Our Ultimate Goal

By sharing our stories, tips and/or thoughts  we get a look into each other’s hearts which helps us appreciate the unique challenges each one of us face. It also helps us realize we’re not alone and points out what we have in common.

I’m grateful for all the past and present guest authors on Uniting Caregivers who have helped me reach my ultimate goal of increasing love, patience, tolerance, care and understanding. If you’d like to  be a future guest author, that would be wonderful! I believe you have something we can benefit from. If you have a thought, tip or story you’re willing to share, I’d be happy to help you publish it. If it seems overwhelming and you don’t feel like you can do it, please know I’ll be there every step of the way. Let me know if you’re interested by leaving a comment in the box at the bottom of this page or by sending an email to Barbara@UnitingCaregivers.com.


Thank you, Cally Johnson, Pamela Clark, Judy Coon, Silvia Caswell, Jamie Sorensen, Glenn Oliver, Cindy Oliver, Dianne Breitling, Julie Brown, Barbara Larsen, Deidre Pickering, Katie Ferguson, Ann McDougall, Eric Reynolds, Tim Gray, Laura Norfelt, Greg Norfelt, Rosanne Day, Chuck Ferguson, Neils Knudsen, Mark Wilson and our current guest author, Christine Scott. To revisit any one of their stories, type their name in the search bar on the home page and it will take you to that individual’s article or list of articles in some cases. I appreciate each of you sharing your unique challenges and wonderful tips which help us reach our goal of better understanding one another.

A Good Understanding

Listening involves more than the use of our ears. Listening with our mind our thoughts are focused. Listening with our eyes we see their emotion. Listening with the touch of our hands show that we care. Listening with a facial expression such as a nod, smile or frown gives feedback. Listening with our heart helps us understand feelings. Having someone who cares enough to listen fully and understand you is appreciated more than one who is anxious to give advice. People don’t always need advice, but they just might ask for it after we’ve shown that we truly care by listening with more than our ears.

Advice1What are your thoughts about a good understanding?


Unconditional Love

Dad & I SnowmobilingWhen I reached adulthood I realized not all parents loved their children unconditionally. It was a heartbreaking experience as I witnessed a parent withdrawing their love and concern for their child because they didn’t act or accomplish the things the parent thought they should. At that time I vowed to love our children the way my parents loved me—unconditionally.

No matter the test score, or school grade, an argument, a strong belief, or a life changing decision, the love remained the same. That isn’t to say they never showed disappointment, but they did it in a way in which I knew the bond between us was unchanging and unconditional. Believe me, in my teenage years, I tested the limits and no matter what, they still loved me.

Dad was especially good at understanding me and knowing just what to say and how to help. My appreciation for his empathy has grown since the car accident, beginning when Mark’s neurosurgeon walked into the waiting room outside of the I.C.U. where we had been waiting for what seemed like forever.  He said, “We’ve successfully placed a shunt in Mark’s head to relieve the pressure on the brain. The next 24 hours are very critical. His injuries are catastrophic and we don’t know the amount of damage done to the brain. We’re not sure he’ll make it through the night. He’s in a coma and we don’t know if he’ll ever come out of it, but you can go in and see him now.” He left the room without one encouraging word or any glimpse of hope for the future.

Unbelieving at what I’d just heard, I looked at my parents and said, “This can’t be happening. It feels like a nightmare!” I wanted to see Mark, but I was afraid. I imaged how terrible he’d look with a shaved head, shunt, drain, and other equipment hooked up to him keep to him alive. Dad understood my hesitation and said, “Why don’t I go see Mark first.” A few minutes later he came back to the waiting room and gave me the first optimistic words I’d heard in hours. “Mark’s coloring is good and he looks better than I expected.” Dad’s encouraging words were just what I needed to hear to give me the courage to see Mark. I appreciate Dad’s example of looking for the positive, no matter what the circumstances.

Later that night, Dad gave Mark a Priesthood Blessing. More than twenty-three years later, I still remember some of the words he said, but more importantly I remember the love, concern and compassion I felt from his blessing. That was the first of many blessings he has given Mark since the car accident. Each one was given with the same sincere feelings. I’m so grateful Dad is a righteous and religious man.

The day after the accident, the doctor told us Mark needed some high-top boots to prevent foot drop. Dad ran to the nearest shoe store and bought Mark a pair. When he got back to the hospital he carefully put them on Mark, who was lying in bed in a coma. I noticed the boots came from a Payless Shoe Store and commented how much Mark disliked Payless Shoes. Dad tapped Mark’s foot as a gesture to wake him and said, “Good! Mark, you’ll have to wake up and take them back yourself. I’ve still got the receipt, but you’ll have to hurry to meet the return policy.” Dad has a great sense of humor and uses it often to lighten the mood.

