Have you ever noticed how working on something can get you to thinking about other things. It happens a LOT when I am quilting -- usually prayers and listening for what God is saying to me. Sometimes, however, I get to thinking about where the fabric came from, what store (or adventure) I was at. Who was with me or what was happening..... This is easy to do when your hands can complete what you are working on without having to concentrate on what said hands are doing.
Quilting is my way of being with God, listening for what God is saying to me and praying for others. I will admit others are beginning to understand this. Dad did understand. He would try not to interrupt, unless he was giving me a "hard time" about something, so I could concentrate on what God was saying to me. He would also go to quilt stores with me. He would either sit in the car (depending on outside weather) or come into the store with me. In the store he would either sit and read or sit and "hold court." (Dad never met a stranger!) Either way Dad was always willing to stop at, or make a specific trip to, the quilt store. Other family members tend to (still!) tell me the store is closed for inventory.
Yes, Dad loved to "help" me by adding in numbers, changing numbers or in any other way "bug" me - especially when I was knitting. I am, however, very thankful for his understanding of the need to s-t-o-p and listen for what God is saying to me. How are you doing with some way to listen for and feel God's presence? How are you at letting your person do the same? Something to think about.........
Sometimes the being able to actually have a day OFF requires being AWAY from your desk, the schedule, and (maybe?) even the phone. I admit it is harder to be away from the phone these days! Except when technology doesn't seem to be working very well.......
There were several times Dad and I would take "off" on my day off. When the weather was co-operating we could go for short "day trips." We went to quite a few places. The furthest away was Lake Itasca - it is several hours away from where we were living at the time. Other trips were "only" a couple of hours away. We went to Pipestone and were at the museum in Pipestone and at the National Monument. Dad wasn't able to walk very far so he stayed in the building, probably talking to anyone who would answer him, (Dad never met a stranger.) while I walked the very well marked trail. It was fascinating to see, and learn, the history and realize this is available just a few miles from "modern" life. You couldn't see, or hear, any traffic. I only heard a few other people even!
Thankfully I did have my phone with me so I could show Dad pictures of some of what I saw. We had lunch between the museum and the National Monument. We were back home by supper. It is one of the special memories I have of traveling with Dad. Caregivers, do you have a special memory of travel? Can you take a day trip? Where, near you, can you go?
And we all think of Bob Hope swinging a golf club....... Or...we start thinking about our own special memories. Sometimes the memories are of special times with family. Sometimes they are of special time with our "person" we are now the Caregiver for. Sometimes we can share them with the people around us. Sometimes people just wonder what the "funny look," or the smile, is about.
Recently I have been sharing some of the memories of either trips with Dad or how I watched as Dad did "his" ministry. One special memory was of a toddler getting away from parents, crawling up the aisle at church and pulling on Dad's vestments. Dad didn't miss a beat. He kept right on with his sermon as he reached down and picked up the toddler. My thought, then and now, is how wonderful for kids to know they are loved and wanted.
Of course there are also the other memories. Like of all the times I was ready to give Dad away. On several occasions I was ready to do "The Ransom of Red Chief" so someone else would take him! Like when he would start counting with "crazy" numbers while I was working on a knitting pattern and counting. Or when he would make some comment right in the middle of my sermon. He loved to try to "get me" in the middle of the sermon! The fun part is I could get him back!!
I was blessed to be Dad's primary care giver for 12 years. We did ministry together for the 12 years. There were trips - by car, plane and cruise ship. There were Emmaus Walks to serve on Team together. There was a LOT of teasing - and getting to each other. Like I say.... Sometimes you have to laugh or you will start screaming!
I have been talking, this week, with several people about our "reaction" when we get asked to do something, told to do something or we get the phone call we are NOT looking forward to. I was at a meeting, with my District Superintendent, about a possible student appointment in the Rio Grande River Valley. I was a student, in seminary, in Texas and I even promised to "work" on my Spanish. I got home from said meeting to see a light blinking on my answering machine (remember those?). I took my dog for a l-o-n-g walk.
Yup, it was my family calling to tell me Dad could no longer live by himself. I needed to move but NOT to the Rio Grande River Valley. (Every time I have to shovel snow I remind God I was asking for the Rio Grande River Valley NOT the Minnesota River Valley!!) So...... packing the boxes is the same, loading the truck is the same, location is NOT the same and the role of primary caregiver was a new one. Thankfully Dad slowly regained some of his strength and we were blessed with 12 years together.
I can tell you, though, that like taking the dog for a walk we did NOT always work well together. He, frequently, came into my office stomping his cane and saying, in a loud clear voice, "I am the father you are the daughter!" We often went toe to toe - literally. But we also had great trips, wonderful discussions and were able to be in ministry together. So.... yes......have the reaction. Then LAUGH because it is a LOT easier (and better) than screaming!!
What memories come to your mind when you think of Flag day? All the flags we can see lining the streets? The memorial flags we see at various places - gardens, the cemetary, memorial gardens?
