BLESSINGS FOR THE CAREGIVER

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BLESSINGS FOR BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY

blessings

Caregivers who go beyond the call of duty deserve extra blessings.

February 5, 2015 – In caring for anyone with a long term illness including Alzheimer’s, I believe extra blessings are in order for those caregivers who go beyond the routine and expected. They turn a tedious and tiresome duty into something filled with love and service.  Their attitude changes the degree of comfort into something special felt by all involved with the patient.  As the main caregiver for my husband Ken who passed on in October of 2014  I will always be appreciative of these special caregivers.

There is a vast store of helpful information out there for caregivers to rely on, no matter what the disease. Within the same publication I listed previously, I found Beatitudes for Care written by Pat Warner, RN, MSN, Roseburg, OR: Oregon Alzheimer’s Support Group. I enjoyed reading her thoughts. However, I find that her thoughts are not my thoughts, so I have borrowed her idea and will write my own blessings or beatitudes from my own perspective and experience. In all probability I won’t have as many as she has listed, but in my heart there may be more than listed. Continue reading

TEN A’S FOR ALZHEIMERS CARE

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Various capital 'A' letters.

These simple tips for Alzheimers Care will help you in your caregiving  tasks.

January 29, 2016 – Alzheimers Care as a whole is difficult. Caregivers have a lot on their plate. Furthermore, there is no due date on this mission of mercy. There are times when it appears to be endless as the months turn into years, and no one has an answer. According to studies on Alzheimer’s disease it can last 20 years or more. Unlike measles or mumps there is no time limit, nor will there be a scheduled time when the disease will be over.

Meanwhile, caregivers endure as best they can. Suggestions and help to me were always welcome. Though this may seem succinct, these brief descriptions offer a lot of important advice. From a booklet I have read published by the Alzheimer’s Aid Society of Northern California, “A Practical Guide For the Alzheimer Caregivers, complied by John and Bea Gorman, they have introduced ten A’s for Alzheimer’s Care. http://www.alzaid.org/BlueBook/Blue_Book_2013Complete.pdf Check it over and put to use whatever you may find helpful in your daily battle against this or any disastrous disease.

TEN “A’S” FOR ALZHEIMERS CARE

ARGUMENTS – Useless

ALLOW – as much freedom as possible.

ACTIONS – help when verbal communications fail.

ASSUME – the patient can understand you.

APPRECIATE – good moments and good days.

APPROPRIATE– activities help pass time, reduce agitation & boredom

AGITATION – can be alleviated if you stay calm, reassuring and respectful.

ADULTS – Mental level is not always equal to social level.

ADAPT – the task to fit the ability. Break tasks into steps.

ASSESSMENT – Ongoing. What is safe and works now, may not later

on. Keep watching, evaluating and be open to changes.

SOMETHING TO GRAB

Goofy tripping

The alternative to not using grab bars is just not worth it.

January 22, 2016 – Like it or not, growing older makes using grab bars a fact of life, and a smart thing to have around. You just never know when your destination is going to be “down.” It has been more than 20 years since I slipped as I carelessly stepped on a well-used denim bag while going into the garage. The item was Ken’s old duffle bag from his Merchant Marine days that I packed with weekend clothes for frequent trips to our house trailer parked in California’s gold country. The bag was one of a dark pile of clothes waiting to be laundered.

It  was as sturdy and strong as it had ever been, but constant use had made its surface smooth and polished. As I plunged forward into the garage and its solid cement floor I imagined my nose broken, front teeth gone and loss of consciousness to say the least. However, Ken had built shelves along the connecting wall with a small 1” x 2” board nailed to two supporting posts.

I do believe the board was for my inconvenience. I did have a bad habit of temporarily placing garage items on an accessible shelf just under the board which I always planned to put away at a more convenient time. The small board was meant to block the shelf from my bad habit. In actuality, it saved me from a bad accident.

Somehow, as I was falling forward I reached out and grabbed that board which stopped most of my forward motion. My feet, though,  continued their journey on to the top step. I landed on the big toe of my right foot. Ouch. I heard it snap, but. at least, I didn’t end up on the garage floor with my face down.

