Autopilot – the mode of operation for long-term caregivers

And the God who gets us through

In times of trial, when it feels like we’re flying alone – God provides better than “autopilot” and becomes the pilot of our journey

Autopilot becomes the way we handle things flung at us as new caregivers.  Actually, who am I kidding?  It didn’t get easier just because it became longer – in fact, the longer I lived on emergency-ready, life-and-death mode, the grayer my world became.  My son was four-years-0ld when we started his cancer journey, and I was 39.  When we finished chemotherapy, he was 7 1/2  and I was 93.  My always-learning brain had turned to mush (Anita calls it chemo brain by proxy) and I literally saw through a gray haze. I functioned on autopilot – but it worked, because of Who my pilot is:  this is a poem I wrote shortly after finishing chemo and realizing I was in deep-struggle-mode.

I’m on autopilot

Feet float

From place to place

Unaware of where they’re going

Lost from where they’ve been

 

Eyes drift

Across words on a page

Reading and rereading a passage

Unable to soak it in

 

Ears buzz

Around conversations flying by

Desperately trying to pick out information

Confused by threads of thought

 

Mouth stumbles

Over pieces of a conversation

Tripping over thoughts refusing to be expressed

Incapable of coherence

 

Hands flutter

From task to task

Forgetting how to accomplish anything outside of an emergency

Helpless to proceed

 

I’m on autopilot again Lord,

Lost,

drifting,

buzzing,

stumbling,

fluttering

Autopilot

The only way I can do anything at all

Is to have You

Be my pilot

Caregiver coping - #autopilot. Let God be your pilot! #caregiving Click To Tweet

Put God in the pilot seat!

Inspire Me Monday Instructions

What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your favorite posts from last week!

2. Visit TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.

3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer—just do it!

Don’t forget to visit the other #InspireMeMonday host site: www.anitaojeda.com

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Patients and Patience

I found myself unable to finish my 31 days of Unexpected Blessings in October, but I’ve enjoyed writing about the blessings that came from caring for a child with cancer (even though no one would choose that journey) and so want to finish the series.

An unwanted, but invaluable lesson

An unwanted, but invaluable lesson

 

I’m a “plan it” kind of girl.  I drive my husband crazy (my words, not his) by waking up on a weekend and blurting, “What’s the plan for today?”  My theory, with life, has been that I need to have it planned, I need to coordinate and organize and know what’s next.  Surprises are great – when they’re super fun.  Otherwise, you can have them: I like to know what’s up.  I worried my way through high school because I did not know what I career I would pursue, nor who I might possibly marry.  I worried about having children – after all, everyone knows you can’t plan your kids, so what if I couldn’t handle whatever came with having children?

I’m sure my God has a sense of humor, because He gifted me with three children, all extremely different from each other and none of them like myself.  Every moment of being a mommy has been about me learning and growing (every mom reading this is smiling at this, right?  Well, you are if your child isn’t throwing a temper tantrum or drawing on the walls).

But having a child with cancer?  Have the treatment protocol last for three and a half years?  Going to chemotherapy daily, twice a week, weekly, monthly, etc for three and a half years?  Well.  Okay.  I actually could plan that.  I could make the appointments and keep them, and boy let me tell you I did.  We drove icy roads, I inserted needles into my son’s port, I ground up medicine and administered stuff I couldn’t touch in order to follow the treatment protocol to the letter and the minute.  That I could plan.

But a caregiver cannot plan sudden fevers that require hospitalization until the source is found.  An emergency check-in to a strange hospital (because you were on a trip) might mean that you’ll be there for a night, or it might mean that you’ll be there for several weeks (we experienced both).  A four-year-old telling you that he might need to go to the hospital sends your world into a tail-spin, because it turned out that he was always right – and it usually meant a long stay.  We learned that when the nurse told us “we could check out of the hospital now” actually meant that at some point today the process would be begun and if we were lucky, we’d be home that evening.  If not, maybe tomorrow, whenever all the overseeing medical teams reached agreement.  But at least our boy was better.  The check out process kept us waiting for hours on end, but then, so did getting medication from the pharmacy.  Lo and behold, pharmacies aren’t used to sending home the kind of poisonous arsenal given to our boy and it often took a string of follow-up phone calls and a fight (or two) with insurance agents and long lines at the pharmacy to get the meds.  Waiting for a blood transfusion, watching our boy get weaker and weaker while waiting, was excruciating.  The process of chemotherapy was a blood draw first, waiting for certain results before chemo injections, then waiting for more blood draw results.  Sometimes, chemotherapy took an entire 12 hour day with that cycle.

