Give Us This Day

Most of us can say the Lord’s Prayer by rote. It it the example Jesus gave in Matthew 6:9-13 as to how to prayer. It was not mandatory or meant to be obligatory as to the memorization of words but simply as a format. In school, we were given sample business and personal letters to introduces us to salutation, body and closing. This is similar to the point Jesus was making on how to pray. Salutation, body and closing. The important points to cover when we commune with HIM.

I was reading Matthew the 6th chapter this morning and stopped cold on “Give us this day our daily bread” and backed up to “Give us this day”. When I was first diagnosed with Early-onset Alzheimer’s, I remember very clearly asking my husband how on earth we could handle this news. “We take one day at a time,” he said as he wrapped his arms around me and we cried together. One day at a time, I remind myself but never really applied it until this moment in time when this simple phrase took my breath away.

“Give us this day” is a request for something not expected or guaranteed. There is a scripture in Proverbs, I believe about the 27th chapter that tells us not to boast about the morrow, because we have no idea what it holds. Another scripture says we are but a mist, here for just a moment before vanishing. James reminds us to say, “If the Lord wills, then I will do such and such”. Only God knows the number of our days. Job 14:5.

This day for me will be as different from yesterday as night and day. History over the past several months has enlightened me to the fact that no two days have the same symptoms. Some days my thoughts are clear, but cannot focus on one thought. Some days my skills are off and I pour a cup of coffee over myself. Sometimes I lose time and other days I count the minutes ticking by. Some days I sleep around the clock and other days I cannot sleep at all. Sometimes I can choose what to wear and other days it’s best to stay in my jammies. Some days, I can make a simple recipe and another day I may toss something in frustration and walk out of the kitchen. Sometimes I can do a load of laundry and another day use the washer for a trash can.

But every single day is filled with anxiety. The anxiety wears me out and wears on the nerves of those around me. I get confused when we are out in the car and I suddenly have no idea where we are and panic. If we go to dinner, the server brings what I order but I cannot remember ordering it and have no idea what they have just served me. I ache to have my husband holding my hand constantly. I wear several bracelets that spin on my wrist to help distract me. I have a phone cover filled with purple glitter to distract me. I carry a lace-edged handkerchief to distract me. If I don’t have a distraction the anxiety provokes me to scratch holes in my skin.

This morning, I am simply beginning to ask God for this day. Not for my wants or my needs, but just for the day. I have typed it into the notes that I read every morning. “Lord, give me this day, please.” At night, before laying my head to rest, I will simply say, “Lord, thank YOU for this day.” There is a reason that stood out to me today. As I read just the first portion again, “Give us this day” I felt a sweet measure of peace. I will not plead or beg HIM but just request with a measure of faith and confidence that HE is fully capable of seeing me through another day of this journey. After all, HE is faithful. All ways!

Posted in Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's Awareness, Early-onset Alzheimer's, Finding Your Way, Grief Living, Knowing Jesus | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

June 13, 2019 ~ The Monster Eating My Life

When my daughter was about three years old, one of her fav books was entitled ‘There’s a Monster Eating my House’. It was the story of a monster that was eating porches and cellars. It has to be taught to change it’s diet. One night we were at church for early prayer time. We had knelt down to pray and per usual, it all began quite quietly. Suddenly, rupturing the reverent moment, my sweet little girl travailed loudly, “Oh Lord! There is a monster eating my house!!” That moment in time stands out as one of the most comical church moments ever. Suffice to say, prayer meeting wrapped up immediately as laughter fractured the reverence. She was as sincere as she could be and continued to prayer, asking the Lord for HIS help during this terrible time.

Yesterday as I prayed, I found myself praying, “Oh, Lord, there is a monster eating my life!” and was reminded of that long ago moment. This hideous, insidious monster is taking chunks of me that I can never recover. It sucks out my memories, sometimes just bits of a whole conversation but other times the entire conversation is snatched from me. Some days the monster is voracious and other days it is just feeling a little peckish. There are nights, it violates my sleep with horrible memories in the form of nightmares. It hungers for all of my peace and joy. I am begging God for clarity to explain this journey to you and for editing skills like never before. Anyone who knows anyone should understand what Alzheimer’s does to their loved one. Plenty of caregivers can give their stories but not too many patients can still express themselves well enough to tell theirs. I pray I can still continue to share with you as I walk it out.

My prayer closet has always been just a private place for conversation between God and me. I don’t have a secret room, never felt the need for one. I could find intimacy or go to war wherever I was at any given moment. It was instantaneous, requiring no prep, no motivation. HE is my LORD and the time I spent with HIM was precious and real no matter the location. The days I hate the most now, are when I feel I cannot get through. Remember party lines? Yeah, I am that old. I feel as though I am praying on a party line with all my neighbors picking up the line and talking over me. I crave the tender privacy with HIM but can no longer find it on most days and nights. I continue to fight and struggle to find those precious gems whenever I am able. Please do not take your prayer life for granted. Cleave to HIS presence and remain as long as you can in communion with your Savior.

Most days, reading my Bible is frustrating. If I don’t have clarity, I get easily, quickly annoyed. It is like vinegar being rubbed into an open wound. It hurts! It burns my eyes and cheeks with rivers of tears and breaks my heart open to not understand what I read and when I do understand and am blessed, it is short lived. I do not retain HIS precious Word and it leaves me in a state of longing for more every day. I must rely on scriptures I have memorized through the years. Please spend time with God in HIS Word. God forbid, the day comes when you will have to depend on what you read while you were yet young. Those early moments may be what you have left to cling to so please do not waste them.

