Tag Archives: aging

Notably Resounding

Aside from my physical addresses much has changed in my life since I first developed What Next. Other things remain the same.

This goes with some of my friends too. For instance, not only Christi at Feeding on Folly but also K. at The Blackwall Blog both recently blogged about their updates and changes.

Now they have me considering the inordinate amounts of stuff I’ve been hauling around for years. Things like my boxes of notebooks and journals.

With that I revisited my post from September 15, 2014. Again*:

Zoe couldn’t talk yesterday, but this morning we caught up. Unlike many of my friends and family these days, Zoe and I occupy the same time zone, so we don’t miss discussing much.

Fast forward 150 minutes; epic – even for us. We touched all bases; our work, families, mutual friends, political and social concerns. Then, for fun, we skimmed back over my notes from our past year’s conversations.

Yes, I keep notes, chronologically sequential, cross-referenced and color coded – on everything. This not only helps me keep my mind in the present reality and off the stories in my head, but has occasionally proven I heard someone right, long after the fact. I’m amazed at how much more important this becomes the longer I practice aging. Who knew aging well takes considerable practice?

Mostly my notebooks reveal I’m in better shape than I thought.

So… you may be thinking.

So, my thoughts today address perception and how my amazing, adult sons more frequently than ever suggest I’m either confused about statements from previous talks or I wasn’t listening to them. Always me.

How I imagine my boys and me chatting.

In all fairness, from my trusty notebooks, our typical conversations appear compressed into time restraints and are profoundly multi-directional. Still, though the subjects get jumbled a bit, I pen the statements accurately. Days or weeks may lapse between contacts, but when I need to be certain (even if only for my peace of mind), most often I am rectified.

As I am now cresting the peak of mid-life this is a kind of a big deal. More than ever before God draws my attention to details. Perhaps that’s because modern medicine has forced us to monitor ourselves and each other. The especially savvy peri-senior is watchful for symptoms of dementia, senility, disease and unnecessary stress.

Today God hath revealed unto me (okay, according to my notes), both Zoe and I are in good shape; at least between our ears!

Today.

“Blessed are those who keep [God’s] statutes and seek Him with all their heart – they do no wrong but follow His ways.”

Psalm 119: 2&3 (NIV)

 

*I’d already edited and liked today’s repost that includes friends, etc. Then I noticed “(3)” in the Permalink. I think everyone appears better in this version, so I tweaked the title and then ran with it. You be the judge.

Images courtesy Pixabay

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A Revised Beaten Path

Updated from 2015:

walk

Despite my rebellious nature, I’ve become a slave to routine. Where my young, healthy body once took life as it happened, I now must deliberately prepare myself for each day. This takes me considerably longer now than ever before, even longer than when I had my four young boys in tow.

With the aging process grinding away on my physical self, my routine somehow became unforgiving and unappreciative of my mental self. One little skip can result in an almost immediate blunder, frustration and sometimes bruises.

The new routine is grudgingly predictable:

1. Wake up – This can take a while.
1.1. Take a thorough inventory of every joint and vertebra, then gently move them.
1.2. Be sure my brain is also awake enough to rise without injuring myself or others while getting to the bathroom and then the kitchen. Prayer typically comes into play here.

Note: I’ve come to accept (not like) the sometimes intimidating, frightening, occasionally surprising, (and embarrassing when involving witnesses,) waking process. I often inadvertently successfully integrate other tasks – mostly for fun. I.e. Prayer while in bathroom. Shame or pride? Omniscient. Omnipresent. Look them up.

2. Clean soot from floor and counters. Wood stove heat. Enough said?
3. Water and coffee (slamming sixteen ounces of water before coffee seems cruel, but empirically it’s a good practice).
3.1. I like Krups (yeah, when affordable).
3.1.1. Who are we kidding? Refillable K cups require forethought and more motion. Default to Mr. Coffee pot and microwave to reheat.

4. Bathroom time. Again, this could take a while.
4.1. Contemplate actual need for visible eyebrows.

5. Fuel – The most forgiving point, interchangeable with items 4 – 4.1. Rather than burn muscle on my power walk, I must force down food and supplements.
5.1. Disregard notion about forgiving. Do not forget fuel. (Um, I’m Out of Gas – Again story (c) 1995).

6. Stretching – With bursitis, tendinitis and joint pain I’ve learned to not minimize the importance of stretching or give into temptations to “stretch as I go”.
6.1. There are better ways to meet the neighbors than screaming, “Call 9-1-1,” from the ground.

7. Sun block. Should have learned about skin cancer attending grade school in central Arizona.
7.1. By this point the searing sun will be above the tree line. Surgical excisions are costly. Do not trifle with this.

8. Lace up, walk toward door.
8.1. Yes, you turned off the lights. If you left the coffee pot on, you need another one anyway.
8.2. Everything else can wait an hour, continue walking through the door.
8.3. Just walk away.

