Friday, December 19, 2014

Remembering Past Christmases As We Make New Memories

     On December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day, we were talking with my Mom about the Remembrance Ceremony.  At 84, Mom lived thru that time and it is a part of her live.  I was born long after Pearl Harbor and only know it from history books.  But Mom lived thru those events, she was a part of that era and that history! 

     Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that our elderly loved ones grew up in a very different world than we did.  Listening to Mom share her thoughts and memories of World War II gave the historical event a different perspective for me.  It also made me realize that her memories and her oral history will die with her.  I have been trying to make a conscious effort to talk with her about how life was when she was a child and put those memories down in our family records for her great-grandchildren to read, for they will not know her even as she is now, let alone when she was a young woman.

     Caregiver and family member, if you are not already in the habit of talking with your loved one about their childhood and early life, this Christmas would be a great time to start! You both may find it awkward at first, but it is so worth the effort!  

     A video of that elderly person sharing their thoughts and memories will be priceless once they are gone!  If you don't have access to a video recorder or a tape recorder, just jot down as much as you can and then transcribe it into a written account of the story.  Then, if you are able, you can go back with the loved one and have them fill in the areas you missed or confused.  

    A vital thing I have learned in doing this with my Mom is to create an atmosphere where she doesn't feel threatened, vulnerable, or ridiculed as she shares with us.  If she cries, she cries - and that's OK, too!  Even the strong are not strong all of the time!  

     The important thing is to let them talk, let them share, and let them remember!  I still carry the regret of being uninterested in my Grandmother's stories about the family and her younger days.  I was too young to realize the richness of her memories and when she died, I had lost every opportunity to learn from her.  Now I long to talk with her, but can't!  

     A note here for those involved with an elderly loved one that doesn't want to discuss their past: DON"T PUSH IT! Don't make an issue out of it!  If their memories are painful or not something they want to share, just let it go!  The confrontation, even with the best of intentions, isn't always the right thing to do.  Pray for wisdom here!  

     Today is the time we have with our loved ones.  We make new memories with them, but must never overlook the richness of their past!  Christmas is rich with traditions and the perfect time to start another one - even sharing your own memories of your favorite Christmas, you best Christmas, you good times!  And sharing those memories helps us to remember things that we might forget.

  Have a blessed and Merry Christmas, Caregiver! Remember that you are loved with an everlasting love!  Stay on your knees, and keep looking up!



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

An Attitude of Gratitude

Jean François Millet (1814-1875)
L' Angélus (1859)

     It may seem trite to say that Thanksgiving is a time to slow down, focus, and remember the things and people we are thankful for.  But it's true!  And unfortunately, sometimes it takes a Holiday or surviving a crisis to remind us to stop and be thankful.

     Since caring for Mom, I have learned to try to cultivate an attitude of gratitude to the Lord because each day I still have with her reminds me how bless I am and how thankful I should be!  Not only do I have the privilege of being able to take care of her, I have tremendous support from my husband who is willing to help me and make it possible for me to do the day to day care of Mom.

     Being human, it's natural to focus on what we want and don't have, what we've lost, the messes we've made, the regrets we carry. Gratitude focuses us on what we have and lifts our hearts, minds, and attitudes to the Most High God who gave us more than we can humanly imagine.  

     Personally, I have found that singing the hymns helps me focus on gratitude.  Even a simple song such as "Jesus Love Me" reminds me of the Lord's sacrifice and love.  And "When We All Get To Heaven" reminds me of what the Lord is preparing for us in Heaven.  "How Great Thou Art" is awesome for focusing on the greatness of our Lord!   If you don't know the words to the hymns or just aren't inclined to sing, find an old hymnal and read the words!  They are beautiful even without the music!

     The Psalms in the Bible are a tremendous source for focusing on gratitude.  King David wrote so many of them during times of his own great pain, suffering, and betrayal, so they reflect a heart that knew where to turn!

Our Pastor says that it is tremendously uplifting to kneel, open your Bible, and read the Word back to Lord.  God knows His word, but it builds our spirit and soul when we read the Word out loud to the Author!  