Continue reading

TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE

the times are flying

Times fly whether we want it to or not.

January 16, 2016 – “Time waits for no one, it passes you by. It goes on forever, like the clouds in the sky.” Words from a song from my youth speaking truth, and that’s for sure.

WHERE DOES IT GO?

That’s another question humanity keeps asking. At the end of the day so many of us ask, “Where did the time (day) go?” If we slept in too long that’s an explanation in and of itself. At times when we feel fatigue or downright exhaustion, and with nothing pressing on that day we might sleep in to relieve ourselves of dragging through the long remaining hours until it’s bed time again. But then I’m painting with too wide of a brush. Time is the subject matter here, not fatigue or exhaustion. I recently read in a sports magazine an editorial about time and what it is in our lives.

PRECIOUS AND WASTED

Yes, time is our most precious commodity and all of us are given the same amount each day: 24 hours, and I won’t break it down into minutes and seconds. You can do that if you have some extra time on your hands, but it is not only a commodity it’s a gift. We can use it wisely or waste it, and we all know how easily it can be wasted. There were many times in my youth when my mother would scold we three girls as we frittered away our Saturday striving to avoid doing our weekly chores. “Come on girls, do something. Make your time count.” Good advice, but we would teasingly march around the kitchen in 4/4 time counting loudly which annoyed her to experation. How many of us wish we could recall that wasted time when we need it, but that isn’t part of the deal, and considered cheating.

 

ABUNDANT

Time on our hands, often too much time. When we are sick or in the hospital, there seems to be too much time. “Don’t wish your life away,” cautioned my youngest son following a horrendous automobile accident as I lamented my injuries and the healing time required before I could get back to ‘normal.’ “Just relax and get well,” he advised. “Time heals.”

CUREL

This all happened during the long time of caring for my husband when he had Alzheimer’s disease. For anyone caring for a dying loved one this is where time hangs heavy for all involved. The illness is terminal, as is cancer and many other debilitating diseases. Time can become cruel as the patient suffers with pain and despair. Time is cruel to the family members as they gather to comfort the dying and the one another.

SOURCE OF MEASUREMENT

We all have it, that gift of time, and we all use it until the sand in the hour glass empties and it’s gone. Time is the measure of our lives: Hopefully we will know the difference between happy, good times, bad times, joyful times and times of sorrowing. May we all appreciate the days, weeks, months and years of living during our assigned time here on earth, and be grateful for the experience.

ALZHEIMER’S AND OBSESSION

 

OTHER BLOGS

January 9, 2016 – I have read other blogs as I journeyed through all of those years with Ken as together we fought the battle of Alzheimer’s disease. I suppose we lost not only the battle, but the war when he passed to the other side in October of 2014. During that time I read other blogs written by professionals, but mostly those written by family. More often than not the caregiver was/is a spouse. One, that I have particularly enjoyed is titled, “Living In The Shadows of Alzheimer’s,” or “Living With Bob and Al” It’s all one of the same written by Sheri, wife of Bob. Al is the intruder in the house and the name represents Alzheimer’s. Sheri is witty, charming and patient as she relates their everyday struggle to get Bob to daycare so she can work to support the both of them and pay the rent on what she refers to as their tiny house. She loves photography and often posts her photos of nature during the varying seasons of Minnesota.

Sheri writes in third person which invites the reader into her everyday life with Bob and Al. She sees that Al is taking over Bob’s brain more and more as time progresses, and Al does all he can do to have things his way.

SHIRTS AND BUTTONS

On one post Sheri related Bob’s obsession (or Al’s) about buttoning the very top button of his shirts, and how it looks so uncomfortable. No matter what Sheri suggested that top button was buttoned. So to give him more comfort she cut the button off. Yet, Al in his determination pulled the button hole over and hooked it on to the small button that holds down the collar tip of the shirt.

