Love this photo shot! We had the best day. Mild temps, cool water and I walked the beach for 1 hour and 45 minutes.. As I walked I decided to give the gift of a smile and a greeting to every one I passed! Every single person smiled back with their own greeting. I think that for the most part, humanity is a good creation. We all just want to feel peace, love and harmony in this world. By the way, as I walked along with the cool waves rushing over my feet, my spirit was ageless. I felt like a young adolescent. I felt young and healthy and strong. Not that I am any of that, but for that space of time as I strolled along I felt that way. My endorphins were at full steam! Happiness always occurs when in nature! ❤️❤️❤️
A new form of art!
The art of patience.
Gift from the sea
Whenever we are at the beach, I think of the book written by Anne Morrow Lindberg which I read in my 40’s, titled “Gift from the Sea”.
The book touched me in the way she described staying in a house by the sea as she wrote stories about the different types of sea shells and wove them into a story about her life, each chapter a different shell. I could feel the sea spray on my face and the warm sun on my skin as I followed her story, and I wondered what it must have been like for her to be wealthy enough to follow her heart anywhere she wanted to go! Since my reality was much different than hers, I followed HER thoughts in her writings and found myself enjoying the imaginary life.
Imagine owning a house by the sea where the sound of crashing waves is a daily occurance. Imagine also, walking a beach that runs along your very own beach house where you are often greeted by tiny little flocks of Sandpipers dancing at your feet as they run toward the waves to see what meal the ocean has brought to them! Imagine watching the seagulls riding the wind currents dipping and soaring before they land. Think of listening to them sqwack with enjoyment of their airy ride. Can’t you just see the sunlight glinting like diamonds off the surface of the water? Oh my! Now all this just has to be as close to living in heaven as it gets!
Today, we are at Mira Mar beach in Florida and have rented two chairs and a large beach umbrella. Hubby has gone for a walk, clad in protection from the sun with a long sleeved “coolaray” shirt that has a UV protection of 50. Oh, and he is wearing a big rimmed hat as well. This is the price we pay for all the years we played in the sun with very little protection. Our skin is fragile now and we pay frequent visits to the dermatologist.
MY “bathing suit” consists of a pair of knee length stretchy capris and a short sleeved, v neck, pull over top. I don’t lay in the sun anymore and where I do happen to get tan is sufficient for the type of clothes I wear these days anyway! The thing is, at this age no one gives us a second look anymore. in fact a first look is actually a glance and then we are dismissed. Old is not a thing of beauty. At least not by visual standards.
As I sit here under the big umbrella, I watch a big group of young teen boys diving in the rolling waves, unbothered by the still cool temperature of the water! They are also throwing a foot ball back and forth along the beach next to the water and are making a lot of noise in their enjoyment of this stretch of beach, which I am enjoying too.
For the record, I like being old. I like the absence of a need to impress. It simply does not matter what we look like anymore…well, of course, one needs to be clean and well groomed, but all the fussing over appearance is long gone. Our houses, cars, clothes, recreation toys, do not matter at all! Why, because you realize they never did matter all that much to anyone else but yourself! When you recede into the background like many aged people do, you feel a sense of freedom. If no one is watching, then who even cares?
Being old is a bit like being a middle child which is what I was growing up. The oldest child gets a lot of attention because they are the first at everything from the parents experience and generally excell at all things they do. The youngest gets a lot of attention as well because they are the “baby” of the family and everything they do is “so cute” “darling” and so on. Being the middle child, in my experience, was a bit like being invisible and I mean this in the most positive of ways. I wasn’t pressured by other peoples assessment of me because I was rarely the focus. This left me to live large in my imagination and through the imagination of others by reading their books and stories. I was always reading, always, whether it was a book, a magazine or a cereal box.
I still read a lot and I am forever researching about things I don’t know about or understand. I learned how to be invisible long, long ago and I am comfortable with it, so old age is comfortable to me now where I come and go without the slightest bit of attention directed at me. I neither crave it nor need the attention.
I like to write my thoughts…not sure why because I don’t think these thoughts hold value to anyone else but me…well my husband likes my writings, and so does my daughter. She is a big fan of her Mother (and Father) and on a daily basis lets us feel her love in phone calls.
Writing, for me, is a form of prayer expressing appreciation for all good things in my life. I am sometimes overwhelmed by the bounty of Gods gifts. They are there for the taking…the sun, the sea, the mountains, valleys, rivers, streams, even the beauty of bountiful snow.
Even life’s challenges are gifts from God, for this is where we learn and grow! In the midst of the happy times, I have had some pretty difficult lessons that tested me big time. While they were painful at the time, looking back I could see where the incident refined me into a better person. My empathetic nature grew with every single hurt I felt, every challenge I faced, and every moment of aloneness or rejection I endured. Had I not been through the various refining fires of life, I could not possibly understand another person’s pain or heartache.
Thinking of God and his creation reminds me of a child’s song of prayer learned long ago….
“Oh the Lord is good to me,
and so I thank the Lord,
for giving me the things I need,
the sun and the rain and the apple seed,
Oh the Lord is good to me!
Amen! Amen! Amen,amen,amen, aaaaaaamen! Praise the Lord!
