The Three C’s

For two plus years my husband and I gleaned information from a parent support group in conjunction to our son’s recovery/sobriety program. Each Thursday night different topics were discussed among the parents. One in particular came up again and again it was called “The Three C’s.

  • We (as parents) had not Caused it. -i.e.: this issue of addiction with our kids.
  • We could not Control it.
  • We could not Cure it.

This came up so often probably because so many of us were riddled with: the guilt of where we had gone wrong, what else could possibly be tried to correct this horrific situation and who might we involve to fix it. My peace slowly came as I gave it all over to God (again and again) allowing Him to do what He wanted with our child and us. I learned to “Let Go and Let God”- a favorite Al-Anon saying.

With life as it is right now –caring for my Mom, who seems to be hanging onto life by a few threads– and life as it’s been, –my Dad passing in February after suffering with Dementia/Alzheimers for 3  or so years- I’ve been thinking a lot about those three C’s.

I didn’t Cause the illnesses or outcome for my parents either. So when decline happened and aging took over there was never any need for feelings of guilt. In this situation, someone had to take charge and neither my Mom or Dad brought the “chaos” of needing so much care.

I can not Control where this is going… how fast… or how slow. I have only to love and serve to the best of my ability (remaining conscious of my own well-being). Comfort and safety are all that are needed at this point – hard as it is to watch.

I can not Cure this end of life procedure. But, Hallelujah!, I know the One Who can. I’m am forever grateful to my parents for planning ahead, not by paying for coffins and funeral plots, but with their firmly placed Hope in The Creator of the universe and His Son Jesus Christ.

There again, I have found peace in letting God have His way with the souls He created. I can blame Him for everything and thank Him at the same time. He understands my limited thinking, my frustrated circular feelings and the whole roll-of-sin in the world regarding sickness and death. I can trust Him, because He loves me wholly and completely. He even provided a way. He is the Cure.

ForGlorySake! Anna

Trillium

Trillium

 

Posted in Addiction & Recovery, Practical Life, Trust | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

repost- Jesus’ Reminders by Philip Yancey

Jesus’ Reminders
Philip Yancey

The image Jesus left with the world, the cross, the most common image in the Christian religion, is proof that God cares about our suffering and pain. He died of it. Today the image is coated with gold and worn around the necks of beautiful girls, a symbol of how far we can stray from the reality of history. But it stands, unique among all religions of the world. Many of them have gods. But only one has a God who cared enough to become a man and to die.

Dorothy Sayers says:

For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is – limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death – He had the honesty and courage to take His own medicine. Whatever game He is playing with His creation, He has kept His own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that He has not exacted from Himself. He has Himself gone through the whole human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When He was a man, He played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worthwhile.

To some, the image of a pale body glimmering on a dark night whispers of defeat. What good is a God who does not control His Son’s suffering? What possible good could such a God do for us? But a louder sound can be heard: the shout of God crying out to man, “I love you!” Love was compressed for all history in that lonely, bleeding figure. Jesus, who said he could call down the angels at any moment and rescue Himself from the horror, chose not to – because of us. For God so loved us, that He sent His only Son to die for us.

What practical effect does Christ’s identification have on the person who actually suffers? A dramatic example of the effect of this truth was seen in the ministry of Dr. Paul Brand while he was working among leprosy patients in Vellore, India. There he preached a sermon, one of his best known and best loved. At the time, Brand and his workers were among the few in the area who would touch or closely approach a person with Hansen’s disease – townspeople quarantined them. Brand slipped in late to a patient’s gathering, sitting on the mat at the edge of an open courtyard. The air was heavy with combined odors of crowding bodies, poverty, stale spices, treated bandages.

The patients insisted on a few words from Dr. Brand, and he reluctantly agreed. He stood for a moment, empty of ideas, looking at the patients before him. His eyes were drawn to their hands, dozens of them, most pulled inward in the familiar “leprosy claw-hand,” some with no fingers, some with a few stumps. Many patients sat on their hands or otherwise hid them from view.

