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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

THE ATTIC IS CLEAN, THE HEART IS LIGHT

Today was the day that I finally ventured into the attic above the garage where we park our three cars. This project had been looming in the back of my mind since January 2009. After driving through our community and seeing garage sale signs everywhere and then talking to my walking buddy, Kathy, this afternoon about her plans for a sale this weekend, I knew the time had come.
This attic was filled pretty much to the max and I had not cleaned it from corner to corner in several years. In celebration of our ten year anniversary in this home, I decided about 6 months ago to unclutter every corner, every closet, all spaces would be cleaned and uncluttered. This attic would be my final project. Whooray!
So I headed upstairs with lots of empty boxes and garbage bags. I found boxes of maternity clothes (my "baby" is 17 now), baby items for both genders in every size imaginable, dishes, files from my years of teaching, books and more. A few hours later, I came out with plenty of dust and dirt all over myself, but feeling wonderful! Other than about 1/2 dozen boxes that still need to be sorted and the items I'll place on our front porch for a donation next week, the attic is clear of clutter!
There will be lots of trash on the street tomorrow when the garbage truck comes around.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was quoted as saying "Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."

I agree with him! Uncluttering my home these past months has helped to unclutter my mind and my soul. It has truly been therapeutic, cathartic to unclutter our home, our safehaven, our place of refuge. I feel much freer...Jan Denise, an American Columnist, Author and Speaker, says it like this: "I've been getting rid of some clutter-anything that does not serve a positive purpose in my life-and making room for things that feel happy to me. Because I get to make my life whatever I want it to be. I get to make the room feel however I want it to feel. I get to make the closet as full or as spacious as I want it. And, if I have more clutter to get rid of after Christmas, I'm not going to wait a year, or two or three to do it."
After all, this life is not a dress rehearsal and we only get one chance.

What do you need to free your mind, home or heart from today?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

BIRTHDAYS

My heart friend is having a birthday tomorrow and a few of us were able to meet for lunch today to celebrate Sara's presence in our lives. As a fifty something woman, I find it more important than ever to remember birthdays and the special people each day represents.
My group of friends from Druid Hills High School and I really did it up right last year when we all turned fifty. The first thing we did was we decided that we would celebrate each birthday throughout the years with balloons, bells and whistles! Then we planned a fiftieth birthday trip to visit one of the group in Colorado. While there, we went horseback riding in the Rockies and took numerous mountain hikes through the countryside. Then when our last friend in our group of eight had her fiftieth in December 2008, we decided that we would do it all again this year for our fifty-first. What a great idea! And so in March, 2009, we began again with Mary's birthday celebration. And the plan is to do the same thing again for our fifty-second, our fifty-third and so on! NO telling what we'll do for our sixtieth!
In Henri Nouwen's book HERE AND NOW, he teaches us why birthday parties are so significant. "Birthdays need to be celebrated. I think it is more important to celebrate a birthday than a successful exam, a promotion, or a victory. Because to celebrate a birthday means to say to someone: 'Thank you for being you.' On a birthday, we do not say: 'Thanks for what you did, or said, or accomplished.' No, we say: 'Thank you for being born and being among us.'" Nicole Johnson agrees when she says: "This is the heartbeat of celebrating friendships and family. Rejoicing, honoring, applauding, commending, saluting, toasting the wonderful people in our lives."
So, here's to you on your special day wherever it might fall on the calendar.

Monday, April 27, 2009

FITNESS AND FRIENDSHIP MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

I took a bike ride today by myself from the Kennesaw Mountain Visitor's Park to the Marietta Square, and back, about 3 miles each way. My plan was to ride to the square for exercise, visit our Hallmark store to purchase a few greeting cards and then ride back. I decided to visit dk gallery, a new art gallery on our square, owned by our good friend, Donna. I knew that ordinarily, Donna was not in on Mondays, but I thought I might get lucky and have an unexpected visit with her today.
The weather was beautiful for a bike ride, not too hot and not too cool...just right!
And as my good fortune would have it, Donna was in and not too busy for us to have a visit.
I once heard a quote by Seneca that fits with my day and this very special friend:
"One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood."
I had not had a chance to share about Brad's celebration service and all that had happened in the past couple of weeks, so we shared from our hearts for a little while. Again, I considered how very important friendship and fitness are for the 50 something woman! The bike ride was strenuous enough to make me feel like I had some exercise and my time with Donna was just enough to fill me up with love and friendship.
How about you? Are you making sure that you take care of yourself by taking time out for friendship and fitness. If not, why not?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

OUR PARENTS

The 50 something woman many times finds herself in the midst of taking care of aging parents while she might still be raising her children and/or helping with and loving on some grandchildren, and possibly even holding down a job, all at the same time. I can't identify with the grandchildren season at all yet, but I certainly can relate to the care of aging, and often, ailing parents.
Today, I visited the mother of one of my dear friends. This mom has Alzheimer's Disease. Did you know that 5.3 million people have been diagnosed with this disease in the United States, alone? But when the patient is your mother or father, this can be a very lonely place to be. Mrs. Land, my friend's mother was diagnosed with A.D. several years ago. At this time, she cannot speak and rarely knows her loved ones when they visit her. She cannot walk alone and is cared for 24/7 by a loving staff. This has been a lonely path for my friend, as she has often felt that she was the only one living in a situation as difficult as this.
Once again, we must remember that no matter our circumstances, we MUST make time for ourselves. Time for a power walk, time with friends, and time to BE STILL. When we allow ourselves time for just us, we will be stronger and better equipped to handle whatever the day might bring. If you know someone in your sphere of influence that is dealing with a similar experience as my friend, reach out and encourage them in some way.

Seize the moments to love your parents while you have them.
And recall the happy times if they have passed on.
Yes, remember the happy times...until you meet again on the other side.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

LIVE YOUR QUESTION

An anonymous poet once said: "Sometimes when you don't know the answer, live the question."
As a 50 something woman, I have realized more than ever that sometimes the questions that we have in this life do not have answers that are easy to uncover...

WHY did someone have to die so soon?
WHY can't _____ and _____ get along better?
WHY does this habit have such a strong hold on me?
WHY is this loved one living with a disability?
WHY was my husband unfaithful to me? OR
WHY did my husband die so young leaving me with the children?
FILL IN THE BLANK WITH SOME OF YOUR WHYS:_______________________________

As we journey through life, I think it is important to pray and talk to others about the issues in our lives, but sometimes the answers still don't come this side of heaven.
So what do we do?
WE LIVE THE QUESTION. We submit ourselves to the truth that we do not know the answer and we live the question, recognizing that the question may always be with us.
In the book CELEBRATION of DISCIPLINE, By, Richard Foster, the author speaks to this on page 111:
"I said that every discipline has its corresponding freedom. What freedom corresponds to submission? It is the ability to lay down the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way. The obsession to demand that things go the way we want them to go is one of the greatest bondages in human society today. People will spend weeks, months, even a lifetime, in a perpetual stew because something did not go as they wished. They will get mad about it. They will act as if their very life hangs on the issue. They may even get an ulcer, develop health problems over it."

So, today, take a few moments to consider what "questions" have been gnawing at you, and make the choice to simply breathe and live out your days with an understanding that some of the "answers" are not for us to know just now.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

REMEMBERING BRAD TODAY

TODAY was truly a gift. TODAY was a day to gather with family and remember our 25 year old nephew, my sister, Laura Lea's son. TODAY was a day to remember BRAD.
TODAY was a day to celebrate the truth that God is alive and interested in the details of our lives. "TODAY was the day that the Lord made and we DID rejoice and we WERE glad in it." Psalm 118:24 ( My Mama's favorite verse in the entire Bible. She passed away in October 2006 after only 4 months of cancer and she claimed this verse daily all of her life)
Yes, TODAY was a gift I will remember always.
It began at Atlanta Hospice Chapel with 40 family members and close friends, along with many of our nephew, Brad's caretakers from the nursing home he has spent the past 4 months at.
Just a little background for those of you that are unaware and may be wondering...On June 24, 2008, Brad was 24 when he fell onto the concrete from his six four height and suffered a TBI. (traumatic brain injury) We knew right away that his injury was extremely serious and he went through brain surgery 24 hours later. Though Brad did show occasional signs of wakefulness, he never knew us and really showed few significant signs that he would make a recovery, but we, his family, kept hoping and praying. God answered our prayers in a different sort of way...After ten long months, with frequent trips to the emergency room from Signature Healthcare of Atlanta where he was being cared for, Brad passed peacefully in his sleep on Sunday night, April 19, 2009, just after he reached his 25th birthday.
(see caringbridge.org re: bradlamkie)
Now, you might be saying or at least thinking, how can we "rejoice" over such sad circumstances? Here are some of the reasons: God's provision of excellent health care every step of the way, the love, support, and prayers from friends, the realization that when we seek God, we WILL find Him, (James 4:8 and Jeremiah 29:13) the comfort that is provided by food from friends and fellowship with family at a sad time like this.
After the service, we gathered in our home to share photos and memories of Brad's short life. We enjoyed chicken pot pie, salads, an array of incredible desserts, all prepared by friends who care. WE laughed, we cried, we shared smiles and sighs. We loved on each other and held each other tightly. Our daughter came home from college to be with us. Brad's cousins traveled over from Charleston to be with us.
My sister, Laura Lea, Brad's mother, took each niece and nephew's face and said, nose to nose, "TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO YOUR FAMILY."
They all, each one, listened intently.
Yes, TODAY was a gift.

Monday, April 20, 2009

We received some difficult news last night. Our 25 year old nephew, my sister's son, Brad, has passed away. This was expected, not shocking, still bringing sorrow to the depths of our souls.
Brad was injured in an accidental fall on June 24, 2008. He suffered a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and went to surgery the next evening. Since then, Brad has been moved from the Neurology ICU, a Long-Term Acute Care Center, to a Nursing Home.
As I consider the past months since Brad's fall, I am once again, humbled by this family's response to this enormous tragedy.
Several images come to my mind today:
*On July 17, 2008, Brad's father's courageous acknowledgement when bad news was discussed. The doctor said "I know this is difficult news to hear", and the response was: "...and it must be very hard news to deliver as well."
*Our niece, Brad's sister, even amidst her deep sadness shared wisdom from her heart just before our Thanksgiving Feast in front of 30 family members.
*My sister, Brad's mother and the statement she made out loud within 48 hours of her son's accident: "I know God and I know, He knows me."
*Our son, Walker, Brad's cousin sharing the scripture reference Philippians 4:10-13, and stating that in all of his life, he had never seen a better example of this than the one set by his Uncle Rhys, Aunt Laura Lea and his cousin, Pamela.
All of this reminds me of a song from the play RENT. "525,600 MINUTES." Did you know that the young author of RENT was very sick and died before the opening night? This play, along with this song, spoke to the hearts of all who were blessed to be in the audience.
Why? Perhaps it is because everyone wants to experience a meaningful life while on this earth. We all want to take the minutes of our lives and make them count.

The song goes like this:

525,600 minutes.
525,600 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes,
How do we measure a year?

In daylights-in sunsets,
In midnights-in cups of coffee,
In inches-in miles,
In laughter-in strife.

In 525,600 minutes.
How do we measure
A year in the life?
How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love.

Seasons of love.
Seasons of love.
525,600 minutes
525,000 journeys to plan.

525,600 minutes.
How do we measure the life
Of a woman or a man?

In truths that she learned
Or in times that he cried,
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she died.

It's time now-to sing out
Tho'the story never ends.
Let's celebrate
Remember a year in the life of friends.

Remember the love.
Remember the love.
Remember the love.
Measure the love.

Measure, measure your life in LOVE.
Seasons of love.
Seasons of love.

So as we remember Bradford Gordon Lamkie, born on April 16, 1984, we will measure his life in love.
It is with great assurance that I can say that the best things in life are not things at all.
They are FAITH, FAMILY, and FRIENDS.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

FILL UP YOUR TANK WITH LOVE!

Our small group in church is studying the book THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES, How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate, By, Gary Chapman. Today, we were talking about Chapter 2~Keeping the Love Tank Full. "Psychologists have concluded that the need to feel loved is a primary human emotional need. For love, we will climb mountains, cross seas, traverse deserts, and endure untold hardships. Without love, mountains become unclimbable, seas uncrossable, deserts unberable, and hardships our plight in life."
While this author's main emphasis is on the husband and wife relationship, I would like for us to take a look at self-love for the 50 something woman.
Yes, everyone needs love, that is clear, but we also need to extend love to ourselves, giving ourselves mercy and grace as we journey through this life. Again, we expend a lot of time and energy caring for and loving the people in our homes and we must not forget to love ourselves...treat ourselves with kindness. That means we cannot allow ourselves to be in the habit of repetitive self criticism, working ourselves to exhaustion, living an unbalanced life with no time for rest, relaxation, restoration and recreation.
How is your love tank looking? Are you running on empty? Let's not wait for others to fill it up, let's fill it up ourselves! Give yourself an "atta girl!" today.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

SATURDAY, SATURDAY, EVER LOVING SATURDAY

Today is Saturday, and a rather quiet one here in our home. I am not complaining, only remembering Saturdays in the past that were not so quiet.
From my personal journal:

Saturday, August 4, 2007
"Today is the day..." Mama's favorite verse in the Bible. (Note: My Mama passed away on 10/24/06 just 4 months after a cancer diagnosis)
"Today is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24
It is 11:00 a.m. and we will get in our packed pick-up truck at 12:30 to drive all Leah's STUFF to Auburn University. She'll come home with us and then return on Monday 8/6/07 to begin RUSH and her freshman year.
I awakened at 8:30 a.m. after a deep night's sleep. Since then, I cooked a wonderful breakfast for Leah and Walker-cheese eggs, grits, bacon, sausage, biscuits, juice.
Of all the many breakfasts I've prepared for both kids, this was the last one before our life changes forever. Our little girl, our first born, goes to college today.
The good news is that all of this change is GOOD change. She is amazingly healthy. She is bright. She is extremely happy with her college choice. She is a child of God. All of that, (and much more!) is much, very much, to be thrilled about...and I am!
But of course, part of me weeps over the passage of time-my memory bank is FULL of so many times with Leah-her riding in the seat of the grocery cart, playing in the balls at McDonalds, riding in a limo in Chicago when she was photographed for cover of American Girl magazine in 1998, helping with and loving on her little brother, floor play with her Daddy, dressed in formal wear with a handsome young man ready to go to the prom, and SO MUCH MORE!
All of these times take me back to a time when she was smaller and really needed me. What I must remember is that the need is still there, but it is very different. Her greater need now is to find out who she will be come and she is doing just that today. We are blessed to have a strong love relationship between us.
So, as my friend, Donna, advised, I will embrace this season.
It is a season I wouldn't want to miss for anything in the world.

Friday, April 17, 2009

GIVE YOURSELF A PRESENT!

Last Christmas, one of the main things I wanted for a gift was a new pair of walking shoes. In the midst of my weight loss journey, I had worn the tread off of my old ones.
Opening this gift on Christmas morning was wonderful! Later after the tree was done and wrapping paper was everywhere, I decided to go work out on the treadmill. The cool part of this was that in my whole life, I had never even thought about working out on Christmas Day. In the past, the day was filled with food preparation, gifts, family, perhaps a nap after a huge feast.
However, Christmas Day 2008 was different because I decided to give myself a present! The gift to myself was to take time out for a good, calorie-burning workout. And I did it!
Since then, whenver I take time out to work out in some way, I always consider it a present to myself. How about you? Have you given yourself a gift lately?
Remember that consistently doing some type of exercise is more important than the type or amount of exercise.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

LIVE YOUR DREAM

I was at our son, Walker's tennis banquet tonight and spoke with friend of mine about this "season" of our lives. She had been reading my blog and we talked about how so many of us feel a little out of sorts when our children leave the home and "the children" have been our main job, if not our only one, for many, many years.
Let's all take time out to consider and then realize our dreams...perhaps just like Susan Boyle, a candidate in the Britain's Got Talent 2009 contest.
My friend, Lynn sent this to me via email and I had to share it with you!
If you have not seen Susan's performance, you must as soon as possible.
Go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PP1KOyaqaQ

After you view this, consider what your dream, your passion is, then let's go after them together!

Let me know what you think about Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WHICH PATH?

Today as I was driving home, there was a huge traffic jam in my community, a suberb just north of Atlanta. All of the roads within blocks from the square in all directions were tangled up with congestion. I was on a road just a few cars from a RR crossing, which should have been a fine route home, except for the fact that the train was sitting at a dead stop.
What to do? Which route to take? Do I wait on the train? If so, will it be a terribly long wait? As I sat and processed all this, many commuters behind me had already begun to make their decision and were turning around. I was hesitant to do this because as I looked in my rear view mirror, I saw that all the roads were blocked. So, I choose to sit and wait. 5, 10, 20, 25 minutes while cars all around me choose to perform u-turns. I open both windows and allow the cool spring day to blow into my car. I hear shouts of the children at a nearby church playground, and I wait on this train that may never move.
As I continued to wait, I thought about how in life we have a lot of paths we can choose. I was reminded of Robert Frost's memorable poem:
"The Road Not Taken"
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,...and I-took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
Now that we are 50 something women, it may seem that we are faced with more news than usual, and the news, unfortunately, is not always good. Maybe it is because our circle of friends has broadened as we have grown. Perhaps it is because we have greater knowledge, greater wisdom, shall I say, about what can come about as life progresses.
Whatever the reason, it would do our hearts good to consider what path we will take when faced with difficult news. We can collapse into nothingness...and if we do that for a bit, it is understandable. We can decide to take the path of courage amidst trial and follow down that path with encouragement from God and friends who care. WE might choose anger and stay stuck there for awhile. And sometimes news will just cause us to sit and wait until it sinks in. If we really stop and think about it, we can even choose to look for the upside of a situation. As I waited for the train to move, an elderly gentleman, a pedestrian, walked over to my car and instructed me on how, in his opinion, I should turn around and find a new route. And I did...arriving home in less than a half hour.
Which path will you choose today?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

YES, It's a new day!

Now that I believe I am back on track with my fitness and food plan, I want to share a few things that I have found to be very helpful. First of all, fitness is vital for us to feel good the rest of our journey. So, I look for ways to get fit at every turn! MOVE, MOVE, MOVE! Take the stairs, never the elevator. Park far from the store fronts. Walk the dog. Hike a mountain. Take a power walk with a heart friend. MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!
And now for a word from Bob Greene's Best Life program: "Although the scale may inch up during or after a holiday, keep in mind that weight fluctuations are perfectly normal. To gain an actual pound of body fat, you'd have to consume a lot of calories: 3,500 to be exact-and this is on top of what you normally eat in a given day. And even if the number on the scale does climb, that doesn't mean you've gained actual body fat. When you step on a scale, you're weighing muscle, bone, body fat, water (one gallon weighs 8 lbs), undigested food, and waste that your body has not eliminated yet." (see thebestlife.com for more)
Another resource I have found to be very motivating is a paperback book you can pick up anywhere: YOUNGER NEXT YEAR By, Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, M.D. There is copy for women (hot pink) and one for men (bright yellow) My copy is torn and tattered and highlighted because I have read and reread many parts of it in the past year.
I don't know about you, but my main goal has become to FEEL GOOD, not to get skinny for some special reunion, wedding or another occasion. Very simply to feel good and be as healthy as I can be.
So here we go! Today is a new day!

Monday, April 13, 2009

POWER OUTAGE

I have spoken with three close girlfriends in the past 24 hours and we have talked through personal issues. What great comfort and therapy it is to have a girlfriend, a heart friend, that you know you can trust with your deepest concerns! As we bantered back and forth, these friends and I, it was confirmed to me once again how hard this life is. In fact, the first line in Scott Peck's book, The Road Less Traveled is: LIFE IS DIFFICULT. Even though the circumstances I discussed with each of these friends was very different, the bottom line was the same...Life can deal you some pretty tough cards.
How we play our cards, many times determines how our future unfolds. However, more likely, we will have times that we have to just let go and accept things as they are. My Mama raised six children and as we grew up into adults, I remember her saying often that she was not "worried" about a particular situation, but that she was definitely "concerned". Maybe that was her way of caring, but not carrying the burden that was on her heart.
This reminds me of the Serenity Prayer that I believe is vital for the 50 something woman as we journey through our days:
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."
One thing I do know is that the power that is in GOD is a power I would not want to live without. This morning, our community had a rough rainstorm and we lost all electirical power in our home for more than three hours. As I meandered through our home, I would flip a switch and receive no light because of the outage.
Once our power was restored, I began to think about what life would be like without power...and worse, what if we had no Divine Creator to turn to, to pray to. Where would we be?
All three of these heart friends seek God in their journey and the Word promises that when we seek Him, we will find Him. There is much power in seeking and finding the Living God and we can be assured that there will never be a power outage with Him!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

THE CAB RIDE

As I checked my email today, I came upon the following story, a forward from my friend, Jolie. I think it serves as a grand reminder, no matter our age, that life is not a dress rehearsal. WE ONLY GET ONE CHANCE TO LIVE AND TO LOVE!

THE CAB RIDE

I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute,"answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her nineties stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like someone out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. "It's nothing, "I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated."

"Oh, you're such a good boy,"she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"

"It's not the shortest way, "I answered quickly.

"Oh, I don't mind," she said..."I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice."

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left,"she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long." I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

"What route would you like to take." I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and we would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of the sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.

"Nothing," I said.

"You have to make a living,"she answered.

"There are other passengers." I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

"You gave an old woman a little moment of JOY." she said.

"Thank you."

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?

What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID, ~BUT~
THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.

"WE CAN DO SMALL THINGS WITH GREAT LOVE." Mother Teresa

A BEAUTIFUL EASTER DAY

This day was pretty near perfect from my perspective. My family and I arose early at 6:30 a.m. in order to drive home from North Georgia, deposit our three dogs to our home, and still make it to our church for Easter morning worship...Quite an accomplishment, and so worth it! Our daughter just left to drive back to Auburn University, our son is playing catch up with his rest from his recent international mission trip and I was sitting here reminiscing about this day.
As we got settled into our pew, Billy and Missy scooted into the row in front of us. They are young parents, in fact, new parents of Sammie, just born on March 20, 2009. The service had not quite begun, so we had a minute to say hello and Missy told us that she reluctantly had taken Sammie to the nursery for the very first time...we assured her that all would be well and that it was good for she and Billy to have this time together to worship. The memories for me began to flood back to October 1988 when our first born was only a few weeks old and in the church nursery for the very first time. I remember feeling just like Missy, hesitant and a bit anxious. As the service neared the end, Missy slipped out and returned with a baby carrier with, you guessed it, newborn Sammie bundled inside of it. As the pastor closed the morning with prayer, I gazed at the tiny hands of this little girl. Where exactly had the past twenty years gone??? Following the service, Leah, our newborn baby girl (in 1988) came over to admire Sammie, the perfect example I can come up with to prove that Easter is truly a new beginning, especially when we stop long enough to consider all the new things popping up in our midst...the azaleas and dogwoods on the beautiful Masters'Golf Course, new baby birds, and YES, even a new season in our lives as 50 something women.

Friday, April 10, 2009

IT IS VERY LATE

Easter Weekend is here and I am up late waiting for our children to drive up to join us here at our log cabin in North Georgia. Our son, Walker's plane from Dominican Republic was a little late, but thankfully, our daughter, Leah was happy to wait patiently for him and she will do the driving tonight. The trip is under two hours and she had a good nap this afternoon, so I feel certain, they will be fine!
Thanks for the comments you have left in response to my Blog. I really appreciate your thoughts and the connectiveness that we have as women.
I believe each one of us wants to know that we have a purpose here until we take our last breath...What that purpose is may not be readily clear to us.
One tool I have really enjoyed for the past two decades is personal journaling. I try to write an entry 3-4 days per week. At the end of the year, I reread my entire journal between the holidays of Christmas and New Years, highlighting common themes that "keep coming up" as I read...These end up being things I want to work on in the new coming year. Journaling has helped to shed light onto my purposes in my life.
One consistency that has proven to be true for me is a lesson my mother taught me and I have implemented more and more with each passing year. The lesson is that when I find myself feeling down or blue, I make a conscious effort to help someone else by making a difference, big or small, in his/her day. I really encourage you to try this and see how it works for you! Let me hear about your experience of making someone else's day a bit easier.
Well, I may have spoken too soon! I said this Blog is not about food and fitness, and it isn't! However, I must share the latest that is on my mind!
First, some background...we have two children, Leah, age 20 and Walker, age 17. While Leah is finishing her Spring Semester at Auburn University and Walker is on a Spring Break mission trip to Dominican Republic, my husband and I just returned yesterday from 5 nights in beautiful Jamaica. WE stayed in a fabulous oceanfront all-inclusive resort. (need I say more?)
WELL, here is what I wanted to share, even though I worked out hard every single day, I pretty much ate and drank what I wanted...(bread w/butter, ice cream, pina coladas, you get it!)
I think I now have more clarity about why AMERICA is struggling so much with obesity.
This morning, when I stepped on the scales, I had gained 6 (yes, 6) lbs in just one short week. OK, so now it all makes sense to me because the average person would stay at this wonderful resort, eat/drink whatever their heart desires AND not have daily fitness as a part of their life while they are there. Therefore, if the average person gained the way I have, then the pounds would just continue to add up. For me, I will choose differently! Although this is not about food and fitenss (I keep saying that don't I!?!) I will choose differently for ME today! I'll close here as my stationary bike is calling my name!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

TODAY IS A GIFT AND THAT IS WHY WE CALL IT "THE PRESENT"!

Someone once said that today is the first day of the rest of your life. I think that is a grand way to begin this blog because at the age of 50 +, it is important to remember that each day matters and go forward with that thought. My 50th birthday was celebrated 323 days ago and I am happy to say that I am now a different person than I was on my birthday, August 1, 2008. I have finally lost the 20 + pounds that I have been trying to lose for about 17 years, since my son's birth back in 1992! NOW, do not misunderstand by thinking that the weight loss has made me a different person. It is my "thinking" that has made me different. It is the fact that I have chosen to put myself up as a priority in my life, making time for workouts and planning good, healthy things to eat.
NO, this is not about that! This is not about exercise or food.
It is about women and how we are incredible care takers, but we somehow forget to care for ourselves.
THAT is what this is about.
I hope that in posting this thought that more women, younger and older than 50 will begin to care enough about themselves that they will put themselves on their "to do"list!