Monday, August 25, 2008

Olivia and Victoria's Tsunami Blue 5 x 7 inch Brag Book

download Brag Book page No. 1

I promised some excitement here today, and I won’t disappoint. My one and only, faithful and hard working CT, Victoria has created you a sweet Brag Book using my Tsunami Blue kit. We are working in tandem over the following three days to bring you all six pages, 1 from my blog, 1 from her blog on each day, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. By then you will have all six pages. We hope you will begin your day with us each day. Thank you Victoria for assembling this beautiful book . Visit Victoria's blog to download PAGE 2, Just click HERE.

I have some good testimony to share with you all here. My journey begins with me reaching out to help a friend in need. She has given me permission to share her story.

My friend Joy and I have never met in person, though I know without a doubt we shall. She lives in Oregon, I in BC, Canada. We found each other through a chat at a digital Scrapbooking site a few years ago and one of us invited the other to join a chat program, and we both have blogs and we would ‘visit’ back and forth.

Over the years we have come to know and enjoy each other. We have celebrated our blessings together, and comforted and encouraged each other through other times. Always its been through chat or email. Unfortunately, the chat program we used suddenly ceased to exist and we just have not connected that way since. We have, however, stayed in touch through our blogs and email.

I’ve known for a while that Joy was struggling with an issue many of us may have to face in our lives. She’s having to be the main care-giver to her elderly Mother. This means having to live away from her home and her husband, relocating temporarily to the town where her Mother lives. From what I gather, Joy does have some support from her family (for sure help in the way of encouragement etc) but for the physical BEING there and doing stuff, she’s the only one that has the means to be able to stay and DO things.

Mother is spiralling downwards, health wise. She’s become very ‘difficult’ - eg: being emotionally and physically abusive. I know none of us likes to think this happens, and as Joy says, she KNOWS her Mother is merely using her as a target for her anger – because Joy is THERE. Joy knows her Mother is not angry with her, she’s angry at her loss of mobility, her confusion, her pain and anxiety. This said, its got to be hard to keep positive when the Mother who once nurtured and cared for you acts out at you, hitting, spitting and saying things she really does not mean.

I’m in admiration that Joy has made it this far. To hang in there all through this. Its easy to love when things are going right, but REAL love is birthed of standing in through the difficult times.

I’ve left encouragement when I could, on her blog, but not having had to walk in her shoes, I’ve felt a bit inadequate knowing just how to help. OF COURSE I’ve lifted her up in prayer.

Things have escalated in the past week. I’ve checked in on Joy’s blog, and sent emails, but it was pretty quiet. Then, then on Saturday, I sent Joy an email. I had SUCH a burden for her. I did not know WHY. So, I made a decision and did something I have only done perhaps once before. I sent Joy an email and just told her that I felt so strongly there was a need in her life, and that I was going to, in faith, pray it be met. I also GAVE HER MY PHONE NUMBER, and encouraged her to call me. ANYTIME.

At dinner that night, the phone rang, and Miles answered. He, not knowing who it was, or that I’d even called Joy, said we were eating dinner and could we call back, and then asked who it was. Well, I took the phone right away.

I can’t tell you what it meant to me to hear Joy’s voice. To hear her struggles. To SHARE her pain, her journey. She told me, that my email had met her (she checked the time it was sent) at the EXACT time she needed to be making some decisions. Joy is at the point where she may have to release her Mother into professional care – and its tearing her apart. She KNOWS she’s been a good care giver – she’s been assured of this by the nurses she’s worked with. Even they are telling her its OK to want to be ‘JUST A DAUGHTER’ again. Even so, its got to be heart wrenching.

How wonderful for Joy to reach out for help, for a shoulder, an ear, for prayer. Her request allowed me to lift her and her family in prayer at Church yesterday morning, to know that the prayer warriors in our congregation will be interceding for her this coming week. I hope she feels surrounded by the love and peace we wish for her.

Friendship doubles our joy

and divides our sorrow.

"A true friend is always loyal,

and a brother is born to help in time of need."

Proverbs 17:17 TLB

Won’t YOU lift Joy and her family in prayer this week? You can visit Joy’s blog by clicking HERE. She’s not had much time to update (understandably!) but I know your comments would mean so much to her.


I spoke to Valinda last night - it was another night of struggle with Mother. When we visited (via chat) she was continuously pulled away as her Mother, though medicated kept trying to get out of bed. She seemed to be settling a bit by the end of our conversation. Thankfully, at the time we spent together, Joy was expecting some relief help in an hour or so.

I feel blessed just to BE HERE for Joy, and felt good I could do SOMETHING for her.

But I didn’t stop there.

Virelle Kidder

You see, I’ve not had to walk this journey Joy is walking. I can pray for her and imagine what it might be like, but I can’t KNOW, can’t give her practical advice. But our conversation brought to mind a radio program I’d heard in July at Midday Connection, where an author was being interviewed – about the VERY situation that Joy is facing. The interview was with Virelle Kidder – author of “Meet Me at the Well” – a book about her own struggle with tremendous personal stresses INCLUDING her mother’s failing health and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s - with Virelle being the main caregiver. And it is about how Virelle came to her own decision making time – and how this all led her to “meet Jesus at the well” If she’d not made changes she may well have lost everything. There was just so much here I knew could be of value to Joy.

