Monday, January 15, 2018

WHY WAIT FOR HOSPICE!

"We're all just walking each other home." ~Anon
I have currently been digesting my recent experiences with hospice. Marking each moment in  memory.  I reach the room and look around and think what an amazing provision from the Lord and to think I may have missed the blessings had I not been open to the suggestions offered me at the time.  What was I waiting for?  We are often characterized by waiting to long and availing ourselves of hospice for too short of time.
 The depth of this experience has left a mark upon my heart along with the valuable lessons left behind. 
Each person, each hospice team member represents a tangible expression of a Divine appointment.
Could it be  
that God sends them to us unexpectedly, as ‘Divine Appointments’, as opportunities to share the Gospel?  Although I must admit that at times I've been so exhausted by the cares that the last thing I wanted to do is engage in some long theological chat. ("Be ready in season and out of season." 2 Timothy 4:2)

However, walking the talk may be more beneficial as our actions are on display as how we play out the care giving drama.
Spend time just being there.

Looking back at past experiences in care giving, I am drawn to the fact that there is a hesitancy or tendency to ignore the fact that our loved one could benefit from the services of hospice. 
Perhaps this judgment stems from the misperception that the services are only appropriate in the last hours to days of life.
Spiritual Welfare Check

For others it could be acknowledging that their loved one is in their last days? 
Could it be that so many are lacking in awareness of its benefits?  
Could it be a reluctance to accept the terminal phase of illness?
 Could it be the belief  that all the loved one’s needs are being met, and don't think that hospice care could add anything to the existing care.
Could it be not wanting strangers into the home?
Could it be lack of knowledge of hospice benefits and surmising that they will end life?
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  2 Cor.4:16


"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16

Could it be that we are so busy ignoring the fact that the doctors have done all they can and we blindly pursue options that cause more pain and suffering to our loved ones in hopes of extending their lives in continuing misery?
  I am guilty of taking measures to "prolong" life for selfish, earthly desires.  We shadow, we go from one doctor to another in hopes of prolonging that life which only God can do.
Could it be a proud full admission that we are going to do it our way.
Could you have been told through palliative care that they do not qualify yet for transition into hospice?

 Could it be that God is preparing you for an unexpected change you are not willing to take?  God just may be preparing you for future divine appointments with a hospice team. 
Having recently availed myself of  ROZE ROOM 
I have just this past year had a very positive experience with the nine and a half months of palliative care and 45 days on hospice with my father in our home.

My personal advice would be to swallow pride and avail yourself of the services offered and spend more time just being with your loved one. 
“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.” —1 Chronicles 28:20

Last Father/Daughter date at Steeples

Saturday, January 13, 2018

HOW TO APPROACH CARE GIVING

I view extemporaneous writing as a challenging exercise.  So here goes:
"The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."  Isa.58:11


 The passing of time is a journey.  The passing of time is transforming and life is never the same after recalling memories from the past.  Random thoughts, stray thoughts simply remind me what it has been like to be a care giver.
As time carries on, we celebrate today. Gone are the days when most days are abundantly stressful.
 Gone are the days of juggling.  Gone are the days of hanging on.  Gone are the days when you feel like you are falling apart, however, what is not gone are the days when anything can be taken at any moment.

"Your strength will equal your days." Deut.33:25

Gone are the days that were fast, yet long, a reminder of the rewards that eventually outweighed challenges.
Gone are the days I feel beat up, tired, and wore out.
There was no way of going back.  We carry on.
To all the new care givers out there, Care giving is not easy.  It was never meant to be.  It is physically exhausting.  It is emotionally draining.  It is spiritually challenging.  It is very daily.
Even though you feel all alone, you are not.  If you have been unbelievably tired and frazzled, God will give you the strength to carry on.
Even though we don't have it all together, God will provide wisdom, he will provide help.
Don't make the mistake of not accepting that what is, is what it will be, with continual change. 
Don't make the mistake of letting many things go. (e.g arguing)  ("Letting go isn't about giving up but about trusting.")
It is so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day life, that we forget we live in a fallen world.  God is the only reason we have made it this far.  Perception of life changes after care giving.
"But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed..."  II Tim.4:17

Seasons have marked me, shaped me, challenged me to deeper dependence on Jesus and His Word.  I find great comfort in knowing that God has been with me and watching over me during my care giving experiences.
Has care giving been worth it all?  Sure care giving can get to you but you just do it.

