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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Aging gracefully-ish???

January 15, 2012
Today is my birthday.  I am 47, or is it 48…let’s see, I was born in 1965, so in 2005, I turned 40- 2010, I turned 45…it is now 2012, so yes… I am 47. Yes. This is literally the math I did in my head as I tried to remember my exact age. It is shocking that I am not more financially secure with those mathematical skills isn’t it?
I love birthdays… I just don’t like keeping up with how old I am.  I remember when I could not wait to be “older”… I wanted to be able to date, drive, go to college, make my own decisions, get married, have kids… Those years ended a long time ago… A.Long.Time.Ago.
Age has never meant much to me.  My best friend, Karen, always told me that she was 33.  I believed her for years, until the year that Cody turned 33 and I knew she was older than he was… that was when I realized the math was not adding up. Age is just a number- and I am not good at remembering numbers.
But even though another birthday is just another number- my body is telling me that those numbers are racking up pretty quickly.  First of all, I am a grandmother.  Greatest gig ever.  But after a full day with Aubrey, I realize I am tired.  I am not sure how my own three children were ever fed well balanced meals. How did I manage to get the laundry done? And the fact that I ever arrived anywhere fully clothed and with make up on is a complete mystery to me now.  I take her to day care and pick her up a couple of days a week. While these days are the highlights of my week, getting her in and out of the car seat is a work out for me. In fact, I think I might have torn my knee up just trying to maneuver around.  I have considered asking the day care people to just come out and get her. Seriously. The thought crosses my mind. They do have younger people who work there…
I can’t wait for Lynnsay and HB’s little Pistol to arrive.  I just hope I have the energy to chase him and Aubrey.  Hopefully I won’t lose one of them. (Maybe Aubrey will be able to put Pistol in his car seat...and help get him out!! SHHHH- don't tell Lynnsay and Katherine)
Hot flashes…that is another really thrilling adventure you begin to experience as the years add up. I have actually considered running out into the cold air- naked… yes. NAKED. I have often stuck my head into our freezer.  I have started to wear layered clothing…that way I can quickly strip down to my tank top at any given moment. I have also considered moving to my own room- as winter nights make me cold and want to snuggle, and then without a notice- I am on fire! Sweating, not wanting anyone to touch me and seriously wanting to shed my p.j.’s…intense heat followed quickly with the chills…It is a lesson in patience and endurance, let me tell you. Those cute little stylish scarves everyone is wearing right now? Great accessory to hide my aging neck. BUT. A hot flash nightmare. I have actually considered hanging myself with the scarf because I could not get it taken off fast enough. (I have also considered choking the men around me with it during a hot flash when they all seem to be laughing at me, as they sit around “feeling all cool”)I will never understand how my body thermal gauge can turn against me so quickly.

The other thing…readers.  I have been blind since 4th grade. Actually, probably a little earlier than 4th since the first time I put on a pair of glasses I realized the trees actually had “separate” leaves- any of you with severe near sightedness can understand what I am talking about. But I have always been able to see up close…not anymore.  And I have realized that short of carrying around a magnifying glass there are some things I just don’t think I will ever be able to see again. 
Aging is not all bad. It has so many good things that go along with it, that it makes it worthwhile.  With our children practically grown, Cody and I are experiencing wonderful bonding time together again.  We actually have date nights that don’t end in a sporting event.  We have alone time together at our house, not just in our vehicles going from one event to the next! Don’t get me wrong- I loved every minute of that!! But I am enjoying this time more and more everyday! It is almost like we are newlyweds- but we have already fought through the big stuff like sharing the closet space…lid up or down on the toilet seat…what direction does the toilet paper go on the roll…those type of things were ironed out years ago. Now we are comfortable and have more time to focus on just each other.
Our children are becoming our best friends as we get to spend more time enjoying their company and not feeling like we are constantly parenting them. We really do like them, and even more? We enjoy their company!
Cody and I are laughing at ourselves. Cody bought a rain gauge (large print for old eyes) and he could not wait to check it last time it rained.  I have hung a humming bird feeder, and have begun to research what food to put out in order to attract mockingbirds. Cody drinks coffee sometimes just because… We have figured out how to get what we want for breakfast at Cracker Barrel by combining orders and saving ourselves $4.00! We are looking forward to the Senior Discount.

