Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bath Day

When Mom came to live with us it soon became apparent that she needed help with bathing. She was resentful of my bumbling efforts to help because she did not remember that she had stopped showering on her own. I really couldn’t blame her because from her perspective it must have seemed that I had taken bossiness to the extreme by giving her directions on what to do with a washcloth. But the fact remained that we had installed a brand new handicapped accessible shower that was not being used.

Then, Mom fell and broke her shoulder and this proved to be a blessing in disguise. She understood that her injury provided a valid reason for me to be invading her personal space, and so the transition to accepting help with the bathing process was facilitated. By the time she had healed our shower day rituals had become routine, and she no longer felt that something unusual or downright weird was happening when her daughter offered to help her to the shower stall.

I’ve recorded here some of the bath day strategies that I have learned through trial and error. They are not meant to be specific instructions for any other caregiver and patient. I’ve purposely avoided recording actual procedures because, 1) I don’t know what I’m doing, never having received training for How to Bathe Someone Else, and, 2) I don’t want you to drop your loved one on the bathroom floor and then to blame me. My intention is to provide help for you to transition emotionally to the role of cleanliness supervisor for your loved one and to provide a few helpful hints that I’ve discovered on my own. Please take any actual plans of action to your health care provider for approval and for goodness sake don’t try, by yourself, to bathe someone who has poor balance or is in danger of falling—wet surfaces are slippery, people!! Consult a health care professional for specific safety procedures. You can also contact your local counsel on aging for a list of professionals who can bathe your loved one.

If you end up being the designated bath day facilitator, your attitude should be cheerful and matter-of-fact. A strategy that works with my mom is for me to act as though we’d agreed earlier that bathing was a good idea—or that perhaps even that it was her idea! I don’t know whether this is typical of most Alzheimer’s patients who are in the mid-stages of the disease, but my mother has accepted the fact that she has trouble remembering and is adept at reading the ‘signals’ others send to her in her present moment. If I am apologetic, my mother reacts with irritation to the whole procedure of bathing because she is responding to my signals that she is somehow being wronged. But if I say, “Mom, you asked about a bath today and I can help you with that now,” she is happy. I am performing a service for her that she’s requested. It gives her a sense of dignity and control. Of course, this can backfire. She might decide that since it was her idea in the first place, that she then has the option of changing her mind. At that point I have to gently overrule her saying, “Oh but Mom I have time now to help you and I won’t later, and I really want you to get cleaned up like you wanted.” This is done in love and not in order to manipulate. I help my mother to feel and to react in the way that I know that her pre-Alzheimer’s mind would have very much wanted to do.
Here are the aforementioned “helpful hints”:
  • Medicare will pay for periodic trips to the podiatrist for foot care for the elderly. Check this out. I do Mom’s nails at home at the end of her bath time when the nails are softened and easier to cut, but this is not recommended, especially if your loved one has circulation problems or diabetes.
  • During bath time, verbal directions may work for a patient in the early to mid-stages of Alzheimer’s. I can talk my mom through the process of bathing without having to take over the entire procedure for her.
  • I become queasy when exposed to normal body odors that originate from some source other than MY body. This is not a stellar trait for a caretaker. If you are like me, use cold water to rinse washcloths that have been used where the sun don’t shine. The steam from a hot water rinse brings odors straight to your olfactory system.
  • My mother compulsively picks open places into her skin with her fingernails, especially on her face, earlobes, and upper back. Our nurse practitioner tells me that this isn’t uncommon for Alzheimer’s patients. It is important to cover these areas with antibiotic ointment and Band-Aids and to change the bandages daily. Consult your health care professional for a description of the signs of infection, and take your loved one to the doctor immediately if any of these symptoms develop.
No one wants to become the child who is in charge of bathing her parent. In our so-far-easy experience with Alzheimer’s disease, bathing my mom has been the issue that has caused me the most angst by far. My comfort to others who are facing this unpleasant assignment of bathing an Alzheimer’s patient is simple but powerfully true; God is with you as He has been with us.

Scripture: In all their troubles, he was troubled too. He didn't send someone else to help them. He did it himself, in person. Out of his own love and pity, He redeemed them. He rescued them and carried them along for a long, long time.
Isaiah 63:9 The Message

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Traumatized Caroler

The caroler boy's wide-eyed stare may reveal the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, while his pompom clearly suffered damage in the attack (see story below).