A couple of weeks after the accident, Dad was driving me home from the hospital and I asked him if we could stop by the house Mark and I were wanting to buy. It was under construction and I was curious about the progress and if the home was still for sale. Dad hadn’t seen it yet and I was anxious to show it to him, so he agreed. He thoughtfully listened and was interested as I told him of our plans for each room as we walked through the home. Not once did he stop my rambling to remind me of our present situation and how those dreams would not be a reality. His understanding and allowing me to share my dream with him helped me come to my own realization, in my own time, which helped me make closure when I was ready.

Dad is compassionate and thoughtful. Several months after the accident my parents thought I needed a break from the rehab center. Dad wanted to take me to dinner and a dance. I don’t think Dad realized this was at the same location Mark and I had taken ballroom dance lessons. We ate our dinner and then Dad took me out on the dance floor with his famous Fox Trot moves. I really did love dancing with him and in my youth we even won 1st place in a Polka dance at a church Daddy-Daughter Contest. But at the moment, I was missing Mark and started to cry. Dad was surprised by my emotion and asked me what was wrong. I told him it didn’t feel right for me to be there and I was missing Mark. We immediately left the dance floor and our dinner date ended without dessert. I’m sure he was disappointed the evening hadn’t turned out the way he’d planed, but he didn’t try to change my mind. He took me right back to the rehab center to be with Mark.

Scan0093Dad’s construction knowledge made it possible for him to direct my brothers in building an addition that would allow Mark to have care at home. He is a hard worker and never dodges a challenge. He has taught his children to do likewise and after a full day’s work, my dad and brothers spent many evening hours building our addition. Without Dad, it would have been nearly impossible for me to bring Mark home.

Whenever Mark hears me say “my dad” he corrects me by saying, “You mean our dad.” I know Mark’s right—their bond couldn’t be stronger if they were blood related. In fact I tease Mark that he is the favorite child because “my” dad didn’t have to raise him. There isn’t anything that is more endearing to me than to have two of my favorite men love and respect one another.

Dad, Mark & IDad is our hero and a perfect example
of giving unconditional love.  I’ve been blessed my whole life to be his daughter. He’s the best dad I know and I’m so glad he’s mine.

Happy 86th Birthday, Dad. I want to grow up to be just like you with the ability to love others as they are while helping them to be better. I love you!

Some fun old pictures of Dad working and playing.


Dad playing horse

Dad shoveling snow


Dad building shed

Writing is Therapeutic

It’s good to look to the past and gain appreciation for what we have in the present. This also gives perspective for the future. If the pioneers or forefathers didn’t write about their experiences, we wouldn’t have records of it. How could we have learned from them if they didn’t share their thoughts and events through their writing?

WritingAs a teenager I faithfully kept a journal and found it helped me understand my roller-coaster feelings of the love/hate relationships between young boys and girls. A few years ago I read it and didn’t want anyone else to know those inner feelings, so I decided to destroy it. Even though that journal no longer exists, I believe it helped me navigate through some rough teenage years.

After the car accident I felt the need to write again. My head was spinning with all kinds of worries about Mark, our children and how I would juggle all the responsibilities. My attention span was very short. I couldn’t watch T.V. or concentrate on a book—so I wrote. I would maybe write a few sentences about my worries, but mostly I recorded Mark’s progress such as how many breaths he took on his own that day and what his temperature was. I wrote about things most people don’t think about let alone write or read about, but it helped me focus on the positive. I still have that notebook and like to look back on it to remind myself how far Mark has come.

The past nine months I’ve benefited from writing about “Our Story”. Putting words to our experience brings meaning to it and helps me understand the purpose in the events. It’s amazing the clarity that comes from writing. Through writing I am able to sort out and work through the emotions by searching for the right words to describe it. The act of writing has provided me with a greater depth of self-knowledge and has helped me become a resilient person. Some seek the comfort of a therapist’s office, I find it in writing.

Writing is so much more than a method of communication. I’ve listed six benefits of writing:

  1. Writing is a powerful teacher that can guide us toward a happier, more contented and positive purpose-driven life.
  2. Writing promotes self-awareness and personal growth.
  3. Writing enhances knowledge, which guides us towards realizing our truth and values.
  4. Writing is a support system which creates confidence in our own unique style. With thought and purpose to what we’re writing, it can be done without apology.
  5. Writing can educate, inspire, influence and help others.
  6. Writing is like a sieve, separating worries and insecurities. It compels us to do the daunting task of confronting them, which facilitates in understanding them. Ultimately the words help us leave our fears behind.

typingYou don’t need to be a professional writer to achieve the benefits. Writing is an exceptional tool for self-exploration and inner growth which is available to everyone. It can facilitate understanding and change in our lives. From the art of writing, we learn and grow and it is a powerful method to share our love, happiness, gratitude and fulfillment.

Do you write? How has it helped you? If you don’t, you really ought to try it. Whether you write it for yourself or want to share it with others, it will be therapeutic. I dare you to try it.