Night Time Battles

Dear Reader,

My hubby could always lay his head on the pillow at night and be asleep in less than five minutes. Every single night. I never understood how he could do this. I wish I did.

My sleepless nights are many. This morning I’m moving with three hours sleep. I’m surprised I got that much! After turning off the lights last night at my normal bedtime, I couldn’t remain still long enough for sleep to capture me. I had to move. I tried mind over matter, but my mind wouldn’t focus on anything except the need to move my leg! Finally, I gave up and turned on the television. I began watching episodes of “Call the Midwife” which sometimes will cause my eyelids to droop. Not so last night. I watched one episode right after another until three a.m. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep in because Templeton (my cat) has a built-in body clock which insists I rise no later than six thirty a.m.

Aging gracefully requires getting a good night’s sleep. This morning I’m suffering with foggy brain and a very bad hair day. I would be poor company for anyone who would be living with me today. Doesn’t help that outside my window I see dimly through a dense fog. On days following sleepless nights, my brain works in slow motion. There will be no writing today.

Many seniors experience sleepless nights or so I’ve read or heard. In my younger years, I stayed up until one or two in the morning writing and then slept for four or five hours, rose bright-eyed and ready for my job in the corporate world. Now that I’m retired with no daily outside commitments, one would think sleeping would come easy. I require seven to eight hours of sleep every night now. Sigh. The pattern following a sleepless night usually is another night or two the same followed by a night when I can’t keep my eyes open after seven p.m.

How about you? Do you suffer with night time battles? Do you have a remedy? If so, please share. And now I’ve got to brew a cup of tea…which normally would be sitting beside my laptop. Foggy brain is to blame. And so, dear reader, I will be eagerly looking forward to any suggestions to combat my sleepless nights. Signing off until next week,

Love, Carol Ann

What About Routines?

Without meaning or planning to fall into a morning routine, it happened. Perhaps Templeton, my cat, helped. His brother, Wilbur, used to wake me every morning, but at a later hour. After Wilbur crossed Rainbow Bridge, Templeton took over being an unnecessary alarm clock. The twice a year time changes have confused him. He insists I rise no later than 6:15 am. I’d like to sleep another hour. But I digress.

My morning routine begins with a hungry cat’s insistence on his human putting feet on the floor immediately after a few words of thanksgiving to God. I stumble a little blurry-eyed into the “cat” bathroom to clean the litter boxes and vacuum the debris. Next I vacuum the rest of the house. Feeding the furry guy is next and requires watching where I step due to his eagerness to eat. Then I can turn my attention to my needs. Mostly the morning cup of tea. Decaffeinated or herbal. Breakfast before entering the office where I write a weekday blog post, then over to Facebook for a few minutes.

Kitchen cleaned, I brush the feline. Another thing he is insistent I accomplish before 30 minutes of exercise followed by a shower. It’s a routine. It works. Since I have no interruptions because Templeton and I live alone now. He prepares for his morning nap while I shower and dress for the day. He likes the routine and I’ve gotten used to it. Times when I have to change my routine due to other factors, I admit feeling a little stressed, which causes a lack of sleep the night before. Sigh.

As for writing, I’ve learned I’m most productive before lunch. Even writing has become part of my routine. After shower comes writing. Usually two hours in the morning. Then I need to break for lunch and give my back a rest. My writing goal is 1,000 words every weekday.

The flexibility in my day happens in the afternoon. I look forward for those hours when I can choose to color, diamond paint, read or work a jigsaw puzzle. Then the cat wakes from a long nap. Hungry. Insistent. I comply. During this time, I settle into the recliner and wait for him to jump into my lap when he has licked the last bit of food from his dish. It’s petting time. There’s something peaceful and comforting about rocking with a purring cat in one’s lap. It’s a time for introspection, for happy memories, for prayer.