This monster is eating away at names and faces in my mind. It is stealing the love and affection I felt for those same folks. My family tells me that I know them, that I have met with them many times, but there remains no recognition. I have learned to smile and nod as a matter of good manners my whole life, so maybe no one notices the lack I am feeling when I talk to them. There are some whom I feel I have not seen for months and my heart lights up only to find out I spent time with them three days ago. It hurts, but I am trying to not let bitterness creep in as that will destroy more than the monster ever will.

Special days come and go without participation. Birthdays have wracked up and I am caught in a time warp with the years. Lost in a spacial void. most days I can live with the lack of knowledge, recognition, and participation by simply sleeping. I am tired so very much of the time. Other days I long to go out and do things with folks I know and love, but then worry, I will have a meltdown or embarrass them with my stupidity. The one thing the monster has taught me is that there are days when I am thoroughly stupid.

I have notes on my phone to remind me of certain things to not discuss because it makes my lack so obvious that I fear no one will spend time with me. I read them every morning but still say something completely stupid and then suffer through the corrections and explanation to others of what I meant or should have meant. I am not capable most days of intelligent, ongoing conversation, as I must stop and ask stupid questions for things I have known the answers to for years.

And it is stealing my words. I love our language. I used to read voraciously and always kept a dictionary handy. When my children were young and asked me what a word meant, I never told them. I made them look it up as they were more likely to retain it by reading the definition. They all have fantastic vocabs. Some days I have to search for the simplest of words, yet cannot find the word for the long orange root vegetable. I must go back and edit my blogs every day before trying to wrap them up in a final paragraph and sometimes it is hard to know what I even meant and must delete entire sentences and paragraphs. I recently started a diary-like blog and it is so hard to leave it alone and not go back and edit the bad days.

When my husband sits down to relax for the evening, the monster steals all the things I want to chat with him about. When we kiss goodnight, the monster brings nightmares that distorts our relationship, trying to skewer the deep, passionate love I feel for him. The beast plants ideas in my head and heart during the night and I wake up and shake them for a moment, but when I return to sleep it comes right back. It tries to change how I feel about things in general, how I view life. How long before I do not recognize it for what it is and it wins?

This monster, unlike the one in the children’s storybook cannot be retaught. It continues to march through my life, devouring whatever it desires, depending on it’s appetite for the day or night. It cannot be stopped, detoured, or directionally challenged. It cannot be marginalized or thrown into reverse. It continues at will 24/7.

Oh Lord, there is a monster eating my life and I need the weapons to kill it. I would surely choke it out with my bare hands if I could. Please help me to continue to fight when no one is looking. To beat it back for days of clarity, joy in my family, and peace with You! Please give me a private line for communion with You and time in the Word to continue to grow in You all the days of my life! My heart breaks for more time. More prayer. More Word. More memories.

As always, please feel free to copy this link and share wherever you like. Thank you.

https://karlaunger.com/2019/06/19/june-13-2019-the-monster-eating-my-life/

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June 3rd~June 14th, 2019: Diary of Erasure

June 3rd: Today I am sad. My fam was her for the passed week and I have ready forgotten most of the converstions we had and place we went. I look at the pictures to bring back glimpes but that’s all I can grab hold onto i think about the fact they were all together and feel joy and the next second the joy is napped as I can’t remember the days I am also very sorrowful, actually broknhearded over another event that has happen. I have cried the day way but cannot yet myself to put it into words

June 4th: So far today sucks. I could forgot to put a cup in place before making coffee. Cleaned up the mess and wlked way. Don want to deal with that plan Decide to clean the batroom but don’t know where cleaner stuff is so no. Just tuen on music and see if someone comes to sit to.

June 5th: Read in Psalms 37 but ten minutes and I did not rember what it was. Not good today. No function with words to together for thought. I don’t know which ones to use for things not good for riding or too.

June 6th: So this Wednesday, hump day. Nothing makes Wednesday worse than someone saying its not Friday yet. Hahaha!! I really miss cooking. I have a large 3 ring binder with recipes I’ve used over the years but too hard to do. Can’t know what ingred I went to the pantry to pull once I get there. Three trips later, 1 ingred. not worth the frustrtion. Just close the book put the bowls away and eat some boiled eggs boats.

June 7th: Not bad at all today. Made coffee like a grownup. Realized yesterday was Thursday so Friday came early this week. No plans. Son is in Vegas. Daughter is working. Just gonna hang with Tim and Tristan prolly mostly at home. It’s good to feel the peace and have someone close by to answer questions if I have them or just chat about the good ole days which I remember well.

June 8th: My heart still hurts from something that happened early this week. Someone had talked to us about a wish they had and discussed with us for over 7 years. We opened the door for it to come to pass, made financial arrangements, put together a plan and then they decided not to do it. Still hurts, but hey, no one ever said life was fair. Good thing nobody said that or I would need to carry a fire extinguisher to put their pants out. Life has always hit me hard. I look back on my life and still wonder why I was given life. I guess if the only reason was to give birth to my three amazing children, I am grateful. Almost thankful that his moment will not last more than a couple weeks, if that, as I will forget.

June 9th: got ready and went to church even though all I wanted to do was sleep. Pastor said something about finding what you have to give, to share with others. Zip. Nada. Nuttin. Ther’s nothing left in there most days. I am going to take a nap and then decide what’s for dinner. Too tired to go out.

June 10th: I am having a total fit of anger today. Yesterday, I was experiencing a lot of grief over everything and no the flipped had switch and im mad as a wet cat. Alzheimer’s sucks for everyone. I never pray for me. I pray for my husband and children and grandchildren. it well be horribel for them for yearsot come. it’s called the long goodbye for a reason. every day there is some kind of decline in the one you now and loev. always changing for the worse until they dya ther mind is gone and then nothing until their last breth. AWful! thye deverse best.