Well, the day is calling me to go for a walk along the beach so I shall close.
May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace!
Are you aware of how much I think of you these days? I miss you at such random times. Sometimes when I hear a certain song on the radio, I think of you, and I think of you every time I read one of your daughters fb posts. She has your loving heart and I can see why you were so proud of her. I thought of you when we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and saw a picture of you wearing one of those beautiful bridesmaid gowns. We set these photos out for the family to see and knew that you would have loved to share in our celebration! You were my roommate before we got married and You and I got married 3 months apart, you being the first to walk down the aisle. I wonder what you can see here on earth? Do you know what we think, say and do? There are many viewpoints written out there on the life we have after this life. I wonder what lessons you could share with me that I should learn?
I sometimes think of my life as being represented by an old sweater and my personal losses of loved ones are represented by holes in my sweater. YOU left a huge hole in my sweater when you left! My goodness how much I miss you! That hole is taking a lot of time to mend.
My sweater is filled with many holes that have developed through the years and I fear it may be getting close to unraveling, which, of course it will at some point, but I keep myself busy mending those holes as best I can! Sweaters just do not last forever. My sweater has kept me warm and gives me a sense of security when I wrap myself in it, but now it feels less sturdy and resilient than it once was. Too many holes.
Early on in my life one of the first memorable holes developed when I lost my first real boyfriend in the service. That was also a big hole and it took me a long time to mend it. Four more holes developed when I lost my most wonderful grandparents each of whom left an impression on my life. Each had their own lessons to teach me, just by being who they were and the actions they took in life. Grandparents are Gods gift to us of unconditional love and I felt it with each and everyone of them! Two more big holes showed up when my parents died and honestly, those holes were very difficult to mend, almkst impossible to fill in. Several more holes showed up when Aunts and Uncles died, more holes with young cousins, and more with additional friends…oh my! My sweater is so full of mended holes. The mending keeps my sweater (life) from falling apart, but the mended areas are clearly visible to me as reminders that there are no guarantees in life! None whatsoever! How long do we walk this earth? We do not know but what we do know is that we should make our time here as full and valuable as possible.
You and I had the Lucy and Ethel monikers going for the 50+ years we knew each other. I remember how, as roomies, we used to watch the old black and white reruns of the “I love Lucy” show and crack up over their many follies! Somehow I became Lucy and you were Ethel.
Ahhh, well…..Sometimes it takes THIS long before a person understands that the payment we make for a long life comes with the relinquishing of people we love who go back to God before us. It does make me wonder about being the “last man standing”! I am not sure what I think of that. But, God in His wisdom has all this perfectly planned out and I trust God!
O.k. Ethel…I am going outside to check on my plants. We had quite the thunder boomer last night with a LOT of rain! I don’t know when I will be joining you, but please save me a seat. We’ll have a lot of catching up to do when the time comes!
Libraries and books
So, the electrician left this morning and I do believe that this was the final project completed in our new-old house! Yay for our team. After he left we hopped in the car to bring returns to UPS and to drop off clothes for alterations. It has been years since I have had anything altered so my mouth dropped when she quoted me prices for hemming garments! WHY didn’t I pay more attention in Home Economics back in school all those many years ago? Gulp!
From there we went to the Georgetown Library to gather up some books for our vacation! I am now a proud card carrying Georgetown Library citizen! I am sitting here sipping a chai tea by the Little Lemon cafe. We are looking forward to reading our books inside a cabana on the beach! It’s a way off yet, but we are really looking forward to some R & R after months and months of downsizing and moving and rehabbing.
We are ready for the next leg of our earth journey…new friends, new places to see, leisurely walks…oh yeah…aging isn’t so bad!
Embracing what we love!
I feel soooooo happy and content today! Why you ask? Well, after just a week shy of 3 months, our house is about done being rehabbed, (at least as far as we intend to go with it.) Yesterday, the painters finished painting the entire exterior of the house including replacing rotted facia board where needed and then painted that as well. They painted our little sidewalk leading up to our front door and the house looks perky and freshly done. It looks like a very cute antique cottage loved by its two antique inhabitants.
But the REALLY happy part came for me today when we were finally getting to the end touches of our home. We were cleaning and returning furniture and stuff to the back porch after the paint was dry. Then while cleaning indoors, I put a vase of flowers on the table behind our sofa, layed out some woven runners on table top surfaces, as well as some very lovely hand stitched hardanger embroidery pieces for side tables, dressers and buffets. The more I added the things I loved to our surroundings, the happier I became and the more connected I felt to times gone by.
Who decides what is “in” or “out” in decorating anyway? I have long known that I am an old soul, so things that appeal to me likely do not appeal to the younger generation. Nor do they hecessarily appeal to those of my own peers who are always looking to have the latest and greatest. What a hamster wheel THAT is anyway!
Then came the time to decide where to put our Bose multi-c.d. player and we finally agreed on a spot. We ran to get our c.d. library albums and popped in an “Asleep at the Wheel” 25th anniversary c.d. and off we went on a couple of waltz steps across the floor just as if we were in an old dance hall! Goodness, there is that word again. (Old) Dang! Well phooey on that, we are only as old as we feel and we do not feel one bit old, even now, a week after our golden anniversary! Nope…not when our souls and spirits are ageless. Swing, sway, dip, glide, glide, glide! Ahhh! The stuff happiness is made of!
