Relevant Care

Relevance: having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand [Merriam-Webster definition]

Betty and Betty

I’m not sure why this came to me as I drove home from another visit with Mom. Relevant care. It bears an immediacy, tugs at my heart. What is relevant about this, other than the fact that it’s happening now and continues to happen, whether I’m there with her, or waiting at home.

We’ve had a crisis in our family, as Mom’s health spirals in and out of decline. Life takes her down. I watch her fight her way back, time and time again. Will she make it this time? Only God knows.

The hospital has moved her into a rehab center. I sign in to see her. They have her under her legal name, Betty, instead of Chris, her long-time nickname. It’s my name, too. I swallow the lump in my throat as I write it on the form.

I find her in a room down a long hall.

Now, fear joins in the battle. Her fear. Anxiety fills her and permeates the air around her. Will this latest health issue keep her anchored in the rehab center, the nursing home? Rather than nestled in her own home, where she longs to be. The anxiety weighs her down more than the issues that threaten her life.

If I could, I would bear it for her, bag it up, take it home with me and keep it far from her, out of harm’s way. Give her a lighter burden to bear and a better chance at recovery.

Prayers help. Visits help, even when we only sit in silence, together. She talks too much, bringing on another coughing jag.

I wait, holding her hand.

She apologizes for the fortieth time, for complaining so much. She confesses her fears, not with words, but through her actions. The “tell” is a look in her eyes, like that of a hunted animal.

I wait. Then I let her know she’s not bothering me. I’m just happy to be here with her.

Will this be the time? Will I leave and never see her again? Fears dance in my mind, too. Life can be unpredictable at times.

Hope rallies. Sometimes, I return and find her better. We go out and have a bit of fun, all she can bear in her feeble state.

Her resilience continues to amaze me, as she faces each new crisis of health. She finds a way to get through it.

“This is my life now,” she tells me. “I just need to figure out how to live here, too.” Then yesterday, she added, “But I want you to know, I’m ready to go.”

So what is “relevant care” for me right now? Taking care of the needs of my family. Answering the call to hold a hand and be present in the moment. This means I may not always have a post here on Thursday morning, but I know my readers will understand. This is my life now, and I just need to figure out how to live here.


Make no mistake, I am so very, very thankful because I have been so blessed. That’s what makes this moment of my life so precious. I realize how quickly it passes and how fast those precious moments in the now become precious memories.

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Hello Thursday Morning DevotionHello, Thursday Morning readers! I hope you’re doing well this midwinter morning. It’s cold and a little damp here.

We’re only weeks away from spring. Yay! I’m thinking about what I’ll plant in my flower beds, and that thought is invigorating. Already, the new green is showing through the deadness of my front bed, as you can see in the photo below. We’ve had an unusually warm winter thus far.

I hope you’re wide awake and ready for a great day.

One who is kind benefits himself, but an unkind person hurts himself. [My paraphrase of Proverbs 11:17].

Kindness paves the way for a good day. I know there are times when your kind words are not greeted with kindness, but if you will persist in kindness, it will pay off in the long run.

And pay attention, please. Wake up! Put your phone down and leave it down when you’re driving. Every day, I see people crossing over the line into my lane because they are distracted. Yesterday, a friend of mine told of a near head-on collision with another driver who was distracted. My friend was so shaken, she had difficulty driving home.

So, do me a favor. Do yourself a great kindness. Forget about that message until you get where you’re going. If it’s that important, pull over somewhere safe and deal with it, then proceed.

It will be better to arrive a few minutes late, rather than to not arrive at all.

So, wake up and smell the coffee. Practice kindness today. Sometimes the best thing you can give another person is your attention.Winter Garden 2020

Inquisitive Minds Want to Know

Hey, how’s your morning going? I’m inquisitive this morning. Sometimes my mind needs more fodder, so I step out of my bubble and look around.

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I hope you’ve had a great week.

Is there really ice on the moon? This is old news, but I’m just now noticing it. I know, I don’t watch the news on a regular basis. I tend to notice things in passing. The idea of water on the moon intrigues me, though. Iceskating astronauts? Not only am I inquisitive this morning, but apparently silly, too.

Five hours, not eight? Could that work? According to German entrepreneur, Lasse Rheingans, in a Wall Street Journal article, yes, it does work. But you have to focus. No personal stuff. No checking Facebook. No surfing the web. Just work, finish the job and go home. Sounds good to me. You may want to check it out.

And along a similar line, how many hours of sleep do you really need? There are those who really don’t want to sleep. Are they afraid they’ll miss something? One of my sons was like that. I didn’t sleep the night through for five years.

And, if we deny ourselves sleep, what long-lasting health and mental issues do we suffer because of the deficit?

Scientists have determined that you can’t make up for lost sleep.

I’m not one to stay up all night, except for an occasional insomnia episode. I hate losing rest. I do only manage about six hours a night, though, and wake bright-eyed and ready to go. Hubby could easily sleep nine to ten hours a night. It’s an interesting subject that may need further study and some field testing.

How about you? Do you function better with a regular eight hours? More? Or Less?

coffee, cookie, break, cupWell, it’s back to work for me. No more perusing articles on the internet. With no distractions, I may actually complete all my work in five hours. How about a three-day workweek of five hours per day making the same pay as someone who works forty hours? Sounds good to me!

I’ve just realized I missed my break. Coffee, anyone?

2020 Vision

Hello, Thursday Morning! It’s day sixteen of 2020. In our part of the country, it’s either raining or rain is on the way, according to the weather “seers.” Here, we’re still waiting for winter.

