Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Walk to End Alzheimer's

There are some things in this world that I just don't like. Way, way up on the list of things I don't like is dementia. It may rank number 1, that's how much I dislike it.

You may know that dementia has messed with my family. It makes me angry when something messes with my family. I wrote a post on my anger about dementia. I'm fighting it and will continue fighting it. A couple of things are happening in the next few months that I will be writing more about in upcoming posts.

My mother had Lewy Body Dementia. You can read more about it by clicking the tab at the top of  the page. It is related to Alzheimer's, but is a separate and distinct disease. I support the Lewy Body Dementia Association. They will be sponsoring a Month to Remember in October and I will be giving more information in the weeks to come here on my blog.

I also support the Alzheimer's Association because we also have this form of dementia in our family. Each year the Alzheimer's Association has walks all over the country to raise money and awareness. My family participates in this walk and I would like to ask you to consider joining a walk in your area. Check out this video for more information.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Trusting God with Your Dreams: Repost of Living Vicariously

Do you have a dream in your heart? Does it sometimes seem like God hasn't heard that drearm? Sometimes it does seem like God doesn't care about our dreams. I think that's about the farthest from the truth that a person can get. I believe He cares and wants to fulfill those heart desires.

Sometimes, though, I think we get caught up in our vision of the dream when God really sees the desires of our heart. Sometimes God brings our dreams to reality but we don't right away recognize it's happened. I found that to be true in my case. God saw beneath my vision to my truest wishes and He fulfilled those in a way I never expected.

I have posted this before, but want to share again with how God has fulfilled one of my dreams.

Years ago, in high school, I imagined a grown up life that included an early marriage to a loving husband and six kids. Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself single into my forties.

Instead of six children of my own I have been blessed with six nieces and nephews. My youngest sister's family lives a half mile from me. She and her husband have two children. She has shared her life with me in an incredible way.

When she was pregnant with her youngest and her husband, a Marine, was in Afghanistan, they weren't sure he would be back in time for delivery. They asked me to be her labor coach. I gladly accepted the role.

I got the calls when the baby was squeezing her so tight she couldn't breathe. I heard about the nights of sleeping sitting up. I accompanied her and her older child to the ultrasound that revealed the gender of the baby. And I was there the morning the false alarm took us to the hospital at 5:30am.

When the time came, I sat with her all day, I cut the cord and I placed that precious little one in daddy's arms for the first time.

Over the years I have experienced Barney, The Wiggles, Dance, Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero. I have picked up kids at daycare and stayed with them when they were sick and mom had to work.

I have been soccer mom and taxi service. I have been at school musicals, back to school night, birthday parties, karate practice, orthodontist visits and soccer games. I have been called to pick up kids when they missed the bus or forgot their art supplies.

Overnight visits have allowed mom and dad to get away for a night, a weekend or even a week. I know the joy of waking up beside the warm body that sprawled across the bed and kicked me all night. I grin when I think of waking to that smiling two year old face saying "Hi Tammie!"

I have been a horsey and a pillow and a mean lion. I have bouncy, bouncied on the trampoline and been laughed at when I went down and couldn't get back upright on the trampoline. I have played games, read stories and kissed hurts away.

My sister is an amazing mother and she has shared her two wonderful children with me. I have six nieces and nephews. I regret that I haven't been able to live close enough to share these things with all of them. I have never regretted the time spent to help when my sister needed me. I have lived vicariously!

How has God fulfilled your dreams?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Glimpses of Heaven

I believe in heaven. I believe that someday I will be overwhelmed by its beauty. I don’t have the image of people sitting around on clouds eating chocolate. In fact, I don’t have a real visual of the “place” at all. There is so much that isn’t known about the afterlife. Still I imagine the peacefulness and sense of love and incredible beauty.

I also believe that God gives us little glimpses of heaven here on earth to entice us. I see it in the brilliant colors of a sunrise. I hear it in the sweet giggles of a toddler. I feel it in the hug of a family member. I taste it in juicy, plump blackberries. I smell it in the freshness after a rain shower.

Thoughts of heaven intrigue and encourage me. I love getting those little views of what it will be like.

What are your glimpses of heaven?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Exciting Research into Memory Switches that Could Help Dementia Sufferers

This week the news came out that researchers have found a way to switch memories on and off in rats. The news came from the University of Southern California where Theodore Berger and a team of scientists worked with Wake Forest University on the research.

When I first saw the title it reminded me of the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where the main character’s memories were erased in order to forgot lost love. I guess that’s one way of dealing with exes. The movie freaked me out a little bit and I wondered about technology that could do such a thing.

The research into memory switches, though, opens exciting possibilities for dementia sufferers. One of the main issues with dementia is that people forget. With my mom she forgot how to do everyday things like feed and dress herself. Others forget people or memories. It’s emotionally tough for the person with dementia and their loved ones.

If this research continues to show promise and eventually becomes something that is used in humans it would bring a new level of treatment for many. It would mean a restoring of quality of life for a lot of people.

The full article "Restoring Memories, Repairing Damaged Brains" can be found on the USC web site.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Don't Cut Down that Tree

In the yard of the farmhouse that my grandfather grew up in stood a pear tree for more than 100 years. Over the years people have wanted to chop it down for one reason or another. Grandpa always said, "No."