I decided to track back to find the audio show from Midday Connection and to send Joy a link – for I know this show will give her a comfort that I can’t myself. She will know she’s not alone, others have struggled along the same journey.

{In case you would like to listen to that audio interview yourselves, you can do so by clicking HERE and choose the July 11, 2008 show called Meet Me at the Well. Just click the little audio button and it should open in your windows media player.}

Then, I went a step further.

How awesome it is to be used when one is obedient when a need is laid on your heart. My God knows no boundaries – He can use us RIGHT WHERE WE ARE. I think of it as being a SERVANT of God – a servant does not sit by and WATCH, a true servant DOES. Does whatever one can. Do whatever YOU can, take action, and God will do the rest. He desires us to be obedient - He can and will use whatever big or small thing you are able do.

God has given you incredible potential.

Don't be afraid to take risks.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,

but a spirit of power,

and love of self-discipline."

2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

I tracked the link to Virelle’s website. I located her email, and I simply gave her a brief overview of Joy’s situation and asked for her prayer. I knew Virelle must be a very busy lady – as she’s a full time writer and conference speaker. But do you know, Virelle took the intiative to leave a message back at Joy’s to comfort and encourage her, personally. Not only that, Virelle is going to be giving a book away to one lucky person.

Virelle Kidder's "Meet Me at the Well"
could be YOURS! (read on!)

I’m going to publish an interview with her here . You need only to visit her blog and leave a comment. Just click HERE to be taken to her blog. Please encourage all your friends or those who may benefit from Virelle/s ministry, to visit and leave a comment. At the end of one week, Virelle will choose a winner!

By the way, you also want to visit Virelle’s WEBSITE, where you can read her ‘sneak peak’ of her book, and find out more about her other books, ministry and ... herself! Thank you, Virelle, for your ministry, and for sharing with us!

An interview with Virelle

  1. Tell us about your life “before the well.” About eight or ten years ago my life was as happy and full as it’s ever been with a speaking ministry, daily radio show, and writing. Steve and I were loving our empty nest and had just signed a book contract to co-author Getting the Best Out of Public Schools when everything changed. Our younger daughter arrived home in a serious mental health crisis from an abusive marriage, needing our full time comfort and care for a long, long time. Soon afterward my elderly mother who lived nearby also began a steady descent into Alzheimer’s. Although it took years to diagnose, her needs escalated daily. Suddenly, I was a full time caregiver, caught between the extreme needs of two women I loved, my mother and my daughter.

  1. How did you know you were becoming depressed? I didn’t. I began having mild chest pains and problems with my jaw, but didn’t take it seriously until one day at lunch with some friends I broke out in hives. I thought it was a food allergy, but my husband insisted I see the doctor. As I left the house he said, “Tell Dr. Mastroianni I think you’re depressed.” I laughed it off, but later the doctor said he knew it the minute I walked in the door.

  1. Why is this problem so common among women? Caregiving is natural to women. The problem comes when we find we are not equipped to handle it all. It’s just too much, and their needs are too great. Eventually, we are broken and weary in body, mind, and spirit. Christian women struggle more with this, because we feel God requires it. We trust He will give the grace and strength we need day by day. And He does, for a long time, until we realize we just can’t keep going. False guilt needles our faith and pretty soon we feel like a lousy Christian, too.

  1. Did Jesus feel the same physical and emotional fatigue we do? He certainly felt the same pressures we do, and barely had a quiet moment without making sure it happened by rising early to meet with His Father, getting away to quiet places to rest with His disciples. If Jesus needed to rest regularly, what makes us think we don’t?

  1. How is that possible if you’re “all prayed up” and in the Word of God each day? Somehow, I thought that would be enough. My walk with God was steady and strong, but my body and emotions were completely worn out. When one part suffers, the whole person suffers.

  1. You talk about the “Woman at the Well” in John chapter four as a rock star, naming her Moriah. Why is she so special to you? She’s an honest woman. I love that! Moriah has no problem admitting she’s a sinner. Her conversation with Jesus is direct, even confrontational, until He reveals how deeply He knows her, and who He really is. Her guard drops and she runs to tell the whole village. In that moment she is transformed into a real woman of faith.

  1. You mention feeling angry with God over the things He allows, such as your daughter’s mental illness and the death of Birgitta, your older daughter’s best friend. That’s something most people don’t want to admit. What did you do about your anger? I asked an older woman and followed her advice. “Tell God how you feel,” she said. “He’s big enough to take it.” When I finally did, I felt His deep comfort and understanding and real relief. I still don’t know why terrible things happen, and often feel grief over them, but I know God hurts with me and loves them even more than I do.

  1. What advice do you have for other women who find themselves smack in the middle of the “sandwich generation,” caring for adult children and parents? Ask for help way earlier than I did. Don’t feel that you can carry on alone. Only God can “fix” those we love. We cannot do that. Love, prayer, and service as He directs are the best. Trust those God’s put in your life to counsel you.

