The journey continues…

My postings may become more sporadic until at least the holidays since we were faced with another medical crisis this last weekend.

For most of last week, my husband has not been feeling all the well and then by Friday, the tip of his finger was quite black and he was getting very sick.  Yet, he made me go to a doctor’s appointment before taking him to the emergency room.  Fortunately, for me, all tests came back positive for nothing wrong except diabetes so i’ll have to be monitored for that!  Yikes!  I do not want to start poking my fingers – I dread needles.

At the hospital, they discovered he had an infection and even gangrene from a dead finger so the treatment was an amputation, which happened on Saturday.  He is doing better today and will be going into rehab for some time so Thanksgiving will be a lonely affair this year…yet, I will spend some time there in rehab with him.

This latest journey has taught me a few things and I have the following tips for patients, spouses, loved ones, and so on:

1) treat medical staff with respect – they are overworked and they do the dirtiest of jobs for a patient.

2) though the staff may be a bit overworked, speak up as an advocate for your loved one and if able to, do the little things to assist the staff like help with feeding the patient

3) If coming out of town to visit patient and you plan to stay at their home, give the spouse who spends quite a bit of time at the hospital, down time when they get home.  They may not want to chat but rest and unwind while taking care of things like homework and other household responsibilities.

4) If you are visiting, please respect the loved one’s wishes to not clean their house.  Things were hectic and the house was on the verge of being cleaned up.  Some people may take this as the house was not clean enough or you should have done a better job at it.  If they say no on something, do not push the matter.  Above all – do not go through personal things like medical records, etc.

5) If you know of someone who is going through a rough time, like a loved one in the hospital, make sure they are being cheered up and taken care of.

6) If you know of a spouse and/or family members who do not have a loved one at home during a holiday, they will need to be cheered up too.  It’s a stressful time.

7) Get people to pray alongside you

8) Pack your meals and plan parking expenses – visiting at a hospital can add up.  Maybe offer to bring a meal to the visiting person.

9) Remember to smile even as things get tough like cleaning up vomit and other messes

10) remember the pets -they need attention and they do miss their human mom or dad

11) Above all, pray and read God’s words

Finally, in conclusion, I salute caretakers, nursing staff, and doctors who work such long hours and deal with the messes to give love, mercy, compassion, and kindness to a spouse, child, other family members, and/or patients.

What are your thoughts?  Do you have anymore tips to help handle stress during a long illness, accident or other similar journeys?

Necessary Maintenance

So, for our upcoming journey, I took my car in to have its 20K mile checkup and an oil change.  All turned out well except one part that needed to be replaced since it was very dirty.  Our van was given the okay for the journey and so we continue to prepare for this journey.

So if you are about to face your own journey or just facing everyday life, you need to maintain yourself just like a car needs to be maintained and parts replaced as they get old or dirty after so many miles so you can keep going.

Maintenance for people can include eating right, going to our doctors, exercising, making sure we get enough rest, and restoring our souls.  When we maintain ourselves and keep in great shape (I’m not in the best of shape), we can keep going to serve God’s purpose.

Furthermore, maintaining our souls include entering a place of solitude (seeking the voice of God), praying (listening and talking to God), and reading His word (to know His voice and to strengthen us).   These maintenance steps can lead to a healthier soul and an overall outlook on life while loving people just like the maintenance on our vehicle keeps going and providing us with transportation.

After all, the two greatest commandments in Matthew 22: 37-39 (NIV) reads “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Yeah, something may come up no matter how much you maintain yourself or your vehicle.  Like just before our trip to Nevada, I had to replace the wheel and tire after hitting a piece of debris on the freeway.  Or, more recently, a chip in the windshield or the part that had to be replaced to today. But we just keep going and remember that One you listen to and talk to, is there with you.  Or you may have a neighbor who helps out since they love you and God as much as they love themselves in a healthy way.

Finally, when we maintain ourselves through prayer, solitude, and reading of the word, we can handle the bumps and debris in our lives.

As we conclude, please think about the areas of your life that need to be maintained…how can you maintain them or fix these areas?

Does Mr. Rogers Live in Our Neighborhood?