Friday, December 7, 2007

Caroler Survives Cat Attack

I have once again been defeated by the Alzheimer's Care Cat.

Bobbi the cat is a wonderful pet for mom, but she is very much a one person cat. It doesn't matter that I feed her and brush her; she does not like me. And she doesn't seem to notice that it is I, not my mother, who sifts through her box each day with a specially designed slotted scoop. This protects her dainty paws from coming into contact with the lumps in her self-clumping cat litter which, by the way, costs a lot more than the other kind. I know, because I am the one who buys the stuff. But the cat does not appreciate me.

While Bobbi makes it clear that she loves my mother best of all, her affection does not translate to obedience. She shows typical feline disdain for any request my mother makes of her as in, "Kitty, don't eat the poinsettia." Bobbi eats the poinsettia anyway which hasn't harmed her yet, although there have been a few more clumps to sift each morning since the poinsettia arrived.

Another area of Bobbi's rebellion has to do with Mother's blue china carolers. They are a little boy and girl, each about 18 inches tall and cunningly painted in shades of blue with white cotton pompoms atop of their blue china hats. They stand next to a lamp post, mouths open in perfect o's, songbooks held aloft. Mother loves them.

The problem is that Bobbi cannot abide seeing the blue china carolers standing upright. She waits until Mom goes to bed and then knocks them over like bowling pins. We have a baby monitor in Mom's room with the receiver in our bedroom so that if Mom calls for us in the night we can respond immediately. Each evening of late I have heard Mom's voice over the monitor saying, "Kitty, stop that." This reprimand is inevitably followed by a loud crash with Mother's final, futile cry of, "KITTY, STOP THAT" echoing in the background. Each morning I've set the carolers back into place because Mom hasn't been able to bear the thought of parting with them. I have been trying them in different locations on the floor in order to protect them from falling from a height when Bobbi knocks them over.

Tonight Mom shouted at the cat and then I heard her calling my name in panicked tones. I ran to her room, flung open the door and saw the cat dragging the blue china boy away by the pompom of his hat. She looked uncannily like a mountain lion with its prey as she slunk furtively toward the closet where her food and water are kept, dragging the unfortunate singer to her lair.

I rescued the caroler gingerly--although Bobbi has been declawed her teeth are fully functional and she did not want to give up her conquest. Mom sadly admitted that the carolers were no longer safe in her apartment and now they are gracing my dining room table. The pompom on the boy caroler's hat is about triple the size it was initially, but other than that the blue china carolers have escaped without harm the trauma of being at Bobbi's mercy.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

God is the Author of the Story of My Life

Today my son called, telling me that a young man that he knew of through a friend had been killed. This boy, whose name was Andrew, was just 17-years-old. A 16-year-old girl was driving the pickup that ran over the young man, and he didn't survive the injuries. My prayers are with Andrew's family and with Emily, the girl who was at the wheel of the pickup.

The shootings in the Oklahoma mall were in the news today.

A newspaper article I read by chance spoke of home invasion as a phenomenon that needs to be guarded against.

And then my son called again to say that he had confused the due date of a project he'd been preparing for a class, and that he has just until 5:00 tomorrow afternoon to complete it. He sounded so discouraged and frustrated with himself. He works so hard. I could tell that he felt completely overwhelmed.

I found myself struggling against a pretty severe case of fear. I felt that the enemy of my soul was taunting me and saying, "Look at what I can do!!!" How could I have peace for myself or my children in a world gone out of control?

When I sat down to pray it I recognized that the devil is like those terrorist organizations who take credit for a bombing when they weren’t really the ones who did it—they read about it in the news like everyone else and then claim responsibility in order to build fear and to cause people to cower.

It came to me with certainty that God is the author of everything that touches my life. If it happens, He not only knows about it,





This is a hard truth. But behind this truth is the comfort of a God Who is Omnipotent, All-powerful, Almighty, and Awesome! And we know and believe that our God, the One God, is above all else, LOVE.


The Lord reigns (Psalm 97).

The Lord is my strength (Psalm 18).

