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The Color of Love

I had no intention of falling in love. But there he was.

At a huge outdoor market one spring day, I nonchalantly walked by the large open pen where most of his brothers and sisters lay sleeping. At first I simply checked them all out as they played and slept.  Aah, who doesn’t love puppies? I thought. Yeah, so cute but so much work. Feeding, walking, grooming, vet bills . . . It’s a long term commitment!

Don’t get attached, just walk away, Ellie, walk away. I failed to heed my own advice. 

There were some very pretty puppies of many different colors, but one in particular, happened to catch my eye. He was white with large black eyes, a black nose and one floppy brown ear. Eight weeks old. Oh, but he’s so precious!!!

At first, he just observed me with those curious black eyes. It looked like he had just woken up. Then, as he watched me, his tiny tongue began flicking in and out. Then his little tail slowly began wagging back and forth. Suddenly he pounced upward, happily bouncing against the side of the pen on two legs, smiling, begging for attention – all while his little tongue was moving a mile a minute, longing for kisses and attention.

Aren’t we all searching for attention and love?

Nope, I had no intention of falling in love. But there he was . . . and yes, I did. Do you think I cared whether he was white, tan, brown, red or black? Would you?

I fell in love with a happy-go-lucky, friendly, intelligent, kind and sweet little dog. His character was more important to me than his fur color or his pedigree. Four and a half years later, he still instills joy into our lives.

When I meet someone new, I look at their smile, kindness, integrity and enthusiasm for life – which is all part of their character. I admit, I have little patience with those those who stir up dissension and I despise injustice, negativity and stupidity.

Which brings me to the spiritual aspect of New Creations Ministries. How are we to treat others?

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

When God looks down on us, do you think He cares what color we are? How prestigious our heritage? Our job title? I doubt it very much. When God looks at us, He sees our heart and cares about our character, not our skin color. Jesus himself was not a blue-eyed Caucasian and he didn’t look like George Clooney.

“For God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2:11)

God doesn’t play favorites and neither should we. We are all His children and created in His image. Bring religious education and at least the Bible back into schools again and we might save the next generation. Our US Constitution does not proclaim Freedom FROM Religion, only Freedom OF Religion. Disagree? Search out Truth.

God cares about our character so much He sent His only Son to die on the cross for ALL mankind! That’s LOVE and it has no color. How many young people today realize that? Oh, you say, “I wouldn’t want to force religion on my children. I let them choose.”  Well okay. how is THAT working out for us???

Real love is a demonstration of it!

Creating that Long-Lasting Relationship

“What does it take to create an enduring, long-lasting  relationship?” That question was asked of me several times during our recent 50th anniversary cruise.

So what was my answer? “That’s an easy one,” I replied.

Having God as the center of any marriage for one. No one can sustain a perfect relationship without a strong anchor. For the marital-bliss-winds can shift direction at any time and chaos, tribulations and uncertainty follow.  No one can sustain happiness forever for that depends on emotional up and down days; but if God is your anchor, you’ll find true JOY and remain grounded.

Communication ranks right up there as well. Spouses aren’t mind-readers! When one asks, “What’s wrong?” and the other sarcastically replies nothing,” how is that helping? Don’t stubbornly resist, talk it over. Don’t let one’s hard-headedness dictate what Satan gleefully desires.

God created the first marriage and Satan promptly went about messing things up. Not only did they not communicate, they failed to seek God’s Will: His Word! Whenever a couple is uncertain, asking, “What should we do about . . . (whatever) ?” Don’t make decisions harder than they should be. You’ll find the answer anchored in Scripture and that should end the discussion.

Laughter! The devil hates to hear Christians joyful and God loves it! Life is too short to not enjoy it! Don’t settle for second best and don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy each other’s company, marry your best friend and seek to be a team even after you have children. (I’ve seen so many marriages break up because one loves their children more than their spouse.)

No matter how busy you are, spend as much time together as you can. In my book “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese!” I wrote about marriage being a three-ring-circus. A circus has one large ring in-between two smaller rings. The large representing together time. Sometimes, for a number of reasons, those rings get lopsided . Too many spouses lose themselves in the other’s relationship, giving up their interests for the sake of the other. What happens then? They become boring. Never lose your identity – it’s what made you unique and why they fell in love with you in the first place.

