House

This is a story about raising a child as if you were building a house.

 

Buying the lot was a commitment.  Once we owned it, we dreamed about what we would build.   

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h5For many years, we constructed a house. We used the best selling book as a guide.  We laid a firm foundation, then piece by piece we placed the beams to support each area and room. It was fun to build the building and watch it take form. With each phase of construction, we invested more time and money, effort and emotion as we grew more and more involved in what the end product would be like. We sacrificed other things as we concentrated on the house.  It was hard work and exhausting at times.

h6The floor plan was well designed and flowed. We used only the best materials we could afford as we watched it take shape. Each door and each window was carefully placed.  Each angle was thought through.

During construction, we ensured the property was safe from those who might h8steal from or damage it.  We made some mistakes along the way but we fixed them as we recognized them.

 

 

When it was completed,  we landscaped it and even furnished part of it.

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And then it was time to sell it.

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h13Fair or not, the house itself chose who would live in it.  It was hard to see it go, to sit back and watch someone else paint over the colors you carefully selected.

 

You see it change and hear as the house proudly touts its features as if it had built itself.

 

With any luck, you will still be able to visit it, but you have no say in how it is treated, how it is decorated or even how it might be remodeled.   And sometimes it happens that you’re not allowed to comment on it.  It may need repairs as the world weathers it, but you must refrain from pointing out what the new owner may miss.  If the roof leaks, you hope it is patched. If the foundation falters, you pray someone will level it straight again.  But you can no longer inspect it, make repairs or suggest how to fix it. 

You still love the house and the fond memories of building it.  You hope it will stand the test of time, remain firm on its foundation, realize its value and maintain its character.  Love, faith, and hope – those have to be enough, when a child becomes an adult.       

   

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The Sentence

When I hear about someone being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), I feel sad – sad as I do for anyone who has received any diagnosis; but also sad because I personally remember and understand the impact of hearing the words “you” and “MS” in the same sentence.  I know well the uncertainty that invades your life when you are given a diagnosis that abruptly moves your status from healthy to unhealthy.  When you hear the words “you” and the name of a disease in the same sentence, unpredictability appears and hovers over your future like a dark cloud.  It’s scary. 

I had my first symptom of MS in 1986 when I was 26 years old.  When I heard the words “you” and “MS” in the same sentence, it sounded like a death sentence. That was 31 years ago. THIRTY-ONE years is a long time ago.  Thirty-one years ago, there was nothing that could be done.  I was told to go home and come back if I had other symptoms. 

RESEARCH

Things have changed and medicine has advanced dramatically over the past 31 years. There are now disease modifying drugs (DMDs) that can slow the progression of MS.  There are many to choose from; so if one isn’t effective, it can be changed until the best one is found for each individual.  There are also new and improved medicines to deal with symptoms. There is research being done, and there is a cure coming – I believe that with certainty.  I have every confidence that someone today who is having a first scary symptom and hearing the words “you” and “MS” in the same sentence, will not follow the same course I have.  So when you see me now in a wheelchair, don’t assume this is what MS will look like for you or anyone else being diagnosed today.     

I know the power of fear.  But after the fear subsided, I lived an incredibly full life.  I had and raised three children.  I traveled.  I have experienced wonderful highs, and I’ve laughed and I’ve loved more than I could have ever dreamed I would have after hearing those words together in a sentence.

Yes, I know the power of fear; but I also know the power of God. He knows our fears. He listens to our prayers. He does not always answer yes when we ask Him to take bad things out of our lives, but He walks through life with us as we experience and learn from them. 

To you, who heard the words “you” and “MS” in the same sentence…to you, who has been given any diagnosis that feels like you’ve just smashed into a wall – there is hope.  Be assured, the sun is still there behind the cloud, and you will see it again.  And I have found it’s true that even dark clouds have silver linings. 

Life is like a road. It’s not always a smooth ride. There are speed bumps and potholes and detours along the way.  MS is a detour in life, it is not a stop sign.  The detour is just a different route to travel than the one you planned.   

It’s going to be okay. Not perfect (as most of us picture the rest of our lives when we’re young), but okay.  There is still a road ahead of you. Like I couldn’t years ago, you cannot guess now what the rest of your road will look and feel like. Don’t waste time thinking the worst. There are good things to come.  There are smooth stretches and beautiful scenery down the road and there are loved ones to share the road with you.  Don’t let fear overtake you and steal good things from you.  

