My Dear Child…

Years ago, I came across a poem that I wanted to keep, as it expressed so many things about aging that have helped me as I deal with my father. I don’t know where I saw it, or how long I have had it. I only know that it has been in a file on my desk for years. This morning as I went through my desk stack, I found it again and thought that I should share it. So, here it is.

The original text was in Spanish by Guillermo Peña. It was translated to English by Sergio Cadena.

My dear child. The day you see I am getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say, “You said the same thing a minute ago.” Just listen, please. Try to remember the times you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.

When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and please don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a child.

When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way… remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things, like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day… the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I am going through.

If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing is for me to be with you.

And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand, the same way I offered you mine when you were first walked. When those days come, don’t feel sad… just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you… my darling daughter, my handsome son, my beloved grandchildren.

I hope this touches your heart, as much as it did mine.


Busy times…

Over the past month, we have committed to hosting a wedding in August, a Bar Mitzvah in September, a wedding in October, and a ten year anniversary wedding reception in our barn.

I babysat a friend’s three kids for a few days, during which I got very little done besides cooking and keeping the house somewhat clean. I dealt with a sprinkler station that had a major leak due to voles (underground field mice) eating holes in the plastic piping, leaking backflow assemblies, a rabbit in the garden, a squirrel on our patio, bored tween/teen grandkids, the family dynamics between my son and his ex-wife.

I have had to start files for all the events we are hosting, and figure out how to shore up a weak pergola for the wedding. Tomorrow I have to get the wood for that project and get it stained for the workers who arrive on the 18th. Hopefully it is ready to use by the 24th, when we are hosting an outdoor bridal shower.

I have flowers to plant. A garden fence to finish putting up, raised beds to move into the garden space, and an irrigation system to design and install.

My freeze dryer gave me a vacuum pump error message, so I spent part of today going through their troubleshooting process. After I think I got it working again, I installed a software update. We’ll see how it works tomorrow when I put a batch in.

My honey needs a ride to his specialty chiropractor and hour away, and somewhere along the way, I would like to spend a few minutes making some 3 dimensional flowers for the wall in my office. We have 10’ ceilings, which make rooms look bigger, but can also lead to a lot of bare spaces.

The list is never ending. What doesn’t get done today, will be forwarded to tomorrow’s to do list. Someday, maybe I’ll finish. Probably not, but, hey, hope is good for the soul! I have to Lear. To carve out time for fun things, for building relationships with other women, with my grands, with my Creator. May today be one step closer in your life to finding Balance.


Wednesday was not what I had planned. That can be good, bad or both depending on how I chose to look at it.

Each day for me starts out pretty much the same. Wake up, get dressed, do my morning chores. Morning chores consist of filling everyone’s water containers for the day. Without them pre-measured, none of us drinks enough water. two protein smoothies are made, one for me, one for my dad. Two bowls of quick oats are prepped, one for me, one for my honey. Pecans, craisens and freeze dried blueberries for me, fresh banana slices and maple syrup for my honey. I take a few minutes to fling a rope toy for the cats also. After I finally sit down to eat and read thyroid comics, I head out to the shop to put the seedlings out into the sun for the day to begin to harden them before planting. This week I have had the added task of distributing two homeopathic remedies to my father throughout the days to help him recover from a foot injury, and making the daily pilgrimage to the mailbox to get our newspaper.

Around 8:00am I checked my phone for new messages. I missed the 3:00am text asking for prayer for our six month old granddaughter who was just taken to the emergency room due to problems breathing and a seal bark cough. Croup runs in the family. I was hospitalized as a toddler with it, my son had it and now his daughter has it. It is scary, but usually short lived, maybe a week. The second text said that my son would be staying home with her and teaching virtually, since mom had just started a new job and was home sick with a fever the day before.

