Life Songs

My reply would be that I still think they are wonderful,” stated Irving Berlin in regards to the many songs he had written that didn’t become hits.

You may recall Berlin composed songs such as God Bless America, Blue Skies, I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm, and White Christmas. An article in 2001 Time magazine stated he wrote over 1,000 songs with 25 reaching the number one spot on the pop charts throughout his career.

His comment got me to thinking and I realize that every day I am composing my own “life” songs.

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Over the years, I have noticed when I try to compose the melody or write the lyric all by myself the result often sounds like a bunch of noise.  No matter how many attempts, or the amount of time and tears I invest in a composition, the song is, well, inferior.

It is only when I allow my Heavenly Father, with His skillful hands and ears, to help me that I begin to notice how rhythmic and harmonious the sounds become.

Like music that becomes beautiful in the hands of a master, so do our lives in the hands of our Heavenly Father.  When the Lord composes our lives, then our lives will become a beautiful song, melodious to the people who hear it, including God Himself.

Although our “life” songs may not always reach the #1 top tune, even among those who love us the most, it is important to remember that God loves the entire collection of our “life” songs.  From the top hits to the ones that did not make anyone’s playlist, I’m betting He “still thinks they are wonderful.”

If Irving Berlin felt that way about his songs, imagine how our Heavenly Father must feel about us ~ the “songs” He created.

Jeremiah 31:3: “…I have loved you with an everlasting love,”

Getting Older ~ Getting Better

My birthday is coming up in a few weeks!

Turning sixty almost two years ago was difficult for me. As I reflect on the time that has past since that milestone birthday, I am ashamed I had such a concern. It feels good to realize I am definitely more accepting and appreciative of the “gift of time” my Heavenly Father has allowed. My daily prayer is that I treasure each and every day I am given.

I found the following passage and it almost perfectly reflects both where I am headed as well as hits a few points I have already reached in my life.  (In spite of much searching, I cannot find the author.)

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    “Old Age, I decided, is a gift.

     The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, he was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let him know. 

     I have decided I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body – the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror, but I don’t agonize over those things for long.

     I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I’ve aged, I’ve become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so avant-garde on my patio. I am entitled to overeat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

     Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 am, and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of my youth, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love. I will.

     I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the bikini set. They, too, will get old!

     I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten, and I eventually remember the important things.

     Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when a beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

     I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. I can say ‘no’, and mean it. I can say ‘yes’, and mean it.

     As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.

     So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day.”  – Author Unknown

Unexpected

“This car is only going one place, and that is to the emergency room,” my best friend firmly stated as she took charge behind the wheel of my car.

It was a gloriously beautiful morning as my BFF and I drove happily down the freeway toward our shopping and lunch excursion.  We had been planning for weeks to spend the day wandering in and out of little shops in the square of a nearby town and to eat lunch at a place we had been wanting to try for months.

We had only been on the road for less than 30 minutes when rather suddenly I told BFF I had to pull off the road right away because I was feeling very strange.  As I drove off the exit, I felt like I might pass out, I was beginning to sweat, my pulse was racing, and I felt a little sick to my stomach (I think was due to my surprise at what was happening to me).  As I drank from my water bottle I noticed my hands were shaking, and I just did not feel right.  It was so strange because it hit me all of a sudden, no warning, nothing!!

I got out of the car and walked around for a few minutes, and even though some of the symptoms were beginning to subside, I still did not feel just right.  Our local hospital was not far away so we decided I should go get checked.  The staff immediately took charge  and began to treat me as if I was having a heart attack.  BFF called my husband and waited in the room with me until he arrived while the ER staff was in and out conducting various tests.

Fortunately (long story short) there was no evidence of a heart attack, my blood work was excellent, EKG results were good, my blood pressure was great, and other vital tests proved negative.  I felt so foolish to have caused such a stir.  Everyone, from my BFF to the doctor, did their best to reassure me I had, without a doubt, done the right thing.

After the doctor went over the results, I asked if I might have diabetes which may have caused a drop in my blood sugar?  The doctor reassured me I did not have diabetes.

I am not on any prescribed medications, limit my caffeine, and don’t use drugs.

Did I have had a panic/anxiety attack?  There is some stress in my life, but don’t we all have some stress?

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What in the world triggered this reaction in my body?

Maybe it was divine intervention that put the kibosh on our little excursion protecting us from a much worse fate?

Maybe it was another wakeup call?  A reminder that life is precious and short.

Whatever it was I am truly thankful for a proactive BFF, a supportive husband, a caring ER staff and a loving Heavenly Father.

 

Savoring the Last Weekends of Summer

biAlthough I am ready for a change in temperatures I will truly miss the days of summer.  In spite of my complaints about how hot it gets, the mosquitoes, flies, and the endless humidity, I feel so blessed that I have been able to experience another summer.