When furry companion decides he’s had enough attention, he heads off to choose a place for an afternoon nap. It’s my quiet time to spend with God. To read scripture and learn as He opens my mind and heart and leads me into researching for more information. Personal insights are captured by writing notes in my Bible.

After dinner I allow a couple hours to watch television, usually podcasts like Unashamed with Phil and Jase Robertson. Templeton joins me on the sofa until my eyes begin to grow heavy and we head to bed.

Not an exciting routine by any means. I doubt many of my faithful readers, both of the blog and books, would picture a writer having such a dull routine. Such a “boring” kind of day. At my age, it works. I no longer have to rise early to head to an 8 hour job, and then have to fit everything else into the few hours left. Though, even then I had a routine. Looking back, throughout life, I’ve always had a routine. I believe we all do.

I’m happy in my routine, though I do wish I could talk Templeton into sleeping in an extra hour!

Aging Gracefully as a Writer

I pray for God to lead me when I write, whether it be a blog post, a Facebook post, or a book scene. I’m nothing without Him. He called me to be a writer long ago. Even though I’ve said no and turned my back on doing His will many times, He is still faithful. My senior years provide uninterrupted time to devote to writing, and writing makes me happy. Through writing for Him, I am blessed.

Yesterday I was grateful when my characters took the lead, surprising me with whose point of view I’d write in! I wasn’t sure how the scene would play out or end. The scene seemed to write itself. I’ve learned long ago, to let God lead my characters through my writing. After all He is the Author of Creation!

Having lived through more than half of last century and over twenty years in this one, I’ve learned lessons along the way. God teaches me through daily life because I’m willing and eager to grow and become the person He wants me to be. Why now when I am considered old?

Younger people might see me as having already lived my life, as one who is resting each day, rocking and waiting to join Jesus. I do rest each day, and I do rock. I’ve always loved to rock. I rocked my babies, my grandbabies, and now I rock to meditate and to read. Those times, though, do not dominate my daily routine, but are vital to do my best. With my eyes open, the Holy Spirit shows me opportunities missed and those I didn’t. And I learn from these moments. I learn I’m still a work in progress, and God’s given purpose for me has not yet been completed. It’s all part of aging gracefully.

I Am A Blessed Senior

I’m a senior. There are aches and pains when one’s body begins to fail. It is easy to give in and become a recliner potato. I remember my grandmother spending all day in her rocker watching tv. I remember my mother spending all day in her recliner watching tv. Yesterday, after grocery shopping, I was in so much pain, I held back tears as I loaded my SUV. When everything was put away, I sank into my recliner to eat lunch and watch tv. I had other things I needed to do, but I couldn’t find the energy.

This morning I’m thinking about a young lady who has been in and out of the hospital to relieve pressure caused from SMA and Cerebrospinal fluids. She deals with headaches I cannot even imagine. After this latest surgery she is in such pain, she cannot open her eyes at all. As I pray for her I’m reminded how minor my little backache is.

I’m a senior. My body is deteriorating. It is part of the aging process. I thank God I’m able to drive to purchase groceries, and to carry them and put them away. It may take longer. It may cause discomfort. I need to put it into perspective!

I am a senior. I am blessed. I thank God.

That Kind of Beautiful

Have you ever baked a cake and had it fall? Since it came out imperfect you throw it away? Or are you someone who finds a way to salvage it because regardless of the way it appears on the outside, the inside is good? How much does perfection mean to you? Do you look for it in others and in yourself?

I believe today’s culture puts too much emphasis on perfection. Women are having surgery and injections in an effort to “improve” how they look. If only they understood God created each of us and in His eyes we are beautiful just as we are. God doesn’t make mistakes.

There is nothing we can do to stop our bodies from aging. We need to learn to embrace the changes. True beauty is not found in outward appearance, but shines from within those who believe Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, and rose again. That’s the kind of beauty others notice. Let’s be that kind of beautiful!

Dear Lord, When I find it hard to love others, and when I find it difficult to love myself, remind me of how much You love me. Amen.