Author Archives: NLLEx

Time Out For Games

Perhaps now we can stop playing long enough to realize it’s time out for games.

I’m not sure how to feel about this “Take a knee” stance. Oh don’t get it twisted I’m not saying I’m against it. The crazy thing is somehow this action which has to do with oppression is being equated to patriotism. Smoke screen for sure, but what’s more amazing is sports which in this nation has been like a god for people. I mean people will curtail the word of God on Sundays so they won’t miss Sunday night football. It would seem has met its match, and who knew a bended knee would be all it would take to get people out the stands.  The dilemma is they aren’t leaving in repentance towards God, but in bowing to what clearly is a bigger god then football in this nation, itself.  It’s called patriotism, and don’t shoot the messenger I’m not opposed to respecting your country, and if the bended knee action was an affront to the beloved anthem or flag salute I would get it, but it’s not. Just because someone calls something unpatriotic does that make it so? Or is this another cover to once again blow off the 400 year old topic that seems to continue to be ignored.  We can’t even be saved by Yah’s standard until we confess our sins, why is it suddenly being deemed a sin to merely point out we have a systemic sin issue in this nation that needs to be addressed? Our nation needs healing, but a sick person can’t be healed until they realize they are sick.  Nevertheless, America we can’t keep putting off the inevitable at some point we will have to address this issue and sooner better then later. I admit I’m not a fan of football so I am glad to see there is something that can remove its idolatrous force, it’s just sad that it wasn’t the love of Messiah that did it.  I just pray whatever this movement is becoming it some how some way leads to the Lord, otherwise it becomes another humanistic futile effort that leads to unbeneficial change.


TimeShare or Senior Continuum Care Communities

The current model of healthcare services provided for our elderly who require assisted living or skilled nursing is not only passe but depressing.  Anyone who loves their loved one who is faced with having to make a decision concerning where they will spend their golden years understands the heartbreaking options that await them.  Our current Medicaid system needs a revamp and Capitol hill is far behind on making the changes that are necessary to meet the growing need of care.  If you haven’t done any shopping in what the cost is for getting skilled nursing I would highly encourage you to begin shopping.  One of the major changes that need to take place is the choke hold that skilled nursing facilities has on medicaid provision as well as long term care insurance options.  Today, there are better options available to those who fall between the areas of skilled nursing and assisted living and quite frankly the cost for services of the better option comes with a much more reasonable price tag.

It makes more economic sense and common sense, especially if Medicaid is supposed to serve the people rather then the industry to encourage elderly people in need of assistance to stay in an assistant living facility as long as it is possible.  By leveling the playing field and widening the market as far as options the competition would actually push more skilled nursing facilities to provide higher levels of service recognizing that families get to not only choose between skilled nursing, but also assisted living and memory care facilities.  This provides a greater incentive for nursing homes to fix their own internal problems and fine tune their services.  Those who have persevered in working to build this country and make it what it is today deserve better then a place to hold them until they die.  A place that neither our loved ones want to be and their families want to visit them in.  After years of toiling and turning, making a way for your children and sacrificing to meet their needs it seems unfitting that the end game would lead to seclusion in a skilled nursing facility where your basic needs of health are neglected unless micromanaged by your family.

We who are in the working class need to have a shift in our priorities.  Rather then spending our money on a timeshare that gives you one week a year to escape the hustle and bustle of life we need to begin shifting our extravagant vacation fund into retirement property.  Obviously setting aside funds that can’t be touched such as a funeral trust or funeral insurance that would need to be at least $10,000 if you plan to be buried underground with a tombstone and as low as perhaps $6000 if your goal is to be cremated.  Whichever one you decide this needs to take high priority because you are not guaranteed to live long enough to be old and enjoy retirement living, but death is almost a certainty for most of us and having funds set aside to accommodate that need is key to having your wishes honored.  However, if you do live long enough to make it to old age, or even if you find yourself falling prey to a debilitating illness it is important that you be prepared for what the cost of living is for aided care.  This is a topic that many of you know I have been passionate about ever since my loved one suffered a debilitating sickness.  The options out there are few and far between and the compromises you have to make especially if you are not financially prepared for such a catastrophe is quite limiting.

The baby boomer generation are all reaching a point in their life where retirement services of some sort on some level are almost guaranteed to be a must.  Driving may become taxing or due to vision and reflexes could be completely out the question so being in a community that has other transportation options available will be very important.  Cooking and cleaning is another chore that many of our elderly people are less able to do, whether vertigo becomes a problem making looking up or down a challenge, or energy levels fluctuating causing the chores of doing daily tasks difficult, but you’re still able to use the bathroom, bathe yourself adequately, and the like then a senior community is an ideal situation to be in.  Having had to look for out of the box answers to meet caring for my loved one who lives hundreds of miles away, while meeting their desire to stay out of skilled nursing we had to  consider every possibility within his budget to provide for his care.  What I have found is that many places are heading in the right direction, with of course the most important ingredient to success being having quality workers who desire to provide quality care.  However, probably the perfect marriage between this rental based living is a full continuum care community that extends its reach to not just providing rental property, for assisted living and memory care residents but providing purchasable real estate property for self sustaining seniors who can still live independently or with their families in a 2 or 3 bedroom home.

