Love is Never Ending

Time may change what you believe
But one day the truth will set you free
Just have faith and you will see
Love is never-ending
Love is never-ending

Brad Paisley
October -November 2014
Alma, Arkansas – Mountainburg, Arkansas

In October / November of 2014, I had flown into Arkansas to once again spend an extended time with my mother and father; something I had begun to do on a yearly basis, especially after my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers. They had left Arkansas as a young married couple, my sister and I in tow, and permanently moved to Northern California, where my dad spent his days as a logger, until he retired. A few years after retirement, the two of them, decided to pull up stakes once more unbeknownst to me , and return to Arkansas, back to where it all began, leaving behind my younger sister, and youngest brother, and a slew of relatives mostly on my mama’s side, in Red Bluff, California and the surrounding communities. It came as a total shock to me when upon calling them one day, the number so familiar to me as a kid growing up, and into adult hood, was disconnected! I panicked big time, started making calls, and finally my sister told me they had driven off into the ‘sunset’…(well, more or less). When I finally was able to talk to my mother, she said to me, “it’s our last BIG adventure!” Yes, Indeed, I just wish I’d been privy to it!

As stated above, I was visiting my folks, mama’s memory had slowly been fading, and though I knew it, nothing prepared me for what lay ahead. The year before, in 2013, I had a wonderful visit. I decided I would paint her kitchen all white, something she wanted for awhile, and feeling that time was of essence, I jumped into it with all my heart and soul! I just wanted to do whatever I could do to bring her joy and be close to her, as well as help support my dad. My main goal in going this time again, was to pour myself into loving and supporting my mother as well as my father, who was dealing with his own grief. It was in my heart to take photo’s and video’s, and to journal my time with mama, daddy and my other family and siblings when we were together. I am so glad that I did. These pictures, and videos are some of my most treasured possessions. I cherish these memories. I knew the inevitable would happen, that soon enough she would forget who I was, so I would hide my fears, and my tears as I hugged her, held her hand (she often would reach for my hand) and almost every night, I would sit on the edge of her bed, or lean over her and we would talk, and I then would pray with her before she went to sleep. That was 2013. Several months later, 2014, things changed.

Mama forgot who I was when I walked into the house. At first, she seemed to kind of know me, but I knew she was struggling the first night I was there; I was laying next to her in the bed, we talked and I was sharing some of our memories growing up. At one point she quietly said, “You’re Karen, aren’t you?” I said, “Yes, Mama. I’m Karen, your eldest daughter.” Oh, my heart. Oh, my heart. Oh, my sweet, sweet mama. To this day, that still brings tears to my eyes. I had fun ‘moments’ on this trip, but it was bittersweet, and my heart hurt. I had to stuff my pain and hide it as much as possible. I had to be strong. At the time, I posted on Facebook only the positive and left out the really hurtful experiences, mostly to protect my mother and my father, and to hide my pain: I was too vulnerable. I hurt for her, and for my dad, and our family. It was on this trip that I began to grieve the loss of my beautiful mother, the essence of who she was and had been. I saw glimpses here and there, of my mothers humor, and her fun spirit, including the time my husband came to pick me up. He stayed a week…and though she did not know him, and for the most part wasn’t sure who I was, she asked me with a twinkle in her eye, why didn’t I ‘tell’ her that I had gotten married? I said, “Mama, you were at the wedding.” I even showed her a picture. She still insisted I had not told her. She was chuckling, and I said, ‘Well, mama, I’ve been hiding him under the bed!” We both had a good laugh at that. Precious memories…how they linger ❤

This video, was made on my phone, my first attempt, and the lyrics of the song, ‘Love is Never Ending,’ spoke volumes to me about my folks, my mother, and father, and about the brevity of life, about God, and His love. When we said goodbye to mama in 2015, and the angels took her to heaven, it wasn’t the ending of a life of loving and giving. It was just the beginning for mama as she reached out for the Saviors hand, and for those of us who were left behind (for now), her legacy lives on in us, her children and grandchildren, as do her prayers. ❤

Love is Never Ending

Seasons come and seasons go
One day sun, the next day snow
Flowers die and flowers grow
But love is never-ending

You can’t kill it with goodbye
It always finds a place to hide
Inside your heart for your whole life
Love is never-ending