PANTS WITH NO POCKETS

I had to do a similar trick to Ken’s clothing. As Alzheimer’s dictated more and more of his habits I noticed that in the process of the encroaching disease Ken walked around with both of his hands thrust in his front pockets. It was bad enough in the house, but if we walked around the block he would have his hands encased in those pockets. “Ken,” I would ask him, “Please don’t put your hands in your pockets. If you tripped while we are walking you would fall flat on your face. You just couldn’t get your hands free in time to protect yourself. “I’m alright,” he would protest. “Besides, I’m comfortable this way.” No amount of warning ever did any good even though I kept trying.

NEW STYLE

Knowing I would never win this small disagreement I decided to sew the pockets closed. He noticed right away once he was dressed. First thing he tried was to get those fingers into the pockets, but to no avail. After trying several times to find the openings, and as I could see him growing frustrated at each attempt I told him that these were new pants I had just bought for him and the new style was without front pockets. He believed me and was content that he had new jeans even if they had no pockets. I found there was more than one way to win a battle, and keep him safe.

SEARCHING FOR THE MAGIC

SEARCHING FOR THE MAGIC

December 31, 2015 — New Year’s Eve. It seems to me that New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is a “holiday”  duo that never changes. Even now as we enter into 2016, there will always be, for me, a touch of magic as one year vanishes and another begins, and after midnight comes January 1. The thought of 365 new days is magic in and of itself. There is mystery involved because we really don’t know what each of those days might bring to our ever-changing lives. Hopefully, they will be filled with magic with each day filled with accomplishment, hope, faith and dreams of completed goals. This is a repost from 2009. The five years have been filled with events in my life which have been life-changing. Yet, change is the one constant that we can count on. It doesn’t matter if the change is good or bad, happy or not so happy. It will continue. It’s part of the journey. May we make the best of what comes our way and live in the moment because moments are what makes up our lives. Happy New Year to all. May you find peace and whatever else you are searching for.

December 2009 –From the time I was old enough to remember hearing adults shout “Happy New Year,” I believed there was something magical happening as the clock chimed 12:00.  Furthermore, I was missing it all because I was a child and had to be in bed early.  Then one year my parents went out with friends on December 31, leaving my sister, Janet, and me in the care of our older sister, Polly, who was 16.  At last, Janet and I knew we could stay up until the bewitching hour because Polly was caught up in her own reverie of sadness in not having a boy friend at year’s end.

The two of us knew there must be noise to welcome in The New Year so Janet fortified us with metal dish pans and heavy spoons.  Polly didn’t care what we were doing, taking to her bed early.  My favorite big sister planned we would march up and down the sidewalk in front of our building (the fourth floor being our home) banging our dish pans at the first sounds of celebration.   At 12:00 we heard horns honking and whistles blowing in the distance, but that was all, so we high stepped our march and drummed our pans more vigorously.  Still nothing.  “Is that all?” I whined with great disappointment.  “Come with me,” ordered Janet.  I followed her up the flights of stairs into the kitchen where she took one of  Mama’s best cooking pots (the heaviest of her hammered aluminum cookware) and ran to the front of the flat overlooking the street.  Throwing up the window and calling, “Look out below,” she tossed the pot into space watching it fall down and down until it hit the sidewalk.  Still no magic.  If San Francisco had no magic, where could it be found?  Janet tried three more times with the same result, “Thud, clunk, clunk, clunk.”  We retrieved the pot (fortunate that it hadn’t taken out a drunk from the corner bar) put it back in the kitchen and we both went to bed still wondering where was the magic —  the celebration — this miraculous thing that changed one year into another — where was the old bearded man carrying the sickle — and the stork delivering the Baby New Year?

