Growing Older Gracefully Archives 2008

Home | Autumn Creation | Harvest -Time of Thanksgiving | Autumn of Our Lives | Archives


  • Marriage - Aging and Intimacy by Cindy Granke
  • It's Winter Before We Know It
  • Usefulness
  • Thoughts on Being a Grandparent by Joanne Beckley
  • Bearing Fruit in Old Age by Lawrence Kelley
  • Humorous poem about pills
  • Laughter is the Sunshine of the Mind by Joanne Beckley
  • Organization - Efficiency by Joanne Beckley
  • Audrey Hepburn's Favorite Beauty Tips
  • Your Time Will Come by Steve May
  • My Grandma's Hands by Melinda Clements
  • Want To Know The Secret To Aging Gracefully?

Marriage ~ Aging
and Intimacy

by Cindy Granke

     This is as topic that affects many couples when one has become disabled for one reason or another, or when one has a chronic illness.  However even without either of those concerns, the inevitable process of aging brings its own special challenges. 

     To a man, the word intimacy often brings to mind something different than it does to a woman – especially in the early years of marriage.  When a man hears the word intimacy, he thinks of a passionate physical experience, while his wife tends to think about sharing an emotional bond, warmth, closeness, and communicating about their most private thoughts and feelings. 

”…The physical act of coming together in marriage is only one aspect of intimacy. . . .   The real definition of intimacy between two people is that they feel safe enough with each other to share their feelings and needs. If a husband and wife have that kind of intimacy, they won't have much trouble with sexual intimacy (unless, of course, there's a physical problem).” 
Gary Smalley

      God intended from the beginning that we develop intimacy with another person to the point that the two would become one (Genesis
2:20-25)   The apostle Paul also had this to say about the marriage relationship, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. . . .let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:25-31, 33).

     Clearly, the relationship between a husband and wife involves much more than the physical act of love.   While the sexual relationship is a very special bond between them, time and age make changes in our bodies and often in our circumstances.  One such circumstance is that more and more grandparents are raising their grandchildren.  Perhaps we can devote a future article to that particular situation. 

     The changes that we want to address in this article have to do with the changes in our bodies which come with age, and/or with illness and medications, as we grow older.  Presumably, we have devoted time during our married years to building the kind of intimacy which is based on mutual love and respect, and the enjoyment of being able to communicate with each other. 

ow many times have you been in a restaurant and watched another couple eating, who seemed to have little or nothing to say to one another?  All of us have moments when we are contented with just being quiet and being together.  The point I’m making is that it is important to be able to communicate with our husbands about mutual interests.  Sometimes that communication occurs on a non-verbal level.

aving said that, let us focus on open communication with our husband, with a view toward maintaining closeness, tenderness and intimacy. 

omplacency is an enemy that often creeps into a marriage without being noticed. Like water, complacent people follow the easiest course – downhill. Unfortunately even younger couples who have been married for five or ten years may find that their marriage has become a mediocre existence while they weren’t paying attention. That’s a topic for another article about family relationships.  However, when we are older we often have less energy and find ourselves battling chronic illnesses which can hinder our ability to follow daily routines, and our relationship may feel less intimate than we wish it was.  The good news is that we can make changes without too much difficulty.  You will find that making even one change at a time will give you the motivation to continue reclaiming your close relationship.

ome common behaviors that invite complacency into our relationship:

  • Keeping the television on for hours during the day or evening.  There is nothing wrong with watching favorite shows, but make time to play a game with each other, or work a jigsaw puzzle together, or doing anything that will make it possible for you to talk to each other.  Take a walk together.  Several years ago, my husband and I started walking to try to increase our energy and help with some stressful situations that we were dealing with at that time.  We discovered that when we were walking, we ended up talking more than we had ever found time to do at home.  At home, there were always phone calls, visitors, or chores to keep us preoccupied.  Even when we were taking leisurely walks, it promoted conversation and discussion about all kinds of things.  It’s one of the best ways I know to reconnect with each other.   
  • Neglecting smiles, gentle words and common courtesies. When the two of you make contact, smile warmly. Check your tone of voice when you are impatient.  Try to sound sweet, and reward your husband with a hug or a kiss when he takes out the trash or unloads the dishwasher.  Remember the old adage that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  It works even better with husbands than with flies.
  • Neglecting companionship.  Simply being best friends.  Make or arrange times when you can do things together as a couple.  All too often, we put more effort into being with or talking to other people than we do with each other.

