A is for Appreciate

I have decided to take Calensariel from Impromptu Promptings’ challenge.  I am still a bit fuzzy on this as to a theme, but please feel free to direct me if I am not quite on target.

Recently while walking our dog, just minding my own business or rather, her business :), I heard this POP in my right knee.  Immediately I was unable to take the next step due to the searing pain from my ankle to my hip.  Fortunately for us (Precious and me), two neighbors who hang out in their garages every afternoon drinking beer and shooting the breeze saw me writhing in pain and came to my aid.  Rich backed up his truck picked me up (at that point I really didn’t care how foolish I looked!) and deposited me into the back of his pick-up, drove me home and carried me into the house, plopping me down on the sofa.  After getting me an ice pack, he left me to call my husband who was still at the office.  As soon as I told him what had happened, I hung up and waited for him to get home; then, I lost it..broke down and cried, cried like a baby, asking God what was going on.  You see, just that morning I had a revelation of sorts about the fears that had seemingly overtaken me the past few months.  I felt like I had made some headway and had given those fears completely over to God who had been so faithful in our lives for almost 40 years. Once again I was undone…”Lord, why did this have to happen now?  I mean, what about those things I felt you say to me thing morning?”  Gone was the assurance that He would help us.  Gone was the trust I felt and now once again was that ugly four letter word… FEAR!  All I could think about at that moment was the medical costs mounting up.  Suddenly Texas seemed ever further away, https://bcostello2016.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/turn-turn-turn/Turn, turn, turn…   I was also wondering where all of my vim and vigor had gone!  Would I ever be able to run and play with our beloved Lincoln again like I longed to do?

As things progressed over the next couple of weeks, with a trip to the ER, xrays, an orthopedic consult, a MRI, an EKG, surgery for the torn meniscus and arthritis and all that accompanies that type of injury, plus weeks of physical therapy and mounting medical bills, I am appreciative.  I appreciate the fact that I live in a country where we have great medical care. I appreciate having a wonderful husband who is most helpful and never complains. I appreciate having two wonderful kids who have called to check up on their momma.  I appreciate having a wonderful church family who have prayed for me, who cooked and delivered some wonderful meals to us and for other friends who have called, texted or just dropped by with flowers and a word of encouragement.  I appreciate the fact that now I am able to write “thank you” notes to all of those wonderful people. I mean, it could have been my right arm instead of my right leg, right?!  And I appreciate the peace the Lord God has given to me in the midst of this trial.  I know He will help us.   I know He will make a way for us to take care of the medical bills. I know the surgery and subsequent therapy will enable me to be active once again.  In the big scheme of things, this is nothing! When I think of those precious souls who are battling cancer or other debilitating  diseases, it makes me stop and count my many blessings.  YES, I am most APPRECIATIVE!

And thanks Calen from Impromptu Promptings for checking on me too!  Thank you too for sharing with us fellow bloggers the a-to-zchallenge. 

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Remember fellow bloggers, if I am not approaching this challenge correctly, please let me know!  I DO realize blogging gives one certain liberties that other writings do not allow.  I am very open to correction/direction and APPRECIATE any input you might have.  Thanks so much!

Oh, one more bit of appreciation…our little Precious! She will be lost when I return to the office. Every morning when I get showered and dressed she looks at me with those searching eyes asking, “Is this the day I will be all alone again?”  She has been such a comfort to me!  I love our furry little friend that we rescued almost 4 years ago!

 

 

Turn, turn, turn…

IMG_1102One of the things I love about the Midwest is its four distinct seasons of the year. And it seems that as one season ends I am ready for the next to begin.  As my husband and I begin a new season in our lives, we are seriously considering making a move south to be near our only grandchild.  He just turned 3 and quite frankly, seeing him 4 times a year is just not cutting it!  We want to be near him, watch him grow and discover his likes and dislikes, his gifts, talents and abilities.  We want to go to Grandparent’s Day with him, attend his soccer games and act like fools, cheering him on to victory or consoling him when defeat comes his way.  We want to watch him discover life and be an integral part of his life.  We also want to be available for our daughter and son-in-law through the busy years ahead. We want to be available for them when their busy schedules or unexpected meetings come up, that might delay or interfere with them picking him up from school. We want to be there to help as our daughter’s husband frequently travels. As a working mom, she too could often use an extra pair of hands and would appreciate the additional help.  As a young mom I remember well what it was like living so far away from family.  We want to be there to encourage, cheer and participate in their lives.

