From Hope to Obedience

If you are like me, you have quite a few people on your prayer list right now. My heart aches for so many. This spotlights how blessed I really am. These days before the new year, I’m focusing on how I can be obedient to God. This word is on my heart a lot and I believe it is from God.

Every year there is a word that God gives me to focus on. This year’s word has been hope. As our church prepares for Christmas, the last sermon series has been on hope. Biblical hope. As I focused on trusting God and hoping in Him during this tumultuous year, I didn’t understand this was Biblical hope, but I like this title. It’s not like I hope you have a good day, but I have hope in God. I trust Him and know He is in charge despite what the world would have me believe.

My blogging week is ending today. I want to lay out a blogging outline for next week as Christmas approaches. Not sure what I will do yet, or even why this is on my mind. Just sure God will show me the “what and why.” Lifting my cup of tea on this cloudy morning and feeling very hopeful about what God will do in the coming year.

Saying Goodbye Is Tough

My Templeton (18-1/2 year old cat) has become a lot more clingy in the last week. I notice the weight he’d put on is disappearing. His intestinal problem has gotten worse again suddenly with no explanation. He, like most animals, hides his pain. But I can tell from how gingerly he lowers himself his arthritis is getting worse, too.

As a loving pet owner, I don’t want him to suffer. But he seems to have a lot of life he wants to live, mostly being close to me when he is awake. I said goodbye to his brother and sister within the past year so I know Templeton and I won’t have a lot of time left together.

How does one make the decision on whether it is time or not to let them go? I’ve prayed that God will just take him quietly while he is sleeping when it is time. I don’t want him to suffer like his brother and sister did because I waited too long. But the thought of looking into his eyes and holding him as I watch him die at my bidding is heartbreaking. It goes against my nature.

Part of me wonders if I’m being selfish. I love him. He’s my last companion. I’ve made the decision not to adopt another pet. He is special. Always has been. He’s brought so much happiness, laughter, and love to my family over the years. He’s tough and stubborn. Is he hanging on for me? Or am I hanging on for him?

When we make the decision to adopt a pet into our family, part of that is knowing there will be a goodby in the future. And so I pray for guidance as Templeton and I spend our last days together. Lifting my cup of tea with a troubled heart.

Christmas and Love

Wow! Christmas is almost here! As Christmas draws closer, I close my eyes and count my blessings, so very many. I’m overwhelmed by all the Lord has provided me, especially in these last eight plus years since saying goodbye to my husband.

I’ve learned I’m a strong woman in many ways, and weak in others. Every day for each of us is a day of learning, but often we don’t realize this. I feel very alone a lot of the time. My grandparents are gone, my parents are gone, my husband is gone, my son is gone, and some of my dearest friends are gone, each new Christmas. I know they are no longer in pain or sorrow, and that makes me happy, yet the burden of loss is with me. Thankfully, I can lean on Jesus in the rare times, I feel alone. I’ve learned how to move forward and see beauty in each new day.

My heart overflows with gratitude for all the Lord has provided. I don’t need physical or worldly things for Christmas. All I want and need to receive and give is love. Christmas to me is all about love. It’s an emotional time of missing loved ones yet being happy for them to be with Jesus. It’s emotional remembering all the happy past Christmases when they were with me. It wasn’t about the presents under the tree, but about the love that surrounded us.

Yes, Christmas is love. In fact, life is about love. Didn’t Jesus prove that when He gave His life for us? The greatest love of all, the greatest gift ever given, came from Jesus.

So when I think about Christmas, I think about what love really means. Christmas and love…synonymous words. Lifting my cup of tea and wishing you all an abundance of love this Christmas, both given and received.

When Good Sense and Body Are Off Balance

As I age, I find my good sense isn’t as good as it used to be! I needed to make cookies and fudge to mail out of state today. Wanting them to be as fresh as possible, I decided to wait until after dinner to begin cooking.

Concrete floors. Enough said? I began with the cookies at 5:30 pm thinking it would only take a couple of hours. But then I decided I had enough ingredients to make four kinds of cookies. Four hours later, I finished washing and cleaning the kitchen…only to remember I still needed to make a couple batches of fudge.

When I finally settled into bed close to midnight, I had terrible acid reflux. Why? Well, I did have to make sure everything tasted all right. I needed an Alka-Seltzer but my cabinet was bare. I can’t sleep with my upper body elevated on pillows, so it was around two am when I finally dozed off.

