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Friday, April 25, 2014

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Preparing For Serving

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Preparing For Serving: Sometimes I am amazed by my life. I have been through challenges, sorrows, pain, and situations I would really rather not be part of. Yet Go...

Preparing For Serving

Sometimes I am amazed by my life. I have been through challenges, sorrows, pain, and situations I would really rather not be part of. Yet God always uses those times when I least expect to minister to others. That's one of the reasons I love serving my Lord and Savior, Jesus. No one likes going through a crisis, but if it helps someone else somewhere, sometime, I can look on those times as jewels of opportunity. I would never wish bad things for my family and friends, but in life, some things are inevitable. If I have already been there, done that, I can listen with more understanding, more empathy, and maybe better advise.

When my Dad passed away, he left me as the only caregiver of my adopted Mom. For awhile she was able to stay in their apartment. She was lonely, grieving, and was not used to this life of one. Many nights, she would call me to come over, right now! 
 She fell, or she cut herself and was bleeding, or she needed help getting into bed.Then she started imagining she was really sick, so she would call the Rescue Squad. She needed me there every day, and she needed help more and more. She finally had to sell most of her furniture, and go to assisted living. It was a very pretty and new facility, but she was not there long. She eventually got pneumonia, went to the hospital, and then a nursing home. For five years, I had to make hard choices for her, and as she declined, my daily visits barely registered with her. I watched her decline, until she quit eating, and lapsed into a coma. I sat by her side, as she labored to breathe, and was with her when she took one last breath and died. God used that experience with aging to be there for my Mother-in-law as she began to need help too.

It was the same process, as we moved Mary close to us. For all of us, the day comes when our bodies don't respond the way they used to. Our minds become confused, and even simple tasks are monumental to achieve. It does not matter what life was like before, aging follows the same path through illnesses, or diseases, and leaves us needing extra help. At 95 Mary was still fairly active and self reliant. Then her health started to slowly decline. She needed my help more and more. She needed John to make more hard decisions for her care, and again the last stop was a nursing home. This time I knew what to expect as I visited her every day. John did everything to make her life more enjoyable. When she left us to go home to Jesus, we knew it was a blessing from God to have taken care of her.

In the last year God has used these times to help us reach out and serve others who are walking where we have walked. God never wastes our learning times. As God brings others in our path, we can share what He has taught us, we can feel their pain, sorrow, and yes, fears. The firestorm of aging, being in need, or being the caregiver, is real. Dealing with the end of a loved ones life is a journey no one wants to take, but there is help and hope. There are others who can and will come alongside, and help you through. Like us, they have walked this way, God will use the path others have taken, to lead you through whatever you are facing. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Inner Child Longing To Be Free!

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Inner Child Longing To Be Free!: Do you have an inner child that resides inside your soul? The inner child is easy to spot, and can make life so much more fun! As adults we ...

Inner Child Longing To Be Free!

Do you have an inner child that resides inside your soul? The inner child is easy to spot, and can make life so much more fun! As adults we are taught to be responsible, cautious, and do the grown up thing. What is the grown up thing? My mother was one of those, who took life so seriously that she had trouble having fun. Now I don't think one needs to play all the time, but I love being spontaneous enough, that there is joy in childlike wonder. We can learn as much from watching a child as they learn from us. 

When I taught pre-school, my days also were spent in watching children in their world. They do silly stuff, and laugh joyously. They use their imagination, and never run out of scenarios in their minds. They put every ounce of energy into whatever they do, and they are always intrigued by new things. They are curious, they play with abandon, and they don't care if they get dirty. They act without thinking about anything but the act itself. 

On a rainy day, an adult will wear a raincoat, carry an umbrella, an get inside as quickly as possible. But a child will run out into the rain and splash in the puddles. A child will dance in the rain, and lift their faces, open their mouth, and let the raindrops hit their tongue. When did you last dance in the rain?
An adult will rake up fallen leaves into neat piles to put into leaf bags for disposal. A child will see a mound of leaves and jump into the middle of them. A child will run through leaves, kicking and scattering them everywhere. When did you play in crunchy fall leaves last?