But here’s the catch…do you know how hot it is Texas? South Texas?  They  have about 8-9 months of summer!   As I stated, I love the 4 distinct seasons.  I love how one, slowly yields to the next.  Autumn is by far my favorite when life is starting to slow down and prepare for a long winter’s rest. I love the cool days when I am able to walk through the freshly fallen multi-colored leaves, hear the geese honking overhead as they make their way towards a warmer climate.  I love winter, waking up in the anticipation of a fresh blanket of snow covering the ground. I love watching the cute little black-eyed juncos hopping around our deck in search of  the seeds we throw out for them.  I love the spring time, watching for the first blades of grass peeking through the hard, brown earth, the happy jonquils dancing in the breeze, and the birds…oh my!  I love listening to the wide array of birds and other wild life outside our sliding glass doors that lead to our deck.  I sort of even like summer, well certain aspects, like barbeque, corn on the cob and watermelon…but I hate the heat.  South Texas, near the coast, is hot, humid and just plain nasty at times.  They have hurricanes.  Okay, so we, in the Midwest have tornadoes and horrendous storms, but hurricanes cause flooding.  Okay, so does melting snows and torrential rainstorms. They too, cause flooding, severe flooding.  Yet, there is this cute little blonde, curly haired little 3 year old boy who keeps beckoning us there.  Oh, he doesn’t ask us with words, but he does beckon us in a dozen little ways with his twinkling big brown eyes, winning smile and the way he says, “Hi Nana, I love you!”  So, I guess we will grin and bear it, the heat, that is. 🙂 Oh the things we do for those three little words!

So, back to turn, turn, turn…in just a little while our lives will be turned upside down as retirement is rapidly approaching and with it comes choices, fears, uncertainties, challenges AND opportunities. I am working very hard on having a positive and sunny attitude. You know, looking ahead at what new discoveries are just over the horizon.  I have come to sort of like where I am, at least it is familiar, secure, safe.  It is comforting to know you will be able to make your house payment, go out to eat on occassion, even fly to Texas to see one certain little boy and his parents, or to visit our son and his partner on the East Coast.  Okay, enough! I told you from the beginning, I would at times be painfully honest. Well, this is one of those times.  You should see my journals!  I have been writing page after page each day, pouring out my fears but also my hope in the One who has NEVER let us down, who has NEVER forsaken us, and who promised that we will NEVER have to beg for bread as His descendants (Psalm 37:25)!  I have GOT to concentrate on WHO HE IS!  And then, maybe, just maybe, He will make a way for us to get down to where the sun is often relentless and the summers endless, but where this cute and precious little boy lives with his mommy and daddy, where a big part of our hearts are already located!  If the saying, “HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS” is true, then I shall be VERY happy! Very happy indeed!!

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We are all broken

As I was reading Impromptu Promptings’ blog a couple of weeks ago,  Brokenness,  I thought about my own journey as a Christian. I have been a follower of Jesus Christ for almost 40 years and have been in full-time ministry for most of those years.  And in all of my growth, with all of my knowledge of God’s Word and ways, I am still horrified at times by the ugly things within my heart and that sometimes make their way out of my mouth!  I had so hoped to be further along in my faith journey by now.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love the Lord and I love people who have been created in His image and likeness, but some days I do not feel very holy and some days, I don’t act like it either!  Can you relate??

