Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘Aging Gracefully’ Category

Wit & Wisdom


Wit & Wisdom

My friend, Sue, shared with me this morning the page below from a Hallmark gift book of collected saying, quotes, short stories, titled Wit & Wisdom of Women.

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Today is the day my friend, Carol,
(I wrote about her earlier in  My Friend, Carol)
made her journey over the “Rainbow Bridge”
to her Eternal Home.

When Sue read this page to me, I told her,
“That perfectly describes my friend, Carol.
Her 95 years on this earth were a testimony to kindness,
strength, courage, wisdom and wit,
as well as her impact on others,

and her ability to connect in very profound ways.”

Rest in Peace, dear Carol.
You certainly brought a “special touch
that no other person has.”

You will be missed here on earth,
but your legacy will live on
in each of us who had the privilege of
knowing and loving you.

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My prayers and condolences go out to your family.
They were certainly blessed to have you as their mother/grandmother!

God bless them.

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See you in Tomorrow Land!

Think Outside the Box


Often I am told
“Come on! Think outside the Box!”
Here is my answer:

Think Box.jpg

Some days I lose my
Bright, trusty rememberer.
You relate, don’t you?
.
Home phone has become
My trusty cell phone finder.
Call it and listen –

silver iphone x beside succulent plant

Photo by thiago japyassu on Pexels.com

.
There’s a tune out there –
Simultaneous vibrate –
iPhone, where are you?
.
Think outside the box.
Think, where did you last use it?
I haven’t a clue!
.
Do you?

gray framed eyeglasses on black surface

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

.
See you tomorrow
(if I can find you)

My Friend, Carol


My 95 Year Old Friend

I’d like you to learn more about my friend, Carol.

Yesterday, when writing about “Understanding and Umbrellas,” I referred to my friend, Carol. I was visiting her in the hospital. She is such a dear!

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I looked in my archives and found this post… written a year or so ago.

It is worth revisiting today:

95 Years of Life Lessons

 

Understanding and Umbrellas


Understanding
was the first “U” word

that popped into my mind
when searching for
the quality we ALL need
to
add more meaning
and
find greater purpose
in life.

 

man and woman holding hands on brown wooden table

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

 

Understanding and Wisdom go Hand in Hand

What are the common roots of the two words?

I turned to scripture to find the answer to that question. This is a copy of my Bible page. As you can see, it is well marked! Look at how many times Proverbs 2 uses “wisdom” and “understanding.”

Understanding + Wisdom = Compassion

The Book of Proverbs teaches us, if we understand what is right and good, we will see what is just and fair. As a result, it will naturally follow that when we see injustice, when we witness someone being treated unfairly, we will have a heart of compassion, determined to respond.

Compassion is an Umbrella

OnahDave on HumePoets.com posted a poem today titled Drenched:

“Wrecked and broken by pain,
she drenched in the unlimited
down pour of her sorrow.”

When I read his poem, my immediate response was, “Give her your umbrella!”
When we understand another person’s pain, our compassion compels us to reach out with an umbrella of protection.

grayscale image of woman walking through the rain while holding umbrella

Photo by Kaique Rocha on Pexels.com

Umbrellas Take Many Forms

Sometimes the umbrella is a song! Today I visited my friend, Carol, who (at the advanced age of 95) is struggling to hang on to life. Her son and two daughters were in the hospital room with her.

Carol was having a better day today than when I saw her yesterday. Her children could tell because she was being a bit cantankerous!

Hah! She reminded me of my mom during her last days. Her mind rallied to the point that she knew what she wanted and what she didn’t. Her ability to say, “No!” rallied – – – and she exerted her independence while bed-bound and hooked up to oxygen. Like my mom, Carol is a strong and courageous woman.

Her daughters and I sang some cheery songs to her and enjoyed her smiles and nods – and her ability to squeeze my hand in appreciation. Her son snapped a few pictures. These are moments to remember!

Disney’s Sing-A-Long Songs – Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah VHS

was our first song. You know, you can’t help but smile when you sing that song! It sent an umbrella of joy over the entire room!

