Evening Thoughts

Like a train whistle, it suddenly hit me how quickly summer is chugging on by. It's the middle of July, it's hot, the sun is shining, and what have I done with my summer besides working? Nothing. And this is not altogether a bad thing.

Most folks have lots of summer plans, vacations to exciting destinations, picnics with families, visits to zoos and gardens and national parks. They race to see who can bask on the beach first, or hike up a mountain trail. Their itineraries would wear out the fittest athletes. It's all about doing the most they possibly can in the shortest amount of time.

As for me? I parked down by the river a few minutes to watch a barge go by, see two squirrels playing tag on a post, and read a daily devotional while I talked to God. I spent a half hour on the deck this evening watching the lightning bugs sprinkle the night with light. I spent a few minutes on Facebook, a few on Words with Friends, and a few talking to my fur kids. My pace is slow. I like to savor the moments.

I may not visit exotic places, may not swim in the ocean, may not attack the day full force like a hurricane, but I thank God for having another day, even if I've spent it working. It may not seem exciting to anyone else, but I sure love lightning bugs, and I sure love spending time with my fur kids, and I sure love Jesus.

For the most part, we have the ability to create our days to reflect the life we want to live. I've decided I want less stress in mine. I want to follow a lifelong dream, and I want to watch lightning bugs. I want to live simply, laugh much, dream often, and write stories that entertain. I don't want to race to the next big adventure; I want to savor the little things I've always taken for granted. I want to sit down with Jesus and chat for a while. I want to be happy.

Isn't that what we all search for, happiness?

What makes my introverted self happy is not what would make most people happy. But that's ok. There's room enough for all of us to claim our own kind of happiness.

Whether you want to run the race or sit and watch the lightning bugs, do what brings you joy. Life is short. Create your happiness.

Take care of you.

Trish

How Disposable Am I?

It’s no secret we live in a disposable world.  There’s not much we cannot replace with something newer and better.  Disposable plates, napkins, utensils, serving trays, and cups are used every day. Disposable diapers, bottles, gloves, and hygiene items are made by the millions.  Cheaply made cars built only to last a few years have been experimented with, remember the Yugo?  I have to ask myself, in such a disposable world, how disposable am I?


Early on in life, we learn that pretty much everything can be replaced.  A broken doll, a rusty bicycle, tattered socks.  Sometimes it hurt to lose the original item, but that pain was soon erased by the excitement of a newer one, maybe even a little fancier.  But then, we learn that friends can also be replaced.  Your best friend in first grade moves across the country, never to be seen again.  Then a new kid moves to town and the old friend’s memories begin to fade.  The dog you grew up with ages and dies, leaving a world of hurt and emptiness, but your parents say not to worry, they will replace the old Fido with a new puppy.  And they do, and soon the pain begins to lessen as the bond between you and puppy grows.

As a teenager, a boyfriend replaced me with someone who would have sex with him.  As a wife, I was replaced with someone skinnier and blonde.  

A few years ago, my boss told me that I could always be replaced in my job.  He was right, but I wanted to think I offered something special as an employee that no one else did.  I felt valuable, even if I wasn’t.  I didn’t like to think I was that disposable.

How many husbands and wives have you known that were replaced through divorce?  How many foster kids have gotten shuffled from family to family?  How many pets are in animal shelters because their owners thought a different pet would suit them better?   How many employees have quit their jobs in pursuit of one better?  How many employers have fired employees in the pursuit of one better?

I know I am disposable.  I know every day I go to work that I can be fired on a whim just because someone doesn’t like me, or they don’t like the disorganization of my desk, or the Christmas tree in my office.  I know I can be replaced in every Committee or team that I serve.  I know there is no one standing in the sidelines waiting to rescue me or to stand up for me.  I can be replaced in a heartbeat, and it feels kind of lonely.

I’d like to think my pets would miss me.  But the truth is, they would probably only miss me for a while, until someone else took over my roll as parent and caregiver and friend.  There is no “significant other” in my life who would miss me or feel I could not be replaced.  There is no family who would miss seeing me.  There is no need to replace someone who is already missing.

I cannot say I like knowing just how replaceable I am.  But in truth, I’ve done nothing in my life to make myself irreplaceable.  I’ve done nothing extraordinary.  Nothing unique.  I’m not lovable. I’m not beautiful, to be admired.  I’ve not devoted the time to cultivate relationships to a deeper level, always distancing myself before that closer bond develops.  Yes, I am replaceable.

And yet….as replaceable as I am in this world, I know I am worthy of God’s love and grace.  I know that Jesus died on that cross to save me from my sins.  And I know God will never leave me nor foresake me.  His love makes me feel valuable, worthy, and a little less disposable.  


May God’s undying love for you make you feel worthy and unique.

Take care of you….

Trish

What to Do When You Can’t Touch Your Toes Anymore

Seriously, what do you do when you cannot touch your toes anymore?  I’ve heard about this day, back when I was five and I could pretty much put my toes anyplace I wanted them…over my head, behind my back, on my fanny.  My Grandma Petty used to watch me pretend to be a gymnast and just shake her head.  “One day you won’t be able to do that anymore,” she said.  I laughed hysterically.  Not me, I thought.  I will do this forever.  But now I can’t.  Now, I can barely put my shoes on without utilizing the kitchen refrigerator for balance.

Age and arthritis has caught up with me in a race that began in my 20’s.  It is a mean and vicious competitor.  It will stop at nothing to slow down my body with creaks, snaps, pops, soreness, and stiffness.  It easily trips me if I’m not looking, and hits me from behind in the knees.  Quite frankly, Arthritis is one mean bastard.

Self-pedicures are now a thing of the past.  Oh, how I long for the days of being able to save a few bucks by soaking my feet in a warm bath and then scrubbing them with all the pedi paraphernalia and creamy, perfumed lotions.  Thankfully, there are lovely women trained to now do this for me.  And it’s wonderful.   It is wonderful to be pampered while taking a few minutes of “me” time to zone out to the world.  But it does come at a cost.

Shoes that tie?  No, thank you.  Those have been replaced with mules and clogs and sandals and slip-ons.  Bras that fasten in the back?  Slowly being replaced by front loaders.   Washing my back?  Long handled brushes have been made for that, apparently by someone else who can no longer reach places where they once did.

When my mom broke her hip, the hospital equipped her with a long handled device to help her pick up things and to assist with pulling on her socks.  I’m about ready to purchase one of those, sans broken hip, but with a stiff hip.  

So what do you do when you can’t touch your toes anymore?  You adjust.  You find alternate ways to put on your shoes and bra.  You pay someone to polish and pamper your feet, or beg the help of a friend.  You start doing gentle stretching exercises to help with the stiffness.  And you keep on keeping on because that’s what you do.  You laugh in old Arthur’s face, and you giggle when you start wobbling without a cane. The alternative is not nearly as much fun.

May God Bless all of you, from your head to your toes.

Take care of you….

Trish

Grey Hair, Gravy, and Lipstick

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Wearing my wig.

“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”   Wait, I stole that line from a soap opera.  But ain’t it the truth?  As a child, I was always told that time moved much more quickly as an adult.  I had no reason to believe that; I saw no end in sight to Fifth Grade. 

The days of our lives turn into the decades of our lives before my crepey eyes blink twice.  The sands of time pile up from a play box to barefoot on the beach.  Unfortunately, it took a few dump loads of sand before I realized this really wasn’t a dress rehearsal and the time I need to enjoy is today.

It’s been a trip watching and feeling the changes to my body as it has gone through each decade to its current latter side of 50.  It has grown wider, heavier, curvier, and given into gravity.  It’s been abused, and sometimes pampered.  Scars have been carved deep both inside and out.  Arthritis has settled in to stay, my gall bladder was sucked out and discarded with the trash, and gravy can no longer be tolerated on a daily basis.  I do miss gravy.

I’ve gone through a few identity crisis over the years.  One was about six years ago when my thinning hair became so thin I felt everyone was staring at my glaring scalp.  So I began wearing wigs, and they saved me for several years.  They saved me from self-esteem issues and gave me some peace of mind for a while.  They served their purpose and gave me a little confidence in living.

About three months ago, I was sitting on the deck on a particularly warm summer night, and I began thinking how lovely it would be to not have to wear wigs. How nice it would be to experience the freedom of driving with the windows down and not worrying about my hair flying off.

I began asking myself questions, like was I trying to capture the attention of the male species with a gorgeous, Raquel Welch inspired thick mane of hair?  Did I care what others now thought of me when looking at my hair?  Was I trying to impress anyone?  Did my self-esteem lay solely on Eva Gabor?  My answer to all those questions was, “No.”

So I began thinking that maybe, just maybe, someone could take a pair of magic scissors and do something with the impossible.  You see, only a couple weeks before, I had taken an old pair of dull, rusty scissors and chopped away at my hair with a vengeance. I figured it didn’t matter because no one would ever see it under the wigs.  I couldn’t let just anyone see what I had done to my hair.  It had to be someone I trusted and knew would care whether my bald spots were showing, and I knew exactly who to call, my cousin-in-law, Kris, hair stylist extraordinaire.  I made the appointment.

With quiet observation, Kris looked at my hair, gave it a wash, and then set to work.  It had been several years since anyone had touched my hair and the clipping of the scissors made me a little nervous inside, but I trusted her, and I knew the important thing was that I regained my freedom.  It was no longer about how I looked, it was about how I felt.  Kris made it easy.  No judgement, no shocked looks, no screams of terror.  She had a plan.

With what little she had to work with, I felt Kris had performed a miracle.  I walked out of the salon armed with new product and a sense of freedom I had not had before.  Traveling down the highway with the windows down and the warm air blowing against my face and through my hair, I smiled at the absolute joy of it.

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My new, natural hair.

 

Since that day, there have been a couple awkward moments when someone would see me and express a terrified or shocked look.  I grew to embrace those looks as much as I have embraced my crown of grey.  I am one step closer to being the me God created, and enjoying his creation.

With this new found freedom to be myself, I have discovered that freedom goes wonderfully with a lovely lipstick, in any color that makes me happy at the moment.  It’s my life, I shall use all the colors in the box to bring joy to it.

What moment changed your life?

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Blessings

Sneezing and Other Scary Signs of Aging

10647242_739465662757200_3738853354570463578_nThere’s that moment, when you’re driving and know you’re within ten minutes of your house and sure you can wait to pee until you get there, so much better than using a public restroom….and then you sneeze.

There’s that other moment, when you walk into the kitchen to get something out of the refrigerator, and you stand with the refrigerator door open long enough to get goose bumps under your nightie trying to figure out what you wanted.  You don’t really see anything in there you need.  You’re not really hungry.  Nothing looks appetizing.  So you shut the door and go back into the living room to finish watching The Voice, and you reach for your beverage…..and there’s nothing there.  Must have been a Diet Coke that you needed out of that refrigerator.  Too tired to go back and get it now.  Waiting on the next commercial break seems prudent.  Same for going to the bathroom.  And then you sneeze.

You’re eating alone when all of a sudden something doesn’t go down quite right and the coughing spasms of choking come on strong and urgent, and you cough and cough so hard you think your eyes are going to pop out of your head….and then you sneeze.

Ladies, can we be frank for a moment?  This getting older thing has its advantages.  AARP has a few benefits and discounts that I don’t mind admitting my age to take advantage of.   For the most part, I’m way beyond caring what anyone thinks about me anymore.  They can talk about me, judge me, and turn their snooty little noses up in the air as they walk by and I will just shake my head.  I’m more accepting of my short comings, usually, and most of the time I’m pretty accepting of the quirky behaviors of others, unless it goes beyond quirky into downright mean, sick, and deranged.  There’s no excuse for that.  I no longer care who has the best looking hair, wears the prettiest clothes, or check labels to see what designer they have caressing their buttocks.  The petty peer pressure of my youth is a distant memory.  Should someone decide they would like to be my friend, yet seem to derive pleasure from insulting and ridiculing me, they will not be my friend.  At my age, I’m OK with dumping people who aren’t really my friends.  Yes, it’s one of the perks of being in my 50’s.  I can ignore the best snooty people I know.

But then there are those other things that are not quite so pleasant.  Like peeing my pants when I sneeze.   That’s just not kosher.  Like forgetting where I put my grocery list while I’m walking around the house with it in my hand.  Like not remembering if I took my medication or not.  Like not being able to walk without intense pain that brings tears to my eyes and knees that snap, crackle, and pop so loud I’m certain everyone around me is wondering what that noise is.  I have to gauge the height of the couch seat at someone’s home to guess whether I will be able to get back up off it.  Long drives are mostly a thing of the past because of the pain and stiffness of arthritis and fibromyalgia.  To be honest, these things just plain suck.

I’ve decided it’s just a play off to get older.  I have to give up certain things, like my mobility and memory, in order to enjoy the benefits, like being more comfortable with my likes and dislikes.  Is it worth it?  I’m not sure.  I suppose the alternative would be that I’m dead and gone and wouldn’t have to worry about any of it, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, but I don’t think God is quite ready for me, yet.  I’ve still got some unfinished business here on earth, like trying to give myself a pedicure this weekend.  I’m getting nervous just thinking about it.  Will I be able to do it?  Can I bend that far and that long?  I’m pretty sure I can at least soak my feet in some delightfully scented foot bath.  That’s a start.

Adjustments will need to be made, like longer handled nail files and foot scrubbers.  Long handled scrubbers to wash my back.  A bench in the shower.  And that’s kind of how it is.  Each year, I have to make more and more adjustments to get me through to the next year.  I’m not overly anxious to see what kind of adjustments I will be making the next ten years.  But if the good Lord doesn’t call me home first, I’ll make the adjustments.  That’s just how the old life bounces.  But I still think it kind of sucks.  Now, if I can just figure out how to remember where that “safe place” is I keep losing things in.

How are you handling aging?  With eagerness and a sense of fun?  Or with a bit of dread?

Blessings.

 

An Introvert’s Saturday Night

13092171_1049850765052020_9125567350055287945_nIt’s another Saturday, the last Saturday of April 2016.  It’s Spring time and many people are celebrating better weather (though it’s a bit chilly and dreary today here) and spending time outdoors with family, cookouts, and picnics.  Or maybe going out to a club or having dinner at a nice restaurant with a group of friends.

And then there’s another group of people, each of us celebrating our Saturday night’s alone, apart from the crowds and noise, and in our own ways.  Welcome to my Saturday night; an Introvert’s Saturday Night.

  • 6:00pm have nightshirt on.
  • 6:05pm let Maggie outside.  Stay inside the garage so neighbors don’t see me in nightshirt.  Feed Jonnie Katt so he can eat in peace without Maggie.  Hold and pet the boy while he purrs.
  • 6:20pm or thereabouts, Maggie comes back inside, tongue hanging out, hot from running all around the yard, feet wet and cold.  Jumps on me so I can get the full effect of the cold, wet feet.
  • 6:23pm give Maggie her supper.
  • 6:30pm Google what shows are on the three channels I get on TV tonight.  Notice there’s nothing worth watching.
  • 6:32pm check Facebook.
  • 6:35pm drag out my Art Journal and colored pencils or pens and doodle.
  • 7:30pm notice my doodling is not improving and looks like child’s play but don’t care.  I’m OK with never being an artist.   It’s my doodle.
  • 7:35pm pick out a DVD to watch.  Tonight, it will be Spenser for Hire, Season 1, Episode 2.  After all these years, Spenser and Hawk are still cool dudes.  Maggie snuggles up close and goes to sleep.
  • 7:37pm check Facebook.
  • 8:30pm let Episode 3 play of Spenser for Hire while reading a chapter of Unstuffed, by13139192_1049850411718722_8024304825355673105_n Ruth Soukup.  I make notes and highlight text.   Maggie snuggles against me and snores.
  • 9:30pm hope is renewed that I can get rid of “stuff.”
  • 9:31pm check Facebook.
  • 9:35pm feeling hungry and open the bag of White Cheddar Popcorn I brought home, accompanied by some ice cold Diet Coke.
  • 11:35pm wake up after having fallen asleep with my hand in the popcorn.  It’s sticky.  At the same time I notice my nose itches and wipe my sticky fingers across my nose.
  • 11:40pm turn the TV on to see who’s on Saturday Night Live.  Watch for a few minutes.  If nothing they say makes me angry, I’ll watch for maybe half an hour.  If they make me mad, like making a joke about God, then I’ll turn it off.
  • Midnight turn off the TV and start reading whatever book I’m reading from my Kindle.
  • 12:15am check Facebook.
  • 12:17am resume reading.
  • 12:30am out of popcorn and fall asleep, if I’m lucky.

And there you have it.  My wild and crazy Saturday night.  And I like it like that.

If you’re single and alone, how do you spend your Saturday night?

 

Blessings.