June 11th: My daughter has been asking me to go out and do something. I don’t want to leave the house ever. Once I can get motivated to leave sometimes okay, others times I just wan to be back home. I don’t want to make her feel bad or like I don’t want to do anything with her, but i don;t want to do anything out there. I feel safe here.

June 12th: Mind is a little sharper today. I had coffee, showered, got dressed brushed my hair and waited on Kyra and the kiddos to arrive. Just having a quiet afternoon at home and maybe planning girl’s night out for Friday if I am up to it. Tim and I hardly go out anymore for dinner because I am so tired come evening, I throw something frozen in the oven or he goes to pick something up. I miss those evenings out with him.

June 13th: Theo came by. So glad he is back in Texas. He went to Vegas and then one day they went to Utah and ran the trails up the mountain at Zion National Park, Those runs scare me but he lives and breathes trail running and I am very proud of the life and friends he has made. He has changed completely in the last couple of years and it has been for his good. That makes my heart feel good.

June 14th: Going out with Kyra tonight. We have a plan A and plan B so if I can’t do one thing, we will attempt another. I hope we have a good evening. I think we deserve it.

June 15th: We dd plan a. I was okay til i started getting dark thn coulna get home fast enough. I just want to slep now and not go anywher ever again I do not feel saf anymoer whn ia m not here. i get scared so easy. this is not me. I am never aferd until this monster took redenc in my head. I want to go home now.

June 18th: I am still tired. I have lost time the past few days. They tell me there are triggers that seem to shut me down and make me retreat from everyone and everything but I don’t know what they are in order to avoid them. I only have brief moments of memory since Friday. Very brief, random, and nonsensical moments in time flash through my mind but I cannot put the puzzle together. This is now my life. And for the most part, it sucks! One great hing I remember is Kyra’s test results come in in the morning.

I have shared two weeks here on this blog. No edits. Just the days or moments as they come when I remember to write something about the day. Good days. Bad days. Scary days. Blank days. Days that are fairly clear, days that are mostly cloudy, and the dark days when I cannot see anything at all. Days of brief memories and days of blank slates. This is my life now.

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Monday, May 20, 2019 ~ The Tale of Three Women

So many times we hear about looking to women of the Bible as our examples. They overcame adversity in order to become strong women and to fulfill the purpose for which God had called them. When some folks point to some modern-day popular women, we look at their lives and think there is no way I can be, do, or become a woman like them. I would like to introduce you to some modern day women who are just like you with the same struggles, obstacles, and burdens. You may just find yourself in one of them. You may also find the woman you want to be in one of them. The are not famous. They are not wealthy. They are regular folk who are working to become better versions of themselves in order to line up with God’s vision for them. I am not using their real names but they are real women whom I know quite well.

The first woman, Selma, was raised in the church for part of her childhood, but always raised in the belief of God, HIS goodness, and to strive to do better according to the Word of God. When she graduated from High School, she turned away from all the good moral principles she had been taught. She became promiscuous and used alcohol as hydration. The folks who loved her most prayed night and day. One day she found herself in a situation she was unprepared for and turned to her parents for help.

Selma gave birth to a beautiful baby, but this was not the life-changing moment she thought it would become. She returned to the immoral lifestyle and sometimes put her child in harm’s way in search of her own fulfillment. Her parents helped her with her child and finances. They cautioned her with gentle wisdom, but she still pursued her own goals. One day, there came a threat upon her life and the life of her child. This moment, allowed through God’s hands, became a wake-up call for her. It was a very long road to where she is today. Many were praying and one person in particular fasted for three months. There were times when she slipped, but God never left her side and continued to tug at her heart. HE continued to call, continued to love, and continued to be faithful.

Her life took many detours over the next few years until she took that one step. That final moment when she realized she belonged to God and she gave HIM full control over her life. She now consults HIM over each decision she makes and HE has been merciful to restore her, rebuild her, remold her to the point when you look at her now, you will see Jesus at work in her life. Selma is a work in progress and is growing daily in grace and GODly maturity.

The next woman is Deidre. She had a crisis personality. She was not raised with GODly authority and was wild and unprincipled. As she grew, she became intolerant of others. She could not forgive mistakes. If folks did something she took offense to, she held a grudge like a cement wall. They were never allowed a space to repent for their misdeed, perceived or otherwise. She had two children but spent most of her time in bars with her girlfriends. God’s call on her life was the first thing that pierced through the fog of drunken stupor and truly got her attention.

She pulled out an old Bible she had and began to read. She turned her life over to Jesus and HE saved her. She had no direction, no one to guide her. She was trying to do it all on her own as there was not a solid Bible based church in her small town. She prayed and read her Bible. Then one day, God allowed her to meet a woman who mentored her in the ways of God. She shared scriptures with her and told her if she dedicated her life to prayer and reading the Bible, God would lead her into all truth HE had for her. She did devote herself to the Word but did so without a whole lot of prayer. Deidre still had that urge to judge, misjudge others, and expected everyone to go to hell and burn forever, when they wouldn’t listen to her witness.

She got caught up in some prophesy groups who focused on doomsday prophetics and lived and breathed that environment. She focused her heart and mind on “Jesus is coming now and you’re all going to hell.” Her mentor continued to pray and ask God for instruction and wisdom. One day Deidre opened the door for guidance again and her friend told her that the books of prophesy were written and intended for her to personally recognize the times, but not to think she could decide exactly when Jesus would return. Her mentor explained she should never judge others because according to scripture the same judgement she was meting out would be returned. If she continued to use her own yardstick for whom God would save, it would come back to hurt her, not them. Crisis averted.

Her next crisis was family related and as usual, she had blown things out of proportion in her own mind. Her mentor grieved with her and spent hours in pray for her and her family. Deidre’s own health was being affected by these issues, that seemed to compound daily. She would call for urgent prayer as someone was going to be arrested. She called for prayer because someone was about to be shot and killed. She needed immediate prayer because a baby was going to be snatched out of her arms. She always saw a problem as too big for even God to handle. It was going to come to pass and be very bad, in her own mind. She was looking through a distorted lens.

