Wednesday, November 26, 2014

30 Thoughts of Thankfulness To Caregivers

Trying to think of an article for this Thanksgiving, I was inspired to create this "30 Thoughts of Thankfulness To Caregivers." Why? I wrote it to thank the Caregivers in my own life, but also included it in ways to speak to you. I felt the need to offer this encouragement to you today. You deserve every thank you mentioned here - all 30 of them! Of course, I could never thank a Caregiver enough. Their work is without borders, but I pray this article praises them in a humble sense.

I dedicate this post of thankfulness to my parents, my grandma, and to my friends who find themselves wearing this honorable title. Without further ado, here are my 30 Thoughts of Thankfulness To Caregivers:

1. Thank you for the energy you take to care for the needs of someone else - which is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your job is full-time, and I thank you for every minute of it.

2. Thank you for managing to cook meals every day for your family. Your vigor to keep us fed is one of your top to-do's on your list, and my stomach internally thanks you, as well!

3. Thank you for remembering fellow Caregivers everywhere and for offering support and encouragement to them. The help you give them is appreciated and much needed.

4. Thank you for standing up for life and for waving the banner of truth. This will never change, because the battle of life and death will forever be waged, but I say, fight on soldier!

5. Thank you for writing books to draw Caregivers and families closer to God. I've been inspired by your stories of triumph, and am encouraged to pen my own story on Caregivers.

6. Thank you for being strong among the storms of trial and heartache. You're my superheroes!

7. Thank you for juggling the mundane chores and activities that come your way. They may not seem important, but God sees your every move. One by one, all service counts in His eyes.

8. Thank you for making birthdays, and the holidays so special. You don't forget our day of birth, and you're always able to assemble a mighty celebration. Memories are our best gifts!

9. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your stories with us. Each tale from your life is a piece of treasure to dig up and carefully analyze. I promise, I will forever cherish them.

10. Thank you for your compassionate spirit in assisting the needy within your community. If we had more servant-minded folks like you, this world would be a better place for all of us.

11. Thank you for lending a shoulder to cry on - which all tears flow.

12. Thank you for instilling the Bible into the lives of your family members, especially your children. Standing up for God's Word is first and foremost in my faith, and your teachings on it are precious.

13. Thank you for the precise and loving care that you give to the disabled in your home. They wholly depend on your life to see them through theirs. Your sacrifice is utmost!

14. Thank you for the wisdom you carry in the area of health and medicine. Your brain is like a walking medical encyclopedia, which I am allowed to search through for assistance.

15. Thank you for your constant vigil - whether it's early in the morning or late at night. Most would describe you as being both an early bird and a night owl, because your guard duty never ends.

16. Thank you for smiling through the extreme hardships and for also keeping an optimistic view on them. The hope you carry in your heart touches the lives of everyone who yearns for it.

17. Thank you for your tireless prayers to God for healing and peace. Your Father hears every tear-streaked word in the middle of the night, and quiet utterance during the day.

18. Thank you for doing your best every single day of the year - which is giving your all. Mind, body, spirit - you fully provide these three to the one you care for. May your heart be refreshed!

19. Thank you for your humble attitude and unwavering soul. Most don't know what you do at home, and you'd like to keep it that way. Your solid determination and humility is invigorating.

20. Thank you for trying to keep the house clean. I know this is no easy feat!

21. Thank you for accomplishing the chores around the house, and for not forgetting one, single, solitary detail. Where would we be without you? Your memory is like an elephant.

22. Thank you for listening to people with disabilities, and for treating them with respect. You see them with the heart of a parent, and you offer them the same treatment as one of your own.

23. Thank you for being a fixer - your need to make things better is contagious. The drive you exceed at in getting things done is miraculous. I hope to be so alive in spirit and fire!

24. Thank you for either doing school with us or for making sure we got to school on time. Being homeschooled, you taught me what public school couldn't: compassion, and an open mind.

25. Thank you for your healing hands. They're rough and strong from constant use, but on the other side, gentle and fragile. When we fall down, and can't get back up - your hands are what hold us up,

26. Thank you for your unbroken love and devotion - both speak of a faithful servant. In the end, you will garner a trophy for finishing an amazing race, and I will be honored to stand by you all.

