Friday, August 31, 2012

All the missing people

10:41 p.m. Today's project was to continue arrangements for Steve's upcoming move to Raincross.

At 3 p.m., I welcomed in a team of evaluators whose job was to question Steve and determine if he'd be suitable for their setting.  He took it remarkably well considering he couldn't answer more than one out of twenty basic questions.  He did get up to go out back with his caregiver, because when asked if there were too many women in there,  he told the caregiver yes, "And besides," he continued, "I've got a wife!" We got a big laugh out of that one. His declaration is ironic, though, because our family's agreed-upon plan will end up separating him from his wife, and that's going to be hard--for both of us. We discussed the furniture I'd be bringing, the date and time, and keeping Steve occupied away from the house while the moving commotion was taking place. After they left, Cassandra, Steve and I drove to get his TB test cleared, but in her big old van because mine had been shutting off when idling, due to the new battery not being recognized by the computer's sensor, according to both the dealership that installed the battery yesterday and my mechanic. If it doesn't clear up by tomorrow, I'll need rides just about everywhere!! Praying, because God hears and answers!

I was glad to get my Bible study written on II Samuel 12 for the last meeting of our summer study, "A Woman's Walk in the Word," on Thursday, but feeling that, after Steve moves, and there are no more caregivers here, obviously, I may wish I'd kept going for a few more weeks. (Picture below). It will be one more sudden cut-off of friends and conversation--should have thought that one through a little more. On the other hand, I'll be able to up my business activity, which does mean more people to minister to, and to minister to me, just in a different context. God is so good, and when He guides, he provides--and that's not just about money!

Today, God gave me the opportunity to counsel and comfort a woman I met in the medical complex that Steve's been assigned to, Riverside Medical Clinic. She's our doctor's receptionist. Marian came out of the building as I was leaving from collecting signed docs from her boss, a California physician's statement in particular, that is required for Steve's placement.  She just poured out her heart, and the Lord gave me words of comfort for her. "Comfort one another with the comfort that you yourselves have been comforted with," is my paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 1:4.

Lately, when I've talked with friends about the decision God told me to make (which I stalled on for a couple of months) and the steps I'm taking to implement it, they've all asked, "Dana, how do you feel about it?" And I honestly answer, "It hasn't happened yet, but I'm not going to want to be alone the night after taking Steve to his new home and it will just be me there." That's the sad part, because the kids' lives aren't suddenly going to change so they can come over every day; I don't currently have a renter, and University of California Riverside's Homestay program doesn't have a student boarder for me just now. So it looks like I'll be spending at least some time at home, after the days' and evenings' activities with my business and Bible study Monday nights, alone.

Having been married for 31 years and having raised a large family, being alone except for writing papers and Bible studies, is foreign to me. But perhaps this is the season that I will be going through for  now. It's going to be lonely. But God has a plan--He always has a plan, whether for action, or for contemplation.

I'll trust God, and believe the Spirit-inspired words Cara my prayer partner prayed, 'That Dana's home would be a place of joy and that people would love to be there."

And let me rejoice in the alone times, believing Isaiah 30:15:

In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blew by me

6:43 p.m. Today's project was to get a new battery installed at the dealership where we bought the one that just died. I was rather puzzled that a battery with three years left on it could quit, but my mechanic checked out all other possibilities with the Jeep's electrical system, inside and out, connectors, etc., and indeed, the battery was dead!

Since I had a 10:00 appointment at Raincross at Riverside assisted living to discuss Steve's admission, 7:30 for the battery installation would give more than ample time to stop by the house and straighten up for my Mary Kay team member's later visit with her mom, leaving plenty of time to make the assisted living memory care meeting. I was quite disciplined last night, planning to go to bed by 9:30 p.m. since my cell phone alarm was set for 5. Naturally, one of the tribulations Jesus told us we'd suffer in this world (John 16:33b) presented itself at 9:30, in the form of Steve getting up out of bed wandering around the bedroom after being asleep for two hours. I took my phone in there for light, put an L-carnosine patch on his chest for sound sleep, and managed to put him back into bed, a painful and tough physical task for arthritic me. Jesus has been with me the whole time, however, as He told His disciples then and now,

In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

To bed at last! No matter what the hour, I like to read a selection from Minute Motivators for Leaders: Quick Inspiration for the Time of Your Life, by Stan Toler,  a general superintendent at the Church of the Nazarene's global ministry center. Some of the topics include excellence, courage, credibility, discipline, celebration, encouragement and self-evaluation, all with a scriptural basis. I have to think of my favorite Bible person, the Apostle Paul, when I consider--and apply-- self-evaluation, Philippians 4:12-14 (NLT):

I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I already have achieved perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing:Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
From the same wonderful epistle, Paul also shows that he knows how to celebrate, no matter what the circumstances are, as Philippians 4:4 (NKJV) says,

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Unfortunately, I was not in a celebratory mood as it got closer to 10:00 and my Jeep was just barely being driven out of the service bay--once I went to the office and asked for it!Twenty minutes later,[2.5 hours total to install a battery] and after a paperwork hang-up was fixed, I called Ruthie at Raincross, and told her I'd be late, but nevertheless had to leave by noon. So my day was off to a crawling start! But on the blessed side, I had arrived in the customer waiting room with two possible scenarios in mind:

1. Since this was a work day, if there happened to be a nice woman to chat with, I'd try to make an appointment for a facial.

2. In case there were no women in the waiting room, I had brought my Bible study research materials to continue my preparation to teach II Samuel 12 [the prophet Nathan's excoriating rebuke from God to David for the murder of Uriah and the pronouncement of the king's future public punishment, leading to David's repentance and restoration]. As for me, God made His choice, there were no prospects in sight, so I set to work, not work at all, but sheer enjoyment! With my phone's Bible app for looking up supporting scriptures, I'd eliminated the need to add a physical Bible to the heavy commentary and large notebook I had brought. Don't you love using technology for ministry?

Though God brought me out of my nervous state and on to a productive meeting, the day really began to steamroll and blow right by me! My team member Sandra and her very elderly mom were parked in the driveway when I arrived about noon, pretty much signaling that I'd get no lunch other than the fresh oatmeal raisin cookie I'd grabbed from the help-yourself tray in the foyer at Raincross as I headed to my car. After getting Sandra's 90+ mother settled in the family room with a glass of iced tea, watching "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," I helped Sandra work on her order and set up her account to be able to accept debit and credit card payments. Then I gave both ladies facials with our new Repair line, and matched her mom's foundation. Their lovely smiles were such a reward!

Steve came home, and I spent the rest of the afternoon with him and his caregiver, as I worked on arrangements for his medical and care needs. I faced down a mountain of paperwork and continual phone calls. I just had to keep in mind that one day there will be a blessed result, for both Steve's and my well-being. We need to remember that this life with its tribulations is not the end of the story as it blows by us!

