Christmas praise and worship music

Sweet words of encouragement for the Sandwich Generation caregivers everywhere

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!

Sweet words of encouragement for the Sandwich Generation caregivers everywhere - cute country clipart coloring page

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! 

Enjoy encouraging Bible verses and pictures each Word-Filled Wednesday at Internet Cafe Devotions

Spiritual Sundays are full of encouraging Bible verses and delightful praise and worship hymn songs and music

It's the second week of Advent and for this Sandwich Generation granny nanny, it started off with kisses, click clacking, and a clang! The kisses were from sweet grandchildren during a delightful afternoon that also included reading about Daniel Boone, some Advent activities for grandparents and grandchildren as we enjoyed a Christmas praise and worship music CD together, and two VERY fast games of checkers. (They were thrilled as they both won BIG TIME!)

Board games activities for grandparents and their grandchildren are great for teaching good sportsmanship and critical thinking skills

These fun times were followed by a tranquil hour of Panera's hot chocolate and click clacking away on my mini pc portable netbook as I was blog site-seeing around the blog world, including A Pause in Advent and Denise Brown's Caregiving Holiday Progressive Blog Party

This Sandwich Generation granny nanny loves hot chocolate with good friends - near - far - and even online - as you can probably tell by this cute country Christmas clipart

Then it was on to church for the clang of cymbals accompanied by piano, guitars, and an awesome choir as we thrilled to the sound of majestic Christmas praise and worship music. It was a wonderful Advent Sunday, I must say! 

Perfect days are rare for all of us and especially for those of us involved in caring for elderly parents as well as helping with grandkids. This was one of those days that are truly a gift from God and when they come, it's so important to cherish the moments while they're happening and remember them during the more difficult days.

Another of His sweet gifts are encouraging Bible verses. During the time of Advent and Christmas I love to find creative ways to share the story of the Nativity with fun decorations and activities for grandparents and grandchildren. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 reminds us to surround ourselves with God's Word and Christmas gives us extra opportunities to do just that with unique Christmas tree ornaments and other decorations.

Several of my Christmas tree ornaments have encouraging and uplifting Bible verses on them like 

This adorable and unique Christmas tree ornament is one of many of mine with encouraging Bible verses - great for sharing with the grandkids

and

Personalized Christmas Tree ornaments with encouraging Bible verses for children and grandchildren make delightful Christmas gifts

or remind us of spiritual truths,

I love Saint Nicholas but some of my grandkids also like Santa Clause - this ornament is a great way to teach that Jesus is Lord of ALL

I have cute stuffed animals from the Christian book store that teach my grandkids to focus on Jesus – the Reason for the Season.

And this year, I was delighted to add a special new decoration from Penny Carlson of Lavender Hill Studio. I won a lovely mosaic cross during the Kelee Katillac's Miracle Party that SandwichINK participated in through Spiritual Sunday.

Penny sweetly gave me my choice of patterns and I selected these delightful pink roses.

The roses on this cross are lovely - delightful for this Sandwich Generation granny nanny who is also caring for elderly parents

After seeing how lovely it was, I knew it had to join my other special Christmas and Easter decorations.

This lovely cross is perfect for Advent activities for grandparents and their grandchildren to keep the focus on Jesus Who is The Reason for the Season

It's perfect for Advent activities for grandparents and grandchildren! It gives me the opportunity to remind them that, without Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the dead as was prophesied, there would be no Christmas!  Mega thanks again to Penny for this!

How about you? Do you have any special and unique Christmas tree ornaments or other decorations that you use to teach your grandkids or encourage your elderly parents with? We'd love to hear about them. And don't forget. Any comment, anywhere on SandwichINK, from December 5 through December 12, 2010, will enter you in the free blog giveaway for an Amazon gift certificate. And there are even more surprises being given away at Caregiving.com during their Caregiving Holiday Progressive Blog Party. A wonderful gift for all of us caring for the elderly parents in our families.