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Showing posts with label death. Show all posts
Showing posts with label death. Show all posts

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Last Shall Be First

 Last week, I posted this Facebook status:

I know that's not what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 20. It's just that crazy, random thoughts pop into my head, and if they make me giggle, I tend to share them. But seriously, this is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. You see, I'm one of those workers who were hired in the ninth hour. I didn't make that journey down the aisle to the altar until my forties. February 2001. Right before I married the tall guy.

I know ladies in my church that have been devoted followers of Jesus since they were young children. They have spent their entire lives living for Christ, sharing the Gospel message, and laboring for His kingdom. The time I've spent mentoring children and teens, serving meals to homeless people, etc. is but a drop in the ocean when compared to their service. Yet, when the day comes that I stand before God, I will be their equal. I will receive a denarius. The same eternal reward as these Godly women.

I looked up the dictionary definition of salvation:

When a weather advisory tells us of an approaching storm, we protect what we care about—what we say is valuable enough. Worth saving. Worth protecting from harm. To God, we are worth saving from destruction.

All of us.

The joy in my heart from this promise is especially strong today. My friend's husband received Christ. In his eleventh hour. Short of a miracle, this man's time with us is just that—short. He is battling that dreaded disease that takes so many before their time.

I also have a favorite passage that talks about  another man short on time...

Jesus answered him,

“I tell you the truth, today you will

be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:43
Do you know to whom Jesus was speaking? The criminal next to him on another cross. A condemned man. A sinner. A dying sinner. Why would Jesus promise the reward of paradise to this horrible man?

He asked.

Then he said, "Jesus, remember me
when you come into your kingdom."
Luke 23:42

Did Jesus ask, "Are you truly sincere?"  Did He ask, "How are you going to prove it?" Nope. That's not how it works.

It is simple. 
You ask. 
He forgives.

No matter where you are, what you've done, who you've been...
None of it matters.

If you've never accepted Christ as your Savior, it's not too late.
Don't wait. We aren't promised tomorrow.

If you have any questions about salvation
through Jesus Christ, ask me.

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard.  2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.  3 "About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.  4 He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.'  5 So they went. "He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing.  6 About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'  7 " 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered. "He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'  8 "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.'  9 "The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius.  10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.  11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.  12 'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'  13 "But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius?  14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.  15 Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'  16 "So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Their Feud is Over

My Uncle Frank and Aunt Marie are wonderful people.  I remember when I was very young, we would go visit them once in a while.  Frank is my dad's oldest brother.  His baby brother John and his sister Mary Julia have both passed on from this world.  That leaves Frank and Dad.  Only Frank and Dad don't speak.  They haven't been on good terms for over forty years!

Frank                                                 Dad

My dad's side of the story... well, it's really not important.  Let's just say it's one of those 'when a parent dies and has stuff to leave behind' kind of situations.  Yeah, Dad felt like he got ripped off.  I don't really know all there is to know, so I can't really say he's wrong.  I just know there's a whole lotta stuff around his place that belonged to my grandfather.

What I do know for certain, is that my grandparents' hearts would be broken.  I guess it's one of the blessing of having an only child...  sorta...  I hope I never see the day that my daughter will be not speaking to Mr J's son or daughter.  It means a lot to me to have them all together.

Mr J and the kids, Christmas 2007

Today, their feud is over.  My Uncle Frank passed away this morning.  He had been going down hill for a while.  We urged Dad to call him.  He had nothing to say.  Sad.  He lost his brother years ago, and now, he will never again have the chance to get him back.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Contemplating Maggie's Date with Death

No, she's not dying! That is, though, what this post is about. WARNING: If you want to read a happy, upbeat story about a horse, click one of my other posts.

It's been on my mind heavy for a couple of days now... ever since I got the letter. It's funny... most people would be worried about where they will live, what they have to get rid of... I guess you're lost. The letter was from the PBGC, better known as the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. It's that government entity that takes over when the company you gave your life to, defaults on your pension plan.

Whenever life throws a punch at us, the first thing out of Hubby's mouth is the expense of keeping horses. The goats clear out the woods, the chickens give us eggs, the cats keep the varmint population in check, Sadie supervises all the projects, but the horses do nothing for us... except give me the most awesome joy!