I could not plan beyond a moment.

I could not control anything of importance.

I could not organize enough.

I could not hurry any process, including that of healing my boy.

And, in that three and a half years of waiting, and in the five years after that, waiting to see if he would “hold his remission”.  I learned patience.

I learned to spend those extra hours waiting for checkout in games with my boy.  I learned to stay packed and ready for emergencies and to just take them as they came.  Worry didn’t prepare me any better for anything.  I learned to chat with the pharmacists while waiting for insurance agents and to talk with the people in line who had their own burdens to share.  I learned to read books while waiting and to catch naps while my son was under anesthesia (OK, who am I kidding, I never mastered actually sleeping, but I would lie down).  I learned to not focus on the blood results because I couldn’t do anything about them anyway, and instead cuddled on the bed and watched Dora the Explorer.  I learned that I couldn’t hurry sickness or disease, nor could I completely control health (no matter how careful with diet we were) and I learned that no amount of organization keeps your child from cancer.

I learned that the ONLY thing I could do, was CHOOSE every single moment, of every single hour, of every single day through those long years of treatment to let my son be in God’s hands.  I never quit doing my best, because that’s who I am.  But God is the One who controls whether or not my boy lives or dies, it’s God who will watch the blood counts and it’s His eternal plan (the one I don’t understand) that will dictate what happens.

Caring for my precious little patient taught me patience in an amazing way.  It’s not a lesson plan I would ever formulate (this is a teacher speaking), but it’s a focus change in my life that is so huge that I just had to share.

I learned that the ONLY thing I could do, was CHOOSE ,every single day through those long years of treatment, to let my son be in God’s hands. #write31days #caregiving via @caregivermom Click To Tweet

One Word-2015

I long for a deeper understanding of God's love. How about you? http://wp.me/p2UZoK-EE via @blestbutstrestI adjusted my mask and dunked my head under the turbid water. The low-hanging clouds and wind-whipped white caps occluded the surface of the ocean, and I had no idea what I’d see when I dunked my head under. The previous days’ snorkeling trips had all started in crystal clear waters where I could see the fish darting around beneath me from the surface.

It’s so much easier to commit myself with snorkeling when I can catch of glimpse of what I’ll see. I don’t love swimming and I have a very healthy fear of the ocean (Pedro might call it an unhealthy fear). Snorkeling in a new place in water that didn’t reveal at least some of what lies beneath scared me.

Pedro waved from underwater, urging me to follow him through a gap in the coral reef, and I hesitantly followed. I’m glad I did. A beautiful vista spread out before us, full of bright coral and fish I had never seen before. I made my way around the edges, never too far from a place where I could stand up if I needed to, secretly glad that Pedro can’t SCUBA dive (the pressure in his ears won’t equalize). Occasionally we’d come to a cliff with darker blue beyond and water so deep I couldn’t see the bottom. I stayed away from those. They really scare me.

A lot of things scare me. Things I can’t control. Things with uncertain endings. Sharks. Car wrecks. Cliffs. Rejection. Commitments. I knew about the One Word movement last year when I dunked my head in the ocean and swam away from a perfectly stable shore to explore the unknown. In fact, a word popped into my mind as I swam and saw the amazing beauty of the underwater world.

Like Jonah, I pretty much ignored the word and the commitment for an entire year. I’ve grown a lot this year as a person, a parent, a writer, a teacher and a child of God. I’ve conquered my fear of blogging every day by participating in the #write31days challenge (and I actually wrote six days a week with two posts on Fridays).

This year, I’m ready to commit—and the same word weighs heavy on my heart. Deeper. I feel God calling me to go deeper—in his word, in my friendships, in my relationships and in whatever ways he will reveal himself to me. It won’t be easy, because I’m so content to sit on the shore and watch things, to observe from afar and never really get involved.

My word for 2015?  Deeper.  http://wp.me/p2UZoK-EE via @blestbutstrest #onewordBut it’s time to stop acting like Jonah and answer God’s urging to go deeper. I don’t know how or where the word will lead me—but I trust the One who gave it to me. (tweet this)

What about you? Have you chosen a word for 2015?

