Category Archives: Boomer Life

How to Get What You Don’t Want

Did you know there’s a sure-fire way to get what you don’t want? Yep, and many people practice this method everyday. They speak their reality into existence with their words, and what they speak is what they don’t want rather than what they do want.

Sometimes we Create Our Own Mess

Sometimes we Create Our Own Mess

How often have you heard someone say, “I’m so bummed because I’m not married yet.” Or “I’ll probably never have children. It’s getting too late in life.” Or “I’m sure I won’t be able to get a job as good as the one I had before.” Or “I’m hopeless! I’m such an idiot!” Maybe you’ve said at least one of these yourself.

Do you realize that your words have creative power? Do you realize that, like the God whose image we are created in, we can speak reality into existence. Matthew 9 is filled with such stories: the man whose daughter died, the woman with the issue of blood, the two blind men. In each case, Jesus healed them and commended them on their faith. After healing the two blind men he said, “According to your faith be it done to you” (Matt. 9:29). All of these people spoke in faith, believing that Jesus could and would heal them.

Jesus hasn’t changed. He still acts according to our faith. What do you have faith in? What would happen if you stopped speaking in faith that the negative will happen, and rather, spoke in faith that Jesus will indeed provide what you need or desire? If you’re creating a reality you really don’t want, there is a way to change that.

 

Tips for Emotionally Managing Caregiving

Are you one of the 65 million Americans providing care for loved ones needing help due to illness, disabilities, or aging? If so, you no doubt experience a vast array of emotions. You’re busy, untrained, and just plain exhausted—and perhaps managing a boatload of grief in the process.

Bang Head Here

Bang Head Here for Stress Relief
Photo Credit Lynn Hasselberger

Dr. Steve Landers offers simple but important tips for managing four common stressors in family caregiving in his article Family Caregiving Isn’t Easy: Emotional Management Tips.

I currently manage care for three people: my 94-year old mother who lives four hours away, my sister who has acute needs requiring me to be with her during hospitalizations (also four hours away), and my husband who has Parkinson’s Disease. The demands and thus the emotions regarding each vary with who they are, what their needs are, and my relationship to them. Personally, I’m great with the medical aspects of their care. I understand and can often diagnose what’s going on even before their physicians do. But I get frustrated when they behave like helpless victims. When they don’t do the things they know to do to take care of themselves. When they complain about things that neither they nor I can change, and let those complaints taint their whole day.

My tip for managing the whiny victim? Become a Pollyanna. When I’m handed a negative – a complaint, a criticism, or an accusation, I come back with a positive. A reason why I believe the sky isn’t falling. A suggestion for making lemonade out of some pretty sour lemons. An action they can take to make things better. I resist doing anything I know they can do for themselves, even while constantly reassessing to make sure they can still do it.

What is your biggest challenge in caregiving, and what do you do about it?

 

 

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Is the Gospel Being Distorted?

This week I’ve had discussions with two moms whose adult sons have lived with non-Christian girls in long-standing relationships. Both parents raised their boys with Christian values, but somewhere along the line, worldly values overtook them. One mom was devastated and prays regularly for her son and his girlfriend. The other mom took a more ho-hum attitude. After all they are in love…

Values are Changing Photo Credit: Flickr/ Parker Knight

Values are Changing                                                                                                         Photo Credit: Flickr/ Parker Knight

These moms aren’t alone. Increasingly we are seeing a dilution of the gospel in the lives of our kids. Faith isn’t as important to most of them as it was and is to us. influenced by their schools, their peers, TV and movies, music and culture, today’s Millennials are more “open,” but often at the expense of the beliefs they were raised with.

We see the same thing with other issues of the day as Millennials buy the cultural lies about homosexuality, Islam, abortion, and the environment. Chelsen Vicari addresses this in her article “How the New Christian Left Is Twisting the Gospel.”  She suggests that faith leaders in many of the “hip” (read: growing) churches are “encouraging young evangelicals to trade in their Christian convictions for a gospel filled with compromise. They’re slowly attempting to give evangelicalism an update,” and the results are leading to a new variation of Christianity that would not be recognized by their grandparents.

Why does this matter? Because the very fiber of orthodoxy is being sacrificed on the altar of cultural relevance. We are sacrificing the gospel of Jesus Christ in an attempt to be relevant, loving, understanding, and compassionate. What we, and our kids, don’t realize is that Jesus wasn’t always these things. He was counter-cultural. He ruffled feathers. He irritated the leaders. But he didn’t compromise. And his steadfastness was attractive.