When the lights have all gone down
It’ll still be hangin’ ’round
Even when you think it’s lost, it can still be found
When every memory has been made
And the pages start to fade
And every prayer you ever prayed is heaven bound
When you think the ride is over
You’re back at the beginning
Oh, love is never-ending

When a man and a woman start growin’ old
The fire of passion may grow cold
But what they got still warms their soul
Love is never-ending

Time may change what you believe
But one day the truth will set you free
Just have faith and you will see
Love is never-ending.
Love is never-ending…

Mama: November 2014

Facebook Memory: November 5, 2014.  Six months later after this posting, mama fell in rehab, hit her head, attempting to get to the bathroom, 3am in the morning. Hours later she was rushed to the hospital with a brain hemorrhage from which she never regained consciousness. She was recovering from hip surgery and it was going well up until this point. Prior to this, she had been struggling with Alzheimer’s for a few years; 2014 was a turning point as far as the severity of the disease. When I came for an extended visit to give daddy a break and spend sometime loving on mama she hardly recognized me. It was then that I truly started to grieve. I will always cherish the time I was able to be there. In spite of the heartache at times, I experienced a deep joy in loving them and pouring into them. I was very aware of the faithfulness and goodness of God during this difficult time. There were tears and laughter, but love was always in the mix. :

“Wednesday, November 5th, 2014. We went to the Senior Citizen’s Center for Spaghetti and bingo. I took a picture of the last of some of daddy’s flowers that he brought in for mama. Pretty with the yellow deck in the background. After bingo we head out the door and drive down the road to Uncle Billy’s Barber shop. We usually sit around and chat while he cuts hair. Sometimes the customers join right in with the mini ‘ family’ reunions. Laughter and tales of days gone by oft come up. I learned this day for instance from Uncle Billy, that their mom, my grandma Atwell…or granny….had no sense of smell. He said it was because of a run in with a skunk…a direct hit in the face. I love these little meetings….and I love his barber shop where he has been cutting hair for about 30 years. The building has been there since the early 1900’s. Most of the adjacent storefront shops are empty, including the Crawdad Hole where many of the locals came for years to grab a bite in the little cafe and then listen to a little bit of  bluegrass, country and gospel. Uncle Billy said this little strip will soon be a relic of the past. It truly feels like you’ve walked through a time warp into the past….a lot of history there.”

He Knew Me

While working in my office, which is a total mess and  needs organizing (it gets worse as I tackle it); I like to listen to Christian music or worship. I am very eclectic in what I listen too, and there are times I just have to listen to one of my favorites, Jason Crabb. Many of my friends, especially the younger crowd, are not too interested in Southern Gospel, but there is a sweet spot in my heart that can only be filled with this genre. Needless to say, as I sit here, I could not focus on my task at hand, and was pulled into the sweet Presence of the Lord. What a wonderful distraction! Here are just a few of my favorites by this young man that stops me in my tracks…and just pulls me ‘upwards.’  God Bless…Karen

WHEN HE WAS ON THE CROSS

This song has often brought me to tears: ” While He was on the Cross, You were on His mind.  He knew me, yet He loved me. He whose glory makes the heavens shine. I’m so unworthy, of such mercy, for while He was on the Cross, I was  on His mind.”

SOMETIMES I CRY

I think we can all relate to this song. It was written by Jason Crabb’s father. I believe in being real and transparent. I don’t mean we should spill all your woes and sorrows all over people, be discreet…but sometimes we just need relate to others so they can see we are no different than any other human being in this world, Christian or not; only difference is we are saved by Grace, and we have an Advocate and a Helper in Christ. Being a Christian isn’t about being perfect or pretending to be, lets shake off the ‘holier’ than thou facade we often try to project and just be the ‘light’ God calls us to be.

 

DAYSTAR (SHINE DOWN ON ME)

This song has been the cry of my heart so many times. I have wept as I listened and worshiped. The Words of the song say it all.

