National Caregivers Month

November is National Caregivers Month. I truly believe caregivers should be celebrated everyday.

For the last 17.5 years, my beautiful bride has been my caregiver. She has made a lot of sacrifices during that time. Besides being my caregiver, she has been my health advocate, chauffeur and cheerleader. I definitely could add more titles to the list. Laura has taken on each of these roles without complaining. This crazy beautiful journey has been tough on her, but she has handled it like the champion she is. I never take her love, support and sacrifice for granted. I do my best to celebrate her whenever I can. I also try my best to make sure she takes care of herself.

Too many caregivers are forgotten during the health journey of a loved one. Everyone is quick to asked about the patient, but we can never forget about the caregivers. They are the real heroes. Caregivers continuously make sacrifices that nobody notices. They sometimes put their life on hold to take care of a loved one. Most do it without complaining. So many caregivers walk this journey alone. Most would never asked for help. So many caregivers get lost in the journey.

That is why I wanted my bride to share her part of the story in our book The Blessed Overcomer. I wanted caregivers to know they mattered. That they are not forgotten. Laura’s story needed to be told.

I pray if you know a caregiver, you will not forget about them. I believe their job is much harder than the patients. There is no playbook on how to be a caregiver. Here are a few things we can do to help out a caregiver:

Check on them. Reach out to a caregiver and see how they are doing. Let them know they matter.

Give them a break. Asked if you can sit with the patient. This is huge! Most caregivers will not asked for a break, but it is so important for their wellbeing to have those breaks.

Volunteer to drive the patient to appointments. Based on my health issues, I am no longer able to drive. Friends from our church have taken it upon themselves to create a ride schedule to take me to my many medical appointments. This has been a huge blessing for Laura and I.

These are just a few helpful things you can do to help out a caregiver. They may seem small, but can be life changing. So if you know a caregiver, take the time to see how you can help them navigate their crazy beautiful journey. ~OC

A Must Read

Good morning everyone. I encourage everyone to read this book. I have been praying for Mrs. Long’s story for years. Cyntoia does a beautiful job sharing her incredible story with the audience. Make sure you add it to your reading list. ~OC

I Am Wrecked

I am currently reading the book Something Needs To Change by David Platt. He is the pastor/author who brought us the incredible book Radical several years ago.

Something Needs To Change is Authentic, Raw, Challenging and Real. Pastor Platt’s book will move you to your core. I have never read a book like this before. My emotions are being moved deeply. God is opening my eyes and your heart in a new way. I know my walk with Jesus will never be the same. And guys, I am only a few chapters into the book. I cannot imagine what I am going to be like after finishing this amazing book.

If you decide to read this book, you might just encounter God in a new way. I pray as we read this book our compassion will be transformed into action. I pray you will be as wrecked as I am. ~OC

Another Blessing In The Road

Over the years when I have faced another medical trial, I have stated “It’s just another bump in the road.” Yesterday, God changed my mindset. He shared with me that instead of looking at my current situation as another bump in the road, I should instead look at my health challenges as another blessing in the road. Pretty mind blowing. I also believe it could be a life changing way of looking at our circumstances. With every “Bump in the Road” has come a blessing. Let me share some examples.

*A Missionary. During my crazy beautiful health journey, God has allowed me to become a missionary at doctors appointments and hospital stays. God has blessed me with the incredible opportunity to encourage others during those visits.

*My Voice. Based on my health issues, I have lost my physical voice. I speak with a whisper these days. I use a voice amplifier to help me speak. But during this time, God has blessed me with the opportunity to speak out loudly against human trafficking, racism and other important issues.

*Listen. During this crazy beautiful journey, God has helped me become a better listener. I always thought I was a good listener until I got sick. It was then that I realized, I tended to listen so I could respond. So I could fix things. During this journey, God has blessed me with the incredible opportunity to just listen. Not to be the fixer. Not to share my opinion. Just to listen.

*Extra Weight. When I got sick again in 2009, I was prescribed the highest dose of prednisone (a steroid), that you can take. I put on a ton of weight in a short period of time. I went from my running weight of 150 to over 200 pounds in less than six months. All the weight went straight to my stomach. Based on the fact I could no longer run or exercise, it was difficult to take weight off. It was very frustrating. Then in 2014, I started losing my appetite. Then from the middle of 2016 to the first of 2017, I lost 90 pounds. Yes, you read that correctly. 90 pounds! That is when I had my feeding tube inserted. That extra weight saved my life. A bump in the road turned into a life saving blessing in the road.

*A Book. In March of this year, my memoir The Blessed Overcomer was published. If not for this “bump in the road”, I would have never written a book. You can find my book on Amazon or you can contact me about getting a signed copy. A little shameless plug.

*This Blog. Once again, if not for this crazy beautiful health journey there is no blog. I do not have a huge following and probably never will, but that was never the point. I am thankful for everyone who drops by and checks out my blog. Writing my thoughts down has been very cathartic. A wonderful blessing.

As I reflect on my crazy beautiful health journey, I have so many Blessings In The Road moments. It took God changing my mindset to realize this amazing truth. ~OC

Love This Photo

I love this photo a dear friend sent me. I am thankful for the amazing people God has surrounded me with during this crazy beautiful journey. ~OC

I Speak For Free

Since our book The Blessed Overcomer came out this past March, Laura and I have been fielding inquiries about speaking engagements. It has been exciting to share our story with an audience. I always love the interaction with a live audience.

Of course one of the first questions I get about speaking is how much do you charge? People are amazed when I tell them we do not charge for our speaking engagements. After they recover from the shock, I share that our story is really not our story. It belongs to God. Laura and I do not feel the need to charge at this time. If God tells us we need to charge for our speaking engagements at some point we will, but I do not ever see that happening. The only thing we will charge for is transportation and lodging if we have to travel. Oh and our book (I usually give away more than I sell).

So, if you or your organization is interested in hearing about our story of overcoming the storms of life, perseverance and embracing this crazy beautiful journey, feel free to contact me. Laura and I would be honored to share at your next event. ~OC

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