Let’s face it many of us who are in the working class now live a certain lifestyle that we are accustomed to and certainly we aren’t working ourselves as hard as we are to end in the corner somewhere at a institutionalized nursing home if we can help it.  Thus, the next wise development would really be to provide senior living communities that incorporate short term rehab, nursing home, assisted living, and memory care within a housing community that also extends itself by providing cottage style housing options.  While assisted living apartments and memory care apartments would not be purchasable real estate property, many seniors would enjoy the amenities and environment of being in a senior community, but a steak they can actually buy not just sink their teeth into.  Which is where patio homes or cottages around the enclosed community would be an ideal situation.   This housing would require that selling of the property must be only provided to residents who meet the age criteria, but otherwise is a place that their children could inherit as they get older or as they require senior care needs.

As stated one thing is for sure we will get older and our ability to go up twenty stairs everyday will change, these luxurious garden tubs will become a pain, and cooking and cleaning well that will become as old to us as we are.  Having the ability to have a retirement community that extends its housekeeping, therapy plans, dining options, and community resources to those who own homes within the community is a major plus.

After selling your home nobody wants to find themselves in a rental situation again, and should your health decline the advantage of a senior living continuum care community is that your one time community fee paid when you first entered the community provides for you to transition to whatever level of care your physical state requires without having to pay a hefty fee when you are least financially prepared to do so.  By being proactive in your downsizing you have made it possible to be exactly where you need to be when changes occur and membership has its privileges as you would be able to easily transition to the next level of care at a membership rate, and because entrance is both limited and exclusive you have access to the most prime property which means that should you not financially be able to afford the next level of care, selling your home on site provides financial security for your transitional level.

Also, by being proactive by buying property onsite and paying your one time community fee at closing or at an age when you are receiving steady income versus a fixed income you forgo the community cost that is sure to go up over time to make the shift.

This model allows for greater affordability for even the middle class savvy senior to get in. By downsizing on a home that you may have paid off or come extremely close to paying off your equity plus your principal travels with you which will put you at a major advantage when starting fresh in our new community.  You could easily find yourself in a position where your new home could be bought out right or at least completely paid for before you are 65 if you move in at 55.

Resort style living in safer locations.  Smart shopping for property would require looking for land that allowed for turning a forest into a goldmine with natural water features, and fertile land, being a plus situated in an area that is not prone to natural disasters being more ideal.  Let’s face it as beautiful as Florida is the constant threat of hurricanes and other natural calamities make it a recipe for disaster when you mix that in with seniors and especially senior citizens with disabilities.  So, the ideal spot for this senior continuum care community would require paying close attention to safe locations.

Everyone should have choices and a senior care continuum community ought to be able to offer that and that should extend beyond the walls of the assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing unit.  For this cause the next level of senior continuum care communities should include the following:

  1. Home Ownership for independent structures.
  2. A sliding scale association fee based on the amenities you choose to partake in. A base fee which covers the cost of the common area grounds, as well as your personal property, and in and outside home maintenance warranty, as well as supplemental services that can be added on for an additional fee.  This service can be added on a monthly or yearly basis.  Monthly services being able to be cancelled at any time and yearly services at a discount but nonrefundable.  Supplemental services such as:
    1. Weekly housecleaning
    2. Meal Plans (both dining in and carry out services)
    3. Personal Fitness Programs
    4. Club Activities (i.e. bridge club, golf club, pool club, etc…)
    5. Utility package – (Pay a one size fit all fee monthly for electricity, water, internet, landline phone service, and water)

Again the grounds should also offer some form of recreation, as we age we become less mobile so having things available at arms reach is key to keeping our baby boomers, booming with active, vibrant, and healthy lives.  For this reason these communities should offer shopping options, recreational options, and services.

  1. Shopping Options
    1. Dollar store
    2. Gift store
    3. Fresh market
    4. Bakery
    5. Clothing boutiques
    6. Video Store
  2. Recreational Options
    1. Pond for fishing
    2. Golf course
    3. Miniature golf
    4. Botanical garden
    5. Walking trail
    6. Park
    7. Movie Theatre
    8. Library
  3. Services
    1. Medical services on site (vision, hearing, dental, general practitioner, chiropractic, naturopathic doctors, o.t.,p.t., s.t., therapy)
    2. Spa & Beauty Salons
    3. Personal Fitness Services

These options are optional and should be based on the interest of the seniors of that area and should be considered on the front end of construction. The more rural the area the more likely you will have to provide services in house, the more centrally located the less amount of services you would need to provide onsite.  Consideration of location and the interests of the people in your area should always be the priority when planning.

