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"Writer's Write" - lessons from an award-winning Father of son with Down Syndrome.

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
October 12, 2019 9:00 am

"Writer's Write" - lessons from an award-winning Father of son with Down Syndrome.

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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October 12, 2019 9:00 am

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and my long time friends Greg and Aaron Tornquist called the show on Sirius XM Family Talk 131 to discuss their journey. Aaron (41) has down syndrome, is a serious bowler, works, and is an Elvis Tribute Artist.  

His father, Greg, has a lengthy music/performance history and his new project, Mississippi The Musical. (it just won "Best of the Fest" in the New York Musical Festival. 

https://www.mississippithemusical.com/

Greg beautifully models a creative life as a caregiver and shares about his journey as a single dad with Aaron. 

Also in the show, another Nashville writer , Lisa Dale Daniels, calls in to share her journey in caring for her famous songwriter mother ...and learning to carve out her own identity as a writer. 

Writers Write ...Even While Caregiving. Especially while caregiving. 

The show is the family caregiver outreach of Standing With Hope.

 

 

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Call 866-WIN-ASIA or to see chickens and other animals to donate, go to crittercampaign.org. Live on Sirius XM Family Talk 131, this is the nation's number one show for the family caregiver. I am Peter Rosenberger.

I am glad to have you with us. This show is designed, built exclusively for those of you who are putting yourself between a vulnerable loved one and even worse disaster. That could be somebody who is aging, somebody who is dealing with special needs, trauma, somebody who's dealing with a mental illness, somebody who is an alcoholic or an addict. Those are chronic impairments.

Whatever the impairment, if there's a chronic impairment, there's a caregiver. How are you doing? This is the show for you. And we are glad that you're with us. 877-655-6755.

877-655-6755 if you want to be a part of the show. And we'd love to have you with us. We'll take whatever's on your mind. We have topics that we'll deal with.

But if you've got something that is just pressing on you that you're struggling with or whatever, you know what? We'll bring everything to a screeching halt and deal with whatever's on your mind. Speaking of screeching halt, he is the Baron of the Board, the Sultan of Sound, the Earl of Engineering, the man who put the word care into care to leave a tip, sir.

He is John Butler, the Count of Mighty Disco, everyone. I do care to leave a tip. I mean, we're going to have a caregiver tip of the day later on. That's a new one. Yeah, there you go.

I like it. Listen, I've worked on these things all week long for you. I realize how much of your considerable mental abilities you devote towards this. And I'm truly grateful. Considerable mental abilities, says no one ever.

Yeah, let's say they're remarkable in that I can remark on them all you want. Well, John, are you feeling well? I am feeling fantastic. I was a little bit ill in the days leading up to this, but the powers of green tea and honey have brought me back from the dead. Well, that's good because we have things to do here, John. It's hard to do that with a dead co-host. And, you know, weekend at Bernie's, weekend at John's, I don't know.

No, it doesn't work like that. No, it's been, we finally had a cold front come through Nashville. I hear it's quite chilly up there, but we finally, we've been in the 90s for the past two weeks solid. Well, I hear it's July 71st.

It is July 71st being a quadruple leap year. We're going to be nine degrees here Wednesday night. Because you are, of course, in Montana. Ed is in Dallas. Ed, stick your snout in here. Yes, sir. We'd just like to make sure you're with us and people know that you're there, Ed. It's 97 degrees in Dallas. I'm so sorry.

You poor fool. Well, when you guys are nice and comfortable on Wednesday night, we'll be cuddled at nine degrees and snow. So anyway, well, listen, this is the show for the family cochlea- Well, that's your window into how we do things here. I was just saying, yeah, that's your window into what we're doing here. We want, and we want you all to enjoy the show.

This is your time, and John and I will banter back about a lot of different things. But ultimately, everything we do here is for the family caregiver, just to give you a respite, just to give you a place where you can hang your hat and catch your breath a little bit. Take a knee if you have to. And it's, I speak fluent caregiver here. And there's 65 million people out there putting themselves between a vulnerable loved one and even worse disaster every day in this country. We're interested in helping you stay strong and healthy. That's what this is all about and helping you find your way through this. You don't have to wait for it to end for you to be healthy, happier, even calmer through this. You don't have to get this off of you for you to live a better quality of life. You can live a better quality of life while you're doing this.