     Here are a few Psalms on thanksgiving and gratitude that are becoming my favorites:

     Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
     Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
     Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us,
and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
     Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
     For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.
— Psalms 100.1-5

     O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.
— Psalms 118.1

     Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
     O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
— Psalms 118.28-29

      O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
      O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.
     O give thanks to the Lord of Lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
     To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.
     To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.
     To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.
     To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:
     The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:
     The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.
— Psalms 136.1-9

     Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God;
for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
— Psalms 147.1

     Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
     Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
— Psalms 147.7-8

     A third thing I began doing during a very dark time in my life was to start keeping a "Journal of Praises and Answers to Prayer". The notes in my journal may be silly or mundane to others, but they represent moments where the Lord has shown Himself real and active in my life.  Often, it can be those day to day things that are easiest to take for granted, so when the Lord answers my prayers by giving me "buy one  - get one free" purchases at the grocery store that help extend my budget, I rejoice and thank Him - and write it in my Journal!  And on those days when I'm emotionally down or don't feel the Lord working in my life, I can pull out my Journal and be reminded that God is real, Jesus loves me, and the Holy Spirit is at work in my life.

     Life and the demands of every day living will beat us down.  We need the uplifting of the Lord's grace to keep us moving forward. And a grateful heart is paramount in doing that.  

     Whether or not you are a care giver at this time in your life, try to take even a few moments every day to find something to be grateful to the Lord for.  After all, you are loved with an Everlasting Love, and the Most High God will never leave you or forsake you!

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!  



Thursday, October 30, 2014

Who Cares For The Care-giver?

Photo courtesy of Austin C. Evans

  On the days Mom's breathing is good and she feels strong, she tries to help me with the daily chores.  Even little things like helping clear the table after dinner allows her to contribute and it is a blessing to me to have the help!  As she walked past me at the kitchen sink the other night, she patted me on the shoulder and smiled, "But, who cares for the care-giver?"

It was more of a statement than a question and was prompted by our conversations over dinner regarding my cousin and a friend at church.  These two women are both care-givers:  my cousin has been taking care of her husband who has heart problems and recently had a stroke, and my friend's mother lives with her and her husband.  And both of these ladies were just diagnosed with late stage cancer.  Now these care-givers are also care-receivers.

I have been very, very blessed since caring for Mom.  Only a couple of times I've been ill and then my husband stepped in and took care of both Mom and me.  My two sisters-in-law and my brothers have all been so good about being there when we have needed someone to help with Mom.  I am blessed so much more than I deserve!!

But Mom's statement did get me to thinking about how we as care-givers tend to do for them rather than for ourselves.  I suppose it's part of that "nurturing" sense that mothers with children do without thinking about it.  But something I get reminded of when I take Mom to the doctor is that I need to take care of myself.  So I thought I would share a few things here, not just to remind you other care-givers, but more to remind me!

"Mini-vacations", those few minutes when we can focus on something other than the needs of those we love can help re-energize and re-new us.  Even Jesus said to His disciples "... Come ye yourselves apart ..., and rest a while:" (Mark 6:31).  It doesn't have to be expensive, take a great deal of time, or necessarily involve others ~ it's just a few minutes alone with something enjoyable and distracting.    

From personal experience, I have found the following have helped me greatly in recent days to re-focus and to give me a "mini-vacation" from the care-giving ~ and I don't have to leave home or get someone to be with Mom while I rest and relax for a few minutes!  

1. I pull out my digital camera and began taking photos of ... well, anything and anyone!  For me it's relaxing and enjoyable to capture the moment with the camera, and with the digital format there is no wasting of film:  just delete any photos that didn't turn out the way I thought they would!  Any few minutes that I play photographer is relaxing for me.  And if I do get a good photo and share it with someone that enjoys it, too, that's really special!

2. I love books and love to read, but over the past few years I have found that my reading is almost totally instructional and spiritual.  Neither of those in themselves is a bad thing, but sometimes "running away" for a few minutes with the familiar characters in  Little Women,  Sergeant York and His People, or All Horses Go To Heaven have been a great escape.  (Note: I never suggest romance novels to a woman as "escape" reading - it puts the focus on the wrong emotion!  The older classics that don't have supposed "adult" themes are a much better choice for guiltless and non-stimulating emotional relaxing!)