Today I was reminded that the Lord is in control. Instead of my world feeling dangerous and out-of-kilter, I realized that when the God of the Universe is love personified there really is nothing to fear.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Today I went into Mom's apartment and saw that she was napping. There was a Post-it sized notepad of paper with a floral design laying beside her chair, and she'd covered several of the notes with script. The tiny pages required her to crimp her handwriting into a minuscule version of its usual size, and she wrote, "This pad of paper is pretty, but a little bit small. Unique!" She went on to describe her lunch menu, her cat's green eyes, and the beauty of her Christmas tree.

I rummaged through the stack of books and papers on the side table and found her spiral notebook. I placed it atop the pile so she would find it when she reached for her pen again, and as I returned to my part of the house I marveled at Mom's calm acceptance of the incongruities that she encounters so often through her day. I don't know where she found that little bitty pad of paper, but she was neither frustrated or angered by the lack of writing materials that would have better fit her needs. "Unique!" she wrote, and went about her day.

I pray for grace to accept the circumstances God has provided for us with childlike faith like my mom's.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Holding My Breath

I have been suffering from writer's block. I submitted a book proposal to an editor and invited her to read my blog. Immediately I found that I was nixing every idea for a new entry. No thought was profound enough and no composition adequately crafted for editing eyes to see! But I've felt blocked in other areas as well. Several days ago I was in prayer and I felt the Lord say, "Stop holding your breath."

I understood. My daughter is expecting her first child in early February, and I feel an increasing sense of dread on her behalf. My impulse is to pretend nothing is worrisome and to go on as before. My way of coping with this anxiety is to think that I can just "hold my breath" until her labor and delivery are over. And, my mother's Alzheimer's disease is a marathon. I might be able to get through a short ordeal by pulling into myself and refusing to interact with others or with the Lord, but the sheer length of labor required to see a loved one through to the end of a battle against Alzheimer's requires that I learn to breathe deeply of the Lord in the midst of the ordeal.

I have a mind picture of Mom and our family in river rapids… whoa... whhoooaaa… WHOOOAAAAAA! God is the raft. We're hanging on! This raft won’t flip over and can’t be torn by rocks…we might get a little battered and bruised but if we just cling tightly to the Lord we'll be o.k. We are tethered to this raft as with seat belts; Holy Spirit power has us even if our hands are torn loose.

(whine) I don’t wanna go on a ride in the rapids with my precious daughter…here is my fear, here is my fear…

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze...Isaiah 43:2 NIV

(whine) I don’t wanna go through the valley with my mom.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil , for you are with me....Psalm 23:4 NIV

The Lord is with me. I choose to partake of His Word, to seek out fellowship with other Christians, and to give praise to His Holy Name. I will breathe deeply of Him.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Anna Ruth and Her Brothers in 1945

These lovely young people have now morphed into lovely old people! They each have lived lives worthy of the Lord. From left to right above: Anna Ruth (Sunday school teacher, youth group leader), Fred (deacon in his church, witnesses in order to win souls for Christ), Clark (deacon in his church, active in mission work in his community).

The Length of our days is seventy years, or eighty if we have the strength...teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:8, 10 NIV

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Avoid Escapism (Escape Avoidism)

Yesterday afternoon I watched a movie. There's nothing wrong with that but for the fact that my reasons for closing myself into the upstairs T.V. room didn't hold up to the Lord's light. I wasn't taking a much-needed rest so much as I was attempting to escape from a conglomerate of negative emotions.

I was feeling upset and resentful toward Mom because though I did so much for her on Saturday morning, I was unable to muster a sweet and accepting attitude. I was short-tempered. As we drove home from Mom's hair appointment, I snapped at her for nearly spilling my cup of coffee as she reached out to pick up a stack of library books that I had checked out for her. She made no reply but after about a sixty second silence she said, "You know, I just love Sandy. Sandy is a jewel. When will she be back?" Sandy is our respite care lady who cleans Mom's apartment and chats with her and never, ever snaps at her! Alzheimer's patients aren't known for finesse. Mom's point was clear. She wished I was more like Sandy.

And I was worried about my son. He has recently passed two major life milestones. Two weeks ago he turned twenty and on the same day he broke up with his girlfriend, who lives just a few miles down the road from us in a neighboring town. I had thought I would be relieved at this separation because they are young, and though they had taken a purity vow they had seemed to me to be more seriously involved than a pair of teenagers should be. Curiously though, I felt unusually grief-stricken as my son pulled out of the driveway to return to college today. I realized that without the emotional attachment to a girlfriend that he was free to stretch his wings a bit. He'd talked about going off on a mission trip next weekend and home with a college friend the week after that. Nothing wrong with that. But I realized that I'd been depending on his connection to his girlfriend to draw him back home in a predictable, week-by-week pattern. When he left today I felt for the first time that he was truly leaving home.

