Category Archives: Parenting and Family

Happy Independence Day

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As we drove to the mall, my 4-year-old son John Jr. intently waved his little American flag.

Then he stopped to ask, “Why is the United States flag important?” Impressed that he would ask such a patriotic question, I responded proudly by saying, “The flag is important because we live in the United States, and because we live in the United States, we have freedom.

Then he asked, “Mom, what’s freedom?” I said, “Freedom is like if I wanted chicken for dinner, I could buy chicken at the grocery store.  Nobody tells me what we have to eat for dinner. I can decide for myself.”

After a short pause, John Jr. said, “Oh, I get it, Mom. Freedom is like if you give me chicken for dinner and I don’t want to eat it, I don’t have to.”

From the “mouth of babes,” is all this mom can say! 1988.

“Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all men; love the brotherhood; fear God, and honor the king (1 Peter 2:16-17 NASB).

God bless, and Happy Fourth of July. Let’s be grateful for our freedom.


Patti Greene is a Baylor University and Dallas Baptist University graduate, a Second Baptist Church -1463 member of Houston/Katy,  TX, and the author of seven books.

Two Years Ago Today, Mom Went to Heaven!

Initial Remarks

Today marks two years since my dear mom passed away—August 27, 2020. I wrote the following letter four months after my mom died, recollecting the time my husband John and I spent living with her for four years in her home. I mailed this note to a few very close friends at the time, but today, I feel like posting this in her honor and sharing that I am still sad about a lot of things, but I know moving on would be what she would want for me.

Dear Friends

First, I want to thank all of you who have prayed for John and me over the past few years. We were in a unique season of life—a life we never expected to be in. It was challenging and rewarding at the same time.

Most of you know that in January 2016, I moved into my parent’s home when my dad was ill with leukemia and dementia. John was working overseas at the time. Dad died in February 2016.

Being concerned about mom, I stayed with her after Dad’s passing. The idea of her alone in the house made me want to stay with her. Unfortunately, 2016 brought a diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer to mom on top of all her other ailments, so I continued to stay at mom’s house. John came home from his overseas assignment shortly after mom’s diagnosis and moved into mom’s house with me.

We locked up our house, and our life became different—more different than we ever expected. John retired after completing his overseas assignment but found a little part-time work, and life moved on. We settled into our life with mom in west Houston, trying to adjust to not being in our own home. I did fine for the first two years. But, the last two years were physically and emotionally tough on me. As mom progressively needed more care and attention, I became more nervous and anxious. I was not my usual self. I had a hard time coping, although I was able to conceal it from others for the most part.

John saw and experienced my constant exhaustion, my need for respite, and my emotional stress worsening daily. He was my rock. I cannot imagine any other person being so kind and generous as giving up his home and life to partner with me in caretaking my mother – his mother-in-law. John occupied my mom with mind-boggling conversations and debates. He made dinner most days, and towards the end, his help and love truly inspired me as he provided nursing duties way beyond his pay grade. Christ-like love was indeed in action!

God knew my fragile mental state. And I hate to say it, but COVID was the lifeline I needed to be able to move back home. It had become apparent that I was not doing well with our 24/7 living arrangement at mom’s house. When COVID hit: Mom’s housekeeper was able to move in with her even though we were back towards the end of mom’s life. John, me, and mom all sleeping in the same bedroom, available for whatever.

Even being home was highly stressful, with daily visits to mom’s house, more doctor’s appointments than ever, and issues relating to mom’s declining health.

If you have not guessed by now, two thousand twenty has been the roughest ride of my life!

I am omitting many “specifics” so I do not get bogged down and miss the point I am trying to share with you.

The fact is, a good friend said, “God has positioned people who can take our hands and help us find our way through the fog and storms.” You are those people!!! Your prayers helped me to pray and not lose my heart. Your prayers helped me to pursue seeking the Highest God, your prayers helped me to stay strong in the Word of God, and your prayers reminded me that challenges are for our spiritual growth. This journey was not anything I had ever imagined, but God knew I had to go through it. This season was sent to accomplish things in me that could not have been accomplished any other way.

Some of you have been where I was. Some of you have not. However, I want you to know that when we experience tears and disappointment, it does not have to dimmish our relationship with the Lord. He allows each new experience to make us aware that we need to trust Him so solidly that we can tell Him the down and dirty of all we think and encounter. When I had questions, God was there. When I cried, He was there. When I could not handle it anymore, God was still there. Even though there were times I could not feel His presence, you kept me hanging on to Him. That was possible due to your prayers. Thank you!

Mom died on August 27, 2020. John and I received a call at 1:50 a.m. from my older brother to come home. I had my cuddle time with mom; then, at 3:50 p.m. that afternoon, she took her final breath.

It has only been a few months since we left that season of our lives. Still, thankfully God is showing me why the experiences I encountered were essential. I do not understand many things that came about during that season. But God always pointed me back to Him—calling me to trust Him when I couldn’t see the whys of the past or the wonders of the future. During my caregiving time, I encountered burnout, compassion fatigue, taxing emotions, and the perps of spending time with my dear mom. I knew the challenges were in His hands. Thanks for your prayers!

Life is an adventure. I wailed many times during this period, “Lord, I can’t handle it anymore!” But He knew and knows when it is time to step in for relief. God moved when I reached the pinnacle of my despair in August. These years are now part of my life story. I recognize that “being out of our comfort zone” is usually the only way we can grow, and I thank God for it. I experienced many sweet times with mom that would not have been possible any other way, but it was still strenuous and tough on me. So, thanks again for your prayers!

Each day, I feel a little more rested and restored. I know that the Lord will use this experience for His glory. There are so many Biblical principles that I had read in Scripture but not experienced before. I encountered so many aspects during these 4+ years: love, forgiveness, gratitude, and boundaries—to mention the positive ones. Sometimes it is hard to see circumstances clearly when living under stress or in a bleak period. Still, when the light is slowly restored, we can feel God’s peace and presence in extraordinary ways—even supernaturally. We start understanding the why, the why not, the how much longer questions of life. In these times, we must depend on the prayers of our friends like you. And for that, thanks again for your prayers!

My takeaway is to encourage you to look at your circumstances through the eyes of our heavenly Father. Commit to renewing your mind daily with prayer and Bible study. Remember that darkness does not stay forever in whatever situation you face. Even through hard times, He is close by—guiding us, building our faith, and waiting to meet our needs. He has a purpose for everything we experience in life, to prepare us for His assignments here on earth or for our heavenly home.

Today—Two Years Later

Yes, John and I have moved on; that is a long story. Still, one thing we both know is that God directed and allowed us to spend time with mom. However, I encountered difficult times caregiving at points along the way. If you are caregiving, hang on! Memories are being formed that will be cherished more with time. The emotional journey has a purpose that God will use in your life ministries.

While living with my mom, I wrote a book titled Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending. I wrote it during the first two years of living with mom. If I had waited until later, the book would probably never have been written. I left out the hard part, the biography of my experiences as time passed, because I hadn’t experienced that. However, it is a good book for those starting on the journey of caregiving with lots of Scripture references. I am not posting this as a sales pitch for my book, but I wanted you to know good things come from caregiving. Our strength in Him and knowing that He always has His best for us in mind keeps us going.

Mom, I love you, and I always will. Thanks for loving me. I still miss you two years later.

God Bless.

Verses from Christian Caregiving:  Practical Advice for a Happy Ending [9780692115381-Available on Only $7.44 today.

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).

Commit your works to the LORD, and your plans will be established (Proverbs 16:3)

Books by Patti Greene


Good Without God?

Good Without God?

Can you be “good” without needing a God? Think again.

by Ellsworth Johnson, Guest Blogger

1) Acts

It’s Christmas Day morning. A young boy bursts into the living room of his spacious suburban home, where a beautifully-decorated tree dominates its surroundings by the window. Under the tree are numerous presents bearing, among others, the child’s name. The parents who put up the tree and supplied the gifts are still comfortably asleep in bed, after spending all night preparing this wondrous setting.

The child runs to the tree and immediately begins opening his presents, ripping off wrapping paper and casting it aside. A race car! The latest video game! And finally… his own CELL PHONE!

They are good gifts. And he was a good boy all year, so of course he deserves them! After all, he wasn’t like Johnny Booker, shooting his neighbor’s dog with a BB gun and blinding it in one eye, or those older kids who regularly stole stuff from stores down at the mall.