The Lord gave her friend a list of scriptures to claim whenever she felt these problems erupting again. Scriptures of peace, God’s sovereignty, HIS power, HIS authority over everything, HIS name! Deidre’s eyes were opened, her lens changed and brought clarity, to the fact that she had this problem and her journey became much easier and she was able to start her own business which is flourishing. Her family is now stable and she has a peace she has never known. She has learned to pray for herself in times of personal crisis and claim the scriptures she has learned.

The third and last woman is Seannah. Seannah was abused as a child which began a life-long journey of pain. She learned to pray as a very small child because prayer was the only thing that brought her any comfort. As she grew to a teen, the challenges in her life compounded and she was wheelchair bound for many months. She continued to pray. She met a young man and married very early on in adulthood. She had three children and each of them were by C-section. She had a brain tumor after her first child was born and through prayer God healed her. Next, she had a complete hysterectomy, due to massive tumors. She developed fibromalgia at the age of 27 before they even knew what to call this syndrome. She suffered from osteoarthritis from the age of 30 and needed joint replacements by the time she was 42.

Doctors refused to replace her joints then as she was just a full-time mom. They told her if she had been a soccer player or into any kind of sports, they would have considered it necessary, but she wasn’t, so she could live with the pain a few more years. She prayed for relief for her pain and prayed for others to forget her pain. Her pain never ceased. Emotional pain, physical pain, unending pain. Eventually, she stopped praying for herself and just focused on others. She started a prayer group on fb that numbered nearly 10,000 members and the only thing they did was pray. Nothing but requests and praise reports were allowed and folks would line up to pray for the posted requests. She also had an email prayer chain with over 100 members and each member would send the prayer request to five people, and those five to another five and so on, in the end a countless number of folks praying for each request. Seannah devoted her life to being the prayer warrior God had called her to as a child.

She was then diagnosed with cancer. She fought. Her prayer warriors lined up shoulder to shoulder with her, and finally, after almost 6 years she was cancer-free. She then found a doctor who said she def needed joint replacements and he did not know how she handled the pain as long as she had. She shared with him that it had been God’s strength that got her through each day and he said he believed it. He was a GODly man and even prayed with her before each surgery. Both knees and both hips were replaced. One shoulder had to have a reverse implant because it was too deteriorated to hold a normal replacement. The other shoulder was corrected surgically. After 4 years, she was fairly recovered from those surgeries.

Seannah felt quite certain that all that could be placed on her shoulders was coming to an end. She began to plan for a future. She had learned a long time ago to gauge her daily pain level and with God’s help, push through and do what she needed to do for the day. She had had all she could bear and she was assured by HIS word that it had ended as HE would not give her more than that load.

Then, she was diagnosed with a disease that would end her life as she knew it and ultimately end her life completely. She was told she had Early-onset Alzheimer’s. The pain of the diagnosis swept her off her feet. She spent months going through the stages of grief. She could not comprehend why God would allow this to come into her life. Why now? Why this? Why her?

Yet, there is one thing she never forgets. A prayer request. She still grieves with the person over their loss, still worries over their child who is ill, still asks God to protect those in danger. Folks who know she has Alzheimer’s no longer give her updates, but she continues to pray anyway. She still awakens in the middle of the night to pray for them. She still asks God to heal them. She is reminded daily of how many lives HE touched through the groups she had established, how many times HE healed diseases, finances, relationships, hearts. She knows this calling is still strong on her life and chooses to focus on her calling.

Each of these lives I shared with you have been directed by God, through prayer and scripture. If you are spending time conversing with God and studying HIS word, you, too will see HIS hand at work in your life. Your may lead a hard life, but I promise you, HE is with you. You may feel you are at the end of your rope, but I promise you, HE is upholding you with HIS hand. You may be struggling with what HE wants you to do and HE already has it mapped out and just needs you to focus on HIM to find your way.

If you desire to find your place in God, don’t just give HIM a couple of minutes a day or just read a couple of verses. HE wants, HE desires, HE seeks a relationship with you. Spend time with HIM. Quality time talking to HIM and giving HIM the time to talk with you. Spend time in HIS Word. And just as HE did with the 10 lepers, HE will heal you as you walk it out with HIM. HE will guide your steps, your heart, your life. I may have Alzheimer’s but I know Jesus and what HE can do if you give your life to HIM completely.

I love you but Jesus loves you even more!

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Sunday, May 19, 2019 ~ The Gorilla in the Room

We have all heard the phrase “Elephant in the room” and know that it means there is something we are refusing to acknowledge even though it is larger than life and taking up tons of space. This blog is about the Gorilla in the Room and my Hero.

One of the things that comes with Alzheimer’s is hallucinations. I have never had a hallucination in my life and had no idea of what it would be like and really no expectations of ever having one. Since I had not experienced such a thing, I guess I thought perhaps it would not be one of those things I would ever have to cope with during this time in my life.

I could not have been more wrong. I had my first one and, Dear God, I pray it was my last. I have blogged about many things other that Eo-A, but my focus now will be on my present adventures with this disease.

I had not been sleeping well at all. I would go several nights with just 10 to 15 minute catnaps. Then after 5-7 nights I would go into a very deep sleep and sometimes sleep around the clock, plus. The doctor and my daughter had been working together to come up with a combo of meds and natural remedies to help me get restful sleep. It was finally working. I was sleeping for 8-10 hours and awaking refreshed.