Adults clean snow off sidewalks and cars. Adults will ski in snow, and adults will grumble about snow. A child will build a fort, a snowman, or throw snowballs. A child will make snow angels, get wet, get cold, and will eat the clean snow. When did you enjoy snow last? Of course summer is the best time for children. No school, family vacations, and weeks of fun. Summer for children is riding bikes, swimming, fireworks, Popsicles, and The Ice Cream Man. Adults still have work, yard work, and all the things adults have to do. How about letting those things go once in awhile, and just play. 

My inner child loves Popsicles, letting work go for awhile so I can sit under a tree and read. My inner child still enjoys reading Nancy Drew Mysteries. I love to swing higher and higher, and I can wander happily in the toy department of any store. I resist the urge to buy them, but I still love dolls, coloring books, crayons, markers, and doll houses. The adult in me knows when I have to be mature and responsible, but the child knows when to have fun.  Do you ever wonder why some of the most fun childlike things are enjoyed just as much by adults. Disney Land is a great example. 

Nothing is more fun than just doing without worrying about what people think. We have a group of friends who enjoy eating together every Sunday evening. In the warmer weather, the conversation and fellowship has moved outside the restaurant when we were done eating. There was a time several years ago when several of them spontaneously skipped across the parking lot, arm in arm. There is nothing wrong with the sheer joy of unrestrained fun. I do not care what anyone thinks, I love my inner child. I am grateful that God let me keep her even after I grew up. I am grateful that God sees all of us as little children. He is our Father, and that pure innocence and joy we enjoy, blesses Him, just as we are blessed watching our own children and grandchildren. So let your inner child out once in awhile. The two of you can have fun together no matter how old you are!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Molly's Manor

Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Molly's Manor: It's me, Molly. I am having so much fun at my new house! I told you the moving part was a little scary, but once Mom and Dad got everyth...

Molly's Manor

It's me, Molly. I am having so much fun at my new house! I told you the moving part was a little scary, but once Mom and Dad got everything here and put away, it was O.K. We have lots more room for a girl to run around. Sometimes I like to sit in the sun, sometimes I lay on the bed, and sometimes I go downstairs, and sit on a step  just to keep watch.  When Mom and Dad are home I still like Daddy's lap best. I love going for walks here. We can go up the hill and all the way around before we come home. Sometimes we just go up the other hill, around the pool, and back home. Mom says it is Spring. That means it isn't as cold, and there are birds and squirrels to chase. Mom said not to chase the robins, but it is so fun, I do it anyway. 

I have new friends here too. Tommy lives up the long hill. He is a Dachshund. Then there is Missy across the street. She's gray and white, and fluffy. Her Mom says she's old and grumpy. Today she barked and barked at me, but I just ran up to her and tried to get her to play. She almost did, and we touched noses. Then there is a black Lab up the street. Her name is Little, but she really isn't. She likes me, but she isn't outside very much. My very bestest friend is Max. He lives right next door. When I hear his Mom open her garage door, I know in a minute or two he will come outside. I beg Mom to take me out so I can see him. We run around his yard. The other night Max and his Mom came over to visit. We got to run all over the house and play. It was so fun!  Then Max found my rawhide stick, and he was going to keep it.  Daddy got it and put it up high so neither of us could get it. Daddy got one of my extra tennis balls and gave that to Max. He got to take it home with him.

Now that it is warmer, we get to sit outside a lot too. One day Mom took me for a long, long walk. We went a different way than we normally do, and it was pretty fun.....until.....all of a sudden I was not seeing or smelling familiar things. Mom stopped several times, but we kept walking. I kept looking back at Mom, trying to figure all this out. It seems we took a wrong turn, and we weren't in our hood any more. Mom had to call Dad, and he came and found us, and took us home. Boy a lot of people had fun teasing Mom about getting lost. I was very glad to be back home.  One thing I don't like is the rake. It has teeth like things that I try to bite. Then Mom gets the broom, and I try to bite it too. It seems when it is windy, all the old leaves, and pine needles blow onto our front porch. Well being outside more, we get lots of fresh air, and then I get sleepy. When we sit in bed later and watch the news, I hold my wolf, and chew on his nose. That's when my eyes start to close, and I fall asleep. Yup, I love my new home, and my Mom and Dad make it even better!