Lilly of the valley, let your sweet aroma fill my life
Rose of Sharon show me, how to grow in beauty in Gods sight
Fairest of ten thousand, make me a reflection of your light
Daystar shine down on me, let your love shine through me in the night

Lead me Lord I’ll follow, anywhere you open up the door
Let your words speak to me, show me what Ive never seen before
Lord I long to be your witness, cause you can take whats wrong and make it right
Daystar shine down on me, let your love shine through me in the night

Lord I see your world thats dying, wounded by the master of deceit
Groping in the darkness, haunted by the years of past defeat
But when I see you standing near me Lord, shining with compassion in your eyes
I pray Jesus shine down on me, let your love shine through me in the night

Oh Yes
Lead me Lord Ill follow, anywhere you open up the door
Let your words speak to me, show me what Ive never seen before
Lord I long to be your witness, cause you can take whats wrong and make it right
Daystar shine down on me, let your love shine through me in the night

Yes, Daystar shine down on me, oh, oh, yes Daystar shine down on me oh, oh,
Jesus shine down on me, let your love shine through me in the night (repeat 2 times)

 

 

Transition

Over the last week or two I’ve been struggling to find time to sit down and write a blog. We are in transition right now and when I finally think I have time, something comes up. A lot of things are being put on the back burner or falling through the cracks. I haven’t had time to read blogs or connect with others much, as I’m just a wee bit overwhelmed with life right now (maybe I shouldn’t confess that) but I AM being pulled in many different directions. It’s not all bad, mind you, and God is definitely in the midst of it, answering prayer in miraculous ways.

There are ongoing medical visits for me as I try to get the diabetes back under control, and though I am on an insulin pump, it’s been scary at times, especially at night when my sugars have dropped, and now they are often elevated. I was given an opportunity to have a one week trial of a Dexcom: a Continuous Glucose Monitor which tracks the blood sugar. It will set off an alarm if my sugars go too low, or begin to climb, and it also indicates how fast or slow it is dropping or climbing. I was approved by my insurance company, and my Dexcom arrived a few days ago. On Friday of this week, I am happy to say, I will be getting hooked up, and I am hopeful this will help me to regain some control. The doctor also wants me to have a ‘gastric’ test to see if I have any neuropathy (nerve damage) in the gastric tract, as that could also affect my food and insulin absorbtion. I also, requested that the doctor change my insulin from Humulog  to Novolog, as I began to suspect my body was beginning to resist that particular insulin after years of use.  So, yes, that’s been an on going stress factor in my life, but I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel. 

The other major transition, and it’s a biggie, is the process and ultimate moving of my precious mother-in-law to assisted living. As of now, we have just found a beautiful, Christian facility. That in itself is a true miracle. I had put her name into a couple of places over a year ago but the waiting list was at least two years, and even then, the fact she would be on Elderly Waiver, meant there were limited spaces available. It did not look like anything would open up. We were working with an organization, looked at two places, and the second place left my husband, myself and my mother-in-law feeling discouraged. In fact, she teared up. 

I had sat in my office earlier that week, and though we were working with a great organization, I had seen Auburn Manor online, and thought to myself, and said out loud to the Lord, ” That would be the perfect place!” I began praying that somehow God would open the doors.  So, against all odds, I wrote them an email. To my surprise, I received an email and a phone call from the manager. I missed the first call, so I called back right away but had to leave a voicemail. The weekend came and went, and on Monday the manager called me again in the morning. I asked him about rooms and the fact LaVera, my mother-in-law, would need to be on Elderly Waiver (government assistance). He says, ” We have two Elderly Waiver openings.” At that point, I could hardly believe it, and asked him if there was a waiting list. He assured me there was none. I knew God was answering not only my prayer, but that of our friends and family! I knew I needed to act quickly, and made an appointment for the next day. LaVera was near tears, and I just felt this overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude towards God. After we met with the manager at Auburn Courts, it was confirmed, this would be LaVeras new home; a place that I am sure she is going to shine bright with the love of God. When I returned home, I called the organization we had been working with, spoke to the owner, Rick, and told him we no longer needed his services, he was very happy for us but shocked at the same time! He said that just a week and a half ago he had talked to Auburn Manor and there were no openings! Honestly folks, this was a miracle, there are less than 50% of assisted living places that take Elderly Waver, and on top of that there are few openings available period! I would say, God’s timing was and is perfect! 

