Category Archives: Relationships

It’s always the re-entry that gets me <3

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Oh my…I have so much to tell you.

Only I am fighting to just say you…because I want to say “y’all”….

because I spent three full days in Texas and well…Y’all….it fits everything.

It’s inclusive when you are speaking to a known or unknown crowd…and works when just speaking a friend.

It finishes a thought or sentence with a much sweeter connotation than our Midwestern go-to “Do you know what I mean?”

So please forgive me if you see me and I slip up and use it…but I think if I didn’t love and live right here in God’s country…Texas would be my next best choice <3

So here is a short recap of the past few days and then I will be spilling out some of what got poured in so…y’all come on back…sorry…last time…I promise <3

First off…

huge shout out and thanks to Russ for showing up and for all you sweet friends who supported us with donations and being at the walk on Saturday.  I kept getting pictures sent and email notices of donations and my heart was so blessed.

And Russ cheesing it with the local news celeb…may have laughed out loud on that one <3

So thankful for each one who showed love for the caregivers and patients of this disease.

Also a very big thank you to Robin who is an amazing gift from God tech person who helped me unglitch my email list in a panic on Wednesday so my scheduled posts could go out.

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The Declare Conference was amazing and I will be sharing more from that this week.

I got home around 1 AM…and hit the ground running Sunday morning because we went up north to hear our favorite brothers in Christ sing…and then Papi thought we needed an overnight so…

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the band of brothers…including the rookie in the middle…climbed in Papi’s truck and the adventure began.

We detected a bit of maybe too much smiling from…

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momma bear since Little Miss Thing looked really sleepy and the house looked waaaaayyyyy too quiet….

Because our truck was anything but.

You know we had a blast doing the most unPinterest worthy things like…

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taking a spin through Menards….

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using a box of crayons that has “Sarah Reimer” written in black marker on the top…yeah…circa 1996 art supplies.

My sous chef and I made pumpkin bread and muffins…

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Boys played their favorite game…

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count the change in Papi’s big baseball bat bank.

After a restful nights sleep for them and not us, of course….

We took a trek down to the butterfly fields and the creek…

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Learned why it’s important not to have an open glass of water in front of you when you are playing cards with the band of brothers….

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Met up with mom at the pumpkin patch…

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introduced Caroline to the wonderful culinary world of Pumpkin Donuts…

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and had…

all in all…

y’all…

another series in the on-going series of ….

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Best. Day. Ever’s.

 

 

 

Alzheimer Awareness – Humor

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We have covered a couple of rough days this week as I have shared some of my experiences with Alzheimer care.

We looked at fear and guilt, so today I want to lighten it a little and share another aspect of our journey that I believe is essential to your survival. 

Humor

My father’s father most likely had Alzheimer, but it wasn’t identified back then. 

I remember my aunt sharing stories about how, even though she lived next door and had been in their house a zillion times over the years, her dad would refer to her as “that lady you had over.”

My aunt had dancing eyes and a laugh that I would give a small fortune just to hear again…she had a rich voice like our Sarah girl and she would tell those stories and chuckle deep…she said you have to laugh or you will cry. 

Oh you will still cry…but you have to laugh.

You have to laugh til you cry and cry til you laugh and you have to do it with people you love. 

And we did laugh. 

There was the time we were standing in the lobby of the nursing home and Rachel said, as only she can…Uh…mom….look at that….

There was a list of phone numbers posted in big marker on a huge white piece of paper with numbers of calls made. 

Ours was up there in bold black at the top of the list with a ridiculous amount of calls. 

Apparently the nursing home had to pay for outside calls and some people were abusing the system. 

Yep. 

My dad, who couldn’t remember my name … who called our children his “nieces” (yes, even John was included in that) and had to be introduced to my husband on occasion…had managed to figure out the access code to the nurses station phone and made several hundred calls to our house that month. 

Which explained all the hangups on our answering machine. 

There was the time I tried to get him new shoes and after bringing three possibles in and struggling to get them on his feet and zero worked…I put his old pair back on him in exasperation, knowing I now had to return all three to different stores and start over. 

As I crammed them in their boxes, he held up his feet and wiggled them around in those filthy, worn out, old shoes.

He smiled at me with great joy and said…

“Well, these fit perfectly! Thank you!”

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So today my prayer is for laughter…for joy…for a lighter spirit and a garment of praise.

Heavenly Father, in our weariness we can lose our ability to laugh.

I think of Jesus and I think he must have had a wonderful sense of humor for a flock of fisherman to tag along with Him and enjoy His company on the daily. 

I picture how He is not worried about things and how His humor is good-natured because He is good.

And so I pray today for light moments each day for care givers. 

I pray they will give themselves permission to laugh and smile and find humor in some of the moments. 

I pray for those times when tears are so heavy that You would lead them to those who can cry with them but can also then help them laugh again…smile again…find joy in living again. 

Father, I know you have a sense of humor…You made me.

In laughter I find I can take myself less seriously and I can sense Your love and healing in those moments. 

