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So proud of my husband.

Look at my brave guy. It’s been about 28 years since Greg has tried a brussel sprout. Last time was when we had a Russian immigrant living with us for several months. Another church member who spoke fluent Russian was helping us communicate with Lydia, something we were so thankful for. He and his wife invited us to dinner where they served some typically Russian food.

First up was borscht. While Greg will loudly complain about it, it really wasn’t that bad. Just a different kind of soup. But following that, we were served the biggest bowl of brussel sprouts we had ever seen. There must have been hundreds in that bowl and yet there were only 5 adults at the table.

Wanting to be polite we ate those little cabbagy looking things. Eeww. Still sends shivers down my spine.

In any case, despite hearing from others that roasted brussel sprouts are quite delicious, neither Greg or I have eaten them since.

However, this weekend our precious daughter-in-law served them to us with dinner. I was determined to try and like them. And I did. But Greg was going to take a pass, remembering vividly the giant bowl of them from 28 years ago. But he girded himself with resolve and not only did he eat one…he ate all that were served! Way to go Greg.

Did he like them? No. Nope. Not at all. Will he eat them again? Don’t count on it. But at least he tried.

We often form conclusions about things without much knowledge. Like the brussel sprouts, it may be a new food we won’t try because it looks strange or has a funny name. It might be a social situation we pass up simply because we get anxious about meeting new people and wondering what we’ll talk about with them.

With our kids or grandkids, we urge them on as they try new things but as adults we often find the we give ourselves permission to sit back and not face some of these new challenges…mostly because of fear of the unknown.

And what a shame that is. We actually can end up on the losing end when we let caution rule supreme. Yes, we definitely need to use the wisdom of our years and good old common sense to help guide our choices. And caution can be a great partner in helping make those decisions but if we let it rule simply because we’d rather stay in our comfort zones, then we may end up missing out on a whole world of wonderfulness just waiting to be discovered.

So I hope I continue trying new things, stretching my wings, and making new discoveries. I hope I can set a good example for my kids and grandkids as I face new challenges. And you can be sure I’ll share the results with you.

How about you? Tried anything new lately? A food? An sport? A new genre of music? Please share; I’d love to hear all about it.

Mimi

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Take comfort: the Lord is your Shepherd

I discovered the above pic around Christmas time and it was very poignant. I think we often miss our loved ones a little bit more during holidays.

I lost my mom in 2016 and my dear friend lost her parents one year apart, one in 2016 and one in 2017. Both near Christmas. And while the first Christmas or two are no doubt filled with sorrow, my hope is that future Christmases for her are sweet with wonderful memories.

I hope the same for me as well.

And while I certainly can’t speak for Heaven and cannot attest to what our loved ones there are doing at any time or capable of doing, it really is a nice thought to look at the sky, see the stars and think maybe at that time they are whispering reassurances that they are fine.

And if they indeed are in Heaven, then we have great assurance that they are not only fine, but more than fine. They’re in the presence of the One whose beauty is beyond description…whose love for us is beyond understanding…and whose very essence is (in the words of the song) absolutely more than wonderful.

My heart goes out to those who have recently lost someone they love. Most times the pain of the loss begins to fade, at least with time it can. But for those whose pain is fresh and raw, may you find comfort in our wonderful Lord, experience His sweet peace, and rest in His arms of love.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23 NLT)

Mimi

Happy 91st Dad

Ready to Go (Dad is on the right)

So…as you already know, since moving to Clermont nearly a year ago, my dad has enjoyed many adventures. River tubing and flying in a biplane to name two. Dad has recently added one more item to his Thrill List: he went zip lining! Oh yes he did.

On a visit to Gatorland, he and a few others decided to give the zip line a go. I guess being 91 has nothing to do with whether or not you try something new.

Look, up in the sky, it’s Dad!

Dad continues to set such a great example of living life to the fullest. He’s been a lifelong volunteer extraordinaire: singing in choirs and glee clubs, serving on the planning board and condo board, volunteering through AARP to do taxes (up until last year), working the polls for most elections. In his new residence, he helps lead the worship team and often is the stand-in leader for daily devotions.

Add to that his many adventures and trying new things—gee, he makes my life look dull!

In the midst of all this he celebrated his 91st birthday two weeks ago. And since he had two commemorative bricks in his honor in Juno Beach, we thought he deserved one in his new hometown.

At this point I have no idea what pictures I’ll be posting of my dad’s next birthday. At the rate he’s going it could be of him jumping out of an airplane! (Just kidding Dad.)

In any case, I’m proud to call this man my dad and delighted that after many years we now live so close together. Love you, Dad.

 

 

Mimi

Happy Birthday Mom

I’m writing this post on March 14, my mom’s birthday. It’s the first one since she passed away last April. And I have mixed feelings.