And we're going to spend some time talking about that today. One of the things we always have is our caregiver tip of the day. Our caregiver tip of the day will, it's a little bit different today, John, but it is find something you love and do it while being a caregiver. Now, some of you say, well, I love being a caregiver. Well, yeah, I get that. OK, that novelty is going to wear off after a couple of decades. Well, even in those couple of decades, you're still doing it because you have some sort of love for it. But that's not what we're talking about. This is something, this is extracurriculars. Right.

Find something you love, that you love to do. In my case, I love music. And John, you like music, but you like calligraphy, too. I do.

Thank you. And you have, John, I'm not talking about just, he likes to just kind of write, sign his name, you know, like practicing autographs. I mean, he has all kinds of nibs and you collect antique ones, too, don't you? I do. Well, we talk about the flea market a lot here. The flea market is a strange and magical place. He's got a set of Klingon nibs.

Yeah, exactly. They're fantastic. If you're writing an opera, there's really no substitute Klingon nibs. There's something really wrong with you.

No, but there's a lot of things. You gave me something wonderful once, and that was my favorite psalm. It was a play skillfully. Play skillfully, psalm 33, which, by the way, our guest today, that's something that wouldn't register.

But, you know, music, of course, music, you and I both love music. I got to play yesterday. I was asked to play for a funeral out here for a longtime cowboy.

He's 89 years old, and he had been in this valley here for a lifetime. And a local rancher, and the family asked me to play. And I accompanied a young lady who sang for it, and she was wonderful.

She's just a really wonderful young singer. And her parents had asked me if I would play, and we did. It was kind of a Western song that the family wanted to hear, and we kind of slowed it down and did it real nice. And at the very end of it, because at the front of the church, and I'm broadcasting from the church now temporarily where I serve as a music minister here in southwest Montana. And they had, at the church, they had a saddle and his hat and his boots and his belt buckle. I mean, his lariat, the whole thing was on display. And it was just really meaningful.

I mean, it was a part of Americana that we just were losing. But at the very end of the song, and I hit the tonic of the song, the main chord of the song, for those who don't know music that well. And I hit it, and I just kind of rolled up to the top of the keyboard, and then I went, Da, da, da, da, da, da. Happy trails to you. And I was, you know, but that's something that just energizes me is to participate in music. And I want as many caregivers as possible to really push yourself to find something you love doing, that you truly love doing, and do it. You don't have to go out and do it on a big stage or anything like that. It could be gardening, it could be writing a poem, something that just gets those creative beauty juices going. Yeah, and the thing that you enjoy, you know, I generally liken this to creating something more than other things. Like gardening is a productive act, or calligraphy is a productive act. You're making a thing out of it, or music, and things like that. But it can be other things, too. It can be you like working at the soup kitchen, or whatever. But find a thing that you love that's outside of your normal thing. Yeah, that's away from caregiving.

And if you can't leave where you are, leave it, you know, somewhat emotionally, if you will. I mean, you know, like, you know, work in the garage and do some woodworking or something. Yeah, woodworking is the best. You're going to smell great. What is that? What is that cologne? It's maple. Sawdust. Sawdust by Fabergé. But anyway, listen.

Brazilian rosewood. Well, I've got two very special guests on the show. Right on. And these are long-time friends of mine.

I was going to say favorites of mine, as well. Well, and this is a very special one. This is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. And my friend, Greg Tornquist, and his son, Aaron Tornquist, are on the phone right now with us. And we're going to talk about this. And Aaron, are you there?

Yes, who is that? Well, I'm glad to hear from you. Greg, are you there? I am. Greg and Aaron are joining us. And Aaron is – Aaron, you're 40 years old now, aren't you?

No, I'm not. I'm 41 now. Forty-one. My mistake, Aaron. I'm sorry.

Forty-one years old. And you have down syndrome. And you live a very, very exciting life. And you are – tell us a little bit – one of the things that you love to do will surprise a lot of people. What is something you really love doing, Aaron?

All my life, I would stick with the things I've been doing. My Elvis stuff, I'm still doing. Now, when you say your Elvis stuff, you're not an Elvis imitator. You are an Elvis… Tribute artist. Tribute artist. And you have multiple Elvis costumes and outfits, right?

Yes, I do. Now, how did you get into being an Elvis tribute artist? Well, when I first started back in 1992, I was 15 years old. And my mom was working for a place called Yellow Rose Music. They brought a suit for me to wear that she took my picture with. Now, which suit was it?

