Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!
Rayna Neises, your host, provides a special message in celebration of National Family Caregiver Month and Thanksgiving. She also shares some exciting announcements for 2021.
- November is National Family Caregiving Month. Cheers to you all!
- This time of year, we are especially thankful for the opportunity to serve and to create memories with our loved ones.
- Although traditions change with time and circumstances, we can benefit from taking a moment to enjoy the blessing of the love and the food and the laughter that we have each year.
- Our brains are wired to affirm our beliefs, so having an attitude of gratitude helps us to find the positive in our lives and to be thankful.
- Change is part of life, so focusing on things that you can impact can help you from feeling overwhelmed, give you peace, and allow you to celebrate the season more joyfully.
- A new co-host will be joining the podcast in 2021 as Aly steps away to focus on little Thea and motherhood.
- ‘No Regrets – Hope for Your Caregiving Season’ is available now for preorder and in stores in June 2021.
- There is hope during this season of caring.
*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation
Welcome to A Season of Caring Podcast where there’s hope for living, loving, and caring with no regrets. This is Rayna Neises, your host. And today we have a very special podcast created just for you.
It’s National Family Caregiver Month. Is that exciting? There probably isn’t very exciting to you, but as someone who loves and serves caregivers, family caregivers it is exciting to me. Because this month, this month of expressing gratitude and thankfulness I think of you all the time. And when I asked caregivers, what are some of the things that they’re most thankful for this month? They always, always focus in on their family member that they’re caring for. They’re thankful for that family member. They’re thankful for the health that family member has, and they’re thankful for the opportunity to serve and create memories with their loved one. And I think there is nothing more important than that.
When I think of November, I have always thought of Thanksgiving. Years and years and years before national family caregivers month. I’ve thought of Thanksgiving. And you know that first Thanksgiving here in the United States, it was about a harvest feast. It was about celebrating a treaty and offering prayers of thankfulness to the Lord for his blessings.
This year, I’m sure that Thanksgiving looks really different for you and your family. With COVID and the fragile state of your loved one, I’m sure that it does look different. You might not even have all the family members around the table that you have so enjoyed sharing Thanksgiving with for years. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. But I’ll tell you the changes that have happened over the years and what Thanksgiving looks like in my life has been kind of hard on me.
You know, I’ll never forget one of the first times I realized how much I love Thanksgiving was when it started to change. As a teenager, you probably know my story, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when I was just 16 years old. But of course, in the beginning, mom was still a lot like herself. She was still able to do things like cook and take care of us, the way that she had. So, holidays didn’t change much, but then my mom’s sister, my aunt Wilma, she passed away of cancer. That was one of the first big changes that totally changed how our family celebrated. Because not only was my Aunt Wilma no longer there. But my mom was reaching a point where she couldn’t cook or her food wasn’t the same. So the challenges were becoming more and more difficult. My sister was already married and out of the house. I was off to college. Things were looking really different and it was hard.
Thanksgiving had always been my favorite. My favorite foods, games, time of family. There were just so many blessings That it became so difficult to see it change. And I remember for years I was just kind of sad. Then I got to a place where I had my own house. It was four hours from home but invited my family. They all came to my home and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I got to make some of our traditional foods and just enjoy time with my family in my home. It was such a blessing. And we were able to do that for a few years. Then life changed again, my family wasn’t able to make the trip. So, we made a couple of years, a little different celebration and then I married the farmer and I invited my family again, and my dad was able to travel for a few years. He enjoyed Thanksgiving on the farm with all of my family and lots of people. It was one of my favorite memories now, thinking about the things he was able to be a part of here on the farm during our Thanksgiving celebration.
Of course, that can continue throughout his life. His ability to travel and to handle all the different people it just, wasn’t a good idea. So, Thanksgiving changed again. Now we’ve reached a point in which Thanksgiving is here and dad isn’t. And that’s hard. But our family tradition of Thanksgiving on the farm has been one we’ve been able to continue for years now. I’m so thankful for all of those who join us around our table. Making new memories and enjoying the blessing of the love and the food and the laughter, that we have each and every year around our table. I hope that this year, even if your family celebration looks different. You’ll be able to enjoy those that are there with you.
And as you think about the Christmas season coming, and that might need to look different too, I hope that you’ll really focus in on the things that are most special to you and to your loved one and don’t let go of those. But as we think about Thanksgiving, I want us to really think about how gratitude impacts our lives. We just don’t realize so many times how an attitude of gratitude can make such a big difference.
Did you know that the way your brain is wired, it is always looking to affirm what it already believes? So if in your mind you think that life is good, you’re looking for evidence that life is good. If you think your husband loves and adores you. You’re looking for evidence, that he loves and adores you. If you think that he’s mad at you and he really don’t like you very much. You’re looking for evidence that he’s mad at you and he doesn’t like you very much.
Our brains are really funny that way. Here’s an example that might hit home to you. Have you ever bought a new car? And then all of a sudden noticed they’re everywhere. I have a white car. We bought it used, so I didn’t get to choose the color. I knew that while it was popular, but had no idea how many white Ford Edges were driving around. They’re everywhere. It seems like when I parked my car in a parking lot, there’s at least four of them to check out and think they might be mine, right? So just use to your benefit, the way that God designed our brain. When you’re looking for things to be grateful for you’ll see more of them. Your brain will shift and instead of seeing the things that are frustrating you and the things that aren’t going, right. You’ll start to see all the things that are.