Any loss requires grieving.  You’ve lost your health status and you must allow yourself time to grieve. But don’t give grief more time than it deserves.   Grieve, but find hope.  Adjust your expectations and embrace hope.  You are not alone.  God loves you.  He wants to be on the road with you.   Let Him comfort you.  Let others who love you comfort you.  There are organizations to help inform and support you – use every resource you can find; but don’t live your diagnosis…live your life.

That sentence, when said to me, was not a death sentence; and it’s not for you either.  My detour showed me many beautiful things along the way that I would not have seen on the road I planned to travel.  Yours will too.  There have been cracks and potholes in my road, but also patching and resurfacing.  There have been mechanical breakdowns, but also road assistance and mechanics.  Don’t look at me in a wheelchair and be afraid of becoming like me.  See beyond my wheels.  Look at me and plan to have as wonderful of a life as I have.  Look at me and know you will have even more chances than I have had to have a full and beautiful life. 

Everyone has challenges in life.  This is yours. You can handle this.  You are stronger than you know; and if your strength runs out, let God and others refuel you.  

 

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Stairway – Where Did They Go?

 In my last blog post “Stairway to Heaven?” (click here to see it), I wrote about images of the  path to heaven being a stairway – a unsettling vision for someone who cannot walk.  I’m not the first to think that way.  Below shows how someone put it in cartoon form.

Stairway to heaven with man in wheelchair at bottom.

In searching for Bible verses about heaven, I was reminded that Jacob had a dream in which a stairway to heaven was lined with angels who were ascending and descending on it (Genesis 28:12). Interestingly, the most recent images I found were staircases that were either empty or had people on them.  

imagescaj90z9g  kingdomofheaven

I remembered a song/hymn we used to sing in church called “We are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder”.  I did an internet search for “Jacob’s Ladder” and discovered that images created by people years ago were much different, and matched the Scripture more closely.  Here are some examples.

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So, what happened to the angels in the more recent pictures?  It’s interesting to think about why they aren’t included.  Does their absence indicate a lack of knowledge about scripture, or does it reflect a more recent culture of self-absorption?   Or both?

Whatever the reason for the difference, I have a definite preference for the older pictures that show the angels.  My preference is two-fold.  First, the angels comfort me.  The images of them assure me that God’s workers are present here in our world.  We sometimes forget that our world is a battlefield between God and satan, good and evil.  Acknowledging the presence of angels forces us to also acknowledge the one-third of once angels/now demons who followed satan away from God and out of heaven.  They and their influence are the reason for the bad in our world – disease, corruption… every evil thing.  They are why I have MS.  Angels represent to me God’s love and protection in the midst of this life’s trials and any good that may come from them.

The second reason I prefer the older pictures with the presence of angels ascending and descending between heaven and earth, is because it gives personal resolution to how I will manage those stairs to heaven.  One or more angels will escort and carry me home – home in heaven is where I will be free from evil, free from fear, free from pain, and free of MS.

Two preferences for the images of angels – one for now to help survive the chaos of this world, and one for entry to the next world.  Angels are sometimes forgotten, never overrated and always comforting.  I’ll take angels over an empty staircase any day.

Doing a different search reveals there are some more recent pictures of angels on the stairway, but there aren’t many.

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I like this picture I found on my last search.

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Another song comes to mind, with the lyrics  “All night, all day, angels watchin’ over me my Lord.  All night, all day.  Angels watchin’ over me.”   Now and here, then and there when it’s time, angels are present and with us when invited to be.

 

 

Mark 13:27   And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.

Luke 16:22    “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  (NIV)

On page 228 of his book Angels, Billy Graham says “The Christian should never consider death a tragedy.  Rather, he should see it as the angels do:  They realize that joy should mark the journey from time to eternity.  The way to life is by the valley of death, but the road is marked with victory all the way.  Angels revel in the power of the resurrection of Jesus, which assures us of our resurrection and guarantees us a safe passage to heaven.” 

   

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Stairway to Heaven?

It will happen to all of us.  You know what they say, “life is 100 percent fatal”, and “it’s a hard and cold fact that one out of every one person dies”, and “nobody gets out of here alive”.  Yes, death is definite….certain….inevitable.