He plays with the race car and begins to set up his phone. Nowhere in his thoughts of the moment are the parents who gave him the gifts, or that they chose to give them to him despite his ongoing tendencies to “talk back” to them, and not do his chores…


In the last decade there has been a push in the humanist/atheist community to establish a belief system where the value of morality is recognized and affirmed without having to attribute it, or anything else, to a divine Creator.

A manifesto for this way of thinking is a 2009 book by Greg Epstein, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe.  In the book, Epstein does not seek to destroy traditional religion, but instead supplant it, positing that what is “good” about humanity does not depend on faith in a divine being.

In fact, the author is a great proponent of secular humanism, the principle that humanity is capable of morality and self-fulfillment without belief in God. It specifically rejects religious dogma and supernaturalism as means of morality and decision making.

An entire ecosystem has been built to bolster this viewpoint. Like-minded authors have come alongside Epstein with supporting works of their own. A Web site, Kids Without God, seeks to steer the younger crowd away from the need to rely on anything outside of themselves.

There is even  the Council for Secular Humanism, “North America’s leading organization for non-religious people” to “advocate and defend a nonreligious lifestance rooted in science, naturalistic philosophy, and humanist ethics and to serve and support adherents of that lifestance.”

The race car, given a good strong push, zips along its merry way along a flat surface. Soon, however, it comes to an incline and slows… and in fact rolls back down the way it came, almost back to where it started.


The attempt to claim life is “good without God” is similar to the above illustration with the toy car. You WILL occasionally and randomly get good pushes and zoom along for a while, but soon you’ll run out of your own power and stop, or hit a hill and roll back down. Worse, with no one all-seeing at the steering wheel, the car could easily hit a wall or go over a cliff.

Things may seem “good” for a while, in fits and starts, but that’s a pretty low standard compared to what’s available. How much better are the gifts that God gives — wisdom, discernment, comfort and guidance in times of trouble, and a peace which passes all understanding — than the perishable things we receive from this world?

Maybe it should be called “life has been OK so far, and doesn’t hurt too badly for me to complain, without God.” And if that’s good enough for you, enjoy that life for all it’s worth, because what comes afterward is guaranteed to be decidedly less pleasant.

The difference is that, with God, you are not limited to your own power, or the fickle vagaries of those in your sphere, but instead can depend on the inexhaustible resources of the Creator of the universe. Through Him, you keep getting pushed along by that mighty hand when you run low on momentum:

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

Now, in your own travels through this world, you’ll have to trust Him to take the wheel of your car and drive where you need (but not always want) to go, often not an easy thing for many of us to do. You will encounter some rough roads, sometimes travel by night and occasionally take some long detours, but the ultimate end of the journey is guaranteed to make that leap of faith worthwhile.

How much better than the “OK without God” life, then, would it be, instead of rolling back downhill, or getting out and pushing the car yourself, to instead glide over the summit and down the other side with someone driving who knows where He is going, and move along as needed just fine without energy or effort from you?

2) Judges

Unbeknownst to the young boy, the parents in fact are awake in their bedroom, aroused by the playful noises emanating from the front of the house. Dad is angry because the boy did not wait until the entire family was up before opening the gifts, as has traditionally been done in their household.

“Not even a ‘thank you’ from that ungrateful little snot!” he mutters. He wants to get out his belt and “teach that boy some manners”, but the mother’s patience permits cooler heads to prevail.

“Let’s go talk to him,” she advises. “Give him the chance to realize the error of his ways. We’ll think of a suitable penalty later, like no playing with the new stuff for a week.”

Dad huffs, his momentary wrath subsided. He really wants to confront his son about the boy’s impatience and lack of appreciation for the gifts provided, but realizes that the message will be lost unless delivered when the time is right…


Justice and mercy are two sides of the same coin in God’s economy. The father would be justified in giving the boy a good tanning with the belt, but relents when the mother suggests a different approach, which could have more-desirable long-term effects.

In the first chapter of the book of Romans, Paul lays out God’s unimpeachable indictment against humanity in the starkest terms: man failed to acknowledge God for who He is and the good things He provided, earning us His divine wrath. He gave man over to a Godless existence, mired in his own lusts and devices, the first steps on the road to an eternity in Hell.

The only “off-ramp” from that road is found in Jesus Christ, whose death on the cross opened man’s only way back to God, by appropriating Christ’s righteousness for ourselves and, in the process, turning aside God’s well-deserved anger directed at us “while we were yet sinners”.

Just like the boy enjoying his presents, we are many times blissfully oblivious to the justifiable fury kindling elsewhere against us.

3) Lamentations

Finally, the last member of the family was awake.

“Dude!” the boy’s older sister exclaimed as she entered the living room. “You’re making enough noise to wake the dead!” Her protest landed on deaf ears as playtime continued unabated.

“I see that you couldn’t wait to open your presents,” she said sharply, rolling her eyes. She plopped down in a plush armchair near the Christmas tree and sat back, folding her legs underneath her body.

“Aren’t they incredible? I really hit the jackpot with Mom and Dad this year!”

“I’m sure they are nice, but I’m just as sure they would have loved to see your excitement as you opened your gifts.”

The comment registered for an instant, evidenced by a pause in pushing the race car around the floor, and a brief cessation of engine noises from the boy’s mouth.

“They’ll get over it,” shrugged the boy. He resumed pushing the car and making engine noises. The moment had passed.

Time to shift gears.

“You sure seem to take a lot for granted, especially on this day that we are to appreciate the things we have.”

“Oh yeah? Like what?” He did not look up when asking the question.

“Well, what about the fact that we have a nice big house? We could have a smaller one, like the Carluccis next door…”

“… or have that mansion on the hill, like Scott Hendel’s family has,” countered her brother.

“Or be living in a cardboard box on the street.” The reversal itself had been reversed, and her brother’s naked covetousness irritated her, yet something in her heart spurred her on.

“My friend Jenny, she and her family decided to forego giving each other gifts this year, and instead use the money to get stuff for other people in their lives. She decided to buy presents for her teachers at school. Her parents got stuff for their co-workers, and I think her brother surprised his basketball team with … whatever it is that basketball players like.”

The boy pondered that thought for a moment. “That was pretty nice of them. I’ll bet all those people were pretty happy to get all that stuff.”

“They were. And it made Jenny and her family feel even better to give it.”

The girl sighed. Another attempt to take flight had been allowed to fall back to earth. She had been awoken that morning not by the noise in the living room, but the need to bring her brother’s ongoing selfish behavior under repentance. So far, all her efforts had failed.

Then, finally, enduring inspiration struck.

“Remember when you tried to steal that candy down at Walmart?”

The boy hesitated for a moment. He had stopped playing with the race car and had started to configure the phone. “Yeah. That was probably wrong…”

“‘Probably’? The store clerk who caught you was pretty sure when she told Mom.”

“I could not go outside and play after school for a week,” he recalled. Then he smiled. “But that was OK: I stayed inside and played Halo on my Xbox. Even got a high score!” The boy was proud of himself.

His triumph, however, was short-lived.

“What about the second time, with Dad?”

The boy was stunned, enough so that he put down the cell phone.

“Aha!” the sister declared triumphantly. “You didn’t know I KNEW about that one, did you??? Mom told me what happened, as well as what Dad did about it.”

This was a less-sanguine memory. The boy had been with his father at a hardware store when he decided on a whim to steal a box of Junior Mints at the checkout stand. The store manager happened to be on the floor at the time and confronted the boy, who, at the manager’s behest, led him to the father. Dad was clearly embarrassed, and, the boy could tell, more than a little angry. Dad apologized to the manager, and made the boy say that he, too, was sorry.

Memories of the ride home, and the later beating, gave the boy chills. Dad didn’t say much beyond muttered threats, letting the dread of anticipation build. When they got home, Mom wasn’t there to shield him from the punishment; out came the belt and the boy got a thorough whipping.

“I had to write a letter to the manager, and deliver it in person,” recalled the boy, decidedly downcast. “I had to say that stealing is wrong, and I was sorry. It was quite embarrassing.”

“Sorry that you did it? Or sorry you got caught?”

“That I did it.” And then, in a flash, the boy became quite defensive.

“Just because you are thirteen doesn’t make you somehow better than me!”

“True, ” the girl replied pensively. “It does not. But it DOES make me ask questions, and think about things nine-year-old boys don’t.”