Inspire Me Monday Instructions
What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week (just ONE, please).

2. Vist TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.

3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer–just do it!

Please link back to this week’s post or add the button to your post so that we can spread the inspirational cheer :).

I found inspiration for my Monday at #inspirememondays. Join us! (tweet this)

So, go ahead! Take the plunge and share your most inspiring post with us!

Take a moment to visit the other hostesses, too! Angie, Cindy, and Denise.


 

Setting My Camera on Auto

Learning to trust my camera http://wp.me/p2UZoK-Ek via @blestbutstrestWe entered the forest in a pool of light, which disappeared as the road narrowed and climbed towards the parking area three-quarters of a mile away. Redwoods shot upwards on every side, and leaned in over the road, blocking sunlight, blue sky and even sounds.

The temperature outside dropped, and I rolled my window back up to ward off the chill. We passed the parking lot, and continued up hill—the road shrinking even more in width and folding back almost upon itself as it climbed higher and higher. At last, we broke out into the sunshine again and hopped out to look at the view—the ordinary view of treetops and an indistinct line on the horizon where lower hills met the sky. I could hear a stream gurgling on one side, and a creek flinging itself over boulders on the other side.

When problems loom large, learn to trust someone bigger http://wp.me/p2UZoK-Ek via @blestbutstrestNo clue remained of the mysterious, awe-inspiring stand of giants that we had passed through just minutes earlier. After snapping a few photos, we returned to our vehicles and headed back down to the narrow valley floor. I couldn’t wait to stand next to the giants and try my skills at capturing their awe-inspiring beauty.

When we arrived at the parking lot, the clear air smelled dank and mossy, and every surface felt damp. As we walked along the discovery pathway, an occasional shaft of light would disorient me, and I would whip my head around, trying to figure out why my vision suddenly seemed clearer.Even in the darkest gloom, light can break through  http://wp.me/p2UZoK-Ek via @blestbutstrest #depression

I felt frustrated by my photography skills in this new environment—where I didn’t know how to set the aperture values correctly to deal with the sharp contrast of light at the tops of the tress and the deep gloom at the bottom. I lamented the tripod I’d left at home—but when we left home over a week ago, I had no idea we’d be stopping by a redwood forest.

The group of family and friends I’d traveled with good-naturedly waited for me as I tried shot after shot. ‘If only I had come by myself,’ I thought, as I tried (and failed) once again to catch the perfect shot that would translate on a screen or photo the astounding height and breadth of a redwood; the greens of the mosses, the reds of the trunks; the shafts of light that occasionally shone through.Setting my camera on auto made all the difference  http://wp.me/p2UZoK-Ek via @blestbutstrest #depression

Finally, I decided to quit depending on my knowledge of photography. Obviously, I had stepped outside my skill set. I set my camera to ‘Auto’ and decided to let the superior knowledge of technology figure out the conundrum of sharp contrasts, my external flash and focusing without a tripod.

I snapped a photo and checked the results.  The light and dark had evened out enough that I could tell that the camera had focused correctly.  What a difference from my feeble attempts to create the perfect shot on my own.

And then it struck me. How often to I find myself in a gloomy place spiritually or emotionally and think that I need to work harder, faster, longer or quicker in order to pull myself out. I let my frustrations at my inadequacy fester and ferment until it seems impossible to ever break through to anything approaching normal.

As I face perplexities and situations that threaten to drag me down and feed my frustration, those are the times when the Master Photography whispers in my ear, “Set your camera to ‘Auto’, my child. Stop trying to figure it all out on your own. There is no shame in leaning on my knowledge and the experience of others—those who offer to help you are there because I sent them.” (tweet this)

And those tall, overwhelming trees which lean in and surround me and change the very weather where I stand? If I keep climbing up the narrow road, I’ll pop out in the sunshine and look behind me at an ordinary view of trees marching through valleys.

Inspire Me Monday Instructions
What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week (just ONE, please).

2. Vist TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.

3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer–just do it!

Please link back to this week’s post or add the button to your post so that we can spread the inspirational cheer :).

I found inspiration for my Monday at #inspirememondays. Join us! (tweet this)

So, go ahead! Take the plunge and share your most inspiring post with us!