  1. How did things turn around for you? What changed? I was walking through a supermarket in January on a bitter cold night. I’d just brought my mother her dinner and was getting groceries for us, when tears began rolling down my face. I prayed simply, “Lord, I can’t keep going. Will you take this from me?” Moments after I arrived home, my mother phoned. She couldn’t move and was frightened. We called 911 and met the ambulance a few minutes later at her house. Mother was eventually placed in a nursing home where she met the love of her life, after more than fifty years as a widow. How good is God?

  1. What have you learned about God since then that you didn’t know before? What has renewal meant for you? We’ve been through many difficulties over the years, but this was one of the hardest for me. There’s no shame in admitting weakness. I run to God more quickly with every need than I did before. I expect I’ll keep learning that until the day God calls me home!

You can write to Virelle via her website at

Meet Me at the Well by Virelle Kidder. Published by Moody Publishers, January 2008. Paperback, 228 pages. $13.99. ISBN: 978-0-8024-4861-3.


  1. Barb your caring heart and your ears to listen to the Lord and has always your willingness to do are so blessed and are a blessing to us all ya sis ..and oh yes you and Victoria are doing an awesome job with your new brag book ...way to go girls

  2. Good Afternoon Barb:)
    What a COOL brag book! Thank you both soo much for sharing it with me.:)I love your Tsunami kit and this is wonderful!
    I know what you mean about Joy and her struggles to be there for her Mom.It is very difficult to watch the one you love turn into someone you don't recognize any more... Both in looks and actions.A lot of the time it is the medication they are on that causes them to be like that.Daddy's personality changed drastically after struggling with pain and medications etc for over a year.He kept getting mad at my Mom when we would leave the pain center ..thinking she was gonna take him to the nursing home.He had a huge smile when we turned into the driveway to their home.He would get mad at her when it came time to give him his pain meds and when she couldn't give them to him orally..cause he couldn't keep them down..she had to do it the other way..if you know what I mean.(suppositorily).That sounds better.LOL It's something you just have to do for them..cause the only other option is to see them in sooo much pain.Love does hurt..both them and us. There's the anxiety of them being medicated and confused...Mom couldn't rest well when she was taking care of Daddy..cause at any moment he could get out of bed and walk out the front door or something...that is ..when he was able to walk.There were the constant visits to the cancer center and the hospital stays when he would get the bladder infections from the catheters.(MS) I spent many a day at their house or at the hospital..crocheting a blanket and sitting by his bed.There were days..I could hardly face the idea of going to their house to see him like that again...but you buck up..take a deep breath and walk out the door to get in the car and go take care of them..cause you love them.I was pretty much my Mom's only relief.She would hit the bed as soon as I walked in the door..cause she could rest without worry.She was working herself into exhaustion and some times she would ask the Doctor to admit him to the hospital for a couple of days..just to be able to rest up some.He needed to be there..but the last time he went..he said he won't ever go back there.From then was all downhill.I think he didn't want to live any longer like that and they were just keeping him alive.He started acting like he was taking his pills and Mom would find them under his bed or sheets.Now you know why I was thrilled for him to go see Jesus.:)
    I know I just about wrote a book here..but wanted you and Joy to know..I feel her pain.!! If she is as tired as my Mom was..I can understand her wanting to hand over the care to the professionals.No one can blame her..if they haven't gone through it themselves!!!!


  3. Thank you so much, love the pages, also have the kit & love it too. My prayers will be with your friend.


    Thank you for sharing your ideas and faith.

  5. Barb, wonderful post again.. I read every word, and have prayed for your friend and her mum (and you), and left a message for Joy on her blog.

    Chris xx

  6. Thank you! Your blog post will be advertised on the DigiFree Digital Scrapbooking Freebie search engine today (look for timestamp: 26 Aug [LA 12:00am, NY 02:00am, UK 07:00am, OZ 05:00pm] ).

  7. Barb,
    Lovely post my friend, and fabulous QPs. I feel so bad that I haven't been here for you but I'm just so busy i don't have much ME time anymore. Sigh. The author and book sound interesting so I'll pop on over to her blog in a minute. I hope you and the mister are doing well. Oh and big thanks for the prayers! And another thanks for that lovely LO you made with my kit. Love you girl!
    Hugs and love,

  8. Now that is what I call a true friend! You did not shy away when you didn't hear from her and that is what I found so many do when someone needs a friend. I know because many of my "friends" just kind of lost touch when I became busy with caring for Mom. I visited your friend's blog to share a little with her about how it is ok to be the daughter. I hope it helps her. I thank God for you and your ministry thru the internet. this is not the first time I have been here and won't be the last. I just normally don't comment a lot of times. Know you are prayed for and so is your friend. BTW, tyvm for the quick page too :)

  9. Oh Wow- Barb, I'm sitting here having read every single word of this amazing post. You seem to know exactly when to reach out to your friends- all of them! And I can't thank you enough for this amazing read this morning. It's something that is really hard to deal with. I've been there in a way ( haven't had to choose the nursing home) wish you I knew you then ;-)
    On my way to Joy's
    Hugs and Loves my special friend


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