Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Older Than Dirt?

Seeking illustrations for a short story, I enter the search phrase elderly woman.
Aha moment! ...some are noticeably YOUNGER THAN I AM. It's not like my aging is unexpected. Seventy something is seventy some years. Elderly is another category, or at least I'm choosing to think so.

Mature, senior, ancient, venerable, long-in-the-tooth, old-as-the-hills, older-than-dirt, gray-haired, grizzled, hoary, past one's prime, decrepit, doddering, senile, no spring chicken... Obviously, there are few good adjectives for this stage of life.  Out of all these, I pick venerable. Although it means honored, esteemed, it still implies aging and perhaps vulnerability.

A friend of mine who is 83 believes that "older" is always 10-15 years older than your age. Which means that we would NEVER have to consider ourselves old or elderly.

So for all of us who are ten to fifteen years from being "elderly," I offer this:

Let us never know what old age is. 
Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years. 
Ausonius

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, 
which means never losing your enthusiasm. 
Aldous Huxley

When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. 
There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age. 
Victor Hugo

So we do not lose heart. 
Though our outer self is wasting away, 
our inner self is being renewed day by day. 
2 Corinthians 4:16







Friday, December 7, 2018

Eye-rolling and other gestures

A friend felt offended by a loved one. When his back was turned, she fingered him. She had no excuses. Because of built up resentment, she reacted quickly and in offensive ways when she became frustrated.

I can't imagine Jesus even doing an eye-roll when He was exasperated. And, there were plenty of opportunities when his disciples indicated only a glimmer of understanding of what he was trying to achieve. ...Not to mention the Pharisees and other legalists who questioned him at every turn.

And, here, we are, created in His image, with anger popping up and displaying unrighteous behavior. Where is that divine spirit within each of us?

It's original sin rearing its ugly head.
It's also not an excuse we can use...
Because of Christ in me, in us, we can do better; we must do better.
Repentance means "change"....

I will feel that Jesus has accomplished something in me, when I no longer react in such a manner. Thank you, Jesus, for not giving up on me.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, a well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Fake News and Ninnyhammers

More than 1,000 new words were added to the Oxford English Dictionary in their latest update--including worstest and corporation pop. Merriam-Webster added 2000 of their own last April, two of which were humblebrag and ghost.

Having grown up with Dick, Jane, and Spot, I learned that worstest was not correct grammar. I drink corporation pop every day, but call it tap water. A ghost is something I expect to see around Halloween hanging on someone's porch, but I hope not to be ghosted by someone ignoring my texts or phone calls. If they do, I don't want them humblebragging about it. Well, like we have heard, the only thing we can be sure of is change.

I'm thinking fake news will be in dictionaries soon if it hasn't been added already. Stories that are presented as truth but are not really valid, stories that are intended to deceive. Young people especially do not have the background information necessary to separate what is real from what is fact. And, if a person hears something often enough, or states something often enough, it becomes the truth to them--even if it started as a lie.

What do we do with all this?

Our parents or grandparents might have responded to all this with "Fiddlesticks, baloney, hokeypokey, hogwash, poppycock, and horsefeathers!" ... having more important things to attend to.

Personally, I think we should throw all the snollygosters and ninnyhammers out of any position of responsibility and influence. (Incidentally, snollygosters and ninyhammers have been eliminated by respected dictionaries due to their evoking a bygone age.) 

What can we be sure of?
The word gospel means good news.
It can be found in your Bible.
It's been around a long time and it's not going away.

The gospel is the good news that God loved
 the world enough to give His only Sob to die for our sin. 
(John 3:16) 
Praise be to God. 








Wednesday, October 17, 2018

What I Left Behind



Messenger binged. I took a quick look to see a stranger’s face. Curious, I opened it and learned it was from a former student. The year was 1971. She texted that I was a “great teacher,” and she just wanted to say “hi.”
Beginning teachers....
I wanted to text her back and explain that I was not a great teacher. I learned much of the material the night before the next day of school and wrote it out on index cards because I was not knowledgeable or glib enough to wing it. On many days I was terrified the class would eat me up and spit me out for their simple entertainment. Instead, I messaged her back with “Time does fly, and so much happens between the then and now. Hope life has been good for you.” And, it started me thinking of my own then and now and what I left behind and am still leaving behind.