I have read some writings, by well-known Christian men and women of faith who often battled just like me and perhaps, just like you too.  Usually in their latter years they shared their personal struggles of depression, doubt and even addictions.  I just wish they would not have waited so long.  I believe other strugglers would have been strengthened and encouraged to know they were not alone.  As a pastor’s wife, I have tried to be transparent, to let others know I do NOT have it all together like so manyBrokenFlowerVase often assume, yet, I think had I known that struggling is part of the journey, I  might have been willing to be even more transparent.

Why aren’t we more transparent?  Could it be we are afraid people will mistaken our transparency for weakness or that we are being too introspective, too hard on ourselves?  What do you think?  Is it pride that holds us back?  As a pastor’s wife, I think it has been feeling the need to have it all together for others.  How often I have wanted to go forward for prayer, but also felt the need to be there for another, feeling like I was being selfish to take someone’s time. That must sound silly, but it is true. I just wish I had taken more opportunities. I know that we all have needs, we all have broken areas in our lives that need to be mended. It reminds me of a quote I saw some time ago:

“Be kind to everyone, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing of.”

It is hard to say for sure who actually wrote it, I have seen and heard it attributed to many sources, from Plato to Rev. John Watson to Ian MacLaren.

from quoteinvestigator.com>2010/06/29

That quote is so true!  It brings back a memory of a women’s retreat I attended about 19 years ago in Texas.  We were given a stack of magazines, a piece of poster board, glue and scissors. We were to cut out pictures and quotes from magazines, telling our stories using only those images and phrases.   There must have been about 50 women there, all from our home church which we had attended and been an integral part of for 11 years. Some women I thought I knew, boy was I all wrong!  Many of these women appeared so put together, with lovely families and quite successful. Some were wives of heads of companies, others were successful apart from their spouses, others were stay at home moms. Women of all shapes, size, ethnicity and age.  I heard some of the most heart wrenching stories I had ever heard.  Women who had endured spousal and childhood abuse, women whose children were in prison and who had endured great hardships and tragedy.  One woman had been chained asmagazine-collage-renegade1 a child and had been horribly mistreated by those who were supposed to love and care for her. Others told of betrayal, heartbreak of every kind. It really drove home the above quote about being kind to everyone, for we all face battles that others may never know about.  It also reminded me that everyone is broken in one way or another.  Some of us are just better at hiding that brokenness.

What about you? What are you hiding?? Do others really know who you are or do they see who you want them to see?

And beyond that, let us work at being kind to everyone we meet, remembering we don’t know the battle they are currently in, or for that matter, their brokenness from a previous battle, that causes them to react certain ways. We are all on a journey.  We are all on this journey called life and aging; some are just further along than others.  Let us remember that in this journey that we are on to keep the finish line in sight. For me that means I have to keep my eyes firmly upon the ONE who is there at the finish line, cheering me on to finish well, to finish with kindness, giving hope and encouragement to other strugglers along the way.

 

 

 

The Stuff We Carry

I have been been MIA for a couple of weeks now, in a funk of sorts.  I have been struggling a lot with this aging thing.  It is not just the aging itself, but rather all that seems to accompany it.  Of course, many people have chosen careers that provided well for them, but well, the missionary and pastoring life do not happen to fall into that category.  I am not regretting this career, because I feel it is more of a calling than a career.  It was not something we felt we chose in ourselves, but one that was chosen by God for us to follow.  Now we KNOW we had a say in this.  He is not some Puppet Meister in the sky who makes us do His bidding.  No, we could have chosen to go another path but we wanted to follow His path; we were compelled to follow it. There are no regrets or well, a lot of regrets, but we do wish we had been more pro-active when it came to retirement.  Who knew 65 and 67 would get here so quickly?!  It’s not just the finances either, it’s the health issues, and at this point what seems to be a myriad of things!

