What I’ve Learned About Nine Minutes

Facebook leaves unwanted trivia impressed on my brain leading to cerebral implosion.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love cute memes.  I love keeping in touch with my friends.  But dire warnings and impending doom and politics on hyper drive need to just go away.  No one experiences a change of heart with propaganda on Facebook, so we could all just agree to drop it?

The latest attack on my psyche came with one of those benign little headers: Nine Foods to Avoid.  And then this…Every slice of bacon you eat is 9 minutes off your life.  Seriously?  Number one, we’re talking about a food group here.  And number two, with so many dread diseases threatening to end our lives, I hardly think bacon ranks up there with an airplane crash or a drunk driver or lung cancer.  Bacon.  Not bullets.  Not nukes.  Bacon, people–breakfast candy and flavor enhancer and appetizers-would-never-be-the-same-without it, service-to-humanity, simple bacon.

Kale without bacon?  Ugh.  Asparagus wrapped in bacon?  Yes!  Bacon improves just about everything.  I admit to being a life long fan of bacon.  Too little to see over the edge of the top of the table, I slunk from chair to chair and snatched bacon off plates as a toddler, or so the story goes.  Yes, my love of bacon goes way back.  So I wonder, why bacon?  Why is bacon the recipient of so much disdain?

Bacon attracted foes and fans throughout the centuries.  In the Old Testament it was banned.  In the New Testament Paul accepted bacon into the menu.  Bacon rashers fed pioneers, but now bacon subtracts life like a ticking clock attached to dynamite.  Here’s the thing:  prevailing winds shift.  The status of poor bacon dances on each side of the line of respectability, and the line seems drawn in sand, not etched in concrete.  Wait awhile.  It will move again.

In the meantime, strictly in the spirit of public service, I offer you a better way to cook bacon.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Lay slices in a baking dish.  If bacon lovers populate your family, add a rack to the pan and another row of slices.  Bake for about 30 minutes, to your desired level on the continuum between limp and crispy.  My family likes it crispy, so we sometimes leave it an extra 9 minutes.  (I bet you thought I’d forgotten about that nine minutes, huh?)

Nine minutes doesn’t sound all that significant in the scheme of eternity, but think of all the words people utter in just nine minutes.  Couples exchange vows in less than nine minutes.  A sincere I love you and hug take about three.  Expressing sincere appreciation takes three or four.  Use your lost nine minutes wisely, and you’ll never miss them.  Inherent in aging gracefully lies the realization that the numbered days before us shrink with each circling of the sun.  No one reclaims those minutes cast into the realm of a fourth dimension.  Not one of us can truly add a minute, let alone nine of them, to a lifespan over which only the Creator exercises control.  So eat bacon, don’t eat bacon…I leave that up to each of you.  But do use those nine minutes to bless another person (and try to refrain from using Facebook as a soapbox).  Aging gracefully is a choice.  Choose grace.
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Looking for Value-Driven Products?

buy 5 with exclWho doesn’t love a bargain?  Posh delights in being a bargain for everyday people who pinch pennies and agonize over incoming bills, people like you and me.  Let’s face it.  We all need soap.  We all need moisturizer.  Posh products satisfy my need for deodorant, sun block, skin scrubbing, foot softening, mascara removal, hand and cuticle care.  It’s my Walmart in the bathroom, my Amazon of delightful surprises.  It doesn’t clean my house, but who besides Monk finds delight in that?

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Every person on planet earth needs some of these same things, so it stands to reason that every person needs Posh, especially if you have a daughter!  Introduce her to something besides drug store aisle liners.  Yes, I ♥ Posh.  Just this much.  I routinely scrape out every last little teensy-weensy drop of each product.  Buying 5 with the sixth free and getting perks on each purchase besides,  makes it super affordable.  Being a consultant, I also get paid for using it…what a deal!!

