It would rain soon. I was most excited about the new “galley” style kitchen. Long ago I learned from Your testimonies that You have established them forever. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; revive me with Your word. I intended kitchen area. Having some college credits vs. zero got my foot in the door, despite not having earned an actual degree. Divine peace filled my heart. caregivers, even though we may experience burnout ourselves, we are often the only In fact, at her birthday party last December, over two If so, you know the experience gives a whole new meaning to the popular phrase,“Caring and Sharing.”. The The paid off mortgage meant we didn’t have to pay rent. By joining our email list, you'll receive an email update each time we add a new blog post. I want to hear from you! See the menu button at the top of blog entitled, “What is Kintsugi?” to learn more. If we need help to resolve a critical challenge, we as caregivers need to be willing to ask for help from God and from others. EDITORS NOTE: If you are anything like me, the past few months have been a roller-coaster ride on every level. Like the disciple Paul in the Bible , I was proud and thought I could handle anything on my own without asking for divine help. in my caregiving experience, medical professionals have been both a help and a Despite being stressed and exhausted from the twelve-hour surgery he had just undergone, we were determined to find an acceptable solution. been there for her in her time of need. I’d never left him alone this long before. The … My mind was numb, my body ached. caught a red-eye flight back to Dallas, arriving at sunup. I looked up. We were not alone. moment you step foot out of that portal into eternity, they will all be waiting I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. had to wear prism glasses to see the T.V. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are always with me. God brought together the right people, with the right knowledge and the right skills at the right time. Also, some of the medications he was on included warning labels about the dangers of too much exposure to the sun. a new mother is with a brand-new infant. So, I pulled off the rural highway and parked on the shoulder of the road. comes. Armadillos holes and wheelchairs are not compatible. Though rulers sit and slander me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes. I thought about all the major life challenges our family had faced over the past several months. worker at the hospital located us during a therapy session one day. He began to threaten and curse me, in an attempt to keep me from leaving the house. Fast forward to his release to return home after rehab. That’s why a plan must be put in place in advance. Dick Contino may be the most misunderstood celebrity of all time. It was the same granddaughter who inspired And yes, I was suffering from a bad case of martyrdom syndrome. Life is not perfect, and every day is not a home run. take a month or two to complete. Or would I stand up, shake off my negative mindset and view these hardships as a test of my faith? As family For that, and on behalf of all family caregivers everywhere, I am grateful. It was going to be a lot of hard work, but I couldn’t have been any happier. So even if the bone didn’t set perfectly, By having the good fortune of giving birth to my difference, I have learned to understand and appreciate the beauty of imperfection, and passed this wisdom on to my own children. I felt such a sense of closure But his over the top angry outburst was about to propel me out of the house. https://www.goodnet.org/articles/how-doctors-kind-words-help-patients-heal-faster. angels, heaven, eternity and more. I None of us knows what tomorrow will bring, but we know Who holds our future. He asked me how I was adjusting to our new reality. On showcase is … X-ray films on the X-ray illuminator box screen. Four days after we’d moved out of our injured friend’s home, my husband also became a quad, which qualified in her mind as a unique story. But I was also very final goodbyes to our dad. phones even existed. Then I would not be ashamed when I consider all Your commandments. NOTE: This post is based on a true story from my life experience. We had been caregivers for a quadriplegic friend in his home for a year-and-a-half. The new house would be I led them to my where my injured husband sat waiting and we proceeded to explain to the paramedics what had happened just under an hour earlier. This psalm is an acrostic poem of twenty-two stanzas, following the letters of the Hebrew alphabet; within a stanza, each verse begins with the same Hebrew letter. So for the first two weeks, family and friends helped us do some remodeling. This was before cell Essie moved to Heaven on October 14th, 2019. I picked up a stick from the ground near me and hastily scrawled the word, “HELP!” in the dirt. God was teaching Paul about humility. and honest communication in hospital settings. My next planned post will offer practical ways to boost our immune systems during this pandemic. Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, and I will keep them to the end. You will never be forgotten. huge positive outcomes in a patient’s overall healing. Pursue creative interests. pastor examined the ex-rays closely. Of course, as his primary caregiver, I would need to attend college with him. Beauty is often understood as an expression of perfection, but this thinking is all wrong: It is imperfection that leads to beauty. The pastor and his I now knew what I needed to do. Besides, I was a word person, not a technical person (or so I thought at the time). turns sitting by his bedside. weary soul. So, instead of six In my opinion, this includes a comfortable place to sleep for caregivers who stay the night. police officer pulled up behind me and tapped on the window. for about ten days. Even I knew it should not be bent if it was going to heal properly. I will always obey Your law, forever and ever. Surviving the season with sanity intact can be an overwhelming prospect for everyone involved. When I tried to straighten the second leg, we both heard an agonizing bone on bone grinding noise. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown Popular writer, researcher, and educator Brené Brown offers an interactive guide that-through stories, meditations, and creative activities-helps us embrace our flaws and live an authentic life. And don’t forget to share a link to this post with anyone you know who is in need of spiritual encouragement. So, on June 11, 1984 we packed our belongings, said goodbye to Houston and headed for our new home in East Texas. Take nothing for granted. Our pastor served as After the temporary qualified to help us. Planning for the future can help preserve our current sanity. season of the year. Once restored—whether in reference to a piece of pottery or a human life—one need never again hide one’s flaws, but rather highlight and celebrate them as enhancements that will enable authentic service and commitment to others. After conferring with medical experts in Houston, we made a difficult decision. farm animals that our young daughter could enjoy. The book also reveals his battles with extreme phobias, incarceration, gambling, drinking, and indiscretions. As I did so, one leg straightened without a problem. It did not look good. During my fourteen years as a caregiver, I estimate that my husband and I spent half of our holidays (and other special occasions) in a hospital. You’ll be able to enjoy a family reunion with all of them and you You just have to look for them and thank God for each one. Leave your comments here on this page or use the Contact Us page to send me a private message. Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery and exclusive access to music, movies, TV shows, original audio series, and Kindle books. that same week we were poised to move in. Find tips, tools and resources to help you in your caregiving journey. Empower yourself. people who stand between our loved ones and overworked or stressed hospital If cremation is chosen, where do they wish for their makes it possible for extended family members to take part in joyful celebrations following questions: These decisions may seem basic, and yet if they are not made A tragic car accident back in 2007 left her grandson in a coma, brain injured and confined to bed or a wheelchair for eleven years until his death in 2018. In the case of spinal cord injured people, nerve endings that would otherwise communicate with sweat glands, are dead. I’m going to be gone for at least an hour to give both of us a chance to calm down.”. Find out why in this excerpt from her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. The day my husband was encouraged to enroll in college, we sat in the social worker’s office stunned by her suggestion. I brought parts and pieces of it into the old farmhouse one at a time for weeks before it was finally ready to be re-assembled. I’ll try to explain to decorate the ward he shared with a dozen other patients. At midnight I rise to give You thanks for Your righteous judgments. Your statutes are songs to me in the house of my pilgrimage. The biggest reason for this phenomenon is the stress caregivers and their loved one’s experience leading up to and during major celebrations. In the perfection of the scene, I created an imperfection. We lived all over the U.S., in four To add insult to injury is not acceptable under any circumstances. Forbes magazine named Gifts one of the "Five Books That Will Actually Change Your Outlook On Life." My stomach, may not be as tight, but it’s not like I ever had a career in modeling. was somehow comforting to me. Heaven for you. Negative tapes kept playing in my head over and over again. Ask for God’s help and guidance. His funeral Most people accept the fact that holidays can be stressful, even for non-caregivers, who have healthy immune systems. I believe in the power of God’s Word and prayer as the right tools to get us there. I long for Your salvation, O LORD, and Your law is my delight. What were we the community who wanted to contribute time and effort to the project. granddaughters, it is a snapshot of a conversation I had with her when she was A link to each song is provided below each written section. Or would “Delight in Disorder” written by Robert Herrick, subtly expresses his love for a woman by highlighting her imperfections. All Your commandments are faithful; I am persecuted without cause—help me! You can also reach me on The Beauty of Imperfection Facebook book launch page by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/kintsugirules/?modal=admin_todo_tour, Or, you can request to join my private Facebook support group to meet and interact with other caregivers here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2279325902312536/. Financial aid and/or Federal or State grants are also available via most online colleges. I constantly take my life in my hands, yet I do not forget Your law. Only God knew. similar circumstances. For example, newspaper reporter contacted her and told her he was looking for human interest To lift him in his motorized chair several feet off the ground meant lifting a combined total of around five-hundred pounds. FROM COLLEGE DORM ROOM TO COUNTRY FARMHOUSE. “I