Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy New Year

Peace--joy--love---hope--I hope that all of these marked your Christmas celebration. This morning at church, a friend told me that her Christmas was amazing. When I asked why, she said that it was an answer to prayer. Naturally, when you hear that a Christmas was an answer to prayer, one immediately thinks that relationships were "uneventful" at the dinner table, that a relative could come home for Christmas or maybe a person who was very ill, had recovered. Instead, she said, "I was organized" and she laughed. "Okay," I responded, and gave a questioning look that asked for more of an explanation. Apparently, her devotions a few days prior to Christmas had been on personal discipline and she prayed to develop discipline to be organized. As she prepared for Christmas and realized that on Christmas Eve day all that she needed to do was done with time to rest, she realized that it was an answer to prayer. "This was the best Christmas," she said, "it affected everything else."

As we look at the new year, is there a prayer that we need to offer about and for ourselves that can "affect everything else"? For my friend it was personal discipline. Perhaps for you, it may be guidance for a decision, self-monitoring your communication, cultivating peace in your life script, extending grace to others or consciously embracing joy.

Whatever your prayer request,I hope that you will look back at this time next year and say, "It was the best year...amazing!"

Happy New Year. Marilyn



Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! My tree is not yet decorated and it is okay. I'm determined to enjoy each day this coming week, without trying to make everything perfect! Let's give ourselves a break...love and laugh and see what the Lord reveals as we relax and rest in him. PEACE - JOY - LOVE

May God bring unexpected blessings to you this week. I'd love to hear about any and all you care to share. For me today, seeing my two grown children sincerely happy to see each other...hugging and cooking together as they arrived "home" for Christmas. Gift enough for me!

Merry Christmas!
Judy

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Do you have any idea?

The winner of our drawing for posting a comment about extraordinary treasures is Martha! Martha, please send me your address so I can send you a book!

At a recent community Christmas concert, a quartet sang Mary Did You Know?* by Mark Lowry. The lyrics ask if Mary had any idea of what her Son Jesus would do when He grew to be a man. Did she know that he would heal the sick, give speech to the mute, give sight to the blind, calm a storm and ultimately deliver His people from their sins? At one point in the song, a most profound question is asked: Did Mary know that she was kissing the face of God? Do you have goose bumps as you ponder the significance of those words? I do.

As grandmothers, do we wonder about the hidden potential of our grandchildren? As we held our babies and stared at the wonderment of part of ourselves, can we even imagine who they might become? I don’t know who my grandchildren will become and what paths they will take, but I am challenged to pursue intentional prayer for them as they grow.

I pray that they will recognize the amazing creations that they are. As scripture says, they have been hand knit by God (Psalm 139).

I pray that they will come to a personal relationship with Jesus.

I am praying for myself-- that I will study my grandchildren so that I know how to pray to encourage them in their gifts and talents, to respond to their personalities, to be alert and aware to their thoughts and actions, and to provide as I can when needed, the right words to them.

I am praying Luke 2:52 for them—that they will grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.

I am praying for their parents to raise them with Biblical wisdom.

Jer. 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

We have no idea what God has in mind for them, but God has ideas and plans! Let’s cooperate with Him by praying that our grandchildren hear His voice and love Him with all their heart and mind. Won’t it an extraordinary treasure to look back and see how our prayers were part of their lives?

Praying with you,

Marilyn
www.marilynnutter.com

*This site has the lyrics to the song. http://www.wrensworld.com/marydiduknow.htm

Sunday, December 6, 2009

RELATIONSHIPS

Don't forget to comment about your extraordinary treasure (last week's blog --see below) after reading Judy's challenge to focus. Our prize drawing runs until Friday. Marilyn

Why do we need to simplify, prioritize, and literally come up for air and take a breath during the holidays? For me, one reason. Relationships! Those with our family, friends and God...and even my relationship with myself!

I was trying to think how I could do what I believe in so strongly, and profess to you, in the wake of all of life's stresses that seem especially rampant in my life right now. I wanted to make a simple list to help myself, and in doing so, I hope it is helpful for you. It seems we all need a restful retreat this holiday. That is present enough for me, how about you?