3. I have been able to pick-up a new craft that is easy to start and stop.  It's been tremendously involving and relaxing, something I can easily lay down when I'm needed and pick back up without losing a stitch!  It's also a great place to run-away to when I need to just stop and breathe.

These are good mental and emotional diversions, but there is also the physical health area that needs to be address.  Since I am not a health-care provider, I am including below links to several very informative and helpful websites that I have been reading lately that deal with healthy eating, getting enough rest, and getting enough physical activity to keep us alert and able to be the care-givers we so desire to be.  Each of these articles is well worth the time to read.  

Care-giver, caring for our loved one is certainly as unto the Lord and our labor of love.  But, we do need to remember that we are only human, we have physical bodies, and we have our own emotional needs.  And the Lord does make a way for us to integrate our needs into caring for our loved ones!  

Please remember above all to stay on your knees before our Lord Jesus, and keep looking up!  And remember, too, that you are loved with an everlasting love!

     Shared in love, 
(Note:  you will have to block and copy the link and then paste it into your browser address to access the web page - this blog doesn't put the web-link into a click-able format.  Sorry!  Chris)


Monday, September 29, 2014

The Change of the Seasons - a Blessing from the Lord

  I have found that I prefer living in a region of the country that has seasonal changes.  Each season has it's own special qualities: spring with it's fresh new color and life after the bareness and cold of winter; summer with it's hotness that makes you just want to be lazy; autumn with it's crisp smells and beautiful colors of red, yellow, orange, and brown; and winter - cold, snowy, crisp!  All special and unique in their rightful time.

  Perhaps the Lord gives us the cycle of seasonal changes so that we can enjoy them over and over again.  Like eating!  You have a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, over-eat to the point that you think you will never eat again!  And yet, you do get hungry again and you do want to eat again.  So you have the blessing of enjoying the delicious taste of that oh! so good pumpkin pie all over again!

     I find, too, that Autumn makes me most reflective, especially since we have been caring for my Mom.  It was in September that she was told she would probably only live about 6 months - and that was 4 years ago!  So fall is a very special time for me personally.  It reminds me again that our Lord Jesus is the one in control of our lives, He alone knows the number of our days.

  Caring for Mom has allowed me to appreciate some things in a way I never took the time to do before, and I have realized that I wasted far too much time on situations that turned out to not matter at all in the over-all scheme of things.  But the Lord has given me another change - a change of a season in a way - a chance to enjoy some things that I didn't get to enjoy before.  

I thank the Lord for the change of seasons, especially spiritually. We serve a great and loving Heavenly Father!  And I am just beginning to learn of His great grace and forgiveness.  

  Caregiver, the Lord has given you today; He has something special in it for you and thru you.  If you are in a changing of season in your life, trust the Lord to make the most of it spiritually as He already knows what He wants to accomplish in this season.

     You are not alone, and most of all, remember that you are loved with an everlasting love.   So, stay on your knees and keep looking up!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Giving a Cup of Cold Water

I shared in my last post how I was given a cup of cold water by three ladies at our church.  The love and concern these ladies shared with me when I was hurting refreshed and encouraged me, and gave me the desire to get up and go on.  

Having been refreshed and renewed, I have been thinking of ways that I can give a cup of cold water to a thirsty soul even while carrying out my care giving role.  Even with the limitations of availability, I think there are ways we can be an encouragement and blessing to others, even if our actions seem, well, insignificant to us. Here are some of the thoughts I have had lately:

1.  My Mom taught me a long time ago that when the Lord brings someone to mind, take a moment and pray for that person. We may not know what their need is but the Lord certainly does! Our prayers to the Lord on someone's behalf mean more than we will ever know this side of Heaven.  Praying for someone also tenders our heart for that person.

     2.  When you know someone is having a hard time - even if you don't know what the situation is (and we don't really need to know the details, it's enough that the Lord knows) - pray for them and send them a note.  A word of encouragement doesn't have to be a long letter or on expensive paper, it just needs to be a word of sincere concern and that you are praying for them.  Cards are great because they already care a small poem or thought that we can add our "amen" to!