There is a worship song played frequently on our local KSGN, 89.7 FM, with these lyrics:

There will be a day with no more tears,
No more pain, no more fears.
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more--we'll see Jesus face to face!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Box of old photos

10:30 p.m. Today's project was to go through a box of old, very old, pictures my dad had brought over to my house last weekend along with his file cabinets. I busied myself dividing the pictures my sister had given Daddy through the years from ones I'd given him, of ourselves and our children, from infancy through adulthood. I even found childhood pictures of my sister and me, as well as photos from 1950's and 60's of my mom, dad, aunts and uncles. Some, like the photo below of me, wearing the then-stylish middle-parted, long straight hair, with my younger sister and  cousins when I was a sophomore at UCLA, are cute and fun to look at.
Others, like a photo of my son Sean and me with my first husband and step-daughters, evoke sorrow and pain for a marriage that ended tragically before I became a Christian. Very hard to look at! On this the second day of the Harvest Crusade, which included a clip of my former pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie telling of the loss of his older son Christopher in a car accident 4 years ago, I came upon the Grace Baptist Pre-K class picture of 1980, which included Sean and "Topher" Laurie. And there stood my friend Debbie Sharick, then a 19-year-old teacher's aide who had to keep those two mischief-makers corralled! I would love to have that picture bring me undiminished joy like that on my little son's face, but life, no, death, stepped in to taint the memory. But death's sting is only temporary, as is my melancholy mood, because I Corinthians 15:54-55 (NLT) says,
Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
"Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?"
The answer for mankind, as Greg pointed out with a Holy Spirit anointing that drew thousands onto the field at Anaheim Stadium, is to accept Jesus Christ as one's Lord and Savior.
Later, after our guests went home and I put Steve to bed, I was moved tremendously by the Gospel Music Channel's premiere Christian movie "Somebody's Child," where one twin boy was given up for adoption at birth, while his brother stayed with their mother.  They meet as adults, one having spent time in the foster system after his adopted parents divorced and had done jail time for vehicular manslaughter; the other became a successful restaurant owner. I could not control my tears as I watched that movie-- twice. 
Perhaps I was sorrowing over mistakes I made as a young mom, which consequences still resonate today.Yet I know that God redeems and heals, even if healing isn't instantaneous and forgiveness, especially of oneself, may be a long time coming. I will choose to trust in the Lord my God, who, according to Psalm 147:3,
...heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.
And I'll close with this assurance from Malachi 4:2:
But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall
With healing in His wings.
Thank you, Lord! I love you!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Three leadings

8:02 p.m. Today's project was to get everything ready in our home for a full day of one-hour time slots from 9-5 for my customers to try our new skincare repair system. It's exciting and gratifying to use and share a product that is targeted at those of us, shall I put it gently, "over 40!"

Once I finish my morning devotions and work on my Bible study, Saturday is a Mary Kay work day for me, so we have a wonderful caregiver named Elias who keeps Steve occupied around our property. I give him money to take Steve out for a weekly treat at Carl's Jr. down the hill from us at lunch time. One week he took Steve to watch the ducks down by the country club; another time recently, Elias took Steve for a hair cut. He's such a wonderful help as I make phone calls, do facials and makeovers!

The Lord has been my Provider of everything I could ever imagine, think or ask (Ephesians 3:20).

Another all-day project was to pray for the Anaheim Harvest Crusade, as I have been for the last few weeks. When I think of being a part of the crusades from the beginning, with Steve as an usher, me either as an on-field new convert counselor, and most years as part of, then leading, the prayer tower, my heart is so full of joy for the 400,000 people (not counting tonight and tomorrow) who have given their lives to the Lord for over 20 years! Every year we would take the kids and they would fill up our van with unsaved friends. Youngest kid Steven was a fine evangelist even in elementary school--his guests always went forward! What a privilege to lead others to Christ! Proverbs 11:30 says,

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who wins souls is wise.

Happily, Steve was able to stay awake and enjoy the worship bands and then almost all of Greg Laurie's message, shown here watching on our computer with Elias. Tomorrow we'll ahve friends over for the 4 p.m livestream "Harvest America."
As to my third project for today, it slowly dawned on me, while realizing that my guests were likely going to arrive after noon, that the Lord had something else to work on for the morning. He was telling me to return the Raincross Memory Care director's phone call from yesterday, and begin pinning down details such as how to pay to reserve a room for Steve.  And how exactly will it work for Steve's long term insurance policy to get onto a billing cycle to pay for his room, board and 24-hour need for care and supervision? We have an appointment set for Tuesday morning. 
As you may imagine, this decision has not come about lightly for me, as I still enjoy Steve's companionship. But I am also not able to stay awake both day and night; nor am I able to physically assist him with any but the most basic tasks. My sporadic arthritis is getting very painful, and while I'm not stiff--probably because I'm so active--my hands hurt when I need to turn him in the correct direction to walk to the car, attach and detach his seat belt, dress him, help him move his legs out of the car, and lead him from the car to the Calvary Chapel sanctuary. He is approved for a wheelchair, but I cannot lift one into the Jeep to take with us--I can barely lift and place my dad's lightweight walker in the back cargo area for our weekly outings! At least when I take Steve to his doctor on Monday for a California Physician's report to be filled out and to get his TB test done for Raincross, I can call ahead and the doctor's staff will come out to the car and wheel him away (and load him back into the Jeep after we're done)!  
Another matter to consider is selecting a weekend when as many of our kids as possible can help move a queen bed, dresser, lamp and chair to the facility and set them up in Steve's shared accommodations in the secure memory care section. This means he'll have his own bedroom and share a handicap-safe bathroom with the gentleman in the bedroom on the other side.
Apparently September is "wedding month" for three of the kids. Heather is shooting a wedding in Newport Beach the 8th; Kriss is attending weddings of friends who were in his own wedding, on two Saturdays in a row; Pavel, our Heidi's husband, is in a wedding on the 15th.  But Nick (Heather's husband), Heidi and Pavel can help, and both sons-in-laws' dads have trucks. So the 8th it is. I have yet to figure who can stay here with Steve while we all go set up over there so he can just go into a furnished room with his own things situated there already. I know the Lord will have the right person ready and willing.
I heard an inspirational, biblical message from Mary Kay director Jordan Eicher this morning, where she said, "God tells us "what" He's going to do, but doesn't necessarily tell us "how!" Her example was Luke 2:31, where the virgin Mary was told that she was going to conceive and bring forth a Son, and call His name JESUS, and that He would be great, called the Son of the Highest.
Her first question was "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" The angel told her the Holy
Spirit would overshadow her. Even though the answer was way outside of human understanding or experience, she simply committed herself to obeying God, saying,
Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word (v. 38).
God tells us what He will do, and what we are to do, but often the "how" only gradually unfolds as we walk along, obedient to the heavenly vision He has been pleased to grant us. God told me to find a place for Steve, which I delayed for some weeks until now the need is critical. Now that I have a place selected, I am getting details in order more expeditiously, despite questions I still have, gaps in my "how!"
Back to busines: by lunchtime, I wondered "how" my business day could possibly turn out well, with hours spent getting things pretty for no one! But one friend came over; then a customer called to come down from Banning, and made some nice purchases. While doubting the finish of my week's goal, the Lord had another customer give me an order that wrapped it up within half hour of my deadline!
How, indeed? Not when God's in the lead!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Another new plan

11:03 p.m. Today's project was to teach Bible study, the scandalous chapter about David and Bathsheba, after a wild, task-filled morning.

