Category Archives: Family

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…

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

50 Prayers for Our Kids and Grandkids

Praying hands In everything give thanks...

The Fervent Prayer of a Righteous Grandma Avails Much
Photo Credit: Irina Patrascu

I just ran across this list of prayers to pray for our young people. As a grandma, I’m especially concerned about the world my granddaughters are growing up in and the influences they will face as they mature. Although they are still a little young for these prayers, it’s never too early to start. After all I’m already praying for their husbands! So as you pray for your kids and grandkids, consider adding some of these prayers to your list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caring for the Caregiver: This Year I’m Taking Care of Me

2014 was a hard year for me. What about you?

Fatigue is Fatal

Fatigue is Fatal
Photo Credit Peat Bakke

Mom has continued to become more difficult this year, with almost a month of hospitals and skilled care in October. She hasn’t regained her strength, and it comes out in every way.

Then I saw these caregiver resolutions in a post on Caring.com and decided I need to implement them (or something like them) this year. Not all of these apply to all of us, but let them be a jumping off point for your own declarations.

Here’s the sample from Caring.com to start you off.

  • I will organize and dispense all my loved one’s meds. . . but not beat myself up for forgetting the occasional dose.
  • I will apologize when I lose my temper, but realize that caregiving is so chock-full of temperature-riling situations that eternal calm is impossible.
  • I will be there for my loved one, but I will continue to run my own life at the same time.
  • I will let myself grieve and cry and feel sad, instead of trying to keep a chipper smile on my face all the time.
  • I will accept or ignore criticism for what it’s worth (or not worth) rather than letting it eat at me.
  • I will quit blaming myself when bad things happen. Bad things happen.
  • Finally, I resolve to take care of me this year, not just my loved one. Because eventually I may be the one who needs care, and better it be later than sooner.
  • I resolve. . . not to try to be perfect this year.

How about you? How are you going to take care of YOU this year? Share with us your declarations.

Happy New Year

Everyone I know is asking where 2014 went. But one thing for sure — it went. And fast. Every month seemed to race by, each faster than the previous one.

December Sky

Happy New Year!

While this seems to be a phenomenon of age, even younger people have commented on the speed with which this year passed. But at my age, I’m acutely aware of how many years have passed and how few remain. I question even more deliberately if I am fulfilling my God-given birthright. I wonder if I’ve  made the best use of my days and years.

I don’t know a surefire way to know for certain. I know my life hasn’t gone like I planned. But that doesn’t make it bad; just different. I have a wonderful family with a closeness I could only have imagined in my wildest dreams–a son, a DIL, and two grandbabies that are utter delights. I have the opportunity to serve my mom in her latter years. I have friends with whom I have a long history. I enjoy my work and my studies, and sometimes even think I have made a difference. Life is good.

I hope yours is too. I hope your 2014 has been rich and your 2015 will be richer. I hope that you will continue to pursue splendor with all that is within you. And may God richly bless you in 2015.

Choosing a Caregiver: Expect the Best and Know How to Ask for It

Choosing a Caregiver: Expect the Best and Know How to Ask for It

Choosing a Caregiver: Expect the Best and Know How to Ask for It

I’ve had several conversations lately with people who have had mixed to bad experiences with caregivers. They haven’t known how to select a caregiver or an agency. They haven’t known what to ask or what to expect. They’ve had unrealistic expectations about what to pay and how to manage the legal details. They’ve had bad experiences and haven’t known what to do about them.

Then I received a notice that Haley Lynn Gray is announcing her newest book, Choosing a Caregiver: Expect the Best and Know How to Ask for It. I haven’t read this book yet, but wanted to alert you to it while it’s still free. That’s right – free. The Kindle edition is FREE through December 5, 2014.

In this book she talks about the nuts and bolts of hiring caregivers for your aging parents, based on her experiences as both a daughter and a home care agency operator. It looks quite useful.

What has your experience been in hiring caregivers?

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National Family Caregivers’ Month

November is National Family Caregivers’ Month, so I want to salute you, my caregiving readers, for the vital service you provide to your loved ones.

Thank You, Family Caregivers Roses

Thank You, Family Caregivers

As I talk with caregivers, I see men and women who are building a legacy by laying down their lives for aging parents, disabled spouses, or others they love. In the process, the caregivers’ hopes and dreams are often put on the back burner. Not only do they watch the decline of someone they love, but they also sacrifice their work, their goals, their finances, and sometimes their marriages. It isn’t easy.

Just how valuable are you? According to several AARP studies, 65.7 million caregivers (29% of the U.S. adult population) are providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged. Caregiver services were valued at $450 billion per year in 2009–up from $375 billion in year 2007. At $450 billion in 2011, the value of informal caregiving exceeded the value of paid home care. It was more than Wal-Mart sales ($408 billion), and nearly met total expenditures for the Medicaid program in 2009 ($509 billion). That’s a lot of value, folks! And the value of unpaid family caregivers will likely continue to be the largest source of long-term care services in the U.S. since the aging population 65+ will more than double between the years 2000 and 2030, increasing to 71.5 million from 35.1 million in 2000.

Over 34 percent of caregivers provide more than 75 hours per week caregiving. That doesn’t leave time for much else. Seventy percent of working caregivers made some job change to accommodate their caregiving role. Twelve percent of caregivers reduced work hours or took a less demanding job while nine percent gave up work entirely, compared to three percent who took an early retirement.

So thank you, you priceless family caregivers. Yes, you’re squished, but you are so very important. So please, try to take some time for yourself. Take care of yourself. And pat yourself on the back. Well done!

Photo Credit: Robert Sikora

Senior Isolation: The Role of the Church

People often ask me why I don’t bring Mom over to my area rather than leaving her four hours away. There are many practical reasons, including family and cost, but her church is a large part of that decision.

The Church Is Essential in Combating Senior Isolation Edlerly Sunday school

The Church Is Essential in Combating Senior Isolation
Photo Credit: Jim Reynolds

I know that if Mom were here, she would suffer from isolation. My life is far too busy to provide what she needs on a day-to-day basis. However, she has been particularly blessed by her church, which knows how to do seniors well. They have an active seniors group and women’s Bible study, but more than that, there are a number of people who visit her regularly. Some of those are seniors younger than she is. Others from the Bible study are closer to my age. The combination means that she has visitors every week. Sometimes more than once a week. There are women who make sure she has a ride to Bible study and church on Sunday. When she was healthier there were some who made sure she had a ride to the weekly seniors’ luncheon.

I’m so impressed with their faithfulness. Mom has been in assisted living for more than two years and her church is still her lifeline. I don’t see a lot of that level of ministry, but I’m so glad they are there. It’s worth the inconvenience of driving four hours once a month to keep her close to her church.

What does your church do for seniors, especially the ones who are alone, isolated, and unable to drive? It’s something to think about…

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Senior Isolation: A Real Problem for the Elderly