most certainly will, darling. Since a full time schedule was not physically possible for us, we opted for a part-time schedule on a trial basis. We help me convince them that they should not be in a rush to send him home. Then he could work from home and supplement our family income. edge of burnout, or about to fall off the proverbial cliff! As caregivers, it’s easy to limit ourselves by thinking small. The book suggested leaving the person’s presence for a time, if/when needed. We lived in a dorm room on the campus of the Bible college where they were superintendents. To find a group near you, click on the link below and enter your zip code. The opinions helped to raise. The gift I refer I was still anxious We were both employed full time with stable careers, and we finally had the income to move out of apartments and buy our first home. The hospital’s electrical code didn’t Kintsugi for Broken Hearts teaches us that like a broken piece of pottery that is mended using the Kintsugi method,  if we as humans choose to allow the broken places within our hearts to be repaired and restored with spiritual love, and light from our Creator, we become more beautiful for having been broken. In truth, I was weak, but He was strong. closure. In fact, it’s a grueling lifestyle. He continued My brief experience in college served as a stepping stone to future success. Immediately These side jobs helped supplement our family’s meager disability income. attend my own father’s funeral. extension of the church’s community outreach ministry. then ordered a specialized part for his wheelchair. My eyes shed streams of tears because Your law is not obeyed. Then, we tip-toed past the nurse’s station while she was tending other patients. Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from Your law. The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words. grateful to God that the home I returned to was the brand new, comfortable But the house was not in the best shape and was not wheelchair friendly. our story would inspire strength and courage for others who found themselves in His question stopped those negative tapes from playing instantly! The Spirituality of Imperfection The beauty of this book is that it describes our common pilgrimage. died way before their time—including Essie’s oldest son who committed suicide. about how I would manage to care for him alone at home. The attitudes of everyone involved can make or break the holiday spirit when facing the prospect of an unplanned hospital stay. A book I was reading at the time, Co-Dependant No More, by Melody Beattie, urged readers to practice good self-care at times like this. The crazy part is this: when we started the day, the riding mower’s battery was dead. I was only trying to help. they become so focused on addressing illness or injury medically, empathy for the months, we watched our dream home materialize daily before our eyes. No wonder I was so exhausted all the time! Make clear to me the way of Your precepts; then I will meditate on Your wonders. If you are a family caregiver and you feel you need additional support on this topic (or in general), here are some excellent starting points: Caregiving holiday survival May Your loving devotion come to me, O LORD, Your salvation, according to Your promise. Regardless of how long you’ve been caring for an ill or So, we had to jump-start it using our van’s battery before we could even start mowing. specialized medical rehab center there after his initial accident. place for most of that year. We love to receive input from our readers. I photographed and filmed all new progress made. Volunteer laborers of all kinds came together with a single vision: to bless us with a home that would serve us well into the future. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”. Great are Your mercies, O LORD; revive me according to Your ordinances. Why was he reacting in such anger? grateful for the help of experts who knew what they were doing. I calmly repeated to him something I’d learned from the book. When I finished the He Together we reviewed the she was so dearly loved by so many who knew her. As a result, we formed close bonds with many of them. You have access to something I didn’t have back then because it didn’t exist – an Internet connection. Those who follow after wickedness draw near; they are far from Your law. to perform our daily routine. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. where he’d stay for nine months. You never know where it might lead. The focus of both this blog and the book are to explore what it means to apply the concept of Kintsugi to the repair and restoration of  broken hearts. “But he [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”, [Paul speaking] “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. funeral for our dad long distance. My husband had recently completed a nine-month rehab period, after his spinal cord injury. about seven years old about angels—in this case, a guardian angel. it felt like a little corner of Heaven. We stayed in Houston us temporary housing. Remember Your word to Your servant, upon which You have given me hope. After she moved him, twenty-four hours I would be away from home. offered to pay for my plane ticket. He applied and got approved for a Pell grant. Rest in peace, sweet Essie. You’ll never know if you can do it until you try. written on their headstone? husband’s parents arrived at the hospital. I was shocked seconds later when the ambulance breezed right by me and disappeared down a hill! Finally, in the second week of September, the “Do you know the first thing I am going to do after I get to That’s a significant and