The first call came in around 11:30 from mom, asking if I head heard from her honey (our son). They were going to need help with the older kids that day. They would need someone to pick them up from school. They were also trying to figure out how to get dad and grandson to baseball practice without sick baby. I offered to stay and watch her until mom got home. And just because this is what family does, I also offered to drive our teen granddaughter to youth group after mom got home so she could unwind from work.

As I got off the phone with her, a text from my son binged asking me to call. I did and explained the plan. He was grateful. I asked all the cursory questions, including “is there anything you need?”. A few minutes after saying goodbye, he called back and asked if I could pickup some purified, filtered water for formula as he was running out of moms milk that she had pumped. Of course I could. I ran and picked that and a few dinner ingredients up then delivered it to him. I headed home for lunch, then did two small tasks that were on my long to do list. I then headed to the school to get kids.

Here’s where it got crazy. I took the kids to Subway to get sandwiches at 4:00. The boys would leave before dinner and not get home until eight-ish. The mom in me said they should have something to eat. Mom might be tired and prefer not to cook. The older granddaughter would be fed at youth group. As we pulled out of the parking lot, our daughter and grandsons (5 & 2) from overseas called. I had the kids answer and talk to their aunt and cousins while I drove. We arrived at their house at 4:25. The grandson and dad both went to get ready for baseball and eat the rut sandwiches. I picked up the baby who was a little hoarse, but seems happy. Within moment she projecto-vomited all over me, herself, the couch, and a pile of baby blankets. My older granddaughter put things into the washing machine while I removed my sweatshirt and changed the baby’s clothes. The boys left, the granddaughter diligently went into her room to work on homework, and I ended up walking around outside with baby to keep her happy until mom arrived at 5:30. I left at 5:45 and drove the girl to youth group, thoroughly enjoying the one on one time with her for twenty minutes. Then it was home to fix dinner for the three of us and to get the house ready for my first day of babysitting the baby. Every Thursday will be my day to have her. We are trying to help them cut down on the cost of daycare.

After getting my morning chores done that night, and getting my evening chores (scoop both litter boxes) done, I brushed my teeth, got into some flannel pajamas and settled onto the loveseat with my honey. Waldorf, our big, grey Tomcat settled into my lap, while Statler the black tom settled into the chair to my right. We watched two episodes of Fixer Upper sans commercials before I started to drift off.

My plans for the day were in shambles, my to do list largely untouched. But, I consider it a good thing. I need to learn to go with the flow of life, and not get frustrated when my schedule is disrupted. I want to be flexible as i age and not get my patterns etched into stone. I don’t want to drive myself, or my family, crazy.

I hope today, in the midst of whatever chaos may come your way, that you can let go of the frustration of disruption, and enjoy the flow of a different current. See the value of time invested in people. And reap the rewards in your heart.

Uncensored thoughts…

Warning: this has been a hard week for me, and my human-ness is showing today. I am not going to be politically correct or sensitive with what I write. These are raw emotions. Beware.

I hate that my daughter and her family live across the planet from us. She is so good at keeping in touch, letting us chat with the grands, sending pictures and videos. It just isn’t the same as in person. I am having a bit of a pity party this week. I am glad they are happy, but jealous of his family getting to go on an apple picking outing with them, getting to watch the kids when she works. Sad our son and his family don’t get to do things together with them and their cousins. Stinky Japan has stolen two members of my family now. My brother first, now my daughter and her family. The situation really is a no win, because if they live there, we lose, if they live here, his family loses, if they live someplace else, everyone loses.

My son ruined me. More truthfully, the book 1984 he recommended I read ruined me. I was only able to read the first several chapters, but I can no longer watch the news, as it has become increasingly obvious to me that it is all propaganda. Words fed to the faces we see to believe what “they”, whoever “they” are want us to believe. I am tired of the conspiracy theories, tired of everyone being so worked up about masks and politics, of the media censorship, tired of the biased reporting. Just tell us what happened, not what you think of it, or worse, how we should think about it.

