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Medicare? No way; it can’t be!

Me, eligible for Medicare?

I turn 64-1/2 next week and my daily mail is now inundating me with offerings of various Medicare plans to consider. Many of these offers include a seminar and free meal. I figure these meal invitations could really amount to something. And I just might be able to manage a free meal each week right through the open enrollment period later this year.

Twenty short years ago my kids were out of high school by a few years, we were in our mid-40s, and Medicare seemed a long way off…and for old people! That 20 years flew by and now I’m one of those OLD people! Funny thing…(1) I don’t feel old at all and (2) it doesn’t bother me in the least to sign up.

What does being old look like anyway?

Ever wondered what old age was supposed to look like or feel like? I think I always had a fairly good idea of it. I never pictured grey-haired and wrinkled people, bent over and walking with canes. That was a caricature for sure. But I do think I pictured a wise person who had enough life experience behind them to offer sage advice to others. I pictured grandkids flocking around who thought I was great fun to hang with.

I figured an older person now had the time to pursue hobbies, volunteer experiences, and perhaps travel. I thought that person’s days were filled with things to delight and the complete flexibility to enjoy those delights as often as they liked or wherever they presented themselves. I figured for the most part that person would be happy and content knowing they had lived a full life.

What’s the reality?

Reality isn’t very far off. I’m definitely not a bent-over person walking with a cane. My hair is about 50% grey at this point, and wrinkles? Well, let’s just say I have a bunch, but I tell myself each one is a brush stroke in the portrait of my life so why would I want to remove even one.

I do have aches and pains and tend to grunt out loud when getting up after sitting awhile. But I’m fairly healthy and still able to do most things I want to do.

Hmm, the part about doling out sage advice. You’ll have to ask others. I try really hard (really, really hard—not always successfully), to keep my opinions to myself unless asked…especially with my grown children in mind. But sometimes…oh yes, sometimes, I do wish they’d ask. Because I certainly have learned a thing or two I would love to share. Advice that could save heartache. Advice that could make some things easier. Advice that could possibly reassure them that when they feel as if they’ve failed at something, they are not alone. Most of us have felt that way at one time or another and it’s just a feeling, not necessarily the truth of the situation.

My personal reality is that I look in the mirror and still see me but it’s definitely a me who has experienced a little more wear and tear. It’s a me who still has dreams to change the world or to simply make a difference in someone’s life. It’s a me who despite knowing there are way fewer years ahead than behind, still wants to make something of those years.

Some of my thanks…

  • I am crazy in love with my family! And I so enjoy the adult relationships I now share with my kids. I’m blessed beyond measure with my grandchildren and I love being called Mimi. It’s one of my favorite words at the moment. And the fact that my dad is still such an integral part of our lives is beyond amazing. Blessed, blessed, blessed am I.
  • Through the years I’ve always had a group of women in my life about 10-15 years ahead of me. They have lovingly shared themselves with me…their wisdom, their experience, their unconditional love. What a difference that’s made. And I’m so very grateful for them. What they have poured into my life cannot be described with words. They are my friends but more than that…they are my treasures.
  • I am so very grateful that I am at this point healthy. It’s something that can definitely be taken for granted. I can play ball with my grands, walk a few miles at a time, bike for pleasure, clean my house (occasionally), and have enough strength to accomplish most of the things I find important.

Your own experience.

There is so much more to be thankful for, but maybe I’ll leave that for you. Please comment below and let me know what you are thankful for. Or just let me know about your own experience with the aging process…what you thought vs. your reality.

Thanks for sharing part of your Monday with me. I appreciate each one of you.

Mimi

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As we gratefully remember…another thought on Memorial Day.

This year, I noticed several people on social media shared a very good thought. One I needed to be reminded of.

At the end of last week’s post, I wished everyone a Happy Memorial Day. It was a sign-off, something written without giving it much thought. And then I began reading several posts that reminded us what the day was really about. It’s not a happy kind of day at all…rather it’s a day to remember and be thankful…very thankful for the sacrifice of so many.

At the same time, I received an email from a friend that was so deeply moving. I asked permission to share it. Turns out it was a compilation of two articles from Fox News. I’m including the links below but am going to reprint what he put together after reading the articles himself.

May it touch your hearts as well…as we gratefully remember.

From Robert O’Neill, the Navy SEAL who shot bin Laden:

Don’t wish me a happy Memorial Day. There is nothing happy about the loss of the brave men and women of our armed forces who died in combat defending America. Memorial Day is not a celebration.

