What if I could have just one more day with my mom before Alzheimer's? If I could have just one more day, I would look through family pictures with her instead of telling her she was making a mess. If I could have just one more day, I would tell her how in love I was with a boy named Reid. If I could have just one more day, I would tell her that she is the reason I love Christ. If I could have just one more day, I would help more around the house. If I could have just one more day, I would ask if she felt a void in her life before we got Toby. If I could have just one more day, I would thank her for loving me even when I talked back. If I could have just one more day, I would make sure she wasn't the one filming all our home videos. If I could have just one more day, I would tell her how beautiful she is. If I could have just one more day, I would ask her to write a diary of her thoughts on life. If I could have just one more day, I would listen to her advice instead of rolling my eyes. If I could have just one more day, I would ask her what her favorite childhood memory was. If I could have just one more day, I would make sure that she gave a little more to herself and less to me. If I could have just one more day, I would teach her how to make homemade lasagna. If I could have just one more day, I would ask what family name she would want me to pass onto my child someday. If I could have just one more day, I would ask what she fears most. If I could have just one more day, I would share my joy of marriage. If I could have just one more day, I would ask her to tell me more stories of my Papa. If I could have just one more day, I would thank her for praying for my future husband. If I could have just one more day...
On my mom's bad days, which usually involve crying, confusion, and helplessness, she has begun saying that she wants to go home. Of course, every family member took turns interpreting what they think my mom really means when she talks about going home. My dad, and probably the majority of my family, have chosen to believe that my mom means she wants to go back to how she was before Alzheimer's invaded her mind. I've never thought this conclusion was accurate, yet refused to believe my gut feeling that my mom might want to go to her eternal home.
As I listened to our pastor, Matt Chandler, preach, the Lord softly spoke to me about my mom's urge to go home. 2 Corinthians 5:1-3 says, "For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked." Our bodies are not our home. This earth is not our home. I believe that my mom knows her Heavenly Father is at home and waiting for her. I can only pray that I will feel the peace she does when I have finished the race and am ready to go home.
I have been wrestling with the Lord for the past hour, trying to make sense of why I was awaken at 5:30 am on a Saturday morning with the feeling I was being called to share this story. As usual, the Lord won our wrestling match. So, I am trusting that the Lord will speak to you through this story as He has spoken to me.
Lindsey and Chris Wheeler are the sister and brother-in-law of one of my friends, Lauren Pardue. During Friday morning girls meetings and our young married Home Group, Lauren has been sharing their story over the past four months. And, what an incredible journey this has been!
Lindsey and Chris have been following the Lord's calling to adopt a child from Guatemala. They are faithfully living out God's commandment that we (Christ Followers) are to obey. A verse that comes to mind when I think of the Wheeler's is James 1:27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Though they have faced hardships that would have made some people turn back, Lindsey and Chris press onward toward their calling.
Because I could never share, quite as eloquently as Lindsey and Chris, their heart and passion for this mission, I am asking you to take a few minutes to visit their blog:
I know I said I was not going to confront anyone who was stealing, but this guy made it too easy. The other day, I was casually watching a guy who was looking at batteries. Batteries, along with condoms, purfume, preg tests, razors, anacids, and air fresheners are one of the most commonly stolen items. So, after the guy put the batteries in his pocket I told him to give them back and leave the store. He then made on of the funniest excuses I have ever heard from a theif. He opened his mouth, pointed to his upper eight gold teeth, and exclaimed, "I don't have to steal. I have lots of money in my wallet, just look at my grill." Wow.
In the bubble I grew up in, people didn't steal. Yes, a child might slip a jelly bean or two from a "self serve" display while shopping in the grocery store with their mom, but grown people don't steal. Ha, did my job pop that bubble or what?
I have encountered many situations in which a person will place any item (seriously, it could be a $6 bag of socks) down their pants or up their shirt. I once stared, with my jaw dropped, at a lady who, while looking me straight in the eyes, put a bottle of Advil down her shirt. And she had the nerve to ask me what I was staring at! As my confrontational skills grew, I became more bold in asking people to put their stolen items back on the shelf. I will admit, several people have even been arrested because of my swift call to the Benton, AR police who have nothing else to do than investigate a crime involving a 19 year-old and a stolen $.69 candy bar.
However, after my robbery scare yesterday I decided to handle some situations more cautiously than I had before. A man entered the store last night and asked where he could find Lysol. Conveniently matching the description of the robber we were waiting for, my cashier, Alex, and I decided to hang by the front door to see if anyone was waiting outside. Sure enough a car was backed into a parking spot with the engine running (this is classic my buddy is about to steal something and I am the getaway car). As the man began walking toward the front door it was evident that he had tucked several "somethings" under his shirt. We asked if he got his Lysol, he said yes, and was out the door.
During a time of reflection with Alex, I decided this would be my new way of handling shoplifting situations. Next time, I will offer the shoplifter a bag.
I am covering an overnight shift for one of my co-workers who is on vacation this week. I have been blessed to get to work with a guy named Alex, who is the front cashier. He is thoughtful and always makes sure not to leave me in the front of the store alone. To give you some background on the overnight shift, there are usually two cashiers and a manager (one Pharmacist filling Rx's in the back). This district has found it is safest to always have two people on the front end of the store. Well, the other overnight cashier is on vacation as well, leaving only two of us in the front of the store all night.