The next morning, Mama tried using the pot being puzzled about why the lid didn’t fit.  Among her many talents, the woman of our house was also an excellent detective.  After a few minutes of interrogation, then piecing together the events of the previous night she was less than happy.  Having saved precious dimes and nickles through long Depression years until there were enough dollars to buy a complete set of cookware, she cried over the bent and apparently ruined pot.  My father tried to reshape the damage by clamping one side of the utensil into a vise and pounding the other side with a hammer.  In doing so a two-inch zagged line appeared down one side of the traumatized pot.   The lid fit, but when Mama used it, a thin spray of telling steam escaped through the crack, forever reminding me and Janet that the magic wasn’t found by throwing pots from a four-story window.  That New Year did not begin on a happy note.  Even so I was still convinced that somewhere there must be wonderment — something spectacular — something special — happening at year’s end — and I would continue my search.

As young adults we gathered with friends, tossed confetti and serpentine, put on party hats and blew tiny tin horns.   Marriage and children brought us together with neighbors to celebrate the incoming year, while keeping our little ones close by.   As the children grew older we were free to house hop, visiting other friends wishing them well, ending with Sofia and Don at their home where we watched the ball drop at Times Square in New York.  Instead of confetti we tossed popcorn, exchanged hugs and kisses and wondered what this New Year would bring.   When our nest was empty Ken and I often took BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to the city in the late afternoon of December 31.  Getting off at mid-town we walked up Powell Street, through China Town, and over the top of Nob Hill and down to Fisherman’s Wharf which was still sparkling with Christmas decorations.  We wandered the shops of Pier 39, had an early dinner, took the Cable Car back to Market and Powell, caught BART and were home before midnight — usually asleep as the clock strikes 12:00.

The last time we celebrated New Year’s Eve was in 2006.  Our daughter, Debbie and her husband Mark, had moved to Ogden, Utah a year before.  Following Christmas, we flew back to spend time with them.  “Come with us,” Debbie urged as the end of the year approached.  “New Year’s Eve in Salt Lake is so much fun.  In a few selected buildings on Temple Square they have great entertainment until about 11:30, and at midnight the city puts on a fireworks display from the rooftop of a downtown building.”

Ken’s AD was evident with considerable memory loss at the time, but he was aware enough that he still enjoyed life.  He remembered Christmas and its meaning and the Holidays in general — and me — most of the time.   At midnight the four of us stood among the crowd, huddled together, arms around one another as snow flurries melted on our cheeks while watching the sky light up in a  spectacular display of exploding patterns welcoming in  another new year.

So, did I ever find the magic?   I’m not even certain when my “Search” lost its importance, but about magic:  it doesn’t have to come at the end of the year, nor does it come in a puff of smoke, or out of a tall silk hat, or at the wave of a wand, or even with fireworks no matter how beautiful.  It comes in small things and in small ways, appearing so naturally it’s hardly noticed; and  yet it can be wonderment and often spectacular and oh so special, but you have to watch for it every single day or you might miss it by taking it so for granted.   And what’s most important; rather than finding it at midnight of December 31, I have found it in bits and pieces, sometimes big chunks of it on any number of the 365 days that have made up each incredible year of my sojourn here on earth.  It’s life at its best and at its very worst.  It’s love and marriage — or not — love extended to our fellow-man in the way of devotion and service.  It’s also caring, friendship, success and failure, falling down and getting up, faith and hope, family, birth, a baby’s first smile, first word, first step;  it’s fear, anguish, adversity, worry, work, wealth and poverty, abundance and hunger, disappointment, unbearable sorrow and despair, pain so intense you believe you cannot survive, but you do, sickness and, yes, ultimately death.   But there is also magnificent happiness and joy beyond measure to be found.   Yes!   It is magic:  this grand experience of life is magic, and for those of faith, an even greater magic is yet to come.  So, Happy New Year — and during this new beginning of 2016, go out and find the magic for yourself.

LONG AGO AT CHRISTMAS

CURIOSITY AND CHRISTMAS

December 25, 2015 —  The words are not synonymous, nor is that my intent, but during the holidays they may as well be because presents under the tree do tweak at the curiosity of more than one child

I was 9 years old that year of long ago, and we lived in a fourth-floor flat in San Francisco. The kitchen, and what was meant to be the dining room just through a butler’s pantry was our main room; our family used as a “family room:” a tern unheard of back when I was 9. The front room, or what would be termed the “living room” was at the other end of the house. That was where we put up the Christmas tree. The room faced the street. Even four floors up we wanted our tree lights to shine out to the world. Mama was one of  10 children with most of her siblings living in the city, so as children, we three girls had numerous gifts under the tree. We were told not to touch, shake or feel the packages. Yet, our child’s curiosity was rampant and unbridled.