There is still some sadness and a bit of melancholy. But sweet Hubby remembered her birthday this morning and asked if I was ok. Then my brother texted about it and my girls also sent along some remembrances.

I miss my mom every single day. Those who knew her, also knew her feisty personality. Her enthusiasm for life. Her way of speaking (sometimes without a filter). They experienced her deep love and her giving spirit.

Lee Turner (my mom) celebrates her 88th birthday, March 2016.

She was an important part of my life for 62 years and she meant the world to me. Like many mothers and daughters, we butted heads as we openly shared our strong opinions with each other. But there’s no one in this world who loved me more than my mom.

Throughout my life I depended on her. And she always, always no matter what, loved me hard.

As an adult I truly felt blessed to have had her for all these years. She was a wonderful mom and grandma. And the best great grandma to her four littlest ones. I’m so grateful all four of them got to know their Gigi.

Fond memories? There are many. But in recent years one thing that remained consistent was how she greeted Greg and me after not seeing us for a while. Her face would light up as she grabbed me in a hug while brushing aside my hair and whispering “You have such a pretty face; we could see it better if you cut your bangs.” And no matter how bedraggled my hubby might look after riding in the car for hours to see her, she would hug him fiercely and state “You look so good. I don’t know what it is. Is that a new shirt?” Every single time.

After a lifetime of caring for others, at the end of her life, others were now taking care of her. She wanted to be at home and my dad did an amazing job for many months. Hospice was also wonderful. And when we realized her days on earth were coming to an end, the family began making trips to see her.

And boy did she perk up during each visit. We were able to celebrate her 88th birthday and she surprised us all by playing the piano and singing, something she hadn’t done in years. That day was special: joy-filled and sad at the same time.

Just a few weeks later she was gone.

Mom, Kate, Cindi

And though I still want to talk with her and share life, though I want to show her pictures of the great-grands and talk about their adventures, and though it can make me sad at times that she’s no longer with us, for the most part I’m just happy. Happy she was my mom. Happy she so willingly shared her life with others. And also happy that she is now with the Lord.

Mom’s influence will remain with me all the days of my life. And for that I’m very grateful.

And in her honor, I’m signing off today with her own personal sign-off she stated each time we talked by phone or in person:

I love you all the way to heaven…and back!

Mimi

 

Hmm, where did that peanut butter and ketchup go?

mindwanderSo you can probably tell by the photo above that we’re going to talk today about “losing our minds!!!”

I’m not sure when the little slip-ups began…late 40s, 50s? Now in my 60s I definitely continue to experience little senior moments. I suspect you, do, too.

The latest involved not one but TWO condiments. I had purchased a BOGO peanut butter at the local store. The deal was so good to buy one/get one that I even took back to Target the jar of peanut butter I had purchased previously. After all, empty nesters in their 60s don’t need THREE jars of peanut butter. I remember being at the store and picking out the two jars, paying for them, and I thought I remembered putting them away when I got home.

Until the day hubby decided he wanted a PB&J for lunch and couldn’t find either of the jars. With a big eye-roll I marched to the pantry to get it for him. Hmm, neither jar was there. And from that moment on, at least three times I opened every cabinet, looked through every pantry shelf, and foraged through my garage storage cabinets as well as my car trunk. And I did this the next day and the next. I know I bought that stuff but where was it? In the meantime, hubby made a ham sandwich (probably now rolling his own eyes).

That, of course, got me thinking about the ketchup. I remembered using the last of it, putting it on my shopping list, and yes, I remember picking up a bottle at Walmart. Or did I really remember? So I looked and sure enough, no ketchup. And that’s because it’s probably with the peanut butter!

Next shopping trip found me buying peanut butter and ketchup that were not on sale. Oh that hurt; that really hurt.

So am I really losing my mind or experiencing early onset Alzheimer’s disease? Most likely not. Life is hectic at times and most likely I was in a hurry and simply left the jars of peanut butter at the store or in my shopping cart. Same with the ketchup.

But if you’re anything like me, as we age and experience these senior moments, we worry and wonderful just how normal it is to forget and misplace. Our peace vanishes and we grow concerned and fearful.

What’s the answer: It’s found in Philippians 4:6-7:  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Mimi

Up Up and Away

12-05-2016-dad-planeMy father’s adventures continue. Since moving to Clermont, he has gone river tubing, visited an elephant sanctuary where he almost rode on top of one until lightening became a threat, and recently, in honor of Veteran’s Day, he got to take a ride in a WWII biplane. Hence the picture with goggles. Completely open air, Dad and a few others from his retirement community enjoyed the opportunity of a lifetime. In addition to the 20-30 minute ride, each also received an autographed hat (by the pilot) thanking them for their service. (And if the Vet was a former pilot, then they were given the opportunity to actually fly the aircraft!)