This morning, I could barely stand. All those hours in the kitchen on my feet…enough said, right? I need to get the box in the mail today hoping it will arrive in time for Christmas. That means standing in a long line at the post office. Ouch.

And that, dear readers, is a true story of a 78 year old woman whose good sense might have been okay thirty years ago, but not so much today. I wonder if it is too much to ask Santa to bring me a little more good sense for Christmas. LOL!

In reality, it is so easy for my brain to tell me I can do the same things I did when I was younger and for me to believe it. I’m grateful for all I can still do at my age when many can’t. I only need to learn not to wait until the last minute because the body doesn’t work as fast as the brain does these days! Lifting my cup of tea with a smile as I wish you all a day to laugh at yourself. You are only as old as you allow yourself to believe!

Preparing for Christmas

Watching a beautiful pink sunrise this cold morning. I’m always amazed at the beautiful scenes God paints outside my window! He always starts my day with a smile!

It’s been a crazy week for me. The first part of the week was super cold and ended with a lot of wind and rain! Sunday started this week in nice way with temps in the mid 40 degree range and lots of pretty sunshine. I did not venture out of my home, except to collect the mail, after church until yesterday to attend church. I finished several things I’d been wanting to do and was actually able to color a few pictures. And I enjoyed some happy ending Christmas movies!

Today I need to make cookies and fudge to mail to my daughter and son in love for Christmas. This coming Sunday evening we are having a small family meal in my equally small condo. Quite a change from the large traditional get togethers we’ve had in the past, but better than last year when we had nothing. My youngest daughter is singing with the praise band for three Christmas worship services next week. That’s how I’ll be spending Christmas Eve.

Here are the three pictures I colored last week. And the diamond painting I finally mounted for hanging. The first picture is the diamond painting now hanging on my wall. The second picture is a color by number illustrated by George Toufexis. The third is from a Jim Shore artist coloring book gifted to me last Christmas by my dear friend, Sandy. The last picture is my favorite. Illustrated by Ruth Sanderson. I used a limited number of pencils blending to make different shades and colors.

Lifting my cup of tea and wishing each of you a week filled with smiles and the true spirit of Christmas!

All In For Easy Recipes

I enjoy watching a few cooking channels on YouTube. I watched one last evening that is inspiring me to make cookies. Two minute cookies, that is!

I’m all for easy peasy and not a lot of prep or ingredient cooking these days. Cooking for one is no fun. Especially at holiday times. I don’t like purchasing a lot of ingredients that will expire before I can use the remainder. I wish there was a channel for widows or widowers. Perhaps there is and I just haven’t found it.

After my next shopping trip, I hope to make the two minute pecan cookies! Yummy! If they turn out okay, I might make cookies to give as gifts for Christmas. My BFF has some black walnuts in her freezer and offered me some if I found a recipe. Thinking chocolate black walnut cookies would be a hit! I even saw a recipe for pineapple upside down cookies! My husband’s favorite cake. I’d make a big batch for him if he wasn’t in heaven.

So, how about any of my followers who are cooking for one or maybe just two these days? Do you look for easier recipes, too?

Lifting my cup of tea and wishing everyone a fantastic Friday!

The Question I Never Asked

I never did understand why my aunt’s hair was so thin I could see more scalp than hair. At the time I was a young teenager and very naive. I loved her dearly and never asked the question about her hair.

Now I’m older than my aunt was. My hair isn’t as thin as hers, but mine is not the thick mass it used to be. I am frustrated by the two cowlicks at the back of my scalp that want to part my hair and let the scalp shine through. I have to work to get any volume in my hair and then to get it to last.

I wonder if that is why older people keep their hair short. I have kept mine short for a number of years by visiting a hairdresser once a month. Now with the rising costs of living, I’m scaling back on a lot of luxury things like seeing my hairdresser. God knows the number of hairs on my head. I wonder if he is keeping a countdown! LOL! Life isn’t just about hair, or about how we look, but as a woman, I confess to the sin of vanity. I should feel blessed that I have hair because so many do not.

Lifting my cup of tea and realizing there are many areas of my life that need to change in order to age gracefully with God.

I Used To Do That!

Another cold morning. There was a time when cold and snow couldn’t stop me from heading out to work or an appointment. I used to shovel snow from my sidewalks and driveway. The cold invigorated me. Not so any longer.

I’m grateful to live in a home where the clearing of snow is not my concern. I appreciate placing my trash can outside my garage door without having to move it to the street to have the trash collected. These things made me feel grateful when I moved.