 

The Beautiful Gifts We Bring

God makes our offerings beautiful--no matter how small or humble. http://wp.me/p2UZoK-E3 via @blestbutstrest #AdventMary walked down the aisle of the church, head down, as if in shame. Her bulky dress covered her slim body, and an old, ripped up sheet held in place with a green headband covered her hair. Joseph walked beside her, hesitant and proud at the same time.

When they reached the front of the small church, they stepped carefully into the bower of branches and Christmas lights and sat on the blanket-covered bench. As the angels drew near, Mary reached behind her and set a baby doll firmly between her and Joseph.

God makes our offerings beautiful--no matter how small or humble. http://wp.me/p2UZoK-E3 via @blestbutstrest #AdventBefore the program started (forty minutes late), six-year-old ‘Mary’ had buzzed around the church with boundless energy, stopping by our pew to wiggle onto our laps or ask a question before bouncing off again to interact with a classmate. I didn’t know what role she would have in the program, so when I saw her heading up the aisle with Joseph, I worried that she’d be able to pull it off.

The gamut of emotions that crossed ‘Mary’s’ face made me think about the ‘real’ Mary. Between the shy looks of embarrassment, flickers of pride flitted across her features—much like the real Mary must have felt as her growing abdomen declared to the entire village that she and Joseph had done things out of the proper order. Yet at the same time, Mary and Joseph knew, really knew, the whole story. The words of her song in the book of Luke show us this combination of humility and pride that God had chosen her—above all other women—to carry the Savior of the world for nine months.God makes our offerings beautiful--no matter how small or humble. http://wp.me/p2UZoK-E3 via @blestbutstrest #Advent

Once seated up front, Mary stayed still the entire time—reacting to each angelic appearance, shepherd and wise person with the same regal but slightly bewildered expression. Her energy of the previous hour seemed laser-focused on doing her part and doing it right.

After the wise people left their gifts, the entire cast lined up and started singing “Joy to the World.” I hurriedly switched my camera to video mode and tried to capture the song and their expressions. Though small in size, their choir filled the church with joy and praise and beauty. Any choir of wiggling children that has work so hard to reenact the story of the greatest moment in our world’s history sounds beautiful—even if their voices strain to find the same key.

And that is the lesson of Christmas. When we try our very hardest to bring His story to the world, the results are beautiful. (tweet this)

We might think our efforts are off key, out of kilter, not perfect or far from ‘good enough.’ But what we think doesn’t matter. When we do our part to share the joy of the advent, the serenity of salvation, and the wonder of God’s love—God takes our off key and turns it into a a beautiful gift.

Inspire Me Monday Instructions
What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week (just ONE, please).

2. Vist TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.

3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer–just do it!

Please link back to this week’s post or add the button to your post so that we can spread the inspirational cheer :).

I found inspiration for my Monday at #inspirememondays. Join us! (tweet this)

So, go ahead! Take the plunge and share your most inspiring post with us!
Take a moment to visit the other hostesses, too! Angie, Cindy, and Denise.


 

 

Is it for Reals?

How genuine are you? http://wp.me/p2UZoK-Dt via @blestbutstrest“Can you deliver this to your mom?” my dad asked as he handed me a small poinsettia plant. “It’s to decorate the library,” he explained, “I bought her a big one for the house.”

He got back in his car and drove on home whilst I continued on my way to the administration building of the school where we work to deliver the plant and to finish running errands before classes started for the day. On my way, I admired the beautiful red leaves and thought about how much cheer a simple red and green plant can bring to a dreary winter’s day.

A week later, I walked into the library and noticed the plant on the checkout counter—only now it had several holes in the leaves. “What happened to your beautiful plant?”

Mom laughed. “The kids keep playing with the leaves when they come in to the library. They rub the leaves and ask, ‘Is it for reals?’” She shrugged. “It’s holding up pretty well considering the abuse it’s taking.”

We shook our heads at the conundrum that our students present. So worldly-wise and weary at times, yet so innocent about things like real plants and the reason for Christmas.

But I wondered, how much did I actually know about the ubiquitous Christmas flower? Turns out, not much. The red part isn’t even a flower!

The poinsettia, a plant native to Mexico, has only been used as a symbol of Christmas since the late 1800s in the United States. But the plant has been part of Mexican Christmas traditions since the 1600s when legend tells of a poor young girl, Pepita, who felt sad because she had no gift to leave at the alter on Christmas Eve (Noche Buena).