My Internet had been out for three days--I know and can hear it--"poor baby"-- and I was fit to be tied, because I'd need to email out the written lessons for the chapter to scores of women later this afternoon.  So for the umpteenth time, I tried to log on to my desktop computer and received the white screen that said, "Internet Explorer cannot open the program." Then for good measure I tried to do the same on my mini-notebook computer. Only this time, I received a blue screen with tiny white writing, whose error code, according to my techie son-in-law, means there might be malware involved! Great...

I'd been calling Verizon to see if a bill needed to be paid, but because I used my cellphone, the automated program though it was that account I was calling for, and kept assuring me that my bill was paid. Blessed with a good morning otherwise, I finished my devotions and determined to check on it again after my husband left for his daycare. And predictably weith all I have goung on, I'd forgotten to pay the bill! all is well for now.

Actually, today I woke up rested, because Steve had slept through the night. Since I last posted, Steve had been walking around in the bedroom for hours each night. We know God didn't design anyone but new mothers to get up all night and then take care of a household all day! And the "sundowning" that late-stage dementia patients fall into, is often the breaking point where even the best intentioned family caregivers have to seek a placement for their loved ones. Yet,  rather than jumping into a placement option, I sought the Lord in obediencefor an interim step. The verse I posted on Facebook this morning, using my smart phone, was Psalm 41:17:

But I am poor and needy; 
Yet the LORD thinks upon me.
You are my help and my
Do not delay, O my God.

And God had thought upon me, because He told me to have a caregiver from our agency come over for a few hours after Steve goes to bed to tend to his needs and allow me to sleep. So I did just that, allowing the afternoon caregiver to train the night shift caregiver in putting Steve to bed. I particularly wanted to have peace and a focused mind last night, because I went to Harvest Christian Fellowship to hear Pastor and daily radio teacher James McDonald give his "Vertical Church" message. His message, or the gist that I took from it, was that the church needs to stop looking around, and spewing out opinions from Oprah and Dr. Phil, and look up, to the Source of true help and deliverance for any and all needs God's people could ever have. Before he even spoke, he led a packed sanctuary in an anointed time of prayer, where those of us with deep, serious hurts and trials literally held up our arms to heaven with those near us in the pew supporting us by laying on hands where they sat. I'm trusting You anew, Lord! The message was powerful, and the band led by Landon McDonald was awesome too.

Upon arriving home, I had the night caregiver stay until 11:00, but Steve was quietly sleeping the night. Tonight  he's still asleep, thought the helper went home an hour ago. So, were the two wandering nights, Monday and Tuesday, a fluke? And, though it seems rather crass to mention it, is the addition of an additional shift financially sound, when Raincross (the memory and assisted living facility I selected) can meet all of my husband's needs in safety, security, and comfort 24 hours a day at possibly less expense? What would the Lord have me do?

At each point in our family's dementia journey, there's been a new direction to go, new supplements or methods or programs to try. So in a future blog post, you may see a NEW new plan.! Isaiah 43:19:

Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the
And rivers in the desert.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Treasured times

10:36 p.m. Today's project was to take Steve, and a carload of delicious frozen desserts and homemade green salsa, to Emeritus Villa De Anza for our annual August Party. Since 5 of us have birthdays in the same week, it just makes sense to throw a big bash!

It felt a bit risky having the party which has always been at our home in an assisted living facility, but the price was right--free--and my dad lives there already. Issues with Steve's personal care were in the back of my mind, so I took a change of clothes and he wore extra protection for the day. amazing, isn't it, how the little things keep us so worried until we find a solution, and the worry ceases! Thank you, Lord, for answered prayers for wisdom! After all, it's Jesus Christ

in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).

My sister and her son arrived early in order to take possession of the car Daddy had promised her. Steve and I went to church as usual, for the 9:45 service. Since our son Steven from Fresno wouldn't arrive until after 1 p.m., there was no sense getting to the home earlier without having any help unloading for the 2 p.m. party.

Before we left, our morning caregiver, a 21-year-old man from Turkey, finished his shift and said with a smile on his face, "By the way, I'm going to church today, too!" I asked which one, and congratulated him, and could hardly keep from jumping up and down. God has seen fit to either give us caregivers who are believers and enjoy fellowship with us; or, the Lord he sends an unbeliever to our home to get saved! So to have a young person here in the US on his own, raised as a Muslim, checking out a Christian church, was a blessing and praise!  Cannot wait to hear his impressions in the morning while the three of us sit at breakfast. Perhaps we've been a witness despite the many rough patches we've had in helping him to follow directions and fit into our household routine. I've had to be firm but patient, correcting and encouraging. Prayerfully  he's seen a bit of Christian family life in our home and marriage; and I freely quote the Bible as I normally do all the time anyway. And obviously his friend has made a positive impression, since he agreed to go to church! I pray there was a solid evangelical message preached. Romans 10:17 says,

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

As for our party, most everyone came, Steve's siblings helped him quite a bit, even feeding him. Our brother-in-law Mike even took Steve for a walk, because he gets restless and agitated, and starts wandering aimlessly in the afternoons.All of the desserts and main dishes were wonderful but nothing compares to fellowship!

We all got to share each other's lives for a few hours, drank from that sweet well of fellowship, figuratively anointing one another's heads with oil, now are home refreshed, ready to see what the world brings us tomorrow! May it be one young man's soul!

Save, Lord! Save to the uttermost! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A dear voice from childhood

6:48 p.m. Today's project was to minister to a longtime friend whom Steve and I met, with her husband, at a Home Fellowship about 5 years ago. She was eager to try the new skincare line, and at our appointment, she had the pampering and encouragement, as well as the prayer, that she needed! As James 5:16 says,

Pray for one another, that you may be healed.

This morning started of in an exciting way. Shortly after I got dressed, the Lord prompted me to check my ell's voicemail. Lo and behold, there were messages from my Aunts Kathleen from Kansas City, MO; and Sadie and Gale from St. Louis, MO, my dad's sisters, all trying to track Daddy down! They had each called him at his home number on his birthday, but as already reported, that's the day he decided to drive back to his house in Redlands without letting even us locals know, or even answering his home phone while he was there! 

Aunt Kathleen and I had a wonderful conversation. She mentioned that, along with health and nutrition magazines, Daddy had sent her a copy of my book Galatians: An Exploration of Faith & Freedom, and that she'd read and enjoyed it.She told me that Sadie had used the Internet and my address to find Daddy somehow, and they had talked yesterday. Kathleen assumed that he was spending the night with us for his birthday. So I told her about Daddy being in assisted living, how we found him almost dead; his hospital stay; and that his doctor says he can no longer live alone, due to his bladder cancer. [The cancer was removed for the most part, but is now spreading because Daddy refused further exploratory surgical treatment, which decision I supported]. Guess that makes me a whistle blower, because he hadn't informed his sisters! They have openly told him about their own bouts with cancer and other serious conditions, because he's asked me to pray for them. I had no idea he hadn't shared about his own illness, since they stay in such close contact.

