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Archive for November, 2015

I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. Psalm 37:25 (NKJV)

 

You can help support your loved one with Alzheimer’s by learning more about how the condition unfolds.  WebMD[i] provides a list of the seven stages Alzheimer’s patients go through.

Stage 3: Mild Decline.  It’s at this stage that you may begin to notice changes in your loved one’s thinking and reasoning.  For instance:

  • Forgets something he/she just read
  • Asks the same question over and over
  • Has more and more trouble making plans or organizing
  • Can’t remember names when meeting new people

One way you can help him/her is by being their “memory” for him/her, making sure he/she pays bills and gets to appointments on time. You may carefully and lovingly suggest he/she ease his/her stress by retiring from work and putting his/her legal and financial affairs in order.

Stage 4: Moderate Decline.   Those challenges with their thinking and reasoning that you noticed in the previous stage become more obvious while new issues appear. Your loved one might:

  • Forget details about him/herself
  • Have trouble putting the right date and amount on a check
  • Forget what month or season it is
  • Have trouble cooking meals or even ordering from a menu

At this stage you can help with everyday chores and his/her safety. Make sure she/he isn’t driving anymore, and that someone isn’t trying to take advantage of her/him financially.

These are good words to keep in mind: “Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person…The fifth commandment requires children not only to yield respect, submission, and obedience to their parents but also to give them love and tenderness, to lighten their cares, to guard their reputation, and to succor and comfort them in old age.”[ii]

 

Father God, may I take good care of my parents not just because they took good care of me but because you commanded it.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-disease-stages

[ii] White, E.G., Mind, Character, and Personality, p. 747

 

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Unkind children

And now may the LORD show kindness and truth to you. I also will repay you this kindness, because you have done this thing. 2 Samuel 2:6 (NKJV)

 

Kindness is like good medicine to the soul, particularly when we witness it in children.  Who doesn’t melt when you see a child being kind, whether that’s sharing a favorite treat with a friend or giving someone a hug, just because.

And yet, maybe because of the barrage of social media, or all the stories of bullying, Americans feel that children today are not very kind.  NBC News[i] conducted a survey they called “the state of kindness poll” in which 62% of the more than 2,600 participants responded that they believe kids are less kind today than they were in the past. Women (66%) feel more strongly about this kindness deficit than do men (58%).

Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of respondents (77%) blamed parents for this seeming lack of kindness among children today, with only a few blaming the community, schools, or friends.  But while saying that, Americans say they don’t put kindness first when it comes to teaching kids values.  Instead, teaching children honesty, courage, leadership, and a strong work ethic trumped kindness by the majority of the respondents.

On the other hand, the younger generation — those 18-24 — thinks kindness rules, and these millennials chose kindness by 10 percentage points over honesty as the most important quality to teach kids.

The survey results also show that Americans are split on whether kindness is innate or needs to learned and nurtured over time. Slightly more than half (52%) of survey participants believe that all of us are born with the ability to show kindness, while 47% believe kindness must be developed.  Those without kids (56%) were more inclined to think that people are born kind, while 50% of participants with kids thought nurture trumped nature, and more men believe nature is innate while only about half the women believe it is inherent.  Parents do play a very important role in teaching kindness to their kids by example.

 

Father, help me to teach kindness to my kids through my own example.

[i] http://www.today.com/kindness/are-todays-kids-kind-most-americans-say-no-guess-whats-t57326

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Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:23 (NKJV)

 

Pastor Kathy Cannon[i] and her husband have adopted five children whom they call “the fantastic five.”  She shared these thoughts about adoption and foster parents.

