3 Everyday Lessons for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
by Kathleen Brown
I discovered Mom had Alzheimer’s during a September trip. September. Its flower is the forget-me-not; its gemstone, the sapphire. Sapphires were once associated with clear thinking. As I began caring for Mom, in the house where I grew up, I hoped the clear thinking part was for me.
If you’re an at-home caregiver, you know it presents unique challenges. My first weeks with Mom felt like one emergency after another; I was on adrenaline overload. Then I began noticing the miracles: tiny ones (finding one of Mom’s shoes in the trash can), and huge ones (Mom suddenly agreeing to a long-needed bath). Feeling the Lord’s presence and help, I calmed down and began to learn. Fear not—you’ll see miracles, too.
Three of the Biggest Everyday Lessons
#1-You always have options.
In the beginning I thought there was only one right way to accomplish any care task. Wrong. There will always be more than one way to do what you need to do. Finding the best way, however, means we must look at all the options.
Example: Doctor to Mom: “Exercise.”
Mom to doc: “No.”
Solution: Two carts at the mega-store. While Dad shopped with one, Mom used the other like a walker, happy to stroll with me all around the store.
#2-Be ready to laugh.
Laughing in the face of Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary for survival. The day Mom opened her mouth and I saw her dentures were in upside down, I smiled when I wanted to cry. After I fixed them, I laughed. Her poor gums were no longer being bitten by false teeth! Humor is an invaluable companion in caregiving.
#3-You will make it, even through the most difficult times.
When you need strength, you’ll have it. When you need words, they’ll come to you. When there’s nothing you can do to help your loved one, she will, against all odds, help herself. I can’t tell you how it happens—who can explain a miracle?—but I can tell you that resolution always comes. Expect it.
Expecting solutions widens your field of vision. You’ll find resources and strategies you won’t see if your eyes are closed in despair.
We hope effective treatments for Alzheimer’s will come—someday. Ways to cure and even prevent it. Until then, our peace will be in knowing we can help our loved ones through it. We can.
Kathleen Brown is a writer, speaker, and firm believer in everyday miracles. The author of A Time for Miracles: Finding Your Way through the Wilderness of Alzheimer’s, she focuses her work on needs of at-home Alzheimer’s caregivers. You can reach Kathleen through her blog, www.hopeandhelpforalzheimers.wordpress.com, or by email to email@example.com.
What to Say When To a Depressed Loved One
by Dr. Michelle Bengtson
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Proverbs 18:21
What we say to others can either build them up or tear them down. We must take care not to further injure someone in their suffering from something we say.
As a neuropsychologist, I’m witness to the well-intentioned but misdirected words of friends and family to depressed loved ones that only serve to pull them down further.
When people suffer from depression, they often also harbor low self-esteem, guilt, and shame. What they crave is to know they are loved, accepted, and not alone.
Let Scripture help you determine what to say to a depressed loved one: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Here are a few things to say to someone struggling with depression:
-I love you. There is no better time to hear this than when they are struggling to love themselves and wonder if others truly love them too.
-I’m here for you. This is one of the most comforting things you can say to someone feeling alone.
-You are important to me. It’s vital to know they are still acceptable, accepted, and important.
-I’m sorry that you are going through such a painful time. Expressing your sorrow for their pain communicates that you care, even if you don’t fully understand.
-Is there something I can do for you? This communicates your willingness to help and just your offer will lend comfort and encouragement.
-You may not believe this now, but you won’t always feel this way. The depressed individual often needs reminding that there is hope.
-We will get through this together. This communicates your acceptance, and your love.
-Nothing. Actions often do speaker louder than words. I remember when Job encountered great hardship. Job 2:13 says his friends came and sat with him for seven days and nights. During that time, they didn’t speak a word because they saw how great his pain was. Words could do nothing to help his misery, but their company spoke volumes.
Remember, when you are speaking to a depressed loved one, your goal is to encourage and uplift them. “But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief” (Job 16:5 NLT).
How will you encourage a loved one today?