27. Thank you for being a Florence Nightingale, watching over us with the expert care of a nurse. I can imagine you with an oil lamp of light, but instead of the lamp, your heart is what would shine.

28. Thank you for wearing the title of Caregiver. The word is fitting for one who is two things: a giver, and a person who cares. Yup. Caregiver couldn't be more perfect!

29. Thank you for finding a way to celebrate Thanksgiving, whether it's a large or small event. It doesn't matter what size it is, your heart is dedicated to creating a day for family and friends. This is the most important aspect of any holiday!

30. Thank you for not giving up on hope, and for this, I am especially thankful.

To close this article, I would like to say... may you all enjoy a tremendous Thanksgiving with the people you care most about! <3 Caregivers, you are forever loved and held in our arms of protection! I pray your holidays are deeply blessed!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

There's Always Room for Hope

© Jules315 | - Superman Photo

I love these kinds of surprises.

"I think he can do much more than he's doing now," the physical therapist said as she helped my thirty-six-year-old son through a series of exercises. "I've seen people with a lot less do a lot more."

Music to my ears.

It's been over seventeen years since my son Kevin suffered a spinal injury in a fall. He was originally paralyzed from the neck down and was on life support for two years.

Today he can walk with help, run a computer, feed himself some foods, and feel or move nearly every part of his body.

Not paralyzed, just really tired.

His older brother Erik likes to joke that Kevin's not actually paralyzed, just "really tired."

He worked very hard during the first years to wean off the vent during his sleeping hours, move his body again in small ways, and fight off the regular complications of a high-level spinal cord injury.

Then his progress seemed to plateau. He and the family, now full-time caregivers, got too tired and discouraged to keep on fighting for a return to a normal body.

Kevin turned his attention to building a new life. We fell into a new kind of normal, accepting and enjoying the life we have. We've just been thankful to have each other and the good health to be home together.

Then a recent succession of injuries in the family forced us to reconsider transfer options. The Hoyler lift was out. Kevin can sit and walk to and from the wheelchair with help. An online search revealed that a lot has changed since Kevin was first injured in 1997. There's some awesome adaptive equipment out there.

A different kind of super man.

So Kevin has been traveling to an outpatient facility in a nearby city. There, we've been encouraged to believe again in what we've suspected all along: Kevin can do more. What amazing news for a man who was dubbed by one of his original surgeons as "another Christopher Reeve." For those of you who don't know who that is, Christopher Reeve was an actor who played the part of the comic book hero Superman in the movies. In 1995, Reeve was thrown from a horse and suffered a spinal cord injury that nearly killed him. He was totally paralyzed from the neck down and spent the rest of his life on life support. He died in 2004 from complications of his injury.

Today, Kevin is healthy and working hard on his exercises to awaken the old muscles and strengthen the ones he uses now. We're cautiously optimistic. The physical therapists want to try out the Rifton Tram in a couple of weeks and see if it will work for transfers and increased ambulation. We'll let you know how it goes.

Here's the link for the company.

Don't you love surprises?

As a caregiver, have you found that it's easy to fall into a routine and forget to push for new progress with your loved one?

What adaptive equipment have you found that makes your life easier as a caregiver?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

20 Encouraging Bible Verses For Caregivers: Part 4

  • "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you." {Hebrews 13:5}

  • "The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him. The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him." {Lamentations 3:24-25}

  • "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." {Galatians 6:9-10}

  • "I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." {Psalm 34:4-5}

  • "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" {Psalm 34:8}

    Part 1 of 20 Encouraging Bible Verses For Caregivers
    Part 2 of 20 Encouraging Bible Verses For Caregivers
    Part 3 of 20 Encouraging Bible Verses For Caregivers

Thursday, November 6, 2014

20 Encouraging Bible Verses For Caregivers: Part 3

  • "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." {1 Corinthians 15:58}
  • "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose." {Romans 8:28}
  • "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." {Romans 8:37-39}
  • "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." {Lamentations 3:21-23}
  • "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." {Colossians 3:16-17}

    Part 1 of 20 Encouraging Bible Verses For Caregivers
    Part 2 of 20 Encouraging Bible Verses For Caregivers
    Part 4 of 20 Encouraging Bible Verses For Caregivers

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Physician Understands

Photo courtesy Erik Thorson 2014

It's a small article by a physician, but I had only read a few lines before tears sprung to my eyes. The 2010 New York Times article is entitled "Offering Care for the Caregiver," and it hit a chord with me.