      Lack of energy is often a hindrance when we grow older.  Sometimes one of us may not have the energy or physical ability to indulge in sexual relations in the same way we used to.  If the desire is there, both partners need to communicate that need.   Making love is not limited to sexual intercourse.  There are many other pleasurable ways to share and express the love for one another. Explore ways that the two of you might do these.  Talk to each other about your needs and desires. Plan a time when you will have privacy, free from distractions. That may mean turning the ringer off on the phone for an hour or so.  Discuss what each of you would like and what you can or cannot do.  This is particularly true when chronic illness, fatigue or disabilities are factors.  Some planning ahead of time may be necessary.  Here are a few suggestions which might help you plan and manage intimacy:

  • Plan for intimacy at a time of day when you usually feel your best.
  • Perhaps if you take a dose of your pain-relief medication so that the effects will coincide with your lovemaking – unless, of course it makes you feel drowsy.
  • You probably already plan your activities to avoid extreme fatigue for certain activities, like Sunday worship, grocery shopping, etc.   Planning a time for intimacy may not be spontaneous, but for most of us, when our children were small it was necessary to plan time for making love, too. 
  • Take a hot shower before making love.  It helps to soothe and relax your joints and muscles.
  • In fact, take a shower or bath with each other.  That can be as intimate as you would like to make it, and very pleasurable for both of you.  And be sure to let the other person know what feels good.
  • After your shower, gently apply lotion to one another.  You can enjoy pleasant sensations, warmth and affection even if your pain was not relieved.  Gentle touching may feel especially good to one whose body is often a source of pain.

     Here are some other simple suggestions that will keep (or rekindle) romance in your marriage.  They amount to ways to show affection, tenderness, and keeping each other aware of your love and your continued need for each other.

  • Hold hands when you walk or sit beside each other. 
  • Snuggle on the couch together.
  • Leave little love notes in unusual places, where he will be sure to find them.  I leave mine taped to the door knob, taped to the bathroom mirror, and sometimes rolled up and sticking up out of my husband’s coffee mug or tucked into the handle of his briefcase.  I’ve even left one or two in his Bible (at the location where I knew he was teaching or studying in Bible class.  Draw a red heart or a smiley face on a note you leave for him.
  • Leave special things that you know he likes, along with a little note.  A piece of chocolate, or some other special treat that might surprise him.
  • Touch each other.  When you walk behind the chair where he is sitting, touch his shoulder, or stop and lean down to kiss him on the cheek. 
  • Say, “I love you,” often and express it with a touch to his face, or his hair or simply with a hug.  A simple touch is a sweet communication from you to him, or vice versa.
  • Make or arrange time for just the two of you.  If others live in the house, go for a walk together, or just go into the bedroom and close the door.  If making love isn’t feasible in the middle of the day, you can lie beside each other and talk, or simply hold each other close.  

     You and your husband have a long term relationship.  You’ve been building it for many years.   It’s important to find ways to continue sharing with each other if you want to maintain that loving relationship.


And it's winter before we know it....

     You know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on a new life with my mate and yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went.

      I know that I lived them all...

     And I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams... But, here it is.... the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise.... How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my babies go? And where did my youth go?

     I remember well... seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like…. But, here it is, my friends are retired and really getting grey... they move slower and I see an older person now. Lots are in better shape than me...but, I see the great change.... Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant.... but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd be.

     Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore.... it's mandatory! ‘Cause if I don't on my own free will... I just fall asleep where I sit!

     And so, now I enter into this new season of my life, unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!!

     But, at least I know, that though the winter has come and I'm not sure how long it will last...this I know, that when it's over.... its over.... but only THIS life is over, for I have a promised eternal home with my Lord (Titus 1:2; 1 John 5:13). Yes, I have regrets. There are thinks I wish I hadn't done.... things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done.  It's all in a lifetime....

     So, if you're not in your winter yet.... let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it now! Don't put your heavenly goal on hold!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not!

     You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life.... so, live to do good today (Micah 6:8) and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember.... and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!

Author unknown

Adapted and submitted by Joanne Beckley



A useless life is early death.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wanting to be useful is an important part of our nature. We may be easily distracted from that desire -- and some folks seem to have suppressed the urge altogether! -- but still it's true, we want to feel that we're of use to somebody. Times of enforced idleness, such as periods of illness or disability, are rarely the times we remember as the happiest points in our lives. "It is a great misfortune to be of use to nobody" (Baltasar Gracian).

In regard to this "misfortune," however, there is something we need to be aware of: it is never actually the case that we are "of use to nobody." We may feel useless sometimes, but that feeling is never entirely consistent with reality. My father, for example, who just celebrated his ninetieth birthday, struggles with feelings of uselessness from time to time. Physically, he's quite limited in what he can do, and it's often hard for him to see any real purpose for his continued existence in the world. Yet in truth, he continues to be useful to others in ways that he's not aware of. If nothing else, his example of steadfastness and good cheer is of great value to all who know him.

It's an obvious fact, of course, that our usefulness can be diminished by circumstances beyond our control. But usually, what is diminished is only our preferred and customary way of being useful. What we need to do is let go of the past and have the humility to switch gears. We need to adjust ourselves to new ways of being useful, ways that may be less congenial to us but are no less valuable to others.

In the real world, there will be few days when we can't do something that somebody else needs to have done. We can be useful if that's what we want to be, and it's a great thing to set that as our goal. An even greater goal, however, is to combine usefulness with grace. We can diminish the amount of drabness in the world by (1) doing what needs to be done and (2) doing it in such a way that delights and encourages those whom we serve. Pragmatism and practicality are commendable qualities in their own right, but they're nothing short of astonishing when they're clothed with the added quality of grace!

The difference between utility and utility plus beauty
is the difference between telephone wires and the spider's web.

Edwin Way Teale

~Enthusiastic Ideas by Gary Henry



By:  Joanne Beckley

1.  Grandchildren keep me young and on my toes.

2.  I have someone of my own flesh to love.

3.  If I take a sincere interest in what interests my grandchildren, they will think I’m pretty special.

4.  I must continually remind my grandchildren that both parents love them.

5.  I must never criticize their parents in front of them.

6.  When I reminisce and share memories we’ve created together, I will bolster my grandchildren’s relationship with their parents.

7.  What are grandparents for? Charlie Shedd said they are for wondering with, for really listening, for saying “no” sometimes, for having fun with, for remembering, and for saying, “I think you’re OK.”

8.  I can teach my grandchildren love, care, constancy, common sense and hope for the future.

9.  I can teach what I have learned about prayer, meditation, Bible study.

10. I can teach about loving the unlovable, about preparing ahead for problems sure to be coming.

11. I can show them how to build, fill and keep an inner reservoir.
12. I must not lower my own standards just because my grandchildren have.

13. I can provide a place which will always be the same.

14.  My grandchildren hear more from
what I do than from what I say.

15.  I can accent the positive in my
grandchildren’s lives.
16.  When my grandchildren come
 to visit me:
  • One family/one child at a time
  • Take it slow to re-acquaint
  • Be wary of too many gifts
  • Never interfere with parental
    rules – go for a walk!
  • If it is an extended stay, 
    maintain routines.

