Friendship

I had lunch today with some of my friends from Our Daily Bread Ministries. It was wonderful to catch-up with what’s going on in their lives and share updates from mine. Friends are special people God has placed in our lives to love, support, and share with us. My list of friends isn’t very long but the people on it are ones who make my life fuller.

I have been retired for almost a year now and a lot of adjustments have taken place in my life within this past year. I guess you could say I’ve gone through several “phases”. The first thing I had to adjust to was not going into work five days a week and then to the social interactions that took place either directly with me or around me during work hours. Adjusting to a new kind of quietness.

I’m not a big social person and I have always lead a pretty quiet life. I’ve liked it that way. For a variety of reasons, I do not find myself comfortable in groups bigger than four or five people. I am not good at “small” talk, I do not watch sports, travel very little, and do not have a college degree; all the things talked about in groups situations.

But back to adjusting to retirement. I also had to adjust to not feeling guilty reading a book or watching a DVD all afternoon. I remember the day I realized I no longer felt that way. I also went through a phase where I wanted to be busy all the time and then I settled back into not being so busy. Now I’ve leveled off and once again like the quiet peacefulness of just being relaxed. Nothing can replace doing what you want when you want to do it . . . or not doing it at all.

 But friends through all the “phases” of my retirement have been there; for breakfast, lunches, and coffee dates, keeping me connected to them and their lives and they connected to mine.

Easter is fast approaching and Easter reminds me of the greatest friend any of us could ever have. The ultimate friend who suffered and gave up His life for us, a whole world of people. Not just the people in Biblical times but all the people who have ever lived or will ever live. Because of Jesus death and His resurrection, we can be sin-free; at least as sin-free and any earthly person can be, and we can have a life with Him eternally when we die. What a friend!

Be especially blessed this Easter as you remember the greatest gift ever given.

“The one who died for us also walks with us.” (Our Daily Bread prayer journal)

butterfly

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Catching Up

I have been very remiss in posting anything on my blog these last few months. The last posting was in November. My apologies to all.

December was filled with Christmas shopping and celebrating our Lord’s birth on Christmas Eve with the family, our traditional time. We enjoyed a meal together, read the Christmas story from Matthew and Luke, and exchanged gifts. Of course, there was lots of conservation and laughter during all that activity.

My daughter bought me a new coffee pot (the old one was slowly dying and I was glad it made it until Christmas). My son, daughter-in-law, and grandkids gave me pull-on winter cleats to put on my boots for winter walking, so I could walk safely on snow and ice.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to use them yet due to a shoulder sprain and lack of icy winter weather since that time.

Everyone chuckles when I tell them I sprained my shoulder working out at the fitness center; (added too much weight too soon . . .oops!). I have been going to physical therapy twice weekly for approximately 6 weeks and it has gotten much better. Hopefully this week will be my last week of therapy. Shoulder is at about 85% right now so it will be a little while longer before its completely back to normal. I am looking forward to carefully using the arm machines again.

A new year has dawned on us. We now face the challenges of another year of new goals (whatever they might be) and the opportunity to show more kindness and love to others. And of course, our country has a new president, which is good news for many and not so good for others who supported the opposing candidate.

No matter who we voted for our obligation as followers of Christ is to support our president and members of Congress, praying for them to have the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to make the right decisions for our country. Romans 13:1 says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” We can trust that God knows what He is doing even if we humans do not.

My son and I are in the midst of painting my home and making a few changes that need done. We have finished the living and dining rooms. The walls have a fresh color and we installed new blinds on both living and dining room windows. Wow, looks so different! One thing I regret is not taking “before” pictures. Although my son does not enjoy painting he does a great job. He is especially good at painting the detail areas around the ceiling and floorboards. I help by filling in the areas in between. I’m also good at handing him the drill, nails, screws, and other items as we make changes. We make a pretty good team.

I look forward to this continued new year in my own life to enjoy more blessings from God as well as the challenges that will surely come. Always taking one day at a time, enjoying it as fully as I can. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us so we must cherish each moment we have, each breath we take, each minute with family and friends.

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November

November – the month of elections, Thanksgiving, continued fall colors, and of course this year the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series (yes!). The calendar year is moving fast and soon we will be celebrating Christmas and the birth of our Lord Jesus.

As I noted in a previous blog, my life has gotten much busier this fall with Bible studies, workouts, and morning and afternoon walks where I breathe in fresh air and kick beautiful but color fading leaves on the sidewalk. I love the sound of the leaves as I walk, whoosh, whoosh.

I really like the new busyness. It’s enough to keep me active yet allow for quiet moments, the peacefulness I so enjoy. The one thing that has slacked off is my reading (I know, what a shock, right?). I’m back to reading about one book a week again.

