When Retirement Isn’t Retirement

One of the pleasures of retirement lies in enjoying friends through an extended and delightful lunch on a Friday afternoon.  Of course, none of us consider ourselves retired.  Larry manages rentals.  Bill manages too many acres.  Debbie and I own small businesses.  Here’s the thing:  Every retired person needs a side gig.

Why, you ask?

  • Who couldn’t use a designated stash of mad money for travel?
  • Who actually enjoys living on a strict budget of just Social Security?
  • Who needs to pique the brain with stimulating interests?

I think I just described 99.9% of all seniors.  Boomers, think about the tax deductions if nothing else!  If you simply cannot fathom yourself in a side gig, comment below and let’s email back and forth.  I’m full of ideas.

Friends who know me will affirm this truth:  I am a serial entrepreneur, and at various seasons in my life I dabbled in several age-appropriate side gigs.  When the boys were young and being home schooled, I wrote a monthly home school magazine and earned side money as a freelance graphic designer publishing corporate newsletters.  When I owned a flourishing bead business and traveled to trade shows across the country, I also enjoyed a travel business.  Each served me well.  Each earned some money, but mostly  I found them immensely rewarding.  I haven’t changed.  Right now I sell a fabulous affordable skincare line, and am positioning myself as a blogger.  Writing brings me full circle to how I started, and since I think better with a pen in hand, it suits me.  Writing brings my soul to water and refreshes me.

Find friends who share your interests and live life more fully, with grace and gusto.  Retirement isn’t retirement.  Not really.  Hopefully not ever.

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I’m an Esthetician and I Love Perfectly Posh

Five years ago when I opened my skin care practice, I had an account with an internationally respected skin care brand. It was a good product line, with a variety of cleansers, exfoliants, masks and moisturizers for all skin types. It was effective and I got results when I used these products during spa treatments.

However, a couple of years into my business ownership adventure I started to get bored with the products I was using. They still worked really well, but the packaging and scents were clinical (AKA a snoozefest), they could be purchased at many locations around town, and the price point was just high enough that it was a deterrent to people wanting to take a chance on an impulse buy. I needed to find a new addition to my product toolbox.

Along came Perfectly Posh. A esthetician friend of mine had started selling it, and I was drawn in by the fun packaging, clever names and moderate price point. This was a line that spoke to me, and because Posh also makes a wide array of body treatment products, all of the voids in my practice could be filled by opening just this one account.

And so I did! Two-and-a-half years later, I still find Perfectly Posh’s line to be effective, budget-friendly, and so much fun to use and sell in my skin care practice. My clients love the products and are thrilled to be able to use them at home too. Thank you, Posh!

Some of my current favorite Perfectly Posh products:

  • Hot and Gold Maskandrea.jpg
  • Stripper Body Mud
  • Sleepy Sleep Skin Stick
  • Fresh Cream Milk Body Butter
  • Honey Honey Body Creme
  • Big Fat Yummy Hand Creme (any scent)

 

Andrea Lipomi is a licensed massage therapist, esthetician and nail tech in Las Vegas, NV. You can learn more about her practice at feetishspa.com.

I hope you enjoy this guest blog.  Andrea and I are polar opposites in everything but the Posh sisterhood, and I love her dearly.  Posh transcends the line that divide.  

Travel the World for Essential Oils…and never leave home.

Tonic for the WinBare It All micellar Tonic is my new best friend.  Yes, it removes makeup, but I seldom wear face paint.  So why do I love it so much?

First of all, look at the potpourri of herbal infusions packed into this baby!  Lavender, sage, peppermint and chamomile.  What a winning combo!  The toner gives my face a squeaky clean feeling, tightens my pores, and evens out my coloring.  What’s not to love?

Beyond that, look at its value.  One bottle costs $20 and it lasts me over a year, which averages out to about a nickel a day.  I consider that a pretty hefty savings.  Posh aims at being value-driven and Posh lovers everywhere appreciate their devotion to tight budgets.  Buy 5 and get 1 free, long-lasting and used in droplets…my pocketbook (and my husband) it.

Instructions on usage:  I use little round cotton pads from the drugstore.  I tip up the toner and pat four or five drops onto the cotton pad.  Begin at the center and gently round outward on your face.  Never rub hard, but just gently grace your skin with this lovely bouquet and let it do its work.  If remnants of makeup color stain your little pad, go again.  Apply a second moisturizer for the night and sweet dreams!