Amidst care givings trials and hard work, it's best to take on the perspective by author Shelly Beach "..Approach care giving as a means to draw us into God's Word and view it as a 'divine appointment'.


Monday, January 8, 2018

BLUE MONDAY

Blue Monday Jasper ware - "Wedgwood Tea for One"
How much do we value heritage?
I feel connected to Mexico, perhaps because I lived there for my first thirteen years of informative years.
 I am familiar with Mexico's  culture, and I feel connected to the people who live in and who live near now where I live.
Although I live in California, I like to eat non spicy Mexican food and speak Spanish with a perfect accent, however, lacking in vocabulary. Ultimately, my adopted Mexican heritage is part of my identity.
  My heritage is always with me no matter where I go even though my country of origin may not be my ancestors origin.  I grew up painfully aware that I just did not look like those around me.  As a tow head,  blue eyed toddler I was not one of them.
I am often drawn towards my roots, an indescribable force that has influenced my identity and influenced my spiritual heritage.
Josiah W. cemetery marker

Indelible markings, my connection, to the past becomes more meaningful as my existence marches along at a fast pace and disappears in a blink of an eye.  I pass along my genetics, my values and then am gone.
My heritage cannot be taken from me although it can be forgotten by not passing it on.
My many blogs encapsulate the knowledge of my heritage and hopefully passing it on.
In blogging about the past, I have become more aware of the richness of what has been passed down to me from my descendants as well as living it through my parents.
Grandparents Wedgwood enjoying Becky, May 16, 1950, Corpus Christi, Tx.(Padre Island)

What is so fascinating about genealogy is what is buried under the present.
Take for instance, the five notorious women in Biblical history who entered the bloodline of Jesus: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, Mary.  They all shared something in common,  disgrace and tainted reputations.  Even in genealogies, God weaves his grace and loves to redeem foreigners and sinners. 
What I find so captivating about my genealogy is its colorfulness, source of inspiration,validation of family stories, and  glimpses of experiences, and feelings.  Out of my past, I have also seen how God's grace has been woven in some disgraceful and tainted reputations.
Grandparents, Ethel & Edwin Wedgwood with my mother, Betty (L) and sister Doris

It is a journey of many life past times woven into the present time to gain an understanding of how I got to be in our now time.A LINK TO THE PAST click here
Finding out you are related to someone famous can add to spell binding stories.
My mother whose surname was Wedgwood claimed to be in direct line to Josiah Wedgwood, the renowned English pottery-maker of his day (1762).  In completing my research, I found it to be true.  (Josiah Wedgwood click here.)
Great Grandma, Emily Elizabeth Chick Wedgwood

 Charles Darwin, the naturalist who formulated the theory of evolution married a Wedgwood of this family.
 It was 1800 when Thomas Wedgwood was the first to capture an image with a light sensitive camera."
YES, HE IS A DISTANT RELATIVE.
My mother, Betty(L) with her sister Doris

(My Mother's Story click here.)
My mother was not raised in a Christian home.  Her parents were alcoholics until God miraculous saved them.  My great grandmother was a saloon keeper in Oso,Washington with a tainted past,who had three daughters, each by a different man, yet God in his mercy saved my grandmother later in life.(TRIBUTE TO THE
Emily Elizabeth Wedgwood & Edwin Chatfield Wedgwood
Edwin Francis Wedgwood Jr., my grandpa (left) Charles George Wedgwood (right) and Bertha May Wedgwood(back middle) The boys were twins.
Photo taken in East Chicago, Indiana 1907
WEDGWOODS,click here
for video)

On the other side of the spectrum:
Sometimes God uses an individuals heritage in the unfolding of His plans.  His Word says that He knew us before the foundation of the world.