If you have 20-20 vision, your sight is perfect. You can see far into the distance, and read without cheaters. What a blessing! But, how well can you see into the future?

Often, our hindsight is much clearer than our foresight. What have I learned from the mistakes I made last year? Have I been able to overcome those mistakes, forgive myself and move forward?

OK, Google. Where to now?

Course correction is easy when I’m driving. I can pull over, figure out my route, and then turn around and head back if I need to. Sometimes, my phone’s GPS will tell me to “proceed to the route”. What does that mean exactly? I don’t know about you, but when that voice tells me to “proceed north” on a street, I have to pause. Which way is north?

And what about those areas of our country where phone service is interrupted? Suddenly, I’m thrown on the mercy of my sense of direction and I have to figure things out on my own. That’s when planning ahead is the most important. I know there will be times like that, so I should either download the directions and save the map on my phone or print it out and have a backup plan. Notice I said, “I should…” I don’t always do that.

In life, we need to have some form of advance planning and preparation. There will be route changes along the way. So, how can we be prepared for what life sends us?

Obedience matters. Prayer matters. Though we can’t see the future, He can.

Prayer positions us. It is our spiritual “GPS”.

Prayer is not just being religious. It’s not legalism. It’s a conversation with someone who loves you more than you can fathom.

Prayer is 20-20 vision.

January is a reset-month. It’s the dawn of a new year. God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Yes, that kind of renewal. A seed falls into the ground and dies, and out of that old last year seed, life renews.

We get a fresh start.

What will you do with your fresh new year?

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DON’T MISS THIS! If you’re a writer living in or near Kentucky, make plans now to attend the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference in Elizabethtown, Kentucky (early-bird pricing ends March 1!). Bob Hostetler is our keynote speaker for Write the Vision 2020, June 18-20, 2020.

Tracy Ruckman’s Big Adventure

My good friend, Tracy Ruckman, along with her husband Tim, set off on the adventure of a lifetime last year. I kept up with their journey via her blog and social media posts, and I have to say, she certainly kept my attention!

So, of course, I was excited to learn she’d written a book about their experiences. I interviewed her just in time for the release of Go West, His Momma Said.

 

“Go West, His Momma Said” – Great title! What’s the story behind the title?

Tracy: My husband Tim inspired the title. He loves to tell people that all his life, his mother always said, “Go West, young man,” but then he married me, and I took him east instead (when we moved from Alabama to Georgia.) This trip was finally following his momma’s orders.

Many of us desire to “take to the road” and seek adventure. What spurred your decision to do it?

Tim and I have dreamed of going on the road since we got married, and even independently since we were kids. On December 26, 2018, we got some difficult news and realized that many changes were ahead of us. We started toying with the idea of traveling again and realized that, at the ages of 71 and 55, time played a crucial role in our doing this now or never. We decided ‘never’ was not an option, so we began selling or giving away almost all our belongings, packed a few things into storage, and set off on January 8, 2019. We spent 189 days tent camping our way around the country – 36 states, more than 25,000 miles.

Most adventures also include adversity. It’s the unknown factor that makes the experience a true adventure. Can you share a moment like that with us?

Tracy: In some ways, it seems like our whole trip was filled with adversity, because we were tent camping in the winter! We didn’t have an RV, we didn’t have any savings, we didn’t have a plan, or even a destination. We just packed up our SUV with camping gear and took one day at a time. We saw God’s hand on us the whole way, though. We didn’t have one bit of car trouble – none at all – no accidents, flat tires, faulty belts. God gets all the credit for every bit of that.

Our biggest challenge was the weather – we spent much of the first three months trying to dodge the cold. Texas winds took out our tent in our first ten days on the road – broke two tent poles and ripped one of the walls, and we were in it at the time!

Somewhere along the way, I also developed an irrational fear of mountains. I haven’t had any bad experiences with mountains, but on the road, I became fearful of driving in them. I still haven’t conquered that fear completely, but on the second leg of our trip, the mountain fears weren’t quite as bad.

What is the greatest positive you gained from this journey?

Tracy: As I compiled this book, I was amazed at all we saw in such a short time. Go West, His Momma Said is only the first half of our journey, and I’m still amazed by it. I know we could have done things differently (better, slower) than we did – but we actually made this trip, even with our limited resources and planning. Now, when I hear a town name mentioned on the news or in a book, I can recall the terrain, the people, the personality of the place, and say, “We’ve been there.”

What would you like to share with any of our readers who may be considering a similar experience?

Tracy: Don’t wait for perfect circumstances to make your dreams reality. We kept waiting, thinking, hoping we’d have an RV or a pile of savings to travel with, but we could never make those things happen. We just decided to take the LEAP and go. In fact, we dubbed ourselves the LEAPFROGs, which means: Leaving Everything Always Praying Fully Relying on God. We did just that and He proved reliable every hop of our journey.

Click-to-Tweet: Don’t wait for perfect circumstances to make your dreams reality. Tracy Ruckman’s Big Adventure! #travel #camping #travelogues


Tracy Ruckman is an author, artist, and book publisher. Her book, Go West, His Momma Said, detailing the first leg of the Ruckman’s tent-camping journey released January 8 and is available on Amazon. Tracy’s artwork is available for purchase on FineArt America. She loves to connect, and invites you to follow her online:

Website

Amazon Author Page

FineArt America Art Page

TMPixArt blog

Facebook Author Page

Buy the Book at Amazon [Kindle Version]