I wrote two weeks ago about "simplifying" and Marilyn wrote last week about looking for delightful and "extraordinary treasures." In our house, the annual jigsaw puzzle that sits on the card table during Thanksgiving and Christmas is a treaure for me...and since I'm all about relationships, it's a reason for us to sit together, talk, avoid TV, laugh and tell stores, with the common goal of the puzzle. No doubt striving to simplify the holidays as we look for, and expect, extraordinary treasures will be a gift we can give ourselves, so let's do exactly that.

Just how can we have gift-filled days between now and Christmas? Using "RELATIONSHIP" as an acronym, I'm challenging myself to consider the following and perhaps apply them...to be able to more fully enjoy this Christmas season! Let me hear from you in "how and where" these help you...

R - REALITY (accept it; not fight it)
E - ENVIRONMENT (enjoy the warmth of home, as well as the brisk walks outdoors)
L - LOVE (express love whenever possible each day)
A - APPRECIATE (appreciate and focus on what we do have, not what we don't)
T - TEACH (take opportunities to show how to live out our God-given priorities, rather than keeping up with the fleeting pressures of the world)
I - INDIVIDUALISM (enjoy being uniquely you...and I will too!)
O - OBSERVE (make time to observe the treasured traditions that make holidays special and families close)
N - NO (learn to say "no")
S - SILENCE (find some quiet and silence. Be filled up and be with the Lord)
H - HEART (listen to your "heart," and trust God-given instincts about what is important)
I - INITIATE (establish laughter and humor, rather than taking ourselves to seriously)
P - PRAISE (let's look for treasures within each day, and "pray" to not miss them. Then let's PRAISE!)

Too many goals to focus on each day, then just pick your top three!! Have a great week...
My best! Judy
http//www.judydippel.com/

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Extraordinary Treasures ~ Prize Drawing

If there is one thing that has characterized the Boomer generation, it is change. We’ve seen men go to the moon, I-pods replace “records”, family double-features give way to “R” rated movies and e-mail take preference over hand written notes. We’ve also seen on-line shopping and malls replace downtown department stores and city shopping.

When I was a little girl, my mother took me “downtown” at Christmas time. We dressed up, took the bus (she let me put my token in) and walked the downtown of Rochester, NY. We looked at the spectacular Christmas window displays in the big department stores and marveled at the decorations and the lights. Some store windows had themes—like bears or Dickens, but there was always a manger scene in one of their displays. Then Mom and I went into the stores and at one of them, she gave me a quarter. I put my 25 cents into a slot and out came a surprise package—a special gift for children. I can see the events in my mind as if they were right before me. Isn’t it amazing that a holiday tradition, very meager by today’s commercial and elaborate standards, would elicit such a treasured and vivid memory? It’s what I like to call an extraordinary treasure, holding my mother’s hand and enjoying a traditional special time together.

It is sooo easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season and lose sight of what is valuable and real. We are bombarded by must-haves, often surrounded by stress and sometimes disappointments. For the next two weeks, I’d love to focus on extraordinary treasures. What treasure can you discover in the middle of an ordinary or even challenging day? Is it the opportunity to offer a kind word to a less than happy store clerk, your grandchild’s smile as he helps frost cookies, absorbing the meanings of the words of Christmas carols, a family tradition? Look for them, then please comment and share with us within the next two weeks, so that we can all enjoy your extraordinary treasure.

On Friday, December 11, the names of those who comment will be placed in a hat and the winner will receive a complimentary copy of Marilyn’s devotional, Diva Delights: Finding Extraordinary Treasures in Ordinary Days.

Looking for a treasure,
Marilyn

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let’s SIMPLIFY—and BE THANKFUL we get to choose!