  1. Every single one of your insecurities may be tested. Those days will come when there are questions you can’t answer, behaviors that will confuse and frustrate you, and feelings that are horrifying. We’re not saying these will come from your children, but from inside you.  It is vital that you have a safe environment, such as a Christian counselor’s office, which will allow you to talk through what you’re experiencing.
  2. You may become addicted without realizing it. Pastor Cannon is referring to your youngest child, or as some people call it, your “bonus baby.” As she explain, “Not because he was a surprise pregnancy, but I promise, we only updated our home study to get just ONE more child. We were NOT going to adopt another sibling set under any circumstances whatsoever. Umm … oops. Hey look, family, that baby sister we were looking for comes with a baby brother, too!”
  3. The experience will be nothing like what you expected. In her words, “Your child (or children!) may look nothing like what you dreamed about, it may take longer or shorter than you desired, and the court dates and line of social workers and child search and all of it may be something you never wanted for your life. But at the end of the day, as you tuck in your child, turn out the light, and collapse onto the couch … you will be reminded that God works all things together for good for those who love Him, and are called according to His purposes. (Romans 8:28)”

I like these words:  “If you have no children of your own, it may be that the Lord has a wise purpose in withholding from you this blessing. It should not be taken as evidence that it is your duty to adopt a child. In some cases this might be advisable. If the Lord bids you take an infant to bring up, then the duty is too plain to be misunderstood.”[ii]

 

Father, I submit to your will and wisdom for me and my children.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/Ten-Things-No-One-Tells-You-About-Adoption/

[ii] White, E.G., Welfare Ministry, p. 235

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For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15 (NKJV)

 

Pastor Kathy Cannon[i] and her husband have adopted five children whom they call “the fantastic five.”  She shared these thoughts about adoption and foster parents.

  1. Complete strangers may feel empowered to ask you very personal questions. This may be specially the case if you have adopted children form a different ethnic background. Some people feel they can approach you freely and ask you if your children are adopted or not, and you may be tempted to respond for the thousandth time that they are your children, period.  It is at those times when a pause for prayer can help you to remain calm and respond nicely, and maybe have some nice responses handy for when that time comes.
  2. Your children will actually begin to reflect you. It is truly amazing when your adopted children begin to reflect some of your character and personality traits. There is no one else to blame for that eye roll, the competitive nature, or the way you say things other than you…they learned it all from you
  3. You will have to clean the hall closet. You will have to learn what parents of biological children have learned: Make your house child proof.  Yes, that may include putting the knife block on the fridge, locks on all the cabinets, and all chemicals in a “non-accessible” location.

Of course, in your case this is not only a matter of safety for your children.  Keep in mind that the social worker is coming to inspect your house, and that hall closet with medicines and cleaning supplies will finally have to get organized and get a fancy new lock so he can see the lock, make sure the tweezers are in the first-aid kit, and check your hot water temperature.  Yes, the official people who will decide whether you can keep your child or not need to see that you are a responsible adult and your home a safe place for them to be.  It is tiresome work, but it is also so rewarding at the end.

 

Father God, please remind me daily that my children are watching me and learning from me.  May they learn about you through me.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/Ten-Things-No-One-Tells-You-About-Adoption/

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But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5 (NKJV)

 

Pastor Kathy Cannon[i] and her husband have adopted five children whom they call “the fantastic five.”  She shared these thoughts about adoption and foster parents.

  1. You won’t be able to save any children. You are not the Messiah – Jesus is. The reality is that you are not perfect, and that you are desperately in need of salvation yourself.  But, as she writes, “You will figure out 18 ways to deflect complements about what you’re doing for ‘these kids,’ because you know that your kids are really changing you even more.”
  2. Your children may have problems no one told you about. Just like biological children born with some hidden medical or developmental need, the same thing can happen in adoption. It is not anyone’s fault, and you now have the opportunity as a parent to learn, advocate, and help your child.
  3. You’ll never want to watch movies again. So many movies use the concept of an orphan or adoption. Not just Annie, who gets adopted by someone  a lot richer than her, but also Po searching for his birth pandas, Tarzan’s traumatic childhood, and others. While it should not be a secret to your adopted children that you chose them to be yours, you do need to be careful what messages they may get from the movie industry and which is more often than not idealistic and not very realistic.
  4. You’ll be forced into awkward conversations

It is important that you make their adoption as normal a fact of life as anything else.  Speaking about it from the time they are young will lessen the “shock value.”  Speaking about their birth parents will also normalize conversations about their lives and allow them to continue bonding with you while not dismissing other parts of their history.