It was the black, some kind of black strap, lightning bolt, gold, big buckle, and I was calling out a microphone. You've been in that whole Elvis tribute artist mode ever since. Yes. And you have multiple, multiple, multiple suits, correct? Yes. Yes, I do.

What's your favorite? I like the suit when Elvis wore it back in the 1950s and 1956. So, you're the older Elvis, I mean the young Elvis, way back when he was young, thin, and rock and roll. Yes, I am. So, you're not really into the capes and the rhinestones and the big collars much, are you? No, I still have that suit still, too.

I mean, you've got to have the whole outfit. Do you have the big sunglasses? Yes, I do.

I love it. All right, well, Greg, let me talk to, Aaron, if you don't mind, I'm going to talk to your dad for just a minute, okay? He's on the phone, too. Okay, well, Greg, how are you feeling?

Yes, I'm great. Let me ask you a couple questions. Our caregiver tip of the day was about finding something you love to do. You don't have to wait to stop being a caregiver.

You do it while you're being a caregiver. Well, and John just quoted his favorite verse that I gave him, which was Psalm 33. Finish it up for me, Greg. Psalm 33 is, sing to the Lord a new song, play skillfully, and shout for joy. Well, and see, John loves that verse, but you actually have, I think, a publishing company about that. That's a big, important verse to you, and you kind of pressed that onto me many, many years ago to really do this well and play skillfully. But you are a long-time musician. I mean, you were like a rock and roller in the 60s and all that kind of stuff, and you've maintained all of that through your journeys now as a single father with a son with Down syndrome, but you have not stopped creating. Tell us about your new project that you've got and the awards and so forth.

Well, you're right. I think the important one, the thing that jumps out of Psalm 33 to me is sing a new song. Not that we're not supposed to love the golden oldies, but, you know, new songs mean fresh love and keeping it daily, a daily relationship with the Lord.

But the new project I'm working on is actually something I've been working on for over a decade. It's called Mississippi the Musical. It's a full two-hour dance and song musical, and we participated with the New York Musical Festival this summer. In July we won the New York Musical Festival, the Best of Fest. And now we're looking at other opportunities that will hopefully lead us eventually to Broadway. And I support the idea of caregivers following their own unique passions because you can't just let your life be subsumed by the person you're giving care to.

You also have to maintain your own sanity and your own passions and your own love. And for me, that love is writing, and that's now expressed in the musical, Mississippi the Musical. Well, and this thing won Best of the Fest in New York.

That's right. I mean, that's amazing. And you've been writing for a long time, and you've written a lot of songs, and you and I have written together. But you didn't set out to write Best of the Fest in New York. You just set out to keep writing and keep writing and keep writing.

And I think here it is. You've been serving as a caregiver for a long time. I mean, Aaron is your son, and you guys have a fabulous relationship and all that. But you've kept that uniqueness of who you are musically throughout this entire journey. If I lost myself in this process of being a caregiver, then I wouldn't really have much to offer Aaron. It's sort of like when you're flying on a plane, they say put on your mask for oxygen before you put on your children's mask.

It seems counterproductive, but it's the only way it really works. And for me, that passion has always been writing various kinds of music and stories, and I'm working on a play as well. So, yeah, writing is – I'm a writer. Writers write. People are always asking, how do I get started writing? I say, write something. You know, just write. If you're a writer, you will write. And I've been writing for decades now and have had success in a lot of different genres. So I'm very fortunate, feel very fortunate to have found something that I can do for my entire life. Well, I remember years ago, something you did really stuck with me.

It's going to sound kind of odd, but to me it made a big impact. And it was after church, and you had been leading music, and you were restringing your guitar. And you looked at me and you said, this is something I treat myself to, to be able to do new strings on my guitar and to spend that kind of time with my instrument after church and so forth.

It's just kind of your thing. I don't know, do you even remember saying that? No. But I guess my point was, I'm serving in that capacity, then for me, my reward will be the music itself, which for me at the time was the guitar.

Yeah. Well, that always stuck with me. And this is something you did. I do this for me. It helps me become a better musician. It helps me better organize my thoughts. And as a caregiver, it's important for us to take those moments. We don't need to simply put our life on hold.

And I see this with too many people. They'll say, well, we'll just wait till such and such, either mom gets better or goes on to be with Jesus or whatever, and then we'll get on with our lives. And particularly I think with special needs children, you have to carve out a life, period, no matter what's going on. And you've kind of helped model that for me over the many, many years. You also said something about just how your life has changed in your understanding of life and music and everything else and your relationship with Aaron.

