Cheer Up! Old Age Will Be Over Before You Know it!

funny-old-age-quote-agingOld age comes bearing no gifts of gold
But tokens of wrinkles
Aches and pains
Ben-Gay
And laxatives

Most of our friends are either dead
Or in nursing homes
Or just don’t remember who we are

Teenagers think we’re from another planet
Middle-aged people wish we were
And the rest of society just doesn’t care

Bit by bit we lose our independence
Our eyesight
Our hearing
Our mind

We pine for the good old days
Pray for another day
And hope to get through the day

But I’m thankful that I’ve been around this long
And to see my grand-kids with kids of their own
I just wish I could have done it
Without getting old

Are You a People Pleaser?

I was taught to share, so I thought nothing about sharing my grapes with the cutest boy in the neighborhood. The problem was, I went way beyond sharing. I gave him the entire cluster leaving me with a lonely few in my small hand.

One day, while in an extremely generous mood, I nearly gave all my pretty dresses away to my best friend who had spent the night. I wish you could have seen the look on moms face when she came in my room and saw all the dresses she painstakingly made just for me sprawled all over the bed. I had to hang them all back up except for the three she said my friend could have.

When I went to beauty school, I gave everybody free haircuts; family, friends, even people I didn’t know. I’m surprised I didn’t stand on the street corner holding a sign saying: Free Haircuts! Come one come all!

Yep, you guessed it. I’m a full-blooded people pleaser.

Crooks and leaches love people pleasers. They latch on to their kindness and generosity like a tick on a dog and will suck them dry. When they’re done with them, they move on to the next nice person, and the next. They don’t love them. They don’t even like them. They just want what they can get out of them.

How do I know this? I’m a recovering, people pleaser addict. I’ve worn out many pairs of shoes trudging the suicidal path losing pieces of myself along the way. Before I realized it, my life became a ticking time bomb  of fear, anger and rage, anxiety and depression. No matter how hard I tried to win the favor of those I tried hardest to please, I always failed.

One day I snapped. My mother had been in the grave for five years and I was still beating myself up because I failed to make her happy. I failed to fix her. I failed to be the daughter she wanted me to be. Suddenly, in the midst of my turmoil and grief God pried my eyes open with a simple, yet profound question, “Are you God?”

That was a eureka moment for me. With those three little words, God reached down His mighty hands and lifted the world off my shoulders. With those three little words He told me that contrary to what I was taught and believed He did not put me on this earth to save it. I am a human being. That’s what He created me to be and that’s all He expects me to be. Once I finally wrapped my pea brain around the truth of my twisted thinking the demons descended back into hell from whence they came.

To an extent, I’ll always be a people pleaser. But I’ve developed a keen eye over the years and no longer allow people to take advantage of me. It’s amazing how easily “no” pops of my mouth and how much I love the wide-eyed looks when it does. I realize that most people aren’t going to like me no matter how nice I am, so I don’t waste my time  trying to earn their approval, nor does God expect me to. Do you know how freeing that is? To have God’s permission to let it go and let Him handle it? Every single little thing? It frees me to be the best I can be without having to prove myself to the world.

We all want to feel loved and accepted. We all want the people in our world to be happy. But we must guard against trying to orchestrate that happiness at any cost to ourselves. We can help. We can guide and direct. But the rest is between them and God.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silence is Not Always Golden

SilenceMaybe it was his upbringing. His alcoholic dad. His parent’s divorce. Maybe it was WWII. Maybe it was the so-called friend who sold his cabinet shop while he was fighting the war. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Whatever it was, I’ve spent a lifetime trying to figure it all out. Like: why did he just sit and stare? What was he thinking about? What did he see?

He was a good man. Didn’t drink. Didn’t cuss. Didn’t scream and yell and never, ever lost his cool. He was gentle and quiet and patient and sometimes extremely funny. Yet, I was afraid of him. Afraid of doing something wrong. Afraid of his scornful frown. Afraid of making too much noise, of asking too many questions, of sitting on his lap and hugging his neck. Afraid of his cold, stark, overpowering, confusing, excessive silence.

I concluded that my dad didn’t love me; that I was stupid and ugly. So, to protect my sensitive, fragile emotions, I decided that I didn’t need him and gradually built a wall between us. By the time I became a teen, I terribly resented and rebelled against my dad. That, along with my dad’s laziness about working a regular job, my mother working three jobs and flying off the handle every other day, our house became a war zone.

Sadly, between the wall I built, and my misguided conclusions, I blamed our shattered, dysfunctional lives all on my dad.