Then we sang Frank Sinatra’s “Dream Your Troubles Away.” Do you know that one? You can change “Dreams” to “Prayers” … and sing “Pray Your Troubles Away.” That thought fits the hand-in-hand analogy of understanding and wisdom as described in the second chapter of Proverbs. Here are the song’s revised words:

When skies are cloudy and gray,
They’re only gray for a day,
So wrap your troubles in prayer
And pray your troubles away.

Until that sunshine peeps through,
There’s only one thing to do:
Just wrap your troubles in prayer
And pray your troubles away.

Your castles may tumble
That’s fate after all,
Life’s really funny that way.

No need to grumble,
Smile as they fall,
Weren’t you queen for a day?

Just remember that sunshine
Always follows the rain.
So wrap your troubles in prayer
And pray your troubles away!

 

Sometimes, We Gotta Let the Rain Fall

Max Lucado has written a book titled, Unshakable Hope.
In a message promoting his book, he wrote,

“I’ve discovered that nothing lifts the weary soul like the promises of God. This book contains some of my favorite [promises]. Picture God’s words falling like rain from heaven on you. Imagine these promises as gentle spring showers. Receive them. Allow them to land on you, to soak you. I’m trusting that God’s words will prosper in your life.”

Understand God is in the Storms of Life

Rick Hamlin in today’s Guideposts prayed,
“God, don’t let my cynical heart
prevent me from seeing
You in unexpected places.”

Sometimes our vision is blurred by the storms that smack us in the face. The unexpected difficulties can put us in dark places where vision is limited. We wonder, “God, where are You?”

Even Jesus had such moments. “My God, my God, why hast Thou Forsaken me?” From the cross, He cried to His Father. It’s understandable that we sometimes have similar thoughts.

Sometimes we need to set aside the umbrella, lift our eyes to the sky, and dance in the rain – in spite of the trauma.

Wrap your troubles in prayer – and pray your troubles away –
or not!
Sometimes the clouds are meant to stay – more than a day –
But sunshine follows the rain.
Even if that sunshine is our promise of Life Eternal.

Relish the Beauty of God’s Promises.

scenic view of mountains during dawn

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com

Try to understand!
And be ready to put away your umbrella
or pass it along  –
use it to protect and encourage a friend.

Keep a song alive in your heart!

God bless you.

See you tomorrow.

Trap Time in a Tale


Welcome back to the A-Z series
devoted to ideas for
Adding Meaning
and
Finding Greater Purpose
in Life

Today’s Letter is “T”

Trap Time in a Tale

 

woman reading a book

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Trap Time in a Tale

It’s not a tall tale! It’s not a fish tale or a fairy tale.
It’s YOUR tale!

In These Days, Daily Devotions for Living by Faith, today’s devotional said,

“Sometimes in order to thrive,
we need stories more than we need food!”

I thought about calling this blog post “Thrive by Telling Tales,” because I think it’s true: some days we DO need stories more than food!

Some days I thrive on writing (and coffee), do you relate? Writing gives my life meaning and purpose.

I CAN Trap Time in a Tale.

You can, too. You probably do – every time you sit down to write!

Do your tales help add meaning and purpose to your life?

people coffee meeting team

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

I decided against,”Thrive by Telling Tales,”
when I thought of the Jim Croce song,
Time in a Bottle.” Do you know it?

“If I could save time in a bottle,
The first thing that I’d like to do,
Is to save every day
’til eternity passes away
To spend them with you.”

We may not be able to save time in a bottle, but we can Trap Time in a Tale!

The devotional I referred to in These Days is titled, Remembering Your Story. The author, Jan McGilliard wrote, “Stories can greatly expand our understanding of God, others, and ourselves… No matter your age or stage in life, remembering your own story is sacred work.”

Memoir or Autobiographical Tales

Each of us has a story to tell. It is sacred work! When we write our own stories, sometimes they are called autobiographies. They are focused on us, as the writer, the tale teller. Sometimes they are called Memoirs. What’s the difference?

LifeRich Publishing on the web says,

“The fine line between memoir and autobiography is a fuzzy one, especially in this modern literary era where writers are constantly blurring the boundaries between genres to create a new, exciting one. Like an autobiography, a memoir is a narrative that reveals experiences within the author’s lifetime. But there are obvious and practical differences between the two genres.