A LOCKED DOOR

Halfway down the long hallway the bathroom was mid-point. My sister Janet and I shared the unbearable curiosity of what might be in those wrapped presents from relatives under the tree. So as not to provoke any suspicion from the kitchen or the family room areas, the two of us tried our best to be as silent and sneaky as possible.  One by one we took a gift into the bathroom, locked the door and opened each one addressed to us and discovered what was inside.

THE THRILL IS GONE

Come Christmas morning the family gathered together to open our gifts. It was a time of  very poor economy. The country was yet to recover from the Great Depression, so we knew that even the unknown gifts from mom and dad would be more from the heart than from a fat pocketbook. We all began to open the gifts. As I picked over my gifts I found myself hastily bypassing the ones from our sneak-peek and going on to others. which were few, that I hadn’t opened. Disappointed, I found that it was only from “Santa” that I didn’t recognize the gift as opened already. I knew what was in all of my gifts from aunts and uncles. New socks in one, undies in another. A new toothbrush for a pretty smile. From mama and dad, it was always something special that she had made. A new dress cut from something old or a new school tablet with pencils or a new box of crayons.

MY CUROSITY CURED

If curiosity killed the cat and information brought him back, that was a good thing for the cat, but not for me. Never again have I picked up a package or any present for me and shook, felt, poked or even wondered what it might be. I had learned that anticipation is half the fun of receiving a gift. The mental journey of wondering without expectation, and promising never to be disappointed as to the contents, but showing gratitude and enthusiasm to the giver is worth the wait. To this day I am the same. No amount of teasing or tried temptation has changed me. When the time is right a gift gets opened and not before.

I do hope that all who read this will accept my best wishes that your Christmas was joyful and filled with what is truly important: lots of family, love and gratitude for one another, but especially for the true meaning of this yearly celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the greatest gift of all to mankind. May we be grateful and show our appreciation by being kind and loving to one another, and striving to keep all of His commandments: Read them again; they’re in His book, titled “The Bible,” and you’ll find them listed as “The Ten Commandments.”

CHRISTMAS, THE DOG AND THEIR GIFTS

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MAKING A LIST? DON’T FORGET THE DOG

dog and gift

When you gather the gifts, don’t forget the dog.

December 18, 2015 — Yes, early on in December or before you do need to make your Christmas present list; Not the one for Santa, but the list with family names so you don’t forget anyone. And you should check it twice.

Remembering this particular Christmas past isn’t like the ones that Scrooge experienced in the Dicken’s story of the grumpy old guy and his “Bah-humbug” for everything we hold dear when we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. Furthermore, it was between my Alzheimer’s cases: Some time after my mom passed on from the dreadful disease, and before we noticed signs that Ken would be experiencing his descent into nothingness. It was a happy time for our family and for “Doc.”

OUR DOG

Doc had belonged to our son, but for several reasons, he and his wife could longer keep the animal. “Can you keep him until we get back?” he asked, “and as soon as we return we’ll find him a good home.” Ken and I already had a Golden Retriever that was a rescue dog given to Ken because someone else couldn’t keep her. My husband was always a softie when it came to animals, especially dogs. By the time our son and his wife returned, we told them that Doc was now our dog, and while his parentage was a bit in question, they did know that he was part Dingo from Australia and considered himself not only the Alpha dog around the house, but the Alpha human as well. Ken and I found Doc to be the smartest dog we had ever met.

