God-Things & Dementia

20180308_163815You might recall our earlier campaign to sell our Toyota Camry a few months back.  After a few nibbles and some inquiries as to whether “we took payments”, we decided to hang on to the car for the time being   The new plan was, we would use it to help with the move, and then sell it when we were settled in Lewisville.  It seemed like a pretty good plan, since we would be hauling three Chihuahuas in their crates. But the Lord had other ideas…20180310_090945

A few days ago I received a note via Messenger, asking if we had sold the Toyota yet.  I replied that we hadn’t, and asked where she had seen it for sale.  Well, it seems that even though I had cancelled the car ad on Facebook several weeks ago, it was still wandering around on the Web.  In chatting with her, I learned that it was actually her younger sister who needed a car.  The younger sister lived in the greater Lubbock area, and their house had been damaged by softball size hailstones.  The hail had damaged their house and roof, broken out windows and caused various other problems.  On top of all that, the hail completely totaled two of their cars!

The younger sister had picked up her kids from their sitter, and had driven into their yard just as the hailstones arrived.  They escaped without serious injury, but the cars and the house were heavily damaged.  They are dealing with insurance adjusters and bankers and such, trying to keep up with the pile of paper work.

There are times in one’s life when one feels that certain events occur for a reason.  Perhaps we might just call it faith.  It occurred to Cookie and I that perhaps the car hadn’t sold yet because it was going to be needed by some other family, that we would eventually meet.  I sent them plenty of car pics, and the two sisters and their father drove down yesterday and picked up the car.  I have to tell you, hugs were exchanged!

I think it was a powerful moment, in all of our lives.  I had never talked to the new owner until she picked up the car.  Her older sister and I messaged and emailed, consulted with our respective families, and everything worked out.  We were glad we could help with one of their challenges-Lord knows right now they have many!

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Of course the Chihuahuas weren’t able to vote.  It’ll be a tight ride with dogs in their crates and both Cookie and I.  But I suspect such things have been figured already and we’ll get to Lewisville just fine.  In the church, we sometimes call them “God-things.”  I hope that each of you all know that they can come anytime!

Blessings,

Father Dave

Walking & Dementia

It’s hot here in West Texas.  Our high today will be 106, already following several days of near or over hundred degree temperatures.  Our forecast for the coming week is 107, 107, 106, 98, 104, 106. 107, a  “warm spell”, as the old-timers say.  I’d be profusely sweating, if there was any moisture in the air.  But its a dry heat, a desert scorcher.

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Photo by Bradley Hook on Pexels.com

I’ve had to push my daily walks into the evenings, to coincide with sunset.  Even then, the temps are still in the mid to high nineties.  The constant heat has greatly reduced the number of walkers, bikers and joggers; the last two evenings I’ve only seen one other walker.  Even the birds seem to be mostly listless.

Yesterday, I thought I’d try to do some mall walking.  Those of you who know me well, know that I’m allergic to in-store shopping.  But the heat has been so darn intense, I thought I’d try it.  It was 103 already as I drove over to the mall; I searched the entire mall parking lot, seeking shade beneath a tree.  I got lucky and finally found some, though I had to share it with a grumpy old protective bird.

The mall in Odessa is a good-sized one, complete with their own ice rink. There were a number of younger skaters, taking advantage of the cold.  The mall has a nice, long walking path, for walkers much like me. As per usual, there were many shoppers walking around, but I was one of just a few that actually were “mall walking.”  I made it two times around the mall, but my doing so about made me go berserk.  For a guy who depends almost entirely on Amazon,  two spins around the mall were all that I could take!

I gratefully walked out to my car, and turned the a/c to stun.  When I got home, I gave a contented sigh of relief as the house was like a freezer.  Cookie asked me how it went; she’s been a bit unhappy with my taking late evening walks.  Not so good, I replied, “Mall walking drives me insane, as you surely know.  I’ve grown even more allergic to the act of shopping.”

And so, at 8:30 last night I left the house, just as the sun went down.  It was still so warm, that even the birds looked peaked.  I walked a couple miles, about all that I could handle.  As I walked, I got to thinking about Jesus and his disciples.  The latitude they had traveled in was much the same as ours.  And yet, they had no malls to walk in, and none of the blessed air conditioning.  And yet, they walked from well to well and town to town, spreading Christ’s loving message.  Perhaps the Word they both lived, and spoke, gave them the strength and grace to do it.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Blessings,

Fr Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chaos & Dementia

Wowser.  Our long weekend trip to Lewisville this past week turned out to be a dandy!  We arrived there prepared to sign a lease on an apartment, and ended up renting a three bedroom house!  1200 square feet with a two car garage and a fenced backyard for our three chihuahuas!  We will be Lewisville residents, with the City of Flower Mound just a couple blocks away.   