The baby boomer generation has a much greater appreciation of home ownership and having something to pass down to their children, even if their children aren’t particularly interested in what they would like to pass down.  Nevertheless, this is a noble thing, and one thing for sure if their children keep living they will live long enough to appreciate the benefits of functional housing that is handicap accessible especially when in combination with a luxurious touch.  If children are too young to take advantage of living in a senior community then renting out the property to other seniors in need of the space is also an option.  Which in the end still makes this property a worthwhile investment attractive to anyone who fits the age criteria.  By having the amenities that are available at arms length they can decide whether or not at any given time if they would like to add on services, and those services will be billed to them beginning that next month for those still independent they still will enjoy the basic services of carefree living, not having to concern themselves with mowing, or major maintenance issues.  Either way this way of thinking and investment in Senior continuum care living is simply a wise choice offering amenities and options for both the independent senior and the assisted needs senior.

If you would like to continue to receive correspondence on this topic and dream with me just a little while longer in aging with dignity follow my blog.  I will be posting more food for thought on this topic as well as reviews of facilities that I have visited.  If you would be interested in investing in building a senior continuum care community also join in on the conversation, at some point it will be time to take what is being written on a blog and see it come to life on land.  The first phase being to invest in land, and the second phase being to invest in architecture and landscaping.  Finally, if financial investment is not something you can do you can begin changing legislation.  Start making your voice heard concerning widening the use of medicaid to include assisted living and memory care as viable placement options or some sort of voucher program for Seniors requiring 24 hour care to be made available for assisted living and memory care facilities.

When Caught Between A Rock And A Hard Place Concerning Your Loved Ones Care

Its a strange thing having to make decisions for the person who made decisions for you for the first eighteen years of your life, and frankly I wouldn’t wish an ailing parent on anybody.

Learning how to respectfully disobey their desires when what they desire defies reason and puts both your life and theirs in jeopardy is like walking a tight rope.   Trying to make a wise decision in these circumstances are overwhelming, and when the problem is related to partial memory loss the situation is amplified times 1000.

If you would have asked me before I married, moved 12 hours away from home, where my parent would stay in the event of illness the answer was easy, but also because in my mind I never considered memory loss nor the impact caring alone for an individual with memory loss what it took.  Yah  gives you glimpses as I have been blessed to see a family member who has had to be a caregiver for her husband walk it out, but with sons, in-laws, and grandchildren to assist with some of the load.  Of course, they also had the added benefit of living in the area that this person lived their entire life which does assist with at least slowing down the rate of confusion and dementia that a complete separation from home turf could cause.  But when that person would have to move away from everything that is familiar to them to live with you, it is a wild card to say the least.  The support of living siblings become a lifeline, but somewhat out of reach when they are spread out as well.

The fairy tale of reliving dreams, reminiscing over old times, and even enjoying watching television together is replaced with frustration, irritation, and confusion.  The person you confided in, at times even debated, but overall loved and respected looks and sounds like a stranger.  The hope for even a moment of clarity and any spark of connection becomes the straw you grasp for.  It’s a bleak reality, that is compounded all the more if you’re not prepared. Imagine if your parent literally was lost in their own mind and this all happened overnight.  I’m talking a parent who lived alone most of your adult life, they live States away from you, and your siblings and suddenly they have taken ill.  Your status instantly updated from being their child to also becoming their caregiver, what would be your course of action?

Unfortunately, many of us have absolutely no plan mapped out and about the only thing we do know and make known to our loved ones is we don’t want to be in a nursing home. So what are the options? Does a family move across the country to accommodate the wishes of the one parent, at the risk of their family?  Does the ailing parent suffering memory loss move from the only familiar surroundings they know including the people they have known their whole lives to go to a strange land where all they have is you?  And then what do the siblings who also are spread out have to do to see their parent-travel to this new land which could be across country for them? Then, if you do move them only to require more help then you can provide and in the end they still end up in a nursing home, from your home or in their home state.

The mental and emotional challenges are more exhausting then the myriad of paperwork and planning that it takes to make the transition from home to nursing home.  But make no mistake no matter which choice you make your full involvement will be required.

As crazy as this sounds I thank God that even in this tragedy He is opening my eyes to an issue that in the day in and day out of living I never took time to think about.  I wish it didn’t take what it took to open my eyes, but the reality is we are no longer in the society of close knit large families.  In this nation most people stick to the 2.5 children and Lord really be with you if you have less.  The strain and stress of trying to keep up with the Jones’s has caused many of our children to be total strangers to us as they age being more mindful of video games they played, television shows that raised them, and outings with peers because family simply was too busy to raise them.  Babysitters, grandparents, unwed, single, without children siblings pitching in here and there, but parents have spent most of their lives attempting to acquire the “American Dream”.