I lost my sense of smell many years ago, but I am able to enjoy whiffs of Posh, scented with essential oils.  It’s my happy place.  See if you can count what I use every day:

I like Never Grow Up cream and Serves You Bright, loaded with carrot extract, as part of my morning routine.  I use the broad contouring stick and my moisturizer for a spot of color to highlight my face.  I use the Stripper and one of our fabulous scented coconut oils for deodorant.  A body butter, though I use just one of my five favorite scents, varies each day and works to keep my skin feeling soft.  I use 4 different Posh chunks at various sinks.  A snarky bar lives in my shower.  I use the micellar tonic for removing my mascara.  At night I use Defiant and a bedtime moisturizer.  A big fat yummy hand cream lives in every room of the house, with two in the car.  I leave Cuticle Cuties in the living room and bedroom.  Sitting in the TSC parking lot while Bill bought feed yesterday, I found and used one in the car.  PJs all day is an absolute must at bedtime, because I slather that lavender-infused body butter over my hands and arms to ensure a restful night of sleep.

What number did you come up with?  Comment to earn a coupon to try Posh out.  If you got it right, you’ll be getting some happy mail!  You’ll appreciate its value, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll love it for a host of other reasons!

What can Boomers Learn from Road Work?

A crumbling infrastructure lies dotted with askew orange cones and mounds of dirt.  Evidence of badly needed repair starkly reminds us that patience and unavoidable delays exist as part of travel.  Because I like to go places, I usually curl up with my book or drag out my knitting and endure it, but today I reached for my ever-handy pad of paper and a pencil, feeling thoughtful.  My husband/chauffeur cranes his head out the window to figure out the delay and pounds the wheel a time or two before he accepts the inevitable.  And it leaves me wondering: in our life’s journeys, what kind of restructuring takes place and how do we respond?

Many of us find the well-worn paths in our lives need resurfacing as unfolding seasons and new challenges signal us to slow down.  Ponder these changes.  Participate in the process.  Staid patterns require chipping out the concrete of being set in our ways. Cherish the memories but let go of the past. God’s graders level out imbalances where we let pleasure absorb time meant for reflection.  Adjust with more time in the Word.  Too often we allow ourselves to get rutted in paths of least resistance. Re-examine assumptions, set goals, remove from the calendar everything extraneous.  Pot holes of doubt now make travel through dark times more difficult.  Add more prayer time to the daily routine.  We need those orange cones of humility to remind us we remain a work in progress.

The mandate before us is to participate in the demolition.  Live with patience.  Accept change gracefully.  Remember we may feel 45, but the mirror unfolds the truth.  As we age our daily lives need resurfacing in accordance with allocated days and dwindling energy, so we can focus on things that matter.  We need to pour out from our lives the stories, testimonies, wisdom and faith that leave a blessing for our children and fellow travelers in their own journeys.  We either embrace the process or time marches forward without us.  Period.

The cars before us now zoom forward and I lay my pencil down, but with a resolve to increase my daily Scripture reading, set goals, adjust my activities, pray more often, and write down stories for my children.  How will you participate in the process?

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When Wars Rage

One of our nation’s most horrific wars cemented awareness of a phenomenon little understood for centuries.  The Civil War resulted in catastrophic numbers of amputees, and phantom pain–in which sensation, often painful, is felt despite a limb’s absence–became a clinical diagnosis.  Dr. Silas Mitchell, who was the “father of American neurology,” treated hundreds of these patients and dedicated his life to alleviating this after effect of war.  He actually named the illogical sensation, and his memoirs trace his elusive pursuit of a cure for phantom pain.

That ghostly sensation of knowing a leg is gone, yet feeling the need to scratch a missing foot, simply cannot be reasoned nor willed away.  Current researchers believe the pain originates from a more primeval site, like the spinal cord.  To date, no specific treatment stills the shooting pain of loss.

  • As a teacher in a nursing home can close her eyes and smell chalk dust…
  • As a chef late in life can close his eyes and feel the texture of pastry dough…
  • As a mother can close her eyes and still see her son’s blue skin in death…

Loss brooks no reality.  The passages create a phantom pain in the primeval tendrils of the heart.  Not every day.  Not all the time.  Yet seeing sons of other mothers at church triggers the guilty sensation of not envy, but of wanting more, of wishing it wasn’t my cross to bear, of fighting against reality.  The quiet war rages again.  In its wake the casualties of peace and acceptance induce a very real soreness in the heart for which no real treatment suffices.  Reading the Word.  Trusting the Healer will bring the promised comfort.  Learning to live with loss.  Slow, steady bandages must be reapplied.