Don’t become stagnant. Continually grow and change. You’ll never get bored with each other. I’ve been very fortunate to have two and my husband three diverse careers. We’ve moved twenty times in our lives as well as lived in a motorhome fulltime for six years, traveling around the States. We’ve met wonderful people and seen sites many only dream about. Our life’s been blessed!

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”  (Ephesians 4:2-3)

Has any reader picked up on the fact that the same attributes which create a successful marriage, contribute to a close relationship with our Lord?

What is your relationship to Christ? Cultivate a beneficial and meaningful relationship with Jesus in the same way:

Communicate: the more you read your Bible, the more you’ll understand how to please him and the closer you’ll get to a stronger, richer relationship.

Use your Spiritual Gifts, don’t allow them to become stagnant. Make your relationship with Christ your largest center ring. Grow and Blossom together. Those gifts can help others in need, but one must practice them.

Become JOYFUL. Even amidst trials and hardships, consider how God has blessed you. Praise Him for the home He’s provided, family you have, for the food on your table and the friendships you enjoy.

Love Richly!

Are You a Godly Role Model for Your Children?

Over the years, hundreds of books were written meant to uncover why adults acted as they did.

Each touched on:

  • what motivates us;, how to be successful.
  • how we should view ourselves,
  • what’s our “sign”
  • discovering what type of personality we have: Type A, B, and so on.

Notice the common denominator? It was all about “self.” These books were written with the distinct purpose of reflecting how people should view themselves. Everyone got placed in a box, tied up with a brightly colored ribbon. Formula!

What self-centered thinking! Quite the opposite of “God First, Others Second and I Am Third.”

We are a combination of many personalities, because God created each of us uniquely. Our uniqueness makes us special. For example, my husband and I respond differently to different stimuli. I’m more impulsive, my husband’s more methodical. I need to talk it out, he needs time to think it through . . .

Therefore, it’s extremely important for each parent to discover their child’s “Love Language” also. Authors studied and targeted older generations and forgot about children.

Have you ever thought, the way we treat our children shouldn’t be the same as we treat an adult? Our children are as individual as we are. Each child has a distinctive personality and a separate need for recognition, discipline, space, acceptance and approval.

An emotional or affectionate child responds better to physical rewards such as a hug rather than a toy as a reward. He wants to know he is worth more than “things.” No amount of materialism can purchase this child’s love. He needs to be assured that he is more than simply another possession you own or he’ll turn to food or drugs for unfulfilled, comforting emotions.

One child is more analytical, another is a studious bookworm. These children desire stimulating conversation even more than hugs. Praise and respect them for their curiosity and dedication to studies (and of course hug them anyway!)

Sometimes a child only wants time with their parents, but rarely finds it. Sometimes the parents are so busy keeping up with the ‘Joneses’, working sixty-hour weeks in order to reward their child with “things” rather than what their child’s soul longs for; attention.

This creates a chasm between a child-parent relationships, perhaps one which will never fully heal. This child could even grow up to be introverted, placing a protective shell around his heart to avoid perceived abandonment issues.

Or perhaps he becomes another workaholic for his parent’s sought-after blessing. As he matures, he might want to sit and enjoy a movie, snuggling with his child, but years of training taught him that’s considered “unproductive” time. So he continues to strive for approval through hard work.

We are God’s child but do we spend time with the Lord? Think he doesn’t love us; accepts us as we are, faults and all?  Our Lord understands our Love Language! If we simply want to spend time with Him, wrapped in prayer, He’s always available to listen. If we encounter trials, we can rest in our Father’s Arms, finding comfort rather than criticism.

If we are analytical, He’ll provide knowledge and wisdom through His Word so we can understand. God’s always attuned to our needs even before we know them ourselves.

We can learn so much from our Heavenly Father. Remember that most children first identify our Heavenly Father with their earthly father. Appreciate each child as the blessing from God they truly are!