Embarrassed, the boy went back to playing with his car, but now in silence and with a lot less joy.


It’s true: the deep dark sins we commit in secret will all eventually come out. In fact, Jesus Himself declared this much in Luke’s gospel:

But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.

Luke 12:2-3

God, of course, already knows all about our transgressions: He knew about them before they took place, and had a front-row seat when they actually occurred. It is also possible that others, unbeknownst to you, already know about them as well, tainting those relationships and coloring the judgments they make toward you, all without your knowledge.

4) Revelation

The boy’s remorse over opening his presents early had become oppressive. What should have been a morning of delight and celebration had instead for him become burdensome and guilt-ridden. He continued tinkering with the cell phone, but his heart and mind were elsewhere.

There was no “un-ringing the bell” here: what’s done was done, and the only question worth addressing was what to do next.

“If it were me,” the sister offered, “I’d go in and throw myself on Dad’s mercy.” By now she had settled into the armchair and slung her legs over one arm, sitting sideways. “That always worked for me: admit you made a mistake, promise that you won’t do it again and that you’ll do better in the future.”

“That’s it?”

“Well, yeah, but there’s one catch.”

“I KNEW it!” he declared triumphantly. “I knew there’d be one. That sounds WAY too easy! So, what is it?” A smirk had appeared on his face, as if he had uncovered a secret hidden truth.

“You have to mean it.”

The boy snorted his disbelief.

“It’s true,” his sister continued. “He knows when you’re just saying the words. Believe me, I tried just going through the motions a couple times. I still got lashed with the belt.”

“YOU? Miss Goody-Goody got a beating?” He found this even more incredible, that his apparently angelic sister had ever done anything meriting punishment.

“Yep. That was a long time ago, before I learned that is was good to be honest when you mess up, but even better to not do bad things in the first place. Believe me, I am not perfect, by any stretch, but I do try to be better every day.”

Now the boy contemplated his own situation: if he waited for Dad to come out of the bedroom into the living room, chances were he’d be carrying a strap of leather, and not for decoration, either. On the other hand, a heartfelt pre-emptive apology just might turn aside his father’s wrath.

“Maybe I should try that. It sounds a lot less painful that Dad’s belt.”

“Yes, it does work out better most of the time. But remember, you can’t just mouth the words. When I did that, it didn’t just make him a little angrier, but also very sad. The belt hurt, to be sure, but what I remember most is the look of disappointment on his face. That stung more than the belt did.”

Tears started to well up in the boy’s eyes. “I don’t want Daddy and Mommy to be disappointed in me!”

“I’m sure they don’t want that, either. But you need to tell them the truth about what happened, that you got too excited and forgot to wait for everyone else to get up before opening your presents. They deserve a sincere apology — remember, you gotta mean it. Think you can do that?”

The boy nodded in silence.

“Come on. Let’s go wish Mom and Dad a Merry Christmas.”

With that, they set out for the master bedroom. With a knock on the closed door met by a shouted “Come in!” the children burst into the room and leaped on the bed, squeezing and snuggling in the space between their parents, just as they used to do long ago. Their bodies may now be bigger, but, inside, a part of each was still the small child who felt safe, loved and secure when curling up with Mommy and Daddy.

The business of opening the gifts without the family present was handled gracefully. Heartfelt phrases were exchanged: “Thank you.” “I’m sorry.” “We forgive you.” The parents decided upon a fair nonphysical punishment.

With that out of the way, there was nothing left to do but to enjoy the moment on the bed, together, as a family.


What It All Means

The story is an allegory developed around the situation we as Christians face when confronted with an adherent of the “Good Without God” philosophy.

The brother is the obvious (and oblivious!) sinner who thinks he’s already pretty good, at least compared to other people, and does not need additional boundaries on his behavior. The parents represent the dual nature of God, with the father holding honest indignation over his wayward child’s “me first” rush to playtime, along with the desire to inflict punishment, and the mother tempering that judgment with patience.

Stuck in the middle of all this is the sister, who is clearly somehow enlightened to there being more to life than the self-centered focus her brother has, and is trying to get him to put their situation into a larger context. Twice she fails, but does not give up, finally finding an “in” when confronting him about how his actions probably made his parents feel. In the end, she leads him into the parents’ bedroom, where he honestly confess his “sin” and asks for forgiveness, which is immediately and lovingly granted.

In short… she evangelizes him!

In the ideal, our earthly parents mirror and model God’s love for us, but also His judgment and righteous anger when warranted. In the end, it is far more preferable to “come clean” and admit our transgressions to a God who made us, already knows our weaknesses and mistakes, and stands ready to forgive us in His Son’s name.

Have you given your life over to Jesus Christ? If you have, were you genuinely sorry for the sins you committed, or did you simply make a vain confession devoid of feeling? If you have not, there is still an opportunity to turn aside the eminently justifiable anger a holy God has against you, and exchange it for forgiveness and a place in His kingdom forever.

The Rest of the Story

At that moment, in a realm far away, the Creator was, in fact, looking in on this family.  He smiled, as things were progressing exactly how He had intended.

“This is how I roll!” He smiled to Himself, in ways far beyond our understanding.

Two more miracles were needed to tear the lid off this family’s godless paradigm once and for all, in a way which none of them could deny. The groundwork for each had already been laid, here and elsewhere, and in the fullness of time those happenings will point to the Source of All Things.

The Creator already knew whether and how each member of the family would eventually respond, for it had been ordained since the beginning of time.

The only thing left to do… was wait.


What is God waiting for each of us to do? Reach out to someone? Respond to Him in some way? Are there people around us who believe they are “good without God?”

Whatever it may be, we should be honored that we have been appointed to be part of His eternal plan to bring rightful glory to Himself, and share His love for His beloved children the world over.


Father, let those who believe life is “good” without You be awakened from their slumber to all which is possible with You. Open their eyes, Lord, and their hearts to You and Your endless grace, and show them unmistakably that life is indeed “better WITH God”. You have a storehouse for each of us, filled with Your gifts and mercies, only a small fraction of which is ever claimed during our lifetimes. Help us receive what You have already set aside for us. I ask in the holy and precious name of your Son Jesus. Amen.

Bible Verses:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Genesis 1:26

” The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”

Psalm 14:1

“The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”

Genesis 6:5

“Without Me, you can do nothing.”

John 15:5

“Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”

James 1:17 (NLT)

“I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’”

Psalm 16:2

Bible verses are from the New International Version (NIV) unless stated otherwise.


My Seven Most Favorite Thanksgiving Bible Verses

Happy Thanksgiving!

Over the years, I have only missed one Thanksgiving with my mom and/or my dad. That was the year we moved from Kingwood/Houston, Texas to St. Peters/St. Louis, Missouri in November 1992. If you knew my age, that is a lot of Thanksgivings spent with my parents. My mom’s house has been the “go-to house” for all our family holidays.

Being the photo enthusiast that I am, I have multiple pictures of Thanksgiving food from various occasions held at my parent’s home. Today, I am thankful I can share these pictures of our Thanksgiving meals, along with my special Bible verses.

You see, Mom just turned 93-years-old. I am thankful our family still has her as our matriarch. My father passed away three years ago.

In addition, I am grateful for all the good family times we have had over my lifetime celebrating Thanksgiving—even when we lived in England!

Mom, in your honor, I share your love of cooking with the world!

I love you and thank you for everything you have done for your family.

1. Let us come to Him with thanksgiving . . . (Psalm 95:2)

2. I have not stopped giving thanks for you in my prayers. (Ephesians 1:16)

3. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

4. I thank my God every time I remember you. (Philippians 1:3)

5. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good . . . (1 Chronicles 16:34)

6. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

7. Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name. (Isaiah 12:4)

Happy Thanksgiving my friends. Thanks for being part of the Greene Pastures Blog Family.

Caregiving Part 6: How to Prepare, Embrace, and Survive the Final Moments

Caregiving: How to Prepare, Embrace, and Survive the Final Moments. Ask any recent mother about her child delivery experience and you will not hear the same run-of-the-mill stories. Each woman’s childbirth experience is different. As a point of comparison, there are just as many accounts about the dying process.  Just as we come into this world in our own unique way, we will also leave it in our own distinctive fashion. But, one thing is for sure—we will all die someday. Our life stories will be different, as evidenced in obituaries and hand-me-down family stories. We hate to admit it, but simply stated, death is a part of life.