We spent Christmas Eve with the family at Julie and Tim’s home, our daughter and her husband. Christmas morning Ken and I exchanged our gifts at home sitting on the sofa before a cozy fire with cats and dogs nearby, apparently content following their breakfast treats,

One by one we opened our gifts to one another exchanging hugs and kisses at the thoughtfulness of the other. About four gifts into the tradition we noticed Doc watching us. With each opening we could read his mind. The obvious  question was apparent on his expressive face, “Where’s mine,” he was asking. In our rush to get something for everyone, we forgot to add the pets to our list. The others didn’t seem to care, just Doc. Feeling guilty Ken handed the dog one of his presents. I had given him a new watch. Not one of long, long ago  wind-up expensive watches advertised as having 17 jewels and keeping perfect time. Just a new battery one, but Doc took it in his mouth placed it on the floor held securely in place with a paw. Nipping at the paper and ribbon he unwrapped “his” gift. Ken reached over to claim his watch, but Doc wasn’t about to give it up holding it to the floor with that single paw.

FAIR EXCHANGE

After coaxing for a few minutes Ken gave up, went into the kitchen and cut the dog a piece of ham: fair exchange. Doc allowed Ken to take the watch back.

LESSON LEARNED

I am a great believer that if you are going to have a pet that the animal becomes part of your family. For those who don’t feel that way they shouldn’t have pets. I know that Doc’s psyche won’t be bruised by the watch incident, but they need to be included in family celebrations. When buying presents, don’t forget to add the pets to your list or you might end up finding your new slippers in bed with the dog, paper, ribbons and all.

To all of my readers, friends and family have a wonderful Christmas and a productive and happy New Year, and may the pets in your life shower you with love and loyalty.

PEARL HARBOR – A DAY IN INFAMY

Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought America into World War II.

December 11, 2015 — I know it isn’t December 7, it’s already the 11, but I’m remembering the 7th anyway. There were songs following our entry into WWII which was December 8, 1941 when President Roosevelt called the previous Sunday morning a day of infamy which it was, and on that Monday, we entered into WWII and became allies to those of like minds already engaged in that bloody war.

A SONG TO REMEMBER

Almost immediately “Tin Pan Alley” blitzed the country with patriotic songs to remind us that we were at war. One of the first was “Let’s Remember Pearl Harbor.” The first line was the title: “Let’s remember Pearl Harbor as we did the Alamo.” One of my school mates was a Hawaiian who moved with her family to the Mainland to be “safer.” For her the words were like the national anthem, and if we at school didn’t know the words by “heart.” she considered us unpatriotic. I would imagine we, who lived on the Mainland would have remembered our song had the bombs been dropped on San Francisco rather than on one of the Hawaiian Islands, we would have been singing “Let’s remember San Francisco.” But it wasn’t the song that etched the memory of that morning on my childhood mind, it was the fear of the unknown and the concern of my parents and their friends  that seared my mind with “What If’s.”

THE NEW HOME

Our family had just moved into our first real California home since arriving in the Golden State in 1936 to escape the devastation of iterant farmers in rural America during The Great Depression. Following war in Europe, my father had applied and was accepted as a worker at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California. With a steady income the couple heard of a house for sale in the Bernal Heights District of the city for the complete sum of $800.00. That was earlier in the year of 1941. They jumped at the chance to be homeowners for the first time in their married life. Borrowing the down payment from my uncle, they took out a mortgage for the rest and began work on the wreck of a building.  We moved from our rented flat in June of 1941.

Friends and relatives were helping my dad. on that quiet Sunday morning. Pouring cement for a new walkway in the back wasn’t easily accomplished with only one man. My mom was in the house with the radio on and came to where the men were working. “The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor,” she said with worry in her voice.”

Working with cement you don’t stop, but the announcement didn’t stop their minds from thinking, “What now?” I listened and worried, their questions building questions of my own in my troubled child’s mind. I worried after Dad wondered aloud if he would be drafted, then stating that if he were called up he would rather enlist in the Navy. “At least I would have a dry place to sleep and not in a fox hole in a puddle of mud, unless my ship got blown up.” The other men wondered and worried as well; all knowing that on December 7, 1941 the only thing they could do was finish pouring the needed cement walkway, and then wait for more news from the President and Congress.

