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My Sunday Prayer

mySundayprayer

Years and years ago, I began a nighttime ritual of prayer.  I made up the prayer below which I say nightly.  It may not work for you, but it does for me.  I just thought I’d share it today since it was Sunday.  I find peace in my life through prayer.  I think the power of prayer is great for all who find strength in praying.

Dear God,

Please keep all of my friends, all of my relatives, the people I like, the people I dislike, the people I know and the people I don’t know, happy, safe, healthy and alive, blessed, loved, wanted, taken care of and cared for through today which is Sunday, Sunday night, Monday, Monday night, Tuesday, Tuesday night, Wednesday, Wednesday night, Thursday, Thursday night, Friday, Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night and next Sunday and next Sunday night.

Please forgive us for all of the sins we have done, we are doing and we will do.  God I love you with all of my heart.  Dear Lord please watch over us all and guide us and bless us.  Help us to be better Christians.  Help us to love, honor and obey all of your commandments.  If any of us should die, please let us go to Heaven to be with you.

Thank you for all of the blessings you have bestowed on me, my family, my friends and my loved ones.  Please continue to bless us all.  Please continue to watch over us and guide us.  Amen.

Shine On!

xo

Sharing Experiences

sharingexperiences

Blogging is sharing experiences via writing as you well know if you’re a blogger.  We read blogs to share our experiences and to connect along the way.  Sometimes there’s a tidbit in someone’s blog which ignites a part of us in a good way.  I’ve learned so much from reading your blogs – new vocabulary, new books, and assimilated new ideas into my life.  I’ve connected through shared similar life experiences and found friendships, whether brief or long-term.  I’ve enjoyed expanding my thinking, my music repertoire and my enjoyment of reading with you as well.  I’ve felt when you’ve had challenges and grief in your lives and I have felt your support and caring when the same has happened in mine.

Writing with openness requires great vulnerability.  I don’t believe that when we open up to the world we are being weak.  I think it takes great strength to show ourselves in emotional truth for we never know how it will be perceived.  I feel grateful that I’ve found truth in the Universal code of kindness that if you don’t have something nice to say, you keep it to yourself because if it’s not helpful, then it’s hurtful and the majority doesn’t intend to hurt anyone else.

There may always be those who misunderstand me for which I’m sad, but I’ve accepted them.   Their fear-based beliefs keep them from opening up and experiencing life in different ways.  Fear can do strange things to people’s minds and being fear-based brings much anxiety to the most stable of individuals.  It is only when we release fear that we can embrace the plethora of goodness in life.  Sure, there are times when we are hurt, when misunderstandings occur and when people just don’t act with kindness.  That happens everywhere.  We must accept that we are all on our own journeys and that they intersect at different times.  We may walk on the path of life with someone for awhile and then part ways.  Or we may stay, sharing the path on and off for a lifetime.  What I know for sure is that each time our paths cross, whether it’s in a good situation or a teaching moment, we come away with a richer life experience for having crossed paths.

And isn’t that what life school is all about?  Learning, growing and experiencing all different types of situations and people?  Taking what comes to us a calm way and finding the good in the encounter – even when at the time it seems not so good?  When we are healed or when we can view it as an observer, we realize that the encounter has helped us to learn more about ourselves, to understand people in general and to enjoy the tapestry of experiences that is this life.  We are grateful for the peace and the  learning opportunity that we may have missed we if hadn’t crossed paths in this lifetime.

So I thank you for reading my blog and for opening up and letting us be with you through your blogs.  It is my honor to connect with you always.

Thanks for being you!

Shine On!

xo

Sundowners and Alzheimer’s Disease

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One of the challenges with having a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease is sundowners.  Sundowners is a symptom of Alzheimer’s and Dementia whereby your loved one becomes more confused mentally towards the end of the day (hence the name).  There are wide variations of sundowners including utter confusion, wandering, aggression, shadowing (meaning they follow you around), repeatedly asking questions that they do not remember that they’ve asked and rapid mood changes which can range from crying (depression) to fear to stubbornness to restlessness and even to rocking back and forth in an effort to self-soothe.  Not all of the symptoms of sundowners occur every night, nor are they the same for every person.  I’ve written about it before here in case you are interested.

