Every day is an adventure.

It has been nearly four years since I retired. I’m not really sure how I thought my retirement would be. But I’m pretty sure that I would have attacked retirement just like I have every other stage of my life–full steam ahead and don’t look back!  In no time at all, I would have taken on enough commitments to fill a forty-hour workweek, and beyond.  Fortunately, our current situation has saved me from all that. It has helped me to learn to live one day at a time–not thinking and planning for a future–but enjoying each moment of today.

I say, “our situation” because whatever we face, we are in this together. I know that friends and family members think  what I am dealing with is very challenging. But I am not sure that I have the most difficult challenge. Craig is not able to articulate what he is going through, so there is no way to fully understand. But it must be frightening at times to face a world that he doesn’t seem to fit into any more. He should know how things work and what to do, but the fact is he doesn’t. He doesn’t understand why I have to wait at a red light. He doesn’t understand why he can’t open a package of food in a store and eat it without paying. I’m sure he has no idea why I’m upset when he does that. It must seem to him that the world is a very confusing place.

That’s why we are spending more and more time at home. He is comfortable and confident there. He marches through the house saying , “Hup, hup, hup, hup! He goes out the back door and around to the front door where he rings the doorbell over and over. While this is annoying at times, it seems to make him happy.  He roams our acreage and finds things to entertain himself, giving me a chance to do what I need to do. This is the world he likes to be in–our world.

Craig’s brother, Mark, stayed with Craig for a few days while I attended docent training at the Highlands Center. Mark described it as “hours of butt-numbing boredom interrupted by seconds of gut-wrenching terror.” I agree there are times when things get a little scary. Like the time Craig followed the claims adjuster up the ladder onto the roof. It was probably only a few minutes, but it seemed like hours trying to coax him back down the ladder. Then there was the time when he put the grill cover back on the gas grill while food was cooking on it. Or the countless times when I’ve lost him in stores and amusement parks and while hiking.

Yes, I agree with the terrifying part, but not the boredom. I have plenty to do around here. Just in case I might get bored, Craig keeps me on my toes. There’s always a mystery to solve– Where is the power cord for the television?  Why did he squirt chocolate syrup all over? What happened to that screwdriver I was just using? Bored–NEVER! As I like to say, “Every day is an adventure.”

No good deed goes unpunished.

broken-eggs

When the girls rang the doorbell, they heard Mrs. Henry shout, “Go Away.”

“Mrs. Henry,” Amber yelled through the door. “It’s Laura and Amber. We came to see if you need any help.”

“Come on in,” She yelled back. As the girls opened the door, they heard her say, “Might as well. You already woke me up.” The wrinkled condition of Mrs. Henry’s house dress told Amber and Laura that she really had been sleeping.  Her thin white hair was piled up on her head so that it looked like a giant spider had woven its web there.

“How are you feeling?” Laura asked, trying not to react to her appearance.

“I have a broken hip. How do you think I feel?”

“We were very sorry to hear about your accident.” Amber hoped she sounded sincere. “How did it happen?”

“It’s a long story,” Mrs. Henry sighed. Amber and Laura were sure it would be.

“I was late for my Bridge game and I had my arms full of old clothes I was taking to the thrift store. The gravel in my driveway was loose. I wish I had a cement driveway, but Mr. Henry said we couldn’t afford cement so we had to have gravel. Anyway, the gravel was loose and my feet started slipping. I tried to grab a hold of my car door, but I kept slipping. The next thing I knew, I was down on the gravel. I probably would have lain there until I died, but Doris Duncan came by to check on me when I didn’t show up at the Bridge game. At least I have one person who cares a little about what happens to me. She called for an ambulance and they took me to the hospital. The doctor ordered an x-ray and said I have a broken hip. The next day, I had surgery. They put me in rehab for three weeks, and now I’m supposed to take care of myself. I can get around some in my wheelchair, but no one cares if I starve to death.”

“We care, “Laura assured her. “What can we do for you?”

“You can go to the store and buy me some things that I can cook myself from the wheelchair.”

“We’d be happy to do that,” Amber managed a smile. “Do you have a list?”

“I just need eggs, bread, milk and coffee. Can’t you remember that without a list?”

            “Of course we can,” Laura smiled. “We’ll go to the store right now and be back before you know it.”

            “Sure you will,” Mrs. Henry sounded doubtful. “Here’s some money. Don’t lose it.”

