Monday, October 27, 2014

My Father's Passing

Last Tuesday my father called all of his children home to say good-bye before the Lord called him home.

We dropped everything, took the kids out of school early and went up there. Everyone in my family came. We all had our private time to say good-bye. Even Tyler and Alyssa went in to see their Papa and say, "I love you." I am so proud of them for their courage to say good-bye to a dying loved one.

That night I sent Paul and the kids home, but I stayed to be with my parents and brothers and sisters. We had such a fun night playing cards and talking. 

Although my dad could only hear us from his bedroom, he said to my mom when she came to bed that night, "Thank you for a great day. It was nice to hear everyone out there having fun."

For my dad, "quality time" has always been simple. Just being present. And that is what we were. All of his five kids present.

Just being silly!
The next day our aunt and cousins made it in from Wyoming, so once again, we found ourselves gathered around the kitchen table talking and playing cards. We had so much fun.

We all hung out together throughout the week until it was his time to go to heaven, early Saturday morning, around 3:30 a.m.

To back up a bit ... Prior to my dad's passing, I told him about an amazing near death experience story I had read about. I asked him to give me a "thumbs up," that heaven is for real after he got there.

As I was driving to his house moments after his passing, he gave me that thumbs up. He played a song with the lyrics, "Don't you worry child, see heaven's got a plan for you" on the radio -- the second song into my journey. Throughout the last six months or so of his illness, that song always came on the radio whenever I needed it -- often while driving home from an emotionally draining day of taking care of him.

I believe he played me another song on that journey. Perhaps to lighten the mood -- driving while crying can be dangerous, you know! I had changed the station and suddenly I was listening to the Eagles and "I'm Already Gone." Pretty funny, actually. Not unlike my dad. He had an amazing sense of humor.

The next morning my brother and sister-in-law were at church. They, too, got their thumbs up. Check out the picture to the right ...

Below the screen (with the extremely significant words on them) is a sign with three letters on it, VRL. Those are the consonants in our last name VERLEY. Then below that is the EXIT sign. Maybe the message is something like, "the words on the screen are true" and "Verley Exited." That would be his sense of humor!

And so this is how we will go on without his physical presence here on earth. Holding on to our precious memories and looking and listening for the signs. Until that day we are reunited in God's kingdom.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Don't Tear Him Down!

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / 4774344sean

If, instead of affirming, a wife reinforces her husband's feelings of inadequacy, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, if she focuses her attention on what he is doing wrong in the relationship, she can unwittingly undermine what she most wants -- for him to do it right. -- Shaunti Feldhan, For Women Only.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

When Someone You Love is Dying

Many of you know my father was diagnosed with lung cancer about four years ago. He did really great until about seven months ago when it spread to his liver and bones. He has been bedridden ever since.
These are some of my dad's amazing care-takers.
Missing from this group are my sister-in-law, Shannon,
and my sister Allicia and her husband, Justin.

He can do nothing for himself. He can not be left alone. Someone needs to be there taking care of him 24/7. This is a huge task that is taking our entire family to accomplish. (Thank God there are so many of us!)

It's really amazing to see a family in action during a time of stress and grief. Everyone gives what they can and in their own unique ways. In general, the boys are the fixers -- helping take care of things around the house that my dad normally would. The girls are care-takers -- helping him get to the bathroom, feeding him and more.

Everyone in my family is taking turns during the week being at the house -- both to take care of him and to spend time with him. We have been particularly blessed by the women my brothers married. They have also taken on a huge chunk of the care-taking.

I recently read a post that said, "How would you choose to spend your time if you were taking care of someone who was dying?"

Taking care of someone who is dying is a real eye-opener, and it forces you to cast aside those things you come to realize are really not that important, because you no longer have time for them. I'm watching all of my brothers and sisters and their husbands and wives make these choices on a daily basis. It is humbling.

They say it's during times of stress that you see what people are made of, and I feel so fortunate right now, because my family is really holding it together. Everyone is doing their best to be a good to my dad, while still juggling the needs of their own families. For that I am so grateful.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

If it Doesn't Challenge You ...

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / 4774344sean

"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you," were the words our spinning instructor shouted at us this morning.

Awesome advice! I find this to be a great reassurance for myself and my clients about how life works.

Whether it is regarding your workout or your life, it is the challenges that make us grow the most! I find this to be very inspiring and it causes me to want to try harder -- in spinning and in life!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Secrets of Being the Best Mom

Being a mom is the most difficult job in the world, but it’s also the most important. So, it is wise to invest time in learning how to do it well. What are the secrets to being the BEST mom? Obviously, all moms love their kids and take care of their basic needs, but this article will address a few of the more subtle, less obvious ways to be the best mom you can possibly be!

1. Take Care of Yourself Taking care of you has got to be your first priority. Proper nutrition, exercise and rest are vital to keep you healthy and energetic, but that’s not all. Taking care of you also means leaving time for things you love to do, like writing, painting, dancing or gardening. Easier said than done, I know, but it is important. If you take care of your own needs first, you will be an awesome mom!

2. Stop Judging Yourself for Not Being Perfect. As mothers we put WAY too much pressure on ourselves. We have an unrealistic image of what a good mom is. We secretly compare ourselves to other moms who seem to have it all together. When it comes to parenting, perfection is impossible. Beware of using Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to compare yourself to other moms – look at it as entertainment instead. Become the expert on your life – make choices that work for you and your family, and don’t worry about what others are doing.

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / justmeyo
3. Ditch the Guilt. Two-thirds of all moms report feeling guilty on a daily basis, for anything from not spending enough time with their kids, feeding them fast food, letting them play too many video games and more. Guilt is a terrible waste of time and energy. Know that you are doing the best that you can. No one is perfect, and you are not expected to be perfect either. Simply trust that you are doing the best that you can. Your best is good enough!

4. Have Fun! When you’re a mom, it’s easy to become so wrapped up in the logistics of taking care of your children that you forget to be present and have fun. Kids give us a wonderful opportunity to be a child all over again and see the world through their sweet little eyes. Try to step away from your to-do list and play a little every day!

5. Take Care of Your Marriage. This is so important. Your children are with you for 18-20 years of your marriage. Then you could have another 30+ years of marriage ahead of you. Your stable relationship with your spouse is TRULY one of the most important things you can do for your children. Not to mention that you’ll be demonstrating a healthy marriage to your children – a lesson that will last a lifetime!