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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.”

 

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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)

 

 

 

A Tribute to a Remarkable Woman: My Mom

My mother went to be with the Lord last Saturday. She will be greatly missed but never forgotten. Having  a kind heart, she thought of others before herself. Even in death she donated her body to science. As a remarkable woman, she taught her children the value of many things, not the least among them were courage, resolve and integrity.1949 ~ Mom about age 20

When I was seven, our family went to the fair. I walked alone with my brother and watched as he played carnival games. The attendant wondered why I wasn’t playing. “I have no money,” I said but promised to come back. As we approached mom and dad, I told them what I had vowed. My father was furious because we were dirt poor farmers and even a quarter was a lot of money. But my mom knew I had given my word. “A person’s word is their bond,” she protested. So we promptly went back, I gave the man a quarter and quickly lost it on a stupid game. But the lesson I learned stayed with me. She taught me integrity. When one says they’re going to do something, follow through.

In life, she overcame many personal challenges. She was born in Brooklyn, NY, yet never saw the top of the Empire State Building. She had a fear of heights. That fear was rectified when she earned her pilot’s license. In 1976 she viewed that top of the Empire State Building as she piloted her grandchildren and me to JFK to reconnect  with my husband in Germany. “Can’t means won’t try!” still resounds in my memory!

My mom grew up as the daughter and granddaughter of ministers dating back to Jonathan Edwards. But when she married, she converted to my father’s religion. That violent, abusive man wouldn’t know love/charity if it bit him. She stayed for us but when I was 13 he deserted the family. It was the only good gift he ever gave. Mom was never a quitter. Adjusting to her circumstances, she taught us to make the best of ours. My brother and two sisters are all successful because of this determined, faithful, Godly mother.

Our mother worked three jobs to keep us together and off welfare. I resented that at the time; feeling abandoned once again. I didn’t know until much later why she did it; she and her siblings were separated after her father died. Families stayed together! With determination and a knack for turning challenges into opportunities, three jobs became one when she eventually became a Broker/Realtor and practically owned that small town. She patiently took challenges one step at a time.

When asked why God allows such horrible events to happen to the innocent, it concerns me. Why not us? God didn’t even spare His own Son. Jesus endured pain, betrayal, heartache and everything we experience on Earth to be a Savior for us. If our father hadn’t abandoned us, mom wouldn’t have come back to her Christian roots and we wouldn’t have been saved. Lastly, we can either endure/overcome trials, crumble or develop a sense of humor. (Boy could our mom tell a joke! In fact she wore an Energizer Bunny costume for a variety show.) I prefer humor.

My mother is at peace now after facing one challenge she couldn’t conquer, dementia. But I rejoice that she is having the best reunion with the saints in Heaven! And when I see her again, it’ll be as the young beautiful spirit she once was. God is Good.

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”  (Proverbs 31:25)

My Book Launch: “Casey’s Journey”

Casey's Story Cover photo for CanvaEvery author who devotes their entire heart and soul to writing realizes how exciting it is to see a finished work come to life. For me writing will always be a labor of love. Therefore I am pleased to announce that my sequel to Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime, entitled Casey’s Journey, has debuted.

Isn’t writing a novel similar to birthing a child? At first you’re excited about the prospect, happily announcing it to relatives and friends, then a little nervous wondering if you’ll even be good at parenting (or in this case, writing.)

As you discover your characters coming to life amidst an emerging plot, you can’t wait to see what the finished project will look like! But along the way, perhaps constantly editing, you’re wondering why you ever thought it’d be a good idea and simply want it over with! Did I really think I’d be the next Harper Lee, Sidney Sheldon or Jodi Picoult? (Come on, I’m sure all writers felt the same at one point.)

Casey’s Journey is classified as Women’s Fiction, Christian Fiction, YA and is a perfect beach read! It’s a coming of age, nostalgic story, partly based in Europe, mostly based in the low country of the Carolinas. As in the first novel, this one has a built-in sequel, so while reading, look for hidden clues. I hope you’ll enjoy and publicize it. I’d love to hear from you if you do.  In appreciation, Ellie

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Why does God allow bad things to happen to the innocent? The second novel in the Katherine LeVay series, follows not only Katherine’s life after the death of her philandering husband, but answers the question as to what happened to her abducted child.

When Richard and Katherine LeVay Madison’s five-year-old daughter is kidnapped in New York City on a family outing, we discover that even the evil events in our life can be molded into beauty if God is the Potter.

Katherine’s resentment toward her husband’s indiscretion is but one of several events which ultimately leads to the downfall of her marriage. Years of living with the hopelessness that her daughter will never be found, Katherine leaves the States for a new life in picturesque Sorrento, Italy. But even her flourishing Bed & Breakfast set in a renovated Renaissance Inn won’t quell her heartache and longing to discover what really happened to her beloved daughter.