17.  I will keep myself and my home neat and attractive, and welcoming so they will want to come; so that they will be proud to introduce me to their friends.

18. I will be happy. The world is full of pessimism.
19. I must remain aware of what is
going on in the world/child’s life
to maintain my credibility.
20. If I am able to babysit, I will offer
when I want to, and whenever able
in emergencies. 

21. I will continue to hold their grand-father/mother’s hand and
we will smile at each other.


Bearing Fruit In Old Age

     One of the greatest leaders in history didn't begin his public ministry until he was eighty years old. Moses, it appears, would have been quite content to live out his life in the quiet recesses of Midian, but God had other plans. At the burning bush, God told Moses to do now, in the strength of the Lord, what he had attempted forty years earlier in his own strength---deliver Israel from Egyptian oppression. Perhaps even more impressive, is that after two years of service, he consented to thirty eight more. Too many Christians work hard in the kingdom of the Lord until they reach retirement years when they not only retire from their calling in the world, but also from their work in the church. The example of Moses shows us that for some the most fruitful years in the service of the Lord begin after retirement. Every stage of life has its own temptations and in every stage of life, we must war against the flesh. For the aging, the temptation is often to quit the race and stand on the sidelines. The exhortation is to resist this temptation. Find a way to bear fruit in the kingdom. Use your golden years to strengthen your relationship to Christ through the disciplines of prayer, meditation, and study. Use your time to serve others who need your help, whether they are the sick, the young mothers, the spiritually weak, or those more advanced in years than yourself. There is always work to do and in the body of Christ there are no unnecessary members.

by Lawrence Kelley
via Whit Sasser's
 Exhortations & Stuff
A row of bottles on my shelf
Caused me to analyze myself.
One yellow pill I have to pop
Goes to my heart so it won't stop.
A little white one that I take
Goes to my hands so they won't shake.
The blue ones that I use a lot
Tell me I'm happy when I'm not.
The purple pill goes to my brain
And tells me that I have no pain.
The capsules tell me not to wheeze
Or cough or choke or even sneeze.
The red ones, smallest of them all
Go to my blood so I won't fall.
The orange ones, very big and bright
Prevent my leg cramps in the night.
Such an array of brilliant pills
Helping to cure all kinds of ills.
ut what I'd really like to know.....
Is what tells each one where to go!

There's always a lot to be thankful for if
you take time to look for it. For example
I am sitting here thinking how nice it is
that wrinkles don't hurt...
Laughter is the sunshine of the mind.
By Joanne Beckley
By Joanne Beckley

     This thought gave me pause. Do I? . . . Do I have laughter/joy in my heart? Or, instead, have I allowed troubles and trials to hide or even erase my joy? The older I get, the more I seem to need others to prompt laughter from my mouth. When did my joyful heart leave? I used to sing around the house, or while traveling down the road. . . Okay, so my singing isn't what it used to be, but look who's listening!

     Perhaps I have allowed the burden of sin to silence me. Or maybe it is because I am surrounded by the increased burden of sin all around me and have therefore allowed it to displace my joy. Truly, it does take an "uprightness of heart" to feel joy (1 Chron.29:17), to maintain a balanced heart for the LORD. The Bible commentator Adam Clarke said it well, concerning Neh.8:10:   "For the joy of the Lord is your strength."  This is no gluttonous and drunken festival that enervates the body, and enfeebles the mind: from your religious feast your bodies will acquire strength and your minds power and fervor, so that you shall be able to DO HIS will, and to do it cheerfully.  Religious joy, properly tempered with continual dependence on the help of God, meekness of mind, and self-diffidence, is a powerful means of strengthening the soul.  In such a state every duty is practicable, and every duty delightful.  In such a frame of mind no man ever fell, and in such a state of mind the general health of the body is much improved; a cheerful heart is not only a continual feast, but also a continual medicine."

     When laughter is not present, the heart has lost its sunshine.