Here is the lovely lady herself, and though it will still be difficult to let go of what was, she knows that God loves her and is working everything out to her good. She can come and go as she pleases (she is still very independent) will have a great community to thrive in, Bible Studies, volunteer opportunities, events, ladies luncheon’s, three meals a day, nursing on staff at all times and more. Truth be told, this is not easy for any of us and I’ve shed a few tears grieving for her, too, but my heart is at peace. ❤ I know hers is too, she slept like a baby for the first time in days that night! I’m so grateful God is with us through this journey called ‘life.’

                                                    LaVera Valle

My Life: Transition/ Diabetes/ Turning 64

He Knows My Name

Transition:

noun:

the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.“students in transition from one program to another”:

synonyms: change, passage, move, transformation,conversion, metamorphosis, alteration, handover, changeover; segue, shift, switch, jump, leap progression, progress, development, evolution, flux.
From the time we are born into this world until the time we leave it, we are always in a state of transition or flux (continuous movement, instability, inconstancy; going from one circumstance, moment, situation, to another). During childbirth, the transition period when the contractions start and the baby begins to move through the birth canal can be and usually is the most painful time. This can be true in life too. Looking at the state our world is in right now, there is no denying that there has been a shift, and we are in transition, the Bible calls it ‘birth pangs.’ (Matthew 24)
 ∼
I just turned 64 years old, on August 23rd. It felt like any other day, to be honest, and though we celebrated, I felt like I was 25 years old again, questioning God about the ‘purpose of my life.’ Quite frankly, I had been feeling like the baby who is ‘stuck’ in the birth canal, perhaps more like the ‘mom’, wondering when the baby is going to be birthed, and tired or weary of waiting. It’s not pleasant, and though I had two C-sections, our first was stillborn: I was induced and the contractions were excruciating! I know full well, that God is faithful, and He is a God that fulfills and keeps His promises, but as the word says, ‘the flesh is weak, but the spirit is willing.’  So, I continue to wait, pray and believe, that what He has promised He will do.
One of the areas I find myself struggling in is my health: Diabetes. I’m used to being a little more in control, and now I’m floundering. I  manage to keep myself up most of the time through worship, prayer, the Word, and a sense of humor, but there are certain days, my health affects my outlook. It’s been called the ’emotional’ disease. I have been visiting my diabetic nurse educator almost every week, and soon will see my doctor again also. I’m in transition when it comes to my health. I have had some bad experiences with very low blood sugars (which put me in the hospital two times since the end of December), and have caused me to panic when they start to drop, because I’m never sure how low they are going to go, so most of the time my sugars are elevated (not good long term). I am soon to get a Continuous Glucose Monitor (Dexcom) which will help me monitor when my sugars are going up/down/ and how fast or slow. This should help tremendously. It will set off alarms when and let me now either way. I’m blessed to be able to have this kind of technology available to me.
Our family is also going through transition right now. In recent years we have experienced the heartbreak of Alzheimer’s and my father-in-laws passing, then my mother 6 months later. It was one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced, saying good-bye to my mother. Over the last few months, my mother-in-law has had to give up driving, and we are now in process of looking for assisted living which is very difficult to find, and the waiting lists are very long. We are confident God has this, and that she will find a good fit, but it is very stressful for her as well as for us. There are times I think about what she is going through, look at what she is giving up and I can’t help but put myself in her shoes down the road. There have been times I have wanted to weep for her as we have walked through this process with her, and the struggle for her to let go. It’s made me want to ‘lighten the load;  just start tossing and getting rid of stuff I don’t need…all the unnecessary junk we tend to accumulate through the years. I’m letting go…things just don’t mean as much as they used too. When I start to go inward, I think about friends and family who have had to let go of loved ones, forced to evacuate due to fires or flooding, sink holes, dealt with health issues worse than mine and the list goes on.Transition can be very painful and life altering, but it can have it’s rewards too. I’m very thankful for the Presence of God in my life, and that I do not have to walk this walk alone.
I don’t think this is a bad thing, this transition, although it can be difficult and overwhelming at times…I fully expect the end result to be good.  Aren’t we, as Christians, going from ‘glory to glory?’ I constantly remind myself, God is IN CONTROL, He knows everything that we are going through, every heartache, every struggle, every season of our life, He is there. He was there when I was born; when I was diagnosed with diabetes, the times I almost died. He was and is there during my greatest joys, my deepest sorrows, when I was overwhelmed with fear, when I was full of doubt and when I was full of faith. He will be with me when I transition to ‘glory.’ He knows us intimately…and during these days of transition, our time on earth, He will not forget us nor abandon us…those of us, called according to His name. ❤

