Growing Older

From previous posts many of you know that growing old for me has been tough. I have contemplated as to why this is and think I have an idea.

When we look at the Word of God we see that growing old is an honor. Growing old is to be looked up to. Elderly are to be given honor and respect and their experiences and wisdom is to be followed.

Today, just like the fact that Scripture calls a house full of kids a blessing is ridiculed, so are the elderly and the wisdom and experiences they offer. People no longer want to follow the advice of experience or the Word Of God. We have a country that just wants young leadership and put down the history and ideals that formed the country.

This year I am old enough to begin collecting SS with early retirement. I have a grandson who will be old enough to get a drivers license. My hair has some gray. I am growing old like most baby boomers.

I watch how others treat their elderly parents, in laws, neighbors and society and instead of being proud of my growing older I am afraid of it.

When my husband and I were talking of getting married the one thing I told him right out was that when we marry his step mom was coming out of the nursing home and we were caring for her. She was about 92 and I was not going to let her stay in the home or die there.  So many were there because family left them as they did not want their elderly parents cramping their life style. (I know some  have no family and this is all they have.) My future mother in law ended up dying before we married. It broke my heart that I did not have the privilege of caring for her.

Now, here I am getting  older and watching the disrespect so many have for older people. I wonder if I have taught my children well enough to care for me, or have their spouses been taught to respect the elderly and care for them? How about my grandchildren? What are they being taught. Is society over riding any teaching that we did with our children or they with theirs? So often we can do out best but society teaches otherwise. While I feel confident my kids will care for me, it is still frightening.

Oh, I have been in the stores on Social Security day too. I have  chuckled at the elderly putting their carts in the middle of the isle while they slowly got to where they wanted to find something on the shelf. Mean while no one moves up the isle. When it happens I watch people.; some get mad, are disrespectful and get ornery. Others offer to help them and some just wait patiently. (funny note here, my grandfather, at the time in his 90’s, did not want to go to the store on ‘old timers’ day “cause all those old people just blocked the isle” so he could not shop! He lived to be almost 103!)

Or when they have told you the same story over and over. Some people listen politely as if it is the first time they heard it, others just zone out and still others inform them they heard it and do not want to hear it again.

How do you react? How do you treat those you are to have respect for and give honor to? What are your kids learning from watching you?

Let’s try to teach our children and grandchildren by actions to have patience, respect and honor our elderly because of who they are and what God says.

What? You have a cantankerous elderly neighbor? Or Mother? Or grandfather?  As a Christian we are to respect and honor them for their position. We may not like them, they may be a real pain, but they still need to get shown respect.  I think you can ask any of my kids about a certain senior citizen (OH wait, he was probably the age I am now!!) we had as a neighbor in PA. We know what living with someone like that is like.

I have been trying to remember to really go out of my way to show respect and honor when I am around the elderly. We never know who may be watching us and children need to see others being respected. They see the disrespect and antagonism towards elderly on TV, in stores, school and some homes so why not give them the example of honoring and respecting our senior citizens?

Life is hard enough and as you get older you look back and see all you have lived through and all it has taught you. You see where you would have done things differently, where you know you were right and where you think “How did I live through that?”. God has a way of taking those things and using them in your life and in the lives of younger people if they would listen. Scripture says to listen, to learn and to seek the advice of those who are older and God’s own.

If you are young, do you do that? Do you look to all the older family members and seek advice? Listen and learn from them? Or are you forging your own way doomed to make the same mistakes or more?

Older ones, do you share with the younger when you can?  Some of those things may seem trivial, but they were there for our learning and for the future generations. We are all too often quiet since so much in the  the world has made it clear that they do not care what the older person has to offer.

Well, I am not ready for the rocking chair yet, although some days it does sound might good, but I am getting up there. Early retirement here I come. I am fortunate though, I still have a mother that is alive, some kids that call and check on me and even some step kids as well that call.  Grand kids that call or email too. I am blessed indeed.