Cemetery marker for Rev. Solomon S. Ediger

Grandparents Ediger, Warkentin, and Dick-Fehr were all staunch Mennonites who migrated from south Russia as children with their parents.
THE S.S. TEUTONIA
In 1874, Heinrich and Sara Ediger joined the Mennonite immigration to the USA, and with their children sailed on the S.S.Teutonia, arriving in Castle Garden New York on Sept. 2, 1874.
This is the ship that our ancestors came on.

  The church among the Mennonite communities was a closely knit family of believers ruled by elders who were the spiritual leaders.
My grandfather Solomon S. Ediger was an elder as well as a farmer and founder of the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren church of Dallas, Oregon.
Solomon Sr. worked very hard farming his homestead.
Solomon owned a threshing machine outfit on the side which earned them a little extra money. As soon as the harvest was finished and the machinery properly stowed away for the winter, he and the boys begun working on the railroad. This was hard work but the younger Solomon didn't realize he was building up his muscles for future situations.
  My grand uncle on my mother’s side, Isaac Dyck was the founder of the Polk Station General Conference Mennonite church.


Grandfather Solomon Ediger was a man of excellence in all he undertook.  In the early 1920’s he felt led to leave the Mennonite church, which at that time had some problems with its leadership.  Grandpa then helped found the Dallas,Oregon C & M A church.(MY CHAT about SIN & Great Grandpa Solomon click here)


  Dad remembered one of his sermons on Noah and the flood.  This was the first impression he received that the world was lost and without Christ and was the springboard to his missionary career.
Dad out on the farm

So in God's providence, the unlikely union of two, a farmer family, of devoted Mennonite heritage and a more refined British lady, non religious family, began a life together to establish a rich heritage to bring me to the present.  It has been a long rich journey, a harvest, clay pots (china) woven threads of my family past, clay pots molded in the potter's hand.
“Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand..." (Jeremiah 18:1–6, KJV).God Is our potter click here to watch video











 

Friday, January 5, 2018

TOOLS OF LIFE

Grandpa smiled and related this story:

"Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have how they have served you well throughout your years.

These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor.
They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back.
As a child my Mother taught me to fold them in prayer.
They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots.
They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent.
They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son.
Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special.
They wrote the letters home and trembled and shook when I buried my Parents and Spouse and walked my Daughter down the aisle.


Yet, they were strong and sure when I dug my buddy out of a foxhole and lifted a plow off of my best friend's foot.
They have held children, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.

They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body.


They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw.
And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well, these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.
These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of my life.
But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home.
And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ."



I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my Grandpa's hands and led him home.


When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and wife, I think of Grandpa. I know he has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.
~Melinda Clements

Monday, January 1, 2018

"LET TIME HAVE TIME"

Seasonal Changes
I have been attempting to corral my thoughts and emotions and then back in the saddle til new opportunities emerge, a time to re-orient my life.
The last nine months have been insane with November moving like a train wreck.
I just gave a portion of time to this journey in my life, taking care of Dad who was put in my path.  I did not expect it or expected the "time" I would invest.
Corralling Thoughts
Now that Dad has moved on from my care, I find myself waiting for my present life to stabilize so I can concentrate on doing the next thing.  I feel a little adrift having to figure out what I want to do in life next.
Where time was more structured, now I wonder what to do each day although I always manage to find something to do.  I find myself so relieved to not have the constant stress yet am a little lost in what I should be doing.
  Those daily routines were a reason to get out of bed.  There was a sense of self-gratification and accomplishment and Dad was so appreciative for all I did for him.
Perhaps my experiences in care giving will be put to good use or trying some new things I have never thought of doing.
After spending three weeks sleeping, and sleeping, and sleeping,
It has been a time of refocusing, rediscovering the joys of self and investing in my physical well-being. I have found joy in doing nothing.  Quite honestly hitting 68 and care giving has a way of traumatizing the body.
A Little Adrift

I have the joy again of making my respite/guest room, my own again.
Last Hours~11-25-17

It was an adjustment to have Dad as part of our lives and then abruptly end with adjustments large and small.