In essence, an autobiography is a chronological telling of one’s experience, which should include phases such as childhood and adolescence, adulthood, etc., while a memoir provides a much more specific timeline and a much more intimate relationship between the writer’s own memories, feelings, and emotions.”

Among other distinctions, LifeRich Publishing pointed out
Memoirs are:

  • less formal
  • more concerned with emotional truth toward a particular section of one’s life and how it makes one feel now
  • less obsessed with actual events

while Autobiography is essentially:

  • written by the main character (or at least drafted with a collaborative writer)
  • made up of detailed chronology, events, places, movements, reactions, and any other relevant information that inhabited the life of the subject
  • focused on facts – fact, above all, is its foundation

Memoir Writing

Gore Vidal gave his own distiction when he wrote his memoir, Palimpsest.

He said, “…a memoir is how one remembers one’s own life, while an autobiography is a history, requiring research, dates, facts, double-checking.”

I have written a memoir. It’s titled, “All My Marbles.” It is definitely less formal. It is concerned with emotional truth from my emotional perspective. It reflects how I feel now about my life’s people, events, and places – as well as how I feel about myself. It does capture Time in a Tale.

I don’t know if I will publish it in my lifetime or not. I finished it about three years ago. There are chapters about my grandparents and Bob’s. About my parents and his. About our marriage and children. And (to focus on its essential purpose) there is a chapter about and for each of my seven grandchildren. I want them to understand their Grammy better – – – know where I came from – – – and see how I responded/felt about each of them when they were born and as they grew into and through their teen years. They are now 23 to 28 years of age. Two have children of their own. One is about to have a second child, and one is about to get married.

Time in a bottle? No, time rushes on. But I trapped a period of it in my tale! It sings to me.

beach bottle cold daylight

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

“All My Marbles” sits here in my computer.
I have it saved to the cloud
in case my computer crashes.

All My Marbles

Because I love my JanBeek readers, and I respect your opinions and enjoy reading your posts, I want to share the foreword, the introduction to “All My Marbles” with you. Tell me what you think.

I’ll be 80 this July. My prayer is that for another decade (at least) I can keep all my marbles in place, and working. But, if not… I have Trapped Time in this Tale.

Here is the Introduction to “All My Marbles”

I want you to know that I am a rather strong-willed, sometimes too outspoken, retired career woman who intends to live to be ninety-plus with all my marbles in place. Right up to the last, I want to smell good and wear dangling earrings that match my outfit for the day. I hope my children will get the message that there’s no need to get twitter-pated about getting older. As long as you keep your eyes on the NOW, your sense of humor tuned, and allow your style to be uniquely YOU, it’s likely that (unlike my cantankerous mother), you will wear your shirt right-side-out and still “give a shit” at 89!

My mother was a real spitfire! I knew she was not long for this world when she headed out one afternoon to a doctor’s appointment with her blouse inside out. When I brought it to her attention, she barked, “Oh, who gives a shit?” See, that’s where that quote originated, and sure enough, it was one of her last appointments before she departed our company.

Mom wasn’t always so contrary. Back in the early sixties, I got my first job in the states as a result of my hometown superintendent’s interview with my mom. I was in Germany teaching first graders on an army base. He liked what Mom said about me, so he agreed to hire me sight unseen. Before school started, I returned to California and popped in to visit the superintendent.

“Why do you want to work?” he asked. “Why don’t you just stay home and take care of your husband and start your family?”

Even though it was not illegal in 1962 to make that rash assumption and ask such questions, I realized his inquiry was sexist and inappropriate.

“Why should I choose when I am able to do both?” I answered his question with a question of my own.

More than five decades later, I still am averse to making either/or choices. My two children assure me they never felt neglected even though they had a working mother. I loved them, scolded them, laughed with them, played with them, read to them, and spanked them when they needed it. Spare the rod and spoil the child. I believe that! I did the SuperMom/MasterWife stuff while volunteering at Sunday School, teaching primary children, getting my master’s degree, earning an administrative credential, being a principal at a year-round school, and supervising student teachers at the college level.  Why do only one thing when you can do six? I was part of the generation of women who knocked loudly at the glass ceiling.