Thanks for visiting. Sharing with you is my therapy this week. For several weeks I’ve had a big-time reminder how precious life is, and how valuable it is that I get to choose how I spend my days—once again a reminder that it’s all about our relationships and the simple things that matter most—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I encourage you to join me, and get real in all areas of life, about what you long to do this week versus what may be pride speaking (perfectly clean house, stunning centerpiece, leaves raked, homemade pies, artistic platters, new “fall” outfit, no shower scum…the list goes on… ) as you prepare for Thanksgiving.
I admit I sometimes must be forced to choose to SIMPLIFY and get real! I am having Thanksgiving at my house, just five of us, and many would say, just “go out,” yet I long to smell the turkey cooking and sit around the card table with a jig-saw puzzle, visiting, relaxing.
WHY am I smiling as I write this? Because for weeks I’ve been on a treadmill of making HUGE life decisions for our elderly “grandpa” with heart failure and dementia, whose tears flowed down his cheeks with the news that others must now make decisions for him. He is struggling to hold on to his independence which is such an admirable trait, yet it is impossible for him with both physical and mental capabilities diminishing.
Adopted into our family, no blood relation to me, yet I am deciding where he will live, what he will take with him, what he likes to eat, what he will wear, how often he needs care, what type of care…even assessing his personality for caretakers to have a heads up in understanding him. We’re packing up his stuff up today, completing hours of paperwork and life details and then driving him a couple hours to his “new home” Tuesday. It’s a wonderful place, truly, so I have tremendous peace about these hard decisions.
So what really matters? Well, for me, this week, and on Thanksgiving day—a shower, wearing jeans that aren’t too tight, laughing and crying with my family members and friends, sharing some good food together, finding something fun to entertain us, arguing over which team will win, taking a walk in the fresh air, and a good night’s sleep! With those needs and longings, I suspect I could even be quite content at Spring Ridge, Grandpa Bob’s new home! I’ll have to tell him exactly that. 
Think about it…maybe you can SIMPLIFY your Thanksgiving choices!
SIMPLIFY and have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving! Remember Jesus words in Matthew 11:30 “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
I’m simply thankful today!
Judy

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Stretch Marks

Judy and I think we should begin a journal of our adventures. We’ve both been stretched in a number of ways and when we exchange our schedules and happenings, we say, “No one could have written this script!” As Judy said last week in her “weed” post (we will clarify here---the type that are found in gardens in beautiful flower beds, etc) she spent the past two weeks attending a funeral, keeping an out of town commitment, making arrangements for long term care for an elderly man who is part of their family, and fitting in normal (what is that?) life activities. Her year has been filled with unexpected and often difficult experiences.

My husband and I just returned from a 1500+ mile trip (in 5 days) to see family and friends for some very special celebrations—a wedding and a milestone birthday—the events you don’t want to pass up. I admit, it was nothing short of wonderful to see people, but my husband and I came back stretched with fatigue (and a cold). After our arrival home, we had a “10 month after move-in house inspection” so I had several men making minor repairs on our new house. My carpet will be replaced in the next two weeks. Stretching the carpet to deal with a visible seam didn’t solve the problem. Fortunately, they will move the bookcases!

A few days ago, I met a couple who will be our new neighbors. They are planning on building here to be closer to their adult children and grandchildren but are stretched by having a house to sell that hasn’t seen any activity.

Another friend is trying to stretch her time as she attempts to manage a schedule with a new part time job and another has had the stretching experiences of a grandchild on the verge of making some unwise choices.

As we begin to make holiday plans with family in and out of town, we may be stretched by finding mutually convenient dates.

Finances may stretch us too as we contemplate retirement.

In this season as Boomer women, we are developing new stretch marks!

What stretching experiences have you had lately? Have they been good or not so good?
How have you met them? What are you learning? How can you see them as marks of beauty? Any advice for us?

Marilyn

Sunday, November 8, 2009

PERSEVERANCE of a WEED!

I drove three hours home tonight with my car jam-packed with cases of books that didn’t sell at the holiday booth this weekend,but that’s not all! My mom is coming home with me so that I can drive her two hours to an appointment Wednesday…and I have one whining dog and one persnickety cat…my Explorer looking like the Grapes of Wrath...and me feeling like I’d spent some time in the “dust bowl!”

I’ll admit it—I’m tired! This week, and in fact this year has not been exactly as I imagined it would be, especially at this stage and age. Where is the extra money? Why do my grandkids have to live so far away? Why do I feel that I’m missing the opportunities to relax and smell the roses? I suspect ythat many of you may be asking yourself the same questions? Seriously, I am “just fine,” but too-often teetering on the emotional edge. 

Like most, economic stresses and uncertainty prevail—and probably like most, I’ve also had some “crazy what’s up, and what more can happen?” Yet, some wonderful unexpected “ah-ha” moments have happened this year, too. I pray to God each day that I don’t, nor do you, let the day’s blessings slip by unnoticed, but let’s all pray to have the perseverance to keep up with all “the stuff” that’s thrown our way.