I am tired of the stress I feel when I go out in public without a mask. I admit, I am not a mask wearer. That shouldn’t be a problem. I would never think of saying anything to people who wear masks about their decision, but some mask wearers (not all) sure will say something to you about not wearing one. The smile of a stranger can make my day if I have been having a hard one. And I want to be that blessing to others also. Please don’t comment about this. For every pro-mask fact based article out there, there is an equal amount of anti-mask fact based articles. I should be allowed to think for myself and make my own decisions, even if they disagree with what “they”, again, whoever they are, want you to believe. Maybe I should become a hermit and never leave my home again.

I am tired of having to be dressed every morning to work in a cold shop, doing construction related stuff, with men other than my husband or son or grandson. I want to dress like a woman again, wear my wedding ring again, clean my own house instead of having someone else do it once a month. Have time to bake bread again.

It grieves me that I am so angry about things right now. That I am complaining, when I woke up today in a warm bed, to a bowl of oatmeal, with a husband who loves me.

Update: the previous thoughts were written two weeks ago, but not published. The evening I wrote them, Yahuwah God convicted me, that I cannot be angry with a country, that I was actually angry with my brother and daughter for leaving me and destroying the expectations/hopes I had had for our relationships. I had been hurt (not their faults, my interpretation of the situations), and gotten angry and needed to forgive. My Heavenly Father says that if I cannot forgive others, he will not forgive me. Matthew 6:15. Many of the women in my family who have gone before me, died with bitter hearts. I have battled bitterness before. I do not want that for myself. I have had to ask my heavenly father’s forgiveness for my anger and bitterness, and repent. Repent means to turn away from what is wrong and towards what is right. Right is letting go of the hurt and anger, and enjoying the relationships I do have with them, even if that looks different from my expectations. If the anger starts to creep in again, I will force it out of my brain with thankfulness, until it can no longer find a home in me. My attitude must be adjusted. I must control my thoughts, not allow them to control me.

I did not “lose” anything. Things just didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to. I am glad my daughter is happy. I am thankful for FaceTime (which didn’t exist when my brother was in Japan for 20 years). I am thankful that our daughter loves us and wants to keep in touch with us. I will pray for God’s best for her family, and I will look forward to the next time we are able to see each other in person and will cherish those moments. I will love my brother, even though I don’t really know him, and be thankful for any visits I may get with him in this lifetime.

Still learning…

A couple weeks ago, some friends of ours asked if we wanted to double date with them and attend a one night marriage conference. It promised to be hilarious, and helpful. I was hesitant to ask my honey if he would go, knowing that he was teaching the next day at church and he usually likes that night before to soak in his studies. I asked, he agreed. I was thankful. I learned at the convention, that he was making an “emotional connection” with me with that decision to do something with his wife, even though he may have preferred to do something else.

The laughter started in the car on the way there. The four of us rode together. We talked about this and that, finally landing on music trivia. Who wrote what songs, when, etc. You can guess where that led… eventually we all broke out into song in that mid-sized sedan space. It didn’t surprise us that the theme song for the night was the very one we had been singing. The laughter continued through the night, including the moment when our friend’s husband leaned over to apologize for bringing us to a Mormon church function (no mention of who sponsored it on the info packets we got). We laughed and said it was fine. We may not agree with the Mormon doctrines, but we do know the Mormon church does “family and marriage” really well and we respect that. We would just chew up the marriage advice and spit out any doctrinal stuff.

We ended the night with a quick stop at Baskin Robbins for a scoop (or two) of ice cream, and continued laughing as we made the dark drive home. All of us concluded that we came home with some great resources for our relationships. Some things we learned about: men and women communicate for different reasons. Men collect data, women want to just interact. I learned that if I want my husband to really hear something I have to say (our grandson has had a high fever for the last few days), that I need to make sure I have his full attention before saying it (ie. Make sure the football game is over before sharing it). Their brains don’t multi task like ours. And I learned that if I want time with him, don’t ever say “Honey, can we talk? Or we need to talk.” That immediately triggers fight or flight in them with thoughts like, “what did I do wrong?” “Is this going to take hours?” “Where is the exit?” Instead, ask I can ask him if he can set aside an hour after dinner on Tuesday night so we can just chat about life. It answers the questions. What? Talk about life. When? Tuesday night. How long? An hour. They can be prepared, not surprised. Oh! And my favorite, reverse your buts! Don’t say, “I love you BUT you are driving me crazy!” Say “You are driving me crazy BUT I love you.” I once heard it said that most people only hear what comes after the word BUT. If that is true, let’s make sure what they hear is I love you. What a beautiful way to let our speech say what we mean, while building them up instead of tearing them down!