Over the past couple of years as we were minimizing our things tossing, giving, selling and bequeathing 50 years of stuff, I kept a tight grip on my c.d. player. I have many, many albums of c.d. ‘s and they are chock full of most all of the music we love. Because our favorite music includes a vast array of genre’s, I just could not part with them, and besides, the amount of money invested in these over the years is not a small sum!
The kids kind of chuckled at our antiquated way of listening to music, but they were not there for our parting of the ways with our 45’s and 33 1/3 L.P.’s to make room for the 8 track tapes. Nor were they aware when we tossed the 8 track tapes in favor of the smaller and more portable cassette tapes. They WERE there, but unbothered by the relinquishing of our cassettes in favor of the new “mini records” known as c.d.’s! Then the MP3 players showed up and it was there where we dug our heels in and said “ENOUGH ALREADY!”. We are all done supporting the marketing department of the music business. We are glad we continued to hoard our c.d.’s and put them into albums dedicated to whatever genre they belong to for we can access them anytime we want!
Our kids say, “But, Mom! You can take it right off the phone and have it play on your speaker! Why bother with c.d. ‘s?” Well, they are correct in that regard because we have done this when staying in hotels on vacations and enjoyed the music in our room or on the balcony, wherever we happened to be. So it does make sense in that kind of setting..
BUT….and this is a big BUT, will I always be able to find exactly the music I want to listen to on demand???? What if the powers that be in the tech world decide to ditch some of our favorite music. Oh no! I am not taking a chance on that! No M’am! No Sir!
Why do so many of us feel compelled to toss everything that isn’t the most current and up to date, whether it is music, clothes, cars or even houses! Why are we so wasteful and why do we assume because something has come out that is newer, it is automatically better?
As I type this, my foot is tapping while I listen to easy western swing music…I am feeling very happy vibes and as I listen to this western swing group, I scan the room and spot my little vase of fresh flowers, a small flame flickering on a scented candle, and note the brightness of my cozy little home, all while I am sipping some very hot lemon ginger tea.
I love our new older home. We have NO intention of updating it in every category…We just aimed for fresh paint, new shutters, wood floors and repairs. There ARE other things that could be updated, but we are unbothered by these things. There is no pretention at this house. Just two older people who are happy to let go of “keeping current” while we embrace ALL things that make us smile and cause our heart to swell!
(Now, WHERE did I put those old hip hugger, bell bottom pants? I’ll bet they will REALLY hug my hips these days!) Lol!
Orange ya glad we met?
What happens when old people buy an old house? Lets just say that when we decided to downsize for the last and final time, we were seeking to put off any thought of Independent Living places. We just don’t feel the need for anything like that yet. We had many thoughts about how we would go about things! We knew that we were way past the stage of wanting to do a full renovation on a house, for as history has taught us, the latest and greatest is only new for a while! We have built two new homes and it was so much fun picking out tile, carpeting, cabinets, floor plans etc. We did it twice and of course the second house took on a distinctly different flair from the first house. Everything was brand spanking new! But, as we discovered, all things get old in time!
This time we moved to a retirement community and we looked at the new homes which were nice, but the lots were tiny and so were the houses. Through the years, retirement communities have cut back on a lot of things in the new build category. At the top of our wish list was the desire to have a sense of privacy from the neighbors, which one does not get very often in the newer sections of these retirement communities. We really liked this place because our house sits a respectable distance from the neighbors, and because our back porch looks over a greenbelt. This was the main reason we decided to buy this house.
Right out of the gate, fresh from signing the purchase agreement, we hired painters to paint all the walls and ceilings throughout because 20 year old paint just looked tired. We replaced the old carpeting in the Master Bedroom with wood flooring, and we hired an electrician to move a couple of fans and add some overhead lighting. So we were making progress! Al decided to have the exterior painted as well, as there were some cracks in the stucco. Essentially, a lot of the signs of aging have been corrected.
We love the house! This house feels “just right” for this time of our lives. It is comfortable and easy to maintain. Al wanted a “lock and leave” place so we could travel and he has no interest in living in “House Beautiful”. What I mean by this is that other than the painting, bedroom flooring, a little electrical work, and interior shutters, we are done! We can age in place here very well!
Which brings me to orange! The Top kitchen cabinets are shorter than most cabinets are these days but seem to be of solid good quality. They had no hardware when we moved in and now they sport warm oil rubbed bronze handles. Unfortunately, in the 20 years since the cabinet installation, the finish has oxidized. The finish which was once a soft natural finish has turned to an orange! ORANGE! The handles helped a lot in how they look…but, oh dear! Orange!! My first instinct was to paint them or have them painted a neutral color. But in the two months since we have moved in, I realize that I kind of like them. They blend very well with the wood floor (another story). Besides, even if I did not like them, I really have NO interest in going through a painting process at this age, whether by our own hands or the hands of a professional. The cabinets have a vintage feel to them, and what better pairing of homeowners and their cabinets than when BOTH are vintage! Haha!