You’ll notice that little kid smile and the grocery store- because he doesn’t have a mask on, right?You’ll notice your dog and how excited they are to see you when you walk in the door. You’ll notice the sunshine and how beautiful the falling leaves are at this time of year. You’ll notice that song that just brings joy to your heart. You’ll notice how yummy that hot chocolate is. When you have gratitude, in your heart, you will find things to be thankful for. So, I really want to challenge you today to stop and write down at least five things that you’re thankful for. And make it a new habit. Every day at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day, write down five things that you’re thankful for. You’ll be amazed at how you’ll find a shift in your thinking.
So, with Thanksgiving also comes change. As I mentioned earlier. My Thanksgivings have changed throughout the years. And the changes probably aren’t over. I hope that’s not true because I love my family traditions. But changes are part of life. And there are lots of changes going on in the world today. And we’re having to bob and weave in ways we never imagined we would need to bob and weave before. So, good job caregiver, as you are adjusting to the needs of your loved one You’re finding yourself needing to adjust to wearing a mask, encouraging them to wear a mask, helping them to remember to wear a mask. Dealing with teleconferences with doctors instead of seeing them face to face. Negotiating how to get in and out of the grocery store without touching things and getting sick. There are so many changes happening in the world today.
Remember some changes you can control. Some changes you can’t. Just focusing on the things you can control really can bring a peace that you don’t even realize. So, if you’re finding yourself overwhelmed with change today, I want you to really focus on only those things that you can impact. If you need to make a list of all the things that are overwhelming you today or influencing you and your thoughts. Write them down, get them down on paper, and then go back and highlight the ones that you can control. Focus on the next thing you need to do to make that better. And that will again, give you a peace that will help you to celebrate this holiday season in a much more joyful way.
So, one of the changes that will be coming here at A Season of Caring is a new cohost. We are so thankful, so thankful for a little Thea who joined our family this year. Aly became a mom and she is loving it. They are doing great. But with all of the things that come with being a mom, time to be a podcast cohost is not one of them.
Thank you, Allie, for all that you have done in the co-hosting of A Season of Caring Podcast. Sharing your wisdom and compassion and perspective with us. We’ve loved it. And I’m sad to see you go. But with 2021, we will bring in a new co-host and I’ll be waiting to share with you who that will be.
2021 will also be bringing an amazing blessing for my life. I’ve been blessed to write a book about caring for my dad. No Regrets: Hope for Your Caregiving Season will be released in June of 2021. Pre-order is available today. If you’d like to take advantage of that and I would appreciate it if you would hop on to your favorite booksellers and do that. But I am just totally excited to be able to share with you.
No Regrets. It is a work of the heart for me. I’m not a person who loves to write. I never dreamed of writing a book, but I’m so blessed to have been able to write this book and share with you the experiences of caring for my dad and some with my mom. And yourself through your season of caring. I really look forward to being able to share that with you.
And today on Thanksgiving. I wanted to share a section of the book, the very last part of the book. Where I share the hope that comes from the hard of life, because I know right now, there’s so many things going on. I’m sure that many of you are experiencing the hard of caring right now. And I just wanted to give you some hope and wanted to share my perspective and how I found hope in my caring season. So, I hope it’s a blessing to you.
Through this season, you’re going to experience different heartaches. Acknowledge them, but don’t stop at the heartache. Look just past the heartache for the hope that can come in the end. For me, the Lord is my savior and my source of my hope. And being able to evaluate the heartaches that came through my season of caring has actually helped me to find hope in the way that the Lord has given me to grow through this experience. He allowed me to exchange the heartache for hope and for other things that have come out of this season of caring for my dad. So, here’s a list of the heartaches that I exchanged for the beauty of hope. And I hope these can show you that you can do the same. Hope after my mom’s terminal illness or diagnosis… building a closer relationship with my dad. Hope after watching my dad give up his job to stay home and care for my mom… learning what sacrifice really looks like. Hope while my dad cares for my mom for 12 years in their home… watching true love lived out. Hope after feeding, bathing and caring for my mom’s physical needs when my dad would let me…developing the ability to see someone’s needs without her being able to verbalize them. Hope after burying my mom when I was only 28… seeing my mom through the eyes of others, at her funeral. Hope for life even when my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s seven years after losing my mom… I’m valued and important to God, even when the unthinkable happens. Hope as dad’s disease progressed to needing 24 hour care… experiencing my husband’s love and sacrifice shining through for my family and me. Hope after we decided to keep that at home… growing a beautiful friendship with my sister. Hope well cleaning up urine, poop and blood after accidents… stepping into dad’s needs and putting aside my own discomfort. Hope after burying Dad 20 years after mom… realizing I loved him Well walked him all the way home and have no regrets. Hope while grieving the journey… a heart to serve others as they walk their parents home. There is always hope,
Thank you for letting me share just the very end of my book with you today. The hope that comes from looking for it, from learning to focus on the things that we can be thankful for. And being able to just really cherish all the things that we are going through in this season so that when our next season comes we have the memories to cherish as well.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank you so much for joining me today on A Season of Caring Podcast!
And as always A Season of Caring Podcast is created for the encouragement of family caregivers if you have medical, financial, or legal questions please contact your local professionals and take hearts in your season of caring.
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