So what is the mindset of children who were raised by this system when tragedy strikes their parents?  They are equipped to return the favor, alleviate the burdensome situation by placing their parents into the system that they were desperately working so hard to get out of and to free their children from.

Does the child see placing their parent in a nursing home as the opposite of love?  Of course not, if all indeed was done for the sake of the children then as the child grows up this mentality doesn’t change it evolves, and its evolution ends in “let the professionals handle this.”  After all that is the reason why some of us who are not chasing the American Dream won’t pull our children out of the institutions of school and teach them ourselves.

Our generation has not been trained to handle when major problems arise, we can google answers, we can look it up in a book, or ask Sirius, so what should you expect from a mechanical age other then a mechanical answer.  For those of us who would attempt to take in our loved one we live in a society where support from spouses, financial situations, and homes don’t accommodate those with disabilities, and the finances and time that it would take to bring it up to specs still leaves your loved one who needs help now in limbo.  Bottomline, is whether you would take in your parent if you could, or their sickness requires more care then your home could adequately provide and a skilled nursing facility is required whatever your situation is do an assessment, not just for your loved one, but also for yourself.

While you are of sound mind have the conversation with your children or whoever you would entrust your estate to concerning your wishes should that time occur for you.  Also, be reasonable, if you have spent the majority of your life alone with occasional visits from your family, but you have enjoyed your solitude and although you like your kids and family lived your life privately, plan wisely.  Unfortunately, we have not maintained the communal mindset that once was prevalent in this country.  Most people barely speak to their neighbors much less engage in bartering, visiting, and looking out for one another.  So if you are a private person who have an independent rather then co-dependent mentality it is imperative that you take this time to begin looking at options available to accommodate you and the lifestyle you have grown accustomed to.

Living in a nursing home requires living in a community environment and even with the “system driven” mentality that we have been ingrained in we have always kept a clear separation between being involved in systems from without and being a recluse from within.  One thing the American Way has trained us in is having our space, and one of the reasons why the idea of a nursing home rubs us the wrong way if we are honest is the communal aspect of it.  This isn’t the whole but if we are honest we have grown accustomed to having our way, our space, and our privacy.

How do you plan for future changes that must occur because of your health?

  1. Begin having the conversation, first with yourself about what sort of communal environment you would be willing to live in should the need arise.  Don’t be dogmatically against the notion.  Begin considering under what circumstances you would be willing to go to one and begin researching the options that are available based on your income or services in your area.
  2. Be able to articulate to your loved ones your wishes and come together to discuss what role they should play in this process. Remember, you are not in this alone, be vocal with your family and friends what your expectations would be in terms of their involvement with you.  Such things as if home visits would be allowed, if they would be willing to take you to church service on Sunday’s or commit to have a visit from family at least twice a week.  Who you would want to be in charge of finances, your personal effects, etc…  By simply having this conversation while you are in your right mind your brain may have a record of the updated conversation on the issue.  Because if we keep meditating on our past response on the issue, and our adamant opposition to it we will be less willing to concede to it if we are faced with the reality of our condition.  The leading cause of death in nursing homes are Alzheimer’s/Dementia.  Its a disease that’s vastly affecting lots of people and even with the best of care, at the root of the disease is what is left to live for when you remember nothing?  We stay connected primarily because of the people we are connected too.  When we lose that connection life cease to have much meaning to us, and thus for all intense and purposes we are alive, but dead, here but not.  This disease takes its victims while their bodies are still warm, but what accelerates dementia?  Or should I say can it be accelerated?  This may be the only foreseeable means by which you would be comfortable with living in a nursing home.  At this point I am not sure that you would necessarily be willing, but more appropriately less able to vocalize your complaint.  Which unfortunately also puts loved ones at a more vulnerable position, and requires family to be even more attentive towards that persons care for that reason.  Being willing to go to a nursing home is not the same as you actually being required to go to one.  But your willingness to go, and your preparation to go does assist your loved ones should one be required or needed.
  3. Be open minded.  If you are mentally closed off to the possibility then nowhere you go will be good enough.  Research requires that you do some investigating and there are a few things you should keep in mind when investigating.
    1. Make an impromptu visit to local facilities, and particularly on the weekend.  Healthcare is a business like any other so be wise, these places want your business even if they are filled with a waiting list.  In this industry people can be well one day and in the grave the next and just that quick a bed is available.  So recruitment is always fair game. By visiting during off hours you get a chance to see how the unpolished services flow, things like staff attentiveness, treatment of patients, availability of needed services, security, and you get to communicate with people whose check isn’t based on commission or job dependent on recruitment.
    2. Ask other people you know who have had to use these facilities what their experience was like.  If scouring the reviews on the internet is not reliable enough for you then ask your friends.  Chances are someone you know has had to use these facilities for someone or know someone who has.  They can tell you the pros and cons and can save you time and energy in checking these places out.
    3. Begin thinking in advance should the worse occur and your level of care requires more then your family could reasonably handle where you would want to go.  Knowing how bad it can get means it is important for you to know how well the facility meets the needs of its patients.  How clean and happy do the patients who are there look? What does it smell like?  Make sure that you are in the skilled nursing area, we have been to places where the rehab section smells good and looks gorgeous and then when you see the skilled nursing side it is scary and uninviting.  Be sure that if you do an impromptu tour that you are led to the area that would be your home should you be required to stay.
    4. Review all the options of care based on your level of health.  If you were in reasonably good health, such that your family could house you, but you were still fairly independent and know that this would not be something you would be comfortable with on a continuous basis, find out what independent living or assisted living homes would be within your budget and to your liking.  This would have to be an ongoing process. But make sure you journal your records and keep those who you care about updated as you make changes
    5. Write in Pencil.  As stated this industry changes rapidly so don’t get too comfortable and stay connected. Stay regularly aware of changes in management, rotating personnel of your top list contending facilities, these are things you should keep tabs on.  Thankfully, technology does allow for you to get e-mails from some of these places, I encourage you to get them and read them.  If the activities and news you hear doesn’t excite you now then chances are it wouldn’t be of interest to you if your health was impaired. Which means you have to keep that in mind when laying out before your family your desires.
    6. Don’t choose alone.  Its good to have someone to go with you for moral support as you make decisions as well as to think of the things you won’t.  It’s a different thing when you are shopping for yourself, even if it is just for the possibility.  Be able to articulate what you do and don’t like, consider it a buddy system thing, because again the person who is going with you might be looking for you, but by going they are also able to assess somethings for themselves as well.
    7. Top Contenders do a tour.  Those places you are really considering you should do a full tour.  Come again and get the tour of amenities, philosophy of the place, pricing, and options available.  Many of these tours include a meal.  This is very important, for many people the taste of the food can be a deal breaker so knowing how they rank in that arena also is important.

