Caregiving

I am helping to facilitate a group of young women as we read and share insights together from a book by Debbie Macomber.  This week’s chapter was about caregiving and the author stated that everyone falls into one of four groups:  those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.  She then asked where do you fall in this continuum?  What advice do you give for those who are called to care for their loved one?

Scripture – I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.  Matthew 25:35

During my life I have had and will again fall under each of these groups.  By no means is this list extensive but it is much of what I have experienced so far.

Been a caregiver

  • Learn to rest. Sometimes we become so busy caring for others, we forget to care for ourselves.
  • Learn to laugh. Caregiving can be a messy business, full of tasks that are endless and pretty heavy.  Laughter is good medicine and can lighten the heart.
  • Make plans and dream. Your calendar will have space for it.  You lived the past.  Don’t let the past shape your future days.  It is good to remember those we have lost; it is good to feel we have honored our loved one but in most cases that person would want us to move on – be careful that you don’t find yourself 2 years later living as if this time of caregiving is still your reality.
  • Don’t be a martyr. Do what you did because it was the right thing to do not so you can remind others of what a saint you were because more than likely they might see it a little differently than you do.
  • Pray – seek God for next steps in your life.

Are a caregiver

  • Take a long hard look on where you can delegate and ask for help.
  • A tired person often becomes resentful.
  • Keep your doctor’s appointments. You can’t care for others well if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
  • Don’t be a martyr. Do what you do because it was the right thing to do not so you can remind others of what a saint you were because more than likely they might see it a little differently. (This one is worth repeating.)
  • Pray – ask God for strength and wisdom in this role. Stay in His word.  The bible is similar to a well-stocked refrigerator but we often refuse to open the door and nourish ourselves for what the day will bring.
  • Decide what you can let go of and what you can’t. When a person is ill and they are telling a story differently than you remember it, can you be still and let it be – not needing to be right?
  • Do what you do as if you were doing it for the Lord.
  • Treat those you are caring for with respect. Bring them into the conversation about their care when appropriate.

Those who will be a caregiver

  • Start giving of yourself in small ways – there is always someone you can care for. These practices will give you a skill set as a foundation to grow upon.
  • Read a book about caregiving so you have a basic understanding of what others in this role may be going through.  
  • Pray that God would grow a generous nature in you, give you the eyes to see how you might be the legs and arms to someone in need.
  • Come alongside a caregiver who is caring for someone else. They are tired – bring them an unexpected meal, send them a card stating your admiration for what they are doing, leave a bouquet of flowers on their doorstep, listen when they need to process.
  • Spend time in God’s word. There are many distractions but there will come a day when what you have stored in your heart will see you through times that ask much of you.

Who will need a caregiver?

  • The truth is that unless we have an immediate death, all will find themselves in need of someone to look after them.
  • Start now to become a good listener because there will come a time you need to rely on others to make decisions or process with you.
  • Do what is within your power to care for yourself. Take your medicine; do your exercises, eat healthy, don’t over medicate.  Some of the disability in this life has happened because people choose to stay stuck. This will give you confidence and allow you from relying on others more than you need to. 
  • Remember caregivers have other responsibilities.  Be patient about having your needs met.
  • Place good messages into your heart and brain. Instead of too much TV – listen to Christian books, music, or have someone read to you.  The ears are often the last to go – God’s truth is needed as we journey through times of recovery or as we leave this world and go home to Jesus.
  • Remember you may be on pain medication which can slow down or alter our thinking. There will be times you may need to rely on someone else who has a clearer perspective than you can on any given day.
  • Remember God can heal and although today you are in need; it doesn’t necessarily define your tomorrows.

Please feel free to add other insights in this area that may help others.

 

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Easy Birthday Get Together

2016-birthday-cake

Today we gathered to celebrate the fall birthdays in our family. With a little planning, we were able to go to church and get back in time for everyone to have chili and of course, cake and ice cream for dessert.  It was our first family celebration together in our new house.  We all headed out to the backyard to eat.  I had saved a rug so we could lay it down for the children (and grandma).  The weather was beautiful and Maisie explored geckos and flowers with Aunt Rhiannon, Uncle Evan taught Caden how to use the bubble gun, and laughter and gentle conversation were lovely background noise – all moments I cherish.  Let me talk about the fun an inexpensive bubble gun can create with small children and keep the adults hands bubble liquid free.  Here is one similar to what we have.   The food was simple – the people were precious and the time together was priceless.