This year, let’s be very aware of the influences that are wooing our young people and let’s take a stand for orthopraxy (right practice). Let’s be willing to be unpopular as we give our kids good reasons to follow the real Jesus, not the pop-Jesus. It won’t be easy, but then, few worthwhile things are…

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to Me!

Forty years ago today I made the most important decision of my life. I stopped fighting and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Happy Birthday to Me! Photo Credit: Abby

Happy Birthday to Me!                                                        Photo Credit: Flickr/Abby

Little did I know what that decision would mean. I was simply looking for a life preserver, a fire insurance policy. Since my friend, Jadene, had shared Jesus with me a few months before, I knew that day would come. I figured that when I hit bottom, I could just pull out Jesus – my “get out of jail free card” – and all would be well. It took me awhile to realize that I didn’t have to hit bottom. After all, how much lower could I go? And did I really want to go there?

I drove from San Francisco to the church her husband pastored in Fresno, and in a bucket of tears, surrendered my life to the Great Unknown. And that Great Unknown met me, right where I was. I didn’t have to clean up my act first. I just had to come.

Well, by the time I got back to San Francisco, He was already beginning to rearrange the furniture of my life. Within a week he threw me into a Christian singles group where I was loved, discipled, and given every opportunity to grow. And every time I said yes to an opportunity, they gave me another. Never since have I seen a better discipleship program, and these folks were all lay people, unpaid and untrained. But they nurtured me to maturity and laid a firm foundation for me. Many of these people are still my best friends, and one – the coordinator of the group – is my husband.

I want to offer a huge thank you to everyone who has played a part in my life over the past 40 years, and a monstrous thanks to Jesus, who rescued me from the miry pit and set my feet on solid ground. I couldn’t ask for a better life.

Thinking About End-of-life Care

It’s not a popular subject, but you know, we’re getting to the stage of life where we ought to give end-of-life care more than a passing thought. And if not for ourselves, then for our aging parents or siblings.

end of life

Don’t wait until you need to make end-of-life decisions                                                      Photo Credit: Ted Van Pelt

An article in MedPage Today suggests that as advanced as we are with acute and even chronic care, we as a nation don’t do a very good job with end-of-life care. We don’t ask older patients what is important to them. Doctors, trained with w “fix-it” mentality, don’t consider the benefit of diagnostic tests or treatment for something that isn’t lethal. We as consumers – and as advocates – need to think about end-of-life care for ourselves and talk to our loved ones as well.

Obviously, everyone needs an advanced directive and a health care power of attorney. Your physician can provide you with those forms. And think about those in your circle of influence who have no one. We have a friend on disability who has no family. The last time he was in the hospital, no one knew to call us. We learned about it through a church prayer request. We’re visiting his doctor next week to set me up as his DPA (durable power of attorney) for health care and get his advanced directive in order.

But beyond the legal is the emotional and spiritual. What are your goals and dreams? How do you want to die if you have the choice? I have a friend with Alzheimers who absolutely does not want to go into a facility, while another friend with the same disease who told his wife that when he no longer knew her, she should put him in a facility. We can’t always comply with these wishes, but knowing them at least helps in making decisions. What are the spiritual practices that are important to you? What are your greatest fears concerning end-of-life care? These are the conversations to have now, while they are relatively unemotional. Then you’ll be better prepared when the time comes.

 

I’m Done!

This afternoon I pressed send on my final paper for my final class for my Master of Arts in Theology (Biblical Studies) from Fuller Theological Seminary, Bay Area! I was able to walk in the graduation in June, but with one class remaining over the summer, it seemed a bit anti-climactic. And wouldn’t you know, this was one of the most tedious classes I’ve taken. Yes, even accounting for the senioritis I experienced.

Working on my master’s degree has been one of my major efforts at pursuing splendor. I started the program at the age of 59, taking one class per quarter. My idea was that I really wanted to learn this time. In my previous degrees (BA and MPH), I worked full time, even while pursuing a master’s degree in the 1970s. I never felt that I learned much. My goal was to finish. This time I was free to devote more time and energy to my classes, and to move slowly. There was no job goal. No urgency. Just the desire to learn all I could and be enriched from each class.

Now what? What I know so far is “more of same.” More writing, speaking, and personal ministry. However, I also believe God will open new doors for me and perhaps even point me in a new direction. I’m excited and ready for my next adventure. All I know for sure is that it won’t include retirement – much to my husband’s disappointment.

When You Think You’re Dying

Making change is hard. Sometimes very hard. When I’m doing ministry and encouraging change, I often hear, “I feel like I’m dying!” And that’s true. Change often feels like death, and in fact, requires a death.