     3.  A phone call can be so uplifting!  Even an encouraging message left on the answering machine can help someone know that they are not alone in their struggle and storm.  

     4.  If you know the lady well enough to go to her and give her a hug, do it!  I'm a toucher!  But I also know that not everyone wants to be touched or hugged by someone they aren't close to.  But if you know the lady well enough to know the hug is OK, give her a gentle hug and a sincere word of encouragement.  The physical touch conveys a different type of concern, it's more personal.  A note here: we don't encourage hugging between men and women that are not related to each other - that can carry the wrong intention and no one wants to start a gossip session, please!

     5.  If you are in a position to go visit the person that is having a difficult time, do it.  It doesn't have to be a long visit; as in the case of my Mother, she tires very easily and usually does better with short visits rather than a 2 or 3 hour one.  Try to be sensitive to the person's situation and respond appropriately.

     6.  And if you can, take a pot of home made soup, or even a small bag of fruit, to that hurting person.  My Mother has a friend that always brings her small bottles of fruit juice when she comes to visit.  The small bottles are the perfect size for Mom and the gesture is precious.  Sharing a meal with someone is also very personal and giving.  

     7.  In the case of care givers, perhaps your situation is such that you can offer to run an errand for the care giver.  If the loved one that is being cared for is completely home confined, the care giver may have difficulty getting away from the home to take care of needed things.  Perhaps you could call first and ask the care giver if you can pick up something from the grocery store and bring it by - that could be a priceless answer to prayer!  

     8.  And the bigger help is if you can sit with the loved one while the care giver runs their own errands.    Not everyone is as blessed as I am to have someone there to fill in for them when they need to take care of necessary duties outside the home.

  Everyone's situation is different, everyone's needs vary even from day to day in a care giving situation.  And sometimes we just need to know that we are not alone, that there is someone that cares, whether it's a care giving situation or handling a personal crisis.  

  As our Pastor tells us often, "Be kind to everyone because everyone is having a hard time."  As the Lord helps us to be sensitive to His leading, He will give us the opportunity to share a cup of cold water with another hurting soul.  Perhaps the Lord has given you other ways to share a cup of cold water.   If so, please share them with us!  

Stay on your knees, and keep looking up!  


Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Cup of Cold Water

water jug : Jug and glass

"... a cup of cold water ..." Matthew 10:42

I think all of us who are Christians and involved in some ministry want to be greatly used of the Lord and sometimes envy ladies that we see being used in mighty ways.  The Lord calls some ladies to stand before large groups at conferences and share such profound truths that hearts are stirred and the ladies are motivated to go out and do great things.  The Lord gives other ladies the open door to write numerous books that inspire and encourage ladies, or to write a moving novel to entertain.  

There is a Bible truth taught by our Lord in Matthew 10:42 that was shown to me  dramatically in the past few days.  This Bible truth says that if we give something as small as a cup of cold water to someone that He brings across our path in their time of need, we are doing it for Him and it is what the Lord desires us to do.

My Mom has been doing well, things in our home are good, but sometimes when everything is good, I tend to forget that Mom's condition is not going to improve.  Then something will happen that will remind me that my time with her is very limited.   And I get emotional and the slightest thing makes me cry.  That's the way it was all last week and by Sunday, my emotions were "raw".  I had been crying when I got to church Sunday morning and the Pastor's message kept me in tears.    

After the morning service, a dear friend came to me.  She knows where I am as she cared for her mother who had had a stroke and was confined to a bed until she died.  This lady hugged me and talked with me for a few minutes, reminding me of the Lord's concern and help, and that I will get thru this.  This lady gave me a cup of cold water.

Before the evening church service, another friend shared with me about her care giving of her wheel-chair bound husband and his recent surgery.  This friend's situation is much more "hands on" than mine and much more intense, and yet she shared with me how the Lord has provided emotionally for her and given her such peace in her spirit as He helped her thru a very difficult life change situation.  Her smile, her uplifting spirit, her surrender to the Lord encouraged me and reminded me that the Lord works in ways that we don't always understand today, but that He is working.  This lady gave me a cup of cold water.

