Merry Christmas and Thank You,

I want to wish all of you a Blessed Christmas. I am filled with so much gratitude for all of you, my amazing caregivers and readers. This has been a wonderful year for me as I have found my mission. I love hearing your inspirational stories. Thank you for sharing your personal struggles and how you have found ways to navigate the maze. Your stories have helped me get through a difficult year with my own parents. Whether you have cared for a special needs child, a spouse, or an aging parent, I have learned important life lessons from you. You have taught me how to face difficult emotions with grace. I see how God has given you strength to endure. And so many of you have become special friends. God has indeed blessed me with you. And thank you to my readers, who continually encourage me and offer suggestions for new stories. I have found that God always provides another story – my cup is never empty. And I pray that your cup is always full too. Have a Blessed Christmas.

I would ask for your prayers for my dear mother, who is rapidly declining and is now on Hospice. She has fought an incredibly strong fight, but she is ready to be with our Lord. She is an amazing woman with a heart full of gratitude, kindness, and compassion. Also, please pray for my Dad, who has been an incredible caregiver – he was my inspiration for starting this blog. Thank you so much for the prayers for my family!

Scripture Verse:

Matthew 1:18-25 (NRSVCE)

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Prayer

Lord, I thank You for this special year – for the people I’ve met. Bless each one of you as I keep you in my prayers. And for those who have lost a loved one this year, I offer a special prayer for you. While this can be a difficult time of year for caregivers, let us remember that You will continue to care for us. You are the ultimate caregiver.

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Caregiving Lessons: From Anger to Peace and Gratitude

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Carol has an amazing story of caregiving for a mother and husband. Her story begins caring for her mother from ages 90 through 95 in her home. When her mother started to fall and broke her shoulder and then her hip, she had to put her mom in a facility. However, Carol was there every day to be with her. She died after her 95th birthday. She had a long and beautiful life, but she was very confused towards the end.

During this period, they discovered that her husband had prostate cancer and squamous cell throat cancer. He decided to do alternative rather than traditional treatments and decided not to do surgery. Carol cared for him during those difficult five years. Carol had to manage a feeding tube and catheter during that time, along with blending special food for him. They had Hospice towards the end from March 2010, and he passed away in August. They had 30 wonderful years together, but the last two years were very difficult. Since he wasn’t able to speak, he would write her messages, such as “You are my rock. You and your smile keep me going.”

Carol was very experienced in difficult situations. Her dear sister had died at age 33 from a brain tumor, which went undiagnosed by six doctors, leaving her three children behind. Carol was angry, so much so that her Southern Baptist faith failed her. Her anger lasted for years, and she couldn’t find peace. She sent her children to church, but she stayed away.

In addition, her son was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at age 28. He is now 42 years old and has an amazing attitude. Carol has come to peace with that just as her son has.

Carol says, “In May 2010, I hit a wall. I was exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My spirituality was at zero.” She says she struggled greatly with self judgement and guilt.

During that period, she realized that she needed to find a church, and God provided one. The minute she walked into Lakewood United Methodist, she knew she was “home.” She says, “This is where I’m supposed to be. I have a wonderful female pastor, incredible Bible studies, and fulfilling volunteer opportunities like serving dinners to the homeless.” Plus, it met her requirement of being 10 minutes from her home, so she could be close by for her husband. This church changed her life, and she finally found peace and hope there.

She also found the perfect job for her. She had experience working with seniors during her years of working in insurance. She found a part-time job with Seniors Helping Seniors® Services. She has the utmost respect for the husband and wife for whom she works. They provided training for the job, and she has the flexibility to schedule her hours. All the years of caregiving fit perfectly into this job. She really knows first-hand what these caregivers are going through and what they need. She watches the patients, so that the caregivers can run errands and get out.       

Carol says, “We have to be open and listen with our whole being to what God has in store for us. It is often in the quiet where we find God.” Daily prayer has become second nature for Carol, and she continually prays with a grateful heart. God has brought her full circle.

Scripture Verse

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (From The Harper Collins Study Bible, which Carol likes.) 

What Helped:

  • Her wonderful church that was perfect for her in every way.
  • Her job.
  • She recommends the following books:

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life by C.S. Lewis

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner.

When God Winks by Squire Rushnell

Listen: Praying in a Noisy World by Rueben P. Job

Prayer

Dear Father, You blessed Carol with amazing patience, kindness, and endurance. She relied on You to put her where You wanted her in the right church and the right job. You healed her anger, brought her back to You, and gave her peace.

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