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Out with the old and in with the new.

12-30-15 Trash Cans What’s Mimi up to with those trash cans? you might be thinking. Well, Orange County, Florida recently switched things up a bit. Beginning January 1 we go from twice weekly trash pick-up with regular old trash cans to once weekly pick-ups in huge trash cans on wheels.

Change is not always easy and Orange County has been trying their best to get us ready. Lots of info came our way throughout the fall along with two new rolling containers (one for trash, one for recycling). Each household has received implicit instructions on exactly how and when to use them, too.

So we’re in for some change: new pick-up days, larger containers that hold a lot of stuff (yay) but that also take up a lot of room in the garage (boo), and while currently a green container holds recyclables, the new ones are blue. (I betcha lots of recyclables are going to end up in the wrong container for a while.)

There’s been a little griping here and there but no doubt things will work themselves out over time and soon the old ways will fade away, replaced by the new system.

At the start of 2016 some of us may be desperately looking for something new—a new adventure, a new job, a fresh start while others may be lamenting change and just as desperate to hold on to the familiar.

On any given day I may lay claim to any of the above thoughts but as Greek philosopher Heraclitus states “There is nothing permanent except change.” While I can argue that some things don’t change such as God’s love and provision for us, his statement with a little tongue in cheek drives home a good point.

So my prayer for the coming year is that I will treasure what has been a blessing in my life and hold tight to precious memories while at the same time I will boldly and courageously accept new challenges and look forward to what God has in store.

Blessings and love to all.

With love, Mimi

 

A moment at the beach.

BeachWe’re enjoying a little visit at the beach where my parents live. Their tiny town abuts the Atlantic Ocean and they have been blessed with a waterfront home. Their 12th story view is just amazing.

As often happens, we visit the pool, but don’t always make it to the beach. I decided to end that abysmal track record so yesterday ventured out for a brief walk.

In the middle of the summer walking on the sand without enduring first degree burns is impossible but at this time of year it’s just perfect. The sand retains just the right amount of the sun’s warmth so walking down to the water’s edge can be slow and thoroughly enjoyed.

Yesterday’s water temp was a beautiful 83 degrees so I walked in the salty loveliness and let my mind wander. I realized very quickly how loud the breaking waves were…they created a din like a deafening roar. The sound blocked out everything else and as I watched people play in the surf I realized I couldn’t hear a thing other than that roar. The conversations and shouts of glee were blocked out, the seagulls’ squawks were muted, and I found myself in my own little world. And instead of being disconcerting, it was instead rather pleasant.

And the light bulb went off as I realized this may be one of many reasons why some people I know absolutely love going to the beach and plan their weekends and vacations around it. I’ve kind of taken it for granted since I can go anytime I want simply by visiting my folks, but in that moment yesterday when the entire world faded away as the ocean roar took over I discovered how beautiful and calming being near the ocean can be.

Mimi

Ignore the noise and listen to God’s voice instead.

09-29-15 listenHubby and I got to enjoy time with friends the other day, dinner out at a local sports bar. I’m not exactly a sports fan or a sports bar type of person but our friends had a gift certificate they wanted to use so off we went.

Delicious food – really and truly good. But the place is one large, open room with prominent bar and each wall covered with large screen TV’s. The Florida game was on and the diners were fans because the noise level was out of sight. I immediately knew conversation was going to be tough and indeed it was. We had to lean in to talk and then speak loudly. Even with that, it was difficult to hear. By the end of the night our voices were rough from overuse. And while I would certainly want to return for their yummy food, that’s just not going to happen because of the noise.

Interestingly enough, one of the TVs near us had the Florida-Tennessee game on and since my daughter and her hubby met at Florida and are huge fans, if I’m going to cheer for any team, it will be them. They were losing the entire game and at the 3:48 mark were down by six. On the fourth down they had no option but to play it out rather than try for a field goal. Wouldn’t you know it, they scored to tie the game. The place went nuts and I found myself cheering aloud as well. The icing on the cake was they scored the extra point and won the game.

