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