Here is how it all came about.  The weekend before I combined the the ingredients for Pumpkin Turkey Chili.  I made 2 batches and froze each batch in a ziplock bag which was placed in a bowl and frozen.  I did this so it can be placed in my Instant Pot.  However, it could be cooked on top of the stove after it was thawed.  This saved me a lot of time.  On Saturday, I set out on the counter for a few hours to thaw and then placed in refrigerator.  In the morning I placed both ziplock bags in the Instant Pot and placed on Saute for 5 minutes.  This will heat up any of the contents that may be still be frozen.  I then locked the lid down and placed on Manual for 11 minutes.  Then I headed off to church.  When I got home I opened the lid and it was perfect.  I put the lid back on and kept on warm until we were ready to eat at 11:30 a.m.  On our kitchen island were all kind of toppings:  cheddar cheese, diced green onions, diced cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, salsa and chips.

While I was putting the chili together for the freezer the week before, I also made up a Banana Cake.  It was cooled on the counter, covered with foil and placed in the freezer.  Last night I took it out and placed on the counter to thaw.  This morning before church I made up the vanilla buttercream frosting, made up the birthday banner from Lemonade Moments 

By the time I got home from church, I diced the onions and cilantro and got all the fixings ready to go.  The plastic bowls and spoons were put out and we were ready to enjoy each other’s company rather than being in the kitchen.

2016-birthday-celebration-dessert

 

2016-birthday-celebration-caden-and-cake

2016-birthday-celebration-tamara-and-maisie

2016-birthday-celebration-bubbles-2

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Traditions – Laura’s 2014 Cake

When my children were small I loved creating traditions for our family.  I wanted them to have Markers and if I’m honest I wanted markers for myself as well.  What are markers?  Markers are the times we return to as we go from past to future.  They are moments that build and edify a person up.  Their value far exceeds the joy of when something is actually experienced because it becomes alive and can strengthen us.  Even if the details aren’t remembered  the truth of how we were loved comes back to us over and over again – like a warm hug.

I want to share a tradition my friend, Laura, does each new school year.  Laura is busy – she is a wife, mother of 4 (3 pictured), works, goes to school and still finds time to make a cake to celebrate her sweeties.  I’ve placed some ideas from my early days of motherhood below the picture – not for you to follow – because each of our lives our different.  But I would encourage you to do a little brainstorming – and create some markers of your own. And one last thing – you’ll find a great giveaway for a yummy nutritious product called the Perfect Bar also. Go ahead and enter to win – open until August 22, 2014.

 
Laura - 2014 Cake with Children

From Laura…

Hi Debbie, These cakes are a tradition I started about 7 years. Just for something fun to look forward to when the kids came home after the first day of school. This years idea came from a purple calculator my middle schooler got for school that she loved. The color didn’t turn out a very pretty purple but these cakes are definitely more about the memory than their perfection!

Debbie’s Ideas

1.  When your children come home from school – turn off the computer, get off the phone and truly listen to what they have to say.  When I was a young mom – someone told me you want to give your children a standing ovation when they get home – you can’t do that if you are distracted.

2.  New pjs every Christmas.  I was a stay at home mom who knew how to sew so each year I would take my two to the store and they would choose their fabric and I’d sew (thinking of them) new jammies  to wear Christmas Eve night.  (store bought work also)

3.  Notes in lunch boxes or a treat with a special scripture waiting in their room for them.  One time I was cleaning out my daughter’s lunch box and found over 50 of these notes.  I offered to throw them away and she said not to because she wanted to keep them and see how many she could collect – scrapes of paper with a few words from my heart – lasting value.

4.  A make your own pizza party – every year at Christmas time, my son invited 3-4 friends over and they would each create their own masterpiece.  The table was always decorated with snowmen – he loved snowmen at the time.

If you liked this – you’ll probably like What Kind of Mom Your Kids Remember

Thanks, Laura, for sharing.  I look forward to seeing what you come up with next year.

Please share your traditions in the comments – we are inspired by each other.

As promised – here is the information on the Giveaway… My 2 -year-old grandson loves these and so do I 🙂

 
Perfect Bar 2

http://theworkoutmama.com/2014/08/14/perfect-bar-review-giveaway/

 

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