The Good. The Bad. The Squirrely! ;)

A few years ago, we tried desperately to find the best ‘squirrel-resistant’ bird feeder we could. As most of you know, who have had experience with these creative and persistent critters, this is almost impossible! They just DO NOT give up, but alas, most of us humans DO! When we first moved into this house, we had a wooden frame around the front door (which we eventually replaced along with a double door); squirrels were attempting to eat away at the wood (paint and all). I had never seen anything like that, was beyond irritated, and tried rubbing different smells on the exposed wood, including Tabasco Sauce! Absolutely, nothing worked!

We were beyond excited when we moved to this house, envisioning all kinds of birds flocking to our bird feeders. We were going to become avid bird watchers, but alas, that was not to be, for after a few years of trying, we quit calling our bird feeders, ‘bird feeders’, and started calling them ‘squirrel feeders!’ Once we tried hanging one such ‘squirrel feeder’ on the end of a tall plant hook next to the tree, thinking surely they could not maneuver the metal hook with their claws. Wrong!! We did have a good laugh when a friend of ours was visiting and decided to spray the pole with a vegetable spray. We watched in glee, as that wily squirrel tried to scamper up the slippery pole, then slowly slide down. He attempted this several times. The shocked look on it’s squirrely little face gave me a some satisfaction that we had finally got the upper hand, if only but for a few sweet moments! Eventually, though, we gave up, and now have no ‘squirrel feeders’ out front; we moved them to the back of our house, where we have less of an issue, though we still see them hanging occasionally, peering into our living room window, with a look of defiance. Boy, can they jump! Truth be told, when it comes to these critters, it’s a love hate relationship, and I have been known to throw out scraps of bread or such during the winter. I’m seriously thinking of placing another ‘squirrel feeder’ out front again. If nothing else, it was pure entertainment, and sometimes, one would jump on the ledge of my office window, look in and check me out, and of course, I started putting little tidbits on the ledge. Yeah, birds are great, but not at all as entertaining…;)

The first video, “The Good, the Bad and the Squirrely,”  came about randomly, as I was still trying my hand at simple video’ making. The song just happen to fit musically, and I just went with it. The song of course is, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  It’s up to the viewer to decide who is who…;)

The Good, The Bad and the Squirrely

This second video, was actually an Albino squirrel, that came around for a couple of years. I named him ‘Sugar,’ and caught him raiding the feeder. I did not discourage him at all, and was in fact, amused and fascinated by this ‘BIG’ fella. I chose two favorite songs of mine, “Sugar, Sugar,” and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Sugar: Our White Albino Squirrel

Published on Jan 22, 2014

(heehee, I think the Fed Ex guy is going in circles)!The White Squirrel (an albino, 1 in 100,000 chance), a big fella, at first I was going to call him Frosty, but decided to call him ‘Sugar’, because he is white and sweet (kinda/ sorta as long as I don’t make him get off the bird feeder). Since this video was taken (and I may redo this at a later date, just don’t have time right now) Lee brought the bird feeder in. I asked him why? and He said because until he fixes it, it is a ‘Squirrel Feeder! ‘ HA! He is right…poor birds have to fight to get any seeds. I decided to put up songs that would not NORMALLY be seen on a Squirrel Video or animal video…and the Archies: Sugar Sugar just made me ‘smile’, and made me happy and brought back so many memories. Got my foot tapping, and then Don’t Worry be Happy was to remind myself what the Bible says about worrying…God says worry is a sin…because it is the opposite of Faith, and as a Christian we are to trust God to take care of us. I KNOW He has everything under control…I hope you all enjoy our White Sugar Squirrel :). He’s chubby…lol. And ANYONE notice the Fed Ex guy? lol, I think he was lost or maybe he noticed our SUGAR!!! He IS Quite Spectacular….;)

Memory Bouquet : Pieces Of April

Pieces of April

Published on Apr 7, 2015 (revised from my original post on Youtube)

I originally made this video for a dear friend, a free spirit of sorts, and a nature lover. I loved this song as a young teen/adult, though I was limited to mostly country in our home, there were times, when I was finally able to drive, that I would, as soon as I left the driveway, crank the music up, and it wasn’t usually country. It seems like yesterday I was driving the folks Chevy and headed down the highway…listening to this song, ‘Pieces of April’ . I am thinking a lot about family these days, my family of origin mostly, and how fast time is slipping away. So, as I look through picture albums and video’s lately, I am making ‘memory bouquets’. When I come across a video of my mama’s grin, laugh, mannerisms, or beautiful face and/ or  a video of my daddy laughing and teasing, well…sometimes the tears threaten to come to the surface; other times  I catch myself smiling or laughing…but always I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and love.

