Monday, April 29, 2013

What Are You Thinking About Today?

I am writing this just for me today. It's a reminder I need.  If it's a reminder you need too, that's great.  Then it will help us both.  So...take and moment and...consciously, on purpose,

"Focus on what you want, not on what you don't want."
Everything just goes better that way.  Although this has been expounded upon and sermonized in many different ways, it still comes down to the same bottom line. 
"Focus on what you want, not on what you don't want." 

Some say it this way.  "Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think on these things."  Yep.

Wherever you are, notice what you are thinking about as the day goes by; what thoughts are going through your mind.  Just watch your thoughts a bit.  I will too.

"Focus on what you want, not on what you don't want."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

You Will Always Find People Who Are Helping

He must have had a great mom.
Mom:  "Always look for the helpers."  Comforting. 


President Obama:  "We will find out who did this."  Comforting.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Taxes and The Post Office

Everyone is at the post office today.  It is the place to be.  I know because I was just there.  After all it IS April 15. 

Our taxes were actually submitted on line this morning.  That's the best way.  But Mom's needed a "check in the mail" so that was my task.

"Being Grateful In All Things" was the lesson in my Women's Group last night.  I knew it already.  And still, even knowing it, it isn't always easy to do.  When something we call 'bad' comes our way, it isn't natural to be glad, to be grateful.  But it is possible to think it through and look deeply until you can find a positive aspect.  Then we can begin to feel gratitude. 

I stood in a long line thinking about this and and decided it was a test.  Could I possibly feel gratitude about paying my taxes?  Can you?  Here's what I came up with.

1.  I'm grateful I have the money to pay them.
2.  I'm grateful I am getting a refund from the state even though the Feds never give me one.
3.  I'm grateful for all the services I receive that I surely take for granted every day.
4.  I'm grateful I can do my part.
5.  I'm grateful for all the jobs generated by the IRS.
6.  I'm grateful for the really nice/helpful lady at the counter.  Postal workers get a bad rap.
7.  I'm grateful for the two people who helped me get my car out of the jam in the parking lot.

I'm not going to pay taxes early, or voluntarily, but I did find it possible to move into gratitude during this experience.  Even with all this gratitude oozing from my pores, I know there's just got to be a better way when it comes to paying our fair share.  And I wonder in 5 years if we will even have a post office at all.  If we don't, I will miss it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stepping Into Eldercare

There are many of us out there.  We are beyond the sandwich generation that balances raising a family and caring for older parents.  Way beyond.  There is another level, a time when our very elderly parents are almost totally dependent.  If your parents live long enough there is a good chance they will need you.  They will become needy, not necessarily financially, but in the "activities of daily living".

It's just the way it is.  Some might say if dad, at 95, wants an entire lemon meringue pie for dinner, let him have it.  I'd probably say that.  Once.  Maybe on his birthday.  But when it becomes a daily meal, or there is an almost-fire in the kitchen, or like my aunt, a semi swipes the side mirror off their car, or dad starts using one set of clothing for an entire week, you will step in.  How you step in is an art in itself.

My sister and I edged into mother's life more and more in countless ways.  Over a five year period we progressed from the alert bracelet, to a driver, to a companion, to a cook, and on and on.  We lost our sense of balance in our marriages and homes while we tried to be there in every way for mom...and meet her every need.  We even moved in for six months, alternating every two weeks.  "You mean you left your husbands, your life, your home to take care of your mother?"  Yes, we did.

Looking back I am not sorry.  It sounds noble to say it was a privilege, but it really was.  It also led to resentment, some anger, loss of interests, and sometimes not even brushing my own teeth every day.  I'm just being honest.

In November we made the decision, along with mother, for her to move to an assisted living community in her town.  It was hard...but not as hard as I thought it would be.

Fast forward five months.  My mother is as happy as she can be.  That's not a Pollyanna statement.  She really is "as happy as SHE can be right now".  She has three healthy meals a day with her peers.  They talk.  They laugh.  They watch after each other.  She gets dressed every day and still has her hair done every week.  One of the residents doesn't remember all.  But she does remember how to play the piano by ear and delights in playing every night after supper for whomever will listen and sing-a-long.  Priceless.

My mother may fall again tomorrow.  But there will be someone to assist her in 3 minutes.  She is loved on, checked on, talked to, listened to, and hugged.  We still visit all the time but we are daughters again, not caregivers.  And that has made all the difference.

  Scott Middleton of Agape' Senior spoke at a Parent Care conference I attended yesterday in Atlanta. I am so glad I heard him.   Aside from his qualifications, he has a heart for the elderly.  Immersed in their world, he walks his talk everyday.  I just got his book yesterday and can't wait to read it and share it with my sister.

 Parent Talk:  The Nine Conversations To Have With Your Aging Loves One.  Scott could have named it The Art Of Stepping In.
As long as I am in this elder care loop I want to be informed and on the cutting edge. It will help me, after all, when I am on the receiving end! Smile.
Enjoy the day!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Great Gatsby Again

Gorgeous Robert Redford is a hard act to follow but gorgeous Matt Damon is going to try.    Oops, I meant to say Leonardo DiCaprio!   
F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic story speaks many things.  Historically we get a nice lesson in what was happening in the world of the rich in New York City in the 1920s.  We get a vivid picture of ornate parties, open adultery, elaborate dresses, sweaty heat, no air conditioners, a lot of alcohol and cigarettes at any function that even slightly resembled a social event.
We get only a slight peak at the 'other side of town' and their lack of hope, their need to escape, their dirty fingernails.
It was a tragic love story to me.  Unrequited old torch is finally reignited, too briefly, only to disappear once again due to, well, we'll say "circumstances".  No spoiler here.  

 Coming May 10 to your nearest theater!