     And now, I ask, are you still singing? Do you still see the humor in everyday happenings? Are you feasting on the words of God? Or perhaps you too have found yourself either sitting with gloomy thoughts or just sitting there? So, while I am remind myself, I write these words to you.

"Joyfulness keeps the heart and face young.  

A good laugh makes us better friends

 with ourselves and everybody around us."

~ Orison Swett Marden

The Healing Power of Laughter

     You have probably heard the old saying that “laughter is the best medicine.” But did you know that many doctors and scientists are actually studying laughter and the effects it may have on our health?

Some recent studies have shown:

  • Laughter may reduce the risk of heart attack by lowering stress, which can destroy the lining of blood vessels.
  • Laughter may help people cope with pain caused by illness and decrease anxiety before operations or other medical tests because it helps us to relax.
  • Laughter may lower stress hormones that otherwise would raise blood pressure and impair the immune system.

     We sometimes do not express negative feelings, such as anger, sadness and fear. Laughter can help to release these emotions in a harmless way.

What Happens When You Laugh?

     Laughter is our body’s response to humor. When we laugh two things usually happen. We make sound, which can range from a soft chuckle to a hearty roar, and parts of our bodies move, depending on how hard we are laughing.

     We use 15 different muscles in our face when we laugh. Muscles in our arms, legs, chest and stomach may get involved, especially if we think something is really funny.

     Most people have had the experience of laughing so hard that their stomach muscles hurt. We may gasp for air or our eyes may tear up. In the end, it may feel as if you just had a workout. Researchers say that laughing 100 times is probably equal to riding an exercise bike for 15 minutes!


Organization - Efficiency

Are these hateful ‘Dream-on’ words to you?

By Joanne Beckley

    When I’m feeling badly, and my body and mind are no where near working up to par, I tend to let responsibilities slide, either in procrastination or malaise of mind. So I’ve had to face the reality that I need to organize myself yet again. The days of kids are long gone now, but I still have so many things to remember that need to be done. I have had to face the fact that I will have to dust off my old homemade diary and put it back to work again.

    If you have never taken the time to work from a diary, no matter what age and circumstance you find yourself in, do scroll down and see how I put mine together. In the meantime, read the following suggestions made by Maria Garcia taken from  

7 Habits to Ensure You're Being Efficient

    Efficiency is the new buzz word with increased concern about the environment being energy efficient. But what about our own ability to be efficient both at home and at work? What does being efficient mean to you?

    A dictionary defines efficiency as 'the state or quality of being efficient; competency in performance or the accomplishment of or ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort.'

    Make sure you own time and not the other way around. This article and the ensuing tips are not about striving for perfection, but instead about allowing yourself the opportunity to make better use of your time throughout the day.

    Organizing and simplifying your life are important steps to be taken in order to be the most efficient you can be. A well organized office space or home will help you stay efficient.

    Above all, when thinking about increasing your efficiency rate, remember to take care of yourself. Good food, plenty of rest, lots of water, and exercise will allow you to function at your best.

    1. Schedule your day- Either at the beginning of each day or the night before, plan out each day. You are only one person and you probably won't be able to do everything. Use a schedule to organize your day into time blocks. Write out a daily to-do list (electronic or in a notebook) and prioritize items by importance.

    Remember, only schedule around 70 percent of your day. The other 30 percent will be filled with interruptions, travel time between appointments and errands, and sometimes emergencies.

    2. Prioritize-Prioritize-Prioritize. List to-do items by order of importance and label each item by importance and urgency. Make items that are extremely important stand out by marking them with red ink, a highlighter, or a star. Only focus on a limited number of actions per day.

    3. Multi-task small projects and details- Although, multi-tasking does not work for everyone or every project (note: I wouldn't suggest trying to multi-task while writing a term paper), cooking supper while talking on the phone, or ironing while watching TV or listening to the radio can be effective. Try reading a book on the subway or bus, or a book on tape while driving to and from work. It's more efficient and a good use of time to do simple tasks simultaneously.