Like the noise at the restaurant, the noise of the world can often interfere with our lives. Vendors clamor for our attention to sell us their goods. Bosses at work speak to us about working harder and longer and producing more. Family and friends can at times make demands on your time that you don’t know how to meet and you find yourself trying to be all things for all people. You even add to the noise with your own expectations for yourself and then berate yourself when you fail to meet them all.

What’s the answer? There’s no easy one for sure. All the things mentioned are good and important but truth be told, we can’t do it all. And we need to stop listening to the noise long enough to hear the voice of the One who really does matter. The One who knew and loved us before we were formed. The One who calls us to a life of purpose. The One who gave up everything for you so you could know and love Him.

It’s His voice we need to listen for. His voice that will be found when we turn a deaf ear to everything and everyone else that clamors for our attention. Here are seven reasons (out of many) why we need to listen to God’s voice:

  1. For direction: If you go the wrong way—to the right or to the left—you will hear a voice behind you saying, “this is the right way. You should go this way.” Isaiah 30:21 NCV
  2. To increase your faith: So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 NKJV
  3. To give you life: The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. John 6:63 NIV
  4. For correction and training: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
  5. To find wisdom: But if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He is generous to everyone and will give you wisdom without criticizing you. James 1:5 NCV
  6. For peace: I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. Psalm 85:8a NLT
  7. To experience God’s everlasting covenant and unfailing love: Listen and come to me. Pay attention to me. Then you will live. I will make a covenant with you that will last forever. I will give you my faithful love. Isaiah 55:3 NIRV

Mimi

On being retired.

09-08-15 to doIt’s been over five months now since I retired and I thought it might be nice to share what I’ve discovered. In no particular order, here are some random observations:

  • Weekends and holidays no longer hold the same significance. After all, I’m always experiencing a “day off.”
  • I still write a to-do list. Without one, I’d surely accomplish NOTHING.
  • Irony: my Labor Day to-do list is longer than any other one I’ve made. Shouldn’t I be resting on Labor Day instead of actually laboring?
  • If I don’t get something done today there’s always tomorrow…and the day after that…and the day after that!
  • I need more friends who are retired and have flexible schedules.
  • My husband needs more friends, too.
  • I love my husband of nearly 41 years and he loves me, but too much togetherness at times becomes…well, too much.
  • I need a hobby or two or three.
  • I like sleeping in or at least staying in bed until 8am but then I feel guilty.
  • I need to stop feeling guilty.
  • I’ve had more medical issues in the past five months than in the past five years. What’s up with that?
  • I love having more time to visit family and friends.
  • I love that our flexibility enabled us to get great prices on a recent trip to Ohio.
  • I look forward to that same flexibility helping us get a last minute deal on a fall cruise with our dear friends.
  • I like retirement and don’t miss going into the office at all.
  • I love my husband even more that he convinced me that it was okay to retire a year earlier than we originally planned.

Would love to know your own observations on your actual or upcoming retirement.

Mimi

Summer Fun

With school over, this Mimi now spends the day with both grandsons. And I’ve quickly discovered that the day has become a whole lot longer. Oh, it’s still the same amount of hours but without the structure of school (that we used as our scheduling guide) we now experience a long expanse of time to fill.

Their mom has thoughtfully put together a great daily guide of activities such as outdoor time, structured activities, school work, quiet time, chores, and even screen time (screens being electronic devices). But with energetic boys it can still be a challenge to come up with those structured or quiet time activities.

What’s a Mimi to do? Well, it was Pinterest to the rescue. I’ve been collecting ideas for the grands for quite some time so with a little research I came up with several things to do. They were lots of fun but I have to admit it took longer to research them, gather supplies, and set them up than it did for the boys to actually do them!

Of great help is the website FrugalFun4Boys. Please feel free to visit the site. There are some great ideas and they aren’t just for boys.

Proud Boys With Their Pyramid

Proud Boys

The first thing we did was pyramid building with 16-oz. cups. The boys had great fun and were still playing with them days later. After building them came the best part: kicking them over or using Nerf guns to shoot them apart.