Instead of taking my troubles to the Lord, I took my grief and my resentment up to the T.V. room and stuck a movie into the DVD player.

In the night last night I woke up feeling disturbed in my spirit. We'd pulled my computer desk away from the wall as the guys began to lay new laminate flooring in the kitchen. Robbed of access to my word processor, I rummaged in the cupboard and found an old spiral notebook. As I flipped through the pages looking for a blank section in which to record my thoughts and prayers, I just happened to see the following entry:

There is no comfort for those who have turned their backs on the Lord; there is only escapism. They can't get rid of their fears, they can only bury them. That's why the Lord is so upset when his children use the same methods of escape used by people of the world. He died so that we could cast our cares on Him.

Isn't it amazing how the Lord provides us what we need when we need it? I hadn't used that notebook for months. And yet when I opened it last night my own words served to bring me back to the Lord in order to cast my cares upon Him.

Scripture: I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song, He has become my salvation. Psalm 118:13-14 NIV

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Anna Ruth With Her New Baby in January, 1954

Though She May Forget...

Sometimes I feel a sense of abandonment over losing my mother's support. Mom was a willing helper to me for so many years. She babysat my kids so that I could grocery shop or go out for a few hours child-free. She prepared Sunday dinners for us, helped me to grade school papers, and counseled me when I was angry or hurt. Mama still expresses approval of me, but the keen interest is gone. Her responses to my stories are warm and polite but the spark of parental pride has faded. Occasionally, although she still knows that she has a daughter named Linda, she is not positive that I am the person who is that daughter. And I have found that there is no one who cares about me the way my mother used to care for me. Since Mama sat down in her chair and became the recipient of care rather than the care-donor; there isn't one other person on earth who is as happy as I am when I receive an award, survive a root canal, or decorate the front porch in fall colors. I am fifty-three-nearly-fifty-four-years-old and I miss my mama.

Isaiah 49:15 (below) is full of rich comfort no matter what age we are when we lose our mother's care. Even as my mother fades from view I hear a beloved voice say, "I care. I provided the fall flowers that you arranged on your porch, and I stood by your side as you stepped back to view the work of your hands. I admired the beauty with you, and I am proud of the way My light shines through you."

When my mother was always available to me, I often turned to her if not instead of the Lord, ahead of the Lord. He waited patiently to become my #1 confidant, and in the meantime He cared for me lovingly, at times using my mother's hands to deliver acts of service that blessed my life. Sometimes we have to get to a place where there is no one else to turn to before we can recognize that if we have Jesus, we truly do have all we need.

I miss my mom. But my heart's needs are fed through the Lord. He will never leave me.

Scripture: Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! Isaiah 49:15

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fear Not

Today the Lord has given me a living illustration of how vital it is to follow His command not to be afraid.

My daughter and I made an hour's drive to the city this morning, returning home early this evening. To those accustomed to traffic, this mid-western city is not difficult to navigate. Most times even I, the quintessential country bumpkin, have no trouble making my way around this nearly-but-not-quite-urban area. But today we traveled by the turnpike, and there was roadwork. My daughter is six months pregnant, and I felt protective of her and even more unsure of my driving skills than usual. The maneuvers of weaving around orange pylons in order to stay in the correct lane of traffic raised my anxiety level.

By the time we reached the city my stomach was knotted with anxiety from several sources. En route I had remembered that my respite caregiver for Mom had told me she wouldn't be coming today. This would leave Mom alone for a longer time than usual during the afternoon and early evening. My son has suffered a heart hurt as a relationship he's been in for over a year is coming to an end, and I am worried about him. And my daughter's pregnancy has caused her to seem to me to be both more precious and more fragile than ever before in her life, except perhaps when she was a newborn herself.