Talk about that a little bit more. Well, with Aaron, where to start, when Aaron was born 41 years ago, it was common for hospitals to suggest to the parents not to even take the children home, because the life expectancy for Aaron when he was born was 25. Now the life expectancy for Down syndrome in the United States is 60.

And that remarkable change is because parents didn't go with the doctor's advice of just turning their babies or infants over to the state where they would slowly expire. But with Aaron now, it's a marathon. He's surprising us with how well he's doing, not only with Elvis tribute artists, but when he's a bowler, he won Special Olympics bowling here in Tennessee last year. His high game was 233. For those of you who know bowling, that's hard to do. That's about like my golf game.

I'm happy if I crack 100, man. That's great. And he works. He works as a busboy in a nearby pizza place called bricks, and works during the lunch hour there Monday through Friday is excelling at that. He's had the same relationship with his girlfriend for 25 years.

She's also a woman with Down syndrome, and they have been technically engaged for about 10 years. But there's so yes he does have a full life. A lot of people listening may have be caring for folks whether the person they're caring for does not have a full life and my heart goes out to them, even still. And it's important for the caregiver himself or herself to take care of themselves, because if you just put everything into the one and deny yourself and then they're going to need, they're going to require something down the road that you won't be able to use, you're exhausted because you didn't take care of yourself so I just encourage everyone who's giving care to also take time for themselves. It's not being selfish.

It's being smart. Aaron, let me ask you a question. When your dad won this award at the New York. Best of Fest this film fest I mean this this festival he was a musical, you know, how did that, how did that make you feel. I'm so happy for him. I've been praying for almost. This is yeah he's been working on this for some time and do you feel like he's got more musicals in him to write.

Yeah. He's a very good writer, and I know you're. I know you're proud of him and, you know, Greg I gotta tell you I mean here you are you've been writing a long time and to get when you told me about this award and I thought, I mean that is really something I mean you I don't know what 30 years, and more than more than 30 years, you were, you were there when I walked out with our son Parker who's 31 now, I walked out carrying it but you were right there as I came out the door I was holding Parker to show, and you you were standing right there, and you looked at me you said, what you got there Peter. You know we've known each other a long time and you're writing and you know you've had in the back of your mind, certain things you're writing and so forth but to do this and I think it just says it models so much for fellow caregivers that you know what you just keep doing it like you said writers right you keep doing it you keep writing you expand yourself you push yourself musically. And I'm not going to tell people how old you are but you've been doing this for a while. And here you are you're still achieving you're still, you're still breaking new ground for yourself. Yeah, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm 71 years old. I never expected that it.

I've been retired for 12 or 13 years, but not from right, and I didn't expect this to happen but it did. And now we're now like there's actors in New York and producer and a director and a musical director and stage managers and other people in my life. And it's a blessing for me. I mean, I enjoyed participating in the New York musical festival, and it was great that we won. Well, that is the reason that is not the reason that I was writing it and, and without it, even if it regardless if we want or not I would still be working on it. It's like you said, not to win a New York musical festival my goal is to have the show on stage. And so people can get the message of the show and the message of the show basically is, even though it said in 1959 in racist, Mississippi debate, the, the theme of the show is get her, we can make a difference and love is supreme.

Love has to be the way, love has to be. You know, this, I love that and if people wanted to find out more about the show, how would they do it. Well, they just Google Miss.

Yeah, you can just Google Mississippi, the musical, all one word, and a very elaborate website comes up with all kinds of stuff on it. And I'll link to it on this podcast. How about that. Well, that would be wonderful. Well, listen, we got to go, Aaron.

Yeah. Thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your dad with us. You're welcome. We appreciate it.

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month and Greg Tarnquist and his son Aaron joining us to talk a little bit about that. Don't go away. We'll be right back. 877-655-6755. This is Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger.

We'll be right back. Have you ever struggled to trust God when lousy things happen to you? I'm Gracie Rosenberger, and in 1983, I experienced a horrific car accident leading to 80 surgeries and both legs amputated. I questioned why God allowed something so brutal to happen to me.

