Spelling Tips for Boomers

The benefits of home schooling speak for themselves.  I know, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  After home schooling my three sons K-12, my neighbor’s kids for four years, and now grandchildren, let me just say this:  The building blocks of character training and the 3R’s stacked upon each other day in and day out create at last a masterpiece…a way of life I heartily recommend for other grandparents as well.

  • The structure of everyone doing their jobs each morning gives me time to focus on projects for ministry or for my business.  By lunch time we all feel productive.  I need the structure as well as my littles.
  • Evidence of learning new concepts, developing both knowledge and wisdom, blesses them…but it also blesses me with meaningful purpose in my life.
  • Intergenerational learning fosters bonds and maturity in both the younger who model older siblings, and in the older teaching the younger.  I know I still learn new things.  I always share from my perspective.  We all benefit from the arrangement.

Critics of home schooling bemoan the lack of socialization, never realizing that the home, full of all ages and all personalities, remains the primary classroom for rounding off the rough edges and errant ways of people rubbing shoulders all day long.  No one escapes to catch a bus.  We work out our differences.  When children learn to cherish the family day in and day out, their ability to fit into society is guaranteed.

Over the years I heard many a bureaucrat “tsk tsk” the notion that home school parents protect their children.  Yes, we protect them from drugs and gun violence, but what parent doesn’t want a safe environment for their children, especially when schools seem unable to stop mass shootings?

You may fault my spelling, but home schooling spells F-A-M-I-L-Y to me.  Our littles range in age from 3 to 13, and we dote on each and every one of them.  Grandparents enjoy a unique opportunity to participate in this process.  Let me see…precious days with the littles or sitting with the gray heads at McDonalds each morning…I can’t imagine living any other way.  It’s about producing a lasting legacy.  It’s a lifestyle I heartily recommend.

 

How to Knock the Ball out of the Park

Steamy evenings with no shade and bleachers full of families; yes, Little League season has arrived.  Knuckle biting begins with the first painful swing with a miss.  The grip on the bat tightens.  The next mighty swing cuts through the air with gusto bordering on despair.  Strike two.  Coaches begin their litany:  “Relax.  You don’t have to hit it out of the park.  Just keep your eye on the ball.  Just connect.”  When that ball gets whacked the crowd lets out a mighty roar.  A home run often occurs due to the lack of fielding, but we cheer as if Casey himself wielded the bat.

As we get older, knocking the ball out of the park gets a little harder.  The competition improves.  No one sits in the bleachers cheering for us.  In the ball game of life, we flounder without a coach, clear cut baselines and umps to call foul play when fate deals us an unfair blow.  Instinctively, we try harder, harder.  Tension mounts.  Try harder.  Try harder.  And what would the Coach say?  “Peace, be still.  Wait on me.”

You may laugh, but I finally learned this lesson through Posh.  Instinctively, I’m a try-harder-kind-of-gal, a make-it-happen-if-I-die-trying-kind-of-gal.  But Posh isn’t like that.  Posh gives me out of the park products.  All I have to do is relax.  Offer samples.  Let the product sell itself.  The products themselves whisper the same refrain, like this self tanner.  Excellent product.  Put it on and wait for the results.  Be patient.  The blessing comes.

Posh grace notes transfer over into other parts of my life as well.  Relax.  Wait.  Just connect with the blessing. Be humble and patient.  Yes, who’d have thunk it?  Sometimes life’s lessons smell good and look good, too!  Posh and Little League.  That’s my summer.

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Are you the Gift, the Box, or the Gift Wrap?

Sometimes life just rips us apart.  Suddenly your heart, your whole self, or maybe your life as you know it drops into a cleft, what feels likes a endless chasm, until it strikes bottom and then it hits you:  I am undone.  Retirement signals such a change for some, divorce for others, for me it was sudden loss.  Yet I am just one of many who meander through this painful time, and I write for personal clarity as well as for others in like condition.

The realization may settle slowly, fluttering softly yet constantly drifting downward nonetheless, and the sudden knowing feels just as stark as the clang of a bell when a brawny man wields a sledgehammer at the carnival.  Either way, there comes that moment of when your heart registers the bleak knowledge that life as you knew it will never be the same again.  Day after day, at least for awhile, we wear the hollow cloak of life severed from its original purpose, feeling adrift, feeling lost.

Take time to reflect.  You may feel like the gift wrap.  Gift wrap lies torn or crumpled after its been ripped apart to reveal the joy of a present given to another.  Sometimes reused, it seldom lives on as pristine as its first wrapping.  The frugal save it.  Minimalists discard it without a second thought.  The wrap bears only symbolic reference to what lies inside the box.  Inexpensive and easily tossed, the gift wrap merely decorates the box.

The box lies empty after the gift is lifted from the security of its housing.  A sturdy box serves multiple uses besides protecting the palpable love of the giver.  It accumulates trash, stores treasures in the attic, provides a way to hold a jumble of items too disparate to categorize, moves dishes from one house to another…but a box always remains a utilitarian item, and at its pinnacle, a form honored with holding a precious gift.  The box serves its purpose nobly, and then slinks back to the realm of less regard.  After all, it’s only a box.

The gift, ah, the gift.  Simultaneously the thoughtfulness of the giver and the joy of the giftsrecipient, the gift epitomizes the heart of the exchange.  In everyday life the gift is visible evidence of energy transcending into matter, a thought taking root in the life of another.  When life casts us down and signals an unshackling of the ropes which moored us at a familiar port, a familiar and much loved life, the Creator who placed the spark of life within us expects us to remember that the spark still glows.  It may glow dimly perhaps, but the spark glows irrespective of sorrow or change.

We can adapt in a meaningful way to bless others near us, as well as others we meet on the street, for loss affects us all.  Be the gift.  Not the box.  Certainly not the gift wrap.  Be the person whose spark upholds and blesses, the gift in the hand of the Giver.  Be the gift to someone today.

 

 

 

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.
bacon bliss

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?

now we are old and beautiful

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.

blemishes

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 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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