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

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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Cranky, Grumpy

People of all ages can be cranky from babies to old people.

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We all get grumpy and there are times when being grumpy or cranky is understandable.  For example, an incompetent waiter, or an unusually long and unexpected wait at an appointment or restaurant.  Maybe it is the clerk who won’t stop chatting to the person in front of you while you are in line at the grocery store when you are in a hurry to get on with your day.  Hot flashes, car trouble, not talking to a real person on the telephone when I have a question or need help, and short green lights are a few things that are triggers to my “cranky side”.

Sometimes, if someone accuses you of being grumpy it can make you even grumpier!

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Even though there are many things that make can make you feel cranky, a lot of us are able to get over it and get on with our generally happier, more content selves.

But some people seem to be in a constant bad mood. Nothing seems to make them happy.  The slightest things can throw them into full grouch-mode. The thing is, they don’t get over it.

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Getting them to even smile is a monumental task!

I usually can’t tell when they are being funny because the typical cues such as a mischievous twinkle in their eye or the lips curling slightly into a grin just aren’t there.

Perhaps some of these folks were just born with this type of personality.

If it is an older adult maybe this is their way of saying/demonstrating they don’t like being old.  In their defense, I am beginning to see how frustrating and frightening it is to realize your body and mind are declining.  But still!!!!!

After personally knowing some cranky people, and encounters with grumpy strangers, I decided many years ago that I am NOT going to be one of them.

Sometimes, I admit, they can be entertaining.  But mostly, they are unpleasant to be around.

I wish I could tell them to just stop and listen to themselves.  What you say can have such a profound effect on others and it is all in the delivery. Our words are among the greatest tools we humans possess. Stop for a moment and simply think about the words you say and (the key point here is) then how you say them.

It takes such little effort to be both positive and sincere.  If these cranky grumps could only realize that by making others happy and being pleasant to be around, their own happiness could greatly improve.  And (hopefully) in the process, become less cranky!!

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You’ve had the power all along, my dear” Glinda,the good witch (The Wizard of Oz)

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are.”  J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

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.

Summer Blessing

“Good Morning Mimi” “Good Morning Chunks”

Precious words uttered with a smile by my 5 year old grandson every morning as he walked down the stairs and planted a sweet kiss on his baby sister’s adorable cheeks. Oh how I miss hearing his sweet voice each morning!

A new granddaughter joined our family a few months ago and I am so in love!
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I had the unique opportunity to spend most of the summer with my daughter and her family.  The experience of having a peek in to their day to day lives and forming a closer bond was such a blessing.

The energy level of five children in the home is constant. Daily swim practice, bed time stories read aloud, the glorious sound of children’s laughter, out door play, board games, and snuggles on the couch was paradise! We even enjoyed s’mores around the fire pit one evening in spite of the heat! I treasured every moment.

As Lois Wyse wrote, “If I had known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, I’d have had them first.”

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A Southern Jewel

I am talking about Amelia Island.

We were in search of a weekend getaway before I start back to school. After finding a nice little place to stay on short notice and considering we had never been here before it seemed like a good choice.

Yes, it was plenty hot, but we sought refuge either poolside or in the cool shade provided by the beautiful oak trees that surrounded our property.  A good beach book and a cool drink was all we needed during the hottest part of the day.

We also enjoyed exploring the island during the day and saw The Ritz Carlton and the Omni Plantation have beautiful locations on this small island.  There appears to be five golf courses as well.  Amelia Island is only 13 miles long and 4 miles wide.

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Most of the streets, on the part of the island where we stayed, were shaded and cooled by majestic oak trees.

 

      Morning walks on the beach along the Atlantic Ocean was a wonderful way to start our day!

We spent two of our three evenings in the charming and very walkable downtown area of Fernandina Beach. We browsed in unique upscale shops, dined on delicious seafood and was treated to live music each evening at the Green Turtle Tavern.

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On Saturday morning we wandered through a local farmer’s market.  The atmosphere was pleasant as the crowd mingled to the eclectic sounds of a guitar player. A local resident would often steal the show as he played bluesy tunes on his harmonica. Vendors proudly displayed fresh baked goods, homemade jewelry, lots of fresh vegetables, homemade jelly and marinades, gorgeous fresh flowers, and other whimsical items to highlight a few of the booths here.

 

We could not resist this lovely plant and carefully brought it home with us in the car! It survived the long car ride home and now our fingers are crossed it will continue to thrive in our soil.

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The lack of crowds and traffic usually found in beach destinations this time of year was a huge hit for us.  We enjoyed our time in this lovely area of the south and so glad we visited!