Casey is told her parents, aunt and uncle are dead and she must remain at the “orphanage” until someone adopts her. A year and a half later the child feels unloved, unwanted and rebellious. There is one couple however who sees the child’s potential and brings her into their gypsy military lifestyle. As we follow Casey’s journey through the twists and turns of life into adulthood, she sees how those who now love and protect her format her thoughts and dreams for a more promising future.

Stationed in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, golf comes calling and Casey exhibits many of her birth parents athletic characteristics. She discovers a talent and a competitive atmosphere she thrives in. That is until a family tragedy occurs, challenging her beliefs and enticing her into a scandalous situation. If it’s true that tribulation builds character, then Casey has an abundance of it.

Throughout the novel we question which shapes us more, our heritage or environment? Will Casey discover the truth regarding her past and is it possible that God meant all these tribulations for good?

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Now available on Amazon Kindle:

Casey’s Journey available for $2.99

Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime reduced to 99 cents.

 

Book Tour Through Blogland

tour-through-blogland[1]Congratulations to Mary A. Perez on the release of her new novel, Running in Heels, debuting  February 23rd!

Running in Heels is her personalized coming-of-age story of a Puerto Rican girl seeking love and security. Living with her difficult mother, then married to an abusive man twice her age, she overcomes insurmountable obstacles as faith and hope never fail! It’s an intriguing premise and I urge you to check it out at  http://maryaperez.com/

It is my honor and I thank Mary, for asking me to participate in her Tour Through Blogland.

Describing My Creative Process:

1.  What are you currently working on/writing?

My current book, “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese” (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us) has recently been released and I am now in the midst of publicizing it. It provides light-hearted yet convicting insight regarding our mental, physical and spiritual connection to food. Physiology: Why do I crave certain foods and why willpower alone won’t overcome it. Practical Application: God does not want us to suffer through some crazy diet plan. That’s why He placed Adam in a Garden; every nutrient we need to sustain life can be found there! Nevertheless, humans needlessly create their own crazy formulas which only destroy while Satan laughs. Spirituality: Why, when we know we want to follow God’s Will, do we self-destruct anyway? 9781478731818_cov.ai

2.  How is what you write different from others of the same genre?

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .” is not another diet book. It’s a Biblical philosophy meant to motivate and generate godly action. Using personal education through practical Biblical applications, one discovers how the past and present influences our response to food today.

3.  Why do you write what you do?

My main purpose is to motivate others to be the best example of a disciplined Christian. That is my ministry. We are commanded by God to “Be holy because I am Holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) but many fail to do so.

As a certified nutritional counselor, I realize almost every “dieter” knows what to do but doesn’t. James 2:19 states that even the demons believe in God, but fail to do what He says. Head knowledge without heart knowledge is dead. Real change occurs from within. “As a man thinketh within himself, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7) How can our mind, body and spirit control our beliefs? Through sensible solutions, the reader discovers how.

4.  What is your creative process?

I find creativity everywhere! There is a correlation between nutrition and spirituality all around us. I find inspiration not only in the Bible but as I walk my dog, drive, listen to sermons and what I read. My only challenge is remembering to transfer these to paper before they are lost in the vapors of my mind. When the muse hits however, I can write for eight hours nonstop. When one loves what they do, it’s a joy! Find yours!

Thank you again Mary, for inviting me along for the journey!

The rules regarding this project are easy:

  • Pass the tour on to another blogger (up to 4 others.)
  • Give them the rules and a specific Monday to post. (March 9th or 16th)
  • Answer those 4 questions about your creative process. (Allowing other bloggers and visitors to know what inspires you.)

Now, as Mary showcased me on her Tour, I have the pleasure of introducing you to another fantastic writer, who has also become a dear friend.  She has is one of my favorite authors, Carol Balawyder!

 

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Carol Balawyder has a wonderful talent for composing and defining distinct characters with whom all women can relate. She does this in her newest endeavor: Getting to Mr. Right. Each character is so richly written that you wonder if any could be your neighbor, co-worker, relative or friend? The novel emphasizes how important trust and support among women really is! Since you’ll find her protagonists gettingtomrright_kindle_small15[1]in her other novels as well,  reading her prequel is like revisiting dear friends from the past.

artistic-rendering-2[1]Carol herself, has certainly led a diverse, Walter Mitty lifestyle. Whether it was educating challenging kindergarteners, teaching poetry or English as a second language, researching at the British Museum, pursuing Applied Linguistics at Concordia University in Montreal or writing English as a Second Language manuals or freelance writing, this lady has done it all!  No wonder she writes so well; she has so many life experiences to choose from! It also confirms why her characters are so well-rounded.

Please check out Carol’s blog for yourself at http://carolbalawyder.com/   Her books are available on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

Please feel free to choose one of these pretty Tour Through Blogland Photos!

Tour Through Blogland 2 tourthroughblogland   blogland

 

 

 

 

 


Thank you for “One Lovely Blog Award”

one-lovely-blog-award[1]

This post is long overdue. It arrived the day before we left Arizona and I promised to pass it along as soon as I could, so thank you Heather for your patience. Now that we have the internet installed in our new home. I hope to get back to writing regularly.