            Laura and Amber jumped on their bikes and raced down the street toward the market. Laura had tucked Mrs. Henry’s money safely in her pocket. After they located all of the items in the store, they went to the checkout counter where Margaret, the clerk, rang up their purchases.

Amber put the milk and bread in the basket of her bike. Laura took the eggs and coffee. They rode back as fast as they could, knowing that Mrs. Henry would be annoyed if they took too long. Just as they were turning the corner onto Hope Street, a large yellow dog ran out in front of them. Amber managed to miss the dog, but when Laura tried to swerve around him, she lost control of her bike. With a loud crash, she landed on the pavement, the back wheel of her bike still spinning around. Amber ran to help her up. That’s when she saw the raw egg spilled on the pavement.

“Are there any unbroken ones?” Laura asked as Amber opened the carton.

“Only two,” Amber said. “Are you all right?”

“I’ll be fine,” Laura sighed, “But what are we going to do about the eggs?”

Just then Amber realized they were on Betty Jenkins’ street. Amber and Laura knocked forcefully on Betty’s door.

            “What’s wrong?” Betty asked when she saw the panic on their faces.

            “We were shopping for Mrs. Henry, and we broke the eggs,” Laura explained.

            “It wasn’t our fault,” Amber added. “A dog ran out in front of us.”

            “Don’t worry,” Betty said, calmly. “It was just an accident. We’ll think of something. Let me see if I have a dozen eggs in my refrigerator.”

            “We just need ten,” Laura said. “Two of them didn’t break.”

            “I’ve only got six,” Betty told them after checking her refrigerator. “Let’s go across the street to Doris’s house and see if she can spare four eggs.”

            “What took you so long? Did you have to milk a cow?” Mrs. Henry fumed as the girls came through the door with her groceries.

            After they had put away Mrs. Henry’s groceries, Laura asked if there was anything else they could do for her.

            “Not today,” she said, “but come back on Wednesday. I’m going to need you then.”

            “You’re welcome,” Amber said when they got outside.

            “You didn’t expect her to thank us, did you?” Laura asked.

            “Of course not.” Amber laughed “Those words aren’t in her vocabulary.” 

From The Handy Helpers: Seven is a Perfect Number, available from Amazon

With love from me to you

happy-valentines-day-clip-art-hd-wallpapers-2014Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you have plans to do something special with the one (ones) you love.

It is good that we have set aside a day to show others how much we love them. After all, we do need to be reminded from time to time. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we remembered to express that love every day?

Of course, there are different kinds of love. Today we are celebrating romantic love.  For love we share every day, I believe the best definition  is the one in 1 Corinthians 13:4.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous,  it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Imagine if we all took that definition of love to heart and practiced it each day. What a wonderful world this would be. It would be God’s kingdom here on earth.

 

 

What are you hungry for?

foodIt’s late at night. You can’t sleep. You’re hungry. What is it you want?–a donut with icing and sprinkles, a burger and fries, maybe some ice cream.  It’s not likely that you will give in to those cravings, but they are still there.

In his book, Resisting Happiness, Matthew Kelly tells us that we are all hungry for something. “Figuring out what we are really hungry for is one of the great spiritual quests of life. ” We may think we have figured out what it is we are hungry for, only to find out that we are really hungry for something else. Of course, Matthew Kelly is not talking about a hunger for food. He is talking about a hunger for completeness. We yearn for it, long for it and seek it in many ways.

Sometimes our hunger leads us in the wrong direction. Sometimes we use our hunger to avoid doing what we should to achieve happiness. But God speaks to us through our hunger. He uses it to lead us to Him.

Whatever it is you are struggling with, know that through your neediness, God is reminding you that what you are really hungry for is His love.

 

 

The Geometric Jungle

geometric-animals

 

 

 

 

 

THE GEOMETRIC JUNGLE

by Rosemary Heddens

Captain Angus T. McNarrie

Went deep in the jungle on safari,

Searching for creatures geometric

With his guide and companion Sedrick.

For twenty years they traveled through

From Zanzibar to Timbuktu.  

Returning to the United States,

With empty boxes, vacant crates.

When asked by reporters to explain

Why his efforts were in vain,

He said, “There is nothing more to say,

But that the creatures got away.

Once we caught a hypotenuse,

But we were forced to turn it loose.

Though we were able to trap-a-zoid,

We let him go when he got annoyed.