So, over the years, I’ve become a collector. A collector of memories, through pictures, video’s and more. I have a Memory Bouquet…full of life, love and laughter. Times of joy and laughter, times of pain and sorrow…but through it all  a wonderful ‘bouquet’ of memories. I’ve learned through the years how, to pray, to forgive, to push forward, to endure, to love, to sing, to overcome, to speak my mind, to break through intimidation and fear and to fight for what I believe in. I’ve learned to laugh through the pain, I’ve wept in times of joy,  praised God in the storm, stood on His Word, and sat at His feet in worship and surrender. God is constantly working in my heart…pruning, watering, breaking up the shallow ground, and shining His light in the dark places. I am ever so grateful He knows how to love me to life, picks up the broken pieces, looks beyond my faults and sees my needs. He tends to me like a well watered garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hula Hoop Challenge; And the Winner Is….;)

I’ve been feeling a bit blue lately, and decided to go through some of my old video’s.  I have a few gems such as this one.  Recorded and uploaded in 2015 I couldn’t help but laugh! Laughter certainly IS good medicine. 😀

My husband is an engineer, but there is this ‘little boy’ in him that comes out around our grandchildren, especially our oldest granddaughter, but ALL the grandchildren gravitate towards him. I do have a cameo appearance here, but my granddaughter and I both lost it when Papa took up the challenge. I was trying so hard not to laugh behind the camera. I treasure these moments in our lives, they pass so quickly.

So, who DO YOU, think won the Hula Hoop Challenge? hahaha

😀

Aging Gracefully

Hi, there folks.

This is me through the years starting as a baby – high school graduation (last picture). A lot of life, love and laughter. I look at these pictures and wonder, where did the time go, and who is that ‘stranger’ looking at me in the mirror every morning and every night: Okay, okay…sometimes I look more often, but at my ‘age’, I see every line and wrinkle; perhaps against all odds, I’m hoping  that the latest ‘anti-wrinkle’ cream I am using is REALLY going to produce a miracle like it says it does. So far, no such luck. Nope. Not til Jesus comes to take me home will I be without ‘spot’ or ‘wrinkle’, says so right there in the Bible. 😉 Well, maybe I’ve taken it out of context…but sometimes if I don’t laugh, I think I might cry, and believe me, after the cataracts came out a couple of years ago, I came close. One day I thought I was looking  pretty good for my age, and the next day ‘bam’, right between the eyes…, I mean right between my eyes, those little crinkly lines, not to mention every crevice and spot on my face suddenly became much clearer! Of course, the up side was seeing colors and everything  more vibrant and alive…who knew that the ‘orange’ facial scrubber I was using, was actually ‘hot pink’, and the shirt I thought was orange was a ‘hot pink’. Thinking how many times I thought I was wearing black with matching black shoes, to find out one was black, the other blue?

Let’s be real here! In a few days I’m going to turn 64 years old. I’m trying to embrace who I am NOW, not yesterday, bite the bullet (we really don’t have a choice), continue to laugh, love and live. The Bible says there’s enough trouble today, so don’t worry about tomorrow (paraphrased), He’s going to be there for all my tomorrows as He was for all my yesterdays, and today! I think it is wise to plan for the future, but it’s never wise to worry (and this is something I have to lay at the feet of Jesus daily…some days I win, others I really struggle).