Now, in my senior years, I know it’s important to keep my mind active. “No day is complete,” my mother-in-law always said, “unless you have learned something new.”

On this bumpy road of life, I am learning something new every day. Certainly it is not a smooth ride on a gravy train. You need to keep a sharp eye on the muck ahead, remember to glimpse lovingly at those around you, and listen for that still small Voice to guide you. Life is a constant learning adventure.  All your marbles must be shined and put in place to survive and thrive. The bottom line is love. If it’s not unconditional, all hell breaks loose.

Let me introduce you to my family members and share some of my favorite life lessons with you.

 

So, my blogging friends, what do you think?
Does the introduction invite you to the memoir
in a way that would cause others to be interested?
Or should I just self-publish ten copies
(one for each of my children,
one for myself,
and one for each grandchild)

… and call it a day?

See you tomorrow.

Optimism Brings Positivity


Thanks for joining me on our A-Z journey
to find ways to
Add More Meaning
and
Discover Clearer Purpose
in Life

Today we’ll explore the letters “O” and “P”
Optimism and Positivity

Optimism Brings Positivity!

Or, is it the other way around?

Does Positivity bring Optimism?

I couldn’t separate these two!

positivity potion.jpg

Like so many of the concepts we’ve explored in this A-Z series, these two (optimism and positivity) go hand-in-hand.

When you live with the “Positivity Potion” in your life, optimism is a natural by-product!

I am reminded of a story I have read more than once in various places. It’s about an elderly lady who is being guided down the hallway of a nursing home. The CNA (certified nurse’s assistant) says to her, “Your room is at the end of this hallway.”

The lady smiles at her and cheerfully exclaims, “I like it!”

“But you haven’t seen it yet,” the CNA responds.

“Oh, I know, but I like it.”

This lady had more than a sprinkle of acceptance.
She had more than a hint of gratitude.
She lived with more than a feather of hope.
Her positivity potion was overflowing with optimism about life and her future.

She is someone you’d like to have as your roommate
should the day come when you need to move into a nursing home.

Stay positive.png

These items of advice don’t suddenly become obsolete when you’re retired and don’t have to get up and go to a job every day. In fact, as a person who is aging (aren’t we all?), it is more important than ever that I remain positive in order to be happy.

When I was recovering from a knee replacement and struggling with more pain than I anticipated in the recuperation process, it was more important than ever that I remain positive, keep hope for a better outcome ahead, and work hard to remain happy.

Challenges keep coming.
Life is not a bed of feathery frolicking through the tulips!
It is more important than ever that I continue to work hard
(find meaningful work to maintain a sense of purpose),
and give my days reason to hope.
Not just a feather of hope,
but the whole chirping, red-breasted robin!

animal avian beak bird

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I never can let myself become so rigid, and set in my ways, and sure of my own way of doing things that I grow beyond the need to accept criticism. I must always keep learning. With a positive attitude, I can thank the one who offers the criticism –  thank him or her for sharing an opinion with me – for caring enough to speak their words of correction. Take it in – try the shoe on and see if it fits! And weigh its merits. Keep learning and looking for ways to improve. Always!

With an attitude of optimism
and a demeanor of positivity,
I will attract happy, warm, and generous people.
And I will be one of them.

What better way to approach my 80th birthday – and the days ahead?

 

Bring Optimism and Positivity with you into your tomorrows!

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Meaningful Memories


Welcome to Day #13
of my A-Z series,

How to
Add Greater Meaning
and Find More Purpose
in Life

Today’s letter is “M”
The topic: Meaningful Memories


My Memories Haiku

All have memories
Some more vivid than others
We’d like some to fade

person uses pen on book

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

But, not really…
Even painful memories serve a purpose.
As we reflect on them years later, we uncover truths –
Truths about ourselves we may not have realized at the time.
That’s what makes them meaningful!

As a writer who loves to write poetry, and someone who is exploring the significance of memories for adding meaning to our lives, I was fascinated by this

Interview with Poet kjmunro

by Frank J. Tassone

Question #3 was, “Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?”