Now, back to the post and the title of this post…when I saw the Sandbox Writing Challenge Can You See Me, I was captivated my the image. My first thought was not the title of the challenge, but the image of the little girl carrying around this tattered and torn sack. I could not help but think of all of the stuff I have carried around for years.  Oh, much of the “stuff” I have let go, unburdened myself of, but other things I seem to repeatedly pick up again and again!  They are like that torn and tattered bag hung about my shoulders that I can’t seem to put down. I want to put them down.  I want to empty them one by one…or better yet, maybe I should just let go of the bag once and for all. What is in the bag you might be asking? Oh a few things, self-doubt, questions and fears about the future, poor decisions and the consequences of those decisions, pride…oh, PRIDE, now that’s a big one!

Upon looking at that picture of the little girl for a second time, I was suddenly aware of her surroundings.  We lived in Mexico City at one time in our lives, and saw communities much like the one the little girl was in.  We saw people, many children trying to eek out an existence in those garbage dumps. As I viewed that picture from a different perspective, I was suddenly aware of how truly blessed I am.  Even if we should lose our house, have to sell many of our possessions, we still would have far more than the majority of the world’s population. Compared to the majority of the world, we live in Disneyland!  We have ample groceries, heated and air conditioned homes, I mean, hey we have a real roof over our heads! Perspective!  It is all about our perspective.  How we view things.

I do not want to live life with rose colored glasses perched on my nose.  I do not want to ignore our retirement is looming ahead or pretend our problems are not present.  We cannot live our lives with our heads buried in the sand.  But if I am so preoccupied with the future I will surely miss out on the present.  And I do not want to miss out on the present! The temptation is there. I love to read.  It is my escape.  It has been my escape since I was a little girl growing up in an alcoholic home.  It was my escape when we lived overseas and I missed my kids so very much. Every time we would come back to our lives in Central Europe, I would cry then bury myself in books that I had brought back. My husband knew to leave me alone for a couple of weeks.  It was my escape.  So you see, I am prone to escaping.  It is still a GREAT temptation for me.  I joined Book Bud about a year ago and when I am in an escape mode, I will read book after book.  I am purposing NOT to do that, at least one after another…:)

So, have I rambled on enough? I could easily ramble more but rambling can be exhausting!

Brrr…baby it’s cold outside!

IMG_2465I was challenged a few days ago by Facetfully’s blog on writing about something to do with the cold weather.  A picture she posted and the caption under it, “February Happy Thoughts…more”https://facetfully.com/2016/02/05/february-happy-thoughts-more/?c=1020#comment-1020, reminded me of this picture of our grandson, taken the day after my dad’s memorial service, 2 years ago,   January 7th, 2014.  Three weeks earlier my father had passed away after suffering with Alzheimer’s disease for 4 years.  It was a bittersweet time as we celebrated his life at the church he and my mom had attended and served in for many years. In some ways it was a huge relief to know he was now at peace, in other ways, we would miss him so very much. Even with this dreadful disease, we occasionally saw glimpses of the witty man he had been.  All of the family was there except our son and his partner, who live in  D C.  They tried so hard to make it, but simply could not get a flight out due to one mechanical failure after another. We were all terribly saddened by this, but none more so than Matt himself, the first-born of the seven grandchildren. It just didn’t seem right that he could not be here with us.

The service was a wonderful tribute to his life.  It was long with 3 of his 4 children sharing humorous and touching stories, 3 of his 7 grandchildren sharing their love for their grandpa, an emotional video produced by one of his granddaughters, and finally his pastor sharing a stirring message about dad’s life. We ended the service with our entire family moving onto the stage to sing, “You are My Sunshine.” Well, not the entire song, just the first 2 stanzas and chorus.  Have you ever really listened to the entire song?   The reason for singing that song?  My dad sang it to my mom every time we visited him during the final four years of his life. He would look at her and sing, “…the other night dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms, but then I woke up, I was mistaken…please don’t take my sunshine away…”  Many said it was one of the best funeral/memorials they had ever attended. Many did not know dad, but came because of our friendship.  They said they felt like they had met him through our stories. Oh, there were lots of stories we all shared, as he was quite a character!  We had so wanted to make it a tribute, and that it was!  Thank you, Lord!