“I am a hand surgeon,” he began, and waited for the translation into Tamil and Hindi. “So when I meet people, I can’t help looking at their hands. The palmist claims he can tell your future by looking at your hands. I can tell your past. For instance, I can tell what your trade has been by the position of the calluses and the condition of the nails. I can tell a lot about your character; I love hands.”
He paused and looked at the eager faces. “How I would love to have had the chance to meet Christ and study His hands! But knowing what He was like, I can almost picture and feel them.”

He paused again, then wondered aloud what it would have been like to meet Christ and study His hands. He traced the hands of Christ, beginning with infancy when His hands were small, helpless, futilely grasping. Then came the hands of the boy Jesus, clumsily holding a brush or stylus, trying to form letters of the alphabet. Then the hands of Christ the carpenter – rough, gnarled, with broken fingernails and bruises from working with saw and hammer.

Then there were the hands of Christ the physician, the healer. Compassion and sensitivity seemed to radiate from them, so much so that when He touched people they could feel something of the divine spirit coming through. Christ touched the blind, the diseased, the needy.

“Then,” continued Dr. Brand, “there were His crucified hands. It hurts me to think of a nail being driven through the center of my hand, because I know what goes on there, the tremendous complex of tendons and nerves and blood vessels and muscles. It’s impossible to drive a spike through its center without crippling it. The thought of those healing hands being crippled reminds me of what Christ was prepared to endure. In that act He identified Himself with all the deformed and crippled human beings in the world. Not only was he able to endure poverty with the poor, weariness with the tired, but – clawed hands with the crippled.”

The effect on the listening patients, all social outcasts, was electrifying. Jesus – a cripple, with a claw-like hand like theirs?
Brand continued, “And then there were His resurrected hands. One of the things I find most astounding is that, though we think of the future life as something perfected, when Christ appeared to His disciples He said, “Come look at My hands,” and He invited Thomas to put his finger into the print of the nail. Why did He want to keep the wounds of His humanity? Wasn’t it because He wanted to carry back with Him an eternal reminder of the sufferings of those on earth? He carried the marks of suffering so He could continue to understand the needs of those suffering. He wanted to be forever one with us.”

As he finished, Paul Brand was again conscious of hands as they were lifted, all over the courtyard, palm to palm in the Indian gesture of respect, namaste. The hands were the same stumps, the same missing fingers and crooked arches. Yet no one tried to hide them. They were held high, close to the face, in respect for Brand, but also with new pride and dignity. God’s own response to suffering made theirs easier.

T.S. Eliot wrote in one of his Four Quartets:

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

The surgery of life hurts. It helps me, though, to know that the Surgeon Himself, the Wounded Surgeon, has felt every stab of pain and every sorrow.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

1 Thing for Me, 10 for You

As some of you know I’m crazy about veggies! I’m about 90% Vegan with an occasional raw sushi breakdown. Recently I was given the Book THRIVE by Brendan Brazier (professional Ironman Triathlete). It’s “the vegan nutrition guide to optimal performance in sports and life.” Brendan is the creator of the VEGA health products (yumm).

All I can say is it’s totally awesome! Great info! Great recipes! I’m learning much daily, which I love. He’s very generous with all he has learned even giving out his recipes for VEGA’s drink mixes… as in you can create your own at home!

I’m no triathlete, but I do exercise and I want the most out of my body and food. I measure on the lowest rung of  Thrive’s workout scale -based on length of time and difficulty, but I can truly say I feel more energy and am recovering faster from working out with his suggestions. It’s a little something for me and I feel good about it.