Sometimes, as adult believers, we have to make decisions that might cause awkwardness or even confrontations. My dad's sudden secretiveness, refusing to allow me to accompany him to consultations with his doctor in the spring, nearly cost him his life. You'd think he would have decided to be open--there's no shame in having an illness, and nothing he could have done to prevent it, either. And since every one of his grand kids was at the hospital with him, is his condition not a known fact in the near, and extended, family? Daddy knows and appreciates Christians praying for him, so truly, "the cat is out of the bag!"

Wisdom, discretion, understanding and truthfulness need to function simultaneously in the believer, since scriptures extolling these sterling qualities abound in scripture.

Proverbs 2:11:  Discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you.
Proverbs 8:6-7, (Wisdom speaking):Listen, for I will speak of excellent things; and from the opening of my lips will come right things; for my mouth will speak truth

Yet, each of these qualities, when practiced for another's good, must have love as its basis, its cause, its goal and its end, for, as I Corinthians 13:13b says,


Friday, August 17, 2012

Making ready

8:55 p.m. Today's project was to gather up my "foodstuffs" for several frozen desserts and a big batch of green tomatillo salsa for our annual "August Party." I always chuckle inwardly when I see or say the word "foodstuffs" because our youngest son says it's not a word, even after having it proved to him from a dictionary! (So of course I'll find an occasion to say the word while Steven's down here from Fresno for the party)! You can't accuse the Kruckenbergs of not having the courage of our convictions.

The August Party started as a semi-joke over 25 years ago. The idea that family members from both sides would come to Riverside in the middle of August to celebrate my dad's, Kriss',Steven's, Auntie Sharon's and my birthday from much cooler Orange and San Diego counties was laughable! But the tradition has lived on, with barbecuing burgers, dogs, and sausages; enjoying all manner of side dishes and salads; even our and others' (fresh or fried green) homegrown tomatoes and corn on the cob, as well as sampling fabulous frozen desserts. Except for weddings, it's the party of the year.

 Most years, first for my children and their cousins, and recently for THEIR children, we've had a jump house; for wildly physical teenage boys and their friends, the trampoline was the top draw. We enjoyed a series of above-ground swimming pools too. So you can see how the boys would do it: Trampoline into pool; trampoline into jump house, nearly collapsing it; or trampoline into jump house and then right into the pool! Our series of dogs just loved all the company in the backyard!

So much fun--and the total absence of alcohol or any other mood-altering substances. Who needs them? As Christians, we have outrageous fun living by Ephesians 5:18:

Be not drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.

Last year, my thought was to have Steve's and my 30th anniversary celebration, with a renewal of vows at church and a potluck party here with family and our many church friends. RSVPs came in fast, our Pastor John agreed to perform the ceremony, and the down payment was made. Then suddenly, Steve took a nosedive in his dementia, which seems to be how it happens: he maintains a plateau of manageable sameness, and then Boom! a downhill mental tumble. So I cancelled the event, because Steve would have been overwhelmed. Was I unwise to even consider it? God"s promise to give me counsel is what I stood and still stand on, as Proverbs 16:20 (KJV) says,

He who handles a matter wisely will find good,
And whoever trusts in the LORD,
  happy is he.

This year's party will be very different, to be held at Emeritus Villa De Anza assisted living where my dad, an 85 -year-old birthday honoree, lives ! We will have the use of the upstairs Party Room, which I reserved weeks ago. We'll get up there by elevator. There will be no barbeque or jump house, but we'll be enjoying our fellowship and food together, along with newest grandson Clark.And the funny cards are very much looked forward to. I've been working on getting some care giving assistance for Steve, but so far it's been hard to schedule someone for Sunday afternoon. The Lord will work things out for Steve's personal care, I am certain. Already we have the use of the facility's commercial freezer, alleviating one concern--melting ice cream and whipped cream! We'll experience love and joy, no matter how God works out the details. I John 1:3b inspires me:

...truly our felowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Happy birthday!

10:28 p.m. Today's project was to teach Bible study at 10 am, after a hectic morning that began at 3:36 a.m. when our son the Starbucks morning Shift Supervisor texted me his birthday greetings. Is it just me thinking this was unusual, or are all people expected to be awake at that hour? This was my second wakeup, or was it the first, can't exactly remember because I was awakened another time in the dead of night with a leg cramp! The heels on the espadrilles I wore yesterday were not that high, but having been in flats and sandals all week may have caused my leg to react to the height. (To get a Charley Horse calmed down, I've learned to get up and walk gingerly around in the room until it loosens up and subsides).  Eating sugar late at night seems to be a factor in some leg cramps, but isn't that when we're in the mood? The Lord kept me from awakening discouraged about the leg cramp and the time wasted working it out. Getting up at 6 is a non-negotiable on Bible Study day, because in addition to the morning household matters,  I have the privilege of reviewing the words God has given me to share and checking my tabs on cross-referenced scriptures. The calm confidence that I could walk through my day comes from scripture such as Psalm 42:8:

The LORD will command His
  loving kindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall
  be with me--
A prayer to the God of my life.

Steve had a good morning, walking Jada with the caregiver, and was happy to get on the bus again after taking yesterday off for his doctor appointment. It's good for him to have something to look forward to, instead of sitting or wandering around the house. The cooler morning seemed like a gift also, as I finished my journal and thanked the Lord for it.

For some reason, I suddenly had to go out to water the garden, tattered and weedy but high producing as it is. I was dressed already but hadn't eaten and it was already 9! Silly!

When I arrived at Malinda's home about 8 minutes late, and the gals had a brownie cake and scones for me. We went through our study and prayer time and then we enjoyed the goodies afterward. Malinda gave me two handmade presents: half-pint jars of apricot and strawberry jam. The card they all signed says,

 "If you believe that each of us was designed by God for a specific reason, then you know that there's no such thing as an ordinary person." That's a lovely thought, isn't it, and true, too. The group's gift was a Starbucks card with $15 on it. Paid for a very nice lunch after we ended!

I went through the ups and downs of my day, including dealing with some serious confusion on my 85-year-old father's part. Drove through a fire in progress on Limonite and De Anza in Jurupa Valley --a house-fire-- and then dropped off some items Daddy had asked that I get for him. 

But the day's partying wasn't over! At the end of our Mary Kay meeting, I was sung a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday" by all the many guests, consultants and directors.Brownies were also served.

If the Lord is not allowing Steve to be well enough to eat in public, or drive me to a date at the movies, or even say "Happy Birthday," Hesus has given me whole groups of friends to spend time with and be verbally appreciated by. Piecemakers, Bible studies, and Mary Kay give me chllenges to be excited about today, and answers to be thrilled about tomorrow!