Of course, I would give up my horses to save our home, if it came to that. I don't worry so much about Buddy and Nekoda; they are great horses, still young enough to find a decent home. It's Maggie that troubles me. She's in great shape for her age, but she's her age. There are no guarantees in life, even a horse's life. As great as she is today, tomorrow could prove different. I don't know of anyone that would truly want a horse like her. She is a magnificent horse, that next week could be a liability. If someone readily took her, I would fear the worst... Mexican slaughter house. Yes, I know there are laws against transporting the horses across the border for slaughter. There are also laws about people crossing the border.

Seriously, I doubt anyone would even want Maggie for slaughter; not much meat on an almost-thirty-year-old horse. I haven't a clue what I'd do. In Kentucky I know of an area where people turned their horses loose because of the drought and sky-high hay prices. So the horses run wild. The herd would probably not except an old mare. She be kicked, bitten, run out of the good grass. She also requires lots of extra calories that she couldn't get in the wild. No, I'm afraid it would come to a choice I hope never to make.

I'm not a callous, cold-hearted person, but I do find it easier than most people to let go. I've buried my share of animals. It's sad, but when I know they've had a good life, I accept it as just another part of the journey. I always picture being with Maggie until the end. Once I got her back, I vowed to never let her go again!

I'm not wishing for Maggie to die soon; but I am hoping that when her time comes, it will be here, on this farm, with me by her side. I will cradle her head and tell her over and over how much I love her; and she will know it.

We will bury her here, under the pasture where she ran in the breeze and napped in the sun.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Suicide Watch

Sorry to title this post so morbidly, but that's on my heart tonight. This blog started as random opinions, sermons, thoughts, oddball items... Whatever didn't fit on the other two, went here. Now it's leading me down this road - diary of a caretaker, no-opinion counting, D-i-L. Maybe it will help someone reading to know that they are not alone if facing similar circumstances.

If you've no desire to learn what a child caring for a parent has to face, or do not wish to read intimate details of care (not too deeply intimate), then click the x in the corner. If you want to read on, but need a little background, scroll back to some recent posts.

My in-laws have lived with us for six years. It hasn't been easy, but it has had its rewards. However, the days are growing long and the rewards are farther between. Decompressing is a word that has now become important to me. It's hard to sneak a night out and not talk about appointments and medications.

We've been on a roller coaster ride this week with concern over caring for my MiL. She is now bedridden, although probably temporarily, and I can't even get her on the pot alone. Today, with FiL's help I managed, but barely got her back on the bed. To make the process as easy on her and us as possible, I have had to put her in adult diapers and leave her PJ bottoms off. It's just too hard to move her and pull everything back up. She is large and can't even roll herself. I've strained myself a few times recently trying to care for her.

She is a very proud woman and this has been extremely hard for her to take. To make matters worse, her mind is not rational. Too much illness and medications has taken a great toll on her reasoning and memory. This results in a million explanations and arguments over her PJs. FiL cannot stand to argue. He pleads with her to understand. She nags and insists that he do as she says. He begs. She nags. He tells her he can't. She tells him to do it anyway.

Three times tonight I had to go into their room and save him. They love each other too deeply to be angry. She has a temper - always has. She would never intentionally hurt him, but she doesn't understand. He has a back back, a hernia, is on three blood-thinners, and is in his eighties. And she doesn't want anyone else to do it.

F-i-L has stated that if we don't let them stay here, he will move somewhere else with her. He refuses to put her in a nursing home. In a recent post, I revealed our family's fear of a murder-suicide outcome if they were to live alone. I know that as long as they remain here, he will not do that... if only for the reason that his son could no longer live his dream on a farm.

That has not put my mind at peace. Three times tonight I listened to him tell her, during these PJ arguments, "Mommy, (Hubby - don't ever call me that!) if you don't stop I'm gonna take a walk out into the woods and be done with it!" He made a reference to something on the floor by his bed.