My Aunt suffered from sundowners which was hard on her and on her caregivers.  It always seemed to increase in intensity when the moon was full, when we changed to/from daylight savings time and when the seasons changed.  I think there’s more to outside forces than we may think!

My Mom has occasional bouts of sundowners as well, but confusion is her main symptom.  We were having a conversation recently after 6pm which was lovely when suddenly, her knowledge base fell completely out of her head.  We had been discussing my children, her grandchildren, whom she knew by name, by age and was interactively talking about them when suddenly she interrupted me,

I have to ask you.  Do you have children?

Yes, Mom.  I have children.  You have grandchildren!

Oh my, I didn’t know you were old enough to have children.  How many do you have?  Do they live with you?

I have to say that years ago, I would have been utterly distraught to hear her ask me that question right in the middle of talking about my children when she was fully cognizant of their presence, knowing who they are and having seen them recently.  But I have learned that Alzheimer’s is sneaky and can interrupt a loved one’s knowledge base in a split second, rendering them unaware.  So I simply continued the conversation with her, telling her about my children and reminding her gently of their names.

Suddenly, it was like she was back in her mind and she began reminiscing about them with memories of their childhood that she knew.  We laughed together and enjoyed the connection.  This went on for a bit when suddenly the blip happened again and we had to begin all over.  Then at one point, she was thinking that I was her sister and was asking me if I remembered certain things about her childhood.  But all along the conversation, one part was perfectly clear – my Mom loves me, trusts me and knows my name for which I am ever grateful!  That is the piece of peace that stays with me long after confusing conversations and even throughout them.  My Mom loves me and knows how much I love her – what more can you ask for?

I have to remind myself that it’s just part of the disease.  As I’ve written before, when we stay calm, we can flow with whatever comes up.  It’s taken me a long time to get to this place of peace and acceptance.  I had to get the belief that this isn’t how it should be out of my head and simply accept and be with what is.

I keep her sense of calm foremost in my head.  I keep conversations light and happy.  I do answer her questions with truth when she asks, if I think that they will not hurt her.  But as you have seen, Swinging With Mom sometimes we have to repeat the truth which is hard.  It takes patience, love and a sense of humor to love everyone and Mom is here to remind me to strengthen the bonds of love and acceptance for all who are in my life.  Thank you Mommy!

Shine On!

xo

 

Swinging With Mom

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There are times in life when we question whether the truth should be revealed or if we should leave well enough alone.  Having a parent with Alzheimer’s, I hop on the porch swing with Mom daily.  Growing up in the South, her childhood home had a porch swing which we all remember fondly.  Due to her disease though, I never know where we are on the porch swing when we come together to enjoy an afternoon.  Sometimes we are in the past, sometimes we are in the present and sometimes reality gets muddied.  It changes sometimes very quickly so I am never sure where she is at any given moment.

Mom is a happy and healthy otherwise.  When she is in the moment, a great Present of Presence, we talk about the day and enjoy a chocolate milkshake because everything is happier with ice cream.  We laugh and joke and nothing makes me feel better than to hear her laugh.  I will say outrageous things to her just to see if she’s actually listening to me or if she is taking her cues from reading my expression.  I will ask her to recount  funny stories from her past, sometimes initializing stories I have heard hundreds of times before, just to hear her tell them to me again and to share a laugh.

Her sister passed away earlier this year and because they lived in the same home, it was hard on Mom.  With Alzheimer’s, they stay calm in the moment when something doesn’t trigger a memory and believe me, I try to stay in the moment with her often.  But when I went to visit the other day, chocolate milkshakes in hand as per our tradition, after a few moments, she told me how sad she was that her sister Mable had passed away.  I wrote about it here.  She told me how she missed her and how she was sad that she hadn’t attended her funeral.  I assured her that she had and that she had been with her whole family, seen her childhood home and reminisced over countless photos surrounded by her loving extended family.  She listened carefully and calmly told me she didn’t remember any of it, but that she was grateful that she had been there.