Our daughter, her husband and grandson were able to fly up from Texas to share in the celebration.  While the day of the memorial service was unseasonably warm and beautiful for a Midwest January, toward the end of the day, winds began to blow from the north and temperatures dropped some 40 degrees within a matter of hours.  By the next morning, we had several inches of snow.  My husband, a pastor, cancelled the morning worship service and we spent a fun-filled day playing in the snow with our then 10 month old grandson.  Being from southern Texas, he had no real winter weather gear, so we improvised, using fuzzy socks for mittens and woolen ski socks for boots, mufflers, and sock caps  for extra protection.  Now that we had him securely bundled up, what were we going to use for a sled?  We had sold our sleds a couple of decades earlier when we moved from Kansas to Texas.  Hmmm…Suddenly, remembered a lady from church had given us a Christmas gift that just might work.  A huge roasting pan, fit for a 25 lb/ turkey!  It was the only thing we had that remotely resembled a toboggan!   We stuck our precious little package in the pan and sent him sailing down the hill in our backyard. He loved it!  We did it again and again until we adults were shivering in our boots! He may not remember it, but we will never forget the fun we had watching him with his first snowfall.  And his first sledding  experience…priceless!  Actually, I am pretty sure we had more fun than he did. 🙂

By the time the snow ended sometime that evening, we ended up with 11 inches. Flights were cancelled and they were stuck with us here in the Midwest.  Luckily they had two doting grandparents (us :)) to help entertain their little guy while they cancelled plans and called bosses to notify them of the delays. For our son-in-law who had to spend part of one day redirecting a business trip to Canada, it was a huge hassle, but to my husband and I, it was WONDERFUL!   It seemed to us like a gift from our Heavenly Father allowing us to have four more days with our sweet little grandson.  His presence seemed to fill the empty places of my grieving heart.  And it came through the hugs and wet kisses of this little ten month old boy, who had so thoroughly and completely captured my heart. On Saturday we were able to celebrate my father’s life.  Sunday through Thursday, we celebrated the LIFE, LOVE AND LAUGHTER  grandchildren can bring.  It was a wonderful way to end an emotion filled time in our lives .  It was still cold outside as we said our good-byes later that week,  but inside our hearts were warmed by our own little ray of sunshine and the hope his young life brought to us.

You are my sunshine
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

The other night, dear,
As I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms.
When I awoke, dear,
I was mistaken
And I hung my head and cried.

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

I’ll always love you
And make you happy
If you will only say the same
But if you leave me
To love another
You’ll regret it all some day;.

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

You told me once, dear
You really loved me
And no one else could come between
But now you’ve left me
And love another
You have shattered all my dreams;.

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

Louisiana my Louisiana
the place where I was borne.
White fields of cotton
— green fields clover,
the best fishing
and long tall corn;.

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.
Crawfish gumbo and jambalaya
the biggest shrimp and sugar cane,
the finest oysters
and sweet strawberries
from Toledo Bend to New Orleans;.

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

This song was originally posted at:
http://bussongs.com/songs/you-are-my-sunshine.php

Hopes and Dreams

cloudsAs a child I was a hopeless daydreamer.  I could spend hours in the classroom, staring out the window.  I remember being called upon many times, having no clue as to what the teacher said or even what subject was being taught.  Time and time again, my report card would say, “she wastes too much time daydreaming”,  “she doesn’t pay attention in class”, or something like that.  I remember being called up to the chalk board and having no clue as to why I was there or what was being asked of me.  I was embarrassed more times than I care to admit as fear would overtake me, my mind going blank and wishing I could just, “POOF”, disappear.  I am sure you know the feeling.  Let’s be honest, you have had a moment or two like that in your life too.

Hopes, dreams, cottony white clouds slowly slipping by, out of my sight only to be replaced by more, sort of like one of those airplanes that you sometimes see pulling an advertisement for a restaurant or “Joe loves Susan, will you marry me?” signs.  Sometimes, I would imagine I was riding high on those clouds, traveling far, far away to another place, another time, where all was calm and quiet, a world much different than the one in which I was living.