9. Incorporate socializing and checking on family while warming up (before heavy breathing begins).
9.1. Offspring and siblings sufficiently annoyed. Now punch it, Chewie.

10. Shower, deodorant, lotion, dress, then get to work.
10.1. I work at home, clothes are optional.
10.1.2. Gravity is rude. Forget 10.1.

All of this reaffirms my philosophy: Relax and enjoy the ride, no one gets out alive.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”

2 Corinthians 4:16 (NKJV)

Go Readers. Redefine life along the way.

 

Featured image courtesy Pixabay

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Nooners and All-Nighters

I’ve been marveling over the paths that brought me here and all the turns my life took.

Take heat for instance: I had some doubts about staying in the cottage after processing wood with chain saws and hand tools the first two years. But the new hydraulic log splitter is a game changer. Getting Cole’s attention and assistance is easy when power tools are involved.

Also, I don’t often check the news as I prepare to leave the cottage. Instead, Cole and I catch up on the way to do chores.

Processing firewood we alternate one operating the splitter while the other stacks the split wood. Eyeing smaller logs we’ll holler over the motor, “that’s an all-nighter,” –  a cut from the trunk of a younger oak, ash, walnut or birch. We watch for logs that fill either of our stoves allowing just the right airflow to burn for six-ish hours.

Naturally, we also watch for nooners – small or half logs that burn hot for two to four hours. These are great during our work days.

After two back-to-back days of processing wood, Cole thought hard and then commentated on how the terms all-nighter and nooner both have such different meanings lately. Yep.

And today, rather than maximizing every moment, I can slow down instead when I feel pressed. It’s a sharp contrast to former times when I stressed over each day, dime and dollar, often paying somebody to do what I longed to do myself.

I actually get my steps in by keeping the fires going in both houses, rousing the old, little dogs while I’m at it. I can get annoyed when they want to continue playing after my break time is over. And sometimes GoodGirl bolting out to the pasture to play with the steer instead of heeling can irk me.

I so quickly forget I’m not the boss here, God is.

Silly human.

What initially seemed like an inconvenience during my first year here is now instinctive. Around late summer we evaluate the wood pile. Come fall we check tractor, quad and wagon tires, power wash water tanks and locate water heaters.

God certainly brought me a long way from wondering if I remembered to adjust the thermostat during my hour-long commute to work (that was before Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant, kids). Traffic for me these days amounts to occasionally steering around a dog resting in the road on scenic drives through acreage, and slowing to admire the neighbors’ livestock along the way.

Maybe I don’t seem to accomplish as much as I used to in a day. I’m content to meet the important demands before bedtime. Instead of fretting over what may come tomorrow, I thank God for bringing me back to my bed in my comfortable home today. By His grace I’m usually asleep when my head meets the pillow and I hit the floor running before sunup.

Today I’m good with that.

“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

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Wrapping

One of my first thoughts this morning was how quickly my old habit of wrapping Jesus around my stories recently developed.

Some three-plus decades ago, after reading and hearing about Jesus, I asked to meet Him for myself. Bam! Game changer. He was everything I’d been missing.

My thoughts, my understanding, my direction dramatically changed. I began wrapping my life, my thoughts, my being around Jesus.

As great as that is, I’m astounded and a little embarrassed to admit I often revert to many of my former ways. And yet, Jesus understands and waits for me to come back around to Him again.

“…But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,” Romans 5:20 (NIV)

Though there have been some dark, lonely valleys along the way, the breathtaking peaks I’ve seen serve to inspire and encourage me onward. What amazes me the most is how often I think,

“It just doesn’t get better than this,”

as well as

“It can’t get worse than this”.

*

It can.

And it does.

But the worst usually sets up for the best.

Throughout my life the most influential people have often said, “just wait till you’re my age. You’ll see”. Now I AM that age! And I’m mostly amazed to see so much of my life, my thoughts, my being remains to wrap around Jesus.

Does your life seem to have unraveled? Whether you are on a peak, in a valley, or somewhere in between, wrapping your life around Jesus can take you farther and higher.

Wait till you’re my age. You’ll see!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Header Image and *image used by permission J.M. Weatherby (c) 2018

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Horse Sense

To live with horses has been my heart’s desire most of my life. I like to think learning more slowly these days has nothing to do with aging (thank you for letting me run with that). In His infinite wisdom God has been teaching me about horses, slowly, gradually by arranging for me to care for friends horses. I suspect that’s so I don’t obsess lose pace with anything else in my life.

When I returned from vacation I noticed the big bay gelding, TheOldMan looking a bit plump. With cooler weather coming I wasn’t terribly concerned about it, but a few days later I noticed he didn’t run to me as he had been doing and there was something different about his gait. Not necessarily bad, simply unusual. Still, my gut told me something was wrong.

