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Hi all -- it's been way too long since I last posted here. It's so nice to see so many 'faces' I know as I scan the posts.

Honestly, I can't remember when I last posted, so some of this may be old stuff but other will be new. I have managed to do some quilting/fiber art over the last several months, but my time is mostly filled with other things of life these days.

Last November my husband and I moved from working for the Retreat (which is no more) to full time volunteer staff at the Flying H Youth Ranch, for troubled boys. We did not have to move as the house we are in is a Ranch house that the Retreat has rented. I'm in the office a couple days a week, plus doing some other things. Dennis has been mostly doing maintenance, along with some working with the boys.  

The last few weeks (in retrospect a couple of months) some changes have been taking place and it is becoming very apparent that my dear husband has dementia. Some of the early signs were not ones that were readily recognized as dementia, but then more and more 'in your face' signs started showing up. We can't get to the doc until early Sept (we do have the appointment lined up), but thankfully after the years of caring for my parents with this disease I am fairly knowledgeable and know how to handle things.

So.... my limited sewing time may be more limited, at least for a while. We are both still doing our jobs here, but I'm having to already micro manage my husband's work and often work with him, on top of my time in the office, which is now my time of refuge. I love working with him, but it is wearing and I will need to figure out how not to do his 25 hours on top of my hours in the office. 

The Ranch is so supportive and is working with us so we can continue here as long as possible. We feel so blessed (and relieved).

Early this year God put it on my heart to do a big birthday celebration for my husband's 70th birthday this year. That party is Sept. 1. Now I know why God wanted me to do this. It is going to be big. So far we have 50 or so coming and that doesn't count the staff at the Ranch. I'm so pleased to be able to do this for him.

We just celebrated our 46th anniversary! 

I joined QWU many years ago, when I started caring for my parents full time. What a blessing you all have been to me. Many friendships were made and continue. The care and support you give is such a joy... whether it is with our quilting and other sewing projects, or with our life. 

Please know you are not forgotten by me, even though I rarely show my face. 

This is my latest project - it was commissioned by a friend. It was the house she raised her family in.

Here's a recent pic of us - not bad for a couple ol' married people.

Blessings and Hugs to you all, 

BJ

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Comment by Barbara Graham on August 20, 2018 at 9:43am

So glad to hear from you and so sorry about DH's diagnosis. I spent years dealing with my mother's struggle with the disease. As others have mentioned, YOU must take care of YOU or you will not be able to assist him. Vent whenever you want to. Ask how those of us who have passed through the changes how we dealt with specific issues.

It sounds wrong but truly, learn to lie. A kind lie will be more calming than insisting on dragging him into the real world.

Comment by Cat Lady--MO on August 19, 2018 at 3:15pm

BJ, I have been following your messages on Facebook. You and Dennis continue to be in my prayers.

Comment by Sue S. / OR on August 15, 2018 at 8:08am

BJ, it was so good to hear from you and the update on your life.  I’m sorry to hear about your DH as well.  Take care of yourself and quilt when you can!

Comment by Janet/MO on August 13, 2018 at 4:45pm

Dear BJ.  I too want to say that I'm sorry to hear about Dennis' health situation.  I hope that he is able to get the help he will need, but be sure to take care of yourself as well.  Sewing/quilting is definitely something you will need to keep your stress level down.  It is so nice that you are able to have a large birthday party for him.  Also, it is great that you have been able to continue living at the ranch.  Sending big hugs your way!

Comment by Pam/NY on August 13, 2018 at 12:49pm

I was so happy to see that you posted...but, so sorry to hear your hubby is failing. It is hard to watch someone you have been 46yrs. with go down this road. I hope he stabilizes and can enjoy his party and make more memories. You always have us to vent to. This is going to be exhausting physically and mentally as you know. Please take time for yourself and ask for help. hugs and prayers.

As always your art work is beautiful!

Comment by Barb/WI on August 11, 2018 at 7:06pm

What a wonderful picture of you and your husband.  And, that commissioned piece is beautiful!

I am so sorry to hear about your dear husband's condition.  What a trial for both of you.  Enjoy that 70th birthday party!  I worry about how much you are taking on, and pray that you find a way to find the balance you will need.  

Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on August 11, 2018 at 5:22pm

So good to hear from you, BJ.  Your smiling face is always a blessing.  I hope it helps to know we care and we'll be remembering you both in prayer.  

Comment by B J Elder/WA on August 11, 2018 at 8:06am

Thank you Sharon. God is my strength. We are both trusting in Him, knowing He will guide us through it all. Thankfully Dennis is really cooperative so far. He knows what is happening, but says at times he just feels 'lost'. 

I'm so glad you are enjoying the baby quilt pattern. Just makes me smile!

Comment by B J Elder/WA on August 11, 2018 at 8:04am

Peggy,

Alz is one form of dementia, there are several. Unfortunately the anger, nightmares, paranoia, etc. can happen with any form. My dad had horrible paranoia and was quite difficult to deal with at times, while Mom was quite content throughout. They both had the same type of dementia. I'm no expert, but as fast as this has been coming on it may be rapid onset dementia, which comes on hard and fast. 

Thank you for your kind thoughts. It means a lot. I do look forward to that refuge time in my sewing room. 

Comment by Sharon Reeves on August 11, 2018 at 8:03am

B J,so sorry to hear about Dennis's dementia, but know that he'll have excellent care with you when he will need it. I've always enjoyed reading your blogs about all your projects and especially Miss Bailey. You'll have such a wonderful party and make more memories with him and family. Don't forget to take care of yourself now that you are doing double duty. God will help you with all you need to do regarding everything. So glad to be your friend all  these years. I still make that baby quilt pattern that you designed and sent to me. Just made 2 this summer.  Hugs to you and Dennis. 

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