One day your parents might be sitting on the couch chatting with you. A week or so later, they may be lying in bed struggling with labored breathing and experiencing hallucinations. You may be alarmed with the death rattle you hear in their chest. Shortly thereafter, they might die in your arms or while you are in a different room. But, then what?

When a loved one is close to passing away, we know we will face impending pain, grief, and sadness especially when that final moment occurs. Often times we wish we had time to rest, mourn and cry right after the death of our loved ones—but we can’t. We are thrust into dealing with the practical steps that need to be taken. Being prepared for this moment is tough, but it is by far one of the most important steps you can take.

Commit your works to the Lord. And your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3)

Before the Final Moment: Preparing

If your loved one is lucid, having information available will be very helpful to you when the time of death occurs.

iInformation may include:

Instructions pertaining to burial and funeral arrangements, pastoral information, favorite Bible verses or hymns to use at funeral

Location of important documents. Examples include the will, people to notify upon death, personal documents, debts, keys (car, home, and safety deposit), pension papers, bank account information, insurance information, social security number, usernames and passwords, business instructions.

Personal information, e.g.  name of colleges and degrees, certifications, past and current employers. All this is helpful to those left behind for probate, obituaries, and other important duties that need to be carried out.

If a person has been disinherited from a will, it is important to get an explanation in writing as to why in the will. This will help in resolving any disputes and/or contesting of the will.

Signs that Death is Near

As death becomes closer, you might notice that your parent might sleep more, be less verbal, eat less, drink less, encounter more pain, develop changes in blood pressure, experience a change in heart rate, undergo changes in skin, go to the bathroom less, become incontinent, suffer with confusion, experience erratic breathing, exhibit restlessness, endure difficulty swallowing, see visions, show evidence of glazed eyes, and extremities may appear bluish in color.

Saying Goodbye

Knowing when to call the family to say goodbye is difficult to gauge. When you notice symptoms, you may want to let family and close friends know so an opportunity to say a final farewell may occur. Obviously, at this point, you don’t know the exact time that death will occur, but most loved ones would appreciate a “heads up!”

It is interesting that many people have noted that sometimes before death, a person has a moment of lucidity. It happened the night before my father passed away. All the family was standing around his bed. He opened his eyes, looked at everyone and gave the biggest grin ever. It was so remarkable that he knew and loved seeing his family around during his last hours with leukemia. After seeing us all, he clapped for us. What a blessing that was!

Encountering the Final Moment: Embracing

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever. (John 14:16)

If death occurs in a hospital or facility, the staff will usually guide you as to the steps that must take place.

If the death occurs at home under a hospice situation, there is no need to rush to call the funeral home. As  reminder, “hospice” is not a place—It is a concept. Lingering around your loved one to say goodbye and comfort others is acceptable. When the hospice agency is called, they will support you and the family through your grief. They can also help you by contacting the designated funeral home if you have one. A death must be pronounced by a medical doctor or hospice nurse. Having hospice already in place will help the family during this difficult time.

It is worth mentioning that without hospice, the process will be more complicated. You will be responsible for making arrangement for your loved one to be picked up. But first, you will need to call 911. When an ambulance arrives, you might be asked when the time of death occurred. Be prepared to show a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate Order) especially if you have waited over an hour to call them.

After the Final Moment: Surviving

Request Death Certificates

When my father passed away, the funeral home told us to request at least 20 copies of the death certificates. There will be many instances where you will need them as you clear up their estate, personal affairs, and business. If the funeral home you are using does not supply those to you, they can be obtained by contacting the Vital Statistics office in the state where the death occurred. Most organizations will require an original death certificate, not a copy.

Inform All Financial Establishments

After you receive the death certificates, it will be time to contact all institutions regarding the death. Insurance companies, credit card companies, mortgage companies, brokerage firms, banks and more should be notified.  Be aware that once banks are notified of a death, the accounts are usually frozen until new accounts are set up with the survivors; this may take longer than anticipated, so be sure the family has enough money/cash to get by until this is taken care of.

Get in Touch with Providers

Contact utility companies (telephone, cable, Internet service providers) for cancellation or name changes. It is not imperative to cancel home services such as gas, water, electric, lawn services, pest control until a later date. This will ensure that the home or apartment can continue to be maintained until decisions are made.

Report the Death to Government Agencies

Notify the Social Security office and the Veteran’s Administration about the loss of your loved one. While some benefits might be canceled, others may be adjusted for survivor benefits. If your parents were veterans, survivor benefits may be available depending on the eligibility for you or other family members.

Contact Employers and Former Employers

Contacting current or former employers is essential. The Human Resources departments of these organizations will help you sort out benefits, life insurance, stocks, and beneficiary information. By contacting former companies, you might be surprised to find out that there is a death benefit that you are unaware of. It is your responsibility to find out about that, not theirs!

Probate the Estate

If the deceased had a will, there is usually an executor who is responsible for handling the distributing of wealth and property once a person dies. If there is no will, each state has rules and lists of qualified individuals to help you with distribution. If you have been named an executor, you must show proof of your role before working in that capacity; this is usually stated in the person’s will or an addendum. Depending on the deceased’s estate, it can take up to a year or longer to sort out all the details.

Spiritually Speaking

One simple fact is when our loved one dies, there are no easy answers or exact protocol to follow. There will be pain, grief, and sadness. When the apostle Paul spoke of death, he desired that “according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:20) As we face our death and the death of our family members, let’s view it as the beginning, not the end—a time to exalt and glorify God. When we envision that our real home is in heaven, it may be a little easier to let our loved ones go.

Saying that we cannot trivialize death. We will miss our parents or family members when they pass away. It’s easy to focus on ourselves and the loss that we will/have encountered both before and after they die. Many people who spend the days, weeks, and months before an impending death giving their loved ones’ support, compassion, love, and care finding it very comforting to their souls.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 states, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—a time to give birth and a time to die.” Let’s be prepared for God’s moment and His timing by being wise, fruitful, and loving while we embrace our loved ones’ last days—in both the practical and spiritual sense.

Bible Verses:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)

In my distress, I called upon the Lord, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears. (Psalm 18:6)


Most gracious God. Please be with me as I face the final days of my parent(s). Let me care for them as You care for me. I need Your wisdom, Your grace, and Your peace. I need You now more than ever during this time when decisions need to be made. Let me be pre-prepared—both physically, emotionally and spiritually to know Your will during this difficult time. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

Preparing for the Death of a Loved One. [2016]: MetaMd. National Caregiver’s Library. Accessed 15 Oct 2016.

Randall, Clark. 5 Things to Do Immediately After a Loved One Dies. USA Today. 24 Oct 2015. Accessed 15 Oct 2016.

What to Expect When Your Loved One is Dying. WebMD. Accessed 15 Oct 2016.

Related Articles:

Keeping Aging Parents Safe

Getting Your Parents’ Affairs in Order

Being Your Parents’ Advocate

Housing: Options for Elderly Parents


If you found this post helpful, please like/share it so others can get the benefit. Thanks. If you would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on to subscribe.

Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here


Caregiving Part 5: Spirituality

Caregiving. My husband and I moved in with my mother when my father passed away a year and a half ago. Mom is a fragile 91-year-old. Her health is not good, but her mind is phenomenal. Today I drove Mom and her friend to their church for a special service. We stayed afterward for the end-of-the-year Women’s Club luncheon. The women chatted, laughed, and enjoyed fellowship with their friends. You might ask why I chauffer my mother around like this; I do it because I love my mother and I want her to continue to enjoy the church she has attended for the past 50 years. It is there she fellowships with her friends and shares a spiritual connection with others and the Lord.

As a caregiver, our concerns usually center around our parents’ emotional, physical and social life. One aspect often lacking in caregiving is an interest in the elderly’s spiritual life. Whether you are a part-time caregiver or a full-time caregiver, giving yourself to the spiritual needs concerning your parents is truly a privilege.

For those who take their spirituality seriously, a sense of purpose and fulfillment undergirds their lives. Despite this fact, some do not understand or take seriously this component of another’s life. Understanding spirituality is complicated because there are so many scenarios and so many definitions of spirituality at play. They involve answering questions such as:

  • Are you a part-time caregiver or a full-time caregiver?
  • Are your parents living in the same town or city as you are?
  • Are you a strong believer, a ‘sort of’ religious person, or an uninterested individual?
  • Have your parents lived a dedicated life for Christ and the church? Have they attended church sporadically? Or, have they rarely explored any ‘religious’ life?