I awakened one morning at 2:17. I looked at the clock and groaned. I thought, “Here we go again”. Then, I realized I had to go to the bathroom and that was what had woke me up. For several months, I had been afraid of the dark. Prior to the ALZ diagnosis, we had black out curtains and my husband had to cover his landing strip of tech lights on his desk or I could not sleep. The least bit of light woke me up like the sunshine in the morning streaming through a window. I needed total ‘night’ to sleep. Now? Battery operated lanterns and candles in every room, a lighted essence oil steamer, and plug in night lights in every room has been the order of the night. As I started to sit up, I saw IT!

One my desk across the room, sat a huge gorilla holding a torch. He filled my entire desk and the torch was like the ones you see on the wall in caves. I screamed. The scream woke my husband faster than lights and sirens filling the room could have. He was on his feet and beside me in an instant. I pointed to the gorilla, with terror making my hand shake.

He looked and said, “What?”

“There!” I said with tears streaming down my face.

“There what?” He asked puzzled. I could feel him looking from me to where the gorilla sat.

“That huge gorilla on my desk!” I shouted.

“Babe, you’re sleeping. It’s just a nightmare. Just relax. And you’ll not see it.”

“I am not sleeping. I have to go to the bathroom but I’m too afraid to move!”

I think it was at this point that I realized I wasn’t really being threatened by this huge beast. It was just sitting there looking at me and waving the torch ever so slightly. About the same time, I believe my beloved figured out what was happening, too.

He turned on the lamp and said, “Is he still there?”

“Yes!”

He then stepped between me and the desk. “Can you still see him?”

“No.”

“Okay, you go to the bathroom. I will stand right here and make sure you are safe. When you come back, if he’s still here, I will stand here all night between you it so you can sleep.”

Feeling reassured, I went to the bathroom. I was afraid to walk back into the room, but went anyway, knowing my hero would protect me. As I entered the room, I saw my hubby still standing where I left him, staring straight at my desk. I looked at my desk and it was empty. I sagged with relief. I wrapped my arms around my husband and thanked him for vanquishing that beast. I adore my hubby, my hero, my best friend.

That was a total hallucination, but during that few moments in time, the terror was real. There really was a huge gorilla sitting on my desk, staring at me when I woke up. I will never forget his dark shiny eyes and the torch he moved back and forth, non-threatening in and of itself, but still terrifying.

If you have been diagnosed with Eo-A or ALZ, please remember hallucinations may come but you will get through it intact. It will not feel like it in the moment, but it will pass. If someone you love has this horrible disease, please be kind, empathetic and patient with them. Be their Hero!

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Sunday ~ June 2, 2019: The Hammer, the Feather Duster, and the Word

We are living in strange times and probably a little stranger from my viewpoint than from yours as I do have Alzheimer’s and look through that slant. Regardless of that, I have heard others feel the same way. It would seem that true friendship has waned. Empathy is nearly non-existent, sympathy is only superficial at best, and ‘forever’ means until times get tough.

I exist in a funk-like fog many days, but the days of clarity are precious. I only work on my blog on those clear days and try to find the words for the emotions I feel on all the days. I will write from my notes, trying to make sense of it all to share with those who care to follow along.

We all have needs. From the youngest newborn to the eldest among us. Every single person has needs. Whether you are a few hours old needing sustenance to 105 year old needing to see a familiar, beloved face, we all need something from someone. Children need someone who sees where they are on the journey to adulthood and provide for them emotionally as well as physically. Adults need friends and family to offer support, friendship, wisdom. The elders need what children and adults need. Every segment of society has needs as well.

Doctors need patients to talk to them and patients need doctors who really listen. Police Officers need to protect and serve and we need to call them when we need them and allow them to do what they do best. Pastors need folks who will follow, listen, and appreciate them and the church folks need someone to love them and share the pure Word of God with them with compassion and GODly understanding. Public Officials need to represent the needs of the people who voted them into office and the voters need someone who will keep their word and do their best to represent those people who placed them into the seat of power.

Having needs is a part of humanity. We all have them and we all would like them to be met. But it seems to me, we are living in an either/or society. For some, we have no tolerance. We do not allow for humanity, mistakes, blunders. We require perfection before we will meet the needs of another even though it is within our means to meet their needs. We demand things from them through our actions many times. This is the Hammer mentality. We carry Thor’s Hammer as our stylish accessory. Do as I say or I withhold everything because I can. See my Hammer?

For others, we love their needs. We depend on their needs to make us feel superior. So we create neediness in them. We bow to their every wish. We cave to their whims whether we agree or not, just because we need them to need us. Our choice accessory to carry for authority in any situation is a feather duster. If they need correction we tap them lightly as though we are wielding a magic wand and in actuality we are just granting another wish for them. We are quite literally handing over our lives into their hands to demand what they will when they will.

What a better choice it would be to use a Word. Back in the day a man’s word was like taking an oath or placing his signature on a contract. Mean what you say and say what you mean. If you say you want the best for your child, do the best for your child. Don’t go all ape-crazy on them, but be gentle, and remember you began as a child. Children change as they grow. Their needs change. But from birth, they need consistency. Yes should mean yes. No should mean no. There should be follow through. Not hammer-style, not feather duster-style, but you will be known and remembered for your words. If you have more than one child and you let one get by with everything and the other get by with nothing, that’s what they’ll remember.

As a Doctor, if you do not listen to the words coming from your patients mouths? Or if you do not keep your word when you promise to figure out the issue? Your retirement will be thinner than you imagined in the beginning. As a Pastor, your Word is HIS Word. If you do not keep it as you expect others to do, you fall short in leadership. Make sure you keep your word by preaching HIS Word in it’s purest context, applying it with love to your life and teaching others to follow in love. Every segment of society, whether you are a Police Officer, a Senator, the President, a Teacher or a Nurse, your word is important.