    4. Say NO more often- Recognize what your priorities are. If someone requests something of you that you are unable to do comfortably or does not fit into your priorities, 'just say no.'

    5. Delegate as much as possible- You can't do everything alone. Allow others around you to help out. Allow friends, family, co-workers, your partner or your children to assist around the house and/or office. Many people find this difficult because they feel they are the only one who can do it right. Start off with small steps. Don't hand over an entire project, but instead a step that will save you time and energy. Make sure you remember to thank these people appropriately.

    6. Organize- The more things that are organized both within the home and work environment, the faster work will get finished and the higher quality your work will be. Make lists for yourself and others. Create inboxes and action files. But don’t get caught in an organizing hole – focus on doing, not organizing.

    7. Control your procrastination- Many of us are procrastinators at heart, although for different reasons. One common phrase used to help combat procrastination is 'do the worst thing first.' At the beginning of each day, do the one item that stands out the most on your to-do list, or your most dreaded item. Set daily goals for yourself and plan lots of rewards.

Joanne’s diary:

    Through the years I have kept a special notebook (file), B5 size. I carry it around with me whenever I go shopping, go on holiday, or go to church. I have separate categories in my notebook to help me stay on target and to increase my self-discipline. When I open my notebook, this is what I find:

  • A working calendar with space to write notes to aid my poor memory. The more responsibilities, the more space I need for each day.
  • Next, is my section where I keep my goals. The month’s goals are located on the first page of this section where I can easily refer to them – and check them off when completed!
  • I have a Health section to record my family’s health histories, with a separate page for each member of the family. When I speak to the doctor, I am prepared.
  • I keep a Promise section to list things I have agreed to do for others, including handwork projects I plan or are in the works. I date these promises to motivate me to keep my word in a timely fashion.
  • I have a Happiness section of sayings, poems, etc. that I enjoy reading again and again. This includes cute sayings of my grandkids, a compliment from a friend, a picture, a joke – whatever brings joy in my life.
  • There is a section to keep track of what Bible studies I am currently working on, and ideas for articles, including a list of what articles I am presently working on!
  • Another section is labelled Prayer, for I have learned that writing prayers keeps my mind focussed and reduces “I” problems in talking to God. (If you are concerned about privacy, maintain an additional notebook for your prayers and meditation and keep it hidden away.)
  • I have reserved another section for Favorite Scriptures that help me focus on particular areas of my life that I am trying to improve. At the top of the list is the attitude I am trying to improve, e.g. self-motivated anger, patience, love, joy, etc.
  • My section on Housekeeping contains plans on how to improve the house, furniture, etc, including my “Honey-Do” list. If I come across a good idea for cleaning, sewing, or cooking I write it down.
  • I have found my section titled Husband very helpful in recording his food likes and dislikes so that I don’t repeat the same mistakes again and again.
  • Because I love Birds, my last section contains a record of what birds I see and where I was when I saw a new bird.

    This entire effort to organize our lives takes a lot of work, not only to think carefully of life and the goals we have for it, but we also need determination to keep our plan workable. Self discipline will always be necessary and we should improve year by year. May God bless you as you benefit and enjoy the results of your focussed efforts to serve God with your whole heart.

* * * * * * *

    Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) did not write the list of beauty tips below, although she claimed it as one of her favorites and quoted it in public a number of times. Its true author is humorist Sam Levenson (he who said "Insanity is hereditary: You can get it from your children").  

1.  For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
2.  For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
3.  For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
4.  For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
5.  For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
6.  People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
7.  Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.
8.  The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair.
9.  The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
10. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives and the passion that she shows.
11. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.

     When asked in January 1992 if she had any personal beauty secrets besides Levenson's philosophical tips, she said, "If I had them, I'd make a fortune. But I know what helps — health, lots of sleep, lots of fresh air, and a lot of help from Estee Lauder."