10 things I’ve learned from THRIVE:

  1. Lower the ph in your body through foods – fight potential cancer. (Lists of “highly alkaline-forming food” are available on line.)
  2. Seed are amazing. Each offers a different benefit not to mention Amino Acids. Like: Flax -potassium, sesame -calcium, pumpkin -iron, sunflower -22% protein, hemp -35% protein.
  3. Almost all seeds and beans can be “sprouted” -as in a jar with water rinsed over them daily- after they have soaked over-night. Great on digestion of their nutrients.
  4. Appetite diminishes as the quality of food improves. This is so true it’s creepy. Eating nutritionally well, turns into eating less!
  5. If I have a fruit smoothie with pea protein powder, a BIG salad, a homemade energy bar and a couple of “fuel bites” daily -I’m doing well.
  6. A small pre-workout drink made in the blender (fruit, water, sea salt) and post work-out drink (fruit, dates, water, protein, good fat) really do help with recovery from exercise, keeping adrenal glands from becoming over-taxed.
  7. Flax seeds need to be purchased whole and ground at home in a coffee grinder/stored in the fridge. Add a little to everything.
  8. Soaking nuts (pumpkin & sesame seeds too) makes them even more nutritious.
  9.  Fuel bites are yummy and keep low blood-sugar away. I’ve been making these for years: 1/2 C. almond butter, 1 C. oats, 2T: flax, sesame & sunflower seeds, agave (sweetener) and chopped dates (dried fruit), 1 T. coconut oil. Roll into balls- store in fridge.
  10. My Energy bars (with Ann Machel) are: 2 C.oats, 1 C. amaranth flour, 2 T. both flax and chia (ground), 1 tsp. cinnamon, MIX with: 3/4 C. Agave or honey, 1/2 C. almond butter, 2 T. coconut oil, 2 C. total various raw nuts, seeds, dried fruit! Press into a sprayed pan. 350 for 15 mins. CUT into bars. Store in fridge.

Ok, the last 2 are my own concoctions because I don’t want to give away Mr. Brazier’s recipes without permission. His are very similar, however. It’s just good stuff for you and since you’re one of a kind, why not eat something healthy?

ForGlorySake Anna

IMG_0010

Posted in Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Break of Dawn

“God is in the midst of her, she shall, not be moved; God shall help her just at the break of dawn.” Ps 46:5

These words were written in Psalms about the “City of God.” They aren’t about me, but I wish they were. Like a personal message from Heaven, I’d love to hear my text signal go off and look down to these words, with “you’s” in place of all the “her’s.”

That would be cool!

The truths are there. All through scripture God tells us He’s in our midst, reminding us again He will help and He does rescue. So what’s the crisis? I’m wearing out. Call me a wimp, but I’m just tired. How sad if I miss out on this last stretch; if I give up at the final mile. I’ve been warned again and again, care-givers can lose their compassion…

It hasn’t been consistent however. Somedays, I wakeup refreshed and ready, only to wear thin by noon or evening. Other days, it’s like dragging through oatmeal all day long, talking myself out of running away. Shocked? Don’t be. I’m told it’s quite normal and… I haven’t followed through, yet.

What we have chosen to do here (care for the elderly in-house) is not entirely revolutionary (it’s all there was for 1000s of years!), but non the less it’s hard, daily and in need of a lot of support. I certainly won’t be shy in sharing these struggles so others can make clearly informed choices about their own parent’s care. -Better? Maybe so. Easier? No way. Fore sure, without Crossroads Hospice, I would be sunk.

Hope For The Caregiver is still my favorite practical help-you book. Peter Rosenberger says to follow the “1,2,30” plan:

1 thing a week just for me

2 weeks a year of “vacation” (1 day a week OFF for a year=2 weeks).

30 minutes of laughing a day.

He also warns caregivers will get hit by FOG (Fear, Obligation & Guilt), but that God’s GPS will guide us: (Grace, Purpose & Stewardship)… and he explains it so well!

One thing I know for certain – it is grace that covers me, purpose pushes me to continue and it’s totally up to God how He will use the stewardship I offer Him today.