I’ve enjoyed some great moments since my last blog. My granddaughter and I went to see the new Jack Reacher movie. Big thumbs up from us both! In fact, I think this second movie is better than the first one. One of the highlights for me, as in the last film, was the cameo appearance of the author of the Reacher books, Lee Child himself. Reminds me of the old Alfred Hitchcock movies (do any of you remember those? Hitchcock always appeared in his own movies).

I traveled to St. Joseph last weekend to meet my friend Annie from Illinois for lunch, something we try to do twice a year. It was so great to see her and get caught up on what has been happening in her life . . .  besides the Cubs winning. She is die-hard Cubs fan so she was in her glory when they won and she shared all those experiences with me. She was one of the 5 million people in downtown Chicago for the celebration festivities. It’s at moments like this that I miss Illinois and Chicagoland where I lived for 15 years before moving back to Michigan.

I also celebrated my sister’s birthday with her and her partner. Spent the day in their part of Michigan. We had an awesome visit and great food at a Lansing restaurant. I also got to see their cat Cheetah who I kept for them while they were in Florida for 2 months earlier this year. He remembered me so I was thrilled.

Not all my recent experiences have been good however. With the good comes the unforeseen. On a recent Friday, shortly after dropping off items at Goodwill I discovered one of the window hinges on my rear car window was broken. I was able to set it into the groove and made it to the AFC where my daughter lives, praying all the way it didn’t fall out. Barb at the AFC duct taped the hinge for me and we strung some rope to hold the window in place so I could get home safely. Big kudos to the Hyundai car dealer who worked me into their busy Saturday am schedule. Thankfully replacement hinges were in stock and I was able to leave feeling blessed and confident once more (whew!).

“Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.” Psalm 66:16

Stay with me as we continue to fly on wings of purple!

butterfly

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Chicago PD

My reading has increased greatly since I retired. I now read several books a week instead of only one. From a very young age I have loved to read and mysteries have always been my favorite type of book. As a youngster I read all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy books the library had available. Now my favorite mystery books are written by authors like David Baldacci, C.J. Box, Lee Child, Michael Connelly and Brandilyn Collins on the Christian side.

My TV and movie watching falls along the same lines with action movies like Jason Bourne and Jack Reacher and TV programs like the three CSI programs, Closer, Major Crimes, Blue Bloods, and most recently my top of the list police show is Chicago PD, which does crossovers with Chicago Fire and Chicago Med.

Chicago PD has an awesome cast including Jason Beghe (Sgt. Hank Voight), Elias Koteas (Det. Alvin Olinsky), Jon Seda (Det. Antonio Dawson), Sophia Bush (Det. Erin Lindsay), Jesse Lee Soffer (Det. Jay Halstead), Patrick John Flueger (Det. Adam Ruzek), Marina Squerciati (Officer Kim Burgess), Amy Morton (Desk Sgt. Trudy Platt), LaRoyce Hawkins (Det. Kevin Atwater).

My favorite character is Det. Antonio Dawson played by Jon Seda. I like this character because he is tough, sometimes standing on the brink between right and wrong and almost losing it when the crime involves a child. Yet he is the one who usually pulls his boss Sgt. Hank Voight back from crossing that very line, showing that doing what is right is important to him. But beyond all this he is a family man even in the face of his wife and family leaving him. He tries to mend this breach and when he cannot he still continues his relationship with his children because being a dad is important to him.

To the disappointment of many, the character of Det. Antonio Dawson is about to change. He is going to receive a promotion and will be moving to a new show called Chicago Justice where he will be working for the State’s Attorney’s office as a lead investigator with his own unit. The PD and CJ shows will be doing crossovers periodically so he will not be forever gone from PD and no doubt Jon Seda will continue to do a great job in this expanded role.

There are other anticipated changes to the Dawson role including a love interest with paramedic Sylvie from Chicago Fire. (how many of you are going to be shocked that Dawson will be matched up with a younger woman? – I could say more about that but will hold it for another day, another blog).

I’ve liked Jon Seda in other roles he has played across the years especially as Det. Paul Falsone on NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street. But what I like best about Jon Seda is who he is personally. In a recent interview Jon stated that he would not be able to do what he does (which to me is being a great actor) without the support of his wife and children.

Unlike most actors who leave their families behind when they take on a role in another state, Jon’s wife of sixteen years and his children move with him. This tells me that Jon’s first priority is his marriage and family – very admirable. His wife homeschools their children which allows them to make these moves.

Jon ~ I realize the likelihood of you ever reading this post is as the saying goes, “slim to none” but still I just want to say . . . Stay the course. Sending prayers and blessings to you and your family.

“Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” I John 3:18

butterfly

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Autumn

Fall is here and my life is getting busier. My days are filling up with things other than reading a good book. Monday’s are cleaning and laid back days (well actually every day is a laid back day – who am I trying to kid?).

Recently I started attending a church closer to where I live and in doing so have begun to attend a women’s Bible Study on Luke on Tuesday mornings, which I am enjoying very much. It’s also been nice to meet ladies my age who attend the church. They are a great group. After Bible Study we trek off to Schuler’s Books for lunch and more conversation.