What is this with all the Christmas stuff?

It is getting time for the turkey, gravy, stuffing (or dressing according to where you live!) and seeing family.  Thanksgiving is this month and I am excited. My daughter in North Carolina has invited all of us to her house for Thanksgiving. At this point I do not think my boys and their families are coming, but I will get to see the girls and their families. My husband will get to see step kids and grandkids he has not seen in two years. We are both so excited.

It will mean a long trip for us, about 1200 miles, but we are doing it.  We planned this trip at a time when my husband was not getting full time work, yet knew we needed for him to spend time with the family. It was an on faith planning.  The last year has been rough. Cut hours, sickness, break downs (things, not minds… well not minds officially). We have had no real vacation or time off together, I have gone with the kids, but not time for Rick and I together.

We prayed about the whole thing and wanted to make the trip. We were only scraping by on the money he was getting with 24-32 hours instead of the overtime he had been used to. Bills were getting cared for, but nothing left. Then his work made a change. Not more hours, but somehow made arrangements for them to collect a partial unemployment in the form of a debit card. We did not spend any of it, and waited to see what it would amount to.  When hours went back to normal we checked and there was enough in there for the gas to get there!! How we praise the Lord!!!  He then got a big order for his work and had to put in overtime for a few weeks. Yeahhhhhhhhh we can eat and not have to drive the 20 hours in one day as well!!

God cares and I am so looking forward to the trip.

This gives much more to be thankful for this year. Since marrying Rick holidays have been hard. His family is not like mine has been and getting together for every holiday has not been a big part of their life.  I love them and cherish the time together, but this year will be my side traditions and it will be nice. (However, I may have to make some “dressing” for my husband to feel at home). I only wish that the boys could make it down, but it is a long ride for them too and work does not allow it. They will be greatly missed.

What has been a bit taking from the season this year is Christmas stuff up before Halloween. I grew up where Thanksgiving was a spirit of being thankful. Christmas shopping started after Thanksgiving. All the Christmas stuff was not on the shelf before. You were Thankful. Then you began celebrating the Lord’s birth.

I do not get to the stores as much as I used to. We have one car, hubby has it at work, and I get out on the weekend, maybe.

It so amazed me at the commercialism that has now brought Christmas tree’s out in October. Freecycle people asking for them by early October and kids shows having commercials for all the Christmas toys by October also.

We have lost the being Thankful for what we have, for the heritage we have in this country and have given way to all the materialistic, satanic views of the “holidays”.

For me, I will celebrate Thanksgiving, be Thankful to a God who has provided, loves me and cares. For Christmas I will be Thankful for the Son HE provided for my salvation.  Stores can keep their commercialism, I am keeping simple.  Gifts? Yes. Buying what is being pushed? No. Giving of myself, for sure.

Be Thankful and draw a blind eye to all the commercialism out there. Look to the real meaning of the holidays and Praise the Lord for all He has done and is doing.

Be Careful What They Hear

Today something happened that reminded me again of how much our little ones pick up things they see and hear. We often think they are too young or are not paying attention, but believe me they are. Way more than you want to think they are.

Today Scout came and her daddy had picked me up a swimming pool. I had asked him to do it since he has a pick-up truck and I was not able to get it into our van without bending it a bit. It is one of those hard plastic kiddy pools.

Scout and I filled it up with water and then I told her we needed to wait for a bit so the sun could warm the water. She insisted it was already warm. I forgot. I am from the north east USA and we live in Texas. Water comes warm to hot from the tap in summer.

I still convinced her to wait a bit till the sun came out, which for her was a long time to wait. At 8:30 AM she was ready to go in and stop waiting! I put her into her bathing suit and took her outside to wait a bit more.

On the porch roof I have a bird feeder and when the wind blows or the doves try to get on it seed goes all over the porch and is very tempting to little hands. The little hands decided it would be fun to throw seed into the pool! I yelled, she disobeyed and in went some seed.