Live your life in such a way that when
your feet hit the floor in the morning,
Satan shudders & says...
'Oh no.... She's awake!!'

* * * * * * * * 

Proverbs 22:29

By Steve May

     Satchel Paige threw his first major league pitch at the age of 42. Actually, he was good enough to play in the majors at the age of 18, but he couldn't: Satchel Paige was black. Seven years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, Paige, an undisputed superstar everywhere but in the major leagues, finally got his chance.

     Cleveland owner Bill Veek was criticized for adding such an old man to his roster; some sportswriters and critics called it a publicity stunt. Others said Paige was finally getting the break he had deserved for years, though most doubted his ability to compete effectively at his age.

     Paige silenced the critics when he won his first three games as a pro, shutting out Chicago twice in the process.

     All along he knew he was good enough to pitch in the major leagues, and when he finally got his chance, he proved it. He went on to win 28 games during his pro career, and even made a brief comeback at the age of 59, pitching three innings for the Kansas City A's.

     He approached his major league pitching debut no differently than he approached any of the 2,500 games he pitched during his career. "It was just another game," he said. "And home plate was where it always was."

     Though Paige had the ability to make throwing a baseball look effortless, he spent his life perfecting the art. And, eventually, he got his chance to show the world he was capable of competing with the best.

     King Solomon said, "Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men." (Proverbs 22:29)

     Solomon is emphasizing that commitment to quality is more important than self-promotion. Do your job well, he says, and you'll get your chance to serve before the best.

     In the work that you do, you may have to wait years before you get your chance to play in the big leagues. And the fact is, the chance may never come in the way you would like. But you can be sure your time will come. Believers can work with the assurance that our jobs -- even the most menial tasks -- are performed before our King. Our efforts do not go unnoticed. All the more reason to pursue excellence in all we do.

     Your time will come; never give up on the dream of being the best.

(Monday Memo, July 28, 2008)  

Some quotes from
Satchel Paige

Age is a case of mind over matter.
If you don't mind, it don't matter.

Ain't no man can avoid being
born average, but there ain't
no man got to be common.

Don't look back. Something
might be gaining on you.

Don't pray when it rains if you
don't pray when the sun shines.
* * * * * * * *

My Grandma’s Hands
by Melinda Clements
    Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands.

     When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK.

     Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. "Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking," she said in a clear voice strong.

     "I didn't mean to disturb you, Grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK," I explained to her.

     "Have you ever looked at your hands?" she asked. "I mean really looked at your hands?"

     I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

     Grandma smiled and related this story:

     "Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

     They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor.

     They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child, my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to serve our country in time of war.

     They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. The left hand is decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special.

     They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and my spouse.

     They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.

     They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well, but these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

     These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life.

     But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch His Face."

     I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my Grandma's hands and led her home.

     When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I think of Grandma. I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the Hands of God.

©Melinda Clements


Want To Know The Secret
To Aging Gracefully?
Read on ~

     A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hou rs of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.
      As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.
     'I love it,' he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy. 
'Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait....
      'That doesn't have anything to do with it,' he replied.
'Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged. It's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. 
     Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away. Just for this time in my life
      Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.
So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!  If you haven't already been making deposits of happiness into your memory, start now.  If you have mostly stored away unpleasant memories, you may find that you become most unhappy when you are older and dependent on others to care for you.  

     I am still depositing.'  Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
     1. Free your heart from hatred.
     2. Free your mind from worries.
     3. Live simply
     4. Give more.
     5. Expect less.

Submitted by Donna Blythe  (adapted by cg)


From The Mailmail_10.GIF

This is a great website. Everything is so interesting and the pictures are all great. I loved the story about My Grandmother's Hands.  I have often looked at my mother's hands and think of all her hands had been through. She hoed corn for her Dad and many things on the farm, her laundry was done on a wash board until she was about forty years old. There was no plumbing, no electricity. I never heard her complain.  As she grew older she was able to have all the things she had not had most of her life. -Lois

November 2017