopping, and parties overwhelm our focus on Jesus. Celebrating Advent gives us daily and weekly reminders through Scripture about who Christ is and what He did for us when He came to earth.
Advent helps us honor Jesus.
The word “Advent” means the arrival of someone or something important. When an important event like a graduation or wedding is coming, we work hard to make sure everything is perfect. When an important person is coming to visit, we work hard to properly prepare for them so that they will know they are valuable to us. We plan the menu and the decorations; we clean the house and edge the lawn. We don’t just wait until the last minute and throw something together. Similarly, celebrating Advent helps us give Jesus the proper attention and focus He deserves. By focusing on Him throughout this season, and not just on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we honor Him more faithfully.
Advent helps us remember Jesus is coming again.
Advent is not only a celebration of Christ’s first coming as a baby; it is also a reminder of Jesus’ return that is yet to come. Just as God’s people awaited the first coming of the Messiah, His people now await the return of our Savior. The four weeks of Advent remind us of both of these comings. In weeks one and two, the Scripture readings look forward to His second coming and remind us of the importance of being prepared for His return. Weeks three and four look backward and help us remember the excitement and expectation that the hope of the Messiah brought to the ancient Jews. It has always been important for God’s people to remember that God is up to something, and that we need to live in expectation of what He will do when He comes again.
In our world, there are so many things that can occupy our attention. The Christmas season is one of the most exciting times of the year, but it is also one of the most distracting seasons of the year. Even for those who want to keep focused on Jesus, it is difficult to do so. By celebrating Advent, we acknowledge that celebrating Jesus is more than one evening and the following day. The ‘how’ to celebrate Advent isn’t as important as the connection you make with Him, so create special traditions as a family and grow in Him together. Let us be a people who acknowledge God’s great love and generosity for his people every day this Advent season.
Devotional credit: Dayspring.com
I often think of the crazy holiday season countdown as a great big package we tear into (earlier and earlier!) every year. It’s bright and flashy, but we don’t find a whole lot at the heart of it.
And then there’s Advent.
Advent is like a small and carefully-wrapped gift that invites us to open it slowly, day-by-day, to discover new treasures inside each year. It’s the quiet, magnificent story unfolding beneath all the shopping and celebrating. It’s the real journey that will still be beautiful and true when everything else passes away.
This is the story I want my children to be swept up in.
They love anticipation and discovery; They love creating and celebrating.
I want to help them pour that God-given energy and excitement into the stuff that truly matters.
If you’re looking for some simple, meaningful ways to celebrate a special Advent season this year, read on. Find a few easy Advent activities that feel right for your family, and give them your personal touch! Starting your own Advent traditions is a wonderful way to celebrate the marvel of the season.
Hang a traditional Advent calendar that includes Scripture near a busy place in your home. Let children take turns opening each day, and spend a few moments talking about the message that’s revealed. Or place a small dry erase board orchalkboard in the kitchen to keep track of how many days until Jesus’ birthday. As simple as it seems, even taking a few moments each day to shift our focus toward the One we’re truly celebrating can make a big difference.
Pray each day.
Have the kids decorate a prayer jar, box or basket. (Check out our Bible journaling craft supplies for some great inspiration!) Cut 24 small slips of paper and sit down together to fill them out with names, situations and even parts of the world you want to pray for. Set it in the middle of the dinner table or living room, and have a child draw one out each day of Advent as your family gathers to pray.
Shine your light.
Set out an Advent Wreath, and take a moment to light one of the candles each Sunday during Advent. Talk about what it might look like to shine God’s light in the coming week.
Then consider putting His love into action with a weekly family outing to bless someone in need. It could be a nursing home visit, flower delivery, or a grocery store run for a homebound neighbor. Make a reverse advent calendar collection box and add one new item each day or week to donate to a food pantry or other organization. Get the kids involved and see what creative ideas they come up with!
Have some fun.
Our family doesn’t have the magical plush toy that shows up in some houses at the holidays, but we do love to have fun with our Shepherd on the Search. We hide him around the house each day of Advent, and he makes his way to the manger on Christmas Eve.
Create your own advent calendar countdown.
Make an advent calendar together for a personalized way to count down. Gather some supplies and give the kids a few hours one afternoon to create their version of a Christ-centered Christmas countdown. There are no rules; it can be as simple as stickers on paper, or elaborate as a colorful clay sculpture. Talk with them about how we each have a special journey to take, and theirs is unlike anyone else’s. Remind them how much God delights in walking with us every step of the way. Allow their creativity to guide you through the Advent season as you draw inspiration from their homemade advent countdown.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive guide for the season, there are some wonderful advent devotionals that include Scripture, devotions and activities for your family to share. One of my favorite Advent books is Ann Voskamp’s “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.”
No matter what, remember that every little step we take toward the heart of this beautiful season matters: every meaningful conversation we share, every prayer prayed together, every act of kindness that shines His light. Don’t let the celebration of Advent become another burdensome thing to check off a holiday to-do list. Pray about your plans; do what’s right for your family in this season of life, and enjoy the journey of a Christ-centered Advent celebration together!
Devotional credit: Dayspring.com