startling statement when you think about it! Because it is my belief that until we as caregivers get our spirits in the right place, nothing else matters. surrounded by family and friends during her last few weeks of life. Because I explained my long, sad story to him. I jumped in our car and followed the ambulance down the road. performing surgery on him right away. facing secondary injuries, it helps to remain calm and collected instead of We give up on the idea that we will ever be able to expand our horizons beyond our role as caregivers, We forget that someday, our care giving days may come to end and we’ll need a transition plan to re-start our lives, We forget that care giving for most people is a season of life, not a life sentence, Believe that we can change our lives for the better, transferring in and out of the wheelchair, Trust God to provide what you need (not necessarily everything you want) in His perfect timing. that our family will cherish forever. Though the ropes of the wicked bind me, I do not forget Your law. agreed. Remarkably, a doctor spending a few extra minutes to listen to patients and caregivers, can change the paradigm outlined above in dramatic and positive ways! ~Colossians 3:16 Into every caregiver’s life, a little rain must fall. other inside modifications were needed. needed his professional oratory skills to convince the doctor to see things my We wanted to earn good incomes so we could afford a comfortable life. trying to picture the horror show it would be to care for him in this condition. The creation of the better will follow. (I didn’t know if this was true, or if it was a way to get out of having to do the job.). and honor the fact that medical professionals have a tough job to do. professional medical intervention. Grieving the sudden death of a loved one can be even more difficult for caregivers. I needed my Creator’s Likewise, He used recruiting and supervising laborers and securing donated materials. You will also receive access to our Caregivers Manifesto and a Caregivers Prayer documents, which you can download and print out. No, I’d tried not to hurt him, but the clippers had slipped in my hand, tearing a tiny corner of the flesh on the side of his toe. By the time I got home, I was so exhausted, I could barely see straight. husband rolled around the construction site in his wheelchair, talking non-stop On one hand, I felt gratitude that he was getting good care for his spinal cord injury. As such, they should be made as comfortable and familiar as possible. He wanted to print our story for publication during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. But I was always concerned on hot summer days in Texas that he would overheat. I was thankful for all the help. I begged our pastor to special leg sling attached to the Hoyer lift I used at home to move him. But, you may argue: being a caregiver often leaves little time or energy to pursue other interests. when compassion, tolerance and sensitivity come together to promote healing, happiness For several families SPECIAL NOTE: If you lost a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic, please know that our prayers are with you and your family. Righteous are You, O LORD, and upright are Your judgments. They came in waves to say goodbye to their, mom, grandmother, great-grandmother So, I used “old school” technology to document Pictures, blankets and or decorations from home can create an atmosphere conducive to healing and rest. hospital was not equipped to deal with serious injuries for patients like him. At the very least, this would buy us time to I call with all my heart; answer me, O LORD! It is intended to help illustrate a life lesson learned only. May my cry come before You, O LORD; give me understanding according to Your word. to put them on, adjust them, or take them off without help. My soul faints for Your salvation; I wait for Your word. and are not intended as a general criticism of all medical professionals. In fact, she fought us every step of the way. I rejoice in the way of Your testimonies as much as in all riches. The rehab personnel Be sure to connect with us here on this blog or on social media. A break that bad should be set with a solid cast. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. My hips may be a little wider, but they are the perfect hips to carry my child on. Before the pandemic, local groups met mostly in person; now there are groups that also meet “live” online. Our strengths grow out of our weaknesses. Whether you are new to caregiving or have years of experience in the role, are you tired of crying in the darkness when what you really want is to embrace laughter and light? A beam of sunlight broke through the clouds. indicated they wanted to send him home! eyes, as if drifting off to sleep. and peace. I rejoice in Your promise like one who finds great spoil. Connect—share your struggles,  ask for support when needed, and encourage other caregivers. heart over what to do. And given the inherent physical and musical capabilities of an accordion, it is unlikely he could have made a better choice. He wanted to know As hard as it may be, I believe it is vital that we have Then I can answer him who taunts, for I trust in Your word. front door. By morning, we ran out of patience and workable options. Knowing in advance what another person’s personal You’ll find all of our links at the bottom of this page. daughter). The very I plan to finish writing the book by end of August 2019 and to begin the editing/publishing process in the fall of 2019. Had done that they all looked to me, and Kindle books on Your.. 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