Frankly, I have tired of chasing after the latest and greatest! I am weary of the ongoing TV shows that teach us how to be unsatisfied with the way our house looks! All we ever see is a gutting and stripping of the family home, with no thought given to the people who lived and loved there within those well worn walls. I am impatient with this materialistic world where we are forever running to keep up. Whether we know it or not, we are negatively affected by the hyper focusing and comparisons of externals. The only thing that ever gives us happiness and joy is love of family and friends and a connectedness between all and this can be as easily felt within the confines of a tent! Love is love no matter where one expresses it and feels it.
I remember the days when we were young and we went along with our Mothers on a visit to a neighbors, friends or relatives house. Nothing about anyones decor was ever scripted or “exquisitely appointed”. (At least not in the region I lived in.) Houses in those days were as individual as the people who lived there. Those women did not hire people to come in and plan out their decor. I don’t think that was something even available to these country women in those times. Their budgets would not have allowed for it in any case. So for us as children, these visits were fun as we let our eyes roam around the hostess home which was so very different from our own home. We sat quietly entertaining ourselves in fun visual adventure, while our Mothers visited. Every single home was different and unique. House plants were a thing in those days, often sitting on the window sills leaning into the light coming through the glass. I specifically remember a plant called “baby tears” which was a small green plant with multitude of tiny tear shaped leaves. I remember many of the women in the area often had baked goods on their counters and it smelled heavenly as we waited in anticipation of being offered a piece of a hot, sweet something or another. As a matter of fact, I am still enthralled with plants and baked goods! Lol!
I digress….I found myself a long way down memory lane as I sat with my tea contemplating my orange cabinets. I had to bring myself back around to the present moment. I look again at the shiny, orange glow and smile. Yup! I think I will keep them as they are right now. Haha! Maybe I will get a vibrant rug, paint a wall in the kitchen, buy a plant for my table by the front window! These are easy things to do and relatively cheap! I already feel as if I am “back home” (waaaaay back) and I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside as I do the comparisons.
NEED to have is more important than WANT to have.
FUNCTIONAL is preferable to WASTE.
I remember my Grandpa stating when talking about something quite old. “It is perfectly good as it is.” “Waste not is want not!“
Yes, this could be fun!
I hear something speaking to me in a soft low voice. Actually, almost telepathic, I would say….“What’s that you say?”
My cabinets send out waves of loving telcommunication…
“Orange you glad we found each other?” They ask!
“I absolutely am! Nice to meet you and I am so glad to make your acquaintance! ..I think we shall become great friends!”
ORANGE! For me it is the new beige! Lol!
Good Morning Sunshine!
Every morning, I usually walk from our bedroom to the kitchen to prepare my french press coffee and then carry it to my chair in the great room. This is a daily ritual. On clear days with blue skies, I am greeted by long, bright shafts of light pouring through the triple patio doors which graces the interior of our new (old) cottage.
We are experiencing many new things in our recent move and this is one of our favorite changes. In all of our married life, I don’t think we have ever had a large window with a southern exposure. It is pure pleasure. The perks that we are discovering in our 20 year old house are often unexpected because we had our last two homes built, so they had all new features. This house is such a source of pleasure to me with its slightly aged feel and and I especially like the smaller footprint it leaves on Gods green earth.
Good morning sunshine! You are my favorite friend to run into on a sunny southern day! Hello God! I know it is You! Thanks for stopping by!
Side yard to our new itty bitty life. I thought about the lyrics to Alan Jacksons song and it actually fits our life quite well. We started out itty bitty and now at some point we will be making the final exit from another version of itty bitty. Alan Jackson is right when he sang, “it’s alright to be itty bitty!”. Its not only alright, at this age it suits us perfectly well. I always felt that a little cottage life would be the best kind of life.
Have a little love on a little honeymoon
You got a little dish and you got a little spoon
A little bitty house and a little bitty yard
A little bitty dog and a little bitty car
Well, it’s alright to be little bitty
A little hometown or a big old city
Might as well share, might as well smile
Life goes on for a little bitty while
A little bitty baby in a little bitty gown
It’ll grow up in a little bitty town
Big yellow bus and little bitty books
It all started with a little bitty look
Well, it’s alright to be little bitty
A little hometown or a big old city
Might as well share, might as well smile
Life goes on for a little bitty while
You know you got a job and a little bitty check
A six pack of beer and a television set
Little bitty world goes around and around
Little bit of silence and a little bit of sound
A good ol’ boy and a pretty little girl
Start all over in a little bitty world
Little bitty plan and a little bitty dream
It’s all part of a little bitty scheme
It’s alright to be little bitty
A little hometown or a big old city
Might as well share, might as well smile
Life goes on for a little bitty while
It’s alright to be little bitty
A little hometown or a big old city
Might as well share, might as well smile
Life goes on for a little bitty while
What we make of it!
26 years ago when we made the decision to move to Texas we had no idea how much it would impact our life, in both good ways and bad. The decision was well thought out and we knew it was really the only wise choice at the time. The “why” of it is for another story. The important thing at the time was that this was the right decision for all the right reasons. We were empty nesters by then and we had no worries about upsetting the kids with yet another move, and Lord knows, we moved them enough!