This is a man who has carried a gun his whole life. As a boy, he hunted around the coal-mining camps of Eastern Kentucky. He protects his loved ones with a steel sentinel waiting dutifully in the corner. Hubby can count on Dad to keep the varmints at bay. He spends hours upon hours on the lookout over the tree-lines, daring that groundhog to threaten the tractor wheels. His guns are a part of him as much as the razor-sharp pocket knife and jam-packed key ring.

So while you folks ponder whether it's possibly time to tell Dad he shouldn't drive, we're pondering over the arsenal.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

'Til death do we part...

I would like to introduce my in-laws.
This is their wedding photo from 1945. They live here with us. When today began, everyone was sure her days here were numbered. It was time to move her. Her care has been very difficult and it's become more than I can do. Hubby's brother and sister both now see the challenges we face. My biggest fear is injuring her. She has fragile joints and is six-feet, over two-hundred pounds. I am five-foot-five and shrinking. I can no longer support her weight to walk her to the bathroom or get her from the chair to the bed. I pulled something yesterday. Hubby told me not to feel guilty. I've cared for her for six years now and I've done my best.

Plans turned around quickly. They have been together for too long now. Even though he cannot bear to see her this way, he cannot bear to be apart from her. If we don't keep them here, he will move somewhere alone with her. Of course he's not able to care for her. That's just the tip of our fear...

Each of them have lost more than one immediate family member to suicide. Her brother, his sister, facing cancer... You get the picture. They are Christians and believe that God may not forgive them if they did such a thing. But before that, he made statements many times that, "When I can't take care of your mommy anymore..." And he meant it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My thoughts on death & cemeteries...

Being Memorial Day, a lot of posts have had a bit of cemetery talk. While commenting to Lover of Life about her post (lifeinthesecondhalf.blogspot.com/2009/05/i-hate-memorial-day.html) I felt the sudden urge to blog about my desires for when the inevitable happens...

Every day I get in the car, I risk losing my life on the road. Not that I am paranoid about it, just a fact. Anywhere you drive these days, you're likely to see those little crosses and fake flowers marking another loss of life along the highways. I told my husband that should I die in a car accident and he puts one of those things up for me, I will come back to haunt him! Please, don't take offense if you've done that for a loved one. This is only my personal feeling about me and my loved ones. Should Hubby meet that end, I will NOT put up the little cross with fake flowers. I do not want to be remembered for how I died, but for how I lived! I don't want him to think of where I died, but where I lived! I'd rather him be reminded of me by looking out to the gardens and the animals. I hope he leaves the feminine touch in the master bath to remember how I loved it. I hope he reads the notes I scribbled in the margins of my Bible, and the numerous blogs I have posted all over cyberspace. That is me. I am not a corpse along the roadway.

Now, on to cemeteries... I obligingly take my mom to my Gramma's grave a couple of times a year. I don't really feel much about it because I know Gramma isn't there. She is with her Lord in heaven! I know Mom gets something out of this visit, so I take her. I'm glad she's not reading this... When she is gone, I will not be spending time at her grave site. I will have pictures and memories.

Hubby and I have decided to donate our bodies to the university's medical school. When they are done, Hubby's cremated remains will be spread here on his beloved farm. I told him to flush me, throw me in the creek, whatever... I just want to end up in the water.

If my daughter wants to do something special on Memorial Day, have her spend an hour relating stories of some good times with me to friends and family.

As far as the Veterans are concerned, I am as grateful as anyone for the service they gave. It is stirring to drive past a Veterans' Cemetery and observe the tidy rows of miniature flags. Thank you to all those that volunteer to carry on this tradition. It is an honor to them, but I think an even greater honor is a public service where living Vets can tell their tale, the ones who gave their all can be recognized, and just generally show everyone of them the respect and thanks they so well deserve. Take your children to these events and educate them on the price of our Freedom.

P.S. I had to come back to edit this post. While commenting on yet another Memorial Day posting, it suddenly dawned on me... What people get from the ritual of visiting the graves... I had just read Joan's post at 50somethingwoman.blogspot.com/ She spoke of the bonding, family values kinds of things. Blame it on my upbringing I suppose. Those things were never nurtured in me. That makes me sad. I must be missing out on something really special...