Memorial Day is a time for reflection, pause, remembrance and thanksgiving for patriots who gave up their own lives to protect the lives and freedom of us all – including the freedom of generations long gone and generations yet unborn. We owe the fallen a debt so enormous that it can never be repaid.

From former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink (speaking as if he were a fallen soldier):

I am the fallen soldier, sailor, airman, and marine. Remember me.

I am the one that held the line. Sometimes I volunteered. Sometimes I went because I was told to go.  But when the nation called – I answered.

In order to serve, I left behind the family, friends, and freedom that so many take for granted.

The machines of war evolved and changed with the times. But remember that it was always me – the warrior – that had to fight our nation’s enemies.

As technology advanced, I used night vision goggles and global positioning systems and drones and lasers and thermal optics. But it was still me, a human being, that did the work.

It was me that patrolled up the mountains or across the desert or through the streets. It was me that suffered in the merciless heat and the bitter cold. It was me that went out, night after night, to confront our nation’s enemies and confront evil face to face.

It was me.

Remember me. I was a warrior.

That I was not only a warrior. I was not just a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine.

Remember also: that I was a son, a brother, a father. I was a daughter, a sister, a mother.

I was a person – like you – a real person with hopes and dreams for the future.

I wanted to have children. I wanted to watch my children grow up. I wanted to see my son score a touchdown or shoot the winning basket. I wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle.

I wanted to kiss my wife again. I wanted to grow old with her – and be there to hold her hand when life grew hard.

When I told her I would be with her until the end – I meant it. When I told my children I would always be there for them – I meant it. But I gave all that away.

All of it.

Or on the unforgiving sea where we fought against the enemy and against the depths of the abyss. There, in those awful places: I held the line. I did not waiver and I did not hesitate. I The Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine.

I stood my ground and sacrificed my life – my future, my hopes, my dreams. I sacrificed everything – for you.

This Memorial Day, remember me: the fallen warrior. And remember me not for my sake – but for yours. Remember what I sacrificed so you can truly appreciate the incredible treasures you have: Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness.

You have the joys of life, the joys that I gave up, so that you can relish in them:

A cool wind in the air.

The gentle spring grass on your bare feet.

The warm summer sun on your face.

Family. Friends. And freedom.

Never forget where it all came from. It came from sacrifice: The supreme sacrifice.

Don’t waste it. Don’t waste any of your time on this earth.

Live a life that honors the sacrifice of our fallen heroes.

Remember them always. And make every day… Memorial Day.

Reference: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/05/26/seal-who-shot-bin-laden-dont-wish-me-happy-memorial-day.html

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/05/25/ex-seal-jocko-willink-remember-warriors-who-made-supreme-sacrifice-dont-waste-your-time-on-earth.html

Until next time…Mimi

 

Cinco De Mayo? More like Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.

May 7, 2018

Long before I had ever heard of Cinco de Mayo, May 5 held a much more important place in my heart. And that’s because it’s my parents’ anniversary.

Nearly 65 Years!

Mom passed away two years ago just a week before what would have celebrated being married for 65 years. 65 years! That’s amazing. It’s so rare for that to happen. And I’m delighted to let you know Greg and I are working hard on following their example as we’ll be celebrating 44 years this November.

So, while many celebrated Cinco de Mayo this past weekend, I spent some time thinking about my parents’ long marriage. And two things stood out: love and commitment.

Til Death Do Us Part

Most people marry for love and many make vows of commitment. But the love a marriage should be based on, is one that says “no matter what.” Because let’s face it; sometimes we’re not quite as lovable as we could be or should be.

Add to that the storms and turbulent times we all experience, and it becomes so very clear that without a foundation of love and a very strong commitment to each other, the marriage might not endure.

My parents did not have a perfect marriage. I dare so no one does, me included. But the secret to my parents’ long one was simply that they loved each other and were committed to each other “til death do us part.

What a great example to their kids, grandkids, and great-grands.

Thanks, Mom and Dad. You set the bar high.

Mimi

Off course.

Visited Costco two weeks ago. Typically, that’s a $100 or $200 hit. Today it was a $900 one!!!

Two eye exams, three new pairs of glasses ordered, and a $135 shopping trip. Yikes, that adds up fast!