You see, my father was an alcoholic. I would not say that he was a “hard-core” bourbon or vodka swigging alcoholic, but he drank daily.  And he drank a lot.  When he wasn’t working, he was in one of the many local bars.  He didn’t just stop by after work to have a couple of beers with the “boys”, maybe that was his intent, but he drank until he was drunk, stinking drunk. He was a mean, nasty drunk.  When he came home, we, my mom, brothers and I,  scattered because he was just not pleasant to be around.  We would reemerge when he passed out in he and mom’s bedroom.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons why my head was always in the clouds or in a book.

I really don’t remember many of my dreams as a child.  Maybe, just maybe, I will discover some of those dreams upon this journey I am embarking.  I hope so…

 

Vulnerability

most-embarrassing-moments-s-600x450You know, I really hate that feeling of vulnerability, don’t you?  I mean, who REALLY, likes it? I was reading a couple of blogs that really captured my attention about this very thing.  I am VERY new to this blogging thing and still getting the hang of it, like how to link my blog to past blogs.  I see these wonderful writers, who are so gifted, and suddenly, I am hit with my inability to write not to mention my limited technical saaviness…(is that even a word?)

In the Sandbox Writing Challenge 25-vulnerability, was challenged to think and write about some of the things that make me feel very vulnerable and naked. To say, there are a few things that leave me feeling exposed would be an understatement!  Of course, if we were honest, we could probably name at least 5 things off the top of our heads.

My husband and I pretty much use the cash and carry method of purchasing most of our things.  I know, in this day and age, cash seemed terribly archaic, but for us, it works!  But I must say, it has its scary moments…like when I am in the grocery store at the check-out and the clerk is adding my items up…as I see the numbers climb, I am counting my change, trying not to panic.  She’s done and now I realize I am $.26 over my budget!  What do I do??  I have my debit card with me, but really, 26 cents?!?  Do I debit those measly few cents or do I put something back?  Either way, the clerk is trying not so notice my discomfort and I am trying not to seem too flustered, knowing my face is growing increasingly red and glowing with embarrassment.

Now the question is, why not go with the flow?  Why do I put myself is such silly circumstances by making sure I take enough money to cover any extra?  Why do I allow things like this to make me feel so naked and exposed?  I mean, who hasn’t found themselves in similar situations at one time or another?  Well, I suppose there are a few people, but no one I know.

Here are a few other things that make me feel vulnerable: standing next to a tall, slender, beautiful woman.  At 5’2″, it makes me feel short and dumpy.  People coming unannounced to my messy house makes me feel like a slob!  Everyone laughing at a joke that I totally didn’t get, makes me feel terribly stupid! Hearing people talk about all of their accomplishments, makes me wonder about my life and what exactly I have been doing with it.  And yes, checking out at a store and coming up short of cash.  These are just a few things that leave me feeling naked and exposed.  A big one I am presently dealing with is retiring.  As a woman, security is important to me. Suddenly, the reality of retirement is on our doorstep.  It is less than a year away, and while I am looking forward to it, the fear of how we are going to manage is making me feel terribly vulnerable.  It literally scares the willies out of me, but the countdown has begun…I guess I am about to discover a new level of vulnerability!

Any words of wisdom out there, you over 65ers, for this 60+er??

 

This is Your Life

After looking at the Daily Post prompts I decided on this one, This is Your Life.  I am to write about what it would be like to read a book about my life.  Many years ago I was a young speaker for some of the Christian Women’s Club in Kansas.  Several told me that I should write a book because my life had been so interesting.  Since that time, I have had a few other people tell me the same thing.  Two told me that I “had a book” within waiting to be written.  Now, I am not sure it will ever get written, but if I do write it, will I ever take the next step to published it?  That is to be seen! I guess, first things first, right??

