Who’s the old lady?

Who's the old lady in the mirror
with the frizzy, graying hair?
Her appearance is so unexpected,
she's given me quite a scare.

Who's the old lady in the mirror
with my mama's jowls and eyes?
Her face is so much like my own,
it has taken me by surprise!

Who's the old lady in the mirror
with the waddle in her neck?
She's much older than I feel inside.
I think to myself, what the heck!

I smile at the lady in the mirror.
Her smile matches mine to a tee.
I see the gentle spirit in her eyes;
This old lady is beautiful to me.

Working things out for my good

June 1st marked the end of my first year working part-time after thirty six years of full-time employment. As I considered retirement, I read that I might want to tiptoe in instead of jumping right in. I’m glad I did. I still like working, but at this stage of my life, I want more free time and less stress.

Working part-time has given me the flexibility I wanted. I can participate in group Bible studies during the work day. I can take advantage of good weather to hike or trail run. I can volunteer. It’s easier to schedule appointments and to run errands. But honestly, one of the greatest pleasures is starting each day more leisurely.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

If I had searched for part-time work, I doubt that I would have found anything comparable. I had actually told my boss that I intended to retire early. He was the one who suggested that I consider working part-time.

God knows what I need. He knows what makes me tick. He knows that sometimes I need a nudge in the right direction. In retrospect, I can see his hand guiding me.

Thank you, Father for loving me and for working things out for my good.

The Shortest Sentence

The shortest sentence:

Go!
A two letter command…
The potential, immeasurable

Go ahead, go forward
Go in any direction
Go where no one has gone before

Go to the shop or go to work
Go to school or go to church
Go where you’re needed

Go on an adventure
Go on a mission
Go on a trip of a lifetime

Go with what you can carry
Go with the clothes on your back
Go with the Prince of Peace

Go it alone
Go with friends
Go with God

Go with purpose
Go with passion
Go with gusto

Go into a hungry world
Go proclaim Good News
Go make disciples

Get up and
Go!

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER | @LGNWVR on Unsplash

Packing up to move

Whenever I have dreams with a common theme, I ponder the meaning. I used to have recurring dreams about climbing. Whether it was a staircase or a steep hill, the higher I climbed, the narrower or more insecure the foothold. I eventually concluded that my dreams reflected anxiety about pursuing my goals.

Recently, I’ve been dreaming a lot about moving. The dreams seem strange to me because my husband and I moved about 20 months ago. I didn’t have these dreams when we first moved. Why am I dreaming about moving now? Moving to another state was definitely unsettling, but we’re now comfortably settled into our home. The newness has worn off. Life doesn’t feel weird anymore. We don’t plan to move again. We were in our last home for 27 years. So why do I keep dreaming about moving?

When I searched for information on dreams about moving, I didn’t find an explanation that fit my situation. Dreams about moving can be a sign of instability. They may reveal a desire for freedom or independence. They may represent the end of something or the beginning of something.

  • dreams about moving may signify a desire to change our circumstances
  • dreams about moving may signify an ending or a beginning
  • dreams about moving may show you are overwhelmed and want to get away from the pressures of life
  • dreams about moving could indicate you are going through an inner transformation

My dreams have been about packing for a move and not about the move itself. I am always organizing stuff. The dreams are never about me and my husband moving. My siblings and my dad are in my dreams. In one of my dreams, I went into a room where a lot of mom’s things were stored. I searched the room for some specific thing I wanted to remember her by and I couldn’t find it. I found a pretty vase that I liked but my nephew wanted it.

Missing my family. Feeling unsettled. Wanting to get everything organized and ready for a move.

When I was a kid, we moved 13 times by my count. I believe there were financial reasons for some of our moves – cheaper rent? Closer to dad’s job? Mom moved us several times after the divorce. I have often thought that she wanted to move to change her circumstances. A new environment would make everything better. Every time we moved, mom quickly turned our house into a home. But frequent moving definitely made my childhood feel unstable, like I had no control.

We moved 20 months ago because I was tired of living in a suburb of a big city with too much traffic. I wanted to live closer to nature. The desire to move was a persistent longing that I couldn’t ignore, even though I crave stability. We moved the day after we buried my father. That was traumatic. I’m a planner but you can’t plan these things.

I am comfortably settled in my new home but I feel unsettled at the same time. It’s no wonder that I feel unsettled. I left friends behind when we moved. I miss them. I transitioned to part-time work this summer but it hasn’t been a smooth transition. My replacement can’t fill my shoes.

Perhaps my dreams are about transition and my desire to get some control over the changes.

Getting old is a huge transition. We lose the ones we love. My mom and dad are both gone. My husband’s parents are both gone. My oldest sibling is 62; the youngest 45. I worry about losing my husband someday. I don’t want to lose any more loved ones but unless I die first, more loss is inevitable.

So I remind myself that God is in control. He is with me wherever I go. He comforts me.

*******

Photo by Michal Balog on Unsplash

The Garden

I imagine her at the flowerbed planting her perennial garden – peonies of white, pink and burgundy along the back. Next to these beauties, bearded iris, and in front, a vibrant orange poppy, a Shasta daisy and hot pink beebalm. And in the corner, several lily plants. Now what to fill in the empty space between? She chose a lovely spreading plant with leaves of white and green with lacy, delicate blooms. On both sides of the perennial garden, she – the lady who lived here before me – planted wildflowers – delphiniums, prairie coneflowers, catnip, and Chinese forget-me-nots.

Now the garden is mine to tend. The first spring came. I was delighted when the peonies, poppies, and irises bloomed! Oh, if these spring beauties would only last longer! The green and white plant filled in all the spaces and made the little flower garden complete. It soon crept under the border into the adjacent wildflower bed. I had to know its name: Goutweed! What a nasty name for a lovely plant! A deer munched on its leaves and made a bed in them.

The daisies and bee balm bloomed in July. The lilies never bloomed. I blamed the deer.

Now in my second year up north, I know to expect the peonies and irises to bloom in June, just before Father’s Day. This year, the poppy plant didn’t bloom and there were only a few iris blooms. I noticed a plant growing in the middle of the wildflower garden and looked it up with a plant app. Goutweed, it said, though the leaves were solid green, not the green and white I’ve come to know.

The lilies didn’t bloom so I moved them.. The bee balm plant also didn’t bloom. I couldn’t even find it in the mess of goutweed leaves.

The nice garden space filler had become an out of control weed. I told my husband how it was spreading and he said, “I’m going to spray weed killer on it.” “What about the deer,” I asked. “And the ground squirrel that’s been hiding under the peonies?” I knew that killing the leaves wouldn’t do anything to the roots. I had to dig them up. This is my garden to tend.

I hand-pulled the leaves from the goutweed, then dug up the rhizomes. The goutweed was growing between the irises so I dug the irises up too and saw that the rhizomes were intertwined.

To rid the garden of goutweed for good, I will have to be persistent about pulling up new growth and may have to cover up the flowerbed with plastic next spring to keep the plants from photosynthesizing.

While I was digging up the roots last week, a hot and sweaty task, I thought about how invasive they were. It only takes a small amount to take over a flowerbed. It only takes a small amount to crowd out the good plants.

I thought about my Father, the Gardener. This world is his garden to tend. He cuts off every branch that does not bear fruit and prunes those that do so they will be even more fruitful. I thought about how I must keep a sharp eye out for weeds in my own heart so that no one misses out on the grace of God because of me.

Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.

Hebrews 12:14-17 (The Message)