Many years ago, when I realized men were not mind readers (why do we grow up thinking that? It is so unfair to them.) I started telling my honey what I needed. For instance, “Baby, I need to have a good cry. Could you please hold me in your arms, let me cry on your shoulder, and when I am done, just tell me everything will be ok. You don’t need to fix the problem I am crying about.” Honestly, what I learned last night takes that to a whole new level for me. I am excited to see where our love goes from here.

Thought for the day: if you are married, write down seven things about your spouse that you love. Start it out with “I love 1, 2, 3, … about my spouse.” If you are a single parent, do this for each of your children, if you are single without kids, do it for your parents. Then, leave it someplace for them to find, like a love letter, and see what happens with that relationship.

My Birthday!

Today is my birthday! I am turning 54 years young. When I am asked what I would like for my birthday, my answer is always, spend time with me. Take me to coffee, come over for a visit, invite us for dinner. I think it was sometime in my mid forties that I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t want people buying me things. I want relationship with those I love. This world has become so anti relationship with hectic schedules, everyone working overtime, gobs of homework, civic commitments and more. I just want to slow down and sit (or walk) with family and friends, face to face. Ask questions, listen, learn and love.

Maybe it’s because as we age, we begin to see our own mortality looming on the hopefully far horizon. Maybe it is because the death of a loved one has clarified what is truly important in life. Whatever the reason, I got to have dinner at a local burger joint with my son’s family on Friday, and I get to have brunch with two dear friends this morning, maybe followed by a walk downtown to visit a local coffee shop and take in the beautiful fall foliage.

What does your perfect birthday celebration look like?

A whirlwind…

Have you ever been caught up in a whirlwind? I have. My daughter has been visiting with her two little ones for the last month. She has been at the center of my life since then, and everything about my life has revolved around her. My daily schedule has revolved around when she needed my van to go visit lifelong friends. The wind around this visit has swept away any spare time I have, as I have was called upon to watch those sweet munchkins almost daily. Barbecues with family and friends, sightseeing with a friend who came from another country, and trying to keep up with the laundry, poopy diapers and dishes. The apples on my two trees began falling off the branches, seemingly the moment she arrived, and I haven’t had the time to pick them up, let alone preserve many. I finally started calling friends to come pick them, and gathered as many as I could to donate to our local food bank. Next year, I will preserve.

Today, I will tickle the three year old, and chase him down the halls to tire him out for bed. Tonight I will rock the nine month old back to sleep when he startles because he is in a strange place. I will pray for them as we rock. For a good night sleep for them, for him not to be afraid, today or as he grows, for so many things. I will pray that she is blessed with time to visit friends. As we drive them to the airport, I will tell her what a wonderful mom she is, how terrific her kids are, what a great job she and her honey are doing with them. And then, when we have to finally part ways at the airport security line, the tears will flow, cheeks will be kissed, and silent hugs will be exchanged. They will disappear into the masses of people. We will walk back to our car to start the long drive home, which will give us time to process the mixture of emotions we will be feeling. Sadness they are gone for another year or two, happy to have our home and time back.

The whirlwind will have passed. Life will go back to some sort of a slower normalcy. Until the next visit. It was too long a visit, but too short at the same time. We are so grateful though that she comes home, no matter how far between the visits. And in the in between times, there is FaceTime and Skype. Another thing we are thankful for.