Some think that death is the end.  Others think that what happens after death is up for debate.  I am certain that there is life after this life here and that there are two directions to go.  I have put my faith in Jesus Christ, humbly accepted His gift of salvation (forgiveness for and removal from payment/punishment for all the wrong I’ve done) and am assured of spending eternity with Him in Heaven.

I am confident about where I am going, but questions remain as to when and how my present body will die.  The biggest question I have is how my soul will transfer from this life to the next.  There are references to heaven being “above” (ironically, see below for references), and many have imagined traveling from one world to the next.  Some put those mind pictures on canvas.  Out of curiosity, I searched on the internet for images of heaven and discovered many.  I found three main categories:  the entrance gate/door, the path to that gate, and heaven itself.  Here are some pictures I found of the gate or door.

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And here are some images of the path to that gate.

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What do they all have in common?   STAIRS!

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A lot of  STAIRS!

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Lots and lots of stairs!

aa-images7yb6qn91  ah  a-kingdomofheaven

The amount of stairs and just the fact that they are stairs is a bit concerning for me since I cannot walk.  I’ve grown accustomed to accessibility obstacles and frustrations, but really?…STAIRS to heaven?  I wonder how on earth I will get there!?

It is believed that an angel escorts us into the next world.  I hope there’s a strong one to carry me.

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I liked this picture that shows an escalator……

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…..but it doesn’t appear to accommodate wheelchairs.

This is my favorite picture of being guided into my soul’s new home.

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How I will get there, I don’t know; but I do know that God keeps His promises, so somehow I’m gettin’ up through the clouds and will finally be face to face with my Savior.  I like thinking what it will be like to arrive and behold Him, as this picture portrays.

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I have always loved this picture of the warm meeting of the Creator and created.

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Once I’m there, I sure hope it looks like these imagined pictures.

streets-of-gold-heaven-mary-k-baxter-heavens-truth1  heaven

There is certainly uncertainty about the circumstances of the end here and the beginning there, and exactly what the journey will look and feel like; but I believe there will be more anticipation than anxiety, more joy than sadness, more relief than pain.

It’s all interesting to ponder what it will be like up yonder.  As with any trip and new experience, I have spent time being curious about it.  I like to think I’m prepared, but I’m sure there will be pleasant surprises.  I eagerly anticipate the journey.  For now I’m here and I will concentrate on living the life I’ve been given until it’s time to  move on.

 

Genesis 28:12  He (Jacob) had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

2 Corinthians 5:1  For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

References to Heaven being above:

  • Isaiah 40:22   He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in..
  • Job 35:5  Look up at the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you.
  • Psalm 78:23   Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens;

 

 

 

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Moments in Time – Grandmothers

It was a dinosaur party.  It was fun to plan, fun to do and it is fun to remember.  Both grandmothers were invited and both drove three hours to attend.  Here they both are with the birthday boy.

1- Gmas 1989 Jan (2)

Years later, when that birthday boy graduated from high school, both grandmothers attended; and of course there were pictures taken.  The dinosaur birthday picture had been recreated 14 years later without any of us realizing it.

2005 2 Gmas

A little cropping, and we have then and now pictures.

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That birthday boy grew a bit in those 14 years, and went from cute to handsome.  His grandmothers added years too; but were still beautiful and giving, and they were there again to support him.

Moments in time and the images captured in them tell a story of support, and encouragement……..a story of love.

 

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Dancing With My Star

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You’ve seen or heard of the show, haven’t you?  Dancing with the Stars is a series where movie stars, professional sports players or those otherwise well known, are paired with professional dancers with whom they train for a televised competition. The audience, both live and at home, watch as the couples flow effortlessly fast or slow across the floor, each movement synchronized.  They wear impressive matching costumes and their bodies move as one, perfectly in sync with each other. The behind the scenes clips show that it didn’t start out that way though. They struggled and were forced to communicate, finding words when actions weren’t enough. I would guess each time they danced together it became more comfortable.  Like anything difficult, it took practice, patience and determination to achieve the final performance. Then they are judged.

I suppose it’s hard to imagine, when you see me in my wheelchair, that it wasn’t always this way.  It may be difficult to  picture if you know my husband’s body has been invaded by cancer and the treatments to fight it.   You wouldn’t guess that the first thing we did together was dance. 

