Prayer is Not Always Done in Church

 

Praying anywhere

 

 

Prayer comes easier to me at night.   I try to pray. Doing it doesn’t make me more or less religious.   I do it because I believe. I am a strong believer that there is more than we can ever know.

Religion doesn’t have to mean an hour, or whatever time, of praising God. It is the belief that there is a God. Some may argue that you need to know the scriptures or read or study the Bible – I don’t.

We started going to classes as we grew older and eventually stopped going to church.  I was brought up by good parents, good role models, and supporting family and friends is why I argue that.

Faith is a strong virtue, but only if you are compassionate, kind, and try to see the good in others. That, to me, is faith. Faith that everyone is as you are.

Understanding your family and friends, sharing kindness, showing vulnerability- these are values of virtue. The definition of virtue is – behavior showing high moral standards.

It boils down to that – behavior. We are human. Everyone makes mistakes. All we need to do is ask for forgiveness and apologize.

I am surely not of “high” moral standards. No one I know is. Judgment day comes to all of us. And I do know this – God forgives all because He is an all-forgiving God. Not having a religious background, I still know that.

I can’t recite much of anything, except the prayers learned in religious education. They are all I need – to learn, to remember, to understand. It is enough for me to work on my own “high” moral standards without having to go somewhere to do it or someone telling me how to do it.

I have a home, a sanctuary, to pray in. Asking for forgiveness, receiving guidance, and feeling safe are things I can have wherever I want. To tell you the truth, I drive and thank God for another day. That’s all I know he wants me to tell him – the simple prayer of thankfulness.

Think about all the things that you worry about, the people you lost, the words you said, the things you’ve done wrong – just ask for, say a prayer and be grateful for another day.  Have faith that He will answer when He knows you are ready.

Faith – strong belief in God – is believing in something that you can’t physically see, hear or touch. You just believe. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t make it untrue. I like knowing that. Knowing that I believe because I just do.  Say a prayer tonight, it can just be a simple Thank you.

Fall into another Season

 

 

fall on the lake

 

I wrote this last fall and have finally had a chance to publish it.

I have been feeling a little nostalgic, lately.  Fall always brings back those childhood memories.  The clear skies, fresh air, short days, football games, leaves falling – there is just something about this time of year.

Yesterday and today I spent a couple of hours just burning leaves. Why is this important? Sometimes connecting with nature and listening to the sounds is therapeutic.

My neighborhood is relatively quiet. We live on a dead-end road with many summer families. The highway isn’t too far away and the sounds from across the lake, today, can be a telltale sign of what is going on. Lawnmowers, power tools, vehicles – these interrupt my silence.

The wind through the trees, the squeaking of the branches, and the few birds that stay year-round are amazing – blue jays, cardinals, seagulls.

The remnants of summer – lawn chairs, a basketball, late-blooming flowers, robins chirping and heading south, boats getting that last trip on the lake.

Time stands still. The smoke rises until the breeze pushes it over. Memorized by the red, orange, and yellow flames. Crackling of leaves giving their last energy to the fire. Ashes to ashes.

Green needles from the cedar lose their moisture and slowly join the leaves. They will meld together and fertilize the earth again.

My hubby and I usually do this together and it takes all day. Today my Dad joined me when I was almost done for the day. As I stood patiently waiting for the clippings and leaves to burn, he said it reminded him of hunting. Standing, watching, listening, waiting. Waiting for that one opportunity to shoot.

I went hunting once. During my senior year of high school, I was 18. It was one of the most peaceful experiences I have ever had. Alone in the woods, trees dropping their cover, animals scurrying for scraps of whatever they were looking for, silence.  The season begins, protecting the earth until it renews in the spring.

Fall is one of the most magical times of the year for me. The nostalgia, the smells of the upturned earth, the coming of winter, changes. Changes that take place under the leaves and snow and sometimes inside of us.

 

Grandchildren

The blessings that they bring.  Babies born onto our children.  Little versions of our babies when they were babies.
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Crying, eating, pooping, smiling, crawling, giggling, growing little by little until all of a sudden they are the best version of two people who fell in love in the first place.  Take back the long, restless nights, and it really wasn’t that bad nor was it that long.

I couldn’t wait to hear what their voices were going to sound like after all the grunting and wailing they did for things they wanted.  Soon the words turned to sentences.  Their personalities developed and their likes and dislikes start to show.

I think that they are an extension of ourselves once removed.  Seeing them reminds me of the girls when they were little.  Wondering if I was anything like they are.  Seeing, touching, hearing.. unafraid.  That’s what I miss.  I see how they try anything without knowing what could happen.  Taking those first steps, jumping off the couch, trying adult food for the first time, touching a soft cat or prickly pinecone.

We have eight of them and that is all we will have.  The oldest will turn 21 the end of this month and the youngest is a year and a half.  Wow, is that crazy or what!  

I love watching them grow, seeing what they are doing, the challenges they face, the individuals they are becoming.  School, health, dates, driving, jobs – it all takes time and that is what they have more of than anything else.

I just want them to know that we care, we want them to do their best, we will catch them if they fall, and we will let them take the responsibility if they make decisions that we disagree or agree with!  