The boys also had a good time with the pom-pom/straw race. It’s really self-explanatory but using masking tape you “draw” a few tracks on the floor, then provide large pom-poms for each contestant. Using a straw and their breath they need to guide the pom-pom along the path until they reach the end. Check out the short video to see their efforts first hand.

I’m always open for more ideas…after all, there’s still a lot of summer left. So if you have some to share, please send them along and we’ll post them here in upcoming weeks.

Happy summer.

Mimi

A Minor Inconvenience

jumping joyIt’s been about four weeks now since the scooter incident that resulted in a broken left arm and I have to say, while I’m a relatively good patient, I’m also relatively impatient with the healing process.

I would love to think I’m transparent enough to share photos of me doing things with one arm. But I’m not quite there yet. Instead, let me try to paint some word pictures.

The Basics

Underwear. Any men reading this can simply skip ahead to the next section.

My occupational therapist daughter shared early on that when dressing the injured limb goes in first. So while putting on most clothes went fine, I found the upper underwear a bit tricky. A standard bra wasn’t going to cut it. The answer? A sports bra. And it worked fairly well. By putting in my injured arm first, then following with the right arm, and all sorts of strange contortions and twists I am able to get the thing on and shimmied into place. Of course, at night I have to reverse everything. More bending over, twisting, and scooching arms out…you can see why I took no photos.

Hair. As you know, I have straight hair worn in a short bob. And while it looks simple enough, truth be told, the hair is 61 years old and stubborn. It needs to be loved into place after each shower. And that involves blow drying and using a large curling iron. I never realized it also takes a two-handed technique. The answer was to do everything with one hand with lots of equipment changes. So first up is a round hair brush to try to get the wet hair to turn under. Then the blow dryer is used while bending over, then straightening up with a big backward head bop so the hair would flip back into place. Blow dryer down, hair brush again while leaning to the left or right so I could get the brush under and hopefully curl the hair under. Repeat and repeat until done. Then do the other side. Took three times as long as with two hands but it worked.

Then, of course, I had to do similar stunts with a wicked hot curling iron in hand to wrangle those straight hairs into a slight bend. Let’s just say for all these weeks I’ve been sporting an extremely modified slightly turned under bob. And I’ve gone from “doing my hair every day” to doing it only when absolutely necessary.

Typing. Ok, I know this is bragging, but it’s the truth so I’m gonna tell you; I type about 100 words a minute. Yup. I do. And since I think fast, too, it works well for me. But one-handed typing is slow and tedious. Until that wonderful day when I learned I could remove the splint, I was typing with my right hand only. Thought retired, I stay busy on the computer assisting a friend in her business. Thankfully I was able to slow myself down and get some work done. And on top of that I discovered Microsoft has a built-in voice to text feature that works quite well. I would have never know about this but necessity is the mother of invention and led me to the internet in a search for voice to text tools. Who knew!

Cooking. Oh my, try to slice a potato or carrot holding a giant chef’s knife in one hand but without a second hand to steady the vegetable. After several failed attempts I asked the hubster to assist. But that didn’t always go over well with my independent spirit, so I began experimenting with wedging the item in a corner or against a wall. Not much better. Finally, I resorted to placing the item on a cutting board and simply whamming down the sharp knife against it hoping for a slice that didn’t send the food soaring across the room. Yup, out of all methods, this worked best…but unfortunately not well at all. Oh well, instead of salads we ate cooked vegetables for a week until I started removing the splint while prepping food.

In all of this, I realized how my very minor inconvenience seemed to interrupt my well-planned life. I saw again how inflexible I can be. Ah hem…how stubborn I am.

I thought of my friend Jan who instead of being inconvenienced by being blind has turned it all around and simply found alternate ways of doing things. I thought about someone who lost a limb to cancer but instead of lamenting about the loss of limb was instead rejoicing in being alive and in remission.

I thought about how easy it is to gripe and complain when things don’t go our way when instead we should be grateful for each day, for each breath, for each blessing, for each moment in life, for each triumph, for each loved one, for each freedom we share, for forgiveness of sin, and for life in Christ.