There was a group of us who went out together all those years ago.  It had been a road trip between colleges. One group came to surprise my roommate, and celebrate her birthday with our group of friends. That night, new friendships were formed when we went out dancing.  Everyone danced with everyone on that small crazy flashing disco floor.  By the end of the night, he and I had danced together the most. 

4aWe danced again in that group more times when there were more road trips one direction or the other.  He and I danced at ROTC military balls and at parties. We were just a couple of kids, but each time we danced together was more comfortable and more fun.  We learned to anticipate each others’ movements.  We knew how to fit in each others arms and it felt joyful and romantic. We would smile at each other and felt love when we danced together.   

20b-dancin-2In celebration, we danced our hearts out at our wedding and others danced in happiness with us and for us.  He danced with exuberance, style and a little bit of crazy.  I tried to keep up. 

 

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57-rotc-military-ball-nov-90As the years went on, we danced at military balls, weddings and parties.  During the time that he taught at a university, we took ballroom dancing classes there; and we learned to tango, waltz and fox trot.  And, sometimes, at the surprise of our children, we broke into freestyle dance at home.   

Then MS came, not all at once; but little by little, taking pieces of my legs at a time.  My heart still danced and I could move my arms about, but my legs wouldn’t dance on the floor so we couldn’t dance together anymore.  We did many other things together, but MS took dancing and its fun from us.  When we have gone to weddings or parties, I’ve encouraged him to dance without me.  Most of the time he does, and most of the time I am more than content to watch him move; sometimes I have to swallow the loss I feel.      

Years have gone by while we have watched MS cause my body to do less and less.  There came a time when less meant I could not do something for myself…and he helped me.  And as I have been able to do even less, he has helped me more.  There’s a lot of choreography and effort that goes into daily routines now.  He guides my legs and arms to help me accomplish tasks.  He helps steer and maneuver me to get comfortable.  Right leg here, left arm there – guiding my body as we coordinate together, each movement synchronized.  We usually anticipate each other’s movements.  Sometimes we are forced to communicate, finding words when actions aren’t enough.  It takes practice, patience and determination as we move together.  One day I realized that we are…..in a way…..dancing again. 

Sometimes the dances are new and awkward and they take awhile to learn and get comfortable with.  It’s not fun and it’s not romantic in the way it used to be, and it’s certainly not flashy with disco lights.  At times its smooth like a waltz,  it can be choppy like the Charleston, other times we tangle like a tango, and sometimes it feels like a sweet ballet when he puts on a necklace or learns to put my hair back.  This kind of dancing feels more like sorrow than joy, painfully humbling and beautifully sacrificial.  I wish we didn’t have to live like this; but I smile inside when  I see how he cares for me.  When we move together, it tells a love story through a new form of dance.

We’re a team and MS is our competition.  No audience, no judges, no fancy costumes; but he’s my Star and we’re dancing in a new way.  

   dsc_1027-2a 

 

 

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Monkey Business

There is an awful lot of bad news in the world today. Nature brings droughts, floods, fires and earthquakes.  People commit thefts, assaults and murders.  But here and there, in at least the same proportions, you can find good in the world through people who care about others.

God has connected me with a lot of incredible people through the years, but especially now when I need them most. Some significantly sweet souls have come to me disguised as ordinary people. One such person is a friend in a group I meet with once a week. One day, she arrived with a charming basket.  In it was a pair of unsuspecting socks.  Also tucked away in the basket were scissors and sewing needle and thread.  She brought that basket and its contents weekly. We curiously looked each week as she emptied her basket; and watched as she expertly knew how to cut here and sew there as the socks transformed from their original shape to legs, then arms, then a head and body. At some point a face appeared….and then, of all things, a tail !  Special touches were given along the way.  Questions were asked as the creating took place – “what do you think, higher or lower?” and “does this look okay?”.  Then it was adorned with adorable apparel.

To my surprise, when the cutting and sewing were completed and the creation had been given it’s finishing touches, it was presented to me as a gift.  My surprise was evident.  I hope my gratitude was also.

Having watched its transformation over the weeks, and seeing the time and care that was invested in it, I felt the wholeness of the gift. And now, when I see the end product – when I touch it, when I feel it, when I hold it, I am reminded that someone cares.

Melody Monkey, so named because she puts a song in my heart, is our mascot for meetings now.  She offers companionship, comfort, and inspiration to and for all of us. 