FEAR IN A CHILD’S MIND

Air Raid sirens were installed throughout the city as a warning of unidentified aircraft approaching. One was installed on the highest point of the Bernal Heights hills. Even when we were told it was a test, it was frightening to hear the sound, and even more frightening when it blasted in the middle of the night. If I were awakened, and I always was, I would tremble in my bed until I heard the siren again signaling an “all clear.”

Dad, working in a war-related industry, was never called up in the draft and he was a bit on the old side of 1-A draftees. Mama’s youngest brother, however, was perfect and fought in the South Pacific where he suffered a head wound and wore a steel plate in his head for the rest of his life.

IMPORTANT DATES

They are all a part of history and all part of our eternal journey here on earth whether we like it or not. It had been hoped that WWII would end further conflict throughout our world, but apparently it wasn’t the end of discord, cultural differences, politics, power and want for control. So as the saying goes, “We need to learn from history. If not, we are doomed to repeat it.” So, let’s remember Pearl Harbor, The Alamo, D-Day, V-E and V-J-Days, 9-11, 1776 and all the other wars and dates that have marked our lives with threats to our freedoms and our Constitution. We are the United States of America, Land of the free and home of the brave, and we must never forget it.

DIDN’T WE JUST DO DECEMBER?

december calendar pages flying

It seems that no calendar page flies faster than the month of December.

December 4, 2015 — Am I the only one on the planet who feels that we just did December. Actually didn’t we all just finish with 2014 which included the entire Holiday Season: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve and day? Then this should be January 4, 2015 and not December 4, 2015, but the computer’s calendar doesn’t lie nor does the paper calendar hanging inside the pantry door. To say nothing of the 2015 desk calendar that still rests in the closet waiting for me to make room for it on my desk. There appears to be a strong possibility that my re-cycle can will be over-flowing with calendars in a very short time because I already have a stack of 2016 calendars sent by worthy causes each wanting a generous donation upon their arrival. So how many hanging calendars can one use?


 

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST

It’s been a year and a few months since my husband Ken passed on taking his horrid disease Alzheimer’s with him. I shouldn’t say he took it with him because I believe he is now the Ken I had been married to all of those good years. The man to whom I have been a caregiver in the broadest of terms. Certainly I acknowledge with praise and thanksgiving for my helpers Ben, Crizaldo and David who were devoted to his every need, and mine as well. I have been blessed through this whole ordeal by their presence in our lives. I feel that I can use the term “ordeal” because long-term diseases, no matter what they’re called, are difficult to get through for the victim and the caregiver, and they can be an ordeal even though caregivers strive to make the best of the situations.

SO WE SALLY FORTH INTO THE SEASON

Leaving Alzheimer’s behind us with the past year which has vanished into the clouds along with lost letters and perhaps posts that disappear with a tap on a wrong key. The one lost weekend of this year that I am happy is gone is Black Weekend. Remember when it used to be just Black Friday, but now the merchandisers just can’t get the shoppers into the malls fast enough having extended their door openings for 1:00 p.m. on Thursday just as families are sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner. For shame. And double shame because now the employees are required to give up their family day to be there for the early crowd. Is that the epitome of greed, or not?

Ken and I have always survived Black Friday, and if he were still with me, we would have survived Black Weekend as well. I’m happy to know that after a year of staying open in spite of low profits, Black Friday is the big day when retail finally begins to make money and gets out of the red and into the black. Good thing they don’t have to depend on me or my family or they would still be in the red. People pushing and shoving to get the best deal or the best gift for a loved one is not for me. If shopping can’t be civilized, and at least partly enjoyable, then count me out. Besides give it a few weeks and all that stuff goes right back on sale at about the same price.

So while we wait for the next sale, pause and reflect and remember Thanksgiving when you praised and thanked our Lord for all that has been so abundant and how blessed life is. Then prepare your spiritual being for the greatest gift you will ever receive: Your passport into eternity because of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, and then celebrate with song, prayers, worship and dedication to Mary’s child.

P.S. To be Politically incorrect: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

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