And the rare reticular rhombus

Died of an unhealthy fungus.”

Although visitors would gladly pay

To see such creatures, I must say,

That it is surely sad but true,

You’ll never find them in the zoo.

Happy New Year to All

happy-new-year-hi  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with lots of time for friends and family.

I’ve heard a lot of talk about 2016 not being a great year. I’m not exactly sure why. For me, personally, it was a fairly good year. We were able to travel a little. There were some big milestones this year. At the beginning of November, Craig and I attended our fiftieth class reunion from Washington High School in Phoenix, It was lots of fun reconnecting with old friends and finding out what they’ve been up to.

At the end of November, we celebrated my mother’s ninetieth birthday. While not everyone was able to make it, we did have a good representation of family members as well as many of the residents where my mom lives.

On a sadder note, we had some dear ones leave us. My Uncle George–whose family moved him from Chino Valley, AZ to Kansas City, MO a few years ago–passed away. He was my mother’s youngest brother, leaving my mother as the last sibling. At the end of October, I lost a very dear friend, Norma Bennett. Then on the last day of November, my father-in-law passed away. While they will be greatly missed, we have fond memories to carry with us.

This is the time of year when we may feel moved to make resolutions. I haven’t really made any. As part of my preparation during Advent, I made a dream list that I think should give me enough to work on during this coming year.

Whether you make a list or not, I think we can all benefit from these words from author, Jon Gordon:

  • “Stay positive. You can listen to the cynics and believe success is impossible or believe with God all things are possible.
  • Each day when you awake, complete this statement:  ‘My purpose today is ______.’
  • Take a morning walk of gratitude. It creates a fertile mind for success. You can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time, and when you combine gratitude with physical exercise you give yourself a double-boost of positive energy and natural antidepressants.
  • Instead of being disappointed about where you are, think optimistically about where you are going.
  • Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college kid with a maxed-out charge card.
  • Believe that everything happens for a reason, and good things come from challenging experiences.
  • Don’t waste energy on gossip, past issues, negative thoughts, and things you can’t control. Invest in the positive, present moment.
  • Mentor someone and be mentored by someone.
  • Live the 3 E’s: Energy. Enthusiasm. Empathy.
  • Remember there’s no substitute for hard work.
  • Zoom focus: Ask yourself, ‘What are the three most important things I need to do today?’
  • Implement the ‘No complaining’ rule. Complaining is like vomiting; afterwards you feel better, but people around you feel sick!
  • Read more books than you did last year.
  • Get more rest. You can’t replace sleep with a double latte!
  • Before bed, complete these statement: ‘I’m thankful for ___.’ ‘Today I accomplished ___.”
  • Think of your mind like a garden. If you weed the negative and feed the positive for one day it doesn’t do much, but when you do it every day you create a magnificent garden.”

That is quite an extensive list, but I’m sure we can all find a few things we would like to make a part of our daily lives.  Happy New Year to everyone.

Be happy this Christmas.

christmas-tree-man-happyThis has been called “The most wonderful time of the year.” While many would dispute that–especially parents trying to make the budget stretch–it is a time ripe with anticipation.

It is a busy time as we go in search of the perfect gift for everyone on our lists,  wrap and bake and decorate. When it is all said and done on December 25, will we be able to say “Merry Christmas” and truly mean it?

Since I can’t shop for all of you, I offer this as my gift to you.  I tore it from a devotional I read everyday, and now it serves as a bookmark in my Bible. I read it often, as a much-needed reminder:

Jesus said, “Stop allowing yourself to be . . . unsettled” (Jn 14:27) .  You’re doing it to yourself! Learn to “let go” and work on developing the fruits of the spirit in your own life. Letting go doesn’t mean you don’t care. It just means allowing others to learn in their own way and through their own experiences. It calls for focusing on Jesus rather than obsessing on the other person’s behavior. “You will keep in perfect peace. . . all whose thoughts are fixed on you” (Isa 27:3). Fix your thoughts on God, not others. Letting go means caring about instead of care-giving. It means stepping out of the middle and not trying to influence the outcome by fixing, judging, nagging, scolding, arguing, criticizing, and regulating. It’s about facing each day with God’s help and cherishing each moment. It’s about realizing the only person you can “change” is yourself. It’s about fearing less and trusting more. And it’s the only way to be happy.

Have a very merry and blessed Christmas.

Written by Rosemary Heddens