I thought the best thing to do was to give her something to skim the seed out and make her clean her mess. She is 2.5 years old, and is able to understand what I was telling her.

The only thing I could think of that was here was one of those spatter things with a handle for putting over food when it is being cooked in oil. My husband had several of them when we married and they looked unused then and 4.5 years later they are still unused. I took one out and she got big eyes! I told her what to do with it but she was not listening, she already knew what it was—a magnifying glass, HER magnifying glass! She could not believe I was giving her such a precious thing. I had no idea how she knew what a magnifying glass was!

Then it all came out. She stood up, raised her arms like a cheer leader yelling RAH, and says “Scout, animal rescuer, (plops down in water at this time,and continues) at bottom of ocean” as she put the “magnifier” down in the water and discovered the starfish, fish and octopus on the bottom.

Take a look:

She was discovering all morning with that thing, and all over the porch.

Now, I think we all know where she got that from and how much she learns. She will answer all the questions they ask on the show, even if she is playing and I think she has not listened one bit.

What do your kids hear? What comes out of your mouth? What do you watch that you think they do not pay any attention to?

They are, and they are learning!

As the kids song goes:

Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see.
Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see.
There’s a Father up above, looking down in tender love,
So be careful little eyes, what you see.

Be careful little ears what you hear
Be careful little mouth what you say…
Be careful little hands, what you touch…
Be careful little feet, where you go…

Same goes for you mom!

Husband’s need love.

As I look around the house I wonder how my husband feels when he comes home.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C0bwALO2To[/youtube]

Now, I am sure no one’s home looks like this. Mine does not either, but with a 21 month old running around making disaster I FEEL like it looks like this.  I have toys around, books on the sofa and chair ( books like “Are You My Mother’ and “Simba roars”). There are stickers stuck to my husbands chair. The only reason there is not food on the floor is we have a dog that follows her around and cleans that up.

Then there is my stuff. I have to sew on the dining room table. I use the top of the freezer to cut out my patterns. Right now there is a sewing machine and serger set up on the table, some stacks of fabric, a few patterns cut and waiting to sew, another on the freezer waiting to get cut out and a basket with patterns in the middle of the table.

Kitchen? Dishwasher is clean but not unloaded.

I wonder, how does Rick feel when he walks in and sees this after a hard day at work?

Look at our side as mother’s and grammie’s who watch the grandkids all day. We are exhausted. We have played nurse, cook, housekeeper. playmate, diaper changer, poop scooper and paper towel holder (for the times the potty was not made to!). We have tried to run around like an idiot at nap time so we can accomplish something for the day.

Soon we realize, usually as he is walking in the door, that it is time for hubby to come home.

I wonder about marriages. Are we really giving our spouse the love and attention he needs like we do to the children? They demand it, but he needs it too. Is he getting our best?

I see marriages where the husband complains about the wife and vice versa. How much could be avoided with a little planning on our part?

Some ideas:

  • Make coming home time a time for the kids to be excited about. Have them help make the living room nice for him to walk in to. My granddaughter is 21 months old, but I can tell her PAPA is coming soon and get her to help some. It may not be the way we would do it, but she does try and picks up things when I tell her he is coming. I make that a special thing. She looks forward to him coming.
  • Do your hair before he comes! Still in that nightgown? Get dressed!
  • When he comes in ask what you can get him. He may want some ice tea, coffee, whatever. Let him know he is special.
  • If he needs time to not talk, give it to him, if not, ask how his day went. Do not start with how your day was!!
  • Do not tell him he needs to discipline the kids.  This will do two things; one, your kids will not be excited to see him and two, he will not want to come home to crabs. You are with them all day, you do the discipline when they are with you.  As moms and grammies we tend to not be firm like we should, or tend to be too firm and not let them live or be kids. Both ways it makes for trouble.

Where does all this get you? What about your day?  When we start showing this love and consideration to our husbands they will, in turn, give it back to us. If they are unhappy and feeling neglected, they will not be able to respond to us.