So why am I writing about my overnight stint? This morning around 6:45 am, a woman entered the store in what we assumed was a rush to grab her items and get to work on time. She did not speak to Alex or me when we acknowledged her, didn't purchase anything, and all but ran out of the store nervously. While she as in the store we heard the front door open, but no one walked in (we know when people enter because there is a doorbell that is used at night). Alex walked outside to see if anyone was there, and he saw a large black man walking around the side of the building. Yeah, we thought it was weird, figured she was just late for work, he was one of the crazies we see now and again, and we went on with our morning. Around 7:30 am, a man who works in the 24 Hour Fitness complex came in to let Alex know that two businesses there were robbed at gun point yesterday. He said that a lady comes in the store and scopes it out, and then her partner (a large black man) comes back sometime later (we don't know a specific time frame) to rob the store.
I woke up with an urgency that I needed to send an email for prayer of protection tonight. We are worried they are wanting to hit us early tomorrow morning. Any morning that early is never busy, actually our slowest time of the day. It is still dark, and it will be Saturday (guaranteeing even less people will be out). I am calling DPD tonight to let the know the situation, but, as the store has experienced in the past, Dallas police are slow. There is a cab lady who "patrols" between our Walgreens and 7-Eleven while she isn't on the meter. I was told she carries a gun and can get there faster than the police. Great (and I mean that in a half sarcastic, half serious way). So, I have her number. I am scared. Reid is scared. He might be working with me at Walgreens tonight.
Please pray that the Lord will shield our store from all danger. I work knowing that robbery is a possibility, but have never come this close to knowing a situation might be in the works. Thanks for your prayers.
Today I met Alzheimer's. I pleaded, begged, and tried to force myself closer to understanding just how this disease is invading my mom's mind. Today I met Alzheimer's. I tried to help my mom decipher her emotions. My mom, who is strong, loving, independent, smart, stylish, funny, thoughtful, friendly, Godly, confident, beautiful inside and out, is sometimes lost in a disease. Today I met Alzheimer's. I listened as my mom cried while Alzheimer's fed her lies. I cried as my mom fought to regain control. I prayed because I couldn't help her. Today I met Alzheimer's. I am praying that my mom will always see Jesus even when confused. I pray she will see Jesus, because my mom said she wants to go home.
Tonight, as Reid and I are getting ready for bed, I find myself unable to be thankful. Why is this such a struggle? I have had the past two days off work, and yet I am wishing for just one more day of relaxation. I spent my night with Reid, but I am wishing for a few more hours of "us" time. I started catching up on the third season of Grey's Anatomy, but I wish there was time to watch a few more episodes before bedtime. What is keeping me from being thankful for two days off work, quality time spent with my husband, and that I have the luxury of watching two episodes of my favorite TV drama? Frustrated with myself and trying to conquer my negative thinking, I begin to thank God for different things in my life. I start with thanking Him for today, September 11, 2007. I think about what this day means. It means that for the past six years, and even before that, people have been fighting so that I can continue to decide how I spend my day. Passengers fought to detour the hijacked planes to a field in Pennsylvania, rescue workers spent days fighting through debris to save another life, and families will continue to fight to keep the memory of those they lost alive. I get so caught up in MY life, that I forget to think about the big picture, the eternal picture. Graciously, God allows me to learn from my sinful thinking and has taught me that one of the best ways to learn is to share my struggles with others. Are you thankful today?
So, I was off work today and Reid is in Philadelphia recruiting with Oliver Wyman at UPenn. Lucky for me, I have YouTube.com to keep me company. As many of you know, my dad is a bit of a jokester. At age 7 I stopped playing in the woods behind our house because my dad let me watch a documentary about Bog Foot, and had me convinced he was real. My brother, George, lived in perpetual fear of a monster (complete with orange skin, green eyes and black hair) that made a frequent appearance at the bottom of the stairs. However, it was definitely the youngest child, Eleanor, who got the worst of the scares. Not knowing when someone might jump out of a bush or from behind a car, she ran everywhere she went. Poor Ellie B., she still won't sleep alone. ;)
The selections below are the top 5 videos I found most amusing...yeah, I laughed 'til I cried.
I began reading this book by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs for a girls group I meet with on Friday mornings. Though I have only read one chapter, I am so excited to read a book that speaks such amazing truth! In Ephesians 5:33, Paul writes, "Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." The bottom line in Chapter One is this: without respect, he reacts without love- without love, she reacts without respect. How wonderful to know that Paul is not just offering a suggestion, but a command from God! Just in my first nine months of marriage I have seen, thankfully not many times, this play out in several disagreements that Reid and I have had. Reid and I knew we weren't understanding each other's needs, but this book clearly states what we were missing.
Reid and I were able to take time off work to take a long weekend trip to visit friends and family in Little Rock. Not having seen Reid's brother, Trevor, since our wedding, it was a great time to reconnect as the newest addition to the Grandle family. We were also able to celebrate Reid's dad's birthday! We had a wonderful dinner of pasta and an Italian meat dish (my mother-in-law is an amazing cook).
I was able to spend some quality time with my mom which is always so special for both of us! She has had good reports during her last few doctor visits and continues to take the Alzheimer's medication that is slowing the dementia. After two months of treatments, my dad has completed his radiation treatments for prostate cancer. The effectiveness of the radiation has been extremely high in most patients and we are all hopeful! During treatments, dad continued to workout with his trainer, run the bleachers at War Memorial Stadium, and lunge the length of a football field! At 64 he is an inspiration of fitness and health, and I am so proud of his hard work.