Personally, I believe everyone has a story to tell. I am an avid reader.  I love historical fiction, a story that paints a vivid picture. I am reading one now that is set in Richmond, VA. during the Civil War.  The picture the author paints of the horrors of war, carries me to the battlefields and hospitals of Richmond.  I can almost, by not quite, see the carnage on the battlefields and inside the makeshift hospitals.  I can almost hear the moans and cries of the wounded as they writhe in pain. I can almost smell the stench of unwashed bodies, crusted with dried blood and God only knows what else. Reading is something I have loved to do since I was a small child.

Reading is one thing, writing is quite another!  I have made a practice of journaling for many, many years now.  I have shelves of journals in which I have written.  For the past 39 years I have also made a practice of reading through the Bible almost every year.  My journals are filled with my prayers, testings, trials, victories and defeats over the course of almost 4 decades.  I battled many things, fought the demons of depression, my failings as a wife and mother, my disappointments with life, family, and myself, betrayals of friends AND God’s amazing grace in seeing me through each chapter of my life. I have also witnessed many blessings, too many to count. Would a book about my life be filled with only the blessings or would I dare write a candid account of the less uplifting things? I think it would take great courage for anyone to write about his/her life.  I am not sure I am ready to do that…maybe someday.  Surely it would have wonderful highs, great joyous memories, but also heartbreak and disappointments, but isn’t that everyone’s story?

It reminds me of a time we were visiting our son in Austin, Texas. The church he was attending was doing an “outreach” to the homeless for Thanksgiving.  They were hosting a “brunch”, which I found funny…not a breakfast or a lunch, but a brunch for the homeless!  Anyhow, as we arrived an older woman pulled us aside and told us we did not have to spend much time with the people who would be coming.  Now it was not because they had so many attending, but she insinuated they might not be worth our time.  We were astounded by her condescending attitude.  After we brought several who were sitting together trays we sat with them, much to the shock of the lady, and simply asked them to tell us their stories.  It was fascinating and we were able to “connect”. Some of their stories were heartbreaking, filled with pain, both emotional and physical, disappointment and failings.  We were there not to just bring them a tray of food, but to make a human connection, letting them know their lives mattered to someone, to us, to God.

It is true, WE ALL HAVE A STORY TO TELL!  To whom will you tell yours?  Better yet, will you take the time to listen to someone else’s story?  Ask a neighbor…go ahead, make a connection with someone you don’t know very well.  Who knows…you might just make a new friend or maybe their life story will be so fascinating that you end up writing about their life!

Is there someone out there who will follow my suggestion and engage a stranger or an acquaintance to tell you their story? If you do, let me know about it. I would love to hear about your experience and what you discovered, about them, about yourself. In reading this post, did you discover anything about me?  I’d like to hear that too. 🙂

Young at Heart

Today I am to write a blog from titles that were posted on The Daily Post.  Each day, the instructors at Blogging University post titles and thoughts and ask us to choose one and happy-old-peoplewrite a post.  Today I chose Young at Heart, probably because it is what I hope to be in this journey called aging.

I just came from visiting my 93 year old mother who is in a skilled care unit about 20 minutes from our home.  I aspire to be like my mom, who was still volunteering well into her eighties.  She really did not slow down until she had her first stroke at 83, then another at 86, which really slowed her down to the speed of a turtle.  Now at 93 having suffered another stroke, she is pretty much confined to a wheel chair, but she still has a twinkle in those pretty blue eyes, especially when she speaks of her grandchildren or sees her great-grandson.  Oh my, when she sees Lincoln, her whole countenance changes and you can literally see life flowing flowing back into her. It is a joy to witness!

Now, back to me…I hope that I will not lose my sense of adventure.  My husband and I have traveled to many parts of the world doing mission work.  While we are looking at retirement from our present work as pastors, we will NEVER really retire from what we love to do…ministering hope to the hopeless, help to those in need and sharing the love of our life – JESUS!