But over time, my questions changed and I discovered courage to trust God. That understanding, along with an appreciation for quality prosthetic limbs, led me to establish Standing with Hope. For more than a dozen years, we've been working with the government of Ghana and West Africa, equipping and training local workers to build and maintain quality prosthetic limbs for their own people. On a regular basis, we purchase and ship equipment and supplies.

And with the help of inmates in a Tennessee prison, we also recycle parts from donated limbs. All of this is to point others to Christ, the source of my hope and strength. Please visit standingwithhope.com to learn more and participate in lifting others up. That's standingwithhope.com.

I'm Gracie, and I am standing with hope. How do you feel? Is your body sluggish? How about your mind? What about sleeping? Is that difficult for you? When you had your last physical, what did you learn about your health?

Should you lose weight? If you're like so many caregivers, those are hard questions. You didn't get here overnight and you won't change it overnight. But there are steps you can take starting today. Find more information at ahealthierlifeforyou.com.

That's ahealthierlifeforyou.com. I'm alive, lift up my voice above the chaos and the noise. Cause I'm a hope, I miss the pain. I shout this song against the rain.

Rejoice evermore. Welcome back to the show For Caregivers About Caregivers hosted by a caregiver. I am Peter Rosenberger. This is the nation's number one show for the family caregiver. We are so glad to have you with us. If you want to be a part of the show, 877-655-6755.

We'll try to get to some calls a little bit later here. John, I love that with Greg calling in and just that he's had this musical that he's done that went best over there in New York. I mean it's not like it was best in Sheboygan. I mean it was best in New York.

Nothing is wrong with the Sheboygan. We don't want any angry letters. I got to answer every one of those. You know that right? That's your official job. I think that's what we want caregivers to understand is that you can indeed have a meaningful life and activities that you pursue. That have deep personal value to you even while serving as a caregiver. You do not have to wait to stop serving as a caregiver before that happens. Not only that, these things are necessary. They are necessary. You can have a full and rich life. But not only can you, you should have a full and rich life outside of being a caregiver. Well it's like your life is a Venn diagram and there's bits of it that are for being a caregiver but there's more to it than just that. That might not be the best metaphor but you know there it is. How do you spell Venn diagram?

V-E-N-N space. Look, all right. If you're going to mess with me. And I am. Oh then please go ahead. Just go ahead.

It's what I do. No, I think you're right and we've talked about this for many years. It's not something that is, it really is a luxury.

We think of it as such and so therefore we put it off. But I say to you that you'll be better as a caregiver when your heart's in a better place. It's like Greg said, he has more to offer Aaron now because he is in a better place himself.

Professionally, musically, spiritually, physically, financially. All those things work together for us. Yeah, it's not the zero sum game where you're taking away from one so you can give it to another and nothing is gained from that. You can't just do all of one or all of the other and you have to find the proper balance of things that makes everything work as greater than the sum of its parts. I agree. It's a roundabout way of saying it.

I agree. Well and this is what we want fellow caregivers to understand and this is why we do the show. And you find those things that really speak to your heart and do them. And if you don't, what you'll find is that the resentment will kick in.

And I learned a long time ago as a pianist that it's very hard to play a piano with clenched fists. And I struggled with the concept of this thing of somehow that I've got to have everything orderly in my life before I start doing things of beauty or value or whatever to me. Or sometimes I felt like I had to control those things and that was even worse for me as a caregiver. Is that because it's a false sense of control.

You cannot control these things. And I embarrassingly and cringingly look back at things that I was trying to just muscle to the ground. And I remember I was at a rodeo here this summer, John, and I watched one of the activities they had where the guys would rush out of the chute and then leap off a perfectly good running horse onto a running steer.

And they would wrestle it to the ground. Oh, okay. Okay. By the way, you got a lot of static on your end on that.

But I was – sorry about that, but I just thought you might want to know there, John. But I was watching these guys do this and they did. They leapt off of a perfectly good horse and they hurled themselves onto a erratic running steer that had horns. And I'm thinking, well, this is just – whereas I can understand the – sport was not the right word, but the challenge of it all, to be able to successfully do such a thing and get up without having broken bones. Yet I could not help but see the parallel in the life of a caregiver. And we caregivers tend to try to leap onto things and wrestle to the ground that we really don't need to be doing so because we're going to get hurt and we're going to hurt others. And that's part of our journey as caregivers is that we are – to learn what we need to back off of.

We don't have to muscle everything hardcore with us. And I was doing that and I thought, okay, I've got to go do this and then I've got to put this into containment so that I can go do this and this. And that whole I've got to, I've got to, I've got to versus I'm going to.