Once you mix and match all these different dynamics together, it’s time to discern and pray about your part in your parents’ spiritual life. Regardless of your parents’ spiritual background, caring for them is one of the most compassionate undertakings you or your siblings can pursue. Included in regular caregiving responsibilities, being a part of allowing your parents to pursue or continue their interests in God, church, and spiritual growth is an important part of caregiving.

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

Your Parents

Many seniors who have attended church all their lives develop a deeper desire for the things of God when they get older; but many do not. Some glide into old age making their spirituality more of an inward feat and not a community feat. In Spirituality and Aging, Sociology Professor Emeritus at Marquette University David O. Moberg says, “Many scientists who study spirituality and aging have concluded that spirituality increases with age. However, it is also important to acknowledge that other prominent researchers disagree with this premise.” ¹ Gerontologists are starting to see how the spiritual life regarding their patients yields an unexplainable peace and calmness as they face the future. As a result, their physical well-being is often affected in a positive way. They see their patients with faith as possessing strength and tranquility regarding their future.

Driving Forces Why Seniors Depend on God

  • Many seniors are concerned about their death and the afterlife.
  • Their faith provides strength as they face illnesses, loss of friends, and loneliness.
  • They have more time to pray and read their Bible.
  • Concern over a reduced income and the ability to meet their needs.
  • A renewed or deepening dependence and guidance by the Holy Spirit.

At a time when seniors tackle new challenges, many undergo losing their support systems. This should be a huge consideration in churches as “baby boomers” are starting to fit into the senior adult category.

Driving Forces Why Seniors Abandon their Faith and Church

  • Lack of activities for seniors—Feeling of alienation may occur when more emphasis is given to youth ministries, young adult ministries, or any ministries besides senior adult ministries.
  • Miss traditions—They feel left out, unwanted, unneeded in the congregation. Seniors enjoy the familiarity of things past, i.e. hymns, Sunday dinners, fellowship luncheons.
  • Difficulty adjusting to change—The new programs and facilities are too much for them. Adjusting to change is especially hard for the aging population.
  • Hearing loss—They can’t hear the preacher or Sunday school teacher.
  • Stimulating services (music, yelling, confusion)—The British Alzheimer’s Society discusses noise triggers by saying, “[People with Alzheimer’s] feel bewildered or anxious because there is too much noise, too many people around, or a change in a familiar routine.”
  • Other disabilities—There may not be handicapped parking or wheelchair accommodations at the church. They may be unable to get to church due to disability or inability to drive themselves. Or maybe, there is too much walking to get to their classes or sanctuary easily.

Caregiving and You

As a family caregiver member, it is imperative for you to be cognizant of your parents’ needs. This includes their spiritual needs.

Practical Ways You Can Help

  • If you live in the same town or city as your parents, bring them to church and church functions.
  • If you live out-of-town, contact their church organization, friends, or other family members to set up transportation.
  • If your parents are in a facility, investigate what kind of spiritual activities that are available.
  • Make their living environment familiar and comfortable, i.e. put their favorite cross in their room, be sure their Bible is easily accessible.
  • Provide notecards, stamps, and addresses so they can write and minister to their friends.
  • Get their hearing checked by an audiologist.
  • Get their eyesight checked by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.
  • Purchase a large-print Bible for them if needed.
  • And, if you or family members live in the same city or town, be sure to visit them!

Whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

Questions Caregivers Must Ask

  • What hindrances are my parents facing?
  • My parents used to attend church. Why don’t they go now?
  • How do I approach my unbelieving parents about Jesus Christ?

These are just a few of the many questions caregivers might have. You may want to spend some time thinking, meditating, and praying for what questions need to be asked and how you can be a part of the solution.

How to Pray: Ten Tips for a Better Prayer Life

Keep Yourself in Top Spiritual Shape

Being connected to God’s divine source can help you manage better as your caregiving duties progress. Continuing or starting to seek God’s presence and strength in your life will assist you as you care for and minister to your loved ones. Understanding you are not perfect alleviates a mindset of inadequacy. Remind yourself of all your parents have done for you. If they haven’t done much, it is time to ask God how He wants you to treat them and care for them regardless of the past. God is available to help you as you support your parents. By being their caregiver, you can be assured, God has given you a divine assignment—one that you won’t regret.

Salvation and Eternal Life

On our most recent visit to my mother’s oncologist, we were discussing mom’s diagnosis and future prognosis. In his matter-of-fact intonation, he said, “Mrs. —————, life is a terminal illness!” While we don’t want to think about life like this, it is true. We all will die and face an eternal future.

As we live our earthly life, let us be ever mindful about our eternal destination. Gaining an understanding of our future existence is significant in understanding life-and-death anxieties and angsts.

Both caregivers and parents and all humanity will die. CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) discusses four laws in the booklet “Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws?” ²

Four Spiritual Laws

Law 1: God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.

John 3:16

Law 2: Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.

Romans 3:23

Law 3: Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him, you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.

John 14:6

Law 4: We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.

Revelation 3:20

A Heart-to-Heart Prayer

If you or your parents have not accepted Jesus Christ, now is the time to have a frank conversation with God. If you are unsure how to pray for God’s salvation, a simple well-meaning prayer can be the best decision for both of your lives.

Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.” ³

If you have accepted Jesus Christ but your parents haven’t, now is the time to have a candid heart-to-heart with them.

Eight days before my father passed away, I had a candid heart-to-heart with him. He prayed a prayer akin to the prayer written above. As we sat on his couch at 5 am we quietly talked together and talked to God. Some may call this a deathbed conversion. No matter what it is called, my father accepted Jesus Christ and God used me to help him make the best decision of his life.

Caretaking means being responsible for various aspects of your parents’ life. As we face our parents’ sundown years, let’s do what we can to help them hold on to, delight in, and agree to take part in their spiritual life while at the same time progressing and preserving our own spiritual life.

Do You Fear Death?

Bible Verses: See above.


Dear heavenly Father, as I consider all the needs of my parents, let me be mindful of their whole being. I pray for their emotional, physical, social, and spiritual life. Make me aware of their needs. Let me offer my help. Give us both peace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

¹ Spirituality and Aging. Accessed 10 May 2017.

² Greene, Patti. Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer. Bloomington: WestBow, 2016. [Permission given from CRU for Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws summary.]

³ Begin Your Journey to Peace. Accessed 10 May 2017.

Coming Soon: Caregiving Part 6: How to Prepare, Embrace, and Survive the Final Moments

If you found this post helpful, please like/share it so others can get the benefit. Thanks. If you would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on to subscribe.

Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Caregiving Part 4: Housing Options for Elderly Parents

Senior citizens are living longer. They have access to medical treatments which can prolong their lives. Many “baby boomers” encounter difficult decisions about caregiving and living arrangements for their parents. While boomers are concerned about their parents’ well-being, they are often clueless about what housing options are available.

Evaluating the Level of Care Your Parents’ Needs

Safety Issues – Are your parents safe in their home? Is their driving safe for themselves and others? Are they able to take care of themselves?

Medical Issues – Are your parents able to administer and track their own medicine? What medical conditions do your parents have? Are they showing signs of memory problems?

Social Issues – Are your parents lonely? Do your parents have friends they like to socialize with?

Location – Are your parents happy where they live now? How will changing their current living situation affect them?

Cost – Are your parents financially able to sustain a decent standard of living? Are they able to afford their current housing arrangement?

Many parents are making cross-country migrations, leaving home to live with their children. The Chicago Tribune tells the story of Elizabeth Larson.

Elizabeth Larson, 93, moved from Champaign [Illinois] to be near her son, who lives in Hinsdale [Illinois].

My son said that if anything happened, if I needed him, he was too far away,” she said. She thought he was right. And she knew the solution, and that it would involve her leaving Champaign. Larson was sorry to leave neighbors she liked. But she didn’t have to leave her two closest friends. They had already moved to out-of-state retirement complexes near their own adult children. “So it was easier for me to move,” she said. And “in a way, it was kind of exciting. I thought it would be nice to be near my son. ¹

While it was a nice amicable move for Elizabeth, it can be a gut-wrenching decision for others searching for senior housing options. Moving is a complex and confusing decision. The earlier you assess your parents’ desires and needs the better it will be. By becoming aware of the different housing options available, you may be the biggest asset helping your parents come to terms with their living arrangement. Communicate with them, give them time to consider the options and be kind and gentle as they face one of the most difficult decisions of their lives. – Please subscribe to this blog and newsletter here.