And just yesterday, I received a note from another lady in our church.  The note was short one, saying that she could see that I was upset Sunday and wanted me to know she was praying for me.  She also shared a Bible verse that encouraged her during her dark time.  It was Isaiah 41:10, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."  This lady gave me a cup of cold water.

Cups of cold water ... just what my thirsty spirit needed even though I didn't realize it until I received the drink.  Each cup reminded me that our Lord knows the path He has chosen for me to walk, that this is a season in my life, and on those days when the valley is dark and long, the Good Shepherd is with me working out those things in my life that will be for His glory and my best good.

I have been given cups of cold water.  My spirit has been refreshed and renewed.  These three ladies don't stand before multitudes at conferences.  They minister quietly in gentle ways, giving of themselves and asking nothing in return.  They obeyed the Lord's leading and they helped set my world in order, encouraging me to continue on my path.  They are my spiritual heroes of the faith.  

Care giver, please remember that you are not alone, that you are loved with an Everlasting Love.  Stay on your knees and keep looking up.  


Monday, June 16, 2014

Remembering Marion Brown, by his daughter, Cindy B. Stepp

On this Father's Day, our cousin, Cindy Stepp, shared this about her father, my Uncle Marion Brown.

       Miss my Dad so much! He was so special to us. He was a very strong man who was always looking out for his family. He loved us and we always knew that. Family was so important to my Dad....he would always tell us that family is everything! He did not have it easy growing up....losing both parents by the age of 3. His grandparents raised him giving him the best they could. He was thankful to have them. He learned at a very young age that life is not easy and many times does not seem fair. 

     He took care of my Mom during her sickness never wavering to get her better. He became both Dad and Mom to us when she completed her journey here on Earth. He was determined to keep our lives as normal as possible. I watched him as he missed her so much but kept pushing on for us. 

     He encouraged us all the time to set our goals high and strive to reach them....walking every step of the way with us. He loved his grandchildren so much and was always involved in what they were doing. He was so proud of them! During his sickness he fought so hard. We took care of him every day staying by his side. 

     We looked up to him as children and still do...He will always be in our heart! Love & Miss my Dad every day! We will see each other again and what a special time that will be! 

     Shared in love,

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Remembering my Dad on Fathers Day

My Dad, Douglas C. Evans, Sr., who went to Heaven in November, 1976.  He had lung cancer and only lived 75 days from the day he was diagnosed until the day he died.  My Mom, my brothers, my husband, and I took turns staying at the hospital day and night so that he wouldn't be alone, and so we could be with him every minute that we could.

The last thing Dad and I said to each other at the hospital that night when he died  was me asking him if I could get him anything, and he told me that he had all he needed.  I had no way of knowing that just a few minutes later, he would draw his last breath and would be gone from me.  I tried to tell him that I loved him, but his soul had already gone to be with the Lord.  Being with him when he dried was  the best and the hardest thing I ever did.  

Even today, almost 38 years later, I so miss his easy smile and his dry sense of humor.  And I often long to just be his little girl again.  I realize now that I took that SO for granted when he was alive!  It embarrassed me to have him pull out my 2nd grade school photo and show it to his friends - especially when I was 18!  I never understood that he did it because it was his way of saying he loved me.

Dad's influence on us continues on.  Just the other day, my husband made reference to him while we were working on the rebuilding of our deck.  Dad was a craftsman, precise and correct in everything he did.  He was intelligent and a very good problem solver.  He did his best in every thing he did, and expected that from us kids, too!  I didn't understand then that he was preparing us to succeed in the real world.

Dad lives on in our memories and in our hearts.  Just wish I had had more time with him and that he could have known us, his kids, as adults - after we had obtained some degree of sense!

The broken heart and sorrow we feel is a tribute to the relationship we had with the one that has died.  The emptiness we feel in their passing from here makes Heaven more real.  Sometimes the hardest thing about the death of a loved one or a friend is to realize that the sun comes up tomorrow, and life goes on.  We never stop missing them; we always remember them; and on those days when we can touch their memory, those memories are precious and comforting.