I'm going to do this. Like Greg said, he didn't set out to write an award-winning musical. He just wrote.

And I've heard that before in Nashville with many producers and so forth when they would say, you know, what do we do? How do I become a writer? Well, you write, you know, you write. And so it's – those are things that as caregivers find that thing that you do that really stirs in your heart and does what you're hoping will give you some oxygen into your soul. And you desperately need it. You desperately need it.

It's because if you don't, you're running on fumes and then how does that help you as a caregiver? You tracking with me? 877-655-6755. Hey, I do need to ask a favor. 877 – I've got to say this slower. John told me to say slower.

Slower. Oh, no. 877-655-6755. But I do need to ask you a favor before we get to the phones. I need some knees.

I need some knees. All right. Explain yourself, sir. Let me explain.

Explain yourself, sir. When Gracie gave up her legs after trying to save them for years after her horrible wreck back in 1983, she had this incredible vision to put prosthetic legs on her fellow amputees. And that's what she does. We do this through an organization called Standing With Hope that she founded. And what happens is we collect used prosthetic limbs from around the country. They go to a Tennessee prison run by our friends at CoreCivic. And CoreCivic, they have multiple facilities all around the country.

And this is one of their many faith-based programs. And inmates volunteer to be able to disassemble these legs in a special shop inside the prison. And what happens is that we can recycle virtually every part of the leg except the socket. That's where it's actually custom molded to that patient. But everything else can be recycled.

Pylons, screws, adapters, feet, connectors, and knees. And so if you know someone that has been an amputee for a while, they probably have got extra legs that they've grown out of that they don't use anymore. Or maybe you know somebody's in the funeral home business and families come to them all the time and they don't know what to do with it. Please don't let them bury those things.

Please don't let them, you know, throw them away. We can help somebody else walk. And what we'll do is we'll take those parts, send them over to West Africa, and then we will use them to build a brand new prosthetic leg for patients there who are waiting to walk. And we just need knees. Now, normally towards the end of the year, part of the last quarter, we get a lot of these legs and arms. We'll take arms too, but mostly legs that come in. But we're asking just for an extra push.

Okay? Standingwithhope.com. You can go out and see a little bit more. Share it on your social media pages, Twitter, Facebook, whatever, LinkedIn. Share it with people. Say, hey, look, this is something. Push this out because people don't know what to do with these devices after their loved one has passed away or maybe they've outgrown them or something.

Kids go through a lot of them. Gracie's been through a lot of legs in her 28 years as an amputee. And so those are things that we would really appreciate while you're there. And if you want to help be a part of the ministry, please, this is a good time to get involved with this tax-deductible gift. You can sponsor this radio show. You can sponsor a limb. You can sponsor resin. I know that doesn't sound very sexy to sponsor, but resin is a big part of what we do.

We have to buy this, and it's expensive, but that's how you make these sockets. So it's a great work that Gracie envisioned after she stepped into the world, if you'll pardon the pun, of being an amputee. And she's an extraordinary individual, and I'd love for you to read her story and hear her music and hear the things that she's done with it as well. All right. I'm going to do something I don't normally do, John. Stand by.

I'm going to take a call that I'm very uncertain about, but we're going to go for it. And Ed, you stand close by with that button. Do we know this person? I do know this person.

And I saw the notes on there, and I thought, okay, I do know this person. Lisa Dale, all right, what do you got? Go ahead, Lisa. We're all waiting. Hear me? Hear? It's funny.

We can hear you. Oh, okay. I just wanted to make sure, you see. My voice doesn't often carry well, I've noticed. Oh, it's carried very well.

I wasn't planning on doing Aunt Ruby because, you know, I don't want to embarrass you or anything. And thank you for that. And thank you for that.

Yeah. I just wanted you to know who it was. Now, a couple of things I- We have your picture up on the call screening software.

We know who it is. Oh, great. Anyway, Peter, first of all, we miss you in Nashville. I just like knowing you guys were nearby, really.

Well, we're sort of still close. Okay. Well, you've got to just let me know when you guys are in town. Please. Now, don't avoid me because I know you. Y'all need to let me know.

But I had a couple of comments, okay? For Greg, I wanted to say that I am really tickled that he has written this musical because years ago, he and Carol had written a Christmas musical, or it wasn't really a musical. It was like a program thing that we did at church. And there's a song on there called Was It a Night Like Tonight? I remember that song. You remember that?