Most Common Housing Options for the Elderly

Independent Care—Consists of single family homes or townhomes for self-sufficient seniors. They offer security and social activities in their community living setting. Services such as laundry, meals, transportation and social activities are usually provided. They are not regulated by the government. Independent Care facilities have a country club environment. The average cost to rent or buy a home, including community fees, can be up to $2,000 per month or more. They are also called retirement communities, retirement homes, or senior apartments.

Assisted Living—A community which provides 24-hour assistance. The personnel assists with eating, bathing and bathroom use. However, 24-hour medical service is not provided. Their care usually includes laundry, meals, transportation, social activities, toilet care, housekeeping and medication aid. Assisted living communities are regulated by the state. Other names for assisted living facilities are personal care homes, eldercare facilities, residential care facilities, group homes, and community residences. The cost ranges from approximately $2,300-$5,500 per month.

Nursing Home—A community which provides 24-hour assistance with daily living and medical care by nurses and therapists. Nursing homes include doctors on call, hospice and end-of-life services, medication aid, housekeeping, toilet care, bathing, dressing, transportation, and laundry. Nursing homes adhere to both state and federal regulations. They are also called rest homes, convalescent homes, and skilled nursing facilities. The cost averages between $4,000-$12,000 per month.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)—Campus-like communities which provide care from private residences to assisted living and skilled nursing care. They are designed for individuals with declining conditions. Many times the residents move from one community to another as their conditions change. The services are the same as nursing homes. CCRCs have some state regulations. These facilities are also called Continuing Care-Retirement facilities and life care facilities. Services and costs vary depending on what level facility one is in.

Aging in Place—Many seniors decide to age in place. This is a living arrangement where the elderly and their children have made the choice to live in the children’s home, their parents’ home or the home of their choice for as long as they are capable. When assistance is needed, nurses, private aides, physical therapists and other needed personnel will come to the home. Many seniors need to remodel their houses to make them suitable to meet their needs as they age. Financial planning is a must to handle living and home and providing for any outside help.  ²

Defining Types of Care for the Elderly

Skilled Care—a type of intermediate care where the patient or resident needs more assistance than usual, generally from licensed nursing personnel and certified nursing assistants. This care is not the same as long-term care, in which a resident may not need the services of a licensed nurse on a daily basis.

Custodial Care—care when seniors need caregivers to help take care of them. Unfortunately, many older adults reach a time in their life when they can no longer care for themselves. They cannot get around the house without assistance. They cannot do the things they once did, as their physical and mental skills are not quite as sharp as they used to be. A caregiver may make all the difference between an older adult struggling with life’s demands and an adult who has a helping hand.

Palliative Care/Hospice Care—a special type of care offered to patients who are at the end of their lives. Both hospice and palliative care centers are about providing the best care possible to their patients.

Hospice care most often occurs in a home environment. Hospice is not a place—It is a concept. A hospice team consists of doctors, nurses, social workers, spiritual personnel, therapists, aides, and volunteers. Hospice does not focus on treating medical problems; rather, it centers on keeping the elderly pain-free, comfortable and happy during their last days. In the Hospice Handbook, Larry Beresford says, “While hospice is care for the dying, it places special emphasis on life and living each day as fully as possible.” ⁴ Eligibility in most hospice programs require an estimated death within the next six months due to the terminality of the patient’s illness.

Palliative care centers around the concept of care also. A nurse is there to lend support to the patient and family and to manage the pain and other symptoms which are affecting the patient. Palliative care usually occurs in a facility such as a hospital, assisted care facility, or nursing home that is associated with a palliative care team.

Due to different policies, It is important to consult with your physicians about what type of care is best for your parents.

Home Care—a type of medical and assisted living in which the care provider works with the patient within their own home. Typically, the process involves an initial meeting between the care provider and patient to determine the personal needs and the level of care required. The care provider and patient will then come up with a personal and customized program to make sure the patient’s needs are being met. The health care provider may be either a licensed professional or a part of a company which specializes in assisted living. Typically, assisted living organizations are comprised of nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals and are assigned to each patient based on their own specific needs.

Residential Care Homes—In some areas, residential care homes are the last resort in terms of finding placement for residents who don’t quite meet the criteria for nursing home care, but may not have the funds for assisted living. Residential care homes also tend to be a good choice for seniors who have mild mental health issues that hinder their ability to live independently or to be accepted into assisted living facilities.

Adult Day Care—places senior citizens into the hands of licensed professionals who are fully capable of taking care of them. For many people, this is a way for the elderly to get out of the house and socialize with other people. Socialization is extremely important; some people could easily slip into depression if they don’t have someone they can talk to.

Companion Care—Companions for the elderly. Companion care personnel are usually trained by their company in safety and CPR. They are also called comfort caregivers. No certification is required to be a companion. ³

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. (Exodus 20:12)

How to Pay

Often finding housing for our parents boils down to financial ability to pay for services. Without going in depth, some ways to finance parental care are to use private savings from the parents or children, money from the sale of a home, long-term insurance, reverse mortgages, Medicare or Medicaid, VA benefits, stocks/bonds, or any other financial means family or parents possess.

As children face the prospect of caring for their aging parents, complex decisions about housing are imperative. Each housing options listed above comes with benefits and complexities. It is up to the family to educate themselves on what is available by communicating with them and providing time to formulate a plan that works for all parties involved.

When my father passed away, my husband and I decided to move into my mother’s home to care for her. It was a mutual decision on our parts with the understanding that we would talk if the situation was not working well for any of us. As retired baby boomers, our situation allowed this arrangement. While it isn’t for everybody, it was a mutual decision made in the best interest of both my mother and ourselves.

As you face any upcoming living arrangements for your parents, be open-minded, respectful, realistic and informed.

The expression “there’s no place like home” is true. But, when the time comes when parents need to consider whether to move or not, let’s make sure that whatever plan is crafted creates a secure, comfortable and pleasing environment for all involved.

Bible Verses:

Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

Cease striving and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10a)

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)


Dear Lord, As I face caring for my parents, please help me honor and respect them in all decisions that must be made regarding living arrangements. I trust that You will guide me and give me wisdom as plans and decisions are made. Thank you, Lord, for helping me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Coming Soon: Caregiving Part 5: Spirituality

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

¹ Older Parents Divulge What It’s Like to Leave Home to Live Near Adult Kids. Chicago Tribune. 5 June 2015.

² Paying for Senior Care. 5 May 2017.

³ Assisted Living Today. Accessed 5 May 2017.

⁴ McGovern, Sue. What Everyone Should Know About Hospice. St. Meinrad: Abbey Press. 2004. Print.

If you found this post helpful, please like/share it so others can get the benefit. Thanks. If you would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on to subscribe.

Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Caregiving Part 3: Being Your Parents’ Advocate

The “rich and famous” can hire a personal health advocate to help them with the issues they or their parents face as they age. These advocates help with access to medication, transportation, and other individual challenges.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an advocate as “one who pleads the cause of others.” ¹ They speak up for their client when they can’t speak up for themselves. While it would be nice for every elderly person to have their own personal health advocate, it is usually left up to family members to advocate on behalf of their parents and relatives rather than employing a paid staff member to help them navigate through the health and medical system.

Your parents need you and family members to:

  • Become familiar with their rights
  • Work on their behalf
  • Understand the intricacies of the services available
  • Be there to sign permissions, and
  • Resolve and discuss issues related to their healthcare.

Advocacy is essential when your parents reach a certain stage in life where they are unable to keep up with the complexity of the healthcare system. The elderly’s main health advocacy topics revolve around their doctor visits, medication, illnesses and disorders, dementia/Alzheimer disease, and Medicare/Medicaid.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)

Make Hay While the Sun Shines: Doctor Visits

If possible, you or a family member should accompany the aged to their doctor appointments. This is especially important if your parents have any cognitive disabilities surfacing. Establishing a relationship with your parents’ doctors and an office is the beginning of establishing an agreed-upon working plan for their healthcare.

Writing down questions for the doctor before the visit is always a good idea. You will want to bring a list of your parent’s symptoms with you to discuss with the physician. No matter how trivial a question might seem to you or your parents, it is important to bring it up so the doctor can piece together the entire picture so the best care is given. However, keep in mind doctors only have so much time allotted for your visit, so prioritize your questions and comments to each physician.

