We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Ready for Anything? When Life Re-defines You # 4

Barry with Jana and Sharon
The tears in my eyes surprised me as I mentioned to my daughter that July 31st would mark the anniversary of our move to Northeast Pennsylvania. Memories flooded my mind in living color as I thought back to that day so long ago . . . How could thirty years have slipped by? How could our little girls, then four and eighteen months, have grown to be young women with children of their own?

I remember that weekend well. We arrived with not much more than a suitcase, a vacuum cleaner, some cleaning supplies, and a couple of lawn chairs. My husband sanded down the worn hardwood floors and coated them with polyurethane by the time the moving truck arrived a few days later. Over the years we've toned down the flowered '70s wallpaper, replaced windows, remodeled the kitchen and bathroom, painted multiple times, and added a double garage and guest room. If our walls could talk, they would tell lots of stories . . . some humorous and some sad but mostly ordinary stories about an ordinary family, trying to hang on to the  extraordinary grace of God as we went along.

Perhaps the reason my emotions got the best of me is because I realized those years made up the peak season of our lives . . . and suddenly, they're gone . . . like "a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).

November 1, 1997: Jana, Sharon, Baby Elisabeth, "Mom"
In 1987, we never could have imagined the blessings that lay ahead . . . the girls' school days, the birth of another baby, our family vacations, Daddy's garden, the secret swing in the woods, trips to the library and reading the Little House series under the old apple tree, singing around the fireplace on Saturday nights, our church family . . .

We never anticipated the many challenges that lay ahead either . . . a life-altering car crash resulting in lifelong limitations (told in Penned Without Ink), the death of three of our parents, job transitions, disappointment with life events--and even with ourselves . . .  

Which brings us back to our series on how to prepare for a crisis of any kind. So far we've highlighted several strategies:

Strategy # 1: Examine your relationship with God.
Strategy # 2: Check your relationships with others.
Strategy # 3: Keep complete and accurate records in one place.
Strategy # 4: Have adequate insurance.
Strategy # 5: Be intentional about how you manage your finances.
Strategy # 6: Simplify.

Today we'll look at Strategy # 7: Update your legal documents.

Keep your HIPAA current. Your privacy is protected. In order for anyone besides you to access your medical information, you need to authorize them to do so in writing. It's just a one or two page document. Usually you would list your spouse, an adult child, or a close friend. On the back of your health insurance card is a 1-800 number you can call to make sure this in order.

Have a will in place. Having an up-to-date will lets you decide what happens to your assets at the time of your passing. It allows you to determine who will be the guardian of your minor children. And it allows you to choose the executor of your estate, a trustworthy person who carries out the terms of your will. Remember a document can always be changed or updated as needed.

Have a financial or durable power of attorney in place, who is the person named in a notarized document who will care for your finances should you become unable to do so. For example of you were in a coma, this person would manage your finances, pay your bills, etc.

Have a medical power of attorney in place, who is the person named in a notarized document who will care for your medical decisions should you become unable to do so.

If you're married, your power of attorney is often your spouse. Your ideal choice is a trusted person who will make good decisions on your behalf, knowing the circumstances along with your wishes.

I've collected more "Ready-for-Anything" articles and information on my Pinterest Page.

Whether you're still at the "moving in" stage of life or you're looking back on thirty years, wondering where the time went, there's value in doing all you can to be prepared, especially in light of life's re-definitions that seem to  crop up unexpectedly. At the same time, let's not forget that we have a God who has proven His faithfulness over and over and is worthy of our trust for the past, present, and future . . . no matter what happens.

I took this photo at Nay Aug Park, July 2017.

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