I did. It was gorgeous. And I remember telling Greg, this sounds like it should be in a musical. And it really does. So the fact that he's doing that, that's kind of a full circle thing. I think it's wonderful.

And by the way, I turned this on kind of, you guys were already going. I immediately recognized Greg's voice. And I'm just thrilled for him. Well, he's done all of this as a single parent of a special needs child. And Aaron is now 41 years old. So this is not a short term issue.

I can't believe he's 41. Well, I know. And it's not a short term issue.

So I think what I hope this will be is inspiring to a lot of caregivers out there. You know what? The journey can be long. And it has not been easy for Greg or Aaron. But at the same time, he's still productive and creative and still doing stuff.

He's still punching through. Now, Aaron doesn't suffer the way some people suffer with things. Aaron tries to be a little bit more independent.

Like Greg said, he has a very full, rich life. But at the same time, these things weigh heavy on him that, you know, Greg is getting older and Aaron's getting older. And okay, what's going to happen next? You know, that kind of thing.

And who's going to be around. But at the same time, he lives life in the moment, not out in fear. And he does it. So anyway, but I jumped in there. But go ahead.

Keep going. Well, no, Aaron's always had an amazing capacity for love. And I used to watch him some when he was little. And I tell you what, a more caring child there could not be. But yes, it does have its challenges. And speaking personally for me, I was a caregiver for five or six years, the full-time caregiver for my mother, Naomi, and my stepfather, Gil. And she passed a little over two years ago.

He passed about a year and a half ago. But one of the things that I still hope that people will discuss and keep in the forefront are, you know, Greg was talking about how you do keep that balance. I found it really difficult to be creative when I was in the midst of caring for them. And finding that balance is easier said than done sometimes depending on the personality types of those for whom we care, you know. And for others that are out there in a similar situation perhaps, where can folks go and who can they reach out to when they find themselves in the position of caring for someone who has been abusive to them their entire life? That was a difficult place to, you know, in which to be.

I get that. And I think that the first thing I want people to know, there are places you can go when you have somebody who is treating you poorly, whether it's emotionally or physically. And I would recommend you start off, one of the things you'll hear me say regularly on this show is, when's the last time you saw your doctor, okay?

And then you start with your own physician who can then offer you a referral to some type of counselor, mental health counselor of some kind, whether it's a social worker or licensed mental health counselor, somebody that you can say these things to who can then point you to a place of safety. That's why I do this show as well to do that. But I want to go back to what you said, writing in the midst of these things and being creative in the midst of it and doing something of joy like that. We're focusing a little bit more on songwriting right now and that kind of discipline.

But the principle applies across the board. But you said something to me years and years and years ago. You're a songwriter. You've been a songwriter for a very long time.

Your mother was a very, very successful songwriter as well. Right. But you said something a long time ago. It's a muscle.

Writing is a muscle. I don't even know if you remember telling me that, but you did. I think I did actually. I did pay attention to you. I just want you to know I did pay attention to you. Oh, wow. I don't do that often and please don't use that as a precedent. I do see your eyes kind of drift off and wonder sometimes when I'm talking, but I can see that.

They spin counterclockwise. That's right. No, but you said something. Writing is a muscle. You don't sit there and necessarily write and say, okay, like Greg said, I didn't set out to write a hit musical. I set out to write something that I cared about. And no matter what's going on, just keep writing. Just keep writing. Just keep doing it. And in my case, sometimes I was sitting down at the piano and I just didn't feel like I could do anything, but I forced myself to sit at the piano and play something.

Sometimes you're playing chopsticks, whatever, but you're doing something that is getting it out of your system. And it may not be great. It may not be perfect, but that's not the point.

The point is to work that muscle because the more you do it, the stronger you get. So I did pay attention to you when you said that years ago. Write that down. Have you paid attention to anything else I said? No.

I doubt it. But that's okay. That's a good thing. Yeah.

And it's awesome that Greg has been able to do that. Now, I'm doing so now. Are you writing now? I am writing like a banshee. How do banshees write, Lisa? Huh?

What? How do banshees write? I don't know. I scream a lot. Loudly. Loudly. I speak.

But no. And also, I am responsible now for mom's catalog. And it's been interesting to start stepping my toe and then my feet and then my legs back in the water creatively as I work that catalog.