Forgive me for rambling just a little bit today (you know us ‘old’ folk do that from time to time, eh)? I got to looking at some of these old photos today of myself through different stages of my young life. I started out pretty cute; chubby and wrinkly…and I was thinking to myself, how ironic that I’m probably gonna end up that way too, yeah…chubby and wrinkly, though if someone calls you ‘cute’ when you get older, it’s usually more about your ‘behavior’, or some quirky habit you’ve picked up unknowingly as you’ve aged . Not too long ago I read a police report about an ‘elderly’ woman, 63 or 64 years old, whose car was rammed into by a desperado who was driving a stolen car. I thought to myself, “Elderly?”  What were they ‘talking about?’ I was 63, and that sounded so foreign to my ears! Never would I consider myself or call myself ‘elderly!’ I cringed at the mere thought of being called  elderly at the ‘young age of 63.’   NO WAY was I going to accept what the dictionary (and some of our society) labels ‘elderly!’

eld·er·ly
ˈeldərlē/
adjective
  1. (of a person) old or aging.
    “she was elderly and silver-haired”
    Synonyms:
    aged,
    old,
    advanced in years,
    aging,
    long in the tooth,
    past one’s prime;
    gray-haired,grizzled,
          hoary; in one’s dotage, decrepit, doddering, doddery, senescent;
          getting on,
          past it,
          over the hill,
          no spring chicken
         old people,
         the aged,
         senior citizens;
         geriatrics,
         seniors;
         retired people,
         retirees,
         golden agers;
         oldsters,
         geezers
 ∼

Hmm, Some of these descriptions I can accept, but long in the tooth? Getting on? geezer? decrepit, doddering? I think NOT! Doesn’t sound like me at all, nor most of my ‘elderly’ friends! Not yet anyway, and when that time comes, and I do see it coming, I’ll let you know, or as my sister once said to me, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you!’ 😀  In the meantime, I’m going to dance the dance of life, and celebrate everyday as a gift from God. As His Word says…I will rise up as an eagle, and my youth will be renewed as I wait on the Lord.

In all seriousness, though, aging gracefully is a struggle for many in our youth oriented culture, and has been for me too at times, especially when you feel ‘young’ but the ‘number’ keeps creeping upwards. Inevitably, we all age but one of the most beautiful of women I’ve ever known was my mother…she was graceful, her smile, the way she moved, gentle. She was always there for my siblings and I, and knew when to call and when to come. This is true ageless beauty; to love others and have a giving heart.   God’s word says it best in 1 Peter 3: 3-4:

 3 Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry or wearing fashionable clothes; let your adornment be what’s inside—the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights.

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You Are So Beautiful To Me

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The wrinkles on a time-worn face
Can be symbols of God’s grace,
If through our laughter and our tears
His love has freed us from our fears. —D. De Haan

“Even to your old age, . . . and even to gray hairs I will carry you!” (Isaiah 46:4).

Yes, we can be assured that God will always be with us through every season. My advice: Love Deeply, Forgive Quickly, Laugh Loudly, Be Thankful. In our lives things are constantly changing, but we can be assured that our God NEVER changes and that His love for us is not dependent on our performance, nor what we look like on the outside, or even the crud on the inside. He just loves us. God used this song, ‘I Am’, along with the picture of mama touching my heart gently, to reassure me when I was in the throes of grief, that He is always with me. He is the one constant in life. The words to this song say it all.

I Am

 

Oh gently lay your head
Upon my chest
And I will comfort you
Like a mother while you rest
The tide can change so fast,
But I will stay
The same through the past,
The same in future, same today

CHORUS:
I am constant; I am near
I am peace that shatters all your secret fears
I am holy; I am wise
I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires
Your heart’s desires

Oh weary, tired and worn,
Let out your sighs
And drop that heavy load you hold
Cause Mine is light

I know you through and through;
There’s no need to hide
I want to show you love
That is deep and high and wide

CHORUS(2x)

Oh gently lay your head
Upon my chest
And I will comfort you
Like a mother while you rest

When The Struggle is Real

I haven’t blogged for a few days as it’s been a real struggle, not because of a brain freeze, or lack of oxygen (low blood sugar), or writers block …but mostly because of health issues stemming from Type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes. I am on an insulin pump, and was actually one of the first 700 people at the time to get hooked up. The pump was huge compared to what I share in the video below (see the picture at the left of your screen, that’s me in the blue, and that SONY DSCblack thing on my side is my first pump). It was so big, people asked me if it was a pager (that’s a big pager), or some kind of radio. You can see in the video below, how much smaller the pump has become. I was thrilled as the size of the pumps began to decrease in size and the technology became more and more fine tuned.