Somehow, I thought that since all the kids were still single, they would all follow us to Texas, but to my surprise our older son chose to stay in the Midwest saying “I am sorry Mom, but I am a 4 seasons kind of guy!”. He remained there to continue in his teaching career and 4 of us moved to Texas. He was there that last day after the moving van left stuffed full of our belongings, and it broke my heart when 4 cars went one direction to the south and one went another path.
Other than that sad separation, it was an exciting time as Al and I were middle aged and we felt like we had a whole lot of life ahead of us… The future looked bright and promising and for the most part we are still happy with that long ago decision. We have made friends with some remarkable and wonderful people. We really developed our roots in the area where we built our home and many friends became like family…a chosen family who chose us back!
When we first began settling in, there were holidays that were vastly changed because of the move. Well, in truth , they have ALL been drastically changed forever. The first Mothers Day we spent in Austin, we were dressed and ready for church and my heart was heavy as we got into the car for our drive to church. The kids were all off in distant towns or working. As Al pulled up into the church parking lot, a lump formed in my throat as the thought of a lone Mother going into church without her children on Mothers Day bloomed in my mind. Before I even understood what I was feeling, I burst into tears and Al held my hand making soothing sounds. I finally collected my emotions, wiped my eyes and nose and stepped out of the car. As I did, I heard “Happy Mothers Day Mom!” I whipped around and there was our younger son, all decked out for church with flowers in his hands. I had NO idea he would be there because Al had told me earlier he had to work! My heart burst with joy at this huge blessing to this very bereft woman. Into church we went and I think I kept pointing at him, introducing “our son” to total strangers! Haha! Not exactly his favorite thing since he is such a private person. But he tolerated it with grace. We had lunch following and then he had to head back into work and we went home…a placated Mom and a much relieved Dad. ❤️❤️❤️
The past 25 years have been just like that…ups and downs coming in equal amounts. In the beginning years I could not watch a Hallmark movie without having to wring out my hanky throughout.
It was exciting to build our “empty nest” house with emphasis on the things WE liked. Al wanted to go smaller, but I wanted more space for “the kids” to feel “welcome and wanted” in our “family” home. I was deluding myself to some degree because though they did come often to visit and spent time with us, this house was never something they considered their home. It was “Ma and Pa’s” place…. a place that they grew attached to, but they were launched into their own lives and were happy to have a place to gather with their sibs and folks, but afterwards they would go back to their own homes.
I have often wondered how life would have been had we never left our Minnesota home. Would the kids have settled in around us or gone off to far away places? I guess I will never know the answer to that. As things go, we are blessed to have at least one of our children close by in the same city. The others live in other cities but we are never forgotten as the phone rings frequently with a cheerful voice on the other end saying “Hello Mom….Hi Dad!” I imagine that we are not so different from millions of other families that are separated by geographical expanses.
Through the years , we have given up more and more of our expectations. It took a while to get the hang of it, but the more of these we released, the happier we became. I began to understand in a very real way that our children are only on loan to us…we don’t get to keep them. Well, we do keep our children close to our hearts, of course we do, but not in the day to day, 24-7 kind of way, which is actually good. I would have a hard time giving up my Mothering instinct that kicks into high gear each time I spend time with them. I am able to control these instincts for short periods of times, but if they lived here with me, I am afraid we would all digress and that could become an unhappy event. haha!
I do love our children…but I am happy to also say that I LIKE our adult “kids” very much! They have become our friends and they are such nice human beings. Do we sometimes spend holidays alone? Yes, on occasion. Do we get to gather with ALL of them each time we are with family? No, but the gatherings where they are all there, tells me that they all like each other. (Now there is the gift!) ❤️
It was after our move to Texas where I began to write down my thoughts on things. I did so when I was troubled, sad, hurt, happy….it was a way of releasing these feelings out into the universe and afterwards I usually felt so much better. Writing is a form of company too. Essentially, I am having a written conversation with myself. I have always been an avid reader which then compounded my tendency to be a day dreamer. Writing helps clear the debris field of words laying about on the floor of my mind. Writing helps to sweep out the clutter in my brain and move forward clear headed and ready to take on the world…until it fills up all over again.
Today is very quiet and tomorrow is Christmas Eve. We will be just the two of us, but we have made plans for tomorrow to attend two Christmas services in two churches. One is an early afternoon service in our new town and one is an evening service in our previous church. We have reservations at a very cool looking restaurant via a gift card from our older son who will be celebrating Christmas with his family in the north country. He is still a “4 Seasons kind of guy”, God bless him! We would have loved to join him but our move got in the way of that this year.
We have discovered the value of the quiet holidays over the years. It gives a person time to savor that homemade Christmas cookie with a hot cup of tea while listening to Christmas music playing in the background. It gives us time to read…and write…and read Christmas cards from a lifetime of friendships! Of course, as parents we want it all, but just like stuffing ourselves with too many sweets, we have come to know that a very full Christmas can have its own set of drawbacks. We know that parceling out the holidays bit by bit has its own kind of enjoyment.
Besides…none of us is ever alone…ever! Jesus birthday is about the greatest gift ever given, so the Christmas story is always a welcomed read. Life is usually what we decide to make of it, so make it a great holiday event! I love lemonade if you catch my drift. I also love lemon bars, lemon cookies, lemon drops…The list is long of how to sweeten things up a bit when lemons are handed out! In our new house we have no fireplace! (lemons). I am listening to Christmas music with a fireplace burning heartily on the screen in front of mr. (Lemonade) 😁.