And one of the best things about getting older? Being a grandparents!! We have our granddaughter, Aubrey, and our grandson, Pistol, (not his real name, my nick name) who will be arriving in May. As an added bonus, we also get to share grandchildren with our best friends, Karen and Bobby! So we have Jack, Ryleigh, Henry and Baby Bean Supak (not his real name, my nick name), who will make his debut a couple of months before Pistol…A hug from any of these children is like fuel for my happy meter.  I can live a week full of happy thoughts off of a few moments with any of these little munchkins. And the joy I get from watching Cody be their “Pops”? There are no words.
I love my family!! I love my husband!! I love my life…. My aging life….God is good!
This is our Noodle...Aubrey Blayce

I don't have a picture of Baby Bean... but I assume he looks a little bit like Pistol!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Walking with the Master

January 11, 2012
I have a pug- June Bug the pug.  She is actually David’s dog, but he frequently accuses me of stealing her, which I very well might have.  However, she still really loves him- she just prefers my sleeping habits- normal ones- over his- vampire hours. (Seriously, I have been checking his teeth for fangs)
June Bug makes me laugh.  Almost every time I look at her I cannot help but smile.  It has been that way since the first time I saw her photo on Craig’s List. She grunts, snorts, breathes loudly at best, purrs when she is content and snores.  Her snoring is competitive with my husband’s…sometimes I wake up to the tune of them snoring in a rhythmic duet.  That even makes me smile.  June Bug has also been known to pass gas, loudly, and that makes me laugh out loud! Toots bring no reaction from her other than she lifts her head to look at me as if to say, “What?”
I also have another dog, Lucy. Lucy is a malti-pooh and a princess. She was a gift to me from my husband, however, if the truth be told she loves him the most.  She is sweet and furry. I always wanted her to wear a bow. But early on I knew that she took after my daughter and thought they looked stupid and she refused to keep them in her hair. Lucy could be the prettiest malti-poo I have ever seen. With or without a bow.
June Bug likes to follow me around. A lot. Our morning routine usually consists of this: I get up and go into the bathroom- she reluctantly leaves the warm covers and follows me in there.  I take her to the back door she goes out and comes right back in. As I am waiting for my tea pot to boil, I feed her.  She eats her dog food (and Lucy’s if I don’t keep an eye on her) in a matter of seconds- literally. Seconds. Like a doggie vacuum.  I put her back outside, and she comes right back in…we head back to the bathroom where I continue the process of getting ready for my day. June Bug almost never leaves my side. She will follow me around so closely that if I turn around too quickly I will almost trip over her.  Often she follows close enough that she keeps her nose planted on my leg as she takes deep, loud snorts and purrs as if to say that she loves the way I smell.
I began to wonder what it would look like if I was actually following Jesus that closely…what if I consistently considered His steps and simply walked blindly behind Him?  Isn’t that really what I am called to do?
Lucy, on the other hand, is a princess and prefers to only be in someone’s lap or curled up on the couch.  She does not have time to follow me around, it would require way too much walking. And she is not much into walking. She never goes anywhere quickly, except to someone’s chair at the dinner table that she thinks might slip her a little bite. She has also been known to hit the door running when she thinks she might get to go somewhere with us. She is quick to roll over in order to get her tummy scratched. She is sweet and adorable, and realizes her only goal in life is to love us. Lucy  rests in the comfort of knowing we are taking care of her every need.
I so often get distracted by my own wants and needs, or just the life going on around me that I leave His side.  I stop following in His footsteps.  I quit resting in the comfort of knowing that He is taking care of my every need. My goal in life becomes self centered and I am no longer living just to love my God.
Thanks June Bug and Lucy for bringing us happiness and for reminding me of how one truly walks with the Master.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christmas Changes