I was probably about 28 or 29 years old when I first started on the pump; our eldest was about two years old (pictured on my husbands shoulders). Our first baby, born 8 lbs 4oz, was stillborn, which had left me wondering if I would ever be able to have a healthy child . In the video below, after sharing some humorous  idiosyncrasies about myself, I shared a bit about that time of loss in our lives. I had not expected to feel the emotional wave that hit me as I recalled the day of delivery. We had known for a week that our precious baby was gone before the scheduled delivery date at the hospital.  Needless to say, it was an extremely sorrowful time. Thank God, we did not give up, and we were finally blessed with two boys, albeit 7 years apart. I am ever so grateful to be a mom (for the most part, “she said with a wink and a smile”). 😉  Motherhood hasn’t always been easy or a ‘breeze,’ especially as they entered the teen years and beyond, but that’s another story or two, for another time. 🙂 Just being real here. Would I do it all again? 100 times over, “YES!”

So, back to why I haven’t blogged, and my own personal struggle…having used insulin pump therapy for about 30+ years, and having wonderful results, I now find myself plagued with all kinds of issues that I never really had before: Extreme highs, and extreme lows.  It started a few months ago, and my overall A1c (blood glucose average over a 3 month period) was hanging around 7.0, which is relatively good. I can’t even imagine what it is now after all I’ve been through these last months. I have never had to call the ambulance except once in all my 50+ years of being a diabetic, but at the end of last December my sugars dropped to 21, and knowing if it drops to 0 you are comatose, your out for the count, no longer here. I could feel myself blacking out, and as I looked up at the nice paramedic, I kept saying over and over…” Please don’t let me die.” He assured me I was going to be fine, but in the back of my mind I thought, he has to say that even if he doesn’t mean it. I have never felt so out of control and vulnerable.  I ended up in the hospital the next day for about three days. From that point on I’ve had trouble stabilizing my blood sugars. In January it happened again, and I ended up in the hospital as my blood sugars kept plummeting no matter how much sugar I had taken by mouth or how much glucose they stuck in my veins. Talk about a ‘sugar rush!’ Since that time, the blood sugars have been extremely high. Last night, my blood sugars reached 490, and target rate for my sugars, being I’m diabetic, are between 100 and 150.  Rarely has my blood sugar been lower than the 200’s since my last hospital visit. Long term health issues can result from poorly controlled blood sugars. I’m eating what I should eat, I’m testing several times a day, and still sugars are climbing,  though they tend to drop some during the evening. Night time is one of my biggest concerns if and when my sugars happen to drop while I’m asleep; this is what had happened the first time I called the ambulance. I can tell you from experience, fear can come in from such traumatic episodes, and it can rob you of your joy and peace in a very subtle way. That’s where I found myself lately…

This week I was so overwhelmed that I told my husband I would not be going to Mid week services at church. I knew what I had to do, I had to go to our room, close the door, put on worship music and cry out to God. I sat there with my head back and I sobbed all my frustration and grief out to the Lord. One of my friends had told me that she had felt God saying to me, let go, free fall, let God carry me through this time and just trust Him.

As, I sat in my room that night, A song by Bethel Worship, began to play called ‘It is Well With My Soul.’  As I listened, I continued to weep and pray. I told God, “I can’t do this by myself anymore”. I hadn’t even realized until that point, that I was carrying the weight of so many losses and unmet expectations from the last several years. All I could muster was, “Help me Lord, I Need You.”  I felt this ball of grief and sorrow come up out of my heart that I know had been stuck there for a long time. God began to bring to my mind those things that I had been holding onto; grief over my mother who had passed away two years ago, losses and unmet expectations, wounds that were still like arrows in my heart, concerns about my grown children and grandchildren, and so forth and so on. When the tears subsided a bit, I grabbed my ‘Passion Translation’, of the Psalms. I felt led to begin a prayer journal with at least one Psalm a day, where I can just pour out my heart to God. I am more than hopeful for what lies ahead. I already feel a sense of release from the burden of what I was carrying, but I know that it is one step at a time, one day at a time. I’m learning to ‘free fall’ into His loving arms; He will always and HAS always been there to catch me.

 

God has always used humor to help me through many difficult times. Learning to laugh at myself, to be transparent and real is a must for me.