I must confess one of the things it reminds me of is tomorrow, the 15th, was our parents'wedding anniversary. I also loved the story they would tell about the wedding itself. They were married during WW II. Dad was stationed near Sioux Falls, SD and had gotten a three day pass. As he left the base, Thursday after work, he called and told Mom he was coming. Everyone in the Cities went to work contacting people - baker, florist, minister, church, friends, family. By the time Dad got "home" (in the wee hours of the morning) everything was in place and ready.
They were married Friday night in the "family" church. Mom graduated from High School Sat. night. (I asked once - she graduated with her maiden name.) And they were back on the base Sunday night for Dad to be at work on Monday morning. A good memory I am glad they shared!!
Memorial Day, this week, reminded me of the special services we either watched on TV or went to and the "armed service medley." Dad was in the Army Air Corp, and so was his brother, which became the Air Force. He would always stand when the Air Force music was played - even when he had to hold onto his walker to be able to stand and stay standing. He usually only sang the first part of the first verse..."off we go...."
At one point he had to have surgery for blocked vessels (artery?) in his neck. We had to be at the hospital EARLY to get him registered. As usual he gave everyone a hard time but that is a story for another day. What I was reminded of this week, with the music, is how he was singing the Air Force hymn that day. The nurses had everything ready, the doctor had been in and talked to us, so they were wheeling Dad out to the surgery. As they were wheeling him out of the room and down the hall he started singing. Yup, you could hear him. "Here we go into the wild blue yonder...."
Thankfully the nurses thought it was funny. Like I say... Sometimes you have to laugh or you will start screaming!
I have told you how Dad shared stories, from the depression and WW II, with just about anyone who asked. He wrote many of them down - some of which I will try to share in the time ahead of us. Meanwhile one of the stories, in connection with Memorial Day, is about his brother George.
Uncle George was shot down, over France before D-Day, and reported as "missing in action." From the first part of June until the end of August, when Paris was liberated, the family did not know what had happened. The French Resistance found my uncle, a radio/navigator, and the pilot before the Germans did. How they kept the two men safe is a story for another day.
The story for today is this story is one our family knows. AND my aunt, the younger sister, heard from the family - in France - who had helped our Uncle (her oldest brother). Our aunt stayed in touch with the family for many years.
What stories can you share? What stories at least make you smile - if not laugh?
It is hard to believe but we are "officially" starting into summer this weekend. Memorial Day weekend means a number of things to just about all of us but one thing is that "summer" schedule seems to start. A lot of us are also able to enjoy the three day weekend BEFORE the summer schedule starts.
Meanwhile it is good to remember WHY we have the holiday. Dad used to share some wonderful stories - especially how he and mother were married on a three day pass. We learned our uncle, his older brother, had been shot down over France (before D day) and rescued by the Resistance. There were a lot of stories they DID NOT share but there were quite a few they did. Are we asking about the stories? Are we asking for them to share what they can? Are we showing the love and support they need TO share the stories?
This weekend is a time to remember that while "all gave some".... "Some Gave ALL." It is a time to remember, to share, maybe even cry but also to laugh.
Sometimes, when we are traveling, there are a lot of memories to go with the traveling - a specially if there is a special celebration involved. Sometimes the memories are sad - either because of the reason for the travel OR because someone is no longer a part of the traveling. Sometimes the traveling is for a celebration which brings back good memories and laughter.
This weekend I have been traveling to celebrate a grandchild’s graduation from high school and the next’s child’s finishing his associates degree preparing to start into the last two years of college. (NEXT year the second grandchild will graduate from high school.) Celebrating these “ending” events, while encouraging the future events, brought back a lot of memories.
The biggest memory was of traveling with Dad and the time we came to celebrate my then oldest (first) grandchild’s first birthday. It was pretty exciting. I had even finishded a “family tradition” quilt by said birthday - pretty special for me! The laughter came as my son asked my Dad to play ping pong. He thought 30 something would be able “beat” 80 something. Dad ran him all around the ping pong table! Dad creamed grandson! Then Dad explained he had been the 2nd in ping pong in his high school - second to Dad’s big brother.
Yes, some memories are sad - but we celebrate the love they had for us and the Communion of the Saints. But there are also the memories of the laughter shared!
"Thou shalt NOT fall" was one of Dad's favorite sayings. He used to tell people he thought it was the 11th Commandment. The interesting thing is he didn't start saying this until after I fell cracking my ankle - it wasn't "quite" broken but close enough to require a brace and using a walker. Dad and I would take turns with the walkers. The one going to the kitchen, able to bring things back, got the walker with the "seat" on it.
What got me thinking about this is how often in the last couple of weeks I've told people about "not falling!" It happens pretty regularly depending on where we are. Where there are uneven sidewalks, unexpected steps or trying to cross uneven ground. In each case people will ask me "what did you see?" To which I reply "where I was putting my feet." I also will share about NOT falling and how Dad started saying it.
And....in case you are wondering..... Yes, I fell while on my recent vacation. I glanced up at the wrong time and caught my food on the uneven sidewalk. The bad news is I fell (with several interesting bruises to show for it). The good news is I was able to get back up BY MYSELF. You have to laugh or you will start screaming!
So.... from personal experience, and following Dad's advice.... "Do NOT fall!!"