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)

Thank You for the Light of the World Award

I’d like to extend a special thank you to http://www.hisperfecttiming.blog   for a very special award given to those blogs “whose presence on the web serves as a shining light for Christ and His Gospel of salvation.”  That’s quite an honor, thank you! I have been truly blessed via the internet to obtain many wonderful followers who have become very close friends. She is certainly one of them.

This lovely award, created by Joe Rodriguez of Lighthouse Devotions,  http://www.lighthousedevotions.blog  (one of the rules is to mention him in your prepared acceptance post.) So thank you Joe for creating an encouraging award. All who post this to our site strive to motivate others to become their best self, pleasing to our Lord.

The Rules for Acceptance:

  1. Save and add the award image (pictured here) on your blog.
  2. Create a page/post to mention the award nomination and thank the person/blog that nominated you. Make sure you provide a link to their site.
  3. Give credit to the creator of the award (Lighthouse Devotions) and provide a link to the site as well. (http://www.Lighthousedevotions.blog)
  4. List the rules.
  5. Answer the next four questions on the same post:
    What three words would you use to describe your blog?
    In what way(s) can a Christian shine for Christ?
    What bible verse (quote it) talks about being a light in a dark and lost world?
    What Christian song do you know that has the word “light” in it? Provide a link if available.
  6. Nominate 7 or more people/blogs to receive the award. Briefly explain why you think they should receive it and provide a link to their sites.
  7. Contact them and let them know that you nominated them.
  8. Provide them with a link to the Rules page.
  9. Say a prayer thanking God for His light and ask that He continue to shine it through you and your blog.
  10. Keep shining the light of Christ wherever you go and in whatever you do!

Here are my answers to His Perfect Timing’s questions:

1. What three words would you use to describe your blog?

“Biblical Nutritional Truth”  There are so many false diet gurus out in the world today who profess a false dietary doctrine which contradicts God’s Word of physiological Truth. Don’t believe everything your “itchy ears” want to hear simply because it sounds easy and quick!

2. In what way(s) can a Christian shine for Christ?

One way is to present our bodies as living sacrifices, practicing self-control over food cravings. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.”  (Romans 12:1)

3. What bible verse (quote it) talks about being a light in a dark and lost world?

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  (Psalm 119:105)

Many people are in the dark about what constitutes a sensible daily diet. That path can literally lead to one of destruction through dangerously high cholesterol levels, heart disease, diabetes and even cancers.

I urge you to discover what God already knows and has encouraged us to follow, a common-sense physiological pathway – which He laid down in Genesis 1:29 & 9:3 – for that way leads to a healthier lifestyle.

4. What Christian song do you know that has the word “light” in it? Provide a link if available.

Perhaps Chris Rice, “Go Light Your World.” By exhibiting a strong Christian testimony, others seek what you have.

Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world

My nominations in no particular order and I love everyone of my 3200+ followers:

  1. Matthew Winters, Comeback Pastor  https://mdw4christ.wordpress.com  His Biblical insight is soooo incredible, that I’ve sent many links to my pastor husband.
  2.  Yelobird, Tammy of  http://www.yelobrd777.com   Her prayerful encouragement never failed to bring peace to my soul, She’s not only my wonderful sister in Christ, but also my personal prayer warrior!
  3. Randy, another wonderful pastor friend who provides Wisdom in all his posts which is an encouragement to me.  https://kingdompastor.wordpress.com/ The world needs more strong, intelligent Biblical pastors like Randy and Matthew!
  4. Wendy Endaya of   https://harvestofhealing.wordpress.com    My gosh, I know if she lived in my town, I’d be over at her house daily for Christian fellowship! I thank her for her prayers of encouragement as we endured tough times recently.
  5. Bob Clark posts on Facebook: https://plus.google.com/+RobertClarke He is always is there with an intelligent comment attached to a Scripture verse and he knows nutrition!!!
  6. Lisa Riehm, another strong-minded Christian woman who physically struggles with Lyme disease. You’d never know it however, for her positive attitude is an inspiration to all!  https://thewhisperwithin.live
  7. Sheila, my Christian Outreach friend in Italy (the gorgeous city view on her site is worth the click alone!)  https://sheilascorziello.com.   My heart broke when we couldn’t meet after my Italian missionary trip was canceled. But if not soon, I know we will eventually

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”  (Philippians 1:3)

Peace or Power? Which Do You Pursue?