Always bring a list of your parent’s medications to all doctor’s appointments. Medication or dosage may change from week to week, so it is critical to inform every physician visited of any changes to vitamins, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter-medicines. In addition, depending on your parent’s insurance policies, you may want to ask your doctor to prescribe the generic medicine if it works as well as the non-generic.

After your visit, record what the doctor said, fill any new prescriptions, talk about the visit with your parents, and write down the next appointment date in your calendar along with a reminder to call for the results of any blood work.

Here Goes! Medication

Many seniors take an agglomeration of medication. It is a daunting task for them and their caregivers to make sure they are labeled correctly and administered properly.

My mother has a medicine that comes in two dosages. The problem is that the pills are the same exact shape and size. One day she wasn’t feeling well and she noticed an irregular heartbeat. After a little detective work, we discovered that she was taking a double dose of medicine because the two pills looked so similar except for the small inscription on the pill. It was quite evident that this double dose was causing a significant problem for her—one that was easily remedied but not always easy to detect.

Polypharmacy is the term used when four or more medications are prescribed to a patient. Most adults over 65 years of age are taking four or more meds and monitoring all their medicines becomes more difficult. Using the same pharmacy for all prescriptions is advantageous and advisable. The pharmacist will have records of all the medicines taken and whether there are possible side effects and interactions with other medicines. Once prescriptions are received, note the ailment that the prescription is for on the bottle or tube.

If your parents aren’t competent, it will be left up to you—the advocate and caregiver—to manage their medications. If they aren’t able, you or a family member will be responsible for doling out, organizing, and storing their medicine.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

To help with medicine, it is wise to write what ailment all prescriptions are used for on the bottle or tube. Doing so will not only help you, but it will be useful for anyone who might need to take over distributing medicine to your parents.

Prevention is Better Than a Cure: Illnesses and Disorders

The aged are living longer now than previous generations. It follows, then, that as they live into their 80s, 90s, or even their 100s they will encounter a multitude of diseases and disorders. The most common issues affecting seniors are listed below

Accidents, Health Issues, and Disorders

  • Blood
  • Bone, joint, and muscle
  • Brain, spinal cord, and nerve
  • Cancer
  • Digestive
  • Ears, nose, and throat
  • Eye
  • Health issues and disorders of the elderly
  • Hearing
  • Heart and blood vessel
  • Hormonal
  • Immune
  • Infections
  • Injuries
  • Kidney and urinary tract
  • Liver and gallbladder
  • Lung and airway
  • Men’s health issues
  • Mental health
  • Mouth and dental
  • Nutrition and metabolic
  • Skin
  • Women’s health issues

As an advocate for your parents, you must be aware and discerning about their condition. It is not uncommon for the elderly to fear to tell you of new symptoms that present themselves. They may be concerned about bothering you or they may be justly concerned that you might move them from their home to a facility if it appears they have too many problems. By telling them you are concerned and asking them to be honest with you, they are more apt to mention any symptoms they notice.

If your parents are having memory problems, their ability to tell you about new symptoms may be diminished.

In This World, Nothing is Certain: Dementia and Alzheimer Disease

As we age, nothing is certain. No one knows what illnesses, if any, may be bestowed on them. But, one of the most devastating diagnoses imaginable is when you and your parents hear the words “dementia” or “Alzheimer’s.”

The terms dementia and Alzheimer’s are often used synonymously to represent any kind of changes in the brain which negatively affect cognitive function. However, they are defined differently.

The Alzheimer Foundation of America defines Alzheimer’s disease as “a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes.” The foundation also defines dementia as “a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.”

The signs were already there with my father. My mother and I noticed them gradually over the years. His confusion, inability to calculate a tip, slower reaction time and forgetfulness became more pronounced. By the time we took him to a neurologist, we knew. But when my father heard the word “dementia,” he was affected. It was his reaction that concerned us the most. He became worried about living and being an encumbrance on us, but at the same time was happy to have a name to put with his symptoms. Everyone reacts differently to the news. And, with Alzheimer’s or dementia, your parents may react differently from day to day!

Speaking specifically to Alzheimer’s, there are changes to the brain that have signs and symptoms. While the symptoms vary from one person to the next, some of the most common first symptoms of Alzheimer’s are: ³

  • Difficulty with word-finding
  • Vision/spatial issues, and
  • Impaired reasoning or judgment
  • Getting lost
  • Changes in personality

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. If you notice memory and cognitive changes with your parents, make an appointment with a neurologist. They will be able to discuss your parent’s symptoms with both of you. The physician will ask about the overall health of your parents, give memory tests, look at blood work, and possibly perform a CT, MRI, or PET scan to obtain a probable diagnosis. It is important to realize there are other medical conditions that can cause the same symptoms as dementia or Alzheimer’s and the physician will want to rule those out.

Owen Darnell has written a beautiful Alzheimer’s poem titled Do Not Ask Me to Remember. ⁴

Do Not Ask Me to Remember

Do not ask me to remember,

Don’t try to make me understand.

Let me rest and know you’re with me,

Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I’m confused beyond your concept.

I am sad and sick and lost.

All I know is that I need you

To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me.

Do not scold or curse or cry.

I can’t help the way I’m acting.

Can’t be different though I try.

Just remember that I need you.

That the best of me is gone,

Please don’t fail to stand beside me,

Love me ‘til my life is done.

All Systems Go: Medicare

Lastly, as your parent’s caregiver, overseeing their Medicare or Medicaid is vital.

Medicare is health insurance for people 65 or older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.

A quick overview of Medicare from Understanding Medicare [] states,

  • Medicare Part A helps covers hospital insurance.
  • Medicare Part B helps cover medical insurance.
  • Medicare Part C is a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes all benefits and services under Part A and B and more.
  • Medicare Part D helps cover the cost of prescription drugs.

Medicaid is a federal system providing health insurance to those requiring financial assistance.

Keeping up with the benefits and changes in Medicare or Medicaid is important because it can affect your loved one’s premiums, deductibles, hospital care, drug coverage and more. It is important not to miss deadlines for signing up and/or making changes that will affect your parent’s coverage.

There may be major changes for both Medicare and Medicaid under the new Trump administration. Reform is always in the works. Being vigilant and knowledgeable of these government programs can affect the health and care of your parents.

For more information on Medicare, click on

For more information on Medicaid, click on

One Day at a Time: Wrap Up

Advocating for your loved ones can be exhausting and overwhelming. Your spiritual life can be a real comfort during this season. Acting in Christian love will enhance your character and provide a renewed hope for your parents. Some days will be more trying than others. Praying to be the sons and daughters your parents need will give you strength and help you to set a loving tone each day as you handle the infinite issues involved in your parent’s care.

Your parents need you to help them manage and advocate for them through their doctor visits, medication challenges, illnesses, and insurance programs. Concentrate on short-term goals. And proceed “one day at a time.”

Bible Verses:

So, do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor. (Romans 12:10)


My heavenly Father, I can get so overwhelmed with all the jobs involved in caregiving. You know I love my parents. You know I care, but I get tired. There is so much to do each day. Give me Your strength and wisdom as I face the challenges ahead. Let me wake each day with a renewed love for You and my loved ones. Let me live day by day in Your presence. These things I ask in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Coming Soon: Caregiving Part 4: Housing Options for Elderly Parents

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

¹ Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Accessed 26 Apr 2017.

² “About Alzheimer’s Disease.” Alzheimer Foundation of America. Accessed 12 Dec 2016.

³ “Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet National Institute on Aging Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet.” NationalInstitute on Aging.…/publication/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet. Accessed 4 Apr 2017.

⁴ Owen, Darnell. “Alzheimer’s Poem: Do Not Ask Me to Remember.” ask-me-to-remember-poem. Accessed Apr 26 2017.

If you found this post helpful, please like/share it so others can get the benefit. Thanks. If you would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on to subscribe.

Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Caregiving Part 1: Keeping Aging Parents Safe

There are many issues and facets involved in caring for ones’ parents. The style and attitude of care provided to a parent by a child can vary considerably among the parent’s children. One child embraces caregiving with a total outflowing of love and energy while another could experience a total depletion of energy and frustration. Understanding your aging parents involves many aspects of care, especially caring for their safety.

