The Spirit of Christmas

the-spirit-of-christmas-greg-olsen (1)By the magical light of a small Christmas candle
A little old man tries to carefully handle

The small porcelain manger which serves as a bed
For the wee Baby Jesus to lay down His head.

In wonder he brings the manger up to his view,
Smiles at the baby and whispers, I love you!

I love you for bringing this season of joy,
I love you for growing to a man from a boy;

Santa & JesusFor being our light and leading the way,
For being the spirit which makes Christmas Day!

You have been my mentor, my model, my hero and guide,
Please continue to help me and stay by my side.

I have tried to follow your teachings and give as you gave,
Reminding all to be kind and that it’s wise to behave.

angels-of-christmas-greg-olsenHelp me to serve others and bring them your light,
Especially the children, please bless them tonight!

Some have so very little, scarce food for their table,
You know how it feels – you were born in a stable!

Bless all their mothers and fathers with a knowledge that is sure,   The best gift they can give is their                                                                                             love, strong and pure.

That’s the Spirit of Christmas when all is said and done,
Gods gift of love, that came as His Son!

the-spirit-of-christmas-greg-olsen (1)Then back to His mother the child is returned
The Nativity glows as the candle is burned.

In a wink the little old man slips quietly away
Some say he goes up the chimney and climbs in a sleigh.

Whatever the case, His mission is clear
Give unto others, bringing love and good cheer.

He flies into the night and bids us adieu
Doing for others what Jesus would do!

Greg Olsen – 2009

Merry Christmas!


Navigating the Fine Line

Finding BalanceAs a child it was fun to test limits and practice balancing skills. Somewhere along the path of growing up (possibly after many falls) I lost that desire.

I never mastered skateboarding or rollerblading, however I did try both with my children. I didn’t practice enough and didn’t have the balance needed. I was afraid of falling and the possible cuts, bruises, breaks and pain that might come with it. I didn’t receive enough encouragement from others to keep me interested in practicing so I gave up. I regret that I didn’t have the skills and I wish my desire to succeed in these activities had overpowered my fears because I’m sure I missed out on some good times with my kids. It’s a fine line to know when we’re being wise or over cautious.

I’ve been thinking about Evey’s Story, part 2. Cally said, “There’s a fine line of balancing expectations with optimism and being realistic without being pessimistic.” I’ll bet every caregiver can relate to this statement. In my experience, often when I’m optimistic, others believe I’m not being realistic so they go over all the negative possibilities again and again. I choose to be optimistic because otherwise I become overwhelmed by the chances of a negative outcome and loose hope for improvement.

I’m sensitive to the words reality or realistic because I believe they are only applicable to a person’s experience. It raises the hair on my arms when I hear statements like, “You’re not being realistic.” or “You’re not facing reality.” It makes me want to shout back, “Whose reality, yours? I prefer to make my own!”

The definition of reality is “the state of things as they actually exist.” So the fine line comes in recognizing the state of things as they are, but not letting that control or overcome our hope for improvement. When I tried to skateboard or rollerblade, the reality was I didn’t have the balance skill, so I gave up. If I had been optimistic that with practice I could learn and gain the balance skill, my reality would have changed.

A great tip from Cally, “If there’s one lesson I have learned as a caregiver it is to expect the unexpected.” It’s true-to-life that when you expect something to go a certain way you’re often surprised by the unexpected. Sometimes it’s a good surprise and other times it’s not. Researching conditions and options helps prepare us for what might happen and gives us alternatives when needed. Again, the fine line is to keep faith in the best scenario while being prepared for the worst.

Cally also stated, “As I watch other caregivers who are further along in their journey, I always admire the grace they exude when navigating their own specific journey.” This statement emphasizes my goal with Uniting Caregivers. We give strength to one another through our words and deeds. Who would be better to help us on this trek than another caregiver?

In closing Cally said, “We are slowly learning, as caregivers, how to manage expectations and how to continue to be Evey’s biggest cheerleaders for her triumphs. We hope as time goes on we will continue to learn how to keep disappointment at bay and to always keep the expectations optimistic. Thankfully, we have met so many people along our journey with Evey who have shown us how to be as graceful as humanly possible in this adventure which is always unpredictable.”

I completely relate to this statement. I’ve been a caregiver for many years on all sorts of levels and I’m still learning. As caregivers we need to be cheerleaders for our loved ones—but we also need cheerleaders to help us overcome our disappointments and to help us keep our expectations optimistic. I’m grateful for many people whose love, support, and guidance gives me balance and direction. I appreciate their help which raises me up when I get down and their encouragement which keeps me going.  In reality, this journey is impossible to navigate alone.

Thank you Cally, for reminding me that the key to life is balance.