Friday, May 25, 2018

Lessons Learned When I Pause

Pause.  A temporary stop or rest and, I like one definition I read:  a breathing space.  Even in this empty nest phase of life - where the daily schedule is much more my own and certainly more relaxed - there is the need for pause.  A bit of breathing space.  My regular pause comes, at least, twice a week when I visit with my senior friends at the assisted living home near me.  And what a wonderful pause it is!  My afternoons spent there are not only a balm for over-active cares and concerns, but also a real refreshing to my soul!

Most of my sweet friends there are in their 90s - or very close to it.  Their schedules are no longer dictated by careers or other daily work.  They do not drive and are not drawn into the myriad of activities that keep us busy and/or distracted.  I'm sure there are exceptions, but everyone I have met is content - even happy to be there.  I have learned much during my games of UNO or FlipIt - these chances to pause during my week - with these friends.  Let me share just three:

1.  Relationships are key.  No longer defined by their career, the house they live in or where they are going on vacation, these folks simply enjoy being together.  No doubt, some have closer bonds than others but everyone is included, looked out for and everyone belongs.  Friendships and family bonds are what support us.  How much more important to invest wisely in these than in the fleeting things that so often drain us of time, energy and even joy.

2.  Good health should never be taken for granted.  All of us are aging.  We cannot stop it but we can do our best to prepare our senior bodies to be the best they can be.  Investments that I make in my health now will be much appreciated when I am 82, 92 or beyond. 

3.  A genuine hope of Heaven makes all the difference.  These seniors are not naive that their time on earth is short.  They know that life is fleeting.  But there is always a difference - whether they recognize the difference or not - between a believer who is close to eternity and one who is simply "hoping" for something decent after death.  Knowing that death reunites you not only with loved ones but also with the savior who died for you removes the sting and the fear of death.  These saints possess an assurance and a peace that is enviable.

Pause is the prompt for this week's FMF.  I am very grateful for the pause - the breathing space - that I enjoy every week while I volunteer.  I am blessed to be sure. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Do you Have a Decorating Style?

We recently had some of our house repainted.  (No, not bright blue...but isn't that cool??) The largest part of our project was painting our basement - a spot where we spend most of our evenings.  Not only was the paint in need of refreshing, but once we took everything off the walls, I also wanted to rethink what went back on the refresh the style there as well.  It needed to better reflect us.  Since moving into this home, the main floors, and even the bedrooms have gotten the most of my attention for creating an atmosphere that says "home" for us.  Apparently, many of the things that I no longer needed or wanted to use were relegated to the basement.  It was neat, and even arranged, but the basement didn't feel like "home" but more of an attic - or a place for used storage.

And so I began contemplating exactly what is our style.  I searched for it on Pinterest.  I took notes from my favorite home design shows.  I tried to put a catchy name to our style.  And I still have not found it - the catchy name or even the exact style.  But I have created a space that feels right - that feels good - for us.  And I think that is the best design style. 

What says "home" to me?  Home is a reflection of the 33 years my husband and I have been creating a life together.  I want my home to make others comfortable when they visit, and I want a home that is warm and inviting.  But, more importantly, this house needs to be a comfort - a haven - to us as we not only retreat here each day but as we share life together under this roof.

Home is where I can wear my comfy clothes.  Where we don't have to talk - just for the sake of talking.  And where we have someone to talk to when we need it.  Home is full of laughs, dumb jokes, and talking to the dog in "dog talk."  It is the place for making dreams and dreaming big!  And for all the 100 ordinary moments in between.  Our home is uniquely us and, hopefully, our style reflects just that.  What says "home" to you?

Friday, May 18, 2018

Uniquely Me - Some Random Facts

I am a good secret-keeper.  Whether it is the perfect Christmas surprise you are waiting to exchange or a special prayer burden that you simply had to share with one person, you can depend on me to keep your secret safe.  Just a little-known something that my friends who read here may or may not know about me.  And, the more I thought about it, there might be a few other random "facts" I could share.  So, in the interest of pure fun, here are some things that make me - well, uniquely me:)

1- I can keep a secret.  Yes, I mentioned that one already.  The idea of secrets came from the FMF prompt this week.  I really enjoy the FMF community and reading the other blogs and different thoughts that come from one simple word.  Kate shares a fun secret herself this week!  The idea is to write for five minutes, unedited (which is just about impossible) and I will admit, upfront, this post will probably be a bit longer than five minutes.

2 - I have no ability to be a nurse - or even to render first aid.  Actually, you would not want me to help out in any emergency of a medical nature.  It's not just blood (which is bad) - but also stitches (oh my!) or even the evidence of pain, as in a broken bone, etc.  In people or in pets.  It doesn't matter.  In all of these situations, I am not the one you want to call for help.  You would be doomed.  I have tried, on more than one occasion, to "man-up" and to "be there" for someone who needed help.  Every time, I become a second person in need of medical attention.  Sad, but true.

3 -  I need my personal space.  As in, more than the average bear!  Everyone has a comfortable personal boundary before they feel that others are "in their space."  For some reason, my space feels intruded, sometimes even violated, way before others.  I have been known to panic in prolonged overly-crowded places.  And, my body language often expresses protection of my space. I have no explanation for this but I know it - and I try hard to be aware of it.  Do you know how many women express friendship, hellos, and even simple kindness with a hug?  You would if you were hyper-sensitive about your space:)

4 - I am a college drop-out.  Not a flunk-out.  But, between my sophomore and junior year of college (way back in the day), I got a job making more than money than I needed, bought my first car and then met my husband.  And I didn't go back to school.  Regrets - yes or no?  Those answers are many (and maybe a whole post of their own) but I am sorry that I was a quitter.  I actually I heard this statement in our sermon on Sunday.  "We Independent Baptists (of which I am one) are very good at starting things, but we often do not finish well."  Hmm, very sobering, if not convicting.

5 - I am forever marked by grief.  My husband and I have two adult children.  We also have two children in Heaven.  Our youngest son died at 13.  Without a doubt, navigating through grief and the years of missing Tyler have been the hardest thing we have done.  But grief has also been deepened our faith, molded and refined us, and yes - even with all the pain - has been some of our sweetest times as we have seen God's promises proven true and learned for ourselves what a faithful Heavenly father we have. Our last pregnancy (which was years before Tyler's birth) ended in a miscarriage and, in contrast, the months that followed were some of the darkest days of my life as I refused His grace, failed to trust and was almost destroyed by despair afterward.  My heart breaks for those who face the trials, heartaches and challenges of this life alone - without a savior.  My prayer, though, this blog, is that others can not only know Christ but know what a difference walking with Him makes.  I personally know the difference.  I also know the joy that life can have with the certainty of a literal Heaven and knowing that we will together for eternity.

  A little more of Tyler's story can be found above at the "Could It Be Any Worse" link.

I would love to get to know you a little better.  What is one thing that makes you uniquely you??