Since August I’ve had the unexpected death of my only brother, lost a beloved older friend, and a co-worker, my age…and this week moved a family member into a nursing facility while trying to figure out “the best” option for his new dependent stage of care, while trying to stay patient with kids, husband, mother and even a friend.

What is the solution? Prayerful perseverance—and remembering God is good…all the time! I love this quote...perhaps it will help you like it helps me, to take one day at a time, one challenge at a time. Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” (Walter Elliott)

Truly, do have a wonderfully blessed week—and I intend to, too. I’ll leave with another quote to do exactly that—Lord, give me the determination and tenacity of a weed! (Mrs. Leon R Walters) Let’s keep “going and growing."
My best, Judy

Monday, November 2, 2009

Life Long Learning

I love watching my grandchildren learn. Just last week during a webcam visit with Addy, she pointed to body parts when I called them out. She’s learning more all the time. Levi said a Bible verse for me. What a delight! I watched and listened to Elli play the piano via the webcam too. (She’s in Idaho and I’m in NC.) Her brother Quinn spoke using new words. Before I know it they will be telling me about their report cards.

We had neighbors in for dinner last night and we learned more about each other.

I’ve learned that time doesn’t stand still and that can be a good thing, and maybe not…

I’ve learned new things as I go to writers’ conferences. Some of what I learn, I didn’t even know I needed to know! Apart from writing, though, I have learned a lot about myself as I grow up. I’m learning what matters and what doesn’t, what I can influence and what I can’t, where I still need lots of work, what is mine to “own” and what isn’t. Learning mentally, personally and spiritually is a life long pursuit.

One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned is that God’s timing is perfect and He can be trusted.

So…what is one thing that you’ve learned in the past month? Share something about your role as a Boomer grandmother, woman, wife, mother, friend….or any other role you hold.

Looking forward learning along with you,
Marilyn

Monday, October 26, 2009

Influence

I’m reading a great book, The Culture-Wise Family …Upholding Christian Values in a Mass Media World, by Ted Baehr and Pat Boone. I normally wouldn’t pick up a book by Pat Boone, but I met Ted Baehr at a conference in August and found one of his talks mind-boggling. More information on the topic was in his book, so I bought it. He also personally autographed it to me. :) Pat Boone, you say? Well, he is a nice guy but somehow I can’t put Pat Boone in the same sentence without Tutti Frutti, so it’s a distraction. I mean, really...Tutti Fruitti? Enough said…

Ted’s book is about the mass media’s influence on our kids-in my case and yours-grandchildren. Our culture has moved from Roy Rogers and Dale Evans singing Happy Trails, Ozzie and Harriet and Leave it to Beaver solving the latest crisis in thirty minutes and celebrities completing a sentence without an innuendo or profanity to relativism and a desensitization of values. We no longer blush at provocative dress or wince at profanity spoken by TV characters. Yes, our generation was known for the phrase, “You’ve come a long way baby,” but who imagined how far we would still go?

The mass media definitely influences our family but what about a Boomer grandmother’s influence?
What do you do when you come across important information that threatens the family? Do you share it; “preach”; keep silent; offer your discernment; inform gently; give an opinion; nag, as you watch your adult children make choices that you wouldn’t make?

How do you handle differences as you see their parenting styles or values different from yours?

Our motive, (we hope) is influence, not interference, but how?

What do you see as your role as one who can influence your grandchildren, not just regarding the media, but in other areas?

How do you influence and where do you influence? What opportunities do you have to influence? Let’s talk.

Marilyn

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tell Us Books Women Love!

With winter just around the corner, I like to always have a good book on my nightstand. Since I write mostly nonfiction, I enjoy reading it, too. But to "get away from it all," I like to read good, entertaining fiction. My mom just gave me a book, "Annie Freeman's Fabulous Funeral." I haven't begun to read it yet and I'm not ready to recommend it, but I'll let you know in a couple of weeks. But it does sound very different, funny, enlightening ..and perhaps heart-tugging! Seems to be about women who meet upon the death of a common friend, their adventures, miracles and blessings found amid the grief, and how these women help each other move forward. Has anyone read it?
Let us know if you've read something that you think Boomers particularly relate to and will enjoy. (besides my Authentic Friendship book!!) Marilyn and I, and other bloggers, will enjoy hearing about which book you want every woman you know to read. I'll start piling them on my nightstand...and be set for the winter. Thanks!
Judy

Monday, October 12, 2009

ONE THING TO CELBRATE

Great comments to Judy’s questions on friendship! Thanks to all for sharing and giving us an opportunity to think about our friends--their blessings and the learning experiences that accompany friendships. The winner of our drawing is…Jane! Jane, please contact Judy at jldwrites@comcast.net with your mailing address and she will send you an autographed copy of her book, which by the way is a great read.