But the one I really want to focus on is friendship. Friendship is precious. The truest form of friendship is one founded upon trust. Trust comes from keeping your word. Trust comes from consistency. Always being there for that person. Praying without ceasing for them whether they are going through a hard time or not. My best friend is my husband. My other best friends are my children and my sister. They are the ones I count on the most. And they know they can count on me for anything, anytime.

There is another type of friendship. It is the seasonal friendship. I had never heard of this until one of my dearest friends through many years and many trials for both of us enlightened me. I thought it was friendship til the road ended but one day recently, they told me that God had placed someone else in my life now to get me through this part of my sunset journey and they wished me well. I did some research because this truly broke my heart and I did not understand. I found a poem or saying that spoke of some friends are there for a reason and some for a season. I still don’t understand it, but I accept it for what it is now. The main thing is to keep your word to your friends whether they are temporary or not.

How best to lay down the hammer, the feather duster, and rely on your words? By getting into the Word of God. Everything you will ever need can be found in it’s pages. Best parenting skills? Bible. Best Doctor/Patient relationships? Bible. Best Pastoring/Church Body? Bible. Best Policing/Community? Bible. Best Governing/Countrymen? Bible. Best Teacher/Student relationship? Bible. Best Friendship? Bible.

And the best way to study THEE WORD to keep YOUR WORD is by praying first. Ask God to open your heart to receive. Invest in a Bible that offers a good chain reference. Scripture interprets scripture and running the chain references is a great aid. Second, invest in a good Concordance. I recommend Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance or Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary, which are the two I prefer to use. It is vitally important to read with understanding of what you are reading.

Be consistent in all things with all people. Be loving, kind, even-handed, empathetic, and always keep your word. Let your word be your bond in all things. Lay down the hammer until you need it to build a table and use the feather duster to dust it after a good sanding, then keep your word and give it to the person you built it for, no matter how much you want to keep it for yourself. 😉

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May 16, 2019 ~ With Early-onset Alzheimer’s The Question Is….

What if the life you dreamed of is no longer going to happen?

What to do when the grief, energy, and financial burden this is placing on the family you love more than you love anything else is too much to bear?

What do you do with this constant vortex of pain swirling without abatement through your heart, your mind, your soul?

What if the times you blank out and hear someone calling your name became one big blank that lasts an eternity and you never recognize the voice again?

What if you feel like you are completely isolated to the point that no one really desires to be present anymore?

What do you do when your life is void of real conversation just because people figure you won’t remember those convos anyway, so they just go silent and only talk when someone who matters can listen?

What if the people around you suddenly are always wishing they were somewhere else with someone else?

What do you do when you feel you are descending into a deep, dark, dank hole from which you will never climb back out of because you will not be able to?

What if you look to the heavens and see the face of someone you love peering over the edge but you cannot hear what they are saying?

How do you counteract a night filled with nightmares every night? Dreams of trying desperately to find your way home and cannot. Being in a packed room full of strangers with no one you know? Peeling the skin of your body to try to find you?

You can pray without ceasing but what do you do when God is not answering your questions at all?

I can pray without ceasing, but what if God is not answering my questions? What if HE is and I don’t remember?

And what if HE is trusting me to already know the answers? What if HE is trusting me to make the right calls based on the fact that I simply trust HIM?

What if HE is expecting me to just keep doing what I am doing, knowing HE is faithful, knowing HIS grace is sufficient to see me through one day at a time?

What if HE has assured me daily that I am safely in HIS hands and HE is holding all of my tomorrows and working it all out for my good and I just forget those moments because of the E-o A?

All of those What Ifs, How Dos, What Dos are answered in the Word of God, the Bible. As long as I turn to it every day, HIS assurance is present.

Cast all your cares on HIM for HE careth for you. I Peter 5:7

Jesus comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. II Corinthians 1:3,4

Though I walk through the valley of death, HE is with me. Psalm 23:4

Though I stumble, I shall not fall, for HE is holding me up. Psalm 37:24

HE is with me always, even unto the end. Matthew 28:20

I will lie down and sleep in peace. Psalm 4:8

HE lifted me out of the pit and set my feet on solid rock. Psalm 40:2

I choose every day to open my Bible and see what sayeth the Word to me for today. It gives me peace. It gives me hope. It comforts me. It guides me. It assures me. It answers my questions.

Why? Because it is HIM/ HIS words speaking to me. The Bible is the voice of God for our daily life and is one of the ways HE speaks directly to us. Are you reading and listening?

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Thursday, May 9, 2019 ~ A Mother’s Heart

All I can ever remember wanting to be when I was growing up was a Mama. I used to dream of having children and spending all my time just loving them. I dreamed of nurturing them, playing games with them, and always being there when they needed me. I was pretty sure I could raise Heroes. And then? All my dreams came true.

My oldest son, Timothy II, and I.

I became Mom to Timothy II, Mother to Theodore, and Mama to Kyra. I was blessed to be a full-time mother for the most part and enjoyed every minute of it. There were frustrations along the way. There was doubt that I was cut out to be a mama. There were tears by the ocean full when I felt like an abject failure. I taught them respect through manners. I taught them how to exercise their right to have a voice. I taught them to love one another. When we took our children out in public, we always received compliments on their behavior. When we left them with a sitter, the sitter was always impressed with them. I never beat them, cursed at them, screamed at them or abused them emotionally or any other way. I left the discipline to their father, who is the most loving, caring, GODly man I know and while he did punish them, sometimes with spankings, he also counseled them with love and scripture.

My youngest son, Theo, and I.

I look at my children now and I do indeed see Heroes. Timothy II is a hard-working, loving husband, and father to four, who has devoted his life to his family.  What more could a mom ask? Theo is a hard-working, loyal man, with a huge heart and would lay down his life for those he loves. He travels far and wide to race, something I only dreamed of doing. What more could a mother ask? Kyra was a unique, single mom for years who gave her life to missions to further the gospel. She is now married, wonderful mother to three and just completed her nursing degree. What more could a mama ask?  