You don’t think about things like this until your faced with the situation and so it wasn’t until I was faced with the situation that I begin to analyze the fact that this can happen to anybody at any given moment and no one is exempt so we can’t afford to be dogmatic that we wouldn’t be willing to go to a nursing home especially if our loved ones are not in a position to care for us.  To the child who would like to take in that parent, but that parent doesn’t really want to stay with you either, or even if they did want to stay with you, your living situation wouldn’t accommodate it find a suitable compromise.  I believe at the heart of the issue with skilled nursing facilities is getting a good one, and indeed that is challenging.  You will have to make some compromises and if your parent’s memory is gone enough that they don’t know who they are or where they are then you may want to consider moving them into a facility near you or near a relative who would have the time it would take to visit them regularly, develop rapport with the staff and hold their feet to the fire.  Otherwise, if left with no one to visit there is no telling what condition your parent will be in when you do finally visit.  This is an area where micromanagement is needed. Also, depending on their level of care you may want to consider having them in a nursing home, but taking them home with you for weekend visits or short vacations.  Done regularly and consistently one can achieve the benefits of assisted quality care and spending quality time with their parent that when they were well was probably not spent.

Please be advised I am not bashing anyone who finds themselves between this rock and a hard place, because I am there with you.  I had to really pray to God and be at peace about the possibility of having to put my loved one in a skilled nursing facility.  The same questions I am posing I had to ask, should I bring them where I am or leave them where they are.  I wish I could tell you I had a definitive answer, but the answer is still in the making, but I can say that I have a peace now that should I need to place them in a facility, I can be okay with that decision.  You have to know your parent, know yourself, and know what is first in their best interest, and finally what is reasonably within your ability to do.  Just make sure that you do for your loved one what you would want someone to do for you.

We don’t know how we are going to leave this life the only thing we know is that we are going to leave it and so it behooves us to do a little bit of preparation for the unlikely but possible event that could cause us to live before we wake up, and that’s if we do.  There are loved ones who have outlived some of their children with Alzheimer’s, and many times the caregivers leave before the ones being cared for.  We invest in funeral insurance and life insurance policies but we don’t invest what is most important to invest in while you are still alive, in the event that we don’t peacefully die in our sleep before losing our minds or our health.  We don’t invest in spending time at nursing homes visiting those who have been put away, forgotten, never realizing that if it wasn’t for the grace of God we could be in the same situation, and as long as we are still living we don’t realize that there is no guarantee that this reality isn’t in our future.  I am not saying all of this to get you fixated on any of this, by all means I am not suggesting make this your life’s work searching out a place you can be placed in the event sickness strikes.  The greater message I hope to convey is while you are well, spend the time you have with the people you would want to spend time with if you were sick.