As we exited the highway I saw a woman sitting at the side of the road. With one hand she was holding an illegible cardboard sign in front of her face and the other hand repeatedly raked through her shiny brown hair. I was impressed by how clean her hair looked, and how it glinted in the sunlight. As I looked at her she raised her eyes to mine and they were full of misery. There was an instant when I could have grabbed a $20 dollar bill from my purse and rushed to her side--the traffic had momentarily cleared and I was at a red light. I let the moment go by, and I drove away. And then, Father forgive me, I forgot about her as we shopped for baby supplies and clothes. It wasn't until I was safely back at home that I remembered those eyes, and when the memory returned I recognized that I had left someone I love at the side of the road, because at this moment as I think of that poor woman's eyes, I see the eyes of Christ.

Jesus commands us to care for those He loves, and today I let Him down. I have asked for and received His forgiveness; but the remorse I feel continues to break my heart tonight. As I prayed not to sin in this way again I asked the Lord what had caused me to be oblivious to that woman's suffering to the degree that I was able to so completely dismiss her from my mind that I didn't even pray for her. I recognized that fear was the culprit. I was so tense with anxiety (which is just another word for fear) that I couldn't see that woman clearly. It wasn't until I felt safe at home that I remembered the agony in her eyes and knew that had I prayed, that the Lord would have shown me a way to reach out to her.

Scripture repeatedly instructs us to refrain from fear; the King James Version of the Bible uses the phrase, "fear not," 62 times. Today I learned that a fearful heart can cause a blindness to the suffering of others that breaks the Lord's heart.

Scripture: For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, "Do not fear, I will help you." Isaiah 41:13 NIV

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mom in 1946

Martha Not Mary Again

Company came for the weekend and I morphed into a likeness of Lazarus’s sister Martha, complete with a pretty severe case of resentment toward all of the Marys in my life, including my mother who sat placidly in her overstuffed recliner, eyes closed against the chaos around her.

After the storm of the weekend’s activity was over I sought the Lord with shame over my dark feelings during a time that should have been joyful. I prayed for the skill I thought I needed in order to be able to turn my thoughts toward Him even in the midst of frantic activity. Some truths came to my mind as follows:

There is no skill involved in turning one’s thoughts and heart toward the Lord, though there is an act of will involved in the choice to turn away from a temporal Band-Aid and toward the healing balm of Gilead. This weekend I fed my weariness with too much sugar and caffeine, but I could have chosen to refresh my spirit with Scripture instead. I could have prayed for strength.

It’s just that in the moment of turning away from the world’s comfort one feels that the aching need and burdensome weariness must be borne rather than salved. It is like choosing to go without an inferior medicine for a time so that the system may be purged before ingesting the perfect medicine. This is not skill so much as it is faith. It is not obedience so much as it is trust; trust based on the belief that to deny myself in order to follow Him will result in a more complete satisfaction of my heart’s needs than any indulgence of the flesh can bring.

The blood of Jesus Christ affords us access to God at all times. However, the world’s “satisfactions” dull the spirit and blind the heart to what is real. When we are suffering from the dulling influence of any satisfaction the world offers as a substitute for God’s comfort, we cannot trust our own perceptions; that which seems good may actually be poison. Our only hope of escape from the magnetic attraction of the world’s pleasures is faith in Christ Jesus.

As long as we wear the cloak of flesh the world’s distractions and worries will cause our hearts to be pulled first one direction and then another. But if our hearts are set on Christ, we will always come back to center.

In between times of strength there will be times of wavering and error and even sin. Praise God for the blood of Jesus Christ which has cleansed us from all that causes us to waver and draws our hearts back to center in Him.

Scripture: Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. Psalm 84:5-7 NIV

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bobbi the Alzheimer's Care Cat

No Easy Way

I awoke in a bleak frame of mind this morning. During my devotion time my fingers flew across the computer's keyboard as I enumerated everything negative in my life. I filled a couple of pages with my detailed account of all that was wrong, finishing it with the sentiment that I just wished that I could get away for awhile. "Oh that I had the wings of a dove..." (Psalm 55:6).

The old hymn says to, "Count your many blessings, name them one by one..." Instead, today I chose to list my little trials in unnecessary detail. I was feeding my desire for escapism.

Wherever you go, there you are. The truth of that quote has amused me for years and this morning in a flash of insight I recognized that apart from the Lord there is no escape from the pain I would like to avoid. I can't escape my grief over my mother; it would travel with me. This week a dear niece's email in which she spoke of her father's last days brought back a vivid memory of my own father's death from cancer, and I recognized that this grief too is a part of me from which there is no escape.