Although you can find caregiver support groups online and books on caregiving, it remains a closet profession. In the United States alone there are millions of people who care for a loved one, usually without reimbursement of any kind. As the population ages, this group will grow.

We are an unreached people group. We work long hours, give up the large and small conveniences others take for granted. It's a hard life, lived mostly unseen and forgotten by society as a whole.

We do it for love. But it does feel good when someone remembers to ask how we are. If you're a caregiver today, I pray God's blessing on your hands, feet, and heart. May He give you strength for this day, and joy in the duties ahead of you.

You are remembered. Someone does care. God sees every tear, every sacrifice, every small kindness you do for others. What you do is important, life-giving work.

I just wanted you to know.

Below is the link to the Times article. I hope it encourages you as much as it did me.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

You're Invited to our Song in the Night E-Book Release Party! Starting this Saturday...

There's a Song in the Night E-Book Release Party this Saturday on Facebook. It's an online event celebrating the release of Pam's first book "Song in the Night" in e-book format (which is available on Amazon's Kindle). There will be a 3-hour day full of remembrance. This will include photos, quotes from her book, a video, engaging questions/answers, and giveaways. Only invited participants who are attending can enter in the giveaways. Don't forget to ask your friends and family to join! The more, the merrier!

Starting this Saturday, Pam's first book "Song in the Night" will be on sale for a limited time of $.99. This will only last a week, so be sure to grab your copy then! Click here to be directed to the Amazon page for this Kindle deal (check back on Saturday). Be sure to share this with your friends! 

Here's your online invitation to join us on October 4th from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. for the Song in the Night e-book celebration! Please, R.S.V.P. with clicking the "join" button for going on Facebook. Hand in your online invitation here.

Monday, September 15, 2014

25 Helpful Books For Caregivers

A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver's Tale of Life, Love and Chaos by Linda Brendle

Ambushed by Grace: Help and Hope on the Caregiving Journey by Shelly Beach

Strength for the Moment: Inspiration for Caregivers by Lori Hogan

Not Alone: Encouragement for Caregivers by Nell Noonan

Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver by Pam Thorson

Daily Comfort for Caregivers by Barbour Publishing

Transitions, Trust, and Triumph: A Daily Devotional for Caregivers by Jean D. Moody-Williams

Strength to the End: A Caregiver's Journey by Lucy P. Carter

Twice Blessed: Encouragement for the Caregiver and the Carereceiver by Laura Sowers

Help for the Caregiver: Facing the Challenges with Understanding and Strength by Michael R. Emlet

Hope for the Caregiver: Encouraging Words To Strengthen Your Spirit by Peter Rosenberger

Caregivers' Devotions to Go by Gigi Devine Murfitt

Blessings & Prayers for Caregivers: A Devotional Companion by Annetta Dellinger and Karen Boerger

Soul Care for Caregivers: How to Help Yourself While Helping Others by Susanne West

Finding Your Way: A Spiritual GPS for Caregivers by Sandy Lovern

Song in the Night: One Family's Journey From Darkness To Dawn by Pamela Thorson

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers: 101 Stories of Love, Sacrifice, and Bonding by Joan Lunden and Amy Newmark

124 Prayers for Caregivers by Joan Guntzelman

Devotions for Caregivers: A Month's Supply of Prayer by Marilyn Driscoll

A Caregiver? Me? by Lynda Bush

Strength & Courage for Caregivers: 30 Hope-Filled Morning and Evening Reflections by Terry Hargrave

The Hope of Glory: A Devotional Guide for Older Adults by Nancy Parker Brummett

At the Heart of the Matter: A Spiritual Journey for Caregivers by Dr. Eboni Ivory Green

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

14 Quotes For Caregivers: Part 2

 "The hero is you."