Phantom pain describes the heartache I feel when I open my eyes and reach out my arms…to emptiness.

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On the Road Again Every Day

Okay, he’s not my favorite recording artist, but my gypsy heart loves embarking on a trip, so I warble the lyrics anyway.  I love every part of a trip.  Packing feels like Christmas.  Pulling out of the drive feels like opening a fresh new jar of apple butter.  The scenery, like a thousand snapping synapses, invigorates my mind.  Coming home to my own bed feels like heaven.

The trick lies in living each day as the ultimate journey, savoring each new experience in the scenery of my life.  Assign new meanings to everyday chores.  Derive excitement from the mundane.  Life lived to the max, pedal to the medal and interspersed with rest areas, creates a well-lived epitaph.  Wring joy from weeding.  Distill pleasure from folding laundry.  Let cooking fuel the imagination, not just the belly.  Mine the gold from the hearts lounging on the couch.  Let the Word serve as the most definitive map of life, and consult it often to stay on course.

We’re traveling this time to visit dear friends.  Desperately in need of talk therapy, this trip serves as a poignant divide between the landscape of grief and the fertile, lush foliage I’ll find at the hearth of a sister of the heart.  My goal transcends safe arrival.  I’m in search of a refreshed outlook, a calm spirit and a comforted heart.  I want to return refueled and road-ready for my crazy life.  Four camps, family dinners, a business where I try to bless others, grands camping out in our living room, little league, and a host of calendar engagements through a full summer require this tune up.  Above all, some very precious people need me at top-notch performance.

So I’m changing the tires on the vehicle my mind drives, realigning my chassis, recharging my batteries, and repacking my treasured memories to fit the current route I travel.  Every day I am on the road of life again.  Every.  Single.  Day.

 

Banning Blemishes

Whether the bane of adolescence still dots the landscape of your face or you want to embark on self-improvement, blemishes never feel welcome.  We look at furniture, and scour the surface looking for blemishes that either add character or decrease value.  That summation really says it all.

We subsist in a surface value kind of world.  Blemishes rarely add value, unless they’ve been added with chalk paint and stain.  The shabby chic crowd seem to prefer these self-inflicted blemishes on their furniture, but a scratch on a modern piece nixes the sale.  They aren’t really blemishes in the chic world we admire, we think of them as art.

Blemishes, sadly never garner an ounce of respect.  The first inclination when one surfaces, either on the face or in one’s life, always, is a grimace.  Only with practice do we learn to appreciate the story and then the meaning and finally the value in a blemish.  A story too horrific to talk about leaves a scar on the soul, but realizing the truth learned and survived gives new meaning to that blemish scarring the heart.  Growing grace for grace equates with living and learning, and I’m all for that.  I just also believe in accepting the process.

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The face, particularly, remains a canvas where we eliminate blemishes.  I’m right there with you on that!  I tried this new Posh product on a thirteen-year-old grandson whose face was dotted one morning with all kinds of pimples.  One application.  That’s right.  One application of a dot on each one brought noticeable improvement.  By day’s end each one was drying out and many faded completely.

You can find this amazing product on my site, at http://www.madaboutposh.com.  Look at COLLECTIONS, specialty face.  And as for the blemishes in your life.  Either learn to assign new meanings or embark on self-improvement.  I love art, though, don’t you?  I’m a shabby chic lover at heart.

Boomers Need Change less than their Children need Remembrance

If you’re staring at the gaping maw of 70, change is no stranger in your life.  I first discovered the insignificance of science when I learned that the human body has 48 chromosomes.  A few seasons later I learned that the normal human body has 46; the original data came from studying individuals with Downs syndrome.  And just like that, it hit me!  Science is fallible.  These all-knowing researchers spout their hypotheses like little gods wielding truths, but their “truth” changes with each new discovery.  As a population of oldsters, we doubt just about everything and believe in conspiracies everywhere.  Eschewing the establishment became a way of life for many of us.