So thank you Heather for thinking of me. What a sweet surprise and such a lovely award. I am always humbled when someone believes my work is worthy of recognition.  You can check out Heather’s blog at   http://heatherbergdahl.com  or http://survivemedschool.blogspot.com/.  Currently she is a hard working student and amazingly versatile!  Who knew this beautiful young lady, who looks like a fashion model, works on automobiles with the same surgical procedures as she does attending medical school? (I hope she’s one the “Versatile Blogging Award” as well!)

Here are the rules for accepting this award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
  • Share 7 facts/or things about yourself
  • Nominate  (up to if you’re new to blogging) 15 bloggers you admire and inform the nominees by commenting on their blog.

So 7 things people might not know about me:

  1. I recently moved from Arizona to Ohio  (Whither thou goest) to join my husband at his pastor position of a small, loving congregation.
  2. Some of my blogging friends have become as close as family!
  3. I have had a recent book published entitled, “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .”  a perfect Christmas gift! Great for women’s Bible studies too!
  4. I participated in theater when I was younger and was a children’s theater director for a couple of years.
  5. I have been a military wife, golf pro’s wife and now a pastor’s wife all wrapped around one guy.
  6. I was once overweight but keep healthy and control my weight through the discipline of loving God more than chocolate or processed foods.
  7. Been to 49 states and I’m happy to say that Ohio has some of the friendliest residents in the US!

Now to nominate up to 15 bloggers deserving of this award. All of these are truly lovely and worth discovering:

  1. http://confusingtheenemy.wordpress.com/
  2. http://captivedreamswindow.wordpress.com/
  3. http://imconfident.wordpress.com/
  4. http://kindnessblog.com/
  5. http://energywriter.me/
  6. http://jodythomae.com/
  7. http://godthang.wordpress.com/
  8. http://speaktruthinlove1.wordpress.com/
  9. http://fromtrextotigress.com/
  10. http://thisbeautifullyimperfectlife.com/
  11. http://intentionaloverflow.wordpress.com/
  12. https://ashleypaigesmith25.wordpress.com/
  13. http://nothappeninonmywatch.wordpress.com/
  14. http://kimgosselinblog.com/
  15. https://brake5.wordpress.com/

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

 

So A Funny Thing Happened On Our Way to Florida . . .

So Goodbye Arizona:

At our age, it seemed no one wanted an enthusiastic but older couple who simply wanted to follow God’s leading into ministry. With 27 years of schooling, a Seminary Master’s degree and two photo of Dave and Ellie 2Doctorate’s, who wouldn’t want my husband as a teaching pastor?  However, sending out resumes and receiving countless rejection letters became discouraging. News Flash: If you’re on a search committee, please don’t send a rejection letter stating you’ve decided to go in a “different direction.”  As Christians, Dave and I are going in the right direction, where is your church going???

So we then contemplated moving to The Villages in Florida, complacent to teaching adult Sunday School.  You know . . .  somewhere, hot , sunny and warm. Nearer our children.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression,  “Man plans . . .  God laughs?”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Out of the blue,” we received a call. A small town church in Ohio was looking for a compassionate pastor who would take the helm and grow their church.  After much prayer, many conference calls and a personal visit, we fell in love with the warmth of the congregation, (which more than substituted for the warmth of Florida.)

Arizona is a snow bird location but sadly the economy here hasn’t risen as other areas have. Everyone told us the prospect of selling our home quickly was remote, usually taking an average of eight months to sell. However we had a secret weapon: the Will of God! Faith believes that if God wants a mountain to move, it will move.

“There is no coincidence with God.” 

I’m hardly ever out in my front yard (everyone lives in their gravel-based backyards in Arizona)  but 7:30 that morning I was out sweeping off my walkway, preparing for a large realtor tour in a couple of hours. A man coincidentally drives up to our sign out front and picks up a flyer. He glances over at me and asks enthusiastically if I am the owner? When I confirmed I was, he wondered why his realtor hadn’t shown him this beauty before? Of course I joked it was even prettier inside.

His name was Bob from New Jersey. He was on a mission, here for only three days, searching for a home for his wife and him in a warmer climate. Would it be possible on short notice to view our home? He came by with his realtor immediately after the tour and within three hours we accepted his cash offer. He generously offered to purchase some of our furniture which he didn’t know, I had been praying to sell anyway.

Another coincidence was, that very morning at 6am, (9am Ohio time) we had been notified that our offer on the home we desired in Ohio had been accepted!  And the street name of the new home?  It happened to be my sister’s name who lived 75 miles away.  Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

So goodbye my beloved Arizona, goodbye cowboy hat and hello new adventure as we follow God’s chosen pathway for us. I want to  especially thank Pastor Sebastian Weaver,  Pastor Joe Quatrone and Storyad for their continuing, encouraging prayers for God’s Will to be done in our lives and the acceptance of whatever that might be!

 “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”  (Ruth 1:16)