We desire to be close to our grandson and to be an important part of his life.  We know that in itself, will help in the process of staying young at heart.  I mean, we are going to have to get fit, fitter than we currently are, to keep up with an active 3 year old who clearly has sports in his blood. There is nothing like a child to help keep you young.  They can help with our perception of things, how we look at life.  Oh Lord, how I long to see the world with child-like eyes!  I mean looking at life as a 60something versus a 3 year old??  Give me (well, for some things!) the eyes of a 3 year old!

I once read an article about crawling around on the ground like a toddler, literally on the ground.  Well for one thing, it would certainly keep you young!  I mean, when was the last time you got down on the floor and crawled around for a couple of hours? Talk about getting fit…that seems like the perfect work-out for staying young and agile.  Of course, agile is not exactly what I am at this point, but it is what I hope to see happen. Have you ever tried to keep up with a 3 year old??  They are constantly moving.  No wonder our daughter is so trim!

I also want to take some continuing education classes to broaden my horizon.  I want to work on my Spanish once again.  I studied that beautiful language for a year, INTENSIVELY, and lived in Mexico City, using it daily.  Language is a great way to keep your mind sharp and the Lord knows I need to have my mind sharpened!  By improving my very rusty Spanish, it will enable me to communicate with others, stay alert, grow as a person and may lead us back to Mexico on short-term trips.  That excites me, as that is my passion – helping others.

Growing old is no fun.  As my momma always says, “getting old is not for sissies!”, but I DO think we can make the most of it by looking at it as an adventure to be lived.  Scary? ?  Yes, but isn’t there always a sense of anticipation with any journey, any trip we take?  You know, the “great unknown” and all of that.  I don’t know about you, but I do know that the night before any trip, sleep seems elusive as I anticipate getting up early, mentally going over the things I must do in the morning before we leave, getting to the airport on time, etc… Oh no!  You mean I have more nights where the night will never end?  Where the clock doesn’t seem to want to move forward? I guess so, as this trip to Aging-ville just might be a very long journey!  Live, Laugh, Love is going to be my motto!

happy old people, photo by: http://www.thepoke.co.uk

Man Eyes

The other day I was saw a blog that caught my eye.  It was entitled,  “I am exhausted…” (A somewhat random posts.) by Calensariel. In there she talks about how exhausting doing simple things around the house can be, especially when no one notices.  No one seemed to notice she had hung the shower curtain backwards.  She commented that either they don’t notice  or “they don’t give a hoot”.  It reminded me of a time I did the same thing, and they were like that for weeks.  I noticed them when I was REALLY cleaning for house guests. Now my husband uses the very same shower as I do and he never once noticed.  (Of course, I did not notice either!)

Anyhow, it reminded me of a syndrome that is common to men. I call it “man eyes.”   Ladies, have you ever noticed how your husband has that affliction?  I mean, I can ask my husband to get the plum jelly out of the refrigerator, even tell him what shelf it is on and he simply cannot find it!  After a few minutes he might say, “I can’t find it” or “we don’t have any.”  Now, I know that I put it away on the top shelf just yesterday morning.  He simply cannot see it!  It exasperates me!  I mean, day after day, time after time, I find it exhausting!  Okay, so I might be a little bit melodramatic. 🙂

I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it is a tiny little problem and well, not even a problem, just a small annoyance.  It is time to stop complaining and be grateful that I have a husband who does not expect me to wait on him hand and foot, but rather helps me.  He is a wonderful man and I am very blessed to share life with him.  He is much slower paced than I am.  He is much more patient and kind.  Okay, so I can find the plum jelly…big deal! Who cares other than me?!? Well, back to Calensariel’s post in Impromptu Promptlings, she quoted a beautiful poem entitled, For The One Who is Exhausted, by John O’Donohue from “Blessings”.

I hope you check it out.  It reminded me to be grateful for those “man eyes” and stop allowing those minute things irritate me or as the term he uses “vex” me.  I sort of like my husband and I sure don’t want him to “stay clear of those vexed in spirit” for simply being not as observant as me.  By the way, he, my husband, has lower blood pressure than me, so maybe, just maybe I might be able to learn something from him! 🙂