The Utah Caregiver Coalition defines caregiving as “the provision of assistance to another person who is ill, disabled, or needs help with daily activities. It often requires attention to the physical, mental, social, and psychological needs and well-being of both the caregivers and the elderly person requiring care.” ¹

In a Christian sense, caregiving is a call to serve and give your life to another person. Serving others is a Biblical theme discussed multiple times within the context of the Bible as a virtue for us to strive for and act upon.

A call to serve others comes directly from Matthew 20:28 when Matthew, the most likely author of the book, wrote:

“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

I was privileged to live with my mother and father during my father’s final days of acute myeloid leukemia and dementia. Currently, my husband and I are living with my mother in her home as she faces her own critical health issues. In June Hunt’s book Caregiving: A Privilege, Not a Prison, she shares that caregiving provides emotional and physical support to someone unable to live independently and makes a choice with the heart and mind to give needed support to a dependent person. She also mentions that “Christian caregiving is offered in the spirit of love, compassion, and relationship.” ²

This same spirit is what I am striving for as I face many diverse issues relating to caring for my own mom as she embraces her final days.

Before addressing the safety of your parents, you must first:

  • Understand the aging process
  • Become knowledgeable about the issues facing the aging population
  • Become proactive regarding the safety issues facing the elderly

Understand Aging

Understanding how seniors age is a difficult feat. They struggle with: forfeiting their freedom and independence, becoming forgetful, losing their eyesight and hearing; experiencing mobility problems, encountering depression, and more. College degrees in aging address topics such as age-related diseases, the biology of aging, nutrition, laws and ethics of aging, and even caregiving.

Your parents may develop attitudes or thoughts they may never have had in their younger years. Feelings of loneliness, friendlessness, uselessness, and unwantedness may unfold. These attitudes may appear as them being unsocial, depressed, anxious, irate or sad. Issues such as living arrangements, financial matters, medical treatments and legal issues may become household topics.

Too often caregivers have trouble adjusting to their parent’s newfound attitudes and opinions. As children, knowing your parents will help to understand why and how they act. Facing these issues with a sound and patient mind will help your parents trust and adjust more to the uncertain future they are entering.

On the other hand, some seniors are even-keeled, sweet, sociable, and concerned with the welfare of others all the while dealing with these important decisions.

Let’s look at the case of an older woman who seemingly was very competent in coping with what life held for her taken from an article titled “When God Sends Help, Don’t Ask Questions” in Senior News. ³

She hurried to the pharmacy to pick up the medication. When she got back to the car, she found her keys locked inside.

The woman found an old rusty coat hanger on the ground. She looked at it and said, “I don’t know how to use this.”

She bowed her head and asked God to send her some help.

Within five minutes an old motorcycle pulled up, driven by a bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag. He got off his cycle and asked if he could help.

She said, “Yes, my husband is sick. I’ve locked my keys in my car. I must get home. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?”

He said, Sure.” He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the car was open.

She hugged the man and through tears said, “Thank you, God, for sending me such a very nice man.”

The man heard her little prayer and replied, “Lady I am not a nice man. I just got out of prison yesterday; I was in prison for car theft.”

The woman hugged the man again, sobbing, “Oh, thank you, God! You even sent me a professional.”

Become Knowledgeable

In perusing the Internet, I found multiple tips on caregiving. They came under the titles: Tips for Caregivers, Being a Healthy Caregiver, Caregiver Stress: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself, Tips for Caregivers: Coping with Stress and Anxiety, Helping Seniors Manage Money and Finances, and Caring for Your Parents: Legal Issues, and Medical Tips for Seniors. After immersing myself in these articles, I have compiled some brief tips to help you get started with your caregiving tour de force:

  • Get your parent’s medical and legal information in order. Keep these items in a location easy for quick retrieval. The items and information you want to locate and secure include advance directives, wills, medication lists, birth certificates, insurance policies, estate planning documents, usernames, passwords, and safety deposit keys.
  • Communicate with your parent’s doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, and financial advisors.
  • Have candid conversations with your siblings. Delegate and plan a schedule for shared care even if one person is the primary caregiver.
  • Watch for medical issues that may surface regarding your parents and yourself.
  • Find out what your loved one’s preferences are regarding future living arrangements, long-term care, medical decisions, and legal issues before they are not able to participate in these discussions.
  • Understand you are not alone: You may need to seek out support from others. Realize, however, that unless your friends or relatives have experienced it themselves, they may not be capable of truly understanding your position.
  • Understand that being your parent’s caregiver is not an easy job. It is exhausting and possibly expensive, but it can be the most rewarding experience of your life.

Be Proactive in Creating a Safe Environment for Your Parents

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, “Many older Americans are injured in and around their homes every year. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that on average 1.4 million people aged 65 and older are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for injuries associated with consumer products. Within this age group, the rate of injury is the highest for people 75 years of age and older.” ⁴

Too often caregivers are so overwhelmed they overlook basic safety issues within the home. Some issues of concern here are:

  • Do you need to purchase a medical alert fall-protection system?
  • Do you need to discuss opening their doors to strangers?
  • Do you need to discuss fraud and scams— Internet fraud and telephone scams?
  • Are the shelves in their living quarters secure?
  • Will phone and electrical cords cause a tripping incident?
  • Do you need to discuss what to do in an emergency?
  • Does the doorbell work?
  • Are the rugs on the floor secure?
  • Are there flammable liquids around the house?
  • Are hallways free of clutter for walkers and wheelchairs?

To see a more exhaustive home safety list, click here:

Many elderly men and women still drive. Some are capable; others are not. One of the hardest things any person has to give up is their driver’s license because it represents their independence and self-sufficiency.

Caregivers must be actively involved in the driving safety of their loved ones. Sometimes adult children can tell their parents that it is time to relinquish their keys; other times it is best left up to a physician or other entity. Either way, securing the safety of your loved one and those around them is important.

Some discussions to have with the elderly are:

  • Do you know which routes are the safest to take?
  • Have you had your hearing and vision checked recently?
  • Which is the best way to get to the doctor, church, friends, grocery store, and other places?
  • Using a taxi, bus or shuttle if needed.
  • Not driving when an emergency occurs.

To see a more exhaustive driving assessment checklist, click here:


One of the most important things about caregiving is being informed. I was recently asked to teach a six-week class on Caregiving at my church. At first, I couldn’t believe someone would ask me while caretaking myself, but I did anyway, and it was great!

In preparing for the class I consulted many resources. I read books, websites, and articles on the topic. It was through learning more and listening to others that I felt better able to face the challenge with love and appreciation.

I was tasked with finding an appropriate book for the class. I bought seven books and read through about ten more. I finally decided on the best reference book currently available on the topic and I would like to recommend it in hopes this book might help you.

Morris, Virginia. How to Care for Aging Parents, 3rd Edition: A One-Stop Resource for All Your Medical, Financial, Housing, and Emotional Issues.  New York: Workman, 2014. This book can be ordered HERE from Amazon.

Remember, caregiving is different for each of us. As caregivers, we must learn more to understand the aging process, use various resources to become knowledgeable about the elderly and be proactive in providing a safe environment for our loved ones.

Bible Verses:

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. (Ephesians 6:2-3)


Dear Lord, help me to be the best caregiver possible. Give me wisdom and a desire to honor you in how I serve. There are so many issues to face. You know my time and my schedule. Let me experience joy as I honor my loved ones. Let me seek knowledge. Let me be wise in my dealings with others. Let me be generous with my hugs and kisses. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Coming Soon: Caregiving Part 2: Getting My Parent’s Affairs in Order on

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

¹ What is Caregiving? Utah Caregiving Coalition. Accessed 19 Apr 2017.

² Hunt, June. Caregiving: A Privilege: Not a Prison. Dallas: Hope for the Heart, 2015.

³ When God Sends Help, Don’t Ask Questions. Seniorific News. 13 Jan 2017.

Home Safety Checklist. Consumer Product Safety Commission Safety for Older Consumers. Accessed 19 Apr 2017.

If you found this post helpful, please like/share it so others can get the benefit. Thanks. If you would like to receive email notifications of new posts or to receive monthly newsletters, please click here and scroll down on to subscribe.

Books by Patti Greene

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

The Linchpin of Loyalty: With God or the Super Bowl, Hanging Together Wins the Game

The Linchpin of Loyalty: With God or the Super Bowl, Hanging Together Wins the Game

Continue reading The Linchpin of Loyalty: With God or the Super Bowl, Hanging Together Wins the Game