The greatest inheritance you can pass down to your kids is not houses, cars, or stocks and bonds, but the gift that keeps giving compassion, and love.  Trust me if you should find yourself in this situation there are going to be people who you will want to care for your loved ones as though they were their loved ones, and trust me money doesn’t guarantee the best service.  You can spend good money on someone caring for your parent and your parent be treated as subhuman, but it would be that person who gets paid the least, but loves your parent the most that will give you that priceless service.  These are the things that the American Dream can’t buy for you, only loyal family and friends, and love and favor from the Lord.

I am working on a book/documentary called “If I Should Live Before I Wake” if these articles are blessing you and you want to be kept aware, I encourage you to follow me and as the articles drop you will be notified.

High Security to Your Own Demise: The Side Effects of Behind the Times Banking

Had I known the challenges that awaited us in banking with a company who has chosen to be left behind in the dark ages.   I know for many especially the elderly it is comforting banking with smaller banks that have chosen NOT to crossover to the more technologically advanced systems we have today.  There is a blatant distrust of the security of all these fancy high tech options that are now available at our fingertips, and the ability to have that hospitality of the good ole days and that constant contact with that family feel of banking in person, well it is nostalgic, and definitely provides a more personal touch and can make for a more high security atmosphere, at least one would think.  However, with most things in life for every pro there are considerable cons and if you are prone to sickness which tends to be par for the course with the loveliness of aging this antiquated way of handling business can become a serious crutch.

The first thing I would like to point out is if you are aging, and especially if your children or the one who you would entrust to make decisions concerning your welfare in the event of an unexpected illness should occur I would recommend you get a joint account.  This should be done no matter who you bank with.  One sure way for things to go aerie with your credit, your possessions, and potential trouble with the IRS is to be in a situation where no one can access your cash.  However, I will say that if the unexpected sickness occurs and your recovery takes longer then a month’s billing cycle then you can put your family in a very compromising position and these out of date banks can add strain to an already strenuous situation for those responsible for handling business in your absence.   Bottomline, no matter how sweet and courteous your local banker can be, make no mistake they are going to abide by the established bank guidelines and regulations set up by their employers and unfortunately that could mean that if family doesn’t have the discretionary income to cover your short fall that you are going to be in serious trouble with a lot of people and may even find yourself if the illness prolongs beyond expected in a situation where you could be homeless.  Having said that there are several things that my experience in this situation has caused me to consider and questions you would be wise to ask your banker if they provide.

  • What does a joint bank account give my joint account holder access too?
  • If I do not have an ATM card or debit card, and I become too ill to come into the bank myself can my joint account holder apply for an ATM card on my account to access money for me?
  • What type of legal documentation would be acceptable for conducting business concerning my account and what type of changes would this documentation provide for them?

Most of us would like to think that we will always have our wits about us, but the reality is this is not a guarantee.  Read the statistics yourself to see what can happen in your future.  Look at your own genetic history and uncover the incidences of diseases that affect mental health in your family.  The more extensive that is the more prone or susceptible you are to suffering from similar diseases of the same kind.  Unfortunately, we don’t take time to think about these things and when tragedy strikes it is too late to retro-activate anything and believe me the strain of a financial burden on your loved ones who already have to cope with the emotional and mental stress of your health situation makes a bad situation desperate.

Other important options that your bank need to offer is online access.  Of course this would be archaic if such a bank existed and didn’t offer it, but beyond that there are a few things that any potential bank should give you access too..

  • Bill pay options – This option should allow for you to pay people directly as well as set up accounts for monthly service payments. Make sure autopay is also available, again, a loved one shouldn’t have to be caught between caring for their loved one and remembering to pay your bills on time.  Auto access alleviates that for them.
  • Mobile access – We live in a society where we are constantly on the move. Having access on a mobile phone means that I am not bound by buildings, nor have to be home to handle affairs quickly and promptly for you.  Making things easier on the caregiver means that they have more time to focus on what is most pressing, your care.  Mobile access also means that any checks that must come to your caregiver who may not live where you do can make it possible for them to deposit cash in your account remotely, and quickly.  Mobile deposits for many banks show up the same day you deposit it.

Finally, I realize living in a global society that identity theft and hacking is a real serious threat to our financial security and our piece of mind.  However, I would encourage you not to fear using these avenues, but instead educate yourself in learning how to safely use these tools.  Remember, there is no bank that does not use the internet as a tool to access your account information.  If they can find a safe way of protecting your identity while accessing your information online, certainly so can you.  These are just a few tips  from a series of information I will be providing for those who are interested in having the conversation we need to have on preparing for our golden years.  This article is part of a section that will be in a book, and perhaps at some point a documentary called, “If I should live before I wake.”