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Summer is full of activity. Eating outside at restaurants sharing chips, cheese dip and margaritas with friends is a favorite.

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Nothing says summer like an afternoon baseball game at a new ball park stadium…

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Relaxing poolside, toenails painted in fun colors, grilling out…

 

Spending the day on a nearby lake with good friends on their boat was a generous and relaxing way to enjoy the end of this summer.

Evening dinners and early morning breakfast on the patio…

 

The charcoal smell in the air, potato salad, corn on the cob, fresh fruit (especially sugar kiss cantaloupe), lighting bugs flickering in the dark, watching fireworks, picnics, star-gazing while sitting on the drive way on a moonless night and spending time with grandchildren are times to be treasured!

 

As Chaucer said, “All good things must come to an end.”  The plants that were once so vibrant, welcoming, and full of color are now tired and overgrown.

 

Saying goodbye to summer is actually easy, because my absolute favorite time of the year is almost here ~ Fall!!!

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Savoring an unexpected day off…

means, we can stay up a little later the night before and watch a movie on Netflix!

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We have to wake up so early on weekday mornings to go to work, that staying up past 9:00 makes it extra hard to get out of our comfortable bed the next morning. So having the opportunity to stay up later on a Sunday night is a treat!

I decided to make a new recipe I recently ran across for my breakfast this morning. I usually try to eat healthy, but when I find a recipe like this I just have to try it and I am so glad I did!  It is a yummy, delicious, get your taste buds ready for fall treat that compliments a warm drink!IMG_4483Yes, I am having cake for breakfast, but it is OH SO GOOD!!!

Here is the link if you want to try it too:      Chai Spiced Pound Cake

My Hands

My hands are not perfect. They are beginning to get age spots and creases along the knuckles.

But as I look at my hands, I recall the many wonderful moments with my children they have experienced.

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My fingers gently stroked their soft cheeks and held them close to my heart the very first moment we met.

My hands wiped their tears, tucked in blankets, and made lunches.

They held kite strings, picked up countless Lego’s, and sewed on scout patches.

These hands held on tightly while crossing the street or offering comfort.

They clapped with joy at first steps, school performances, little league games and academic achievements ~ both large and small.

They combed and braided hair, folded laundry, and buttoned shirts.

They have touched shoulders, waved in greeting, and pushed in playful gestures.

These hands waved goodbye as each one of my children left to find their way in this world and softly wiped the tears off my own face as I smiled.

They fold in prayer daily.

My hands are an extension of my heart.

“For all the things my hands have held the best by far is you” 

Andrew McMahon, Lyrics from Cecilia and the Satellite, July 2014.

Regret?

It is one thing to regret something you did or something you said that you probably shouldn’t have.

But what about something you should have done ~ but didn’t?

I am not referring to the failed opportunities you were given when you could not quite hit the mark.

Or the countless times you heard “No”.

At least you put yourself out there and in the end, it just might have made you a stronger, better person. No need to feel regret in these circumstances.

I am referring to the opportunity you did not take, or a relationship you did not nurture, or not realizing just how beautiful you really are.

One of my regrets is an opportunity I did not take.

I wish I had told my parents how much I appreciated them.  I wish I could have said thank you for the great life they gave me.

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My parents when they were courting!

Towards the end of my parents’ lives, I began to think about the things I longed to say to them. For example, how much I appreciated their encouragement and support with decisions I made from deciding to get bangs cut when I was a preteen to raising my children as a young mother.

Their strong faith, deep love for each other, and a shared sense of humor filled me with admiration. I wish they had known how proud I was to introduce them to my friends!

I fondly recall many moments of joyous teasing, conversations around the dinner table, and listening to my dad telling jokes. Everyone loved them and was drawn to their gentle and humble natures.

One day, a few years before they died, I decided I would go over to their house and let my heart talk.  But as I sat there I found myself getting “choked up” just “thinking” about the words I wanted to say.

I knew my voice would crack with emotion and the tears would stream down my face as I struggled to get the words out.  I was worried it would upset them to see me cry.  Would they interrupt me and say they did what they did because they loved me, and my thanks was not necessary forcing me to stop before I was finished? If I actually could speak clearly, would I remember every single thing I wanted to say?

Unfortunately, I concerned myself with these obstacles for so long that I ran out of time.

I know how much they would have appreciated those words of love and thanks.  What parent wouldn’t?

I did get the opportunity to say a few things to my mom as she lay dying, but I am not sure if she even heard or understood. I would like to think she did.

I know they knew I loved them.  We said those words often to each other.

I just hope they knew how very much.

Now my question is, who else do I long to say the words I keep in my heart?  There are quite a few and I intend to get started.

“I didn’t get to tell him all the things I had to say…..
I just wish I could have told him in the living years”   – Songwriters: B.A. Robertson / Mike Rutherford (gb)  Mike & the Mechanics, 1988