Aging Gracefully is Not Easy!

Aging gracefully is not always the easiest thing to accomplish! To be honest, I get frustrated on a daily basis. I have a tendency to look to future things that “might happen” and seek answers! I look in the mirror and shake my head. Who is that woman with all the wrinkles and the thinning hair? What is that new pain in my knee and ankle? And the big question: if I get on the floor, can I get up?

I talk to God a lot. I know my body wasn’t meant to last forever. It’s like my vehicle. While it gets me from place to place, maintenance needs to be done. For me, that’s all those medications in my pill box. I never thought I’d need a weekly pill box with places for morning and evening tablets.

Yet, all these things have become a part of my daily life. I must accept these things with gratefulness. I look in my Christian planner at the habit tracker items and see I’m being faithful in everything but exercise. I tell myself, I’m old. I have lived for 79 years and am now living in my 80th year. I shouldn’t be expected to exercise!

Then there is eating. I am a widow and only have to feed myself and my cat. My cat is easy. I open a can of food and put half in his bowl, and he’s satisfied. As for me, I will have to prepare something. I have to cook. Cooking used to be a pleasure. Now it’s a chore and one I don’t want to deal with.

Well, Lord, You knew all this was in my future when you created me. I know that with You I have the strength to persevere in this season of life. I know it’s a matter of slowing down, taking one day at a time, trusting and hoping in You. I’m thankful. Each day is a gift and a challenge, but also filled with blessings. You have taught me to live in the moment fully trusting in You. You know my failings. You know my difficulties. And You love me in spite of them. Thank You.

One day at a time. That’s how I have learned to age gracefully with God.

It’s Okay to Cry

Before I start, this blog is not about Finnegan. My little buddy is happy, healthy, and lying on a chair next to me purring as I write. I’m feeling led to talk to you today about the grief we feel when we lose our beloved furry family members.

You know what? It’s okay to grieve the loss of your pets. And just like losing a family member, you don’t just “get over it. It’s okay to cry. We honor them when we remember the love and companionship they brought into our lives. I still remember each of my “babies” who crossed rainbow bridge. I even shed a tear when I think of them. They were a big part of my life, my family.

There is no time limit on grief. Sometimes grief is silent. After Templeton passed, the last of the three siblings my husband and I adopted many years ago, I cried a lot. I remembered the loss of his sister a year and a half earlier and his brother just six months prior. The two of us were as I said, “growing older with each other.” He just needed to leave this earth before God called me home. Eventually I stopped the tears, mostly, but I was physically stressed over having a home without a pet.

Through God’s leading, my brother visited and insisted I needed a cat and he wasn’t leaving until I had one. I’d already decided I wouldn’t have another pet. I didn’t want to go through the grieving again, plus at my age (I turned 79 today), I worried about God calling me to my eternal home and having to leave my furry baby behind. Yet, the idea of a new pet felt right.

My friends and even my doctor said I needed to get a cat. My blood sugar was high, and I wasn’t feeling the greatest. I was in a mild state of depression without knowing it.

I have Finnegan in my life now and I’m very happy and actually healthier now. But some people don’t have the option of getting another pet. Or they truly feel it is not the best idea. Their grief should never be looked on as weakness. No one should tell them “time will heal” or “just get over it.” That won’t help and it won’t happen. We are normal when we grieve. It is part of our healing process, and each person’s journey of grieving will be different.

If you are reading this, and you are grieving, I want to tell you it is okay. You are not being unreasonable. You are okay. If you can, I suggest getting a new pet several months after saying goodbye. But if you can’t, for whatever reason, that’s okay, too. Don’t let anyone put you down. Don’t let them make you feel as if you’re abnormal for your grief. You are loved. You are worthy. God knows your heart. He knows your thoughts. You can talk to Him. And I pray you have a good friend or a family member you can talk to about the joy you had with your pet. Memories are wonderful things. God gave us the ability to grieve in order to heal.

Until Death Vow

On Saturday, I attended the wedding of my grandson and his love. I was happy to be able to see their smiling faces at the moment they were declared husband and wife. Both families shouted with glee.

Though my heart was thrilled to be part of this beautiful happening, I felt set apart from everyone. My husband was missing. It’s been over 9 years but at times like this his passing feels immediate. Part of me is not there.

When I’m in the solitude of my home, I can accept the change my life has undergone. But when I’m out of this comfort zone, it’s difficult. I see other couples together, and happy as I am to see this, I feel as if I don’t belong.

Our church has a senior ministry that meets once a month to chat, play games, and share a meal. Everyone looks so happy, and though it should be appealing to me, it isn’t. Because there are mostly couples there. I’m not a couple. It’s not anyone who makes me feel unwanted. It’s just me. I long for my husband to share these moments with me as it used to be. When we could talk about it later, sharing our thoughts and being comfortable together.

Weddings are wonderful. I’m beyond happy for my grandson and his new bride. For the life they are going to build together, and I pray it will be filled with all the joy my hubby and I once shared. I thank God I was able to see them pledge their love. I am truly blessed! I am grateful to have lived long enough to see grandchildren get married and have children. I am grateful to be a great grandmother. But for this season, I remain a woman who understands the words, “until death do us part.”

Positive Affirmations!

In restarting my revised 75 Day Soft Challenge, I have added listing five things I’m thankful for each morning and looking at myself in the mirror and talking to myself with positive affirmations.

If you haven’t ever done this, I highly recommend it. We all have our weaknesses about ourselves. I’ve always felt inferior and have had low self-esteem. It still comes through in my opinions about myself.

This morning I looked at picture of myself with my great granddaughter and saw only my inferior neck. Ugh. So I headed to the bathroom mirror to have a positive affirmation. When I first saw my face it looked old and haggard. Then I started telling myself I was beautiful, just as God created me…beauty starts from within. As I talked, I smiled and my entire face began to change. Joy and love shone through my eyes.

It is easy for me to say these things to others, but I don’t say them to myself. Now I am.

Try it! God will smile at you!

Seniors Need Goals, Routines, and Challenges

Everyone knows I stopped doing the 75 Day Soft revised challenge I set for myself, mostly because of the exercise and because my brother was coming to visit, so I knew I wouldn’t follow the plan. On Sunday, I’ll start over again. I know that with God I can do this. Since I’ve been exercising for the past two weeks and following most of the rules already because of established habits, I need to motivate myself to stay on track with eating, drinking water, and exercise for health benefits. I want to get back into reading nonfiction on a daily basis, too, and spending at least 5 minutes in close prayer and communion with God.

Now I need to also establish a daily routine for writing and hobby time. This probably sounds silly to those who are writers and already spend a portion of their day doing what they love. For me, my mind wants to plot and write books, but my goal for this year is to complete a book of my early life to gift my family for Christmas. It’s not as exciting as fiction writing! As for hobby time, I want to get back into the habit of doing something relaxing like coloring or diamond painting on a daily basis. I DO NOT want to become a television addict, which could easily happen. There are so many other fun and stimulating things to do. I want to get back to allowing a max of two hours for television entertainment.

Does this let you know I am a creature who enjoys structure in my day? I admit it is true. Living alone with no daily commitments makes it easy to fall into a routine of being lazy and doing nothing to stimulate my brain. So, I need goals, routines, and challenges! I may be growing older, but I don’t have to fit into a stereotype old lady who knits, watches television and rocks in her chair. My arthritic fingers won’t let me knit any longer anyway! LOL! Though I do like my rocking chair!