Now as I’m aging more, I’m even more grateful, but also a little sad. When I was younger, I never pictured myself as an old lady who would need help with things I used to handle with no difficulty. Sometimes I even feel a little guilty for being able to stay inside and keep warm. My mind thinks I could probably shovel snow, but in reality my arms aren’t that strong, nor is my heart.

I’m doing my best to age gracefully with God, but I admit it isn’t always easy! At times like this, when I begin to zero in on being an elderly widow, I need to get busy and do what I can! It is warm inside, and there are housecleaning chores to tackle. God provided the perfect snow-kissed and cold day for me! So I will rejoice and be glad in it! Now where is my duster?

When I Turn 80

I remember my mom giving me one of her favorite items when she turned 80. I have it in my curio cabinet now, but for years I displayed it on the mantle in my previous home. She purchased it from the Franklin Mint. It’s a music box that plays Ave Maria.

It is just a “thing.” It only brings back a memory when I look at it, which isn’t that often. I don’t know who might want it if I die, or if I decide to pass it on. My oldest daughter doesn’t believe in keeping “things” because there is a tie to the past. Not sure how my other two daughters feel about such things.

I don’t hoard things just because they hold memories, but there are a few things that make me smile when I pull them out of their “storage” spaces. Times have changed a lot from my grandparents generation and even my mother’s generation. “Things” from the past aren’t important to them. Estate sales and auctions show families aren’t holding onto items of the past.

This morning I was looking at a piece given to me many years ago. It was handmade by my oldest daughter and her ex-husband. I have kept it, though it doesn’t fit the decor of my condo. My thought was to ask my granddaughter if she would be interested in having it since it was made by her mom and dad.

I’m not sure what will happen to the “things” I leave behind. Will I begin trying to gift them before I die? I smile as I think how I have downsized tremendously in the last four years. I don’t want my children to have to sort through years and years of memories after I’m gone. I remember how difficult it was for my mother to get rid of her things when she came to live with us. We brought as much as possible, but I got rid of almost everything unusable after she passed and I downsized.

Ah, life. We cannot take things with us when we die. And our memories are not dependent on “things.” Yet, I look at the music box from my mama with hope that it will end up in the possession of someone who will care for it as I do. What will I do after I turn 80?Lifting my cup of tea with a smile as I listen to the tune of Ave Maria.

It is Difficult to “See” When Consumed With “Me”

Usually I look back on the previous week to write Monday’s blog, but yesterday I began thinking about how easily it is to get consumed with thoughts about myself. How I’m feeling. What I wanted.

I looked at how I make sure I have breakfast every morning. I was never a breakfast kind of person until diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. My husband loved breakfast. It was his favorite meal of the day. After I retired, my hubby was already ill with COPD and heart disease. He would stay up until the wee hours of the morning and wake after a three to four hour sleep. During the day he took multiple naps. I would wake every morning to find him drinking his first cup of coffee and doing a breathing treatment. He had gotten used to eating toaster waffles in the morning. So that’s what I fed him.

Sundays we went to one particular restaurant for breakfast, and when he had doctor appointments, which were frequent, we’d stop to eat wherever he chose. But, now, as I fix a breakfast for myself every morning, I regret not doing the same for him. Not toaster waffles, or my homemade version of his McDonald’s favorite, but a good breakfast he would love. Hashbrowns, eggs, sausage, toast and coffee.

I was retired. I had no appointments other than his. So why didn’t I take the time to make every breakfast special? A time to eat at the table together and talk would have been wonderful. Instead, I fed him junk, then showered, dressed and prepared for my day. I regret this. There were too many times in my past life when I was consumed with ME. This distracted me from focusing on others.

I realize I can’t change the past, and I shouldn’t look back. Yet, if I could change anything, it would be making breakfast special for my beloved hubby in our last years together. In the future I’m asking God to help me remember life isn’t about me. It’s about God. And that translates into being a servant to others, not being consumed with me.

This week, I had appointments every day of the week. I started coloring a Christmas picture, but remembered I wanted to complete the Hannah Lynn Steampunk book and there was still one picture left uncolored. Rarely do I use a collection of Sharpie markers, so I decided to try using them. I used them to color this picture with the exception of using a chalk medium for the sky. Yay! One more book complete!

This week I need to concentrate on making the gifts for my daughters for Christmas. One needs to be mailed, so it is important to get it finished early this week. I hope to finish the Christmas picture I started on Friday as well.

Lifting my cup of tea and looking at a rainy morning outside my office window and feeling grateful it isn’t snow!