Truly those are the things that matter and no minor or major inconvenience should ever stand in the way of being grateful for those things and so much more.

Need a reminder from God’s word? How about this one from Psalm 1 (Bible version: The Message):

I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart,

I’m writing the book on your wonders.

I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy;

I’m singing your song, High God.

Mimi,

Your temporarily broken winged, one-armed, but happy and rejoicing friend.

 

 

 

Look out…grandma on a scooter!

ArmSo…a funny thing happened to me a few weeks ago.

I broke my arm. Or as Callan would say “Mimi bloke her arm.”

How? you might ask. Well, ah hem, I fell off Konnor’s scooter. Ooh, did I really say that out loud? Yup, I did.

I was having a grand old time and realizing just how much fun it is to fly down a sidewalk on a thin piece of metal attached to two tiny, hard wheels. Did I mention two tiny and hard wheels? Nearing home and keeping my eyes forward, I saw a raised hunk of sidewalk. In a moment I thought to myself: It might not be a good idea to go over that…but hey, kids do it all the time.

Next thing I knew wham! Those tiny, hard wheels hit the raised sidewalk, the scooter stopped in its tracks, and this Mimi went flying over the handlebars. And when I hit the pavement, I knew it wasn’t good.

Shocked and embarrassed I was actually happy no one was outside to witness my scooter defeat. I simply picked up the scooter with my right hand, held my hurting left arm close to my body, and limped home, muttering “This isn’t good, this isn’t good.”

Konnor was great. I told him I thought I had broken my arm and he got me an ice pack along with a towel to wrap it in. Then he and Callan played quietly for the hour until Mommy came home. Kate took one look, said something very medical like “eee-ooo” which to me meant something’s definitely wrong, you need to go to the ER.

Lesson  1: Be choosy where you go for treatment. I’m not kidding. It was afternoon drive time so I purposely did not choose the stand-alone ER on the major road thinking others would stop in on their way home from work. And I also didn’t choose the large complex that many use as their primary care practitioners. Instead I opted for a small hospital where I thought I stood half a chance of NOT being there until the wee hours of the morning. And it turned out to be a very good choice. I was in and out in less than two hours. Not bad at all.

Lesson 2: Never ride a scooter when you are a relatively inactive 61-year-old. ‘nuf said!

Lesson 3: Trust your instincts. I knew my arm was broken; it hurt like crazy, was swollen grotesquely, and I couldn’t straighten or rotate it. The x-rays showed no breaks according to the ER doc. But after examining me the doc took a second look at them and pronounced a break after all. Splinted me up and told me to follow-up with their recommend ortho in 3-5 days. The next day when I called that ortho to make the appointment, the office informed me the x-rays had been reviewed overnight and the opinion changed to no break, follow-up with ortho in 14 days. What? I’m in pain. I’m nervous, and I’m also about to go on a three-week car trip. I’ll be in Ohio in 14 days—who’s gonna see me there?

After stewing about this over the weekend I called my own ortho on Monday, got an appointment on Tuesday, brought the x-rays with me and a break was definitely confirmed. But the good news was the ortho showed me how to remove the splint (I didn’t know I could), told me to exercise the arm, and take Ibuprofen for the swelling. None of that info came during the call I made to the ER ortho.

Trusting my own instincts and going to see my own ortho resulted in me being a much happier camper. Exercising the arm and taking Ibuprofen has reduced swelling and allowed me to perform some tasks carefully. And taking a shower without a garbage bag wrapped around the arm is so much nicer!

But it will take weeks to heal. And the pain I continue to have is a constant reminder that while I want to be a fun, hip Mimi, it’s important that I also use common sense. I had two opportunities to avoid what happened: (1) I should never have been on the scooter in the first place, and (2) when I noticed the raised sidewalk I should have stopped immediately and not decide to chance it.

The final lesson: I can still be a fun grandma in a million ways that don’t involve scooters such as baking with the grands, or doing crafts, taking walks, or even riding bikes.

Mimi