Some who seek “peace” are actually Counterfeit Christians, striving for dominance over others. Some feel if we will simply fall in line behind them, the kingdom will have peace. This is a falsehood. True Peace, Joy, Love is only found in doing what God desires of us.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  (Matthew 6:33)

In this life we can build up or tear down another’s hopes, dreams or self-esteem. One can profess half-truths to obtain attention or destroy another through biting words. We can be a help or we can hinder another’s godly works. We can talk ourselves into success or forge on alone, foregoing Godly Counsel.

The question is: which type of person are you? To answer that, we must go back to our roots.

If your childhood was one with a dictatorial parent, a spiteful sibling, later a dominating spouse, suffered painful abuse or loss, it’s usually masked by either a false bravado or intimidating control or it made you stronger, more compassionate and more discerning. You have a heart for others because you identify with another’s pain.

As a result, the first will either bully, tear down others through words, acting as a mean girl to overcome that sense of inferiority and insecurity of never being good enough.

The second will overcome tribulations, building godly self-esteem and through strength reach out, coming alongside others to encourage them.

In essence the first attitude is projecting “I am the master of my OWN fate! No one will ever control me again!”

The falsehood here is, we will always have someone else controlling our thoughts and actions – either God or Satan, good or evil – no other! By allowing the devil to enter our mindset and puppet us, it not only hurts us, it hurts everyone around us.

By letting go and allowing God to control our life, we become stronger, content in all things, at peace with God’s Laws, provisions, pathways.

Inferiority is like having the devil whisper, you aren’t good enough!

I have news for you: no one will EVER be good enough. In this large world someone will always be and do something better, be tougher, kinder, prettier, wealthier . . .  even cook or sing better.

That’s the purpose of explaining to my patients why mental, physiological and Spiritual health is like the Westminster Dog Show. How can one judge a Golden Retriever against a Cocker Spaniel, a Pug against a Poodle, a German Shepherd against any Terrier? You can’t. Therefore each has a different standard of individuality set down by the American Kennel Club Rule Book and are judged accordingly.

Similarly, we are all uniquely designed by God and must be judged individually accordingly to His Book: The Bible.  Are we our best according to God’s Standards? I know I’m not and yet I continually strive to be excellent in all I can to please and glorify my Lord who rules over me, whispering “You are my child. I love you. You are enough.”

As a work in progress, I recognized early in my Christian life that it’s no fun being outside of God’s Favor. In fact, it’s scary!

Personalities who don’t truly believe in themselves and feel inferior, seek to find validation by tearing others down in order to build themselves up. I suspect you know people like this. One can never build themselves up by tearing others down.

Do you search for strength, peace, wisdom, but it evades you? Stand firm for Truth! Ditch Satan’s strings – seek Godly values and discover Joy.

 

 

 

 

 

Calling All Biblical Teachers and Homeschooling Families

Remember when Andrew first met the Messiah? What was his first reaction? He ran to tell his brother Peter the Good News! Well, that’s how I felt when given a wonderful children’s book entitled, “Where Are The Other Nine?”  (The Story of the Leper that Came Back to say Thank You) by Max Reid. I found an excellent Biblical resource and wanted others to know!

Max Reid has written and published 14 children’s Kindle Bible Stories (2 of which are compilations of 5 stories each)  and 1 Picture Book for toddlers. All of these are affordable, available in both e-book or paperback form, starting at $.99 on https://www.amazon.com/Max-Reid/e/B071P2ZSJW/https:/

Today, I am reviewing “Where Are the Other Nine?” Written from the point of view of a Samaritan family; it places us in the shoes of the one afflicted. I found it relatable and intriguing, inviting much discussion of faith, trust and how we treat others.

At first glance, gazing at the cute cover, I mistakenly believed this book to be for those of a younger age. (It’s a sweet cover, as are all of Max’s books.) But what I discovered was so much more. These books are targeted perhaps toward the 4-10 year age group but easily could be used as practical Biblical instruction in Sunday School, homeschooling, children’s church or during family devotions.