When one person shows love, it is often multiplied and offers hope to the world.  This special friend of mine displayed a most pleasant form of monkey business.

 

mm1        sw7        mm2

photos by a mutual friend

 

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Folding

We fold laundry when it’s clean. We fold napkins on the table.  We fold paper to fit in envelopes or to make shapes in origami. There are a multitude of things we fold.

If we are working, exercising or doing yoga positions, we fold parts of ourselves – bending an elbow, stretching a foot, etc.  We see people bend or double over when overcome with laughter or when sick or in pain.  But folding ourselves is not something we normally do, at least without purpose.

Yet I am folding unintentionally.  My neck sometimes seems to be too weak to hold my head up and my shoulders are slouching.  I’d like to think my head is heavier because I have gathered so much knowledge that my brain has grown;  but sadly, I know that it is the combination of  MS muscle weakness and the law of gravity that are causing me to fold.   My torso is already crooked, leaning this way and that.  In spite of exercising, I struggle to keep my back straight and I bend forward at the waist.  This new weakening challenge in my neck and shoulders presents yet another obstacle to overcome in my daily life.

It’s tiring to keep my head up when talking with others, looking at a screen or any other daytime activity.  The length of time I have to look straight forward will lessen over time.  The view of my stomach in place of the rest of the world isn’t a good trade.

The tilt feature on my electric wheelchair helps sometimes and so does a neck pillow.  I am grateful for these helpful tools.  Still, I watch as my body misshapens and folds, bit by bit, making living increasingly difficult.   As the present becomes harder to deal with, I hold fast to the active past that I enjoyed and the future life to come.

So if you see me hunched over in my wheelchair struggling to look up and engage in this world, try instead to see my soul smiling with memories and with anticipation for the life that follows.

Makes me think of the following story by L. B. Cowman that my Mom told.

“I heard of a mother who brought into her home as a companion to her own son, a crippled boy who was also a hunchback. She had warned her boy to be very careful not to touch the sensitive part of his life but to go right on playing with him as if he were an ordinary boy. She listened to her son as they were playing and after a few minutes he said to his companion “do you know what you have on your back?”  The little hunchback was embarrassed, and he hesitated a moment.  The boy said ‘it is the box in which your wings are; and someday God is going to cut it open, and then you will fly away [like] an angel.'”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEGLGFbPM-8

 

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Moments Through Time – Aunt and Uncle

Sometimes I go through my family picture files to organize them. In doing so, I continue to be sidetracked by the way pictures work with each other. Recently, as I scrolled through Freda’s pictures, arranged by date, I watched her and Everett change and age on my screen. Of course I had to put a few together.

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Moments captured and put together, showing the passage of time.

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10 Ways to Win at Life’s Finish Line

I put some information together for a small group of friends and have been encouraged to share it with a wider audience.  Hello wider audience.  What follows is my personal advice.

 

As we go through the course of our lives, we do our best to live well.  We read about and research subjects that pertain to living heathy and wisely.  We are focused on living and planning our lives, as we should be.  The thing is, life is 100 percent fatal.  Nobody plans to die, but we all do; so we need to plan for death also.

We don’t know when we will die, so we should plan for it now.  A quote attributed to Ben Franklin comes to mind… “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  You can’t take your stuff or your knowledge with you, but you can use the power of choice you have now to love, protect and provide for those who are left behind.  These are not all fun things to do, but they are some of the most important decisions you will make.  It’s responsible to have your affairs in order.  Part of living well is planning well for the end of life.

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Here are 10 things you have the power to do to finish life well.

1   Make End of Life Legal Decisions.  Have a Last Will and Testament, a legal document stating your wishes.  Without a will, those who love you may have a paperwork mess to deal with in addition to mourning your loss.  Generally, wills help organize the chaos that death can bring.  When making decisions, think carefully about the impact on others and the long-term consequences on those left behind.

Completing a will causes you to make important decisions such as who will handle your affairs after you are gone, who will care for any minor children, who will inherit your worldly goods, what you want to happen to your body (burial/internment or cremation), etc. Don’t make any assumptions about what will happen to your assets and material possessions if you die without a will.  Each state has it’s own laws that regulate such decisions.  Do an internet search for “what happens if you die without a will in (insert your state)”.  OR, just get a will!