Then she began to talk about my Dad who passed away years ago.  She was angry that he hadn’t been talking with her and she didn’t know where he was.  She was embroiled in the hurt and anger that she felt because he wasn’t here with her.  I debated for quite awhile as she told her side of the story and how if he wasn’t talking with her, then she would not reach out to him (mind you, she didn’t know how to get in touch with him).  I took her hand in mine, looked into her eyes and spoke the words I dreaded saying again.

Mom, I am sorry to tell you this, but Daddy passed away.

What?  He’s dead?  Tears began to well up in her eyes and I immediately felt so badly.  We have had this conversation countless times since he passed away and it hurt me to tell her and have her hurt again.  But in my heart, I didn’t want her to feel that he had abandoned her by not being here.

Yes, Mommy.  He passed away a few years ago.

Oh, I didn’t know.  Oh my, where is he buried?  Did I go to the funeral?

As I began to answer her questions, it soothed her to know that she had indeed been there, that his funeral was greatly attended and then I threw in a few giggles that only our family could at a time like this – because I couldn’t stand seeing her so upset.  I soothed her sadness with love and light and hugged her, trying to heal her hurting heart.

I guess I”m losing my mind here.  I just don’t remember anymore.

It’s ok.  It happens to the best of us Mom.

It’s better sometimes to allow the grief to fade and to concentrate on today, on our milk shakes and our happy times.

So, I snuggled up to her, like only a daughter can, on her bed, by her side, holding her as if she were my daughter and reversed the roles.  She held on tightly in my embrace and my heart overflowed with sadness and yet, with gratitude for this one precious moment.

Moms comfort their children throughout their lives.  That’s what we do.  But sometimes, there comes a time when the roles reverse and we are our Mother’s Mother.  We comfort and soothe in the maternal way we learned through our Moms.

I wish she didn’t have this disease for it has robbed her of her memory.  But I am also truly grateful that she remains in there, loving us with all her might and knowing who we are.  Sometimes we just know that these moments are precious and are to be treasured.  Isn’t that what life’s about?  Stringing together those precious pearls of connection?  And swinging on a porch swing, sipping a chocolate milkshake and enjoying the calm in a Southern hospitality way?

Shine On!

xo

 

Sunday Inspires

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I live in a Divinely inspired Universe. 

I have nothing to fear. 

I trust in myself, and when I do so,

I trust in the very Wisdom that created me.

– From:  I Can Do It – Living In Spirit – By Louise Hay

I just loved this quote so I had to share it with you because I hope it inspires you as well.  As it’s Sunday, a traditional day of rest, I hope that you will take Louise Hay’s quote to heart and allow yourself to trust in God, in the Universe and in the Infinite Divine Loving Spirit which created you.

May you have a lovely day and enjoy with gratitude all that you have in your life!

Shine On!

xo

The Benefits In Troubles and Challenges

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If you read the title of my post today and scoffed, I don’t blame you.  When I wrote it, I scoffed a bit too because frankly, who wants to be grateful for troubles and challenges?  Heck, those are things we shy away from, even run from as fast as possible!

Who is their right mind would say there are benefits in troubles and challenges?

Me!  And maybe even you?!

Because I’ve endured quite a few, (cancer, divorce, family with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, death of family, just to name a few), I can attest to their benefits (of course, this is AFTER they happened).  After the fact, we can see how individual challenges make us grow and strengthen us.  The challenges force us, sometimes unwillingly, to look at our lives with a different perspective.  They inspire us to deep deeper into ourselves to find the strength, the courage, and the inspiration to get through the difficult times.  We find out what we are really made of when we have challenges in life.  We are offered choices on life’s path and the beauty that we can choose again at any time makes life interesting.  Challenges and growth opportunities allow us to see how far we’ve come in our lives.

We can see troubles and challenges as building blocks on the road to life.  Our ability to endure them and to triumph over them (or to not) shapes us in different ways.  We enable our innate personality traits to be tweaked.  We learn new ways of coping.  We tune our minds into new avenues of solutions.  We can make new friends who open our eyes to finding peace in stressful situations.