An angel encourages her to make a bouquet from some dark green leaves she finds beside the road, and her cousin (or brother—depending on who tells the story), assures her that no matter how small or humble a gift she has to give, Jesus knows it comes from the heart of someone who loves him—and that’s all that matters.

When Pepita takes the bouquet to the altar, the top leaves turn a crimson red and the villagers all realize that they’ve seen a miracle. From that moment on, the plant is known as “La Flor de Noche Buena” (The Holy Night Flower).

How genuine are you? http://wp.me/p2UZoK-Dt via @blestbutstrestThe Poinsettia (the common name of the plant in the United States due to the fact that Joel Roberts Poinsett—and ambassador to Mexico from the US—brought the plant to the States in the 1820s) plant can grow up to 13 feet high (now THAT would be a conversation starter in any library). The red leaves surround the real ‘flower’ part of the plant. In order for the top leaves to turn red (or ‘bloom’), the plant needs 12-13 hours of complete darkness a day for two months with warmish nighttime temperatures.

Despite popular urban legends, the leaves and flowers won’t kill you or even make you very sick (unless you eat 500 of them). The Aztecs used the sap (latex) to treat fevers and the red leaves to create a dye.

This wealth of information made me think even more. We are more like the poinsettia in the library than we may realize. In a consumer-driven, one-upmanship, my-decorations-look-better-than-yours and I-made-more-Christmas-cookies-than-you-did sort of world, the way we celebrate Christmas matters.

Do our non-Christian friends see us stressed and harried and full of angst over creating the ‘perfect Christmas’? Do they shake their heads just a little as they hear us focus on what ‘Santa’ will bring our kids for Christmas? Do they nod in agreement as we bemoan the debt we’ll incur as we purchase gifts for everyone?

Celebrating Christmas should involve three simple things—lights, memories and actions—not stress, lies and debt.

Jesus is the light of the world. Do we worry more about hanging the lights than reflecting the Light?

Jesus came to humble parents in a dirty stable and lived among us for 33 years. Do we make up stories about a jolly guy in a red suit who miraculously makes and delivers toys to every boy and girl on Christmas Eve, or do we revisit the miracles and the memories of God among us during the Christmas season?

Above all, Jesus acted out his love for humanity by giving up his very life to pay our debts—ones incurred by OUR sins. Do we spend more time racking up debt than contemplating our debt and how Jesus paid the bill? Do we toss a few coins towards the bell ringer’s baskets and think we’ve done our part—when in reality Jesus wants our hearts to lead our hands and feet to take care of the less fortunate and minister to the unlovable? (tweet this)

We’re going to have troubles in this world—we might suffer sickness, tragedy, death, loss and despair. We may live on easy street or at least a pretty comfortable street—but in our comfort do we become complacent. Does our complacency turn us into a mere plastic plant—or are we willing to stay genuine. We might get hurt. But, are we for reals? (tweet this)

Inspire Me Monday Instructions
What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week (just ONE, please).

2. Vist TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.

3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer–just do it!

Please link back to this week’s post or add the button to your post so that we can spread the inspirational cheer :).

I found inspiration for my Monday at #inspirememonday. Join us! (tweet this)

So, go ahead! Take the plunge and share your most inspiring post with us!
Take a moment to visit the other hostesses, too! Angie, Cindy, and Denise.



 

Something for Nothing

The lesson of #Christmas hasn't changed: We get something for nothing. http://wp.me/p2UZoK-CJ via @blestbutstrest
We won’t celebrate Christmas at home this year, and so we agreed (for the second year in a row) to forego purchasing a Christmas tree. Our first year in Arizona, I ended up buying a live tree—with the idea that we could keep it on our back porch and drag it in each December. (more…)

Fifty Marathons after Sixty? Let Lillian Inspire You!

Birds and 5Ks and hospitality #InspireMeMonday http://wp.me/p2UZoK-yV via @blestbutstrestAt 23, I felt pretty invincible. So, when my Aunt Lillian casually asked me if I’d like to run in a 5K race, I accepted on a whim. I should have known better than to accept an invitation for a fun run from a 65-year-old—no matter how charming her smile. (more…)

The Vegetarian’s Guide to Roasting a Turkey

turkey
Love inspires me to do crazy things. For example, decide to roast a turkey for my students for an early Thanksgiving Dinner.  My husband and I work at a boarding school, and each staff member chooses a faculty family–a small group of students that we’ll mentor and hang out with over the course of the school year.