Merry Christmas everyone! It is great to be alive! Blessings from Georgetown, Texas!
This Side of Heaven!
Yesterday was a very good day. I stepped outside into the backyard of our cottage style home right into a warm sunny day. I walked over to check on a new small tree we had planted because it was going through some major stress due to its relocation. (These moves are hard on both humans and trees alike.) I thought to myself as I stroked its tender branches with a myriad of browning leaves, “welcome to the club buddy, I can relate to your stress but frankly, YOU are not even close to being as old as I am!”. Lol!
I have to say, My husband and I are feeling pretty proud of ourselves, having managed a move at this point in our life. Spending time going through a lifetime of memories….sorting, discarding, deciding to keep some things for sentimental reasons, it all takes its toll because essentially, one relives everything one touches as one go through the process. It was almost akin to a life review.
This is our second downsize. The first time we chose to go smaller, I wasn’t quite ready to face the fact that the kids had, indeed, been launched. Our last home was our empty nest house, and while we did downsize from the previous home, it still ended up being way more than we needed or ended up using fully. But, we enjoyed it for almost 25 years and it was time to consider something smaller yet, and easier to manage.
When we searched for a home, we knew that we wanted a place where we could lock and leave to go on trips anytime we wanted. This meant a yard that had almost zero maintenance. This one is xeriscaped! We feel as if we are in the country with no neighbors. We have neighbors to each side of us, but not the back. We especially wanted a home that would not be too large to manage for one when the other of us eventually takes our leave of earth.
I smile to myself as I send up thanks yet again to God for granting our wishes to be unencumbered in our older age. Funny how all the things that at one time I thought I just had to have now mean very little to me. It is true you know….the less you have the less you have to worry about.
In our new smaller surroundings I get to enjoy my morning cup of coffee in front of a window where I can watch walkers go by. We have a tiny table for two sitting there and at each meal it feels like we snagged a good table at a local bistro.
There is very little traffic on our street and we love this fact. It is a very quiet street! The kitchen sits on the front of the house and the living room sits at the back with triple patio doors that look through a porch onto a greenbelt.
This house came with a dining room space at the kitchen side of the living room, but I scratched that because we rarely do formal sit down dinners anymore, so I added that space to the living room which makes it feel more like a great room than a small living room. I did buy a flip top table, a very cool invention, which looks like a thin console table but if you want to set it up for dining, there are two long leaves resting on top of each other that flip outward and form a dining table. It will be interesting to see how often I make use of this table in the years to come.
This house is an older home, so we had the interior repainted a neutral color throughout and added a wood floor to the Master Bedroom which then gave us a house with no carpet. My allergies are happy about this. We chose an older home because the older homes do not sit on top of each other as the new builds so often do these days.
Yesterday, after I communed with our new tree, I began to tackle a very tired looking garden path that leads to nowhere. I pulled up bricks for use elsewhere in our yard and proceeded to disperse the crushed granite as well. I was thinking of a sign I had at our other home that was etched with a cute phrase. “Old gardeners never die…they just spade away”.. Lol! So true. I will never again garden to the degree I did previously, but until my dying day, I just have to have a little patch of dirt in which to plunge my gloveless hands, turning it and readying it for some little plant wanting a new home out in the yard under sunny skies. I like to walk barefoot on the grass as well and am grateful the neighbors can’t see that country girl aspect of my personality, I actually read recently that the earth gives off healing energy to those who walk barefoot and I am hoping this is the case as I enjoy feeling the soft green grass tickling my toes.
Well, this musing has gone on long enough! I have also read that we create our own reality with our thoughts and I tend to think this is true. I was born an optimist and have always been open to any possibility. Prayer is powerful and the key to prayer is the belief that God will provide. He has indeed provided for us. We basically have everything we need in this last stop before our journey to heaven and while it is modest in scope, it is grand in the freedom we now feel!
God is good!
Downtown Georgetown on a Saturday night! Our first social outing after months of packing boxes and moving. For those of you who do not know, we have sold our home and moved to Georgetown, Texas. (I think there should be an age limit on moving because this one about did us in! ) 😩. Lol!
We made the decision sometime ago to really simplify our life and that included downsizing a second time to a smaller house that could almost qualify as a cottage. We have just what we need, no more and no less and like Goldilocks said in the fairytale “This is just right”.
We did this to save our children a lot of grief down the road by reducing the amount of goods they would have to plow through upon our demise. I have easily given away 50% or more of our “stuff” and I do not miss it at all. We have unboxed most of it on this end and now we will do the final thinning out. If I cannot find a spot for it, then off it goes to the local thrift shop!
We have been enormously blessed throughout our life in a multitude of ways and we have discovered, like so many others have, that happiness is never about the things we own. Happiness only comes to us by way of relationships and love from others. We are loved, therefore we are deeply grateful!
Our next chapter will be one full of books, road trips, sand and sea between our toes, and enjoying Gods creation wherever that takes us.
Our peer group is suffering heavy casualties and we take that as a reminder to not get bogged down by man made things. Rather we will soar to places we haven’t been to before and it is likely to be found right here in the U.S.