I certainly can't escape from my middle-aged body and its requirements for increased exercise, less food, and a variety of maintenance strategies that range from being inconvenient to downright embarrassing. Wherever I would run, there I would be; and how much better to rest in the arms of the Lord Who has provided so richly for me right where I am.

Scripture: Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 NIV

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mom and Me

Cast Your Cares

I have had a lot of experience with fear.

I was a fearful child who turned into a fearful young adult. Along the way I learned that fear can't be contained. Like a liquid rather than a solid, it spreads throughout the mind and heart. What began in childhood as a fear of the dark and of strangers spread to contaminate nearly every area of my life. By junior high I suffered sleeplessness and inability to eat over situations so innocuous that the memory of that time causes me to shake my head in regret over lost joy. In my early 20's I began to learn to bring my fears to the Lord and aside from a few glitches in regard to my children (being a parent is terrifying) I've experienced a steadily increasing measure of freedom as I've made the Lord my heart's home.

I've been feeling heartbroken and lonely for the past few months. Surrounded by family, supported by friends; I have nevertheless wept nearly daily over a paralyzing sense of isolation from those around me. I've felt abandoned, and as usual my poor husband has caught the blame. "If I feel abandoned then you must've abandoned me," has been expressed in my attitude and demeanor toward my husband. This idea seemed to be confirmed by the fact that he really hasn't been able to be home much for the past three months because late summer and fall are busy times on the farm.

This morning during my devotion time I finally realized that I am feeling heartbroken over losing my mother and I feel abandoned because she is going to leave me. Indeed, because of her Alzheimer's, she is leaving me a bit more day by day. These negative emotions of abandonment and grief have spread like the fears that I used to harbor. That sense of abandonment has leached out of a container labeled, "Sorrow Over Losing Mom," and has had a negative effect on all areas of my life.

Boxing up emotions and attempting to contain them in our own strength doesn't work. The containers always leak!

Psalm 55 contains the template for how to cope with negative emotions such as fear, grief, and loneliness.

Scripture: My heart is in anguish within me...I said, "Oh that I had the wings of a dove, I would fly away and be at rest--I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and the storm,"...cast your cares upon the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let his righteous fall. Psalm 55:4, 6-7, 22

Monday, October 8, 2007

Things Happen

When I began to write the story of my mother's Alzheimer's disease, I faced a decision as to whether or not I should describe in detail the frustrating and upsetting events that occurred. As I dedicated my writing ability to the Lord, I found myself using my skills of description to reveal His participation in our lives rather than waxing eloquent over the exact timbre of my emotional state the first time I had to exit Wal-mart pushing a cart loaded with four packages of Depends. In this way I was able to honor my mother and yet share my heart's hurts and the solace the Lord provided.

All human beings spend a good part of each day in activities that do not need to be described in polite company! These human bodies of ours require quite a bit of maintenance, not to speak of an average of five trips to the bathroom a day! "Not to speak of," -- that's key!

Yes, I bathe my mom. This was traumatic at first, and I probably will never get over that little feeling of dread on bath day. But it's no big deal, really. We bathe our own bodies. We bathe our children. And sometimes the natural progression of life requires that we learn to bathe our parents.

Yes, I have to hide the hairbrush from my mom or she brushes her hair vigorously straight back from her face until she looks like Albert Einstein on a bad hair day. But did you really need to know that?

What I want you to know is that my mom is still my mom. She loves me. I love her. God is with us. And there is much that is beautiful in our lives. Following a visit with my mother, a good friend said, "I'm sure things happen. But she's still just 'Anna Ruth' to me and I love her."

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil. 4:8 NIV

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I'm Back

A couple of years ago I put up a blog entitled, "God, Mom, Alzheimer's, and Me," here at An editor saw the blog (be still, my heart) and asked whether I had ever considered writing a book. I had--and I did! I took the blog down during the writing process.

The book has been written, copyrighted, and is now with another editor at a different publishing company. Not knowing what the verdict will be when this new editor peruses my book, I am continuing to work on improved book proposals in between caregiving and teaching duties.

I've missed the immediacy of posting each day's caretaking adventures with Mom online, and so I'm back! If it is possible to post a PowerPoint presentation here I will do it above and you will have an opportunity to see a summary of the book, God, Mom, Alzheimer's and Me. In the meantime, meet me back here for daily entries in the adventures of taking care of Mom, as always for the glory of God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.