I contacted TheOldMan’s people immediately and we arranged for the farrier to visit a.s.a.p. – which was two days later. Meanwhile the dissimilar gait haunted me.

The obvious problem was a thrown shoe, but my gut told me there was more and to not walk him. I felt some relief when Cole moved him to the north pasture where the sweet grass wasn’t as plentiful.

I’ve always been able to “trust my gut”. Thinking about it, I can’t remember a time when harm or at least hurt didn’t result from ignoring my instincts. Soon after I asked Jesus to take the reins of my life I began to learn another way to live – being Spirit led.

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God;
may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:10 (NIV)

From that first day I have prayed and studied the Bible every day. I can’t learn enough about Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Over thirty years later there is still more to learn, but God consistently teaches me I can trust Him first and foremost. Essentially He has reconditioned my instincts.

Hanging out with our excellent farrier while he worked I realized I still have so much to learn about horses. Even so, I was right about that gait. The short story is while I was away, TheOldMan gained weight so fast he strained his hooves. He’s fixed up now so we can both walk into a full recovery.

God uses TheOldMan to remind me that as long as I seek and trust Him, He will never lead us astray.

While God uses all of me, I can trust my “gut.”

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6 (NIV)

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Too Hard

The newest addition to the lots is a little S10 pickup truck. It arrived on a crazy-busy day so the movers left it (tow strap and all) at a perpendicular angle across the line of other project vehicles. This was not an issue for Cole, but the rude angle disturbed both Izzy and me. Daily. Seriously crazy making.

Over this weekend, Izzy and I decided to restore order to the universe starting with the S10. As Cole moved lengths of pasture fencing (truly, much higher up the priority ladder than the lots), Izzy circled the truck, eyeing the best destination with minimal effort. I unlocked the steering column, checked the hand brake and put the gearshift into neutral. Then she and I began pushing the little truck over the sandy soil.

Neither of us commented on the surprising exertion required from both of us to make the slightest advancement. Seriously, nudging the empty mini truck a few inches took our combined maximum effort.

Immediately I wondered when I became such a weenie. I prayed Izzy wouldn’t realize how daily my list of can’ts grows exponentially. As if.

YoungerMe pushed or helped push vehicles since I was tall enough to see over a steering wheel and I proficiently “popped a clutch” in grade school – a very long time ago. This week those days seemed like someone else’s life rather than mine.

But when we paused that morning Izzy also seemed irked. I assumed it was because we had to take a breather so soon into what we thought would be an easy task for the two of us. I mean, we’re tough. Right?

As we panted, I ever-so-slightly began to slip into an I’m-a-useless-old-woman puddle. Unwilling to accept that inevitability yet I walked through our task again from the top.

“For crying out loud!” I blurted out as we heard the familiar “pop” after I tested the hand brake release…

Ever gracious Izzy laughed aloud. Moments later, the task completed, we exchanged hi-fives and toasted the newly restored universal order.

Naturally I’m mulling over the experience today. Like in The Man and the Bolder story, God didn’t tell me to move the truck. He told me to help Cole and Izzy. My big ideas thumbed a ride.

But here’s the thing I almost missed – God saw that whole scenario before any of us were even born. He saw I would immediately condemn myself and that I would not consciously think to ask Him for help. Instead of brow-beating me or allowing me to, He led me to retrace my steps.

Sure I felt silly – again. So what else is new? I’m thankful God gave me a sense of humor that allows me to enjoy myself – literally. Bit by bit He’s teaching me to trust Him more in the most subtle and unimaginable ways.

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

 

Angle chart courtesy Khan Academy, Free Google Images

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Why Worry?

Naturally I’ve been reflecting upon the meaning of life this week. Not really, but I actually have been re-examining my overall expectations.

I always dreamed of life with a big family, gardens, and lots of animals on enough acreage to be self-sustaining. I come from a large, complex family, so this is no surprise.

Since my youth, life took my siblings and me through some very interesting twists and turns. For us, most changes initiated some considerable pain and confusion. We’d no sooner recover from one blow when another would strike. Mean as it sounds, those hard hits on such young humans prepared us for an unimaginable future. That seems sad. It is, but it’s also good.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9 (NIV)

Throughout our lives God’s merciful grace has been the one consistency.

Today I am our eldest surviving sibling and my generation’s first female. That could change again tomorrow, but I’m not concerned.

During many passionate discussions throughout the years OlderBrother and I agreed that though we were impecunious, from a global perspective we have lived luxuriously.

I believe God blessed us all with astounding strength and fortitude throughout our journeys. I also believe that, like both Jacob* and Job**, He broke us enough to help us endure it all.

I’ll never forget the many times over the years I messed up and missed opportunities, simply by being stubborn. I confessed those failures and God forgot them. What’s more, He stayed right on course, kept me in line and lets me think getting here was all my idea, my doing.