If you can afford it, have an attorney complete it to ensure it’s legality.  If funds are tight, there are websites to create your own will.  Ensure it is valid in your state, and have your signature observed and notarized.   As personal property can be legally frozen/inaccessible temporarily after death, it is convenient to have two original wills, one stored in a secure place (like a bank safe deposit box) and one in your important papers at home where a close family member knows where to find it when it is needed.

Even if you think you don’t have any assets, a will allows you to designate who will handle  your personal affairs, which avoids possible family conflict and/or someone having to be appointed as an estate trustee by the court.

While you are making decisions regarding your will, also complete a Health Care Directive/Living Will  (which indicates what life-saving medical intervention(s)  you desire in case of illness or accident)  and Durable Power of Attorney (appoints who will make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself).

If you are elderly or have a serious illness, you may also want to have in place a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form which is a shorter version of a Health Care Directive.  It can be posted in your living space where it is visible to emergency personnel or home health care employees, and it can be quickly referenced in your medical records.  These forms vary according to state, can be found online, and must be signed by a doctor.

2   Communicate your wishes When you have made those important legal decisions, communicate them with trusted family or friend so there are no surprises when the time comes.

3   Make a list of your assets and/or debtsInclude bank or business names and account numbers.  Also include information about insurance policies and retirement plans (including pensions and annuities) from present and past employers.  Take pictures of high value and sentimental items or heirlooms, from jewelry to furniture, and designate who you wish to pass them to.  [This is a good time to take pictures of all possessions and entire rooms in your home for insurance purposes as well, if you have never done so.]

Put that list and important papers (birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport, etc.) in a bag or box and put it in a central place where it can easily be taken quickly in case of an emergency.  We call ours our “grab and go bag”.  Tell someone you trust where it can be found after you’re gone.  Update the list about once a year.

4   Plan your service This isn’t being conceited, it is helpful for your loved ones to know what you would want.  This is your chance to choose special songs, scripture or communicate a message with others.  Even designate pall bearers if you are to be buried. Again, organization creates calm.

5   Write your obituary. From doing family history and researching ancestry, I believe this is crucial.  More than any other thing, it documents your existence with dates and places, linking you to parents, siblings and children all in one place.  Write them for relatives and prepare your own for descendants.  Include a picture as you want to be remembered and include affiliations to show your interests.  Leave instructions for it to be published in a newspaper.   It might seem expensive.  Do it anyway.  Click here for more information.

6   Write down facts for your family treeInclude names, dates and places of birth, marriage and death for all those you can, older and younger.  Check with older relatives for the same information before opportunities pass.  Record the list in more than one place to ensure its longevity.   Click here for more information.

7   Label family pictures. Write names and dates on the back of all that you know.  (Use a permanent photo marker because pencil fades, pen leaves imprints and regular markers smear.)  Ask older relatives to help identify those you don’t know.  While doing this, have a formal picture taken of your own present family and print it.  With our advances in technology, today’s pictures are rarely printed and kept.  Scan the old ones and print some new ones.

8   Leave memories.  What have you invested in that will last long after your time here is done?   Make notes, tell and write down meaningful or funny stories.  Record messages to children/descendants, or even write your life story.  Bless your family with a written faith experience or statement of what you believe and why.  If time or creativity is short, it may be easier to buy and complete a fill in the blank grandparent book.  There are many options to choose from.   Assemble family recipes in one place and indicate who and/or where they came from.

9   Be the person you want to be remembered as.   Who have you invested in?  Financial assets will be appreciated by those they are left to, but your knowledge, experiences and personality are valuable now.  Whether you lead a calm or chaotic life, pause long enough to consider how people will remember you after you are gone.  What impression has your life had on others

What you leave behind is your legacy.  Dictionary.com describes legacy as anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.  Billy Graham says The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.

10   Plan your last trip. This is actually number 1.  Know your destination. Click here for more information.

Tackle these steps one at a time. Enjoy the life you’ve been given here. While you’re doing it, plan for the time after it’s done. It will give you peace of mind and will be appreciated by those who love you.

As you run the course of your life, people will cross the finish line before you and after you; but you can be a winner when you finish.  There are many things we cannot control, but at least 10 that we can.  Whether the course is short or long, however rugged the path is, whenever and wherever it ends; what matters most after it’s done is how you ran and how you finished.

 fl1

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