As the Crystal Lewis song we hear at the Harvest Crusade goes:

"Life Everlasting, Strength for today, Taste the Living Waters, and never thirst again!

Lord I am trusting you to bring me on home one day! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kindly people

9:27 p.m. Today's project was to keep Steve at home with me so he could see his primary care doctor. I was particularly concerned to see how his balance was in the morning, because a couple of falling incidents have taken place in the afternoon or evening. When I called his daycare and asked if he was having trouble walking when there, the nurse told me that he's steady and participates in games like balloon volleyball. But when he gets anxious, as he does when his bus is the last one to pick him and another gentleman up, his gait is affected. But that is in the afternoon. Mornings are his best time.

Mornings are when we are generally most refreshed and least bothered by outside forces, because our busy workday hasn't begun. It's an ideal time for prayer, scripture reading and journalling our thoughts to the Lord. Steve cannot write or focus on reading now, but we can pray together and thank God for our food. Some verses on rising early to seek God:

Psalm 57:7-8:

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;I will sing and give praise. Awake, my glory! Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn.

Psalm 63:1:

O God, You are my God; early will I seek You. My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. 

Steve had a steady morning with the caregiver, showering and dressing in peace, eating his breakfast with assistance, and then the two of them took a short walk with the dog. After my prayer time, work on tomorrow's Bible study and household organizing, we left with plenty of time to make a bank deposit, and go to Sprouts organic market where we discovered my cellphone was missing. Back in the Jeep! No luck at the bank, so back home to find it in a pile of Bible study materials. And we still made it to the doctor on time. God is so merciful even when we are careless and preoccupied!

He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.(Psalm 121:3).

God used the staff at Dr. Sirisuk's office to bless us both with their gentle kindness to Steve today. With his walking becoming slower and slower, I had wondered whether the wheelchairs by the entrance to the Riverside Medical Clinic in Moreno Valley were available for use. But even as I pictured them in my mind, I dismissed the thought, because how would I get him into the chair anyway? So we trudged to the elevator, rode up, and made it over to Dr. Sirisuk's reception window. Dear Muriel, always in place, greeted us, took Steve's birthdate to check him in, and then we went to our seats. Steve had his usual difficulty judging the location and height of the chair, but I guided him down into place, and we relaxed.

The next thing we knew, here was Muriel out from her desk with a wheelchair! She sat in it and took the time to catch up with us as to Steve's condition and the meds he's on. Then suddenly, here was Ada the nurse, and and John, an aid to the doctor. The three of them invited Steve to the wheelchair. He looked very scared, probably of looking like an old man or an invalid,  but I reassured him that he was just using it to save time. He had a lot of trouble putting his feet on the footrests, so I placed them on and away we went. Steve sat and dozed very comfortably in the wheelchaair while we waited for the doctor. Nurse Ada helped us out with one of his medication samples of low dose Namenda, which we needed.

After the appointment, Steve had a fully escorted ride back out to the Jeep, enjoying himself, feeling cared for, and the struggle to move was just--gone! He took pride in getting into the Jeep on his own, not exhausted and ready to give up as he normally would be. (Even handicapped parking places are far away from offices at the end of long hallways in a huge facility like RMC)!

For the day it wll be needed, I asked the doctor to order a lightweight wheelchair from Medicare. When God sends it,  this husband and wife will learn together how to negotiate our lives' new pathway.

Isaiah 43:18-19:

Do not consider the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ok, where is he?

10:02 p.m. Today's project was to find my dad, who signed out of his assisted living home this morning at 9:40, which I didn't discover until several hours later. I arrived at 2:45 p.m.,  after being let into his apartment by a care aide, to leave him his re-programmed cell phone, make out a card, and give him a document he'd been looking for.

He apparently had taken an 85th birthday joy ride back to Redlands in his car, gotten a haircut and had some "other business" to take care of. I even went over to my Heidi's school just as it let out to bring her up to date, because teachers don't keep their cell phones on.

When I finally caught up with him from home, Daddy was quite proud of finding his way the whole distance from Jurupa Valley to Redlands and back. No wonder he collected all of those maps from his house in Redlands last Saturday! Oh, my head...

While there's nothing wrong with Daddy's mind, his body has a a deadly disease.And I don't think going about in this 105+ heat is helpful for anyone. We were all very worried. I was kicking myself for helping get the car that he's promised to my sister back to his assisted living. At least she'll take possession on Sunday at our traditional "August Party," so we can all breathe a sigh of relief!

My arthritic wrist is calling me to agree with Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God, and keep His
For this is man's all.
For God will bring every work
  into judgment,
Including every secret thing,

Whether good or evil.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

To work or not to work?

3:36 p.m. Today's project was for Steve and me to enjoy a great day together, beginning with spending the morning at our church for worship and the word of God preached. I had heard from a friend and customer this morning that her brother-in-law was having open heart surgery today, and she wouldn't be at church to meet up later in the parking lot to pick up a moisturizer for a co-worker. She and I  decided to meet later in my neighborhood. I felt a bit odd for working on Sunday, since that's not usually a work day for me. But Steve enjoys driving around after church, so traveling to any location would be nice for him.

We got my dad's cell phone reprogrammed at Verizon on the way home. I actually picked up a lead while I was there. The customer service rep asked what kind of business I had that I needed unlimited talk time. I told her Mary Kay, she asked, "Is that Pink Cadillac really real?" and the rest will be explained at her party next week! That opportunity fell in my lap while I was helping my dad.Was I working my business? Not sure what qualifies as "work."

I know that as a homemaker, at one time for seven people, now for two, no one would eat if I didn't at least organize the meals from the food I cooked on Saturday night to be reheated. And the lengthy list of dogs we've had would have suffered if someone--now me almost exclusively--hadn't filled their food and water bowls 7 days a week! The Pharisees got lambasted by Jesus when they disapproved His healing the man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. Matthew 12:11-12:

Then He said to them, "What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

Jesus healed the man. Christians are no longer under the law of Moses, but a day of rest benefits man, and is given to man for that purpose. We enjoy worship at church on Sundays, and traditionally, we do enjoy family, or visiting, or relaxing and recharging for the week ahead.

But a stickier issue was scheduled for late afternoon. Last week, a new Christian named Amanda from a Buddhist family asked and persuaded me, after much discussion, to have her mom and her over for facials today. Her mom sacrifices much for the family, working many long hours, so Sunday afternoon is her only day free. I prayed to be used by the Lord at the appointment, which turned into a party with the addition of her teenage sister. Her 7 year-old brother came also and watched tv with Steve and his caregiver.

The mom was overwhelmed with the luxury of trying the Miracle Set and the Even Complexion mask. She loved the Satin Hands treatment also. They didn't buy anything, but that was all right, because the mom really enjoyed herself after she got over her self-consciousness, and our facials are always free. There's no rush to get a sale. A good seed must have been planted, because the little brother gave me a sweet hug on the way out the front door! And that party provided employment for another believer, still dressed in her "Sunday best" when she came to take care of Steve, from his pre-dinner doze to his 7:30 bedtime.