A Message of Encouragement for the Troubled Marriage

Ladies I love my husband he is truly a man of God.  But there is a place in me that is only reserved for God and we benefit greatly from it being there.  If any men are catching wind to this conversation, trust me my husband feels the same way about me.  I am a living witness that connection with the Almighty on a consistent basis for the right purpose made a tremendous difference in our relationship.  God strengthened and renewed our marriage even when I didn’t petition him for it.  It was in essence a side effect of my direct attempt to get closer to YHVH.  He healed wounds in me from past hurts, and gave me love through my husband that I always longed for, but my effort could never produce.  However, take note I said this was a side effect, meaning I wasn’t seeking Him for this, I was seeking Him for Him, and as I sought to be in closer relationship with Him, He brought me closer to my husband and in turn my husband closer to me.  But if we give that place that is reserved in us for him to our spouses then we set ourselves up for the devastation that comes upon many people who have awaken one day without their spouse.  Only God is without beginning or end, has been before we existed and will be after we are gone.  We live in mortal bodies, that we have little say so on when the ticker called our heart will stop ticking, thus the instruction for us is to be happy in knowing that He is our God.  He is real, and He loves us. (Psa. 144:15)

A marriage made in heaven, but secured on earth.  For those who have the testimony of never disagreeing with their spouse, and the fulfillment of happily ever after you won’t be able to relate to what I have to say.  Except for the difficulty of losing that person through death if you haven’t made YeHoshua your first love.  But for those of us who had to experience the growing pains of two distinct people with different personalities fusing together to submit to one will this can be terribly uncomfortable.  Especially when that one will is not the will of God. I know it may seem like this is a message directed at those who are in the world without God. But it’s not, with a growing rate just about equal with the world, believers are heading to the courthouse for divorce as fast as non-believers, it is not a coincidence that we are suffering from the same or similar problems as those who are in the world.  Husbands complain about wives not submitting to them, while at the same time they as husbands are not submitted to God.  Wives complaining about husbands not walking in love towards them, while at the same time demeaning and disrespecting their husbands.

We must have order in more than just the court, we need to have order in our homes and the lack of such order is the primary cause for abuses that occur.  Verbal abuse has given way to marital infidelity, but this doesn’t have to be the case.  If we would just put our trust in the Lord and commit to making him our husband we will find a peace that one cannot get from a sexual encounter or a host of flowery words.  We also will find lasting fulfillment that death can’t take away.  If you are in a marriage where verbal, and physical abuse is the norm and adultery is the rule I am not counseling you to go or to stay.  What I am saying is before you make another decision stop, breathe, and commit time in prayer.  Not just to save your marriage, but to gain God’s perspective for your marriage.  Find out what He wants you to learn from this experience, gain his counsel and his vision for the reason he brought you two together.

If you are questioning whether or not God brought you to your spouse, well that is another circumstance altogether, but even in that situation His counsel is recommended because while you are looking at your hurt, your disappointment, your sacrifice, he is looking at a lost soul, or a failed reflection of His image.  See marriage isn’t about you or the person you are married to, it is about God’s image being visualized in the union of male and female coming together as one and producing Godly seed.  This Godly seed is produced whether or not you birth any natural children at all, because your love for one another translates into a healthy picture for the world to see, and experience the Messiah Yehoshua (Jesus the Christ) love for his bride.  This in turn gives birth to healthy imitations rather then distorted mutations of the truth.

Let’s face it we come to him as a less then perfect bride that in the end will be presented to him without spot, or wrinkle or any such thing. (Eph. 5:27)  Read a verse before 27 and you will find that she doesn’t start out without spot or wrinkle, but she starts out requiring cleansing, which he does with his word if we have ears to hear it.

This is what prayer is about, not about just what you have to say, but also what Yah has to say.  It puts you in a position to hear from God, especially if done for the pure desire of being in relationship with him.  This is key, if the only reason you petition God is to get you out of a jam this is no different for him then the way we feel when our kids only call us when they are in trouble.  Children who we only hear from when they need something cause us to always be on edge when they call, expecting for the ball to drop.  Because we know them we most of the time already know what the problem is before they even spill it.  We already brace ourselves for what the call will cost us and in many cases have already set the money aside knowing that there would be a need.  This is not how it should be done in the kingdom of God.  We should not only desire to be in the presence of God when we are in need of something and if this is the relationship we have established it should be no small wonder that we have a shallow relationship with God.  The way we feel about our children who only call when they need something is the way he feels about us when we only call when we need something.  But the more significant loss is on our part.

We serve an awesome God and that is not just rhetoric, but reality we miss out on being blessed just for being tuned in with him that is far beyond just meeting our needs whatever they may be.  Get to know Yah, make sure that you are letting him in that space placed within you that only He can fill.  When you recognize how precious you are to Him, no one can make you feel less then that and you’ll begin to see the truth concerning anyone who would try.  Your marriage is a reflection of your relationship with the Lord be it good or bad, so before you make a decision to leave it, be sure to seek the One who joined you to your spouse.  Don’t allow yourself to be the one who put asunder what Yah has joined together.



