Saturday, for the 10th year in a row on the first Saturday of November (actually 9 years in Nov; the first year was in December) I was at Calvary Church for our shared Caregiver Day of Pampering.  It’s a day of laughter, hugs, joy and tears.

If you haven’t heard me talk about this day before – where have you been?  But seriously, we invite women who provide care for a family member (usually a child or spouse) to come for a day of encouragement and refreshment.

The day starts with valet parking, and (on days it is not pouring rain, like Saturday was) a team of people vacuum their cars and clean the windows.  While that is being done the ladies enjoy a morning of “sweet” fellowship (coffee, treats, chocolate, music, games and a message).  The morning wraps up with door prizes being given out before they move on to lunch we serve.  After lunch they spend the afternoon at our “spa.”  The 300 level of the church is turned into a spa with manicures, brow waxing, makeup artists, hair stylists, henna artist, massage therapists, foot massage, paraffin hand waxes and to top it all off – a boutique they can shop in use the “Grace Notes” they were given upon arrival.  When they are done in the spa the church opens the Care Closet to them to take 2 bags of clothing for their families and then they also get a gift upon departure along with a rose paid for by the men of Calvary Church and Joni and Friends who want them to know though their labor of love may often  go unnoticed they want to say thank you!

The amazing part is that they receive all of this for FREE!  I am so grateful for 170 plus volunteers who serve these 121 ladies!  Volunteers made and served food, set the room up, greeted and hosted the ladies, pampered them and so much more!  I LOVE to see how God burns this ministry into different hearts and the unique ways they serve.

One man thought the little mirrors we had at the hair and ma
keup station could be improved.  Over the last couple years he has made it his mission to buy (without asking for reimbursement) any and every mirror that is framed he can find that is about 3 feet wide by 4 feet high.  I think our count is up to 12 – he brings them in each year and cleans them before setting them up, and then at the end of the day takes them home to store them for the year.  Thank you God for Ken, King of the Mirrors!

Cathy heard a Caregiver  say once that she never got a chance to sit and read a magazine.  So now Cathy collects magazines throughout the year and the night before the ladies come places them around all the seating areas in the spa.

Christina, who we lovingly call our “hair brain” is a hair stylist and also the point person for all who serve in the hair area.  Christina takes this week off from work each year as vacation so she can have this Saturday off from the salon to serve these ladies.  THAT is dedication!

Emily and her team run our “boutique”.  You would think you stepped into a trendy shop when you see the items they “sell”.  Theirs is a year round mission to find “good deals” using any discounts and Kohls cash they can find and sharing the idea with those who can help fund the boutique.  The ladies swarm the boutique as soon as it opens!

And why do they and scores of others do this?  Because of these kinds of comments we hear:

  • I will never forget this very special, wonderful day. I am forever grateful. I cried many tears of thanksgiving.
  • Thank you so much for organizing such a wonderful event. I was overwhelmed by the kindness I was shown and all the caring volunteers. I am only a few years into my journey caring for a disabled person. And most days are pretty routine. But something that does affect us is the cost,  I rarely can afford a haircut or new clothes for myself, let alone all the other spa things that I received on Saturday. It was an incredible blessing to receive those things, and I am happily wearing my new scarf from the boutique at work today! God bless you and the work you do. I very much appreciate your time and effort.

For me what I enjoy most are the 1:1 interactions I get to have with the ladies.  I love seeing so many year, after year, after year.  They have become my friends and heroes.  This year we had many new ladies join us too.  What fun to meet them, hear their stories and begin journeying together with them.   Some of the stories I hear are fun, some bring me to laughter, some are sweet, and some are very raw and painful.  I don’t have all the answers for these situations, in fact I have very few.  But the answer I do have is the BEST there is . . . we pamper these Caregivers as a small taste of the way the Ultimate Caregiver (thanks to Peter Rosenberger for this picture) cares for each of us – His wounded bride.