Daily – okay at least weekly –  I’m overjoyed to reflect upon my favorite (and some of my most disappointing) memories – What brought me to here and now. Here may not look like all that much to some, but it’s far more than most would have predicted.

God has always used the good and the sad to keep me in check.

So why worry now?

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 5:10, 11 (NIV)

*Genesis 32:22-31

**Job 10:8-13

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Bed Head

Because of a recent conversation with Cole, I shopped for bed bargains this week.

Each of 4 sales reps all told me this is the best time of year to purchase a bed because “next week new models arrive and prices will go up.” The actual message being, “Don’t shop. Contribute to my luxury cruise – right now.”

My IL country home in 2013

‘Fact is, I’ve been casually studying ads since I left IL where I donated my wonderful Bassett double pillow top bed solely because it was ten years old. Abuse and gravity are taking their toll on my skeleton so I have regretted giving it up about 300 days a year since.

This week I thanked each each rep and took all the information home to 1. pray over, 2. research and 3. bounce my thoughts off of Cole and Izzy.

Also a fact: collecting my teensie-weensie tad of security has taken diligent care for nearly a decade. I like having some money in the bank and a couple of nest eggs here and there.

Even so, if God actually hadn’t guided me through this life day-by-day, logic and experience tells me that laying side-long across the head or foot of the bed Cole gave me won’t keep my sleep or back pain issues in check forever.

Another fact: Rising and stretching out the aches and pains is becoming a lengthy ritual again – daily.

We were all busy all week, so we didn’t discuss my bed business.

This morning I arose slightly less stiff and with notably less pain. But I was exhausted. I likely burned as many calories overnight as I do while I write (at my stand-up work station). I tossed and turned all the facts, figures and every possible scenario I could imagine.

All. Night. Long.

Sheesh.

Once aligned again and on my way to a steaming mug of warm deliciousness I read something interesting:

“Trusting Me [Jesus] is a moment by moment choice.”*

Silly me. As if I actually had to spend my entire savings immediately, I lost an entire night’s peace trying to work out not only my finances but the unpredictable details of my future. Decades ago I swore that nobody will ever make me do anything I’m not completely sure about again – especially not a sales representative.

Silly indeed. As if I didn’t know I could intentionally choose to continue trusting the God that brought me – and my nest egg here.

The old bed’s made, Latte’s gone, choices are made. I can trust God with my bed too.

Hero

For now, the little dogs, Hero and the chickens await me…

 

 

 

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6, 7 (NIV)

*Jesus Calling, By Sarah Young (c) 2004 Sarah Young, Thomas Nelson Publishing, Nashville, TN, USA

Images courtesy Pixabay unless otherwise indicated.

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On Second Thought

Contrary to my nature, I awoke with a negative thought this morning, my body and spirit feeling uncharacteristically heavy and dark.

Not realizing it, I carried that around with me through the first minutes of the day.

Also not usual in those first moments in that hour as my brain wakes, I began examining, probing the negativity.

Hours later I’m now slightly embarrassed. After waking and walking with the Holy Spirit all these years I’m still so easily tempted to shoulder burdens God never intended for me to bear alone:

  • grief,
  • anger,
  • anxiety,
  • remorse,
  • fear…

This morning grief got a good grip on me before I even recognized it.

Thanks to God, something outside the kitchen window soon captured my attention, changing the atmosphere entirely:

clear, blue skies decorated with white, fluffy clouds!

Sometimes it’s good to be easily entertained or distracted.

With the tangible vision of a brand new day, my second thought was, “Wow God, what a fabulous day!”

God and I kicked some ideas around together a while. Now, tea is cooling, sunshine is bursting through the windows igniting the rooms with energy. As I realize today is officially the last day of winter, I’m so very thankful for second thoughts.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

 

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Visage

Enjoying life-on-a-need-to-see basis seemed simple this week – despite some challenges.

You don’t want to hear how I managed to leave my driving glasses in town last week – you’re welcome – but early today I worried I actually needed them. I had to drive for the first time all week.

We’re supposed to live by faith – right?

Being pushed outside my comfort zone was initially intimidating, but as the truck warmed up in the driveway I rationalized: I know the back roads remarkably well and in town I can play Follow the Leader like everyone else until its safe to throttle it toward home again. After a short, sincere prayer I dropped the stick into first gear, eased onto the road, slipped into second – then third. By the time I reached the highway I was so comfortable I forgot all about my glasses.

The view down the river from Canal Drive was captivating. The road was clear of other vehicles, so I stopped for a few photos hoping to share them.

Only now do I realize some mischievous gnomes bombed my crystal-clear photos with unsightly road signs and blurred them with haze.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

Be blessed friends and blog on!

“Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.” Psalm 71:18 (NLT)

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