Saturday, December 30, 2017

END OF YEAR ROUND UP

Thanking God for the year that was and looking forward to the new year that will be.  God has brought me safely through another year.  I now know more the one who knows me more intimately.
2017

I find myself, at a time of very difficult passage brought about by circumstances beyond my control, loss of loved ones and disappointments in family relationships, however, with this comes the anticipation of new beginnings.
How does one manage those feelings and disappointments?
I have found that one of the most rewarding life moments is to let go of those moments I have felt most battered and betrayed by life's unfortunate events.
Life's challenges get harder the longer they last and the longer one lives.
You Can't take my JOY away from me.
 

I can see God's finger print on my life.
  The threads that have held it all together is having a lively faith in Christ.
In my care giving, I have experienced many minor life crises, it toughens one up, it makes one more supple and better adapted to spiritual growth.
  It has opened my life to many hidden benefits like being more open about my faith and sensitive to the needs of others.
  It has also been the spring board to new friendships.
New & Older Friends

Care giving has always been a passion of mine, yet sometimes care giving can create its own form of PTSD.
Returning back to "civilian life" so to speak, is currently creating a difficult time switching from being on high alert, always anticipating, always psyched up to respond.
My body is going through a "system reboot"  but I am left with new eyes and aspirations toward the future.

.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

THE GIFT OF LOVE

"How Deep The Father's Love For Us."


To LOVE the Lord our God was at the heart of Dad's mission and ministry, his purpose in life to the end.
It was his desire and passion to see this love flowing in those he loved.
"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Seeing hardened hearts that had grown cold gave him profound sadness and drove him to his knees in fervent prayer.  Softened hearts gave him great joy and encouraged his heart.



There were days filled with anguish and tears and his greatest hearts wish was that God's love and forgiveness would be manifest through his family in obedience with Scripture because it would bear witness to the very mission and heart of Jesus. 
Love & Unconditional Forgiveness
He would often come into my bedroom in tears over something that had transpired and then pour out his heart passionately to God in prayer.




Frequent bedroom visits
Dad made conscious effort to demonstrate his love for God and others with no strings attached, non conditional love.
He knew that if God IS LOVE, then so it automatically follows that if one does not love his brethren, he does not know God, or get better acquainted with God.

When Dad was treated in a not so honorable way, he did not respond with hatred of non beneficial words.  He responded with a forgiving attitude and poured out his heart to God in prayer.
A Love For God's Word
  He knew how to sacrifice his feelings in exchange for love and forgiveness.
Dad exemplified a man whose treasures revealed what he truly valued...revealing the true state of his heart of love and forgiveness.
Love exemplified by visits and common ground

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

THE STABLE & THE WAREHOUSE

Zapotitlan: My first encounters with church, Mother holding me and Ed held by one of our nannies:  The Stable turned church

The nature of such nondescript places totally captures the essence of today meeting yesterday, the ambiance of something straightforward and simple, a less traditional, stable turned church of 1950 to a warehouse turned into one of God's storehouses of 2017.

The unique features of the stable church turned into an awe inspired simple place to worship without all the distractions of those of the modern.
  It's simple wooden benches afforded no comfort yet the services were long.  The only other furniture afforded was a table up front with an embroidered table cloth with a Bible verse stitched on it, lovingly made by one of the women or girls.
These early Christians were eager and participated in any way they could to make this their church.

In contrast it seemed very appropriate to celebrate Dad's service of memories at an unpretentious building tucked into an industrial center in Santa Clarita, a building, a warehouse, a creative, reworked space, an inspiring space to worship.
Finding myself in that converted facility with entirely different, original purposes reminded me of my makeover when God began working in my heart as His plan unrolls.

The gallery of rustic wood, plank art with meaningful Scripture verses caught my eye, prompting me to think on Scriptures wherever I go, making them dominate in my mind and heart.
 They should precede, follow, and walk with us as we walk the hallways of life and I would like to think that Dad would have been pleased
Even in the Ladies Room
with this simplicity.

The coziness, warmth, and comfort of the warehouse church in contrast with the cold, earthen floor of the stable church, yet God inhabits everywhere.



 

Memorial Service at Valencia Hills Community Church, 12-16-17