After forty eight years of marriage, raising four children, twenty seven years of teaching—some on the wrong side of the tracks and some in special education, running a day-care out of my home, fearing we would not have food on the table at the end of the month, worrying about a child in another state having an allergic reaction in a motel room and all alone, etc…. you get the point. I don’t want to go back; I don’t want any do-overs. The first time was difficult and while difficult, also worthy in shaping me into an adult who is less na├»ve and yet more compassionate and understanding. An adult, who is less thin-skinned and one who has developed a sometimes wide-ranging sense of humor.
After retirement, I became a writer (thanks to my writing group I can say this and not feel inadequate or funny or weird). When the books came out, one by one, I would grow anxious, wondering if I was misusing scripture, offending anyone, or making typos, or writing like someone who had no business writing. I would check the ratings, check the reviews, and get tied up in things I could do nothing about—that is if I really wanted to write what I was called to write about.  Well, let’s say, I’ve grown. I’ve left some things behind, again: things that needed to be taken off my shoulders; things that needed to be erased from inside my head.
I choose to write words and send them out into the world and hope they find a home somewhere. For some, my words come across as negative, intense, not worthy of their time. That, is okay. I like suspense and mystery in a story. I also love scripture. So, I use all three. Some readers prefer to read about quilt-making, romance, or history. That is okay, too. What others think of me or what I write about is their business.
Getting older isn’t half bad. You determine that a person only has so much time left, why not be you? I want to be sillier, I want to laugh more, I want to dance when the mood is right. I have left behind some of what I used to consider proper. I am free-er, I am stronger, I am more at peace.

Erich From wrote, The whole of life of the individual is nothing but the process of giving birth to himself; indeed we should be fully born when we die.....  hopefully, with what I’ve left behind, I'm on my way to being "fully born."




Sunday, September 30, 2018

Run of the House

Many years ago I operated a daycare out of our home. It was one of the most difficult jobs I ever had; it was also one of the most rewarding in that I developed both perseverance and loving characteristics that may have needed developing.

During these years we lived in a modest house in town and, then, moved to a larger house on an acreage with a huge lawn. In both homes, the kids pretty much had the run of the house. I was asked by several visitors, "Why do you let them do that?" Upstairs, downstairs, family room, living room, kitchen floor, our son's bedroom, a closet or two, inside and out...

I felt that the children should have the freedom to play what they wanted, where they wanted--with boundaries, of course, and a definite routine--rest time after lunch being one of my favorites. Keeping them to one room would have eased my job but prevented their independence and learning experiences.

I couldn't help but remember my day-care experiences when I read this morning's Bible verse: Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other... And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ--the Message--have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives... Colossians 3: 16+ [MSG]*

This verse is actually liberating, unfettering, unshackling....
Let Christ live IN YOU (you are the house) and be a part of every experience you have, every person you meet. Where you go, He goes, hand-in-hand. He's your guide, your friend, He's IN YOU. Let it happen. Let Him have the run of your house.






*MSG is the Bible in contemporary language created by Eugene Peterson, published in segments from 1993-2002, translated from the original languages. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Minimalist

According to a google definition, a minimalist is one who keeps things very simple, a person who has a few possessions. It can refer to lifestyle, art, or politics. To be a minimalist, one must ask questions and identify what is of value and what is not. This would involve removing all clutter from your life, using your finances for things more valuable than possessions. Doing this might allow for more freedom, more time to do the activities you enjoy and therefore less stress.

Hallelujah!

I could clear half of my stuff out of our house and still live very well. Plus, I wouldn't have to take care of it. I would have less decisions to make, as in, should I clean out the closet today or dust the  collective items on my various shelves?

If Jesus were on Earth today, he would be considered a minimalist. He would live in a simple home, eat simple foods, wear ordinary clothes, and spend his time out and about with others--speaking of God's incredible love.


Hallelujah! Always be full of joy in the Lord, I say it again--rejoice! Philippians 4:4

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Pretending

As a young girl, I would get out the Sears and Roebuck Catalog when my best friend, Donna Mae, came over and we would play "Choose One." The rules: 1) Take turns 2) When it's your turn, choose one item from a page. 3) It's yours! 4) If you choose to "skip," then your friend has to choose from that page. 5) You would therefore get the next two pages--without looking ahead to see if there was even anything you wanted. A risk, indeed.

This could take up an hour or more of our time. We pictured ourselves in beautiful coats and shoes, acquiring new furniture for our bedrooms, and riding a colorful bike right out of the catalog. I recall wishing that she would "skip" a page because there was an item I oh soooo wanted on that particular page. Sometimes, we were generous with each other's wishes.

When alone, I imagined myself as Peter Pan because Peter could fly; it looked like a lot of fun and freedom beyond my farm life miles and miles from anywhere. We had a tree house in our grove where there were pretend opportunities. What if I lived alone, here? What would I eat? Where would I sleep? What if someone drove down our long lane.... would they find me here hidden in the brush and brambles leading to the fortress?

Our pretending games change as we get older. Although being Peter Pan is still tempting, taking an American Airlines flight is more practical. Along with the mystery, I see the potential of poison ivy and insects when I view a grove. My current pretending has to do with reality. I'm wishing for serious illnesses to disappear, a grand child's success at school, a broken relationship to be healed.

My pretend times have turned into prayer times...

Thank goodness, we do not have to pretend with God.
Thank goodness, we have a God that hears us.