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Archive for December, 2011

God Loves You

I love the Christmas season because it is filled with traditions we have been forming for the past twenty seven years.  Whether it’s the stringing of popcorn and cranberries, putting the little candle lights in all the front windows, filling the advent calendar with candy, or reading the Christmas story from the Bible as a family, each tradition moves us as a family towards the celebration of Christ’s birth.  Like many families we struggle keeping Christ in the center of our Christmas season.  Years ago we decided that the very first thing we would do each year is set up our Christmas Crèche or nativity scene.  We would set up the barn my dad made by hand, spreading fake hay on the floor in preparation for the baby Jesus and all of the animals that greeted him that first Christmas morning.   One at a time our boys would reach into the P&C shopping bag that held the Holy Family and shepherds and wise men, hoping that they would be the one to find the baby Jesus laying in the manger.  Each figure was handmade and painted by my Mom.  They would withdraw one object, wrapped in tissue paper, and slowly unwrap it.  As the head of a cow or the staff of shepherd or the chest of gold came into view they would tell that part of the Christmas story to the best of their ability, then place their figure where they wanted in the barn.  When we were done arranging the cows and sheep and Mary and Joseph we hung an angel from the peak of the barn and plugged in a Christmas light in the back to represent the star that shined brightly that first Christmas morn.

When you stop and think about it the Christmas story is really a love story.  While it’s simple enough for a child to grasp and celebrate, it is one of the most incredible loves stories of all time.  God, the creator of the universe, loved us so much that he sent his one and only Son into this world, to be born as a human baby, so that he could grow up and tell us how much his Father loved us.  That, my friends, is extravagant love!

Our hope is that each guest who stays at David’s Refuge would experience God’s extravagant love for them.  What does that look like?  To be honest I’m not sure.  Most likely it is going to look different for each guest.  Our prayer for each Mom and Dad or guardian is that they would know the love God has for them as demonstrated through the Christmas story when God took on flesh so that he could whisper to each of us, “I love you!”

As you celebrate during this wonderful holiday season don’t ever forget, You are not alone!  What you do matters!  and of course, God loves you!

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:10-12

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We made the local Newspaper

Just a quick post to let you know about the article in the Syracuse Post Standard.  Please let those you know who could use some respite about the article!

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2011/12/couple_opening_manlius_bed-and.html

Have a great day!

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What You Do Matters

One of the challenges we are facing at David’s Refuge is getting people to actually sign up and make a reservation to stay at the Refuge.  When we explain to parents or guardians of special needs children who we are and how we will care for them I almost always see this longing in their face for the respite and refreshment they would receive as guests at David’s Refuge.  Yet for some reason Moms and Dads can see the value of other parents coming but they don’t see it for themselves.

As I was pondering this I read an interview by Guadalupe Palos, R.N., L.M.S.W., Dr.P.H., an assistant professor in at the Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Symptom Research, which shed some light on the possible reason parents are struggling to care for themselves by taking a little respite.  Listen to her response to the questions, “What challenges do caregivers face?”  Pay especially close attention to the first two challenges she lists.

 The most common challenges facing caregivers are (1) feeling guilty about taking time for themselves; (2) being hesitant to ask for help and not wanting to bother anyone; (3) accepting the fact that they will not be able to “fix the pain” forever; (4) realizing chronic pain is an experience that fluctuates from day to day; and, (5) honoring the patient as an independent person whose decisions may not always meet their expectations.  And, of course, there are other complex challenges, such as financial worries and the long-term effects on their personal mental and physical health.

Guilt and a sense of being a bother to others stop people from stepping out and asking for and receiving the help they so desperately need.   I also think the challenges of being a caretaker, fueled by this sense of guilt and unwillingness to ask for help, cause caregivers to begin entertaining deep in their souls the belief that what they are doing isn’t really all that important, that what they do really doesn’t matter.  This of course is a BIG FAT LIE!

At David’s Refuge we want to remind you that what you do as a caretaker of your children is a “divine” calling and there is no more important role you could play.  I hope when you hear in your head, “It is unloving and uncaring to take a few days off,” that you will immediately scream out loud, “THAT’S A LIE!”  When you speak the words in your head, “I don’t want to bother anyone with my struggles,” that you will immediately scream out loud, “THAT’S STINKING THINKING!”  And when you begin to entertain the thought, “What I’m doing doesn’t really matter,” You will scream out loud, “THAT’S A LIE!”

If you know of a parent who would benefit from coming to the Refuge gently encourage them to take the step and sign up for a stay at the refuge.  Send them to our application.  When they leave they will know that they are not alone, that what they do really matters, and that they are loved by God.

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