On this Father's Day weekend, I remember my Dad.  I miss my Dad.  I still love my Dad.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Thoughts on Fathers shared by Cousin Lu Stafford

     Our cousin, Lu Stafford, shared the following with us a few years ago.  Her thoughts on her own father are touching and a great reminder to us all!  Chris 

     Father's Day. Not a day of much celebration, can't hold a candle to Mother's Day. That's probably because our Dad's were laid back, just always there without a whole lot to say. 

     My parents were divorced when I was 17, so I have to make my memories of my Dad before that time. He was a giant of a man, but as gentle and tender as a teddy bear. He was easy to manipulate to get your way when Mom wasn't home. She was the disciplinarian. She worked the opposite shift of my Dad, leaving us with him in the evening. I was very good about rushing in from school and getting my homework finished just in case I'd have a chance to socialize in the evening. Believe me, I had plenty of chores to do but the one I hated most was dinner dishes. I'd rather go out with my friends for an hour or two. I would beg, whine, wheedle, and just not shut up, begging my Dad to do the dishes. He would be reading his paper and never look up. If he ever looked up over the newspaper and said in a very sweet voice, "I'm going to trade  you in for a yellow dog and SHOOT the dog", I knew the conversation was over and I got the dishes done in a hurry. Every now and then he would feel sorry for me and let me out of the dishes. 

     He worked hard, was a good provider, and I never saw him lose his temper. After he retired he moved to Louisville and looked after his Mother. His sister-in-law credits him for being the reason Grandma lived to be 91. He saw to it that she had meals and medicine, but didn't do the same for himself. It was as if his life was over without my Mother. I think it hurt him to see my brother or me, but we made the effort and went to Louisville every chance we got. 

     He didn't preach a work ethic, he led by example. His sweet and gentle side came out in both of us. He backed my Mother up even if she was wrong. If we were too sick to go to school or church, we were too sick to do fun things. 

     He never made a lot of conversation, but we knew he was always there, and as long as he was there, we were safe. 

     He never took care of himself healthwise, died at 74 of things that could've been prevented had he followed doctors orders, but he always made sure we were taken to a doctor and followed the orders of our doctor. 

     If you can say a person was just a good human being, a gentle, loving guy that instilled values into you that you have to this day, then that describes my Dad, James Baker. 

     Share in love, Lu Baker Stafford

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Thoughts shared about my Mom, Audella Evans

             Some thoughts that I shared about my Mom a few years ago at a Mother-Daughter Banquet.  I share them here, with love,  Chris 

* * *

My heritage goes back to my Great-Grandmother Beatrice Dorton.  Those of us in her family had the privilege of knowing her gentle ways and her devotion to the Lord.  She not only talked the talk, she walked the walk!  

And "Walking the Walk" is really what is most important - because we can say many things and put on a good front, but our day to day living - our walking and living daily in our homes and workplaces - says more about who and what we really are.

My mother - Audella Evans - is the most God-ly person I know.  Now, I don't say that because she is my Mom!  I say that because I have never known anyone to be as loving, giving, and nurturing as she is.  

I grew up in the "dark ages" before computers and computer games!  So Mom taught me how to play jack-rocks and hop-scotch, to color the flowers on table napkins, and to make paper chains for party decoration.  She taught me how to cook, to sew, to clean house, how to do ceramics, how to arrange flowers.  But there are a lot of other things she taught me, not by her words but by her actions:

1. Mom did not tell me to be faithful to my husband, she showed me by living faithfully with my father thru good times and bad, for over 30 years, right up to the day he died.

2. She did not tell me to honor my father and mother, she showed me by putting her life on hold, going to West Virginia, and caring for the day-to-day needs of my Grandmother, until my Grandmother died.

3. She did not tell me to be put other first, she showed me by always taking the back piece of the fried chicken so us kids could have the good pieces.

4. She did not tell me to be honest, she showed me by giving the cashier back money when she was given more than she was due.

5. She did not tell me to be a good neighbor, she showed me by caring for an elderly neighbor, without pay, for almost 2 years until the lady died.

6. She did not tell me to be concerned about others, she showed me by taking hot soup and home-made bread to a hurting wife whose husband was dying of cancer.

7. She did not tell me that listening was more important than talking, she shows me by always letting me "dump" on her when I needed to vent about a work-place problem!