I bring this up because I see with growing alarm the idolization of knowledge, an infatuation with innovation, the marriage of our lives with technology.  We boomers remember the mighty pen and paper; we still write in cursive, for goodness sake!  We came in peace, but have been met with the constant and utter destruction of simple pleasures.  The unfolding of a crisp newspaper with well-written support of profound truths has supplanted by sensational snippets on Yahoo masquerading as journalism.  A simply brewed cup of coffee now requires a dictionary at Starbucks.  I still haven’t mastered the art of brewing Folgers in a Keurig machine.  I admit I meet each new change with dismay, no doubt a sign of my age.

But I firmly believe the nobility of science will one day cause the downfall of our way of life, and where will our children be then?  Listen, I read One Second After, and I believe it!  Pass on your anachronisms.  Your children may need them sooner than they think.  Bill and I often lament the loss of knowledge when Aunt Grace and Uncle Paul died.  They knew so much about surviving on the land, and we didn’t harvest that knowledge responsibly.  Mom and Dad died knowing things about living through the depression, little quirks we found charming, but now we really wish we’d .paid more attention.

So my message is simple.  Be strong in the face of ridicule.  Wear your age proudly.  Relish being out of step with this plastic world surrounding us.  Our quirks may one day save our children’s lives.  Remember how to live a simple life.

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What is the Final Goodbye? Boomers Need to Know

It’s been 3 months since Alma’s death, and I both looked forward to and dreaded his graveside service.  I wanted, needed, really longed for a sense of closure.  I found myself mired in an abyss of sorrow, my heart actually feeling torn inside my body.  I lost other family members through the years, but this loss of my child was not the same.

Friends asked why we waited so long to hold the service, and I can answer that in a single word: Katelyn.  His precious little daughter experienced a meltdown when she learned about his autopsy: “Cutting him open? NOOOO!!!!”  We shamelessly hid the little, almost insignificant detail about his cremation.  I’m good with that; not every lesson need be learned at 9 years of age.  Thus we waited until all the messy tell-tale signs of “no casket” were obliterated by nicely growing grass and a lovely headstone.  But postponement merely delayed the inevitable.  It finally came time to plan his his graveside service, time for me to quit thinking he was just at work, just in his shop, and to really face a regrettable truth.

For some of the family it may have felt like an unimportant after thought, but for me it was different.  From the unexpected visitors greeting us when we arrived to the Mountain Dew I placed on his headstone in memory of the ubiquitous aluminum can he always carried with him, a necessary rite of passage took shape.  The final goodbye.  I felt lighter when we left the cemetery, glad it was over.

Yet I awoke the next morning still wanting to see my son, still needing to say goodbye. Grief remained.  Perhaps loss remains as a sign of life, tears as a talisman of never ending love.  Perhaps sudden death carries the lifelong expectancy to see a loved one, a need to say the unspoken words of the heart.  And so I wonder: Is there ever a final goodbye?

We thought we said goodbye in the tearful final episodes of Mash, yet it airs everyday just like clockwork and as if it never ended.  We thought we said goodbye to flared pants and miniskirts, but they resurfaced with new names nonetheless. Gaucho pants?  Really?  Perpetual reruns and repeating cycles of fashion leave the uncomfortable notion that nothing in life ever really ends.  Yet death indeed spells an ending, a finite goodbye no one bridges this side of the grave.  The question isn’t one of ending, it’s one of beginning the long process of adaptation to a colorless landscape of never ending grief.  And I wonder if it spans into the great void of life after death.  Does Alma carry within his soul words he never got to speak as well?