Okay, so, just as we were about to doze off last night, a piercing alarm shattered the semi-quietness of our apartment building.  I tried to remain calm but a bit panicky as I realized it was a fire alarm.  Things became a bit chaotic as I dashed to get decent clothes on, round up the cat, and get my wheelchair-bound husband out to the balcony.  Then I stuck my nose out in the hall to see what the rest of the neighbors were doing…only one was leaving the building from our section of the floor and the elevators were closed off.  Fortunately, the alarm turned out to be a false alarm…though I wondered why no one checked on those who were wheelchair or otherwise unable to escape down the stairs?

With this thought, I was reminded of how little we know our neighbors, even after over three months in our building.  Yeah, we say hi and talk to them in the hallways; however, we do not have a whole lot of communication with them.  It took one neighbor coming over last week needing some salt and pepper before we found out that he similar taste of music as my husband, and he is a Christian.  He was impressed that we let him keep the salt and pepper – something we do not use a lot –since he does not know too many people who are kind or enjoy blessing one another.

We have learned that we have an interesting collection of neighbors in our building that includes young families, single parents, disabled people, and even quite a few elderly people.  For instance, there is the neighbor who is shorter than I am (I’m only 4’11”) and she is one of the kindest ladies I’ve ever met.  Furthermore, there is the man who seems to know everything about the building since he has lived here for a long time.  Then there is the neighbor above us – a single mom – who we complain about because her young son keeps us awake some nights.  Though recently, I keep getting reminders from God that we need to pray for neighbors even if we are not happy with their behaviors.

As humans, we were meant to connect with each other and have fellowship with other people.  Unfortunately, we are becoming a society that spends too much time with social media and not a whole lot of face-to-face contact with our neighbors.  I’m just as guilty as anyone reading this blog or a stranger on the street.

That is why we want to start a community style coffee shop so people can re-learn to interact and fellowship with each other without pressure.  Hopefully.  We know – it will be a long shot since people attached to their personal electronic devices.

Therefore, in conclusion, Mr. Rogers does not live in my neighborhood; however, as commanded by Jesus, I will love my neighbors (even the noisy one) and find ways to connect with them.  Even if it is just a simple hi with a smile and asking them how they are doing.

So, who are your neighbors?  How do you think you can connect with other people in your neighborhood?

Happy Father’s Day Tribute

Father…Dad…Papa…Pops…when you hear those words, what do you think of?  Do you think of a father who is respectfully intimate with you and loves you? On the other hand, do you think of a man who is hard working, loving, or kind?  Perhaps, your image of your earthly father has never been so favorable or you do not have memories of a father.

Over the years, I have had a mix of both good and bad with my own father.  He had his rough moments and yet he had his good moments with my mother, me and my four siblings.  However, over the last few years, he has become a great dad as he enjoys retirement with my mom.  Once a pastor turned carpenter, my “retired” dad spend his days helping at the church and tackling his “honey do” list of projects around their house.  When he is not busy, he spends time spoiling his grandchildren. 

Because my father was once a pastor, I have always had the desire and calling to serve within a church.  I would love to pastor a church either by starting the vision of a community coffee shop or even a community center that teaches about Jesus and who He is.

Furthermore, there are fathers like my father-in-law who work hard all their lives while managing the health care of his oldest son, my husband.  Along with his day job and caring for my husband, while growing up, my FIL managed two other kids with my mother-in-law.  Today, my “retired” FIL continues to spend time with his kids and taking care of my husband and me.  In addition to his family life and helping us, he spends time helping a local food bank and other needs of the community.

This father is the essence of serving the community as my husband and I dream of serving the community as a way of honoring him.

Another father is my heavenly Father who I call Abba and love with all my heart, soul, and strength.  At times, I may disappoint Him with my earthly ways; however, no matter what happens, He is there with a warm embrace and a warm welcome as I ask for forgiveness of my earthly sins.  He has been my source of strength and He constantly has my back.  He is a Father who will never retire from His job…

For the longest time, I was afraid of fathers until I was taught about this caring Father and I have learned to respect and honor my own father in the process. 

This Abba Father is the one who has given my husband and I the vision to serve Him through a community type coffee shop. Though we love our earthly fathers, we want to serve this Father and hear His voice as we step out in faith…

Though many of you may not have warm and fuzzy thoughts about your own father or may not know your father, do remember that on this day – Father’s Day – there is a Father who loves you today and every other day.

Happy Father’s Day