Merry Christmas everyone! Jesus is the reason for the season, and I for one, am glad I know Him!
Create your own headlines!
In my dream, I am standing at the entrance door to a huge auditorium filled with people I have known throughout my life. My heart stirs as my eyes take in their various ages and faces. How beautiful the memories are that flood through my mind as I take in the view. The bleachers are just packed with people.
Off to one side, high up in the bleacher section is a very cute lanky teenager by the name of Huey! I remember how much everyone liked him in high school and of course there was a good reason for this because he was an affable kind of guy with reddish hair and freckles sprinkled across his smiling face. He was a much loved only child.
Not far away from where he sits is my best friend from high school. Marci is as tiny as ever and I recall how she and I got the nickname of Mutt & Jeff (from an old cartoon strip of two friends tall and short) she being the short one, and me…tall and lanky. She may have been small but she was a strong person in her own right. When she laughed, her shoulders always moved with her laughter! Her shoulders are moving now as I see her laughing at something someone just said. She is sitting next to her Mom and Dad and daughter and as I glance their way, they do a little wave of their hands and smile in my direction.
I see a small petite woman with dark hair and a smile on her face. She is looking around like the new kid in the class. She IS the new kid in the class. She is orienting herself to her new surroundings and chattering with the groups of women she is sitting with! Terri! What are you doing there?
I see someone else waving wildly at me from the middle of the crowd, his wide toothy smile cutting across his face under shining dark eyes and a head of dark Italian hair! My goodness that is Larry! It has been SO many years now since I last saw him. He looks wonderful and SO happy! He was an amazing caring human being! A heart of pure gold. My very first boyfriend who taught me so much about loving myself.
As my eyes continue to scan the room, I see more and more people who have contributed to my life in one way or another and as I see each face, names begin to pop into my head…Paul, Robbie, Alden, Gordy, Jenice, Donnie, Sue, Dan, Chuck, Kevin, Barb, Al….so many, oh, so many! They are having way too much fun! Paul is holding his latest fishing lure and waving it in the air so I would notice.
Oh, and there is Uncle Dale and he looks just fantastic, much like he did when he was a young man. A tall, slender, young version of Pat Boone, who was a singer from back in the 60’s. He is so handsome. He is sitting next to my Mother (his sister) and his brother. His parents (my Grandparents) are there too (Art and Esther) and they are busy talking to my other paternal Grandparents (Annie and Eddie).
Next to Annie and Eddie are many of their 12 children. I can see Chet, Bud, Roy, Vivian, Bonnie, Eleanor, Janet, Ruthie, Doris and Jackie. Looks like Don and Herbie couldn’t make it. Julie is there too, along with Kim and Shane. I think I see Jennifer but not sure because her head is turned as she talks to the person behind her.
Just then I felt a tap on the shoulder and a guy and his wife who seem to be running late are hurrying into the room to grab their seats before the music starts. Art and Verona! Oh my goodness, my Mother and Father in law! Verona gave me a quick hug as she scurried by and her sister Ruth was right behind her with her husband Ruban and gave me a sweet smile.
I can see Edith, my favorite childhood music teacher there and she is standing on the floor in front of the crowd sorting her pages of music, getting the crowd ready for the upcoming musical event.
The mood in the room is festive and I can hear many hushed excited voices and I am wondering what it is they are all anticipating? What are they waiting for?
I step inside the doorway to enter the room so I can find my seat, but a man steps forward and asks for my pass. “My pass? What pass?”
“You must have a pass to come in here. Do you have one?”
Confused, I said “Well, no, sir I do not…but there are many here who will vouch for the fact that I have been invited”
“That may be” he said, “but no pass, no admittance”
Incredulous I ask that he check the list. He goes down the list and then begins flipping over many, many pages as he scans top to bottom of each one. Finally, he says, “Here it is…I found your name”
Relieved, I say, “Oh good! I was getting worried there for a minute. I want to go in there now and see my friends and family”
He said, “Sorry, Ms. J…..today is not the day of your reservations. You must have written down the wrong date. I have a different day listed for your pass!””
“What? What do you mean? I am going to miss the concert and I want to see them so badly!”
He said softly “Oh you will see them in due course and there will be a beautiful concert in your honor too when it is your time. It just isn’t going to be today. Everyone is excited for that moment but they know you have more things to do on earth to fulfill your purpose. Now, if you don’t mind, please step aside because the guest of honor has arrived.”. As I did so, a small petite blonde woman passed by, giving me a sweet smile as she did, and the room full of people broke forth in shouts of welcome and songs of praise. Then the door closed.
Blinking….I woke up!
Slightly disoriented and staring at the ceiling, I wondered if somehow I had been gifted with a peek into my future home. Maybe a foretaste of the feast (or concert) to come? I continued to lay there basking in all the old memories of a life gone by. It was wonderful seeing all of them again and I have to say, I was shocked to see just how many people I have known who have left this world for the next one ahead of me.
I am not afraid of dying because there really is no death. Life to life is how I see it. Eternal life is there for the taking. All you have to do is accept His Grace. I have many loved ones who have gone ahead who have reached their eternal reward. My time is written in the book of life and I don’t know the exact date, but it is GOOD to know it IS there.