Author, speaker and neuropsychologist, Dr. Michelle Bengtson combines her professional expertise and personal experience with her faith to address issues surrounding medical and mental disorders, both for those who suffer and their family. She offers practical tools, affirms worth, and encourages faith. She blogs regularly on her own site: http://www.DrMichelleBengtson.com
Tags: 1 Thessalonians 5:11. Proverbs 18:21, author, depression, Dr. Michelle Bengston: What to Say to a Depressed Loved One, encouragement, friendship, guest blogger, Job 16:5, Job 2:13, Julie Arduini, neuropsychologist, Scripture, speaker, WordGirls
Prosper Where You’re Planted
by Kathy Carlton Willis
We were excited about our brand new home, but not so much with our new sod and landscaping. It struggled to survive the move. Of course, the 100-degree heatwave didn’t help matters. The crux of the problem was transplant shock. Those green leafies were traumatized by being uprooted from their comfortable setting and placed into strange new surroundings.
We did all we could to “love on” our greenies. We refreshed them frequently with nourishing drinks of water. But even with the proper care, the bright green leaves of grass, trees and plants dimmed to a straw-like gold. Transplant Trauma.
It takes time and the proper care for transplants to adjust to new surroundings, and then they snap out of the shock and turn green again.
I know what it’s like to be a transplant, and perhaps you do too. You wonder how it’s possible to prosper where you’re planted when you’re dealing with your own version of transplant trauma. We didn’t get to stay in the hometown of our childhood. No, God uprooted us. Took us from the comfort of what we knew and loved, and moved us to a new area that needed us. God often sends us to parched places—to rejuvenate others with refreshing green ministry.
Sometimes it takes a while to get acclimated. We go through a period of transplant trauma. Shock. The refreshingness of the lush green we offer others temporarily turns to dry hay. With the right amount of time to adjust, and with the loving care of our new surroundings, we green up again. It’s good to know it’s just a temporary condition.
Sometimes we come to a new place still grieving the loss of what we left behind. We bring that trauma with us until we come to accept it. Other times, we are eager to get started in the new ministry, but are confronted by the culture shock of the new area. We adapt. We add the water of the Word, confirming our calling to our new spot. We soak in the SONlight. We allow our Heavenly Master Gardener to tend to our needs while we tend to the needs of others.
Are you yearning to prosper where you’re planted? Repeat this phrase with me: “Transplant trauma is temporary. God’s tender loving care is permanent.”
Kathy Carlton Willis writes and speaks with a balance of funny and faith—whimsy and wisdom. She shines the light on issues that hold readers back and inspires lightbulb moments. Almost a thousand of Kathy’s articles have been published and she’s written several books, including Grin with Grace and Speaker to Speaker: The Essential Speaker’s Companion. She and husband Russ live in Texas with Jazzy, their hilarious Boston terrier. Learn more at: www.kathycarltonwillis.com
Tags: author, gardening, God's care, guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Kathy Willis, Kathy Willis: Prosper Where You're Planted, master gardener, ministry, new home, patience, speaker, transplant, trauma, WordGirls
What a year this has been already! I now see why my words for the year are fierce and perspective. It takes fierce determination to surrender my plans for God’s and move forward with them.
Through other transitions (namely my husband announcing his job change that allows him to work from home, something that has evolved from twice a week to every day,) I’ve pushed through fear, doubts and constant hisses from the true defeated one that I’ll never succeed. That I heard God wrong.
Yet, here I am. The state of Ohio now recognizes what I do as Surrendered Scribe Media. Any books I release will be under this name. The speaking I plan to market in the near future will fall under the SSM umbrella.
I went with the cupcake with a bite taken out because many relate to my tagline.
Encouraging you to surrender the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate.
I’ll be cheering audiences on as they let go of good things—my writing journey was good but this year God asked me to change it, surrender what I was doing and change course. He’ll ask similar things of you. There’s the bad stuff to surrender—worry, gossip, toxic people/choices. But there’s also those things where you know down the road God will ask you to surrender something, but not today. And if you’re like me and chocolate, you’re happy about that.
Tomorrow I will share the cover for ENTRUSTED: SURRENDERING THE PRESENT, the re release of my first book in the re branded Surrendering Time series, followed by the NEW release, ENTANGLED: SURRENDERING THE PAST. The last book in the series is ENGAGED: SURRENDERING THE FUTURE. I will be including that cover in my bookmarks and business cards, so let me know if you’d like one so you can be one of the first in the know.
It’s a scary time, but it’s an exciting one. There’s nothing that feels better than knowing you are doing what God created you to do. I look forward to partnering with you as YOU find freedom through surrender. I hope the resources I will be offering will encourage you.