As parents, we are commanded to teach Biblical values daily to our children: “Teach them repeatedly to your children. Talk about them while sitting in your house or walking on the road, and as you lie down or get up.”  (Deuteronomy 6:7) 

This thought-provoking book is based on the miraculous healing of the ten lepers by Jesus found in Luke 17: 11-19. This event opens up a myriad of questions which transcends into our modern age, bringing to light many “what if’s” to a young person’s mind.

How do we treat others who are not like us? How often do we walk right by someone who isn’t: the poor, homeless, disabled, disfigured . . . and ignore them or believe they are “below” us? (Does God look at our outside appearance or our heart?)

Levi’s father, through no fault of his own, became one of the lepers and an outcast. He couldn’t work any more. Therefore he had no money and had to beg for food, clothing, warm blankets. Money meant nothing since he couldn’t enter a store to shop and had to rely on the kindness of others for his very existence.

What if your entire comfortable lifestyle was taken away? What if we lost everything, how would we react? (How do we thank Jesus for his many blessings, even amidst trials?)

And what if that leper was you? How would you like to be treated? With compassion, help or disgust? What if that outcast was your own parent? You’d never feel their arms around you, kiss your cheek or tuck you in at night.

Life certainly would take on a different perspective, wouldn’t it? Would you be kinder? What did Jesus do and what does that teach us?

What becomes most important in your life? How would you feel if you were suddenly isolated from your loved ones because of illness? What would be your first reaction? Would you shake your fist at God and blame Him? Would you pray, trust in God or turn from Him?  

The author, Max Reid is a talented writer who has taught children’s Bible Studies in his church for 18 years and it shows. Beautifully written, this book draws the reader in by presenting the gospel adapted for today’s generation. I urge you to purchase and use his books in your church or family’s devotional time!

 

Where Have All the Relationships Gone?

I came across a cute cartoon on Facebook which was created entirely of emoji’s and icons. (not this one, wasn’t sure if other had a copyright) It professed that after more than 3,00o years we’ve returned to speaking through modern day hieroglyphics. How true!

Real one-on-one communication today seems to be disintegrating as quickly as paper books. Twitter, Texting and Facebook have emerged as conversations without actual voices. A happy face icon is replacing actual laughter and a physical hug and in this extremely mobile modern world, even close friendships can dissolve quickly.

A study conducted by the University of North Carolina indicated that stress levels were lowered when participants hugged each other. Hugging releases chemical feel-good endorphins such as oxytocin, described as a hormone of love and the neurotransmitter, serotonin. This allows us emotionally to feel safe, secure and in trusted hands. No amount of x’s, o’s or happy face icons attached as an internet hug can replace a physical one!

God, time, communication and laughter in my opinion, is the glue that holds friendship together. Your spouse should also be your friend.

GOD is the Anchor. He instills a moral compass as well as the Golden Rule. There is no coincidence with God. He brought you together for a reason. Do you care? That which you treasure, you take care of. Protect each other’s feelings through a lifetime commitment of respect, courtesy and love.

LAUGHTER keeps a relationship young-at-heart. What seems like a crisis  in a relationship can often be a learning experience which over time is usually laughed about when relating that story to family and friends years later. Don’t sweat the small stuff, as the saying goes. In perspective, it’s all small stuff. Only what we do for our Lord matters.

TIME. In a strong, loving, balanced relationship, a couple should continually allocate more time together than apart. Never stop supporting, learning and growing together! God created us as complex creatures. It’s exciting to discover new interests that add to a couple’s extensive memory portfolio in marriage!

Communicate! Don’t let your relationships become complacent! Complacency leads to boredom. Sadly, many marriages are disposable in today’s throw-away society. How many times while counseling did I heard the phrase: “We used to talk for hours, but he doesn’t communicate with me anymore!” Wouldn’t most women prefer good communication from the heart than a gift from the store?

I can’t believe in life you can’t find something to talk about:  vacation plans, politics, sports, travel, world events, work, music, television shows, a joke you heard, a Bible study point of view . . . there’s literally a world of items to discuss!

We surround ourselves with such busyness and noise and yet more and more, as humans, we are so lonely. Then we reach for anything that temporarily satisfies, food, drugs, alcohol, shopping. We find ourselves in a void, falling further and further away from God’s love. Get back to the Word!