Right or wrong?

After Steve was put to bed, the caregiver and I were discussing some options for clearing her skin and tomorrow night's meeting in Rancho Cucamonga near her apartment. Then I noticed that I'd missed a text message from a long-time friend, a "Moms' Morning" mom, Sandra, interested in selling Mary Kay! That was a bolt out of the blue, thank you, Lord! The caregiver had left, and the dog was crated when Sandra came in with her 7 year-old daughter, who I've known from her toddlerhood. I answered all of Sandra's questions, we talked for a while, and she happily filled out her New Consultant Agreement. I'll be mailing it to Dallas first thing tomorrow!

In providing an answer to prayer that I could not have engineered (a new team member); and allowing me to uplift an overworked unbeliever with kindness and personal attention,  God had a clear lesson for me.  Stop being legalistic, focus on loving others as He does, and serve as opportunity arises.

Pull that poor sheep out of the pit!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


9:44 p.m. Today's project was, originally, to host a skincare class at my home at 9 a.m., enjoy a training luncheon in Rancho Cucamonga with a guest who wants to sell Mary Kay, and then conduct a class at her home near the training center. Oddly, the friend for the morning facial was called to work at 9, being on-call this weekend at the County Regional Hospital; and my guest found out late last night that she had clinical training for 4-D College for her LVN license, because the professors had a meeting on her class day, and decided last minute that the makeup day should be today. (I think that's a word to the wise for anyone seeking vocational training in the Inland Empire)!

With my morning free, I went over to Daddy's place to pick him up and go to Redlands to pick up his car and other useful items. Instead of the two hours I'd figured on,  we had three hours of accomplishing what Daddy wanted and then a slow-lane drive back to his assisted living facility. That being closer to the I-15 north I'd take to the Mary Kay Training Center, than leaving from my house, I set out, with my Red Jacket, white blouse and black skirt on hangers, in a fairly peaceful frame of mind. Listening to Pastor Chuck Smith on KWave radio speaking about David (whose life I've been  studying the last 3 years) with his love and trust in the Lord, was comforting. then K.P.Yohannon's Gospel for Asia program came on, describing our need as believers to live according to I Corinthians 10:12: 

Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall. 

Following Google map directions, I arrived at the Town Center, but after half an hour of searching, even going into Christian-owned Hobby Lobby to ask for walking directions. How blessed I was to see their sign that they are closed on Sundays in order that their employees might enjoy family and worship together!! After searching every nook and cranny of the center, I finally gave up and drove back home. You know, of course, that since I prepaid, and did drive to the location, I'll make sure to note that on my business expenditure and miles traveled categories for taxes next year!

At home again, Steve went with the caregiver to get a haircut, and I went upstairs to nap while they were gone. Even though the extreme heat had me worn out, that's not what had me in a pensive mood. I think that I am still processing my decision on Steve's care. Even though our quiet evening included total care for him from the dinner table to bed, we did sit and hug on the couch as we like to do.

What will it be like to be alone in the house on evenings when I don't work? How on earth will Jada react to her beloved master's disappearance? Shall I rent out two of the bedrooms, or have UCR  foreign students here again? And since Steve is the only client our caregivers have, that's a lot of people out of work!

I know the Lord will help me every step of the way, and has my wonderful final years laid out for me. We who are born again can all trust this promise from Jesus Himself, John 14:2-3:

In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Friday, August 10, 2012

From the at-risk perspective

6:26 p.m. Today's project was to visit Alzheimer's/dementia-capable assisted living facilities with our son Kriss, in order to select one for Steve. Because of his need for 24-hour care, I've been advised for a number of months by my long-term care insurance company's evaluating nurse that it's no longer safe for me to be home alone with Steve, which I am, of course, at night.  No caregiver, no matter how devoted, can stay up night and day, and expect to function safely in his or her daily life. My kids have mentioned that it's getting to be too much for me to handle, even with caregiving help. They do understand and respect my commitment to their dad, however, which I praise the Lord for!

Recently, with Steve running away--or trying to, anyway, even at his daycare, rampaging through the house for two hours after a daughter's visit, and hitting a couple of caregivers, I've had to prayerfully agree with the Lord that I need to take the step toward releasing him from home care. Talking with the kids has been helpful, but God clearly spoke to me about that two weeks ago, when I was using the need to get opinions an excuse to delay:

Why are you asking others' opinions when I've already told you what to do?

Ouch! When God speaks, we need to obey, the first time! Apparently, He had more to show me to move me across that bright red line. Yesterday afternoon, after Steve got off the bus and took care of his needs, he slumped over and fell about 6 ot 8 inches, to our tile floor. Considering my head  and neck injury from Monday, I stopped myself from foolishly trying to pick him up, and tried to talk him into grabbing a doorknob or even the stair bannister to pull himself up. No dice--his hand kept opening and releasing his grasp! Besides being dead weight to lift, he was utterly unaware of his need to help himself off of the floor. Since he wasn't hurt, I called our care agency to see if a caregiver could come earlier than was already scheduled. About 30 minutes later, with Steve sprawled comfortably on the tile, help arrived, the gentleman got him up, using the bannister, and they went on with their evening, with Steve going to bed at 7:30 p.m. as usual.

I need to remember, in the midst of so much difficulty, Psalm 46:1:

God is our refuge and stength, a very present help in trouble.

I arrived home at 9 p.m. from my Mary Kay meeting, and not long after, I heard Steve rustling around in the bedroom. Going upstairs with the flashlight app from my smartphone, I opened the door, and there he was, wandering. I tried to help him back to bed, but, again, as utter dead weight, he fell on top of me near the side of the bed! So, after wriggling out from under, I got his pillows, covered him with the comforter, and he went to sleep where he was. Nothing more I could do.

This morning, Steve got on the bus quite well. After prayer time with Cara, I went for a chiropractic adjustment and to pick up a few groceries from Vons. Kriss arrived about 10, and we went to our first destination, Raincross. It is centrally located, beautiful, well organized, expanding, very secure, and we were able to have a good, serious discussion with the director (a Christian) about my husband, Kriss' dad. I was very proud of  Kriss' transparency while discussing his assessment of his dad's condition; his perspective as one at-risk for the disease; the natural supplements from our youngest son Steven that we've been using to ameliorate Steve's symptoms; even Kriss' own improvement in brain activity using the spice turmeric! After all, in our family, each generation is at risk for early-onset dementia.  How we pray for a cure, deliverance from this scourge! Yet, I am able to say, with the psalmist, chapter 118:6,

The LORD is on my side;
I will not fear.

I believe we've found the place for Steve; the Lord will work out the insurance details. Let me admit that part of my hesitation was to test my heart--that I'd not move my husband out of  our home for wrong motives, such as for my convenience and/or to alleviate the mounting stress on my mind and body. I want him to be safe, have active, structured days and for me to be able to see him once again as my husband--not my patient.