If I had the chance to do it over again, I would sit on his lap, hug his neck and tell him how much I love him. I would understand that the war shattered his soul and that silence was his haven. I would encourage him to talk to me, to share his thoughts with me, and tell me what he’s feeling. I’d see my dad as a pillar of strength instead of the weakling I made him out to be. I would hold his hand and tell him how proud I am of him and that I love him just the way he is.

Through years of counseling and healing I now realize that not everyone is capable of loving us the way we want to be loved. Not everyone can meet all our needs. We are all human, and we are all a product of the environment in which we were raised. We all have a responsibility to work through our troubling pasts.

I thank God for opening my eyes, for healing my shattered heart, and helping me to forgive and move on with my life. I just wish it hadn’t taken so long.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

 

A Little Encouragement Goes a Long Way

Day-2-31Days-5x7-Be-Encouraging-Quote-AnExtraordinaryDay.net_

In today’s hectic world of computers, cell phones, and video games, we have a tendency to ignore the ones sitting in the same room with us. The ones who want a real, eyeball to eyeball conversation. The ones who need to know that we value their thoughts and concerns. The ones who want to scream, “Will you PLEASE shut that thing off and pay attention to me?!”

People need encouragement today more than ever before. Just a smile, a hug, a phone call, a genuine, “How is your day going today?” is food for the starving soul.

I’d been going through a tough time; a time of uncertainty, anger and grief. Finally, I shared it with a dear friend who gave me words of wisdom and encouragement. That was all I needed to get me back on track; to refocus and see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It doesn’t cost a cent for you to stop, look, and listen to another human being sitting in the same room with you. All you have to do is put down your smarthone long enough to see them and listen to what they have to say. It could mean all the world to them.

No More Autumn, No More Rain

Beneath the covers and snow white sheets

her body lay so frail and weak

Wasn’t it just yesterday she was young and strong

laughing and singing a happy song

I don’t like Autumn she told me one day

because everything dies and withers away

Then into the night the angels came

with Autumn leaves and falling rain

Now it’s Springtime forever in heaven so grand

where she strolls with Jesus hand in hand

She’s happy there where she’s free from pain

and there’s no more Autumn no more rain

Handle With Care!

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139: 23, 24).

Hearts are very fragile

so handle them with care

Caress them softly with loving words

and let them know you’re there

Hug them when they’re feeling low

with a smile and words of praise

Lend them a strong and helping hand

when they stumble along the way

Remember that hearts are not perfect

and have a tendency to stray

Especially when they’ve been broken

by reckless words we say

So if you want a happy life

that is joyful and complete

Be tender and compassionate

to every heart you meet

Nursing Homes Make Me Sad

What started yesterday as a quiet, peaceful visit at the nursing home with my sister-in-law, Pat, ended in a heated confrontation with the social worker. I understand that people are in nursing homes for various reasons and that the facility is understaffed and for the most part, doing the best they can.

But, c’om on. Two people sharing one tiny room divided by a flimsy curtain and four people sharing one bathroom really makes my blood boil. It’s a wonder the residents don’t end up killing each other.

And Pat has had here share of less than enjoyable roommates with their loud TV’s and moaning and groaning all hours of the day and night. But they were darling little pussy cats compared to this roommate.

To get to Pat’s side of the room, visitors have to walk through her roommates space. I wouldn’t like that, either. But it is what it is. So as my husband, Buck and I tip towed past the roommate sitting in her wheelchair, she shot us a glaring, drop dead look. But she’s old. That’s what miserable old people do. So we brushed it off with a smile.

About thirty minutes into our visit, the roommate sped out of the room and down the hall telling the nurses we were threatening to kill somebody! A nurse came rushing in, rolled her eyes and left. Moments later, the roommate parked outside the door shaking her bony finger at my husband and yelling, “You have no business in here! Get out and take that woman (me) with you!”

Obviously, she has problems, and I’m sorry for her. But, my concern is for Pat’s safety and emotional well-being.

So like a banty rooster, I wheeled Pat to the social worker’s office and plead my case. Her solution was moving Pat to another room. My argument was: Pat was there first. She likes it there. And she’s not the one causing the problem, so she shouldn’t be the one having to move.

But that’s our regulations, she said.

Well, your regulations are stupid, I said.

Feeling anxious and defeated, I wheeled Pat back to her room and sat on the edge of her bed, comforting her and trying to get my racing heart to slow down.

Things worked out in the end. The social worker came in and talked to us, helping us to understand and suggesting other visiting options. Pat got to keep her room and her roommate was placed in another room. Maybe the sun will shine brighter for her there. I hope so for her and her roommates sake.

 

 

 

Retired and Glad of it!