I continue to watch my Dad try new things and enjoy great adventures. It brings joy to my heart and certainly puts a smile on my face. And he’s 90!

How many of us in our 50s, 60s, or 70s grow weary by day’s end or complain about aches and pains stating they keep us from certain activities? How many of us use our older age to say we can’t or we won’t? We work hard all our lives, finally earn our retirement and then what? Do we sit around wondering where time has gone and lamenting our bodies failing us? Do we rest on the notion that we’ve put in our time and now we get to rest and do nothing?

Shame on us. This is our Second Act. Now we actually have the time to try some fascinating adventures, learn new things, take up a hobby, visit people, volunteer somewhere, or travel.

My dad continues to be a great example. After his retirement at age 59, he took courses in tax prep and since that time has volunteered as an AARP tax preparer…every single year. Many times he would head up a region and put his leadership skills to work.

He continued to sing in the church choir for years, only relinquishing that role a few years ago.

And it was only last December when my mother became very, very sick that he resigned from the condo board where he served in many capacities since 1999.

Oh, and did I mention he was on the planning and zoning board for his town? In fact, until his accident in April, he had been voted in as President for the coming year.

So I’m thinking ahead to 2017. I’m going to set goals and dare to dream. No more self-limiting thoughts. Instead, I’ll take courage and think I can, I should, and I will. With my dad as my example, I’ll forge ahead, seeking to find where God wants me to be involved. I’ll look for opportunities to serve others. And I’ll continue to learn…crocheting and a new language are first to come to mind.

“But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.” (Psalm 92:12-14 NLT)

Mimi

Silly in our 60’s

Throughout our lives, each new decade brings change. Many are great and wonderful such as wisdom, retirement, or grandchildren. Some not so great or wonderful such as our bodies aging.

I remember the day I first realized I might need reading glasses. I noticed I had double vision while reading. My older friends smiled knowingly as I wondered aloud what was happening. Once I was assured that I was now far-sighted I enjoyed finding some fashionable glasses and merrily accepted this rite of passage.

Realizing I needed vision correction was easy. One day I could see clearly; one day I could not. Glasses were the answer.

But other issues are trickier. Hearing for instance. Unlike changing vision, you don’t often realize what you’re missing. Because, after all, you can’t hear what you can’t hear!!!

I know I have some hearing loss because I took a test in my late 50’s and was diagnosed as “hearing loss consistent with age.” Hrrmmmph. I don’t like the way that sounds. Whatever that hearing loss is, I don’t notice it as I can still hear the tiniest of sounds and have no problem whatsoever with conversation. Not so with hubby.

Hubby’s hearing loss is a bit different. And while it doesn’t yet interfere a lot with his life it does make for some interesting challenges.

Recently, I mentioned there was freshly made ham salad for sandwiches along with some leftover potato salad. Greg appreciated that and happily made his sandwich.

Greg & His Scrumptious Sandwich

Greg & His Scrumptious Sandwich

Taking the sandwich with him to the table, he eagerly took his first large bite. (Let me interrupt for a second here. I happen to make great ham salad. It’s a long-held recipe that turns out perfect every time.)

Having eaten my ham salad for our entire marriage, Greg was anticipating yet another wonderful lunchtime experience. Only, this time something was off. After the first bite he took another…and with a strange look on his face made some comment about it tasting different. And in that instant I knew exactly what happened and why he wasn’t enjoying his lunch.

Greg wasn’t eating a scrumptious ham salad sandwich. No, he was eating a potato salad sandwich!

He must have heard some of the words I spoke such as ham salad, lunch, and sandwich, but he didn’t hear all of them such as potato salad on the side. He simply picked up the first container, figured it was ham salad, didn’t pay attention to how different it looked, and smeared it on his bread. But that first bite was an eye-opener for sure!

And know what he did? He just continued on eating that sandwich!

And that, my friends, is where a sense of humor comes in. Lunch that day was not a great culinary experience and in fact was quite a let-down. But realizing the opportunity, I immediately said “I SO have to blog about this” and he graciously allowed me to snap a pic and publish the story.

A sense of humor will go a long way to help us when we find our car keys in the freezer. It will help when we walk into a room only to realize we have no idea why we went in there in the first place. Humor will get us through our own silly age-related situations and it will go a long way toward helping others as they encounter them as well.

We are reminded in Proverbs 17:22 that “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.” (The Message)

I’m 61 so these kind of experiences are just beginning and promise to become more abundant. I am determined to allow fun and merriment to grow and crowd out “gloom and doom” thinking that may try to accompany the physical changes we experience in the aging process. I hope you will, too.

Mimi