Happily Ever After

wedding-322034_1920There is a reason why the phrase “happily ever after” appears on fairy tales and not in wedding vows.  Yet, many who are married seem to think that somewhere in the fine print there is an understanding that another person is to be responsible for our happiness.  Having no scripture, no vow to substantiate the validity of that request means that its neither a requirement of our spouse to accommodate that request nor is it our responsibility to fulfill that for anyone else.  Happiness is a state of being that is predicated on our relationship with the Creator.

Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.  (Psa 144:15)

Another reason why we may find ourselves in a state of unhappiness may be because we are not keeping the laws of God.  According to the bible there are forty two verses where the word “happy” and sometimes translated “blessed” (strongs number H835) appears and only two conclude a form of happiness based on what another human being can provide and in that context it was related to having a child which was a response of a person not a command of the Almighty. (Gen. 30:13)  Another such scripture that eludes to happiness being directed towards an individual is once again based on children not the responsibility of a spouse. (Psa. 127)   The majority of the scriptures on this topic falls under three primary categories:

  • Those who keep the laws of God,
  • Those who seek after wisdom and understanding,
  • Those who suffer for righteousness sake

Many of us make happiness a requirement of another individual as though it is a commandment when in actuality if we keep the commandments of YHVH, God is stating to us that we would be happy.  Have we tested him in this?  Are we keeping the commandments of the Almighty?  This notion or expectation of someone or something else to bring me happiness is a tall order that is guaranteed to lead to a let down.  A lot of my unhappiness in other words was self induced because I had a wrong perspective concerning happiness and who was responsible for providing that to me.

There are laws that God established concerning the duties of a wife to a husband as well as the duties of a husband to a wife.  While we can have all the reasons in the world for being remiss in fulfilling those duties, no excuse will hold up in Yah’s court when we come before him.  So for this reason I am happy as the scripture states I would be for accepting the correction of the Almighty.  (Job 5:17)  Correcting poor behavior or habits obviously doesn’t happen over night, but the happiness I feel is like the relief you feel when you confirm the diagnosis of an unnamed sickness.  I don’t know if you ever had something wrong in your body and no one could tell you what it was.  You’ve been to doctors and they can’t tell you, you’ve prayed about it, and you still didn’t get an answer.  Not knowing what is wrong can be just as bad as figuring out what you got, and just as deadly.  The idea that what you are experiencing is all in your head and not real can lead to self doubt and make you feel like you are going insane.  Putting a name to it somehow brings about a strange feeling of calmness that comforts you.  Because now you can begin to address the problem, since it has a name.  We know that God’s name is above every name that is named. (Eph. 1:21)  But it’s hard to pray for a disease that has no name, it feels like beating the air or fighting the wind.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. (Eph 5:22-30)

Many women become unglued with verse 22, but the bottom line is if this scripture didn’t end with, “as unto the Lord”, then I could see how this could be problematic.  We know that the Lord would never ask us to do something that is against his word, and therefore if we understand that our submission is not just to a man, but to YAH, man is fallible and as such we are not expected to obey  ANY MAN that would command us to commit a sin.  Submission is a heart attitude concerning authority, and through our submission in marriage we are able to reverse the Eve effect that exists in society.

We also see that he doesn’t make a condition that if your husband loves you, as Christ loved the church only then are you to submit to him.  The same way he doesn’t make a commitment to husbands that they are to love you, only if you submit to them.  Every individual is responsible for their role in the relationship and praise Yah that he is just and won’t judge us by others action, nor judge others by ours.  Each individual will be judged by their own actions.  Which brings me again back to why I am so happy.  Because it was the word that stated, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”(1Co 11:31)

In my actions I lived as though the principle of reciprocity was to govern my actions with my husband rather then the principles of scripture which is not depended or dictated on how another treats you, whether wrong or perceived wrong, but rather on your personal relationship with YHVH through his son YeHosHua the Maschiach.  If YeHoshua waited on His bride to rise to the fullness of His expectation of her to be obedient to Him in everything before he loved us, where would we be?  As scripture put it, we love him because he first loved us. (1 Jn 4:19)  He initiated the love and boy am I grateful.  This is where our happiness should lie.  People will mess up, Yehoshua knows this, which is why there is no scripture that tells us to trust man, any reference to trust in the bible is in relationship to God, but never to man.  We can trust God in man, but not man alone.  My confrontation on this topic was liken to a diagnosis of a problem that was causing me much grief in my own relationship, and though I still have not arrived, I am thankful to find my way back on the track, and praise God that my Happily Ever After is not dependent on humanity, but is found securely in Him.