Let’s put aside the ideas of the happy medium and science fiction, dwelling instead on the reality of the chasm between two worlds existing in tandem, yet ever apart.  No hugs, no phone calls bridge that gap.  Only faith permeates the void, and that’s a commodity more precious than any 401k.  Boomers eschewed materialism, but did they ever really cultivate the invisible commodities of peace transcending loss or faith supplanting despair?  We need to ask ourselves hard questions and find real answers.  For me the final goodbye was accepting he was really gone; now I begin each new day whispering, “Goodbye, Alma.  I love you now and forever, Tall Man.”  Now I cultivate that daily lightening, trusting in the Healer who promised He personally would heal my broken heart.  Now I must remember how to cultivate joy.  Acceptance became my final goodbye.

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Are Boomers Getting a Solid 8?

Retiring Boomers face a world with fewer parameters, so my question is, what happened to sleep?  Research deems restorative sleep, cycling through all five waves of the sleep cycle, as essential for brain health.  And that’s the big cheese we’re talking about here!  Make way dementia, because sleep’s gonna’ kick your butt!

According to the REST (Retirement and Sleep Trajectories) study, Boomers go to sleep about 30 minutes later each night post retirement.  Their wake times increase by 60 minutes.  In other words, the Boomers’ golden years, on average, appear to be restful.

So why are they napping so much?  Admit it.  You know an aging parent who naps off and on all day long.  Or you’re looking at a retired spouse napping through a program on TV.  Being a Boomer and married to a Boomer, and being part of the burgeoning Boomer population, I know things.  Uncorrected napping threatens to become a Boomer national pastime.  Let’s rule out sleep disorders and chronic diseases.  SeniorHealth365.com sums it up in one word.  Ever watch Never Cry Wolf?  My favorite line, “Boredom, Tyler, boredom!”  That’s right.  Too many Boomers lack meaningful engagement.

In a world crying out for help, opportunities abound.  First and foremost, find a side gig.  Your wallet will thank you. Then start with service to your family, neighborhood, or circle of friends.  And finally, look at our dysjunctive, dysfunctional, disturbed-bordering-on-pathological world, and fix something.  Every week our home rocks with minions who need our love and attention.  They take a lot of time, sap our energy, leave messes in their wake, and we love it!  I immerse myself in a side gig that lends income as well as a lot of pleasure and influence in the lives of others.  Find that purpose in your world and in return, earn a solid 8.  You’ll rest better, I promise.

 

Percutaneous Absorption of Selenium…What? Longevity. What???

Brazil nut harvests are diminishing, which requires protecting the trees throughout South America.  It makes Brazil nuts a prized commodity.  Most folks could care less…until they realize why this simple nut grown in pods, harvested with machetes, and transported to a location near you is an antioxidant of growing interest.

Selenium just recently got promoted from being lethal to a non-toxic, beneficial, and then necessary element for the human body.  Oh yes.  It supports everything from heart health to testosterone production, and a host of needy body parts in-between.  It enhances metabolism of fatty acids, which makes it an important antioxidant in conjunction with Vitamin E.  Joint lovers, listen to this!  It serves as an anti-inflammatory agent as well.  Amazingly, longevity diets include healthy portions of selenium because it restores youthful elasticity of the skin.  And where do you get it?  Well, meet the little-touted but mighty Brazil nut!

Studies offer conflicting reports on the efficacy of percutaneous absorption of selenium, but it nevertheless stars in its namesake, Brazilian Bombshell, a Posh body butter.  Yup.  Pharmacists use selenium to treat folliculitis (hot tub syndrome) and some yeast infections.  It combines with sulfur to treat dandruff.  But in Posh, the essential oil of the Brazil nut creates a wonderful fragrance.  It wafts over me when I apply it, and I close my eyes, smelling a beach.  It’s just that wonderful.  And selenium?  What a great bonus!

Do I want elasticity of the skin?  Well, yeah!  Am I interested in longevity?  Well, yeah, I’d love to be around for my grandchildren’s weddings.  I didn’t think I liked the taste of Brazil nuts, but chopped up and added to things, they aren’t half bad.  Better yet, I like absorbing its benefits through my skin.  Long live Brazilian Bombshell, the Posh-lover’s favorite!!!  (You can find it at http://www.madaboutposh.com and clicking on COLLECTIONS, body.)

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