My daughter, Kyra, and I.

Here is what this mother does ask ~  How on earth did I do it? I failed so many times in my dream to be the perfect mom, yet was blessed to raise 3 children who never turned to drugs or crime and who I know would be here for me or anyone else in need in a heartbeat. How did I do it? I was so far from perfect.

First, God was always there even when I did not recognize the fact. HIS grace was and is sufficient for every situation. HE gave me patience when I was frustrated. HE granted me HIS strength when I was weary with well-doing. HE supplied in times of lack and there were many in the early years. Homemade biscuits with mustard for days on end to which my babies remember very well. But God! HE kept us in flour, lard and mustard. We grew from those moments. HE took us from having to live out of our car to having a roof over our head. HE kept us company when everyone else walked away. HE gave us grace to accept the things that seemed impossible to live with and the mercy to move forward to better days. HE loved us when we were unlovable. HE taught me to love and trust. HE taught me parenting skills through HIS constant example of FATHERhood. Thank YOU, Lord!

HE sets the perfect example for parenting!

I learned much from my Seeser, Judy, who taught me loyalty to my loved ones, especially my children. She taught me that my children should and would be my priority my entire life. She showed me by example how to love them, raise them and extend that circle of precious endowment on to my Baby Grands in the future. Thank you, Seeser for the amazing life and love lessons I learned from you.

Last, but far from least, I married a man who loved me beyond anything I had ever experienced. He taught me about loving people. He changed me by loving me and our children unconditionally. Thanks, Moonshine for being just who you are and loving me for who I am.

My husband, Timothy, and I.

And to my children, Timothy, Theo, and Kyra ~ I love you with all my heart and am so very proud of each of you!!

Family Photo 1989

I do not know how many more Mother’s Days I will be blessed to experience while knowing who I am and knowing my precious children by face and name, but I promise I shall always know each of them in my heart through the love we share. I will treasure this Mother’s Day with every beat of my heart and make loving memories!

Posted in Alzheimer's, Finding Your Way, Grief Living, Knowing Jesus, Mother's Day, Parenting Simplified | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 ~ Valleys and Shadows

Today, I was reading the 23rd Psalm. Most of us know it by heart and can quote it’s comforting verses easily. However, I wanted something new but was still drawn to this passage. I was reminded that David was a poet and poets love to contrast so you feel the difference, experience it so to speak, as they pen the words. David speaks of God’s constant provision and bounty of green pastures. Beautiful, calm bodies of water and abundant peace. The flock has abundance of food and plenty of water. He then contrasts these lovely locations with the ‘valley of the shadow of death’. David was a shepherd and the connotation of a shepherd’s life is laced throughout the verses. One of the great perils in that area of Palestine was fraught with deep, dark ravines. Mountains and ravines with very limited flat-lands. If one of the flock wandered or fell into one of these places the shepherd would go down to rescue them. He had a responsibility to the flock and to each individual animal, therefore….

David contrasts the life of ease with the life of distress. Traversing the walls of these ravines was dangerous. The shepherd might survive the descent only to find the animal had not. Or the shepherd could lose his own life and then the entire flock would be in danger. But for the shepherd with a heart for those in his care, he has no choice but to go after the ONE. The poet speaks of these deep valleys as being in the shadow of death. For most of us, death is the darkest experience we could ever imagine. It is sad and depressing. It overwhelms us with grief when one whom we have loved passes away. The darkness of the hour of death can make even the most devout Christian feel some fear of that journey. Just as the shepherd may fear the descent to rescue or recover, we fear the journey into the unknown, unless….

We must understand what David means by the “shadow of death”. He is not speaking of death itself. He is referring to the dark, dank, gloomy ravines or valleys, as being comparable to the shadow, or possibility of death. David was not about to die. He was not speaking as though he were constantly walking a fine line where he could die at any moment, although we know none of us are assured of the next moment. He was speaking of a place so dark and shadowed, that you had to depend on something other than light of day to get you safely to the bottom. He was so assured of God’s presence in his life that he wrote of walking ‘through’ the valley of the shadow of death and safely back up the other side to the verdant terraces in the side of the mountain.

He was assured of safe passage because the rod and the staff comforted him. The staff was used for rescue and the rod for discipline. No matter where we are in life we can be certain that God will save us and he will protect us. There may be no light, no path, no clear way for passage, but God! No reason to fear what you cannot see, because FAITH in God is belief in things you cannot see, so even when you are blinded by the vicissitudes of life, HE is not!

Then the poet has the temerity to speak of feasting in the presence of his enemies. Seriously? That certainly is not at all appealing to me. I like to relax and enjoy fellowship during a meal. I don’t want to have to keep looking over my shoulder to see if someone is sneaking up on me. Why would David propose such a thing? He has transitioned from a place of almost certain death and then considers HIS God to amply provide sustenance once more and of all places? Smack dab in the midst of danger? The poet is once again contrasting two unlikely scenarios. He wants us to understand that he has enemies. But he also wants us to understand that God does not hide HIS blessings on our lives from anyone. Those who despise will still see and understand that while their lives are void of God’s blessings, they cannot ignore what they see in the life of those who are loved and protected by the Shepherd. The oil which ran over his head was a symbol of God’s riches in his life.

He closes his poem with praise to God for HIS mercy and HIS goodness which covered his life and vows to dwell in the presence of the Lord forever. No matter what you ponder as you read this chapter, one thing is perfectly clear. David trusts his Shepherd. He gives HIM glory for all provision. As Christians, we know the still waters as the Holy Spirit, or Living water. The great Fountain of Life for us to stay refreshed. His Word is our bread of life. The green pastures are those times of peace and joy in our journey with the Lord. And yes, there are those times of peril.