Feeling Grateful

But today, instead of being miffed about spending all that money, I’m actually feeling grateful. I’ve been having daily headaches for about a month. Tough ones, every day around 4pm. The eye doc feels certain tweaking my script just a bit and getting a slightly bigger lens with more reading area will resolve them.

And ever since Greg got new glasses two years ago from a competitor, he’s been getting dizzy when he wears them while walking. His glasses are quite expensive so he didn’t want to think about purchasing new ones. But he’s basically been miserable and not wearing the glasses as much as he should. The eye doctor discovered his lenses were not allowing his eyes to work together so she tweaked his script as well which should correct the error and allow him an easier time while wearing them.

In both our cases, the scripts were close; they just weren’t close enough. And with some very slight adjustments, the encouragement is that our troubles will be fixed. Which means no more late afternoon headaches for me and the dizziness for Greg should abate as well.

Being off just a bit can have an effect on…well, everything!

Sometimes we make big deal choices and super bad decisions that really mess us up and take us further from God. And most of those are easy to spot. But other times it’s little things, like the prescriptions on our eye glasses. Things that seem insignificant. Things that most people would ignore.

But over time, these small decisions, small “disobediences” to God result in getting us further and further from Him. And they can have devastating effects.

It doesn’t take much to get us off course.

Our friend Bob Taylor used to remind us that even a tiny deviation at the beginning, if not corrected, will continue to get us farther and farther from the Lord. And this type of path is so dangerous because we don’t really know how far we’re straying until we’re really far away. At the beginning we feel as if we’re right next to the Lord but the illustration below shows how devious this thinking can be as we’re lulled into thinking all is well when in reality we’re in trouble. (Imagine this is one long piece of paper, rather than three segments. If you look at the far left of the top illustration and see the far right of the bottom one, you can see how being very slightly off course ends up with disastrous results.)

The Narrow Gate

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Even choices that aren’t necessarily wrong but lead us just ever so slightly away from God rather than toward the narrow gate He is asking us to enter, carry consequences and can interfere with our relationship with God.

I want to be aware daily of my Christian walk. I want to make good choices that please God, where my utter dependency on Him is evident, and that result in an ever-closer relationship with the one who is my whole purpose for being.

Mimi

That beautiful sweet fragrance…

I take a walk about five days a week in my community. And it’s so very interesting. My walk begins in the low, flat section of houses where I reside. About 10 minutes in, however, a rather steep hill begins. Along the way up to my turn-around spot, I see palm trees, pine trees, oaks, and lots of magnolias. And those are my favorite tree along my walking route.

What a fragrance!

At this time of year, the flowers, which budded weeks ago, are starting to open up and release their beautiful fragrance. I often wish I had smell-a-vision so I could capture the sweet delight of their aroma much like I capture their beauty with my camera.

As I walk past these wonderful trees back down the hill to the flatland, the delicate aroma seems at first to welcome me. Soon, the delicate smell gives way to a glorious moment of saturation where all my senses seem to be completely captured within the amazing fragrance.

The aroma of Christ.

And it’s in these moments that I often think of 2 Corinthians 2:15 and Ephesians 5:1-2:

For we are to God a sweet fragrance of Christ…(MEV)

You are God’s children whom he loves, so try to be like him. Live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God (NCV).

Just one magnolia bloom emits so much of a fragrance that I can identify it without even seeing a tree. But when there is tree after tree, covered with blooms, you can imagine how unbelievably beautiful it is to be completely surrounded with the aroma.

And it’s this all-encompassing aroma that’s talked about in scripture. The aroma that pleases God, the fragrance of Christ on and in us as we become more and more like Him.

Do I love walking? Not exactly. And certainly not in the Florida heat. But getting to smell those blooms at this time of year, and realizing that I, too, am a sweet-smelling fragrance of Christ to God, well, that kind of changes my perspective a bit about taking a stroll each afternoon.

Mimi

 

A Birthday Interview With Callan

Callan Turns 7

Callan turned 7 last week and this little guy has brought us so much joy, I thought I’d interview him for this week’s Mondays With Mimi story so you can see what fun boy he is.

Questions asked, in no particular order.