The discovery of the house, and the subsequent negotiations, put all our other plans on the back burner.  The owners were working on the house, getting it ready for the next tenants when we arrived to see see it.  We quickly realized that wanted to be their next tenants, and the negotiating started.  We sent our deposit electronically to Lewisville this morning, and now the house is ours!

We’ll be just a fifteen minute drive from Jen & Peter’s place, and from our grandchildren, Ari & Will.  We are looking so forward to spending time with them!  Cutting the drive time from six hours to fifteen minutes will make such things so much easier!  Our move in date remains the same, Saturday, June 30th.

The whole chaotic process left us both exhausted!  We decided to drive home to Odessa on Sunday instead of Monday, since we have lots to do.  Things were going fine until traffic began to back up west of Abilene.  We ended up in a ninety minute traffic jam resulting from an accident (not ours, thank you Jesus).  It was one of those accident scenes where everything was gone when we finally got to where the accident had occurred!  We had neglected to fill our gas tank and we made it into Sweetwater, with nothing left but fumes!

We’ve spent the last couple days resting from our trip.  The whole thing left us both exhausted.  Tomorrow its back to work, amid all the packing chaos.  Now if I could just remember where I packed some things I need!  I suppose it’ll be at least six weeks before I finally find them.

Blessings,

Fr Dave

 

 

 

Traveling with Dementia

We will be traveling to Lewisville this coming weekend, visiting family and taking care of some pre-moving business.  Though our move isn’t for several weeks yet, we’ll be traveling a lot in June, and are trying to take care of some details ahead of time.  On Saturday, we will be signing our lease, and taking some measurements, making sure everything  we bring will actually fit into our apartment!20180324_125929.jpgWe will be staying with daughter Jen and husband Peter, and our grandkids, Ari and Will.  Their house is centrally located in Lewisville, so our stops will be easy to get to.  As you might imagine, medical care is a big deal for us, and we’ll be carrying referrals from Maurice, our Physician Assistant extraordinaire.  We hope to connect with a clinic in Denton, just up the road from Lewisville.

One of the most difficult parts of traveling is the medication each of us take.  I take a number of different meds each day, along with a number of vitamins.  Since I take them at three different times during the day, it requires some degree of organization.  Memory is becoming a major issue for me these days, and I have to be really careful in keeping track of things.  I’ve already had some unpleasant experiences taking my medication, but I’m pretty well organized now.  It does take me some practice!

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One of our priorities is finding another Episcopal Church to attend, and fortunately there are several of them in Lewisville.  We will be visiting one of them this Sunday, the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation.  We are looking forward to finding a new church family!  It’ll be a challenge, though, to find one as welcoming as St. Nicholas, Midland!Snoopy

Having no yard at the apartment, our dogs will soon be getting introduced into the fine art of going for walks outside.  Paco is pretty good with it, but Shelly and BB are rather poor students.  We hope to cure them of their bad habits before we actually move to Lewisville!  Rumor is, the Apartment Complex supplies doggy treats to all the apartment critters; I’m sure our dogs will quickly learn where such things might be available to them!

Cookie and I want to thank you for your prayers and best wishes.  It’s getting a bit harder now to write these blogs.  I’ve always been able to write them in my head, and then put them down on paper, the same way that I used to write my sermons.  That is changing now, but I plan to keep on writing as long as I am able.

Blessings,

Fr Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time & Dementia

I don’t know if its common to all dementia-related conditions, but for me, time has slowed down considerably.  I suspect part of this phenomena is related to the meds I am taking, and part is the disease itself.  Either way, time is moving much slower, frequently interfering with my ability to think clearly.  I can fuss over things now that used to be easy decisions.  This facet of the dementia is becoming more pronounced as time passes by.

Cookie and I have been packing, here at our place, preparing for our moving in June.  Cookie packs a lot faster than I do, as I tend to get sidetracked so easily.  We’re trying to get as much done as we can, even though we won’t be moving till the end of June.  However, the month of June is going to be busy for us, as I will be up north in Michigan with my brother and friends for 10 days; I am then meeting Cookie in Madison, Wisconsin, so we can hang out with Daughter Chana and her husband Mike, and attend Chana’s baby shower.  By the time we get home, we’ll have just a few days to finish packing before the moving truck arrives!

Cookie and I are veteran movers, having moved a number of times in our lives.  However, this time is going to be a lot different, as we’re downsizing into a two bedroom apartment.  We are letting go of a lot of our things, since we won’t have room for them.  We are doing that great American tradition called “downsizing”, which I’m sure many of you have ample experience with.

My father lived in the house I grew up in until pretty much the day that he died.  It was  left to my brothers and I to empty the house my father lived in for sixty some years.  Most of his stuff had to be tossed, and pretty much filled up a dumpster.  They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but we saw little evidence of that.  The things that he owned, his tools and his hobbies, were only of real value to him.  His family and friends were the true treasure he had, and that is what he valued the most.