Poet Kjmunro responded, “Sometimes I wish that I could be more comfortable in a crowd – but that may have more to do with being an introvert than being a poet. Writing poetry helps me to make sense of my life & my experiences, & because of it I have pushed my boundaries, accepted challenges, & pursued opportunities that have enriched my life… I can’t imagine my life without it.”

(You can click on the interview title above and see more of this meaningful post.)

woman holding blue shakspere book over face

Photo by JJ Jordan on Pexels.com

 

Likewise, I cannot imagine my life without the gift of writing – both poetry and prose. I enjoy writing poetry. I love reading it. I treasure the opportunity to share it.  Writing is a way to keep memories alive. It is a way to make sense of my life and my experiences. It is a way to express gratitude, to plan ahead, and to reflect. It is a way to push boundaries and accept challenges.

Yesterday in our Writers’ Group, the writing prompt was, “Tell Us About Someone You Used to Love.” The prompt brought to mind some very vivid, meaningful memories. Let me share my story with you:

Someone I Used to Love

I need to get up and face the student body on this October Spring Rally Day. But, I don’t want to.

I have made it as far as the front steps of the historic, brick Turlock Union High School before sitting down and letting the tears fall.

The sun is bright. Because it’s school spirit day, I have on one blue and one gold sock. My black and white saddle shoes are tucked beneath my poodle skirt with layers of crinoline fluffing around me. The blue and gold pom-poms lie motionless beside me. I look for the usual friends. No one approaches. They must all be inside already. Loneliness rings as the bell sounds the warning: first period will begin in ten minutes

What is it that has created such reluctance and dread in my soul?

About a week ago, my tall, athletic ex-boyfriend approached me in the hallway. “You know you don’t have any friends. The only reason people say Hi to you is because you say Hi to them first. If you didn’t, no one would talk to you.”

Oh my! Could it be true? Why was Richard telling me this? I used to love him. We used to have great fun together. Mutt and Jeff, they called us. Just because I broke up with him and am now dating soeone my own size, does that mean this 6’4″ basketball star should suddenly start bullying me?

Back in the 50’s I don’t think I knew the term “bullying.” I didn’t realize that’s what Richard was doing. His words cut deeply.

I decided to test out his hypothesis. I stopped cheerfully greeting everyone I saw with a “Hi!” Instead, I looked at them, waiting to hear their greeting first.

Richard was right! Most kids just looked quizically in my direction and walked past – or worse yet – they didn’t look at me at all. I felt like I must have forgotten my deodorant that day!

Now I’m feeling alone and abandoned on the front steps. I have ten minutes to get to class. With a deep sigh, I get up, take a deep breath, pick up my pom-poms, and head inside. My buddy, Phil, voted “Best Dressed Guy” in the senior class, walked up to me when I entered the building. I glance in his direction.

“What’s wrong with you lately?” he asked. “You’re being so stuck up!”

I told him what Richard had said.

“Oh, for cryin’ out loud,” he reprimanded, taking me by the shoulders.

I looked up into his caring blue eyes with tears in mine. “But Richard…” I sobbed, “he said…” I couldn’t go on.

Phil wrapped me tightly in his arms right there in the middle of Turlock High’s crowded hallway. Backing up a bit, he put his hands on my shoulders again. He leaned down and whispered, “He’s just jealous – and hurt. A big basketball star can’t stand it that his girl left him for a 5’3″ Stumper. He’s just trying to hurt you back. You just be the girl you always were. Don’t let anyone take away your perkiness.”

I used to love Richard. Now I just feel sorry for him. I saw him coming toward me as I headed for class.

“Hi!” I perked in his direction and walked on – shoulders squared – head held high.

***

Reliving these vivid memories more than sixty years later, I realize how impactful Richard’s words and Phil’s encouragement were. It was an important growing up experience. I haven’t let anyone take away my perkiness since then.

Meaningful memories stay with us – and change us – forever.
Thank you, Phil, and Richard!

***

Do you have a meaningful memory?
One that helps you make sense of your life and experiences?

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