Go Ahead and Die!

Go Ahead and Die!                                                                                                                        Photo Credit: Jhong Dizon

Here’s the deal. Many of the behaviors and attitudes we want to change actually require a death. A death to the habit. A death to the factors that drive the habit. A death to the good feelings that the habit generates. It feels like death unto death.

But here’s the reality. When we make a change that is good for us, it can be a change unto resurrection. We may be in the “grave” for a short time, but if it’s a change for good, it’s a change to resurrection. We come out better. We come out transformed. We will never be the same again. The old has indeed passed away, the new lies broad before us. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

So if you feel like you are dying as you try to change, that’s a good thing. Continuing the old habit will bring death. But allowing the habit to die, well that brings resurrection! So go ahead. Die!

Thriving in Babylon

thriving in babylon

Thriving in Babylon: Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture

Have you been discouraged as you see our culture deteriorating? Have you faced fear as ISIS spreads and homegrown terrorists spread panic across the world? Have you lamented the loss of freedoms caused by court decisions, increasing regulation, and political correctness?

Meet a man forced to live in a fast changing and godless society. He faced fears about the future, concern for his safety, and the discouragement of world that seemed to be falling apart at warp speed.

Sound familiar? His name was Daniel, and with the power of hope, humility, and wisdom, he not only thrived, he changed an empire while he was at it. Though he lived thousands of years ago, he has a much to teach us today. But his key message is this:

Even in Babylon, God is in control.

In Thriving in Babylon: Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture, Larry Osborne explores the “adult” story of Daniel to help us not only survive – but actually thrive in an increasingly godless culture. Here Pastor Osborne looks at:

-Why panic and despair are never from God

-What true optimism looks like

-How humility disarms even our greatest of enemies

-Why respect causes even those who will have nothing to do with God to listen

-How wisdom can snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat

For those of us who know Jesus and his promises, and understand the full implications of the cross, the resurrection, everything changes—not only in us, but also in our world.

This is an easy read, but filled with thought-provoking challenges. Is my faith really all I think it is?

Give Away!

And here’s the good news! David C. Cook has provided me with an extra book to give away to one fortunate reader. Leave a comment below telling us what concerns you most about our world today -or- how you are finding ways to thrive in your Babylon. I’ll randomly select one of you to receive the book on August 7.

Take My Hand Again | Eldercare

Since I have primary responsibility for my 94-year-old mom, I’m always interested in books on caregiving for the elderly. Kregel Publications has recently published a new addition to my stack. Take My Hand Again: A Faith-Based Guide for Helping Aging Parents by Nancy Parker Brummett is a gentle, encouraging book for caregivers. It is ideal for someone who has recently been thrust into this position and is looking for answers, or for an adult child who is looking ahead and realizing that Mom or Dad will need help in the near future.

Brummett uses short vignettes and examples to lighten the overwhelmingness of her information. She offers useful data, websites, and resources, as well as practical information that is grounded in both personal experience and excellent research. She doesn’t assume that all parents are alike, so offers a variety of solutions to the most common issues. The faith-based approach is present, but not off-putting if someone is not a Christian. The one thing that is missing is caring for parents with whom you don’t have a good relationship or parents who didn’t care for you. Throughout the book, she assumes that you had and have a good relationship with your parents and want to be helpful. If that isn’t your story, read the book anyway, and find the rest of what you need elsewhere.

For the rest of this month, Amazon is offering the book for $2.99—a huge savings over their usual price of $12.32.

 

 

Where Do You Want to Be? | Contentment

Are you satisfied with where you are and what you’re doing? So many people aren’t. Single people want to be married. Married people wish they weren’t. If a job isn’t perfect, some people complain, threaten to quit, and sometimes even orchestrate their firing. They believe they will be happy when… And they can’t be happy unless…

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands (The Show Ponies) has a perfect line:

“You’ll never be where you want to be until you want to be where you are.”

Think about it. Instead of always wanting to be somewhere else, doing something else, being someone else, what if you were simply able to be content. Right where you are? To rejoice in being. Just who you are. Every day. What would it take for you?

Would you need to set aside your visions of what your life was supposed to look like? All too often we have our preconceived ideas about the course of our life, and when it doesn’t work out, we blame God. Or ourselves. Or someone else. We strive to accomplish our goals, even if they aren’t God’s goals. In the process, we drown in discontentment. We want to be anywhere other than where we are.

Try it. Just be where you are, and decide that you want to be there. Practice contentment and see what a difference it makes.