May you start a whirlwind of happiness that catches others in it and changes today for them!

Special relationships…

Our cat came home today. Obviously sooner than I had hoped. Basically the vet kicked her out. Long story. Anyway. This time Spanky is somewhat adjusted to the collar, which won’t come off for anything. But she sits in the cage meowing. Constantly. It is her way of calling out to us. She meowed from 2:30-7:30.

You may be asking, what changed at 7:30. Her daddy went in to love on her. We opened the cage, he laid on the ground petting her face in the cone, and talking gently to her, while I gave her fresh water and cleaned up the food her cone spilled. When we closed the cage and left the room, she was silent. And has been for the last 30 minutes. I peeked in on her, and she is either asleep or dead. I choose to believe she is asleep. I guess I will find out in a while when I go in to go to bed.

My honey and Spanky just have a special relationship that I don’t have. He is like a cat whisperer. I wish I had that type of relationship, but I don’t. Sure, she loves me, but she has a different relationship with her daddy.

All I can say is that my God has answered my prayers. Hopefully she will sleep for a good portion of the night.

New Friends

Last night, in the middle of getting some dessert for my honey, there was a firm knock on the front door. We weren’t expecting anyone, and it was well past getting a delivery time. I checked out the window to see two people. I opened the door cautiously (sad that we live in a world that we have to be wary of strangers) to find a man and woman standing there. They asked if this is where My honey lived. I’m sure they saw the puzzled look of surprise on my face. Maybe a client who tracked him down? I said yes, invited them into the house and asked if I might get their names. I went upstairs to where my hubby was watching the Final Four games he had taped (to fast forward through commercials). He also had a puzzled look on his face. We went downstairs and they re-introduced themselves, explaining that they had met us briefly when we hosted our Yom Teruah/Day of Trumpets gathering back in September.

Each year we host this gathering of friends, our spiritual family, to watch and wait for the return of Yeshua/Jesus. We eat some pretty amazing potluck dishes, hang around and visit with each other until we can start looking for the sliver of the new moon. The excitement builds as parents point their kids to look in the right direction. When one of the kids sees it, we blow a cacophonous noise of rams horns and plastic kiddie horns. Once the sun truly sets and it begins to cool, the adults head inside while the kids play outside. Over the past few years our gathering has outgrown our home.

Back to our guests. This past year, we had many unfamiliar faces arriving at our home. A friend, of a friend had invited them. They came as strangers, left as family. But, with that many people (100+), there are bound to be some you don’t really get to know. As the hostess, kitchen duty often keeps me out of the mainstream gathering area. Our guests were among those who attended, but we didn’t get to really know. We got comfortable in the living room and began to talk. That was at 7:30. When our black cat started coming down the stairs, I knew it was close to 10pm. I almost told my honey that “it must be getting late, our bedtime reminder alarm just came down the stairs.” She is a cat of routine, and she lets us know when she is ready to settle in for the night. When texts began to arrive from their eldest child at home, around 11:15pm, we all decided to end our sweet time of visiting. And it was truly a sweet time.

Conversation meandered through how each couple met, what led us all to live in this area, has anyone studied the topic of the new moon, homeschooling, loss of children, and more. Although it “disrupted” our routine, it made me remember a time, when I was younger, that people would pop by someone’s house for a visit just because they were in the neighborhood. That is something I enjoy doing. And, as the recipient of such visit, I was not inconvenienced, nor frustrated with any time lost. I was thoroughly blessed to make new friends!

Real “face time”, in person talking. Yes, it takes time, yes, there are other things you could be doing. But, in the long run, is it not the relationships we build that count? The people whose lives we touch by a hug when they share the loss of a family member, or by offering free eggs from our chickens because we have an abundance. How many times have I been truly ministered to with the exact bit of wisdom I needed about raising kids, or dealing with an emotion only after an hour of seemingly surface talk with a friend or family member? I will always treasure last night’s visit, and pray it inspires others to do the same. Take the time.