Surround yourself with godly people who encourage, build you up and believe you are worth speaking to. It takes commitment, patience and the Lord as the center of any relationship to ensure longevity. Reach out!

 “Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the LORD our God.”  (Jeremiah 42:6)

Find Healthy Support Thru A Redwood Forest Analogy

This has been my most viewed (and most “copied”) post in the past 5 years so I thought it bore repeating, especially this time of year:

If you’re attempting a  healthier lifestyle, you shouldn’t do it alone. Find someone to be your Champion – someone to hold you accountable, encourage, motivate and celebrate your victories with. A friend who will support you like a Redwood tree!

Have you ever driven through the magnificent Redwood National Forest in northern California?  As you gazed upon those majestic 350 foot tall trees towering above you, you probably thought as I did, Man, their roots must tunnel 50 ft. into the earth! 

Amazingly, that’s not the case. Their roots are only a few feet deep! So what’s to prevent them from toppling over and being destroyed, you ask, when diaster strikes? Surprisingly, support from fellow trees.

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;” (Psalm 96: 11,12)

As Christians we can learn valuable lessons from the Redwoods by copying their support system when trials occur in our lives.

1.  The tree’s root structure supports each other by interlocking their shallow roots with the other Redwoods surrounding them. When under duress, the older trees buttress each other by developing roots on the downward side of those under stress. The younger trees are bolstered up by the older ones, thus supporting the younger generation.

When we recognize someone struggling to become healthier in mind, body and spirit, do we encourage or hinder them? Do we strengthen them with Scripture or sabotage them with tempting treats or disparaging statements? Allow them to struggle on their own? Everyone needs some  “atta-boys” to keep them going along their pathways to health. Do we offer wise, practical strategies or defeatist advice?

2.  The charring of their bark actually makes them stronger!

When exposed to challenges like fire, they develop a protective shield.

Has God strengthened you through challenges? Many have gone through the worst that man can dish out; drug, mental or sexual abuse, abandonment, cancer or other health obstacles, but inwardly they’ve strong. They’re still standing!

3.  A fallen Redwood will ultimately branch out and grow. Still useful; its roots become other trees.

Never give up simply because you face obstacles. Overcoming adversity and temptation makes us stronger, wiser and more confident. Pass along those life skills to help others because God bestowed them on you for a reason.(Genesis 50:20)

Just as in life, some young trees won’t survive, but many will because of the support of older trees.  Proverbs 22:6. Young Redwoods are more vulnerable, just like young Christians.  Instill in them that growth is a valuable process.

4.  Surprisingly, the chemical composition of the bark is distasteful and even poisonous to termites and other pests! Develop ‘Bodily Armour of God’ so strong  that even the demons don’t dare to bother us!

5.  Which brings me to my last point.  The bark of the Redwood is a foot thick!  Fire and man are the Redwoods only natural enemies, similar to trials and worldly temptations for Christians. Strive to develop a thicker skin when criticized. Whether it’s about being too “thin,” too “heavy” or too “Christian,” the only one we need to impress is our Lord.  Stand fast. Never give in to peer pressure.

Everyone needs a support system.

“For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:10)

 

Sage Advice From a 100-Year-Young Friend

“Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”  (Job 12:12)

Everyone desires to live a productive and happy life. Few achieve it. My dear friend Judy exemplifies it!

Tomorrow marks her 100th birthday. Yes, she moves a little slower but her mind is still sharp. She resides in a lovely assisted living facility but never misses a Sunday service if she can. With so much energy, I can’t help but think she must have been somethin’ in her prime!

Now imagine all she has seen since 1917; how the world has transposed amidst industrial growth, space flights, world wars, technical advances and changes in society which have occurred over a century.

I interviewed her recently to unearth how she accomplished what so many seek but never find; peace and contentment.

Ellie: Judy, you are one of the most gracious people I know. I never hear you complain about aches, pains or grumble as so many older people do. What’s your secret to being so youthful?

Judy, without a moment’s hesitation deadpanned, “Good genes!” (A great sense of humor is also a wonderful age-resister: Proverbs 15:13.)