And for Kriss and the rest of our kids, highly at-risk for early decline and death --barring divine intervention--I pray that Psalm 23:4's assurance may reside deeply in their hearts:

Yea, though I walk through the
  valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paying off

10:15 a.m. Today's project was to teach II Samuel Chapter 9 to my ladies' Bible study. After a week off for my trip to Dallas for the Mary Kay Seminar, it was gratifying to pull up and see the vehicles of our steady, faithful group parked, and to know that these women were taking time out of their week to delve into God's word! They remind me of the Bereans of Acts 17:11:

These were more fair that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily to see if those things were so. They keep me challenged!

In today's chapter, King David keeps his covenant promise to his friend Jonathan, who was killed with his father King Saul in battle many years before. I Samuel 20:14-16 recounts their covenant, in Jonathan's words, with God as witness:

And you shall not only show me the kindness of the LORD while I live, that I may not die;but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the LORD has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth."  So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, "Let the LORD require it at the hand of David's enemies."

We learned last week in Chapter 8, that David had subdued all of the enemies of the nation, and reclaimed territory for God's people.  So it was the time to keep his promise!

In a famous episode of mercy that pictures God's mercy toward us, David invites Mephibosheth, Jonathan's crippled son, to live in Jerusalem and eat at the king's table daily. He grants him all of his grandfather Saul's land, with a large family of servants to tend and harvest it for him. At the time of Saul and Jonathan's deaths (Samuel 31:6), 5-year-old Mephibosheth had been carried away by his nurse, then dropped while they fled, which caused him to be a lifelong cripple, "lame in his feet" (II Samuel 9:4).

The question I posed to my ladies was, "Even though grave sins may have been committed by your family members, even before you were born, you, like Mephibosheth, have suffered the consequences. But more importantly, now that you are in Christ, how has God restored what people, the devil, and this fallen world have ripped off from you through no fault of your own?"

A few courageous gals told their testimonies, but most nodded solemnly, from gratitude to the Lord. In Joel 2:25, God promises His people,

I will restore the years that the locust has eaten...

Steve's dementia has robbed our family of a huge chunk of our financial stability and any truy peaceful, normal family time for the last 4-1/2 years, as my journals describe in the excruciating detail that will form the basis for my next book, A Christian Family Deals with Mental Illness. In a practical sense, we don't enjoy the occasional weekends away with our kids that others do, and barely make it through holiday meals without incident.But God is using our experience for a testimony to His glory!

Most of us are in ministry. We speak the word of God with boldness, assurance, and a heart for the lost and the lame among the flock Jesus has given each of us, whether we teach, mentor, uplift, pray with or encourage others. What is happening to Steve has given us courage, and amazingly, more hope for our futures in Jesus, not less!

This evening, I opened a note from our son Steven that I hadn't had time for earlier, when my husband was on the floor and I was unable to help him up. As always, God's timing was perfect. How I needed what Jesus described in Matthew 10:24 as a "cup of cold water!" It reads,

"Mom: Because of you, I am who I am today in my faith, my boldness, my work ethic, my outspokenness, and my attitude, thank you for all you have done for me in the past. It is paying now and in the future." Steven K.

To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Travels with Daddy

9:23 p.m. Wednesday August 8, 2012. Today's project was to spend the day with my dad, a pretty much weekly outing for him from his assisted living apartment. Two weeks ago we went to his bank, and last Sunday, Steve and I went with him to the Rite-Aid one block down from Villa de Anza.

Today would be a bit more challenging, because it was his first visit back to his home in Redlands. The plan was to pick up his car, get it tuned up and serviced, and then return it to his garage. He's had some confusion, so there was a distinct possibility he'd feel like he was "going home," once he got there. My prayer partner Cara prayed for a "guard upon my heart and mind" today for this outing, and I'm so glad that we did! After an extremely hot, long day that included 80 miles of driving, 4 hours at a Buick dealership getting his car tuned up to give to my sister, and then his sitting with me as I tutored my Advanced Placement student from India in Spanish, we learned a thing or two about each other:

Daddy is a pretty good driver for his age: Proverbs 16:31 says,

The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

He was able to watch me teaching, which he never has before; and he found out that I still speak, read and write fluent Spanish.

Romans 12:6, 7b:

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them...he who teaches, in teaching.

Sitting around in the customer waiting area of the dealership for hours? Irritating. Getting to know my earthly dad better at this stage of his life, and his getting to know me better? Priceless!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Spirit-led, if not pain-free, day

9:31 p.m. Today's project was to recover from my head injury of yesterday by staying at home for the most part. I actually slept in until 7:00, so grateful that Steve's caregiver was already getting him ready for the day. With the soreness in my head, neck and shoulders, I could not have bathed or dressed him myself. Later, as Steve, the caregiver and I sat on the living room couch waiting for the Special Transportation bus, I did manage to use my haircutting shears to trim his sideburns! Thank You, Lord, for small favors!

On Tuesdays, once I finish devotions, pull myself together, then make breakfast, it's time to enter into one of my chief joys: writing the Bible study for Thursday! (The other joy, reserved for Mondays, is studying and noting the supporting scriptures the Lord leads me to share with my women--HIS women)!Does not God assure us that we are His daughters? In Isaiah 43:1b He says to His people,

I have called you by your name; you are mine.

The morning went along at a leisurely pace, with breaks for laundry, proofing the written lesson on   II Samuel 9 that will be sent out online, with a few copies printed for gals whose home printers are down; and communicating with the kids with their concerns for me. I also left a message for my dad that we can go out on errands tomorrow; and picked a couple of huge ripe tomatoes from the garden. Jada even got to come in and enjoy the coolness of the house, lying under the long dining room table while God preserved my train of thought and the words flowed on the river of Living Water.

May the Lord always give me an outlet for studying, teaching and writing His word, so women might learn to know Him better--or come to Christ for salvation! After all, even though my calling is to edify believers with correct doctrine, every servant in any ministry has a first responsibility to make sure that all involved know who Jesus Christ is, what He did for us on the cross, and that they can choose whether to spend eternity in heaven. I want any new lady who comes to a study to know that she will always have someone to talk to about becoming saved, born again! Each of us is called to be an evangelist. Romans 10:13-14:

For whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?And how shall they hear without  preacher?

And that's where believers,whether new, experienced, young or old, come in. We must be ready at any time to lead another person to Christ. And this is the gospel we preach, I Timothy 3:16:

God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.

At lunch time I took a break, cooking a frozen meal for me, and preparing Steve's dinner. (He gets his lunch on weekdays from Care Connexxus).  At the same time, I prepared a snack and organized the medicine for his arrival later in the afternoon. Why mess up the kitchen twice?

I noticed that my head had been hurting, so I took 600 mg of Advil the doctor prescribed. Yet, I was not content to remain in a hurting mode when a chiropractic adjustment would do the job. The doctors I usually call all take Tuesday afternoons off, but found Dr. Miranda, who in a few short cracks had me snapped back into place.  

The knot on my head hasn't disappeared, and I still wonder my my hose feels tweaked. But I am so grateful for the life You have given me, the family, career, and ministries, pain and all!