Our school serves vegetarian meals.  I’ve never eaten meat.  My husband is ok with that, and I’ve cooked vegetarian at home for 26 years.  Our students aren’t vegetarian, and they miss meat, so a few years ago I decided that because I really do love my students and I want our faculty family to feel like home, I would prepare meat when they come over.

Roasting a Turkey Requires Planning Ahead

A #vegetarian roasts a #turkey for love's sake. Tips for doing it right! Click To Tweet

(No one is paying me to mention their products–I haven’t actually tasted anything and am only basing my opinions on the pleased expressions, comments and compliments of my students).

Lesson One:  Buy your frozen turkey at least four days in advance and store it in the refrigerator.   Frozen turkeys take a LONG time to thaw (and a person can’t just leave it out on the counter overnight–unless you want to send everyone home with food poisoning). I purchased a Safeway’s Open Nature turkey because the label said the turkey had been raised without hormones and on a vegetarian diet.  My students have enough hormones, thank you very much!  And at least the bird and I had something in common.

Lesson Two:  It will take you longer to prepare the turkey than you think it will.  Start early.  Sometimes, the turkey is trussed with Medieval instruments of torture.  You have to remove these metal doohickeys, reach your hand into the cavity and pull.  Something that people don’t want to eat will come out (a neck).  This is another good reason to make sure your turkey has properly thawed (otherwise, you might get frostbite).

http://wp.me/p2UZoK-B1http://wp.me/p2UZoK-B1Don’t forget to reach into that cavity and pull out the neck.

Lesson Three:  Turkeys need baths and dressing, too.  I read a lot of instructions–some on the packaging the bird arrived in, some from the oven bag box.  All the instructions made me giggle (except the warnings about cooking the bird to a certain temperature–I had my daughter go out and buy a meat thermometer).  Anyone out there an Amelia Bedelia fan?

For the rub, I mixed together 1/2 Tablespoon each of dried basil, sage, thyme and oregano with 1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil.  It smelled good, so I used it.Turkey rub http://wp.me/p2UZoK-B1 via @blestbutstrest

Lesson Four:  It’s ok to cheat.  Buy an oven bag (I used a Reynolds Turkey-sized oven bag) and a disposable roasting pan.  It’s worth the six-dollar investment to be able to wave adios to the leftovers at the end of the meal!

Reynolds Oven Bag http://wp.me/p2UZoK-B1 via @blestbutstrest

The Vegetarian's Guide to Roasting a Turkey http://wp.me/p2UZoK-B1 via @blestbutstrest

Lesson Five: Disinfect!  I made sure to spray all the surfaces that touched the raw meat with a bleach solution (including my hands).  I’m not a germaphobe, but caution never hurts.

Lesson Six: Know when to call in the experts.  After baking the turkey for the requisite number of hours based on it’s size, it still didn’t look done.  This goes back to lesson number two.  Everything will take longer than you expect.  The stuffing (which I baked separately so that I could eat it) got a little overdone whilst waiting on the bird. Finally, I asked one of my students to take a peak.  She said it looked done.  Between her and the thermometer, I couldn’t go wrong.

The Vegetarian's Guide to Roasting a Turkey http://wp.me/p2UZoK-B1 via @blestbutstrest

Lesson Seven:  The joy on the faces of my students as they ate turkey was worth touching raw meat.  We had a wonderful dinner, made some great memories, and everyone said the turkey tasted delicious (moist, full of flavor and perfectly done)–I’ll take their word on it!).

What inspires you?
Inspire Me Monday Instructions
Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week (just ONE, please).

2. Vist TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.

3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer–just do it!

Please link back to this week’s post or add the button to your post so that we can spread the inspirational cheer :).

I found inspiration for my Monday at #inspirememondays. Join us! (tweet this)

So, go ahead! Take the plunge and share your most inspiring post with us!



Five Ways to Help a Caregiver This Thanksgiving

5 Ways to help a #caregiver at #Thanksgiving http://wp.me/p2UZoK-yS via @blestbutstrest #CaregiverMonthYou CAN Make a Difference!

Thanksgiving means different things to different people. If you’re a guy, it might mean football (either as a couch potato or out on the front lawn). For women, it might mean cooking for hours on end all to have the feast disappear in thirty minutes and turn into hours of clean up.

(more…)