We are the keepers of the home, the home makers. We can also be the home breakers.

Love your husband, when the kids move out of the house it will be the two of you. Do not wait till then to try to build your relationship to what it should be.

Handling Sickness

Today my mind is on a subject we do not like to think about in a marriage or in a child. Sickness. I am not talking about the little bugs that come along, or even some bigger bugs, but those illnesses that are life long, life threatening or terminal.

When we marry and say our vows we are saying for better or worse, in sickness and in health.  For me I married with rose colored glasses. I said those words and really thought I would never need the worse or the sickness to be tested. Yet, it did not take long to have them tested. I had our first child a year after we were married. I went in to the hospital had a 7lb 4 oz boy and lost 8 lbs. I should have lost more, and I was pretty upset. However, not nearly as upset as I was when I found out that the time I was in the hospital my husband lost 17 lbs. I was furious. It seemed so unfair and I let God know how upset I was that he could lose that much in 3 days and I had the baby.

He continued to lose weight and soon we found out he was diabetic and had to go on insulin. I found myself feeling scared, disillusioned and worried.  I remember thinking that we were trying to serve the Lord and now this. I thought his death would be just around the corner.

It was tough on both of us. A new lifestyle, a new diet, shots, no sugar it was overwhelming. We got through it and adjusted. As the kids came along I made it a point of keeping us all on his basic diet. For the family, I felt it best if we all kept his diet and not make things seem any different. Our kids grew up without a lot of sugar in the house, eating veggies of all kinds, salads and  as balanced a meal as we could afford.

Why did I make us all eat that way?

  • We are a family and stick together
  • It was easier than making a number of meals
  • My husband did not feel different and “more trouble”. It was a family eating plan

What were the benefits?

  • My kids are not picky eaters and will eat at people’s homes and eat what is put in front of them
  • They grew up with veggies and eating them was enforced
  • they hardly had any sugar growing up, a very healthy thing!

There are more benefits, but these are obvious. We adjusted and accepted it as a family.

Things went along well for years, then, at the age of 46, my husband had a heart attack and was between life and death for 3 weeks.  Another big change in our lives.  Several Dr. errors and a year later we found out that his condition was terminal. We were doing kidney dialysis at home as well as watching all his vitals constantly. Things were a daily care and touch and go.

All this brought more into my life than I ever thought I could handle. However, God was good and helped me adjust all the way. We grew closer and talked over his coming death and what he wanted for his funeral etc. It was precious time because we did accept it together.

A year before he died he told me he was praying for who I would marry after he was gone. He prayed God would bring a man into my life. How blessed I felt, yet was so touched that tears did not stop and I yelled at him for telling me!

When he died God was there and with me the whole time. I could write a book about how God had us on vacation (yes, I tried to keep everything as normal as we could, dialysis and all we went camping in a pop up!) when he died, how he had the driver of the ambulance be a close friend and how he went before me to have the state of NY let me return to ME and release his body without delay. Someday I may tell it, but right now I want to impress the need to let sickness draw you closer.

So many couples let a sick child or spouse separate them. The death of a child brings a divorce. A sick spouse brings resentment and abandonment. It should not be.

Prepare your marriage now. You never know what is around the bend in this life.  Begin now to get closer.

  • pray together, if things happen pray together more!
  • support one another, do not get at each other over things
  • find ways to show love, leave notes etc. Find your way and keep at it
  • If someone is sick, they need to be loved, and not made to feel like a burden.  When my husband was bad, I never felt it was a burden. All I went through was out of love and like that old song, he ain’t heavy he is my brother (husband, son, daughter, wife) Where love is and abounds there is no burden. Tired maybe, drained from not sleeping more than 2 hrs at a time maybe, but it was never a burden, never a regret.
  • Help them feel independent when they can, but be there to help when needed.

We all hope it never happens, but  we need to decide ahead that we will do all to keep the marriage together and learn and live through the best and worst of times.