January 4, 2012
As it seems like has happened with everything else in our lives this year, we faced changes during Christmas. And as has happened with all of the other changes, God blessed us through our families and our friends. The love we all share illuminated the meaning of Christmas in my heart.
The financial challenges we have faced this past year forced deep budget cuts in our Christmas spending. And even though I was excited about the special gifts we had picked out for each of our children and our granddaughter, a portion of my heart grieved over the fact that we could not afford to give them more.  At one point David, our youngest, was talking about someone listing off all of the things she had received during a family Christmas. According to David, the long list was followed with the comment, “I did not get anything.” And my heart ached because in comparison to that list, David really did not get anything. And I worried that he would feel the same way.
But again, our children showed me the true meaning of Christmas. We celebrated Christmas with our children on Dec. 23rd.  As has become our tradition, we had wings at Plucker’s and returned home to open gifts. . They were grateful for every gift they received- but the main enjoyment we had was with each other.  We played games. We laughed and all talked at once.  We watched Aubrey play with her new baby doll.
The next day my parents, who had driven their travel trailer in the night before, came over and spent Christmas Eve with us.  And that evening, my children all granted my Christmas wish (and my mom’s as well) and attended the Christmas Eve church service with us. We all went to our friends’, William and Elizabeth’s after church and had taco soup and visited.
Christmas morning Cody and I woke up and for the first time that I can remember, Santa Clause had not visited our house. I know the meaning of Christmas has very little to do with a visit from the man in red, however, I have always loved the celebration at dawn of finding out exactly what Santa left everyone under the tree and in their stockings…it is magical.
I remember as a little girl, I would wake up my brother and sister and we would sneak into the living room to see all of our goodies.  As I grew into a teenager, the job of waking us up was handed down to my little brother, and when he became a teenager, my sister took over the chore.  By the time my sister was a teenager, I was married with children- and they woke everyone up. So, really, I cannot remember a single Christmas morning that I have not woken up to the laughter and squeals of delight- from my brother and sister, my own children or my nieces and nephews.
But for the first time when we woke up Christmas morning, there was only me, Cody and David. No stockings full of candy.  No gifts laid out under the tree. The absence of these things made me sad, and once again, I worried about how David was taking this change.  
We prepared for the arrival of my sister-in-law, nephew and nieces from California, as well as the arrival of my sister and her family who were coming from Lubbock the next day to celebrate Christmas with my parents and the “Cox” side of our family. I was so excited about them all coming to town.  It would be the first time we would have had any of them in our new house. Plus it was the first time all of our family (minus my brother, who was stuck working in California) would have been together in over a year. As I changed sheets and cleaned house, I considered how we should be preparing for the return of Christ; not simply celebrating His birth every year.  But as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we should be reminded to prepare for His return. As a matter of a fact, we should be anxiously looking forward to it with the same excitement that I felt about the arrival of my family.
For several years, we have celebrated Christmas with our “Temple family”, Bobby and Karen Luckett and their family. This year, for the first time, we were having our Christmas dinner at their house instead of our house.  As we now both have grown daughters, we were able to divide up the cooking so it did not all rest on one or two people’s shoulders. (Karen is good at delegating. I am not)  So, my kitchen was much quieter, and my stress level much lower.
When we arrived at Karen and Bobby’s house with my parents in tow, I was once again amazed by all of the gifts God has given us.  All of our kids, their spouses and our grandchildren were there, laughing and talking and working together to get the meal ready to be served. We ate, played games and reminisced. We also looked forward to future times together as next Christmas we will have two more baby boys to add to the growing list of grandchildren. Our families have a truly remarkable bond that while it is not genetic, I believe it to be spiritual. God has formed this family.
We received the phone call from Michelle, my sister-in-law, letting us know that her arrival at our house was close at hand.  We loaded up and all headed back to our house anxious to see them all. As they unpacked and adjusted to the new surroundings, I began to fill plates with Christmas leftovers.  It was not long after that our front door opened again, and in walked my sister, brother-in-law and all three of my nieces- a day early! It was a wonderful Christmas day surprise! All of the cousins were together on Christmas day! What a great gift to my parents to have all of their grandchildren under one roof at once.
I remember the first year our oldest son, Jacob, was aware that Santa had visited him. He was almost 18 months old.  We were at my parent’s house, where he came toddling down their long hallway into the living room. He spotted the “Little Tike” basketball goal immediately and took off running and yelling, “Baa-it ball!  Baa-it ball!”  Cody and my lives were forever changed…watching the faces of our children light up was like a drug. We were addicted. We still are. 
While Cody and I cut back on the gift giving this year, our children, granddaughter, nieces and nephews, parents and siblings still brought me to tears as their faces continually lit up over spending time together. Their excitement was not dependent on the gifts they received; but only the quality time we were given. I suddenly realized that the main change that occurred this Christmas was actually in my own heart, as Christ slowed me down and quietly showed me the true meaning of Christmas.  It was magical.