There are times when I think back to my grandparents and know that they approved and disapproved of many things.  I loved it when they scolded me and I knew they really weren’t upset, just a little disapproving of my choices.  We all turned out pretty well, anyway.

The hubby and I argue, sometimes, over the way they were raised.  We aren’t their parents, they have their own.  We watch and wait until our kids ask us for advice and, sometimes, we give it anyway.

I will always remember my Great Grandpa on my paternal side.  He was the most fun.  I was young when he was old and yes, I remember the day we laid him to rest.  It was heart breaking.

He loved to play tricks until we cried or skip with us down a dusty old road.  Memories are what I have.  I hope that my grand kids have those too.

We have favorites, whether we like it or not, and try not to show it.  I think that because we didn’t get to be involved with some of the older kids, when they were little, we missed some of the bonding.  Who the heck knows how to be grandparents anyway????

Snuggles and hugs, kisses and high 5’s.  Diapers and distress.  Driving and dates.  School and jobs.  The older they get, the less we see them.  They get busy just like us.  Scheduling time is what we need to do.  We can no longer just drop in and expect to see the older ones. 

Cherish what you have, look forward to what is coming, and remember what was.  These are great times  – Grandpa and Grandma!

Image result for free retirement pictures

Well, are you ready?  Almost ready?  Kind of ready?  Not really ready?  Definitely not ready?

I am at the almost ready stage.  The last five years we have been really working on being at the almost ready stage.  Nothing scares me more than not being ready.  Are you kidding me?  If health care, IRAs, 401Ks, Medicare, and Medicaid doesn’t scare you, then maybe thinking about what you will fill your days with should!

I don’t want to go to work now as it is.  But, I have to fill my days with something, right?  Yes, I have a hobby.  Yes, I like to be outdoors.  No, I don’t watch that much mind numbing television either.  No, I don’t have an unlimited supply of money put away, yet.

What I have been doing is working on diversifying what money I do have and making sure that I have a job until I am ready to retire.  Reading, learning and asking questions about what I do need to do are part of the planning to get to Retirement.  I also nurture myself with a hobby and reading.

The climate I live in allows for many opportunities to take advantage of – indoors and outdoors.  Four seasons make that part of Retirement easy.  There is nothing better than to be able to do so many things all year round.  Winter will be the biggest challenge because, unfortunately or fortunately, the means won’t be there and I really don’t have a desire to leave this beautiful state.

A rocking chair is still an option for part of my Retirement.  Working part-time may be an option for some of it too.  I do not want to limit what I will or will not do when I retire. Never say NEVER.  I am old enough to know that there are things I have never done and may never get to do but I will never say I never want to do them.  Now that was a mouthful!

Take the challenge and think about how long you want to wait to Retire.  Think about what you may or may not need to do in order to do that.  Think about what you want to do when you Retire.  Do you want to move or do you want to start that hobby you have been dying to spend more than a few hours a week on or do you want to travel?

I know that when I am ready to Retire I will have lots to do.  I will be ready to take on that big garden, quilt more often and read when I want.  What do you want to do…………

Winter

We planted, gathered, and played all summer

Ahhh, Winter, how long will your visit be?  I know it officially starts on December 21st and ends in March.  It seems longer than our Spring and Summer put together!  This Winter had a later start, which we were all thankful for.  I should say most of us were thankful.  The skiers and snowmobilers love it when that first blanket falls.

Winter is a time for rest.  We planted, gathered, and played all summer.   When I think of Winter, I think of all the things that I need to do inside to nurture myself.  I read, work on hobbies, celebrate holidays, organize, downsize, and get my house in order.

Winter is an amazing time for all of us.  We take the time to reflect on the year that has passed.  We plan for the new year to come.  I know that many times we think we are going to change that which we didn’t from the year before.

There was a time when we thought that maybe we should have gone to Arizona – warm weather, no snow or bitter cold.  When you have lived your life with four distinct seasons, could you really enjoy the fall and Winter holidays without the falling leaves and snow?  I know that I would certainly miss the first snowfall, the crunch of the snow beneath my feet, the tracks of animals, snow storms that make you stay home, and the wind howling against the house.snowflake

The smell and crispness ofthe air, after the first snowfall, makes Winter worth it.  I always have to call or text my daughter when I see the first snowflake – It’s snowing!  I know that it has rubbed off on the granddaughter because she enjoys that first snow like her grandma!

Take time this winter to nurture yourself.  Take up a hobby that can only be done in Winter.  Read that book you thought you would read this summer when you were busy planting and mowing.  Clean out your closets.  Get rid of the clutter.  Get your house in order so you can really enjoy next summer and plan for next Winter.

Holidays

What is your favorite Holiday?  Mine use to be Christmas, believe it or not.  I still enjoy Christmas, just not like I use to.  Holidays have become more of a chore than an enjoyment to me.  Maybe it’s because of my J.O.B.  I think mostly it’s because I just find that sometimes simpler means more.

I use to make Halloween a big deal.  Poor Thanksgiving gets the short end of the stick, always.  The summer Holidays are great, obviously because of the weather.