 "What greater thanks can we give to a loving Creator than to relish the treasure of a new dawn and trust Him to take care of our tomorrows?"

"As we struggle to keep our heads above water in the midst of the storm, we may not realize God is already engaged in our rescue."

 "This is the day to lay aside the grief over what we have lost, to cease striving for what we long to gain, and to simply rejoice in all we have been given."

"It's not where you come from, but where you're headed, that matters."

"Since God hasn't revealed the next turn in our lives, we must resist the urge to peer ahead and guess where the road is taking us."

 "Throughout a world descending into darkness, God searches for those who refuse to be satisfied until the glory of God radiates from every corner of their lives."

Last Week // 14 Quotes For Caregivers: Part 1.

Photos by Grace Thorson. Quotes by Pam Thorson (Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver. Available on in both Paperback and Kindle format.Ask for a signed copy here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Invisible Man: When We're Feeling Alone

Their faces smile back at me from the Facebook page. They're posing for the camera at a local restaurant. They swam and laughed at the annual "Chicks in the Sticks" camp-out. They're planning a girls' trip to the coast. Events at which I wasn't invited and knew nothing about.

Things I used to do before I became a full-time caregiver and an invisible (wo)man.

Not that I could do any of those things, anyway. My job doesn't come with vacation time. My husband, youngest daughter, and I carry the duties of caring for my quadriplegic son largely without respite. Our other children help whenever they can, but the day-to-day responsibilities are ours.

And I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my job. I love caring for our son. The gains far exceed any sacrifices we've had to make along the way. Since my son's accident seventeen years ago, I've become a certified nurses' aide and then a licensed practical nurse. I've written two books. I speak regularly to others about God's work in our lives. My life is busy and fulfilling.

But sometimes, I see the abandon with which others do things that would take days of planning for me, things which are totally impossible for us now. They all look so carefree. So abundantly full of time and energy and each other.

So totally out of my reach.

Recently my children arranged a rare two-day outing for my husband and I to celebrate our anniversary. As we took in the sights of a nearby city, we saw vacationing families everywhere. People with boats and cabins and time on their hands. I asked my husband, the one who stays up every night to watch over our son as he sleeps on the ventilator, if it bothered him that we didn't have the lives of most people our age. I knew how much he used to look forward to retirement and a chance to travel the country.

He turned to me with a smile and said, "No, I don't. You and are doing something together that is important for our son and for God."


How could I forget that Facebook and television and the world I see around me aren't the true reality, but snapshots of lives suffering their own hardships? Everyone feels alone at times.

"Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else."
-Galatians 6:4 NIV

While it's true that caregivers often work alone and behind the scenes, we aren't really invisible. We're the point men in a fierce battle for the lives of those who are vulnerable, disabled, or ill. We give hope to the living and comfort to the dying.

Yes, it can be a lonely job. But we're never invisible. At least not to the ones for whom we care and with whom we walk side-by-side.

And to the God who has called us to this wonderful journey.

Monday, August 25, 2014

14 Quotes For Caregivers: Part 1

"Caregiving is not gray, unless we have allowed our hearts to let go of hope."

"No place is so dark, no shadow so deep, that God can't find us."

"Caregivers live in the daily shadows of death, countless duties, and shattered dreams. But they don't have to exist in the shadows of their faith."

"Forgiveness is a strange kind of walled garden - exceedingly ugly as we approach it, but breathtakingly beautiful once we've stepped inside."

"Not one to be impressed with or put off by outward appearances, God sees us as we truly are."

"Run in the direction you're driven."

"In the stillness of night, when the life of one man depends upon the sacrifice of another, nothing speaks louder than loyalty."

Next Week // 14 Quotes For Caregivers: Part 2.

Photos by Grace Thorson. Quotes by Pam Thorson (Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver. Available on in both Paperback and Kindle format.) Ask for a signed copy here.