The potential for growth, mentally, emotionally and psychologically during troubles and challenges can be exponential.  True, it can be maddening and frustrating as heck to have to deal with difficulties, but the benefits in the end, can outweigh the discomforts.

I know, you are probably thinking that I just don’t understand your troubles and challenges and you are right.  We all have our own path, but as I have found, they sometimes intersect and we can walk a path together with a friend (or a stranger who becomes a friend) and we can help each other, and support each other as we move through the tough times.

At least that’s been my experience throughout this lifetime.  I find that the higher power in my life, call it what you may, God, Universe, Infinite Spirit, your own higher power – helps me along the way through the hard times by planting strangers disguised as angels, friends, synchronizations, coincidences, etc. in order to help me overcome whatever is holding me back.  These in turn encourage me to grow, to learn and to accept what previously I may have deemed unacceptable.  But in the long run, I know that they were necessary growth spurts to get to me to where I am now.

It’s hard to believe for some of us that there’s a light at the end of a dark tunnel and that in the end, all the hard times were worth the changes that were hard won.  It’s mind-blowing at times that we can see in hindsight the benefits that come after enduring these life lessons.

But they are there.  Truly, they are there.

So please, if you are wondering if it’s karma or back luck or whatever you are thinking in order to blame the bad that’s going on in your life right now, just stop.  Accept it.  Keep going through it and move on.

That light at the end of the tunnel is beckoning you with sunshine!  Come on, hold my hand.  I’ll walk the path with you!

Shine On!

xo

 

 

Leaving The Traditional Behind

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What’s the traditional to you?  Years ago, I would have declared I was the traditional wife, mother, daughter, niece and caregiver to family.  I would have happily regaled you with stories about the traditions as a family we enjoyed and how I came to rely on those traditions, even when I sometimes dreaded the work that the traditions held.  You know what I mean right?  Making huge family holiday feasts, plastering a smile on my face, even when I felt like crying and pretending that all was well, for the sake of the traditions that had come to be expected?

Have you ever felt that way?

But I have been released from the traditional now.  My life has changed dramatically.  No longer am I a wife, but instead, I am a divorced mom.  Today marks the first time I am completely alone as my children have gone to visit my Ex’s family on vacation.  The divorce is official and we have moved into our own little rental for the time being.

It’s a strange in-between place for me.

I was contemplating this when I saw the Traditional – Daily Prompt which I thought fit me well.  I’m embracing a limbo of sorts until I decide what I want to do next.  I have a few days of solitude ahead in which to fill the hours with whatever I choose.  I can’t remember the last time I had time like this!  Being in a new rental means I have no memories of traditions that pin me to the past.  It’s like there’s a clean slate on which to write my next chapter.  As I sipped my morning coffee, I realized for the first time in my life, I have freedom to choose what makes me happy at least for the next few days without worrying about how it could impact anyone else.  I have freedom from the traditional day of routine, of motherhood, of responsibilities.

There’s a plethora of possibilities in my head, swimming around, ripe to pluck and execute.  Do I go for a walk on the beach and inhale the enticing sea air?  Do I take a nap, curled up on the couch and eat bon bons?  Do I call a friend to meet for lunch and enjoy a glass of wine in the middle of the day to celebrate the break from traditional?  Do I stuff myself with popcorn and candies and watch a chick-flick?  Do I read in peaceful silence?  Do I go out shopping and buy myself something fabulous?

Ahhh…the release from the traditional!

All these choices are spinning in my mind and instead of being sad that I am alone, as my children are away, I am divorced, living in a rental and my life is not how I had traditionally planned it to be – in my heart I am planning on embracing the freedom from the traditional!  Of course, I’m sitting here writing to you, but it’s time for me to dip my toes in the sea of possibilities!  So off I go – into the unknown and with love and light, I send you hugs for a Tuesday!

May you also enjoy a break from the traditional – I think it’s time we all have a little moment to break free from the confines that bind us to the plethora of shoulds that cage us at times.  I’m not suggesting you go out and do something wicked.  That’s not me!  But to shake up the routine a bit, now that’s a possibility!  What new tradition can you make today?  Got any ideas?  Please share!

Shine On!

xo