Perhaps I’m beginning to feel the cold inklings of winter, as I slowly pack up my things.  I know that sounds crazy, since it is currently 90 degrees outside.  But the chill I am writing about is the certain knowledge of the passing of seasons.  It’s an inner chill if you will, or as the great Detroit rocker Bob Seger crooned, “Autumn closing in.”

All in all, I don’t think that a bad thing.  It’s just life, and we all have traverse its seasons.  It’s just different now, because time is passing so quickly.  I now understand why my parents were always telling me to slow down, when I was going a mile a minute.  They knew how life had slammed on the brakes, as they lived and grew older.  But who listens to their parents’ advice, when they’re running off in several directions?  hourglass-time-hours-sand-39396.jpeg

Blessings,

Fr. Dave

 

 

Word Play & Dementia

I visited my Neurologist this week for my quarterly check-up, and a strange thing happened.  As per usual, the doc gave me three words to remember while he and his nurse were checking me out.  When they were done, the Doc asked me to tell him the three words he had given me.  Unfortunately, I could only remember one of them.

This was the first time I had not remembered all three.  I have to admit, it got to me.  The words are pretty much one syllable words.  When I told him that was the first time I missed them, he told me not to worry about it.  I wasn’t sure how to interpret that.  I mean it is a memory test, albeit a simple one.  I was thinking that it was kind of important, but evidently not in the greater scheme of things. Ah, those crazy, mysterious doctors!

Two days later, I checked in with my Physicians’ Assistant to renew a couple of prescriptions.  As with my Neurologist, we discussed our move to Lewisville at the end of June and the task of finding new Doctors and such.  It’s going to be hard to replace the docs that we’ve got, they’ve walked with us through some hard times.  We’ve been blessed, no doubt about that.  Mums the word though, because you can’t make a move without an unhealthy big box of these:pexels-photo-928475.jpeg

Though Cookie and I have moved a number of times in our lives, we never really get used to it.  But we’ve learned to get rid of things that we haven’t used in a while.  We’re being especially careful to do so on this move, since we’re downsizing to a two bedroom apartment.  I suppose we could rent one of those funky old storage lockers, but the stuff would still collect dust.  And, we’re getting to that age where the dust is now collecting on us!

Still, each treasure has been a part of our journey, and what a journey it’s been.  We’re glad we can pass some things on, to be enjoyed by those on their own journeys.  As the Good Lord said, “It is more blessed to give, than receive” and we have been blessed many

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times over.  So it’s back to our snazzy Loews’ moving boxes, which, by the way, happen to be the best deal in town.  Not to mention the bubble wrap, tape and those funky plastic dispensers.  We’ve hired some movers to haul stuff around, so the ambulance doesn’t have to haul us around.  There must be some brain cells still firing!

Blessings,

Father Dave

 

 

 

 

 

Money & Dementia

“I met a man, who knew a man, who said he knew a man, who knew what was going on.  I was mistaken…..”

I’ve always loved this song, written by David Crosby (of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame) many years ago.  I think it rather succinctly describes the uproar in our nations capitol at the present time.  There seems to be a growing vacuum at the top of our nation’s government, a lack of spiritual direction, if you will.  A number of politicians are jumping ship, and deciding to retire; I suspect many of their staffers will too.  Like Mr. Crosby’s lyrics, it’s near impossible to find someone who understands what’s really going on.

It also seems to me that manners are now in short supply.  I consider this to be a national problem, in Washington D.C. in particular, as well as in many of our state capitols.  In fact, it seems to be a viral issue, using the lingo of the day.  Good manners are disappearing at an alarming rate, and I wonder why this is so.  Surely this is learned behavior; where have the teachers of this growing plague arisen from?

Now, my opinion is that it seems best to get along with one another.   We can agree to disagree, but we can do it nicely.  But the behavior being modeled by our politicians just reflects our divided nation. And along with the nastiness, comes all sorts of greed.  More and more of our nation’s wealth is the hands of fewer and fewer people.  I believe the transfer of this money into fewer hands can only lead to tyranny.

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This concentration of a nations’ wealth is an ancient problem.  It has often resulted, historically, in the eventual destruction of a nation.  The concentration of money in the hands of fewer and fewer people, historically, has meant that those very people have made some very bad decisions.

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No one is talking much about this issue, though I believe they should be.  The shell game of the recent tax reform act transfers incredible amounts of money to the wealthiest people of this nation.  More and more citizens of our country will be left behind.  As Jesus said repeatedly in the scriptures, “Feed my sheep”.  Why?  He knew the wealthy folks that controlled the government weren’t about to do it.

Blessings,

Fr Dave