As surely as You sing over us, You must also laugh and cry with us, and in this Holy Communion may we grow closer to Your heart. 

I ask in Jesus’ Name <3

Alzheimer Awareness Month: Fear

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I am aware that October seems to be a key month for various groups to target us for “awareness.”

And I am aware that all of this push to make us aware can wear us out. 

As humans, we have enough struggle in our day to day just to keep one foot moving in front of the other.

If we have one ounce of empathy in us, we can get overwhelmed trying to take in the excess of information available covering health issues, the shenanigans of politicians and the personal plights of such a diverse population.

Not to mention entire islands being engulfed in water and rubble.

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Yet here I am, faced with the knowledge that I made a promise to someone I respect and admire who leads a support group for families and spouses affected by Alzheimer and knowing I need to address the topic as promised <3

So I am dedicating the rest of this week to addressing four topics caregivers might experience on this journey with a loved one. 

My father died of the disease in 2010 after what we surmise was a long battle.

Being highly intelligent and disciplined all of his life, and having a wife who filled in until she broke, it went on for far longer than we like to think before we brought him to our hometown in 2003 and began a seven year season that shaped our family differently than we would have planned. 

In the summer of that year, I loaded our John in the car fresh off the back nine of a city golf tournament.

He was thirteen years old and got exposed to a side of his grandpa I wish I could erase from his story, but I thank God for that young life in the back of my van for the long road trip home with my mom, dad and aunt. 

It was a rescue mission that launched us into the world of medicare, hospitals, nursing homes and all manner of a life caring for elderly family; even as we finished raising up three Reimers and navigating them through Junior and Senior high, college and marriage. 

How we made it was by doing it together…with generous doses of grace and mercy and the love of God poured into our days.

We drew strength from Him and from each other. We had friends who prayed us through and we are forever grateful for what God gave us in this time. 

So I want to share some from my experiences this week to encourage those who are in the trenches right now or for who are still healing from the battle.

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I am choosing four key words to use this week’s posts and today’s is Fear. 

Because we walked through this and our children saw the devastation of this disease…because they held their wife and mom tight and came alongside me on those days when all I had were tears…because we know Alzheimer seems to run in families…sometimes I fight fear. 

From the frantic search for my phone or the forgotten errand I headed out to do only to come home and discover…still no milk in the fridge…normal every day forgetful things can strike fear in the heart of the child of one who has suffered hard from this disease that wreaks havoc on the mind.

However…the worst part is the things I simply have no recollection about. 

It’s when I am told I agreed to something and I cannot even dredge up one memory of it.

Or I have a conversation that is brand new fresh in my own mind and the hearer nods with familiarity and says I told them that already…and I don’t remember any of the experience. 

This too is normal for a busy person who talks too much and overcommits. 

But for a child of a parent who had Alzheimer, the fear creeps in and the hand goes to the head.

And we commence to pray deep prayers.  

Prayers for God to make all the nerve endings work the way they were meant to…prayers that we never have to cause our spouse or children the pain we have endured.

 Prayers that if the Lord chooses to let my mind go, will He please take with it my ability to speak so I never use words that harm them?

Prayers that if I do go this route, oh Lord, will You give my dear family Your Presence in powerful ways?

Will you flood them with Your grace and wisdom so they know Your strength is carrying them?

Will You please draw them so close they can smell You and feel You?

And Lord, would You cause them to lean hard into You and into the love they have for each other?

I know this is hard to read and it sounds like I speak without hope, but I am just sharing the honest prayers of a child’s heart to her God when she is afraid.

So today I offer a prayer for me…for you…for anyone who has been touched by a loved one having this disease and sometimes fights fear.

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Heavenly Father, I do not doubt that You made me and You know the number of my days. You know my future and it is held in Your hands and in this I take great comfort. Lord, You know the fear that grips me when I forget things.

You know how I can worry that one day my sweet husband or precious children or grandchildren will walk through the heartache of losing someone they love while continuing to care for someone who doesn’t know them. It is frightening to think of Lord, yet I know that fear is not of You. You are Perfect Love and Perfect Love casts out all fear.

I do lay my hand on my head and I do ask You Lord to spare me and our family of the ravages this disease can bring. I speak life and I speak healing over my mind and I thank You that my mental, physical and spiritual health are all under Your authority.

I do pray, Lord, in whatever ways that aging brings changes to me…to my mind and to my body, that I would remain faithfully in You no matter what the outer shell may look like.

I pray for the renewing of my mind and my spirit and Lord, even as our children and grandchildren will be saddened by the process of Russ and me growing older no matter what this looks like.

Thank You that You will use this to soften their hearts and mould and shape them even more into the image of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for the love and support of family and friends in every season.

Thank You that our future is not prescribed by our past, by our genetics, by our fears…thank You that our future is held tight and safe and lovingly in Your hands <3 

In Jesus’ precious Name, amen <3

How precious when we all just get along <3

Thanks for loving my story yesterday…so fun to share it with you. 

But if there is one thing we Reimers are, it is honest. 

