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Monday, June 27, 2011

It Could Be Worse ...

Treasured friend,

We've had some week in our neck of the woods. Tornadoes. Downed trees and live power lines on the ground. Power outages -- ours lasted 65 hours; a few others in our neighbhorhood went even longer than that. And more storms are on the way today.

I sprained my wrist from pulling the starter on our portable generator (which eventually did generate enough power to keep Dad's meds cool in the fridge and the basement dry). Dad fell and is now limping after missing the bottom stair in the dark (while I was out on the patio trying to start said generator). We moped in darkness for three days and three nights--running short on patience, and shorter on the necessities of life. And we found ourselves wondering how Abe Lincoln studied by candlelight to become a lawyer, and how Noah's wife and daughters-in-law survived cooped up in that dark ark for 40 days and 40 nights.

We decided that none of us would make good (or happy) campers at this stage of our lives. (Come to think of it, when we did camp in our earlier lives, we weren't very happy campers then, either!)

Then we went to church yesterday to find that a dear friend and fellow caregiver suffered a tree through the roof in our same storm--and our predicament didn't seem so bad. Everyone, it seemed, had an equally challenging story to share.

Now that the power is back on, I finally got to scrolling through the endless emails (do you know how many can accumulate in 65 hours??) in my box. Among them I found an ad for this book that apparently is on Oprah's book club list for the summer: Someday This Will Be Funny.

Now, I haven't read the book (probably won't, actually), but the title gave me pause.

What a great way to look at the crises of a week like this one ... someday we'll laugh about this, or at least we won't be crying/fretting/stressing about it anymore. Someday so many of the things I consider major deals today will fade into oblivion and may even be a source of a chuckle or a to-the-bottom-of-the-toes laugh.

I don't see it yet, of course, but I can look in faith to that one day. After all, as the opening line of Hebrews 11 reminds us, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (v. 1; ESV). I have faith that even this series of setbacks--and the many others of a more serious nature that we've experienced in the last year--don't come as a surprise to our loving Father. We can have faith that in all this He is at work. We can have absolute assurance that one day we will sit beside Him, review it all, and see how He worked in it to accomplish the best. We can also have the assurance that from that vantage point in eternity we'll admit (even if grudgingly) that some of it was actually a little funny.

I pray a hearty laugh for you today, no matter what else happens. Please pray the same for me.

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

© 2011, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

For the grandparents among you ...

My friend Lydia E. Harris has created a lovely Bible study/devotional book titled Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting. It's published by AMG, and would make a great resource for you or the grandparent you love. It's filled with Scripture, practical suggestions, even activities you can do together. Topics include prayer, being a role model, investing in their lives, listening to joys and tears, making an eternal impact. Lydia tells a wonderful story--as you may know from her other books. If you're a grandparent, or are looking for a gift for a new grandparent, check this book out.

Blessings and prayers, Julie

Friday, June 10, 2011

Job Description: In-home Caregiver

Treasured friend,

As I’ve been playing the role for a while, I decided a job description for an adult-child caregiver of aging parents could be useful. What I came up with is a list of qualifications that pretty much transfers to any in-home, 24-7-365 caregiving job. It started as I was trying to figure out why I’ve been feeling more overwhelmed than usual—and to bolster myself because I’d been feeling less-than-productive in many areas of my professional life.

See if you have what it takes—or if you recognize your job in this list.

NASCAR driver—must be able to beat all other drivers in the hospital parking garage to the last handicapped parking spot. Why doesn’t a hospital, by definition, create more handicapped spots? I mean really!
Personal chef—microwaving leftover skills a must; defrosting skills helpful—especially understanding the use of the microwave’s defrost function and being able to operate it without assistance.
Patient companion—willingness to sit in an easy chair and watch reruns of Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts without getting frustrated over your own laundry piling up.
Ambassador/diplomat—talent to reestablish emotional calm when service providers try to force the issue of paperless billing, auto-deposit, and online bill-pay.
Psychologist—the ability to guess at what’s behind a loved-one’s question without using Freud’s theories to dig deep and place the blame squarely on one’s parents (counterproductive when dealing with one’s parents).
Translator—ability to take gleaned understanding at the meaning behind the response and explain it to other loved ones, service providers, and medical team.
Legal advisor—uncanny capacity to comprehend legal and medical mumbo-jumbo and translate it into legitimate English—this is a must. Also, a practiced hand at witnessing and signing legal and medical forms.
Banker—aptitude to understand and explain the latest round of hieroglyphics generated by the mega-bank’s computer system; willingness to do same every single time a new report comes in snail mail.
Electronics technician—must possess the skill for resetting all digital clocks on radios, appliances, and the VCR whenever the power blips; also must know everything about computers and satellite TV boxes—and be able to extrapolate exactly how the loved one got to this particular locked-up screen—again!
Medic—must be ready to kiss boo-boos and make them better. Boo-boos include insect bites, stubbed toes, mystery bruises, and test-prick wounds.
Nurse’s aide—required to produce or generate test-prick wounds; must be practiced and convincing at the mantra, “This won’t hurt at all.”
Excel spreadsheet guru—must possess the capacity to rig up makeshift fax system, log (and type accurately) test-prick results, and transmit generated spreadsheet via fax to medical team weekly.
Patient advocate—has the talents of understanding the emotionally charged reactions to diagnoses and reminding the medical team that patient is a person, not a series of test results.
Make-it-all-better specialist—a calming, soothing, understanding, listening attitude is essential!

This is only slightly exaggerated from the tasks we’ve been called on to perform this week. Maybe that overwhelmed feeling isn’t quite so groundless as I’d thought when I woke up this morning.

As I searched The Word for a bit of comfort or assurance, I found this little statement that I’ve glibly quoted in the past. It took on new meaning today—and sounded less flip as it rolled off my fingertips onto the screen: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13; NKJV).

May your list of job qualifications, like mine, always fall into that “all things” category, through Christ our loving, patient, and eminently qualified Lord.


Blessings and prayers,
Julie

© 2011, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com