Many of us have been enjoying the Caregiving Holiday Progressive Blog Party this week which provides a lovely time to visit other caregivers, enjoy some holiday fun right at home, and maybe even win a fun surprise! I've been blessed by several sweet comments this week at SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation, including one from Kathy, "Thank you for opening your blog and heart for the caregiving.com Progressive Blog Party! I find it amazing you have time to squeeze it all in, family, blog, FB, Twitter, and still throw a wonderful shindig."
I thought about that encouragement for a minute. Yes, I do TRY to do all those things, and occasionally I succeed well at them – in the random and increasingly rarer "spurts of time" in between caring for my senior mom and babysitting my grandchildren.
Most of the time, though, it's more like spurts of minutes or even seconds – a tweet here, a comment there, before another interruptions. Of course, that's not just true for eldercaregivers – moms with young kids know that feeling well too!
For example, on Sunday, I enjoyed a tiny spurt that allowed me to reply to MOST of my comments in the past week, in between checking on my mom's blood pressure as she wasn't feeling well (better today – YAY!) and helping my grandson wrap his Christmas gifts for his brothers (did you see my VERY organized Christmas bags yesterday?).
It was a nice day, with a dash of stress and a whole lot of prayer! How do I cope? PLENTY of prayer, regular time daily in Bible study (making good use of the verse by verse Bible studies on my iPod) and surrounding myself with God's musical encouragement.
While I love fun Christmas carols like "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," I primarily listen to praise and worship Christmas carols (just as I prefer encouraging praise and worship music through the rest of the year). It keeps my mind focused on God – His provision, priorities and peace!
Yes, depression does creep in once in a while – I had a not-fun bout with it last week, partly because of a mild flu bug. Following the steps above keeps me coming back to Him for strength and nourishment and – in the midst of a decidedly NON-peaceful season of life in my home, my country, and my world – I am blessed with His peace that truly does surpass all comprehension and that will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:7)
So many of the older Christmas carols talk about His peace for all of us. I especially love the choral sections in Handel's Messiah that deal with the prophecies of the Messiah along with His birth. Today, as my grandson had fun building a fort and I sat beside him chatting and playing on Carcassonne with a dear friend, we enjoyed listening to that as delightful background music. Even with the music low and the words hard to hear, when it gets to the verse, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor , The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" from Isaiah 9:6, my ears perk up and I am blessed to know that He is truly my Savior, my King, my Peace!
While we've enjoyed a few parts of this lovely symphony over the years, this is the first time I've been playing it through all the way for them and for me (thanks to a grand sale at Amazon). It's truly been a delight for me personally, as well as to share with my family! Here's some cute country clipart with a coloring page for our kids and grandkids, and I found a great list of all the lyrics and their Scripture references at WorshipMap. I do love using music and pictures to plant God's Word in our grandkids – and our – hearts.
Sweet Advent and Christmas blessings to all of you – caregivers, parents, grandparents – in AND out of the Sandwich Generation!
P.S. Thank you so much for your comments. I enjoy them very much and read each one. I also love the grand ideas so many of you share that help and encourage other readers. I do my best to reply to them all but value your patience when that isn\'t possible.