I received an email last week from a close friend from my college days. She addressed me by my high school and college nickname. She is the only one who does, and frankly, each time she does, I blink. It is so strange to see that name in print, but it represents a connection that I don’t have with anyone else, a very special part of our friendship and something to celebrate. I felt a tinge of nostalgia (it was an email in response to her birthday) as I realized that this is the only friend who knows this one thing about me and that we have “celebrated” (long-distance for the most part) 45 birthdays with each other.

It got me thinking…what is one thing that you love to “celebrate”? Is it a milestone, a change, a character quality that has developed over the years, an unforgettable experience, ___? Maybe it is something you are striving toward and hasn’t happened yet, but you celebrate each step you take.

Do tell! It can be a personal celebration (about you) or of a friend, or family member who has impacted you. What prompts you to applaud and shout, “Yes!”?

It will be fun to see the kaleidoscope that characterizes boomer women and boomer grandmas. Judy and I are hanging balloons as we wait for you to click “comments.” Then we’ll throw confetti!

Joy!
Marilyn

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Friendship Challenges & Solutions - Prize Drawing

Hi! I know something about you without even knowing you. I know that friends are as good for you as a healthy diet, sleep and exercise. It's true! You may agree, especially in this season of life that good friends are more important than ever. But it's also true that friendship, like all relationships come with challenges and with blessings.

Please comment about what challenges you face with a friend, or what is blessing you today with a friend. From those who comment, we will draw a PRIZE WINNER next Monday, October 12th, and the lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of my book, The Art of Authentic Friendship. (I know you'll love "the solutions" to friendship challenges addressed in the book)

Comment on any of the following friendship challenges: (actual chapter titles)

TIME: "The number one challenge we all face is finding time for each other."
OBSTACLES: "We are different. I fit somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist."
ANGUISH: "I feel like I've been fired as your soul mate."
HEALTHY CHOICES: "Needy women wear me out."
YOU: "I never feel good enough."
RELATIONSHIPS: "I want the freedom to be me without editing."

Thank you! We will announce the winner on this blog, next Monday, October 12.
In friendship,
Judy
www.judydippel.com

Monday, September 28, 2009

Changes and Another Day in Paradise

My husband and I just returned from a Caribbean cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We intentionally chose our itinerary to visit St. Thomas, USVI because that was where we began our married life. Yes, we taught in the government schools there right after we were married. The expression, “another day in paradise” was reality for us for two years. To say that we had an adventure is an understatement and to say the island changed in 40 years is another. Our first view as we sailed into port was spectacular, but once we began our tour with our taxi driver, we realized that it is hard to “go home.”

I was disappointed to find that the school where I taught was destroyed in a hurricane in 1996 and a new school now stands in its place. The narrow roads that were barely two lanes wide and accommodated Volkswagen bugs now have street lights. People were driving full sized cars. Our taxi driver took us down a four lane highway that had guardrails! But the most difficult for us to observe was that much of the charm of the small island was now replaced with fast food restaurants, more buildings, and a lot of activity. Even a former medium sized hotel with a marina has become an expanded shopping complex. I could continue in my description, but I realize that unless you experienced this from my “view” you wouldn’t understand my emotional perspective, so I’ll stop. But as I look at some of the parallels to my observations and living the past forty years, perhaps you can think with me and have some personal responses to these thoughts:

Sometimes things in our lives are “torn down” too. We have disappointments and maybe failures or personal goals that aren’t met, yet with grace, perseverance and hard work, we rebuild. Do you have an experience to share that would encourage us?

In our 60+ years, we boomers have seen life change from the simple to the complex. Care to reminisce? What complexity are you grateful for (technology?) or do you think things were better in simpler times (front porch conversations?)? Has bigger really been better?