Wednesday mornings I’ve been attending a Bible Study on Revelation in a neighboring town. Thursday and Friday’s it’s picking up groceries and running errands. Weekly errands of course include a least one trip to the library for books and movies.

In between these activities are lunches and coffee times with friends, sharing and catching up. These are very special times for me. I love getting together and talking about, well everything and anything.

I was so glad this past week was much less rainy. Missed a lot of walks the week of all that rain. With the cooler weather I find myself taking both morning and afternoon walks. I love walking in the cool, crisp air of autumn and seeing the beautiful color changing leaves all around me.

My grandson is in the process of playing soccer again so Saturday mornings are dedicated to seeing him play. He loves the game and is one of the best players on the team. There’s nothing like watching someone doing what they really love.

I have toyed with the idea of going out of town for a couple days, maybe to Chicago or Traverse City but sometimes it’s hard to connect with friends who are still working so I may have to table that until spring. But then again you never know what might come up.

I feel so extra thankful lately for a God who loves and cares for me. What a joy to know He is with me.

“The Lord will work out His plans for my life – for your faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 138:8

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Summer Days

I have now been retired for just over 3 months, very much enjoying the summer days. I like both sunny and cloudy days. Sunny days energize me and cloudy days give me permission to be extra lazy reading and watching movies. I have done a lot of reading, definitely more than usual, several books a week. The library has become my most visited place.

I take a lot of morning walks within the area where I live. It is so beautiful here, lots of trees and occasionally wildlife. In the last year I have seen deer, wild turkeys, geese, squirrels, a baby bunny, baby raccoons, and of course garter snakes (uck).

My most memorable times the past few months have been spending every-other weekend with my daughter, attending museums with my granddaughter and taking my grandchildren clothes shopping for school.

My daughter and I spent time visiting, eating out, and occasionally swimming in the condo pool; making memories together. My granddaughter and I visited the Gerald R. Ford museum, Art Museum, and went to see the new Jason Bourne movie. Both of us gave the Bourne movie a 5 out 5 stars. We loved it! My grandson wasn’t into the museums and movie so I took him to breakfast and bought him new shoes for school. That may not sound thrilling to you, but it was to him (and me!).

I had a great time taking my grandchildren shopping for school clothes. They are both very conscious of prices, taking out their calculators for each item of clothing to determine exactly what the sale price was. Their parents taught them well. Then of course topping it all off with lunch at Culver’s (their choice). And they thanked me a hundred times (well it seemed like a 100). What a great time we had together! I am so thankful to be able to help them out and of course LOVE spending time with them.

I’ve also enjoyed lunches and coffee with friends, catching up and hearing all the news of what is going on in their lives and how things are changing for them.

“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness know through all generations.” Psalm 89:1

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Continual Prayer

“Pray continually.” – Thessalonians 5:17

Wow, that’s quite a statement, isn’t it? Does that mean to pray 24/7? How does one do that? As followers of Christ we are required to pray for our families, friends, ourselves, our leaders (local, state, national), those who persecute us, the sick, the struggling, and on and on the list goes. Pray for all people in all situations, about all things. That is definitely a 24/7 job. How do we get other things done if we are on our knees every minute of every day? I don’t know how it works for other people, but I will share how it works for me.

Somewhere along life’s way I realized I was committing myself to praying for people and situations and then at prayer time forgetting to do so. Yes, I would write down the requests and hopefully remember to bring the list out at prayer time, but still found myself forgetting. This bothered me. I am a person who totally believes in the power of prayer, that God hears and answers prayer. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” – James 5:16b

Many years ago I read about someone who every time they heard a siren they instantly prayed for that situation and I thought to myself, I can do that. As most of you probably know, prayer does not necessarily need to take place down on our knees or by talking out loud to God, although this is a great way to do it. But God knows people cannot always be on their knees praying 24/7. People have families to care for, jobs to perform, lives to interact with, and so on.

For me, I found the only way to pray continually is to pray internally. I don’t know when I began doing this, but at some point I began praying as needs and situations become known to me. Whether that awareness comes to me from a text, email, phone call, a conservation at lunch, a news item on TV, or in some other form. Internally I send an immediate prayer to God to help that person; to give comfort, healing, strength; to intercede in a situation, to carry the load for someone overwhelmed, to provide wisdom, provide solutions and relief for the catastrophes we see going on around us.

The other thing I try to do immediately after praying is to thank God for hearing my prayer and interceding, because again I might forget to do it later. I personally believe in praying about everything in life; not just the big things but all things; from getting the garage door unstuck, having fun with my grandkids, safety while traveling, and everything in between. I realize how much God loves me not because He has done something big for me, but because He takes care of me all day, every day, in all things . . . and does it so much better than I can do myself.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6

And don’t give up. Jesus told his disciples in Luke 18:1 they should always pray and not give up. So keep praying . . . for people, for situations, for yourself.

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