When We Choose the Harder Thing

There are many out there who choose to be silent in their suffering, those who choose to love even when it means life will be more difficult for them. They sit in church with me and smile and give warm hugs. But they’re in it alone in many respects. They keep the family going and face hardship without flinching. They believe God will sustain them, but they cry in the night, at least sometimes. And they feel envious of others who have it better. I know all about that.

It takes great strength within self–with the help of Father God–to live through hardship without self-pity and without bailing when the going is rough. We learn in the hard times, and we coast in the easy times. If this is you, I say to you, keep the faith and do not give up.

Be intentional. Know what you are dealing with and find answers to the questions. Draw a line in the sand for yourself. It helps to know your own parameters and how to maintain them.

Your Own Unique Story

We each have our own story, no two are alike.

How God works in your life is different than how He works in mine.

Expecting cookie cutter Christians is not the way it works nor should we expect exact replicas in others of the way we think it should ‘look like.’

We should not become an exact carbon copy of our favorite teacher or preacher. We should be followers of Christ as in The Way.

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss (A Johns Hopkins Press , 1981, 2011-5th edition)

Dealing with the effects of Alzheimer disease or related symptoms on a daily basis is exhausting. Caregiving for a person suffering with some form of dementia can be overwhelming. It is a help to the caregiver to know what to expect and how to address it during the time of transition as their family member settles into declining health. Knowing how to deal with the challenging issues as a loved one sinks into serious mental decline can be like a lifesaver in a drowning sea of angst and uncertainty. I’ve watched it from afar and also have some up close observations of families, usually adult children, seeking to cope in a good fashion with the many effects caused by fading memories, Alzheimer’s or dementia in their loved one. It starts with the little things; not remembering the name of something or someone, confusion, angry outbursts. In time, the family member is no longer the person they used to be. They may become angry and upset with no provocation. They may have ever increasing physical limitations. They may be confused as to who you are and suspicious of your intentions. They may no longer be able to articulate their needs nor able to advocate for themselves. What the caregiver needs–besides respite–are some tools, support, and information. That is what this book is about. The 36-Hour Day is a resource and guide written to help the caregiver understand their loved one–who is losing the person they used to be–as they slip away from them. This book is informative and practical for anyone who has an aging parent or relative who may need assistance in the future or is already in that place. It is a book that will provide support and encouragement for the caregiver who cares. It is worth the read.

How Writing is Like Teaching

I was reflecting the other day about the novelty of writing and how it intersects with teaching and speaking. I am a teacher. I am a writer. I am a speaker. There is major overlap in these roles and how they function. Those who write have a message to send out. Likewise, teachers are in the business of educating or they’re out of a job. The person who speaks must have something to say or the audience loses their focus and they won’t be invited back for another go round.  Each is a communicator of a message.

As a reader, I recently read the book Unbroken. I was confronted with many human emotions; those of courage, bravery, endurance, compassion, hatred, evil, fear, suffering, love, hope, and forgiveness. Louis Zamperini resonates with us. The story is more than just a page turner. It speaks. It shows. It teaches. It is a story with a powerful message.  .  . and we get it.

As an educator, my favorite years were those I spent as a reading specialist. I taught reading and language arts interventions to students performing below grade level. The goal was to bring their skills up and closer to grade level. My first key step with any new group was to engage their interest. Buy-in matters. A lot. A teacher learns to create a learning environment that has a strong ‘cause and effect’ component. There should be measurable learning. Growth. Performance. Success. Achievement.