 

Father God, you saved us and adopted us.  As parents, we chose to adopt our children so they could come to know you and be saved to.  Bless our relationship that it may always be a positive, loving one.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/Ten-Things-No-One-Tells-You-About-Adoption/

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Which psych is right?

Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. Psalm 26:2 (NKJV)

 

Whenever you have a mental health concern, you should seek help.  The question is whether you should go see a psychologist or a psychiatrist.  Tony Rehagen[i] explains, in general terms, the difference between these two professionals and which one you should visit when you need help.

How are they alike?  Both psychiatrists and psychologists are trained to help you deal with mental health issues, and to talk you through your problems.  Their goal is to provide you with the means to manage the issues in your everyday life.

How are they different?  Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MDs or DOs) who after medical school have a year of medical internship, and then three years of residency in the assessment and treatment of mental health disorders.  Psychologists can have a masters or a doctoral degree in an area of psychology, which is the study of the mind and human behavior.  They’re not medical doctors.  Often, they do 1-2 years of a practical internship. Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists are also trained in giving psychological tests (like IQ tests or personality tests).   The most commonly known distinction between these two mental health professionals is that psychiatrists can prescribe medication, although a few states allow psychologists to prescribe a limited number of psychiatric medications if they’ve taken a course in psychopharmacology.

Both psychologists and psychiatrists are typically trained to practice psychotherapy, although they may use different approaches to solving your mental health problems.  In general terms, psychologists look closely at your behavior, while psychiatrists have a stronger sense of biology and neurochemistry and will provide a diagnosis of exclusion. For instance, before diagnosing someone with depression, they will first make sure they don’t instead have some vitamin deficiency or thyroid problem.  Once they’ve made a mental health diagnosis, psychiatrists often prescribe you medicine.  Whenever you need help, particularly with mental health, don’t hesitate to seek it.

 

Father God, help me to maintain good physical and mental health.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/psychologist-or-psychiatrist-which-for-you?ecd=wnl_men_101715&ctr=wnl-men-101715_nsl-promo-4_img&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%39999

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Sleep solutions for kids – 2

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)

 

Laura T. Coffey[i], writing for TODAY Parenting, shares 11 tips, tricks and strategies from experts, who are also parents, for helping little ones, and their parents, get more shut-eye.

  1. Prepare kids to fall asleep. (Lisa Maxwell) For Lisa’s children, they have created a routine of reading a bedtime story and then rubbing their kid’s feet with sleep or stress lotion.
  2. Make it dark. (Dr. Katie Lockwood, pediatrician). You may want to consider blackout shades as it makes the room dark and will make it easier for your young child to fall asleep in the afternoon, and that they won’t wake up early when sunrise is early. Some children like some light, so you may buy a night light that has a timer and will go off after a few minutes and make sure it doesn’t shine directly on them.
  3. Parents and kids: Put that cell phone away! (Lisa Maxwell). We all need a break from technology, particularly right before bedtime. Teens have a difficult time controlling their phones and hearing text messages can make it difficult to relax and go to sleep.  Some pediatricians recommend that the cell phones not be charging in your children’s rooms at night for that reason.
  4. Don’t tell them everything. (Jennifer Swartvagher). Particularly in the United States, when Daylight Savings Time ends, you can continue to put them to bed at the same time. . . they will get an extra hour of sleep every night. . . until they figure it out.
  5. Parents need sleep, too — and here’s a healthy way to get it. (Lisa Maxwell). She recommends you try to fit 30 minutes of exercise in each day, for your, and their benefit.
  6. Remember the strategy that eventually will work. (Jill Morgenstern / Do Try This at Home). Here’s the secret that worked for them: “Just wait for them to become teenagers. Then they NEVER want to get out of bed.”

 

Father God, help us all to get all the sleep we can and need so we may be in better health and in a better mood.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/11-sleep-solutions-kids-their-exhausted-moms-dads-t50581

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