Wider roads have offered us greater opportunities and challenges, yet at the same time, we have had to use guardrails as we explore. What guardrail did you use? Scripture, advice from friends, information and research, wisdom? How did your guardrail help you navigate your road?

Have you had a “going home” experience? What lessons did you learn?

Expectations and reality: How have you learned to handle them? Is this one of the things you are getting better at, as Judy said last week, or are you still in the learning process?


One last thought: the beauty of the palm trees, sunshine, white sand beaches and turquoise water is unparalleled. Moving our focus from the man-made to the God-made reminded us of what to treasure. Perhaps that was our best lesson learned on the trip.

There’s a lot to think about this week. Thanks in advance for sharing! We look forward to your points of view.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Boomer Grandma's - What is best? What must you confess?

Let’s imagine all of us standing together in front of a mirror—it’s more than humorous! I can nearly hear your voices, and the jam-packed noise made by our collective complaints. Sighs would be heard across the country as together we admit that there is an uncontrollable, cascading effect age and gravity has had on our body shapes. Not to mention our waning memory, silvery strands of hair that jut out uncontrollably every which way, and the annoying chin hair!

Our dry skin drinks up the lotion faster than we can get it from the bottle, and the temperature swings we experience go from hot to cold more often than the thermostat. When we climb out of bed in the morning, more slowly than last year, our stiff and aching muscles are another reminder that we have to work harder to feel good physically, let alone achieve the personal outer “look” we want. Even with our ongoing list of bodily complaints, many agree that at this age we’re becoming the best we’ve ever been.

How? For me, I am eating better than I ever have in my life—doing semi-good on exercise and spending more one-on-one time with God. And I’m appreciating the small “joys” of life a lot more! …though I must confess I am still working on when to speak up and when to shut up!

How about you? How do you feel you are the best you’ve ever been?
What do you confess you are still working on?

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Labor Day Thoughts

I appreciated Judy sharing her “labor” thoughts last week. We all have our “labor” stories and I can remember as if it were yesterday, the events surrounding the beginning of labor and the birth of my grandchildren. I was present for one of the deliveries—that was my first grandchild! I met two of them minutes after they were born, and was introduced to another when he was a week old. (I am a long distance grandma.)

As moms, the birth of our own babies is monumental. Depending on our state at the time, recollection of our labor may be clear or vague.  Mine was drug-free so I have vivid recollections. But…from the minute we held our newborn in our arms, we began to write many definitions of “labor.”

Pretty much from sun-up to sun-down we were busy with infant care and then moved to play groups, school activities, and nursing sick children. We watched them grow, make choices (good and maybe not-so-good), achieve milestones, and move on to adulthood, in what now seems like a blink of an eye.

We “labored” with them at every step. When our kids started the school year, we fell into their schedules: sports events, homework, music lessons or whatever their particular interest. Graduation was our day too, as we beamed with pride at how they had grown up. For some, graduation day broke mothers’ hearts when a child’s poor choices interrupted that common achievement.

Some of our “labor days” may have been lonely and challenging. We were stressed at times, maybe overwhelmed and discouraged. Some of us also worked outside the home. I was privileged to have both experiences, though I often felt that I had double-labor that never ceased between my children and career. I found moments of peace and prayer, and I was fortunate to have a supportive spouse and (some) friends who understood. I labored over the criticism of those who thought women should be exclusively stay-at-home moms.

So, boomer grandmas, with that season behind us, how are you laboring now? Are you caring for grandchildren and waiting at the bus stop again? Are you experiencing some freedom to do the things you are passionate about, that perhaps had been postponed? Are you trying something new—like a Bible study, school, or an exercise class? Are you pursuing hobbies or travel? Are you working outside the home or volunteering? Are you finding more quiet time?

I’m curious! How are boomer grandmas spending their days? We’d love to hear from you…and also from your daughters…what’s their take on how you’re spending your days?

Have a great day!
Marilyn

Monday, September 7, 2009

Grandmothers “Labor” Day!

Hmmm… “Labor Day” first began as a national holiday in America, September 5, 1882. It is a day Marilyn and I celebrate all workers—including mothers and grandmothers.

For the sake of discussion, only women really grasp the full extent, the effort and toil, the labor involved when you become a mother. It has huge rewards, (some heartache), but no paycheck, and you certainly don’t get to clock out. Few of us consider when we become mothers that it is a career in itself and a never-ending life journey!