I should be painting the bathroom. I should be cleaning the kitchen, and sweeping and mopping our new vinyl floors. I should be folding the laundry piled in the laundry basket. Instead, I’m sitting here at the computer goofing off.

And that’s okay cause I don’t have to punch a time clock. I don’t have to please a boss. I don’t even have to get dressed if I don’t want to. I’m retired. I’m my own boss. Even hubby’s boss. Okay, that’s stretching it a bit.

Twenty years ago, I never gave retirement a second thought and hardly dreamed it would sneak up on me so fast. But here I am. Retired eleven years, now. How time flies when you’re having fun.

Of course, I don’t just lay around all day doing nothing. I like staying busy. I like being spontaneous. I like driving my husband nuts re-arranging furniture and organizing closets and kitchen cabinets and putting things away and forgetting where I put them. But we have all the time in the world to look for them. It’s just a little inconvenient. And annoying.

Anyway, I can honestly say I like retirement. I’m so happy to finally be free to do as I please when I please and not feel guilty. I’ve earned this gold star and I like it!

 

It’s Too Peopley Out There

It probably began when the doctor yanked me from my mother’s womb and slapped my scrawny bare butt. Or maybe when my dad dropped me on my head. Come to think of it, first grade was no skip in the woods, either.

It doesn’t really matter when or why it all began. What does matter is how terribly it has affected my entire life.

I mean, why did I have to sit in that stupid circle of kids every day? Wasn’t it bad enough sitting at my desk feeling lonely and afraid? And why did I have to read out loud? Why did I feel like I had two heads and a big fat wart on my nose? Why? Why? Why?

Public work wasn’t much better, either. Paranoia, like a playground bully made me feel suspicious, angry and hostile. I’d tell myself to calm down that it only feels like I’m under attack. But my addled brain wouldn’t buy it. No matter how hard I reasoned with myself, the pain was real. The anxiety was real. The panic was real. The I’m gonna quit and never come back was real.

Years, and years, and years I tried and failed at being normal. So I started pretending. I pretended that I wasn’t angry when I wanted to punch someone in the face. I pretended that I didn’t hurt when I was hemorrhaging inside. I pretended to be happy when I wanted to bawl my eyes out. Why? Because no one would like me if they really knew me. And because being vulnerable was like having a death wish.

Pretending worked until it didn’t anymore. Until that last straw that broke the camel’s back. Until all those inner demons had no place else to go but out.

Thankfully, God was there and saved me from the near fatal wreckage. Don’t ask me how He did it. He just did. We all experience God in different ways. I just know that I called on Him and He was there and changed my life forever.

It’s been a long, painful journey of learning and trusting and relying on God to fix me. Sometimes it’s a mountain top experience, sometimes it’s like crawling naked through a brier patch. But, when I let go of the reigns and hand them over to Him, He gives me strength. He gives me hope. He gives me peace. He helps me stay on track. I can’t do life without Him.

This is what God has and continues teaching me:
I’m not perfect
I can’t fix everything
I can’t always be in control
I can’t please everyone
I don’t have to like everyone
I have a God-given right to defend myself
I stopped allowing people to manipulate and use me
It’s okay to be me
God loves me just the way I am but encourages me to be more like Him

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you ~ 1 Peter 6,7

 

 

 

 

Jesus Calling

When I was diagnosed with colon cancer, an elderly friend going through the same fear and uncertainties suggested that I read a devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. That was seven years ago. I read it through every year and discover something new each and every time.

Jesus calls us to trust and believe in Him, to stop trying to figure everything out and fixing everything that is broken. He calls us to lay down our heavy burdens, to lift our drooping shoulders, to pick up our plodding feet and stroll arm in arm down the rugged path with Him. He calls us to sit and chat with Him and cling to His every word like a bright-eyed eager child.

I wish I could say I always jump right up when He calls me, that I never throw in the towel, never sit in a corner crying my eyes out and wishing things were different. I wish I could say I never run away when He calls, that I never pout when life doesn’t go my way, that I never pace the floor wringing my hands in despair.

Yet, in spite of all of my human efforts to be good, He never gives up on me when I’m not. He never shakes His finger in my face, never turns His back, never says I told you so when I run back crying in His arms.

Jesus calling. What a soothing, comforting voice to hear when I’m lost, angry and confused. When voices in my head are yelling and screaming. When my heart is burning with rage. When I feel as worthless as a rag doll tossed in the trash. What joy in knowing that through the darkest, fiercest storm that crashes through my world, He is always there, always grasping my hand, always calling me to press closer to Him where I am forever safe and sound.

Jesus Calling. May I never turn a deaf ear to His tender, pleading voice.

My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27).