You may be going through a time of financial famine, great physical affliction, or spiritual drought. It matters not the ravine or the lack of sight for the future. Trusting the Shepherd is the only way THROUGH the valley. Trust him to keep you close, to protect you from any harm, and grant you safe passage. Whether it is a journey to another season or your walk into HIS presence from this life as you live it, we are all safe in HIS Everlasting Arms. HIS blessings are constant in the fact that mercy and grace are perched on our 6 every single moment. We need not fear the valley nor our enemies nor any lack when we are under the protection of the Great Shepherd.

I am going through the valley of the shadow of death as I write these blogs. I see no clear path. I am losing constantly on man’s chart of the perfect life. But I know the Good Shepherd is with me. I know HE grants me comfort when I most need it. I know HE is protecting me when I am lost and confused. I know HE gives me moments of clarity through the fog of Early-onset Alzheimer’s so I can catch my breath before going under once more. I know HIS mercies are new every day.

Side Bar moment: I wrote this in less than 30 minutes. Most blogs take a minimum of 2-3 days living in my new normal. So errors may be abundant, but I am not going to edit. Hope this blesses you in some small way.

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April 23, 2019 ~ My Missing Adverbs

There are five basic examples of adverbs in the English language as we know them. They answer the questions of how, why, when, where and degree (level of intensity). I do not like often I now respond with “I don’t know”.

What time is Theo coming up? I don’t know? Is he coming up tonight? I don’t know. Did you talk to him today? We texted. Did he say? Let me check the texts.

Does Kyra work this week? I don’t know. She hasn’t said? I don’t know. Are you keeping the kids any this week? I don’t know. Are they coming tomorrow? I don’t know.

How much longer before Timmy and his family arrive? I didn’t know they were coming! Aren’t they coming the end of May? I don’t know. I’ll check my calendar. Yes! They are coming the end of May, so we’ll need to plan out a menu. We already have one. Want me to send it to you? Yes, please.

How do I start this new coffee pot? It’s not new. We bought it several months ago. Here, I’ll show you how. How do I work this new coffee pot? I showed you yesterday. I’ll show you again. How do I start this new coffee pot?

Why are you dressed like that? I have to go to work. Why are you wearing that instead of your jeans? I have to go to work. I haven’t seen those shoes for a while. I wear them usually to work.

How long do you boil eggs? 3 minutes. Then let them set for 15 before peeling. I boiled eggs. How long did you boil them for? I don’t know. Maybe 20. Is that long enough? You’ll probably want to toss those and boil more.

Where are you going? To work.

Where are you going? To work.

Do you work every day? Monday through Friday.

Theo is going to Hawaii. Does that make you want to go to Hawaii now? Nope. Why would you ask that? I know when your friend came to visit you said you never wanted to fly over the ocean and I thought since Theo is going to maybe that changed your mind. When was she here? I think last week. I don’t think so. We’re going to make plans but not yet. I think you did, Sis. Hmmm, I’ll check. Was she here last week? Oh, he went to work. Who? Tim. I can’t ask him because he works Mondays. Today is Tuesday. Oh. Tim? Tim? No, he’s not here. He must work Tuesdays, too.

What are we doing for dinner tonight? I don’t know. Do you have anything planned? No, do you? I can. Wanna go out for dinner? Yes, but no. Okay. Why yes? Because I don’t have anything planned. Why no? I don’t know. I think I don’t like being near strangers so much anymore.

I need to go get my shower. You took one already. I did? Yes. Ok.

Are you going to get your shower? I already took one. Not today. Are you sure? Yes. Ok. I guess I need to go get a shower. Why did you put the same outfit back on. I didn’t. Yes, that was what you had on yesterday. Ok. I didn’t know.

What happened here? I don’t know. I mopped the floor. Oh. I’ll clean it up.

I cleaned the bathroom today. I noticed and it looks very nice. I couldn’t find the lysol, though. It’s under the sink where you always keep it. Ok. I’ll clean again tomorrow.

Each of the above paragraphs is a piece of my life now. So many things I no longer know. So many pieces missing. Important things and events just vanish. It makes me sad and mad. I think I should still remember some things but they have gone like yesterday’s clouds. Gone, never to return? Or some spark some day some part of a memory floating along the edge while I fight to bring it in closer. To inspect it. To let it sift through the fingers of time. To find a small glimpse of the woman, the wife, the mother, the grandmother I used to be. The Grammy that walked her babies to the corner store for a snack in the afternoon. The mother that played quarterback for her home team. The wife who encouraged and pushed and fed and cleaned for her beloved husband. The person who was a nurturer, a teacher, an author. The woman who had lots of spunk and sass and defended those she loved. The woman who was never at loss for words or ideas or inspiration.

I wonder if I should hold a memorial service for her. I am sad that she has drifted away from me and left me alone to deal with this new me. The one who can’t find what she’s looking for. The one who can’t remember if it’s the day we go to church. The one who no longer remembers the birth of her grandchildren and is getting fuzzy on the births of her children. The one who now nods and smiles as though she knows what happened, how it happened, when it happened, why it happened and just how intense it all was at the time. When in actuality her mind is asking, “What the fire are you talking about? I never knew that! I never saw her. I never said that. I wasn’t there!”

And how on earth do I introduce myself. “Hi. I’m Karla. AKA Know ya today, forget ya tomorrow. I guess you could say I’m a love ’em and leave ’em gal, these days. I wish I could do something for you, but sadly I will forget to do it, so I no longer offer to do anything. Yup, that’s me. I wish you had known me a few years ago. I think we might have been friends because I think you would have liked me then. I can tell by the massive confusion on your face when we speak now, that you’re not so sure. But trust me, we would have been friends!”

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