As grandma’s, we emotionally re-live pregnancy labor. Waiting and watching our daughter, or our son’s wife, in labor is “déjà vu.” Of course labor is an understatement for the mother experiencing it. It is effort, toil, and literally blood, sweat and tears! Yet, it is enriching, miraculous and one of the greatest privileges and proudest moments—both as a mother and as a grandmother!

I’ll share about my labor “as the mother of the mother,” when my first grandchild was born:

Stages of labor: Lindsay, my daughter assumed, as did I, it would progress as we dreamed—a textbook pregnancy and labor. I was not prepared for her call…nine weeks early. “Mom, my water has broken—I’m going into labor.” I felt like a cold pail of water had been thrown on me—her words brought shock, denial and sadly, fear!
Labor signs: Water and contractions—there was no denying it. She was transported by ambulance one hour away, to OHSU in Portland, with a neonatal unit that could care for her premature baby, estimated at 4 ½ pounds and 31 weeks!
Labor pains: Suddenly “labor pain” meant the hurt and fear of the unknown. I ached for my daughter who had to experience the uncertainty within the unfamiliar—not the advantage of a calm, predictable first labor, with music, laughter and the expected. Labor—couldn’t they stop it? Would “our baby” be healthy; would my daughter? Was she afraid?
Labor ready: I wasn’t yet sure how she was coping, but I wasn’t ready for this labor. I felt numb on the two hour drive to the hospital. What did I discover? God is good and present all the time. As the sun began to rise, and a pink cloud seemed to hover over our car, I turned to my husband and said, “It’s a girl, and she’s going to be fine.” God faithfully began to ease the labor of my heart and soul…long story with many details of God’s promises, along with some strain and pain. But Olivia Anne was a robust 5 pounds, and today, at eight years old, is exactly what we dreamed and God promised—a very normal, healthy little girl!
As a grandmother what stages, signs, or pains did you experience? Were you labor ready?

Monday, August 31, 2009

BACK TO SCHOOL

I have spent three-fourths of my life associated with school—either I was going, teaching, supporting my husband while he was gone summers for grad school, or walking through the school years with my daughters. My life was regulated more by a school calendar than the January-December calendar. Now, after a break, I am beginning a new chapter -- my granddaughter Elli has begun kindergarten. The videotape in my mind rewound of school days with my girls as I listened to my daughter Heather talk about a teacher assignment, school shopping and open house. Elli talked to us on the phone and webcam and told us about her first day of school. She mentioned that they “didn’t learn anything” and that they only have “jobs” to do. She was the snack leader. She also said that recess was her favorite part of the day. I laughed to myself as she described the playground equipment. Educators just love those kinds of assessments and observations, as do parents who pay tuition and school taxes. :)

So it is back to school. Some of you boomer grandmas have grandchildren who have started school too. When my grandchildren were born, I chose a life verse that I would pray for them. Now that Elli has begun school, I decided to choose a school verse for this year. I figure that her first year is foundational—establishing her approach to learning in a structured environment, a new schedule, living out respect for her teacher and classmates, her attitude…so many aspects critical to starting off on the right foot. Beyond that, it occurred to me that she is also spending fewer hours under the influence of her parents and accumulating more hours under the influence of others. The verse I chose is, “Teach me your ways O Lord, guide me in your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11) My “biggest” prayer is that Elli’s heart is connected to God’s and that she walks in His truth during her entire time at school—in her work ethic (for her “job” LOL), relationships and in her attitudes. Actually, that is a great prayer for her life.

What are your thoughts? Do you want to choose a verse for your grandchildren? Tell us what it is and why.

Marilyn www.marilynnutter.com

Monday, August 24, 2009

WHERE DID IT GO?
Judy and I were talking last week and throwing lots of ideas around for our blog. I was in the middle of a sentence and stopped. She waited quite patiently for me to finish my sentence, when I said, “I totally lost my thought and what I was saying. Where did it go?” She backtracked with me, “You were saying____,” in an effort to help me; not to mention that we were thinking of some great topics for our blog and she hoped that I’d remember. We burst out laughing because this happens to us all the time. Well, the thought vanished and honestly, I really don’t know if it ever surfaced because I can’t remember!