  1. What is your whole name? Callan Reid Dougherty.
  2. What is interesting about your middle name? Some of my family members have the same middle name: my daddy, my cousin Addison, and my new baby cousin Liam. Addison spells her name R-E-E-D.
  3. What city do you live in? Brandywine Drive…Florida…my house…and finally…Orlando.
  4. What is Orlando known for? Huh? Oh, Orlando City soccer. It’s hot here. Mimi’s house is here. Also: Universal, Fun Spot, Disney, SeaWorld, the beaches, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, Legoland, and the Orlando Eye. Oh and fun elevators.
  5. Have you ever been afraid of something? Yes, creepy clowns and elevators.
  6. Have you ever been brave? Yes, when shooting arrows (I’m shaking my head no…he’s never shot arrows) and going in elevators now.
  7. What is your favorite subject in school? Math
  8. What is your least favorite subject? Reading (Mommy shaking her head on this one as Callan loves to read).
  9. What do you want to be when you grow up? A “universal builder” including building roller coasters and amusement parks.
  10. What is your favorite thing to do when there’s nothing else to do? Play with my phone and watch YouTube videos about fishing for sharks.
  11. What is your favorite food? Pizza.
  12. What is a yucky food? Cooked carrots. He actually said carrots in liquid, but I knew what he meant.
  13. What is something you would like others to know about you? I have a big noggin. My head is huge because it accommodates my big brain. Mommy says that means I’m smart.
  14. Anything else you want people to know? God is very nice. He makes it rain. And…one of my bottom teeth is very loose and I can put my top teeth behind it…and…I’m cool.

To sum it all up.

I’m sure you can all see right now why I think Callan is a lot of fun to be with and yes, cool, just like he said. Today, after church, his PopPop and I took him to Firehouse Subs for lunch,to Twistee Treat for ice cream, and then to Target so he could ride the elevator with us like he used to when he was small. For some reason, a few years ago he became scared of all elevators and has been afraid to ride them until two weeks ago while on vacation decided he was now brave enough to ride them. So, he did. Just like that.

And finally we wrapped up the day with a walk by a culvert looking for fish, turtles, ducks and other treasures such as a a plant “puff” to blow apart.

Thanks for reading. Would love to hear about your precious grands. Feel free to comment below or send me a note. Having grandchildren brings wonder back into our lives in so many unexpected ways. What a blessing.

Mimi

 

Time to stop and smell the roses.

April 2, 2018

Birthdays galore.

In our family, we experience many birthdays close to each other: Christmas time…Greg and me. Late Jan-early Feb: son and son-in-law, March: daughter, sister-in-law, Mom, daughter-in-law, brother followed by early April: grandson Callan and sister-in-law.

Whew! If you’re not careful, you’ll completely miss one in the busyness of life.

Life can get crazy busy.

In order to NOT miss a birthday or appointment or something on my to-do list, I rely heavily on all my calendars being in sync. This means my Outlook calendar must match my phone’s calendar because I’ll be printing it and placing it on the refrigerator. And if that paper calendar doesn’t match with my phone, something is sure to get missed.

First thing every morning, Greg gets up and looks at the paper calendar. I, on the other hand, rely mostly on the iPhone calendar and its reminder system, counting on a ding to alert me each time I need to do something. To be sure it all gets done, I also keep a handwritten list on my kitchen counter that glares at me until the last item is checked off and the list can be crumpled and thrown away.

Take time to smell the roses.

We all understand the meaning of the expression and encouragement to take time to smell the roses. But many times, we do the exact opposite. I certainly do. I can get completely caught up in the to-do list and can miss the small moments, the wonderful moments that surround us all the time…the smell-the-roses moments presented throughout our days.

In being sure I buy cards, find the perfect gift, arrange a visit to the birthday person, prepare a special cake, etc., I can lose the joy of the occasion which is to honor and celebrate someone I care for deeply.

In fact, we can do that with anything: holidays meant for family and fun can become a chore because of the enormous amount of preparation needed to ensure a perfect event; having friends or family visit in your home can lose it’s joy when you pressure yourself to have it spotlessly clean; vacations filled with wonder and discovery can get bogged down by endless research to be sure you visit all the best places.

What to do?

S-l-o-w  d-o-w-n. That’s it. Or at least, it’s part of it. And it’s so very hard to do. While on our hamster wheels of life, we need to slow down to appreciate people important to us, to enjoy the things and people God has placed in our lives and in our care, to marvel at His amazing creation.

Remember…happiness is often found in the little things, in the everyday things, in the ordinary things of life.

The older I get, the more I’m aware of not wanting to lose the moment. To-do lists are a part of my nature and being organized enables me to function better. But I’m more determined than ever to slow down and finally start smelling those beautiful roses God has grown all around me.

Mimi