I throw the covers back, stretch my arms to the sky and hop out of bed. Today is the day the Lord has made and I am going to rejoice and be glad in it! I am also going to work on fulfilling my purpose, whatever form that takes. Now…a cup of coffee is sounding very good right now to this earth bound human.
How does one define love? It depends on who you are talking about. There are so many different kinds of love…Mother love, child love, grandchild love, sibling love, friend love, love thy neighbor…Lots of different ways to love and so many people to care about.
But, I am talking about the love of a significant other….that person that makes your heart explode when they walk into the same room you are in.
It is interesting, this thing called chemistry. How is it that a girl can be in a room with many boys milling around, but only ONE catches her attention as the quick glance exchange makes her heart skip a beat, or two or three?
I remember the night I met my husband. I had gone out for the evening with two of my roommates after they spent quite a lot of time convincing me to do so. I wasn’t really in the mood to go anywhere but they did not want to go out with only the two of them. Those were the days when there was a sense of propriety about how women were seen in public. They thought it would look better if there were three of us. They wanted to go to a “ladies night out” that was advertised and hosted by a local bowling alley on the ballroom side of the building. I reluctantly agreed and off we went.
The evening did not start off very well as a couple of different guys came up to ask me to dance. Nope, nope and nope! Just NOT in the mood, they were NOT my type, and thank you anyway! Then I felt a hand tap me on the shoulder and I turned around to tell them again “NO THANK YOU!” and there he stood. Little did I know it at the time, but my future was standing there in front of me with a head full of sandy blonde hair, an earnest grin, bashfully asking me to dance. He was very good looking but what attracted me most was his shy nature. I agreed to dance and that was the beginning of Chapter One of the book of our life together. We eventually got married and will be celebrating 50 years of marriage this coming February.
Chemistry….we still have it going! We were both very lucky to find someone where the love endured! It did not just endure, it grew and thrived! My heart still goes pitter pat when he enters a room I am in! He claims the same is true for him.
There are a number of things that did not work out as we originally intended. We have had our own fair share of disappointments and failures and do-overs! We have had some dreams go “poof” disappearing into thin air. But, we have had a lot of blessings too along the way. It seems that life brings to us a series of contrasting experiences so we understand the blessings when we see them, similar to how comforting the warmth of a fire feels after being chilled, or how good a soft bed feels when one is exhausted. I think life is full of contrasts for the purpose of making us grow and learn gratitude.
Like many people, we got married, bought a house, and had kids. In the early years, we both worked to make ends meet. Then his career took off which meant we moved many times. Those years were exciting as the future seemed endlessly bright. We became financially comfortable, and I was free to be the Mom and wife I always aspired to be. Yes, I was that antiquated in my thinking. I was rewarded with the life I desired. We had more of life’s challenges along the way, but weathered them as best we could.
As I write this, many years have passed by and we are now old! I remember when our parents were our age and we definitely thought of them as old. But despite what others see when they look at us, we don’t see each other in the same way the world does. We do recognize that we are no longer that lively, fun loving couple who danced their hearts out the first night we met. Well, ACTUALLY, we are still lively and fun loving but we don’t have the same amount of energy that we once had. Instead of dancing the jitterbug, we are now waltzing through life.
We LOVE our life together. Retirement has brought us the gift of time. We have our devotions and prayer in the mornings after a walk. We plan our meals and work in the garden. We read books and enjoy researching various topics on the internet. We have quiet conversation on many topics just before dinner. Then, every Friday and Saturday night, we listen to a radio station called Heartland radio that plays the most beautiful soul stirring music and we let our spirits dance with the rhythm of the music. Sundays we go to church and enjoy visiting the Lord and seeing our various friends while in attendance.
We see each other at a heart level these days. We would not impress any other human being at all with our appearance on any given day. What is so beautiful about this is we are each living an existence with someone who sees our beauty through the wrinkles, the white hair and our misshapen older bodies. It is the purest of loves, really. It is a love that has no expectations but rather a love that wants to be of service to one another. Love is the way my heart swells when he walks by and pats me on the head as I am reading in my chair. Love is that passing hug we give each other on a whim. Love is the way a heart feels when watching the other sleep deeply during a daytime nap. We can see that we are not what we used to be, but God willing, theres a lot of life left to live. We know we are in it for the long haul now, and we are happy to do it!
We can see the “Exit” sign clearly these days, knowing that the time is coming when one or the other of us will go through that door, but we do not dwell on it. Our awareness that this probability exists and is getting closer every year makes living in the NOW so very important. Our past is used up and our future is unknown. There is no point looking in either direction because it just steals from the moment of now. These days, I spend a lot of time in the NOW reflecting on my good fortune. I observe my husband going about his day and take joy just watching him and offer up many thanks to God for that very fortuitous moment so long ago when he tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around to see a very beautiful soul standing there with a smile on his face and hope shining in his eyes that I would say yes!
Yes! Yes! and Yes! A hundred times over through the years I have said yes to this person who makes my soul take flight. I cannot imagine my life without him which is my biggest incentive for living in the now! How do I define love? Loving another more than one loves oneself! That is the definition of love in our home!