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Flowing

I’d been in town long enough to miss “the gang” from church. I’m blessed with great friends, many from churches all across the country and we continue to keep in touch. But it was time to connect with the local church, meet people outside our family unit, engage in conversation and gain fresh perspectives on topics of interest.

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I don’t always find my niche right away. I’m all about relationship with Jesus, worship, studying the Bible, serving the community – and not much interested in dogma or following traditions for tradition’s sake. My habit is to return for services at each local church for at least three visits. The second church was walking distance, and an organization with which I’ve been aligned before.

Prepared for my first visits, I’d printed calling cards with my blog address and handed a couple out to people that seemed genuinely interested in the new kid in town.

RPP card

After the service on the next visit I was trying to appear casual with friendly greetings and nods while desperately seeking the Ladies Room. I saw a familiar looking woman waving and making a bee line across the crowded foyer toward me. My latte had my teeth singing Anchors Aweigh. Before I could ask her for directions she gushed,

“Roo, I’m so glad to see you! I meant to take a quick look at your blog…”

Sure I was breaking a sweat, “the best laid plans…” and “who has time to read lately? flashed through my mind.

Then she surprised me. “Well, I couldn’t stop reading. After chatting with you, I couldn’t imagine you in some of your stories!” My lower quadrant clenching, I couldn’t think clearly to respond. I smiled politely trying to not be too obvious looking past her for a sign – to a Powder Room.

Yep, she went on, “You can’t be a great-grand-maw. And some of the stories sound like you’ve been through h-e-double-hockey-sticks… I wouldn’t have guessed from talking to you… You’ve led quite a life…” My eyes began to well  – this was great for What’s Next, but all I could think of was, “Please Lord, don’t let anyone use that water fountain six feet away from us!

Even after she paused I couldn’t talk – ordinarily not like me at all. I’d talked with the lady a scant ten minutes including that very – long – moment. I literally lowered my head, checked my shoes, groping for strength and something to say more than I was actually praying. But then it came to me, the line I’d thought about for seemingly ages but never had the opportunity to say:

“Honestly, I loathe the thought of being known as ‘that poor woman who…’ Life is about What’s Next and making it better from anywhere…” For a nano-second I was pleased with the name I chose for my blog again. After a brief, dramatic pause I added, “Especially from a Ladies Room…” I hope I grinned sheepishly and didn’t grimace.

cup coffee hearts ABSFreepicsAfter I could relax again, we joked about ‘streams of living water’ and made a date to meet for coffee. She mentioned maybe I could show her what I know about blogging. That’ll keep us long enough for a latte. I have a feeling we’ll find more to talk about.

 

 

“…I see that the Lord is always with me, I will not be shaken for He is right beside me.” Psalm 16:8

 

Images courtesy *Unsplash, **ABSFreePics and original graphic by E.V.A. Lambert (c) 2016 for What’s Next

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From One Latte

Today’s encouraging Meme from a friend read:

“Sometimes I just want someone to hug me and say, I know it’s hard. You’re going to be okay. Here’s a latte. And 5 million dollars.”*

Gazing at the meme, what my generation used to call a poster, got me seriously thinking today – I know, scary, right? Five. Million. Dollars.

I’m not bemoaning my life in the least, but for the past two years my accountant gave me his fee rather than charging me to do my taxes. He mumbled something about needing another charitable contribution.

I have wondered how so many people can’t imagine my lifestyle. True, some would consider me impoverished. I don’t, but I certainly toe the line.

I’ve made some extreme adjustments to keep hope alive for that 38 foot Catalina with a center cockpit and aft cabin.

When I started out on my own I planned to be financially independent with solid trust funds established for my sons before I turned 40.

Decades after my target goal, with much living and some published work in between, my sons have been on their own for longer than I want to say and I’m sharing a rental with Erin and two cats. I’m a cliche!

Honestly, I’m absolutely serious, with the newscasts constantly reminding me how harsh and unpredictable the world is I won’t complain.

Still, I’m pondering what I would do with that latte and 5 million dollars. Okay, no question about the latte, but I started a new list:

– I’d be entirely debt-free, pay off the credit accounts and Health Care bills. But that would likely ding my credit score that already looks like hammered pewter. I’ll think about that tomorrow…

– I’d buy real estate, a home for myself with cottages for family stays and for guests. No more moving around. I’d need a large parcel to raise my own food and livestock. Then I’d recruit forces to lobby against the likes of Monsanto, and begin reversing the damage they began on the environment. But then Bigg Business would lobby to stop me and my family (they always go after your loved ones, right?) They’d waste more tax dollars trying to stop my league. Or I’d have some unexplainable, deadly accident and my guys would be devastated… (Just kidding, Monsanto). (Sort of). Maybe I should rethink this…

– I’d invest half and stash the other half for the time being. I’ll start a list of American organizations I can support with good conscience, ones that don’t violate my personal values. This is profoundly complicated! I’ll come back to that.

– Oh, I can finish my degree, it’s only been 20+ years since I last enrolled in college. I’d start with finding my transcripts… Annnd on with the list…

– I would pay off the kids’ mortgages, freeing them to pump up the grandkids’ college funds. On second thought, my heart would break if one of my Grands adopted the attitude of the  Entitled Generation. I’d actually be contributing to their hardships by depriving them the joy of working their way through college… I’ll come back to that too.

– I’d have my teeth whitened. Maybe get a nip or tuck here or there. Looking younger than ever, I’d attract all kinds of attention. But then I’d have money and would impose rejection upon prospective Beaus. I’d be stalked! Or my grandkids would feel neglected when a social life cuts into their time with me. They’d start seeing psychologists, taking antidepressants, write bad poetry… who needs that when I look fine now?

– I have it! I’d toss the dozen or so pairs of readers from all over the house and vehicles and have my eyes lasered. Hmm… Then nobody would recognize me without at least one pair of glasses holding my hair back on top of my head. I’d be forgotten, passed over for committees and outings. I’d be devastated and withdraw to the woods, never to be seen by mankind again. {Scene fades to black as Sasquatch drags me away without a fight}…

– Or… I could take Erin, my offspring and all my siblings on a luxurious vacation. Who couldn’t use a break today? But then, somebody would disagree with somebody else about something, it would start a row. And it would be all my fault. I would probably have forgotten to invite somebody else just as dear and deserving along, so that when I return I would be alienated from family and all polite society as well. That would certainly end me. I would stop writing… Forget that idea!

I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. Who knew money could so easily ruin a wonderful life?

“For the Love of Money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Tim 6:14 (NLT )

* Meme/poster reference sweatpantsandcoffee.com

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