And woven around all the joy and laughter is a healthy dose of real life and there are days when those little darlings give their mommy and daddy a run for the money…not to mention us grandparents. 

Because they are fully, 100% H.U.M.A.N.

We are wired to cherish those moments when our children get along for a reason. 

Made in God’s image, we get a glimpse of His heart when we encourage, beg, threaten, discipline, lecture and otherwise attempt all methods known to man in the effort to get our children to get along with each other.

And by get along, I don’t mean that kind of camaraderie where two gang up on another or fellowship is enhanced as they plot some misdeed or gleefully pursue driving the adult on duty into a frenzy of frustration. 

Anyone who has ever had more than fifteen minutes of tending small children knows there is a blissful place, that comes far too rarely, when everyone is playing cooperatively and being kind and we just want it to last forever. 

But it typically is over before we can even grab our phone to snap a picture documenting it actually happened.

Thankfully, it does occur often enough to give us hope for the possibility and some smiles in our heart that keep us going through the rougher parts of child rearing. 

But back to that “in the likeness of God” idea I mentioned. 

Because God also loves when His children get along in productive and kind and altruistic ways. 

I think it is expressed best and most clearly in Psalm 133:

        How wonderful, how beautiful,

when brothers and sisters get along!

It’s like costly anointing oil

flowing down head and beard,

Flowing down Aaron’s beard,

flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.

It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon

flowing down the slopes of Zion.

Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing,

ordains eternal life.

I love this phrasing from The Message Bible.

And while for mom’s reading this, the idea of anything flowing down the head and onto the clothes may be a bit too much of a reminder of the breakfast mess you just scoured off your child, the furniture and the floor…grab the concept.

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pc/rachel <3

 

When we get along with our brothers and sisters, it is like a priest being anointed with holy oil…like the morning dew refreshing the earth and glistening with the promise of a new day. 

It does not mean getting along as in we agreed to join forces and run things the way we want it. 

And not uniting to give more impact to our agenda and way of thinking. 

Nor does it mean forming a pack out of mutual love and admiration for those who make us feel good about who we are.

No, this blessed unity comes when our love for God is so powerful that we see His children with His eyes and we love them with a power that we do not possess in our humanity. 

This sweet love can only come when we allow God to overrule our natural tendencies to be selfish and surrender our hearts so that He can pour His love through us onto others. 

I well remember my own days in the trenches when our three would have moments when picking on each other seemed to give them some kind of pleasure that was wearing me out. 

In desperation, I would tell them that while they seemed to be enjoying the sport of it all, it was ripping at my heart to see them fighting. 

Out of love for me, more than fear of punishment, they would … at times…rein in their desire to harass a sibling and there would be some moments of blessed peace. 

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Can we not do the same for our Father who loves us so much more perfectly than we can ever fully comprehend? 

Friday Funday <3

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We are getting things pulled together for a short end of summer vacation, and I have been working on posts for another “grown up VBS series” for the blog that will run next week…so with all that going on, I thought I would just share a light story to maybe make you chuckle and get you on your way to whatever your weekend looks like. 

Two weeks ago, we got to have the older two boys here for an overnight. 

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I went up to get them and since we were heading this way around lunch time, we got Happy Meals at the drive through. The boys were settled in the back seat with their drinks in the car tray and as they munched on chicken nuggets and french fries, conversation just flowed. 

At one point I asked if either of them knew anything about a stack of post-it-notes I had found completely taken apart on one of the beds in a guest room following the whole family’s visit the previous Sunday. 

Graham’s response indicated he had no idea what I was even talking about; but Emmett, without missing a beat or a chew, replied….”You mean the little squares of blue, pink, and green paper that were all stuck together in a stack and were taken apart on the bed in my room? It wasn’t me.” 

uh huh. right. 

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Couple things there…”my room” is the room he has claimed as his when they come to our house and he spends a lot of time in there “just thinking.” 

And second…he seemed to have a lot of detailed information logged in his memory about the event. 

I asked if he was sure he didn’t do it but no…it must have been Joel. Who was conveniently absent that day to bear testimony of his guilt or innocence. 

So I just said, well…God knows who did it, but I would appreciate it if it didn’t happen again. 

As soon as we got to our house, Emmett disappeared to visit “his room” and in a few minutes came to get me. 

I had pulled the stack off the bed and just dumped them on the desk top in there to deal with later. He had gone looking for them and had reassembled them into a neat stack for me. 

I have no idea if he did it, or Joel did it and while I certainly hope he was telling the truth…I have laughed my head off so many times. 

I will probably never use a post-it-note again without this story popping up and making me laugh. 

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A popular phrase right now is “doing life together” and for me that is the tapestry of stories gleaned from moments shared with friends and family. 

I pray today you have some post-it-note laughs tied to some of your ordinaries and when you get those flashes that make you giggle, just take time to thank God for your people. 

I am thankful for each of you and for the connection we can make here each week.

Be blessed this weekend as you rest and refresh. 

And please, please…join me next week for Grown Up VBS 2018…the theme is … Battles <3

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