Believers are wonderfully blessed by blessing others. Even so, we say,


Is it or isn't it?

12:00 a.m. Today's project was to add fluids to my Jeep's radiator. I've been doing this for over a year, after being instructed by our mechanic. As I've shared before, with Steve in late stage dementia, there are a number of new tasks I've learned. And formerly shared tasks are solos now..

I set out at about 8:45 this morning to check the radiator's fluids. so I propped up the Jeep's hood with a sturdy pole made of PVC pipe as I always do, and, as I bent to look at the level of fluid, the heavy steel hood came crashing down on my head! If I'd leaned further into the car's inside, the hood would have landed on my neck, and I might not be writing this now. The Apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5:8,

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and present with the Lord.

But God spared me for the time being. My head hurt like crazy and the shock of what happened had tears starting, but I steadied myself mentally, prayerfully and physically, reminding myself that our plumber friend was coming over to fix our water meter, so I could get help. I promised my son k
Kriss that I'd press my alert button if I felt nauseous or dizzy.

So far, I completed my daily tasks, met Steve at Parkview hospital for a bump suffered at daycare; took him out for a small meal at Taco Bell, and when we arrived at home, he had the caregiver waiting. It wasn't until evening that I decided to go to Urgent Care, which sent me on to the Emergency Room at Riverside Community Hospital. The doctors stated that I had no concussion symptoms, and sent me home.

My daughter and her husband sat with me a while, and now I am diligently looking for these symptoms, with the question, "Is it a concussion?" here is the extensive list:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness, unsteadiness
  • Convulsions
  • Unconsciousness
  • Clear or bloody discharge from nose or ears
  • Severe, persistent headaches that cannot be relieved by Tylenol
I suppose I can look out for all of the symptoms except unconsciousness. Maybe I'll set my alarm to wake me up every two hours, since there's no one else here to do the check ups. But the key thing for me to do is simply TRUST GOD. Psalm 2:12b says of Jesus,

Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Speak to injustice

8:47 p.m. Today's project is to ask myself, and you, about our reaction to injustice. Do we speak up, or keep awkwardly silent, burning with shame on the inside, hoping "someone else" will speak up?

Before I became a born-again believer, my conscience would alternate between being tender and callous, because my heart was not right with God. Prayerfully, there's been significant growth over the last 32 years that I've walked closely with Jesus. Not one of us will reach perfection on this or any other topic in this life, but we can decide to be a person who represents Christ and shows His loving heart toward all people. We can go forward and determine to grow in grace. The Apostle Paul reminds us that we are left to struggle in this endeavor, because it says in Philippians 2:13, NLT:

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and power to do what pleases Him.

Now that we've established that any positive or loving characteristics of a believer are the work of God the indwelling Holy Spirit, here is the verse that characterizes the following narrative, I Corinthians 12:13:

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free...

At 2:30 p.m. yesterday, my team member Cynthia and I went out to the front of the Hyatt Regency Hotel Dallas with our luggage, because I had prepaid and scheduled a pickup with Super Shuttle to Love Field airport for 3 p.m. Since we'd seen several of their vans, Cynthia was just going to pay cash. A driver came up to us calling for me, we got my luggage placed in the van, took Cynthia's cash, and we got in while he stored her suitcase. Three other ladies got in, cash customers as well. As the driver, an African, took more directions from his dispatcher, we waited, feeling the heat from 102 damp degrees and an air conditioner that was cranked up but not very effective in the mugginess. One lady began complaining loudly about the delay, saying, "I don't want to be rushed! My plane doesn't leave for 3 hours, but I want to get to the airport, have dinner and relax! I should have taken a cab!" Cynthia and I just talked quietly. Then the van took off, but stopped at another hotel. You would have thought that the sky had fallen down, so outraged was Ms. Complainer that he driver would stop! Obviously, his dispatcher was giving the driver more fares to pick up to fill the van. The complainer yelled, "Now I have to go to the bathroom!" So after many gyrations to get out of the heavy van doors, she just went into the hotel, assigning us loudly to hold her place.

The driver came back with the new passenger, but now it was the complainer herself who was not to be found. She then turned up, saying that the bathroom was on the second floor, so on and so on. Not seeming to notice that she had held us up, more groans came from her as we picked up a couple of very pleasant ladies, prepaid, unlike the complainer, mind you. I started a conversation with the harried driver, who said that he was getting more customers from his dispatcher. The van now full, we headed to the airport, to the Southwest terminal. Luggage was unloaded, cash passengers paid and tipped, and we got in line to check in our luggage. The shuttle remained parked at the curb as the driver closed up the back.

One lady from our shuttle's group complained about the driver's circuitous route, and then said, "You see all the cash he's taking? He won't report that to the company!" It had to be the Lord's righteous anger, not my own, because I was able to confront her in a direct but calm voice: "You don't know that."

Silence from the whole group.

I was proud of  Cynthia, who then said, "Well, he's printing off and giving us all receipts." And indeed he was, from the small computer/printer on his dashboard.

What would you have done? Share your thoughts!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fresh gratefulness for fresh graces

2:35 p.m. Today's project was to hop out of bed at 5 a.m. after sleeping about 4 hours. With the many conventions and conferences the Lord has allowed me to attend,with California and National School Boards Associations, Association of Christian Schools International, Connecticut General Life Insurance, Shaklee Corporation, and now Mary Kay, I'm a veteran of sparse sleep! I just have to claim Psalm 127:2, not to worry, but rely  upon Him for deep, if short, hours of rest:

For so He gives His beloved sleep.

We had a beautiful, extensive banquet last night hosted by Daniel and Kathy Helou, our national director and her husband. There were so many recognitions and record breaking achievements that it was almost midnight when we wrapped up. When you factor in bedtime preparation, such as shower and skincare routines; and my evening portion of C. H. Spurgeon's devotional Morning and Evening, it was at least 1 a.m. when I finally went to bed. 5:30  a.m. came early, but we all made it to the shuttle buses by 7 :00 for our 7:30 breakfast.Our general session started at 8:30, and though I was dozy off and on, our session was exciting, inspiring, and glorifying to the Lord in thanksgiving and remembrance of all He has done for believing consultants and directors this last year! Spurgeon writes on the topic of gratefulness in the evening devotional I read last night, headed with Psalm 65:11, You crown the year with goodness.

All the year round, every hour of every day, God is richly blessing us; both when we sleep and when we wake, His mercy waits upon us.The sun may leave us a legacy of darkness, but our God never ceases to shine upon His children His beams of love. Like a river, His loving kindness is always flowing, with a fullness inexhaustible as His own nature.

This evening, our unit had an awards dinner where our leader Laurie expressed appreciation for each of us, and praised our efforts and achievements whether great or modest. In turn, we praised the Lord for giving us a Christian leader, a true woman of God and role model.

We must build one another up, showing recognition of what God has done through His instruments, people! The Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman church, Romans 1:8-9,

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing, I make mention of you always in my prayers...

Let Paul be our example!