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

Mama

My precious mother passed on May 21, 2015. My last entry about her on Blogger was taken about a year before she passed. There is so much more to the story but this was where we were at, at that time. I sure do miss her and love her. Love my daddy too, he’s no spring chicken, but he’s busier than most youngins’ these days. Mama had Alzheimers, and this link to the blog is just part of the journey.  I love the pictures I posted too, and will probably rewrite and transfer that blog on here at another time. <a href=”http://www.pureheart2heart.com/2014/05/memories-here-i-sit-tears-flowing.html

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Not the greatest quality picture, but this was my mama at her best. She had the most beautiful smile, graceful hands and ways about her. In her younger days she was a bit of a tomboy, but you sure couldn’t tell in her latter years.  Daddy and Mama grew very close the last few years of her life. I would say they ‘fell in love’ all over again but it was a deep, compassionate love. Daddy would say, after she passed, ” I think I needed her, more than she needed me.”

 

 

 

Timeless

Precious and timeless memories. Just living life, one day at a time, one moment at a time before it quickly fades away into the distant past. There’s so much in my heart, so many memories of the good times as well as the difficult times that I’m not even sure where to begin in these pages. There are times a memory will pop up at the most unexpected and surprising moment. This happened one day as I walked out of my doctor’s office, it was the furthest thing from my mind, but I had such a strong urge to see my mother who passed away in May of 2015.  It hit me suddenly, out of nowhere, this longing in my heart.  One solitary tear slowly rolled down my cheek as I looked up and said out loud, ” I love you and miss you, Mama!”  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not usually a melancholic person, I’m quite the opposite, though I have my moments.  I can confidently say, God’s mercies are NEW every morning, even in the challenging times there is and has been much JOY!

This is a video I made on my phone, having no computer access, as I was spending time in Arkansas with my folks. For several years as my mama’s health began to decline, physically and mentally, I would take extended trips to be with them. I would take picture after picture and recorded a plethora of  video, which I often posted on Facebook on my private page, much like an online journal. Although, mama would get a little irritated with me at times (as well as others, truth be told ;), I would just smile or chuckle and keep on clicking. I’m SO glad I did. What I captured was more than just memories of my time spent with her and daddy the last few years of her life, but the last vestiges of a generation quickly fading. I grew to cherish and love my paternal side of the family, as well as the people and traditions of the surrounding area.

As much as I miss my precious mother. my sweet mama, I know she is in a timeless place, and the memories I have I cherish. I love and appreciate my family more now than ever. Life is so fleeting here, but we who know and love Jesus will have eternity in heaven and that’s something wonderful to look forward to.

God Bless, Karen

A legacy of Love