The older I get the more things seem to get out of hand with all the decorating and planning.  I like easy.  Asking others to bring part of the meal, supplying paper plates, and making the main dish are great for large get togethers.  What does that mean to me?  It means less work for everyone – dishes are the biggest issue.  It also means more time together – playing games, visiting, doing.

My family enjoys games and talking.  We enjoy hanging out.  The more the merrier!  It may be just watching and listening for some or it may be participating to the fullest for others!  We argue, we laugh, we have fun.

I am thinking that summer time Holidays are going to be my favorite.  They were last year.  We are able to bring more families together when we can be outside.  We love having the extra space outside.  Grilling, playing basketball and yard games, fishing and swimming – the simple enjoyments of summer.

We all have different Holidays that we love.  We have different Holidays that we have made special because of life’s changes.  What Holiday do you love or now love because of life’s changes?  Remember, it’s about family.

Traveling

UGH!!  Today I had to Travel.  My first hour sucked!  The wind blew across the road and other drivers just don’t get how to drive safely.  I was a nervous wreck by the time I got to the rest stop to use the bathroom.  I just wanted to cry….well, I kind of had tears in my eyes when I called my husband.

Maybe I just was just mad because I have to Travel.  Maybe I was tired, frustrated, irritated, and upset.  I have to Travel.  We all do.  This all boils down to making a decision to move to a place that we can retire to.  I am there but my husband isn’t, yet.

When I called him, he reminded me of our goal.  Yes, stay positive, I know.  It will be worth it.  We aren’t doing this because we want to Travel back and forth to see each other.

Traveling should mean taking mini vacations, long weeks in the sun, and taking grandkids to a theme park.  I know many of my friends and relatives Travel to take care of their parents, grandparents and grandkids.  That is the best traveling.

I know when he Travels home, it is a way better trip.  Why?  Because he is coming home.  Coming home to spend time with me, the kids, grandkids, parents, and others that are here.  Don’t get me wrong, I get to spend time with him when I Travel to see him, but it’s different.  This is home.  He is Traveling home.

I Travel to my job, to get groceries and gas, to visit friends and relatives, to shop and so many other things.  I don’t mind driving, really.  It is a chance to think, dream, talk to myself, figure things out that have been troubling me, and best of all — jam to the music.

How do you like to Travel?  Just get in the car and go, with or without a destination?  I like having some kind of destination.  Traveling can get you where you want to go – it can also take you places that you thought didn’t exist.

 

 

Cousins

Does your circle include your Cousins?  How far out do you keep in touch – first, second, third?  With all the social media available to us we have access to so much information.  I personally am in touch with so many generations and layers of Cousins, I forget where they are on the family tree!

The family tree and its branches and roots go very deep.  I think that in order to understand who your Cousins are, you need to follow strings from your parents to tie them all together.  I have Cousins that are from my paternal grandfather’s (great uncle) brothers and sisters that I have never seen and if I did, I was so little I wouldn’t know them from the next person!  I do, however, keep in touch with a few others on that fantastic website Facebook.  That, my friends, is a great way to tie those strings together if your parents are no longer with you.  We may not have seen each other for a long time, but our hearts are connected.

I absolutely love seeing my family tree spreading out.  Marriages and babies all came from two people who started something that they could never have guessed would be so big.

First Cousins have a special bond.  We use to see first Cousins on a yearly basis.  Now with our children growing and having their own children it certainly gets harder.  Now, sad to say, we tend to see each other at funerals.  They were the first people you got to spend time with on many holidays, camping trips, graduations, weddings, and funerals.  Your friends didn’t get to go to your family functions. Second Cousins were always older and had more in common with your parents.  As you got older, they are the ones that you can now relate to and learn more about the strings that tie you together.

Going through pictures with my parents this fall, I was amazed at some of the pictures they had of my favorite great uncle.  Really, they are pictures that would be appreciated by his children.  I know my paternal grandmother had given them but now I think they need to go back to my second Cousins.

Memories play an important part in keeping our strings tied to each other and when we get together now, as adults, how much more fun it is to reminisce about those times!!

Age

Wow!  Who would have thought we would be this old!  I keep thinking that with age comes wisdom, does it?  Growing older has perks but mostly it is harder.  Slowing down every year gets more noticeable.  Thoughts of retirement are coming more every day.  I didn’t want to grow up, really.  When I talk about what I want to be when I grow up, I still don’t know.  I do know that I get more tolerable of some things and less tolerable of others – meaning I just really don’t want any involvement in it.

Yes, AGE is a number, but so is the temperature and we certainly notice that change!  I still think I am younger than I really am.  It is strange to compare where I am as to where my parents were at the same Age.

As I reflect on all this, I see the changes in others.  We are now taking care of parents, having grandchildren, preparing for retirement, and putting our houses in order.

Age has a derogatory meaning for some and excitement for others.  It can mean aches and pains or the chance to do what we always wanted to do!

I am a half glass full kind of person and hope to be able to do what I want – with the hubby!  Maybe it’s because of what I said earlier – Age is just a number to me!