Now, I worked in long term health care as a speech-language pathologist with patients who had memory impairment, so I am definitely not making light of the painful memory loss among the geriatric population. I am not talking about holding a set of keys in my hand and not knowing what to do with them. That is serious stuff. I am talking about not remembering where I last put my keys, or my glasses, or most recent notes from my conversations with Judy. (By the way, we have determined that it does take two brains to write a blog)

What about you? Do you ask, “Where did it go?” Ah…one of the new chapters of being a boomer woman and grandma. Personally, as we age, I think we have much more to remember and more to keep track of. Does that count as an excuse? After all, aren’t we the women who try to keep everything and everyone together? We are sooo good at multi-tasking and have lists for lists.

So, boomer grandmas, what’s your “Where did it go?” question? Is it:
Where did time go?
Where did the day go?
Where did my life go?
Where did my career go?
Where did the weekend go?
Where did my baby grandchildren go and now they’re in school?
Where did _______ go?

Let’s hear your question. And, would you share your thoughts on your answer, too?

Marilyn ~ www.marilynnutter.com

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"AGE IS JUST A NUMBER" FOR BOOMER GRANDMAS

I’m curious to hear what you feel about the statement, “age is just a number!” Boomer women I know want to believe this, and want to live life with this attitude. They sincerely want to get in the habit of living right now, with an appreciation for every day. Most likely we're committed to this because the reality has hit us that we won’t live forever—like we all thought we would in 1969!

When I became a grandma, I couldn’t deny that I had gotten older. With it came the wonderful reward of holding the child of my child. What's better? But realities subtly creep in to remind me I may have to make adjustments due to my age, and my first thought is that I really don’t want to face it when it comes to outdoor activities I enjoy! On a recent seven-day rafting trip I went down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. After several days, my knees and lower legs swelled up and were tender, (my legs didn’t even swell up when I was pregnant!) … and the challenging side hikes I had really looked forward to became much harder. This was hard evidence of the physical reality of getting older. Ugh!

And playing Bunko last week, some of the girls were talking about celebrating their 15th wedding anniversaries, and I said, “Next year I’ll be celebrating my 40th!" I’m proud of that, but at the same time emotionally the number struck me, “Just when did that happen? ...and when did my oldest granddaughter turn eight?” The years say I’m older, but I don’t feel that way. So let’s chat. What are your thoughts about “age is just a number?” Bottom line, it’s probably all about accepting things we have to, and realizing we can choose to have a positive attitude as we face “the stuff” of getting older. The dilemma—sometimes it’s easier said than done!”

Judy http://www.judydippel.com/






Bios: Judy and Marilyn

Judy Dippel is the author of Refreshing Hope in God: A Mother’s Journey of Joy and Pain, The Art of Authentic Friendship: Real Women, Real Challenges, Real Solutions.

She is a contributing author in But Lord, I was Happy Shallow, Laundry Tales to Lighten Your Load, and The One Year Life Verse Devotional. Her nine-week small group study on the topic of postpartum depression will be released by Care Point Ministries in 2009.

Judy is a registered speaker with CLASS Services, Inc.,
http://www.classervices.com/ and http://www.ministrywomen.net/ and http://womensministry.com/. A frequent retreat, workshop, and conference presenter, Judy’s experience includes radio, television, and newspaper interviews. Contact Judy via her website at http://www.judydippel.com/.

Marilyn Nutter is the author of three devotional books: Dressed up Moms’ Devotions to Go (Extreme Diva Media Inc., 2006, Tea Lovers’ Devotions to Go (EDM, Inc.2007) and Diva Delights Devotions to Go (EDM, Inc., 2009). In addition, Marilyn has been a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler’s Soul, Life on Purpose for Mothers (Harrison House); Simple Joy, Girlfriend 2Girlfriend, Laundry Tales to Lighten Your Load (Evergreen Press), and The Ultimate Mom (HCI, 2009).

Marilyn served as a Mentor-Mom for MOPS and co-taught and coordinated a large group women’s Bible study at her local church for several years. Marilyn delights in speaking to women’s church and community groups about finding extraordinary treasures in ordinary and challenging days. She is a listed speaker on http://www.ministrywomen.net/ Contact Marilyn via her website at
http://www.marilynnutter.com/.