E: And that’s certainly part of it. You still look and act young-at-heart. But I also know you’ve gone through challenging times. What has given you such a positive outlook on life?

J:  (pausing) I guess my mother was the greatest influence in my life. When I was a teenager, she wouldn’t allow me to  complain when others had so little compared to us. She always told me to count my blessings.

E:  This was during the Great Depression?

J: Yes, we weren’t rich but we weren’t poor either. My mother was always sharing what we had with those less fortunate than us. Her generosity was a good example to follow.

“I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.”   (Psalm 37:25)

E:  So what was the most important piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

J: She taught me that if you don’t give – you won’t receive. Help others as best you can. Give from the heart but be genuine about it.

E: What’s your secret to aging gracefully? You certainly don’t act 100. I know they feed you well here.

J:  In here, one eats what they put in front of you. (smiling) Well . . . there’s always an activity to occupy our time if we want and I’m happy being here near friends. My mother told me there is always someone who is better off or has less than me so I try to live my best life. Until I see Jesus, this is the life I’m given and I am content.

E: Is that another of your many secrets? So many who live in Assisted Living Facilities miss their previous home and lifestyle, but I’ve never heard you complain.

J: I think I’ve never minded change. I’ve lived a long time and have seen this world change a great deal. Look at how technology has grown. I’m able to watch TV, talk on my cell phone and have friends drive me to church.

E: With that being said, what words of wisdom would you give today’s generation?

J: I’m sorry so many seem to have lost the Godly values my generation had and I’d like to see more kindness.  Young people used to stand aside to allow older people to enter a building. Few do today.

E:  You don’t seem to live in the past as so many do.

J:  I remember my past but I don’t live in it.

Judy epitomizes what being young-at-heart is all about. To be truly content one must be grateful for God’s blessings in one’s life, remain mentally and physically active while being surrounded by loving, supportive friends. Those are the keys to a Joyous Life.

She has truly exemplified Philippians 4:11, “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”

 

Live in the Moment? Really?

rosesThere is a popular expression which encourages us to “Live in the Moment.” At one time even I thought, sure sounds good. Live for today, live like you would die tomorrow! Then I saw what “living in the moment” actually is.

As I saw my mother slip further away in her mind, she began to live in the moment. At first it was the communication “loop.” She mentioned the same thought over and over again. Gradually she lost track of time. I heard repeatedly how she found a $5 bill on the ground just last week, even though I knew it was two years ago. Eventually over time she didn’t recognize her family and forgot any had called or visited previously. Once time passes, so do the memories.

My mother left a strong, independent legacy for me. If I complained she instructed me, “Now say two good things.” She’d never allow me to live in self-pity. If I complained about our material possessions, she’d mention that there were children without (food, shoes, homes) and be content with what we had. I learned to look for the bright side of any situation and took pro-active actions to encourage others because of her positive personality.

Memories have purpose!

Good or bad we never forget our childhood experiences until we suffer from dementia. How would we feel if we didn’t remember the faces of our childhood friends, family vacations, birthday parties or senior prom? That’s what living in the moment means. There is no past. Sure it might be great to cease to remember a painful break-up, failed test or a school humiliation. There have been times life when I simply wanted to crawl into a hole until the pain dissipated. Let time pass.

Is there anything good about bad memories?  Yes, because weren’t they turned into learning experiences? The trials allowed us to discern a faithful relationship, strive for more study discipline and overcome stressful situations. When we know better we do better. That’s only accomplished thru time and experience. God has a purpose for everything He does.

God gave us our memories for a reason. Memories mold, comfort, teach and encourage us. Memories are my most cherished treasure. We either learn from our mistakes and better ourselves or wallow in our misery, holding on to regrets and grudges. Why drag that baggage around for eternity?

God loves us just as we are but please strive to represent Him, building memories of excellence, for this world is NOT our home! Remember it is only what we do for our Lord that matters in life.

What would it feel like to wake up one morning and not remember your past? Not recognize your spouse, children, friends anymore? That’s what living in the moment really means. But your loved ones will remember you well after you are gone. What legacy of memories did you leave them? Leave Godly ones and they will meet you there!

 “For, All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.”  (1 Peter 1: 24,25)