ForGlorySake! -Anna

Dawn

Dawn

 

Posted in Illness, Practical Life | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

ME, MYSELF-ish I

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭8‬)

Sacrificial love, it’s killing ME!!!
No matter it’s coverage of sins.
“Agape” rubs against MY flesh
and all MY SELFish trends.

“Where’s the justice?”
“It’s not fair!”
…to God, MY grievances each are aired.

I wish for all
of MY concerns,
to be heard and answered in their turn.

But…

what about them? and what about their’s? …needs with which I can’t compare.

I look past and do not see. Blind is better than wrestling with ME.

Then HE says, “stop, and turn, and love, open your heart and see, that I gave you the Grace-of-Love

and now you love… for ME.”

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
We love each other because he loved us first. (‭1 John‬ ‭4‬:‭11&19‬)

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. (‭1 John‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬)

Love -there’s no way around it :/ ForGlorySake!Anna

Funny little nuts from our yard

Funny little nuts from our yard

Posted in Poetry, Spiritual Growth | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Disaster Mitigation

Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. (Romans 12:12 GNB)

Back in 2010 when my best friend was diagnosed with colon cancer, slammed is not a strong enough word to describe how I felt. Driving down the road soon after, I found myself ranting at God, “How could You let this happen? And to David -of all people! He’s already suffered so much in hospitals as a child… If it had to be someone, why not me? I’m not the bread-winner, and I don’t lose weight as easily as he does!” ...Tears, sighs, frustration.

Traffic was bumper to bumper as I headed into Atlanta to my parent’s home to cook & care for them. How could life just keep moving along on a day like this?!  Straight in front of me was a truck with a sign large and in my face:Disaster Mitigation… in a disaster your Response is everything”

I wasn’t sure what mitigation was but I got the message loud and clear! Was I going to totally lose it and freak out or trust the only One Who could bring good out of a time like this? I prayed right then, “Lord, if this is something You are asking us to walk through, then use it! Use it for all it’s worth. Don’t let anything be wasted of this whole experience. I want to see good somewhere in everyone.” It was a hard and awkward prayer I didn’t know how He was going to answer, but I wanted my response to be Hope that God could and would do something For His Glory.

More than anything else David and I have wanted our kids to find and know God for themselves. We taught them about Him when they were young, but we knew our personal lives were their living examples. Our response to little irritations and even big crisis would testify if we truly believed God was in the Mitigation business.

Mitigation – the action of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of something.

How does God do this? By taking troubles away? Not always. I think it’s by promising never to leave us alone, by sending others to bear our burdens, by comforting and even lessening our suffering sometimes…. And always by promising to bring good out of “all things.” 

I know now that God is actively working behind the scenes, even when I can’t see anything happening.  When I have felt hopeless, He has remained faithful. He waits for a response from me that trusts in His undying love and care. God did bring good to our family. His love never fails!

ForGlorySake! -Anna

Photo0278

Posted in Illness, Spiritual Growth, Trust | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Memorial

“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” anonymous

Well, it finally happened. We had the memorial celebrating my Dad’s life and it was wonderful! The most amazing aspect was all the family that gathered together at our house. My 3 sisters with their crews arrived Friday. 1 extra cousin-clan joined us and we ALL ate pizza! I think I counted 25.

With threat of icy roads we headed to sleep (late!). Saturday was cold, but clear :) The funeral home filled up with familiar old faces. So many hugs, funny stories and sweet eulogies. Great visiting ended too soon! Dad would’ve loved it!

Back at our house I counted 40 for BBQ- cousins, cousins, cousins. The DVD slide-show played over and over as we caught up on too many lost years. Why does it take a death to bring family together? Before we realized, it was 12am.

Sunday, church on-line with coffee, quiche and quiet visits with Gma. Family gathered again for lunch out. Too fun. Too short. Too sad it had to end. If I could’ve- I would’ve done it years ago, before he got sick.

Throw a party, invite family, take lots of pictures and write down all the contact information you can gather! Even the clean up will be worth in the end.

ForGlorySake! Anna

Posted in Illness, Practical Life | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments