Monday, September 30, 2013

Practical ways to make the rest of my life the best of my life...

I don't think of my age all that much.
I don't feel fifty six.
At least, not most of the time.

When I'm out on my run I think of my age with pride and gratitude.
I'm fifty six and I can run.
Thank God!
I've been a walker for over twenty years,
but it wasn't until age fifty five that I decided to celebrate my double fives by running a 5K.
I've been running ever since! 
I try to walk a half mile, run two miles, then cool down by walking another half mile or so.

Sometimes the enemy tries to use my age against me.
He tempts me to begin to fear and worry when I remember that sixty is only four years away.
What about this, what if that?
 He most certainly likes to get me to fret.
He most certainly does not like me to trust God and to have a mind that is at rest and filled with peace.

I notice my age when I first wake up.
My legs and feet are a bit stiff, a bit achey, especially on that first trip down the stairs to the kitchen.
And that first look in the mirror without make-up, why there's my mama looking back at me!

Growing older is inevitable.
But, I refuse to be a cranky, joyless, anxiety filled old lady.
 I am determined to make the rest of my life, the best of my life!
Here are some things that I am trying to do to help make my days the best.

1) Stay spiritually fit.
By reading, meditating on and heeding God's Word.
By communicating with God continually through prayer.
By staying free of offenses, unforgiveness and bitterness.
By keeping my heart soft, yielded, pliable and obedient to God.
By loving and serving others.
By staying involved and active in my local church.
By mentoring others.

2) Stay mentally fit.
Don't be mentally lazy and slothful.
Learn new things.
(I've been learning photography the last couple of years. 
 I'm hoping to learn to knit this year.)
Read good books.
Keep writing.
Keep creating.

3) Stay physically fit.
Exercise at least 5 days a week.
Eat right. 
Drink lots of water.
Moisturizer is my friend! 
(Take good care of my skin.)
Keep up with regular doctor visits and exams.

4) Stay emotionally fit.
Let the Spirit of God in me rule over my emotions.
Let the peace of God rule my mind and heart.
Keep my thoughts centered on the truth found in God's Word.

5) Stay socially fit.
Get together with old friends.
Make new friends.
Mix it up!  Hang out with people older and younger than myself, as well as those my age.
Have people over to our home...practice hospitality.
Stay young by being around my children and grandchildren.

6) Keep having goals and dreams to reach for.
(If there's nothing to look forward to achieving, life feels purposeless.)
Keep asking God to show me His purpose for this time in my life.

These are just a few practical ways I want to live so that I make the most of each day God gives me.

I'd love for you to comment and tell me how you are coping with aging
 and practical ways you are making the most of this time in your life.

still following,

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Relationships, Retreats and Gratitude...

I've been offline all weekend.
I've been with my in real life "peeps"...
the women of our church, the women I walk beside through their joys, their sorrows, their failures, their triumphs.
I was at our annual ladies' retreat.
Using the in real life videos from (in)courage. me  as our guide, 
we spent the weekend talking about the things that cause us to shrink back from real and lasting relationships, cause us to withdraw from community.
We had women from our church open up and tell their "hard stories".
They shared how they made it through the storms in their life by the grace of God and with the help of their sisters in Christ,
how the body of Christ loved them back from loss and failure,
what has helped them build and maintain life long friendships.
We shared our fears and failures, our joys and triumphs.
We laughed and cried, we worshipped and prayed, we slept too little and ate too much, we acted silly and we got serious.
We've always had things we needed to talk about with one another.
We just needed a safe place to do it.

I'm thanking God.


In 2012 I followed the prompts in Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare in counting my thanks.
In 2013 I'm going back to the way I did it in the beginning,
just noticing and recording the many extraordinary blessings in my ordinary life.
And so I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little black journal.
(and capturing some of them via my camera or iPhone)


-a new Williams Sonoma loaf pan from my sweet friend

-the Hubs going grocery shopping with me after work, then taking me to Chipotle for dinner so I didn't have to cook 
-putting away the fans and the air conditioner and embracing fall

-cheery candlelight

-sparkly nails

-hot, homemade chicken and rice soup on a rainy day

-our family all praying about a family members need
-lunch with my buddy

-another confirmation about this year's ladies' retreat theme
(God can even use a fortune cookie, I suppose!)

-a weather change for the better just as I went on my run

-staying home all day and working on the finishing touches for retreat
-feeling confident of God's leading of the direction for retreat

-everyone getting to retreat in spite of road closures and road blocks
-Jesus' love and presence evident-the ladies' openness
-encouraging words 
-staying up late talking

-a couple from our church not badly hurt in a serious traffic accident
-my friend having a severe high blood sugar at retreat, but it coming down as we prayed for her
-God's work in all of us

-a wonderful morning at church
-lunch with my Hubs after being apart all weekend
-a nap-resting and recuperating from a full weekend

gratefully yours,

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ode to a Soup Pot...

(Three years ago I wrote "Ode to a Soup Pot" on a rainy fall day.
I'm reposting it here because it is still one of the posts I had the most fun writing.
Yesterday was a rainy fall day and the old soup pot was simmering away on the stove. 
The delicious smell of chicken and rice soup filled our home. 
Click on the link if you want the recipe.)

In summer it sits upon the shelf and rarely sees the light of day
Come fall and winter out it comes on gloomy days with skies of gray
Its color red it is my favorite, no plain jane pot will do for me
It makes me happy just to see it, filling heart and home with glee
A pinch of this, a dash of that, who knows what wonders it contains?
I want to eat its lovely contents, with bread to sop up last remains
A spicy chili?  Marinara?  A Sendak style soup with rice?
The smells they waft, they woo, they linger, they oh so shamelessly entice
Oh lovely soup pot, ‘tis your season, these Northwest rains they beckon me
To bring you out from hidden pantry, this year’s debut, what shall it be?
Boeuf Bourguignon?  It was a highlight, on autumn day some months gone by
A hearty stew? A roasted chicken? A flakey crusted chicken pie?
Whatever it is, it’s sure to gladden, sure to cheer and to sustain
Oh lovely soup pot how I’ve missed you, it ALMOST makes me glad for rain!

still following,


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Autumn Mantel 2013...

Autumn arrived in Portland accompanied by true fall weather.
It's been gray and drizzle-y since Saturday, so the candles are lit and the soup pot is on the stove.
Each season has its moods and I believe that the mood for fall is cozy.

I told you last week that I would show you my fall mantel this week.
Well, here it is!
This year the base is neutral with a little fall "bling" thrown in.

My Goodwill antique Dicken's books stayed on the mantel, just as they were for my Back to School mantel.
A vintage marmalade jar holds pheasant feathers purchased at the craft store along with some dried craspedia, (those yellow ball shaped flowers), that I bought fresh at a local store and hung until they were dried.
An inexpensive floral pick with a large dried pod completes that simple arrangement.
A wee, white pumpkin and a cheery little squirrel, bought on sale at Kohl's, are the finishing touches.

For the bling on my fall mantel I made three types of garland to drape from an old branch that hangs above the mirrored window.
The smallest garland is simply acorn shaped jingle bells strung onto twine.
I found the bells at JoAnn's.
The next garland, I made last fall.
It's simply cut out felt shapes that I purchased at World Market and then strung on a piece of beading twine.
The last garland is made of paper pennants cut out of Dollar Tree wrapping paper.
The key here is to iron the paper flat, so the triangles don't curl.
Then they are simply hot glued onto twine.

On the other side of the mantel are neutral colored pumpkins that I have had for quite some time and bring out every fall, as well as birch bark candles that I bought at Target some years ago.

All together it makes a fall mantel that gives off the cozy vibe that I was looking for.

Welcome Autumn!  
I'm ready for your cozy, soup simmering, candles glowing, quilt snuggling days!

still following,


vintage inspiration button              1aaadoveladygfairy006    

TidyMomShabby Art Boutique

                                                      kim klaxon dot com
Also linking to Jennifer Rizzo's Fabulously Creative Friday

Sunday, September 22, 2013

First day of Autumn gratitude...

Happy first day of autumn 2013, everyone!
Here in Portland, Oregon, God decided to give us some actual fall weather, 
with gray skies, rain and enough chill in the air 
to have to shut the windows that have been opened much of the time since May.
I even got out my favorite wool quilt for a little Sunday afternoon rest.

A new season, like each new day, full of God's new mercies and fresh floods of His lovingkindness,
and grace and strength to face whatever He allows to come our way
and blessings in abundance to count. 
Some blessings will be a little hard to discover under their disguise of difficulty or trial
and some will be blatant, in your face, and over the top, obvious blessings.
In between those two extremes, will be the easiest ones to miss, to forget to count,
the ordinary, everyday blessings...
the air I breathe
food to eat
water to drink
legs that can walk
a roof over my head
a husband to do laundry for
...each one a blessing, each one, in their own way, miraculous,
each one, worth noticing and giving thanks for.


In 2012 I followed the prompts in Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare in counting my thanks.
In 2013 I'm going back to the way I did it in the beginning,
just noticing and recording the many extraordinary blessings in my ordinary life.
And so I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little black journal.
(and capturing some of them via my camera or iPhone)


-God's provision-thank You, Father!
-learning something new on the computer by doing

-littlest granddaughter deciding she only wants to wear pink
-going to Crema to meet a friend who's planning and and prepping the meals for our ladies' retreat

-a Hubs who's happy with a Costco roasted chicken and a salad for dinner on a busy day

-oldest daughter had to go to the hospital to be with a friend who's having a baby,
so I got to help get four year old granddaughter ready for pre-school pictures
-hugs and kisses from youngest granddaughter
-making "autumn stew" and cornbread and then the weather turning warm enough to eat outside!

-the harvest moon

-Papa making the two oldest grands omelets, toast and hot chocolate for breakfast before school
(they spent the night on a school night while Mama and Daddy were on a date)

-the faithful ones who come to our Thursday night worship and prayer

-a helpful manager at Best Buy Mobile who helped us with a phone upgrade and exchange-
(and we were the first ones there when the store opened so no waiting!)
-the fun of picking out the special prizes for the ladies that will be at our ladies' retreat
-an early dinner out on our "date day" then coming home for a cozy evening at home

-Papa and youngest daughter bringing only grandson to the University of Washington Huskies 
game while oldest granddaughter and I rode along and had a girl day together

-a safe drive to Seattle and back
-beautiful weather in Seattle even though the forecast said otherwise

-the first day of fall
-the presence of Jesus at church today in such a real, tangible way
-a woman coming who saw a flier about our church and God touching her
-lunch out with the older crowd from church, (of which I am one)

gratefully yours,

Friday, September 20, 2013

Matthew 16:2...Signs of the times

Sometimes it feels as if the world has gone crazy-mad.
The Bible has much to say about the times we are living in,
about how we should live,
about what we should be looking for.
I want to be able to discern the signs of the times.
My only hope to be able to do that is to keep my nose in The Book
Jesus followed that statement with these words, 
"Peace I leave you, My peace I give unto you...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
It's easy to give in to worry, anxiety and fear when we see the instability of the world we live in,
but we can choose to walk in the peace that Jesus promised to give us.

still following,

Scripture and Snapshot