8. She did not tell me prayer is important, she shows me by interceding to God for me every day and for every things.

9. She does not just tell me that she loves me, she shows me by always being there - 

listening to me when I'm angry, 
comforting me when I'm hurt, 
and loving me unconditionally even when 
                                          I am unlovable.


        You see, our Walk talks louder than our Talk talks.  To put it in scriptural terms, 

Deut. 6:7 says  "And thou shalt teach them  [them being the precepts of God]  diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."  

This means that in our day-to-day lives, we are to show forth the truths of God's word and the love shown to us in Jesus.

I am blessed to have the heritage of those ladies that truly "walked the walk"!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Acts of Love

Martha Walker and her mother, Cordia Dunn

This was written in 2002 when my Mother-in-law, Cordia Gentry Dunn, went to be with the Lord.                                            
                                     Shared in love, Chris 


Acts of Love

There are angels among us that we take for granted.  My sister-in-law, Martha Watson Walker, is one of those.  She doesn't see herself as an angel, and that is what makes her so special!

Martha is the only daughter that my mother-in-law had, and Martha was always there for Mom.  So naturally when Mom Dunn and my father-in-law were no longer able to take care of themselves, it was Martha that saw to it that they were moved next door so that she could care for them herself.  Then, as their health continued to deteriorate and the roles reversed, it was Martha that did the custodial care.  When Mom Dunn and Frank had to be placed in a continuous care facility, it was Martha that handled the details.  When the dementia took Mom Dunn's short-term memory, it was Martha that was there daily to care for Mom's needs, especially her emotional needs, even though Mom Dunn couldn't remember that this lady was her only daughter.

And when the Lord called Mom Dunn home, it was Martha that held Mom's hand and loved her as the last breath of life slowly released from Mom's lips and her body lay still.  It was Martha that was there to kiss the cheek, still warm with the last touches of life, and to whisper, "I love you."

Acts of love can be done spontaneously, out of necessity, and are often done out of duty.  But continually giving devotedly of oneself with no expectation of payment, reward, or thanks is CHARACTER.  And my precious sister-in-law is a Lady of tremendous Character - she is truly an Angel among us!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thoughts on Mothers

This is one of my favorite paintings by Sandra Kuck!  
(Not only does she capture such exquisite detail, she captures essence!)

Some thoughts I have gathered from others and share here, with love.                               Chris

* * *

"I love each of my children unconditionally and differently.  I show my love for each of them according to their need." 
       Mom (Audella) Evans

"Remembering her own worth is the best example a Mother can use to build her child's self-esteem."  

"More is caught than taught; that is why your unspoken influence on your children is so important."  
       John Brothers, Pastor
       Gill Grove Baptist Church

"A Mother is at the same time both as courageous as a lioness protecting her cubs, and as gentle as a shepherd watching over the flock."  

"When you think you have nothing to give, you can always give love.  After all, that's what children need more than anything else anyway."  
       Connie Engles, 
       Gill Grove Baptist Church Nursery Coordinator

"The first Bible I ever handled was my Mother's Bible.  It was worn, torn and ragged with use, but I loved it.  I knew she's been reading those pages, and I wanted to do the same. ...  At the same time, my mother was a wonderful encourager.  She never said anything that would strike against my self-esteem. ... Through her constant encouragement, my mother helped me to be the man I am today, and I carry a part of her with me in everything I do."     
       Dr. Charles Stanley, Pastor
       First Baptist Church of Atlanta


"Happy Mother's Day to you all!  

      To those of us who still have our Mothers, treasure the moment. 
       To those of us whose Mothers have gone on, treasure the memories.  
          To those of us who may have issues with our Mothers, today is the day to settle it - tomorrow may be too late. 
        To those of us who had Mothers that made us go to church when we didn't want to, no matter where life took us we always came back to Mom's way, because deep in our hearts we knew it was the right way. 
       For all the things she said to us as we were growing up, we swore we would never say those things to our children.  How did you feel the first day you heard your Mother's voice coming out of your mouth? 
       Moments and memories are all we have in this life.  Use the moments wisely and the memories will be what get us through. 
       Give your Mom a big, 'I Love You' along with whatever gift you give her.  It will mean more than you know."
Lu Stafford