The morning that Grandpa died a storm blew through the area and that old tree was uprooted. Kind of ironic.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Seventy Years

Seventy years ago today my grandma and grandpa walked down the aisle and said “I do.” And for the last seventy years they did, for better and worse, in good times and bad, and through sickness and health.

As you may know from reading my blog in the last few weeks my grandpa recently passed away. Today is bittersweet. It’s a testament to lasting love and devotion. To the end my grandpa was worried about his sweet bride and that she would be okay when he was gone. I’ve written about him, so I’d like to tell you about my grandma.

For as long as I can remember Grandma’s been a spitfire. She’s a tiny little thing but her spirit and determination make up for what she lacks in size. Every time we visited I remember her energy and enthusiasm. She’s quite the dynamo.

Their family is large. She gave birth to and raised (with Grandpa’s help) thirteen children. I can’t imagine how she did it since I have trouble keeping up with myself and my kitty cat. One thing that I am always impressed by is how she can keep the kids in line, even now that they are grown and the boys grew bigger than her.

I watch how the kids have come around her and Grandpa during these last two tough months and I know that this speaks to what kind of parents they were. These kids love their parents and sacrifice to be there for them. That is what family is all about and they learned that in large part from Grandma.

Grandma and Grandpa always put out a garden and she would can and make jam and do things in the kitchen that I don’t even know about. She makes a mean strawberry freezer jam and in my opinion nothing Smuckers or Welch’s makes come close. Having a meal at their house is all about every day food that is amazing because it comes from their garden. Oh, the tomatoes! I dislike eating grocery store tomatoes because they just don’t come close.

Quilting is something she enjoys and excels at doing. Her stitching is perfect and if you didn’t know better you might think it was machine done. I’ve admired her quilts for years and knew that if I asked her she would make one for me, but didn’t want to burden her. A few years ago when I visited she brought out a quilt and gave it to me. She said she had to make it for me because as my godmother she never gave me anything. That, of course, isn’t true because I remember birthday cards and other gifts through the years. She made it just for me and it is beautiful, all creamy white with scalloped edges and hearts and daisies quilted on it.

One of my favorite memories will always be from my visit in 2008. The last day I was there I had the whole day free and that afternoon went down to the farm house. Grandma and Grandpa were watching TV and she was peeling and quartering apples to freeze for pies. I sat next to her that afternoon and helped her until my fingers hurt from holding the paring knife and were stained from the apples. It was a priceless afternoon.

I’ve said it before and it is said with sincerity, I am proud to be part of this family. Grandma is definitely one of my favorite people in the whole world. My heart aches for her today as she remembers the years she and Grandpa shared. I pray that the happy memories of so many years will comfort her.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Great Story, Nothing More!?

“I don’t read fiction. I prefer to learn and grow when I read.” Somebody told me this once, I don’t remember who.

I love to read both fiction and non-fiction and have never wanted to tie myself down to one or the other. There are so many good books out there that I will read anything that is well written and holds my attention.

But, do you see the misnomer in that first paragraph? It implies that fiction is just a good story, entertainment, nothing more.

While a novel is meant to be entertaining it can also be so much more. Recently I read a new novel. It was fun and light and had a sweet story. Some would read and simply enjoy the story.

In the midst of the story there was a scene that kind of thumped me on the head. It spoke to something that was going on in my life. The scene wasn’t preachy and it wasn’t deep. Still it spoke truth and that truth spoke to me. As I read the words of the characters I saw myself. I came away from that book with a new outlook on a situation in my life. I realized that I needed to make some changes. All because of the words of a fictional character.

That’s the great things about books. They have the capability of entertaining us and changing our lives. We don’t need to stick to non-fiction in order to learn something from our reading.

On that note, go forth and read!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gone in the Blink of an Eye

The cubicle sits ready for another days work. A clean coffee mug placed next to the keyboard. Reading glasses rest upon a stack of reports to be worked.

It was only a weekend of fun. Something they had done many times before. Two days of rest and relaxation and then return to the daily life on Monday.

The rest and relaxation ended in a tragic accident. Gone in a moment. The cubicle waits, but the occupant doesn’t return.

Life is full of unknowns and perhaps the biggest one is when our time on earth will end. None of us knows the exact day or time. God knows the number of our days and I think it’s a good thing that we don’t.

Some people ask, “What would you do if you knew you had only so many hours to live?” Good question, but I’d like to ask, “What can you do now since you don’t know when your time is up?” I, for one, want to know that when the time comes I’ve done everything I can with the time I had.

There are some things that I think are important in light of our uncertain time line:

  1. Make sure the people that you love and care about know that you do. Say “I love you” more. Treat those around you like today might be your last. 
  2. Don’t put things you really want to do or that are important to do off until tomorrow. Tomorrow may not come. Enjoy life now.
  3. Embrace God while there is still time. People sometimes say they have plenty of time to get with God. They’ll live their lives and then when older will make peace with God. Problem with that is we don’t know that there will be an older.
Life is short, live it today.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Are You Still With Me!?!

I'm still hanging in there, but my energy has been really low these last two weeks. The bronchitis/pneumonia really knocked me flat on my derriere. It takes pretty much every ounce of energy to get through the work day. I plan on getting some posts written this weekend so please come back next week.

In the meantime, have a great weekend.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Getting There....

I'm slowly recuperating. My energy level is still really low and things are getting done in bits and spurts. I hope to be back by Wednesday.