She signed Blake Shelton to his first publishing deal. So, we have a few of his songs in there that which is a great, great template to work within to work. And so, yes, I am finally able. I mean, all that stuff that goes on internally, it's going to come out somehow. And, you know, going back to it being a muscle is just so, so true.

I think I was just mentally and physically so exhausted, mainly mentally, that I just found it hard to get to that place. And I'm so thankful to the Lord that it's still there. Well, I'm glad you didn't publish some of the songs you wrote during that time otherwise because I don't know how you sing, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap all day long. Darn it. Darn it. Darn it.

How do you actually make music to that? I don't know. I can't believe this is my life. This really sucks. But you know what? To all the caregivers that are listening right now, please understand that's an important part of the journey, too, to get that stuff out because it's already there.

Let's get it out. You don't have to publish it. You don't have to pitch it to a record company. You don't have to go out there.

If you like gardening, you don't have to go out there and trim all your bushes to say swear words in the front yard. You don't have to do these things. I'm sorry. I'm over here vigorously taking notes on my next story. But what you do have to do for your own sanity is get it out. Get it out.

Correct. If you want to get in your woodworking shop and do it, I've got a friend of mine who is a big knitter. She loves knitting.

She goes to the tomb of the unknown knitter. She's really into it. But that's how she does it. That's how she processes a lot of things.

Whatever it works that floats your boat on it, your heart deserves to have that outlet. And I'm glad to hear that you're writing some more. Oh, yeah. And I'm writing more by myself. I mean, I always co-write.

But what's interesting is I always felt a little insecure writing by myself because Mom was such a great lyricist. And I'm finding that if I just kind of put that to the side, I'm capable of doing more than I had given myself credit for in the past. And I do thank God for that. And, you know, as far as getting it out, if we don't, it can take root.

And we don't want that. You don't want any kind of negativity to simmer there for too long. And I do need to add that if I had it to do all over again, I would do the same thing. I am thankful that I was able to care for Mama and my stepfather, Papa Gil, and give them what they needed in their last years of life. Yes, it was hard. It was harder than I could have ever imagined. But there were blessings in the midst of that.

And one can come out on the other side stronger. But, yeah, so I am working more and I'm thankful for that. But, you know, it's just to all of you that are out there that are still in the moment, you're going to get through it. You're going to be okay. But do reach out.

Please don't keep it to yourself. Do reach out. And others that are listening, please make sure you ask about the caregiver. I am ashamed to admit that in all the years that I've known Peter and Gracie, for the longest time, I never asked how you were, Peter.

It was always how's Gracie, how's Gracie, how's Gracie. And, yes, that's important. But the person who's doing the caregiving needs to know they're being thought about as well. Well, that means a lot, Lisa. I really do appreciate it. No, really. Well. I mean it.

I'm serious. I do appreciate it. And it means a lot. And it is the journey. And that's why I do the show. That's why I wrote the book. That's why I do all the things that I do is to design to help the family caregiver get stronger. And, Lisa, I appreciate you taking the time to call.

I'll just sign out. But thank you for calling and thank you for listening. And it means a lot. This is why we do what we do. If you as a caregiver are not in a good place and you're struggling and this thing is going south on you, how is that going to help your loved one? You've got to keep that in your mind.

You've got to keep that in your headspace, right up in front of your headspace. It's not selfish. It's healthy. Healthy caregivers make better caregivers. The book is called Hope for the Caregiver. The show is called Hope for the Caregiver.

The free podcast is Hope for the Caregiver. It's all about helping you hang on to that, that you really can get to a place of safety where you can start making healthier decisions for your life. And you know what? God hasn't forgotten you in this. He truly gets this. And He's going to meet you in it, right in the middle of it. And you can be stronger, healthier, and dare I say it, a little bit more joyful.

Go out to Hope for the Caregiver for more information. We'll see you next week. This is Peter Roseberger. Thanks for joining us. Stay healthy.

Healthy caregivers make better caregivers. My Facebook Live cut out in the middle of it. And then every time you came on, John, it was staticky.

Was there, is it still static now? Now, right now. Right now. Hang on, hang on. What's going on here? Because I'm not hearing anything like that. Every time you speak, and I hear static in the, a little bit in the background, but every time you make a sound, I hear static. Do you hear it, Ed? All right, hang on. Something's wrong with my computer, though. What about now?
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-22 21:28:02 / 2024-01-22 21:48:26 / 20

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