FREE resources available now:
Surrender Issues and Chocolate: This is my monthly newsletter filled with encouragement, writing updates, recipes, Reader of the Month profiles, contests and more.
Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate: This is a brief, weekly email designed to give you encouragement as you start your week. Each issue also includes a chocolate mention.
Surrendered Scribe Media Promotions: When I have a new release, discounts, or any other promotions, I’ll send an alert. This will only be sent when there is a need for you to know.
Well, hello! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an update and I thought today I would do that. I’ve been busy behind the scenes building my business as an indie author and speaker. It’s hard when God’s given a vision with an end result, but there are a million steps in between. I’m not sure what number step I’m on, but I’m trying to keep that end goal in sight.
To encourage audiences to find freedom through surrender in Christ.
The biggest project I have is re designing and re branding what was the Adirondack Romance Surrender Series that started with ENTRUSTED. Coming this spring is the re release of ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, and the debut of book two, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. The last release will be ENGAGED: Surrendering the Future. I’m nearly done with the covers and I’m excited. They capture the heart of the series. My desire is for readers to connect with flawed characters who ultimately surrender their fears to God through their relationship with Jesus. Hopefully they will want to do the same.
Friends have been sharing their surrender stories here, and if you’ve missed the series, I strongly recommend you take a look. I’ve loved putting these together and presenting them to you.
Take a look at the Surrender Stories here.
I’ve also wrote some posts for others. It’s a good marketing technique, but I love doing this in hopes of encouraging someone who might not be familiar with my writing.
This year I also created a weekly encouragement via email called Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate. It’s a brief message delivered to your inbox with a positive thought and a chocolate mention. A little something to start your week with a smile. Subscription is free, and I’d love for you to join us.
Finally, this year I’ve been intentional to give readers a monthly newsletter chocked full of resources to help them in their surrender journey. Beyond writing updates I share a devotional type message, introduce a Reader of the Month, a recipe, books I recommend, and more. This is also a free subscription and THE place to receive exclusive info on my writing and speaking.
Anything I do is with the prayer you finish feeling encouraged and hopeful. I pray you not only enjoy these resources, but you let others know about them. I can’t reach everyone, but together, we can. Can you imagine the world feeling free because they trusted God and let go of what was holding them back?
Tags: author, Be Encouraged, chocolate, encouragement, Engaged: Surrendering the Future, Entangled: Surrendering the Past, Entrusted: Surrendering the Present, fiction, Julie Arduini, speaker, Sunday's Surrender and Chocolate, Surrender Stories, Surrendering Time, writing resources
If you’ve read this site or anything else from me, you know my focus is surrender and chocolate. What you might not know is that for the last few months, God has been behind the scenes whispering His plans for me to take that focus and go
crazy. global with it.
I ignored the stirring at first, because I honestly felt what I was doing and how I was accomplishing it was just fine. At the end of the
day argument with God that I had no chance of winning, a door opened and I knew I had to go through it.
So here we are.
I am now pursuing writing and speaking full time where I share my passion for audiences to surrender the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate. I’ll keep writing fiction, I think it’s a key part of God’s plan. So many readers, women especially, are wounded. They are looking not just for escape through romance, but for encouragement. I want to be a vessel that gives them hope and the desire to find that freedom in Christ that comes from surrender.
My first project is taking my Adirondack series and re brand it as the Surrendering Time series. I’m re releasing ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present and making ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past available this spring. ENGAGED: Surrendering the Future, will be available this fall.
I’ve sat down and mapped out a number of goals and projects and they take me into 2017. It’s part of the shift I keep talking about on Facebook as my husband is in a new position and often works from home, our son is transitioning to college, and our daughter, to middle school.
Surrendering Time isn’t just my contemporary romance series, it’s where my life is at right now.
Can you relate?
I have a couple FREE surrender resources available. My monthly newsletter, Surrender Issues and Chocolate, gives surrender tips and encouragement, recipes, Reader-of-the-Month profiles, giveaways and more.
Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate is a brief, weekly e mail with encouragement and a chocolate mention.
Both are available in the left sidebar of my website.
Tags: author, chocolate, Entangled: Surrendering the Future, Entangled: Surrendering the Past, Entrusted, Entrusted: Surrendering the Present, fiction, freedom, Julie Arduini, ministry, speaker, Sunday's Surrender and Chocolate, surrender, Surrender Issues and Chocolate, Surrendering Time
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