How do you get this fabulous elixir, you ask?  Travel to my site at http://www.madaboutposh.com and click on SPECIALTY FACE.  You’ll see the Bare It All toner in the fabulous array of products that complement your skincare regimen.  If you love adventue, poke around the other collections and enjoy a host of great naturally-based wonders.  I love to travel, but my pocketbook limits my forays to distant places.  Thankfully, Posh does the footwork for me, collecting the best ingredients from around the world, putting together just the right recipe, and seeking out companies right here in the good old USA to make their products.

We tone up a lot of things, like muscles and printers.  Why not our faces?  Keep your skin young and healthy, so people exclaim, “What?!! You’re going on 70?!! No way!”  I always sing the praises of my skin care routine.

I Suck at Hula Hoops

I know people who sway with the greatest of ease.  Hula hoops made their debut while I dawdled on the swings in third grade.  Kids on my block counted those plastic revolutions until I got dizzy trying to keep up.  Come to think of it, I fail at ALL categories of spinning.  My friends rhapsodized about the fun of carnival rides until I couldn’t wait to try one.  I rode my first in 5 grade, but it left me green and I truly woofed up my cookies.  Yup, I suck at all spinning things.

Yet every one of us manages to dance our way around the sun, day in and day out.  Some of us perform like a rapper with a caffeine buzz, while others waltz gracefully without breaking a sweat.  As you correctly imagine, I never end up at the waltzing end of that continuum.  I’m more the awkward spinner who never balances the hoop correctly and often sways madly trying to keep it from hitting rock bottom.  And when I try spinning multiple hoops?  Put 911 on speed dial.  Really.  One item at a time, please.

The gyrations of life sometimes leave me dizzy and disoriented.  I offer you three simple remedies should you be more like me than you care to admit:

  • First of all, determine your presence in this hula hoop contest we call life.  More than showing up, commit to engage in the process, improving each day in spite of your lack of coordination. Realize every single person on the planet sways in a rhythm personalized by circumstance and respect those differences.  Life=Swaying.
  • Secondly, serve others.  Today.  This minute.  Think of someone who needs your help and give it willingly.  That small act of service in your corner of the world, done by folks all around the globe, keeps our planet-spinning hoops from hitting rock bottom.  We all need a little timely help to keep the hoops swaying.
  • And finally, set apart 5 minutes or more for introspection.  This last step, most critical of all, helps you find your balance.  Isaiah said it well:  “Get thee up into the high mountain.”  As you gain a better perspective, life makes more sense.

I like to believe that hula hoops don’t define me.  I am more than the soul buffeted by swirling winds and dizzying life experiences.  I once saw a documentary on the frenetic lifestyle of the Roaring Twenties, and witnessed a world spinning out of control.  The crash was inevitable, but only because their hoops got so far out of whack.  By showing up, serving others, and finding balance my crazy world spins under control.  A hundred million of us all swaying in sync, keeps society’s crazy hoops from crashing.   I may sway like a drunken sailor, but hey!  I’m swaying.  I remind myself every day, “Be the hoop!  Just be the hoop!”

 

Count it All Joy

The new Posh line releases this week…without me.  (sigh)  I love Posh.  I love everything about Posh, except for missing conferences.  Ann Dalton designed this conference with me in mind, I’m sure, because it promises to be right up my alley, it being held in Nashville and with me being a country girl and all.

I wanted to go.  I mean, I really wanted to go.  But alas, I admit it was simply not meant to be.  The conference date this year got rescheduled from August to July, smack dab in the middle of summer church camps.  Dutifully (sigh), I decided to keep my priorities straight.  God first.  Posh somewhere down the line.  (sigh)

Summer camps became a summer thing for me more than 30 years ago.  People always tell me to have fun when I get ready for a camp, and I must look at them with that strange, are you an alien from outer space and do understand my language kind of gaze that leaves us all feeling just a little unsettled.  They do realize I’m not going as a camper, right?  It’s not about me having fun; it’s about me pouring out myself in service for others.  I find it fulfilling, not fun-filled.

Yet serving at youth camps does fill my soul.  The friendships garnered over the years enriched my life beyond measure.  They comforted me in an overwhelming way when Alma died, and I count those friends more precious than diamonds or dollars.  The rich comradeship from working on projects that actually go off without a hitch, or well, with very few noticeable hitches, I find more valuable than a paycheck.  And the moments I feel God smiling I count most precious of all.  Like Paul, I count it all joy.

I’m camping this week, but you can bet I’m humming an old country love song in my heart.  And I promise, no sighing!

The Therapeutic Value of Touch

The old saw rings true, “Once a nurse, always a nurse.”  I learned as a youngster the value of touch.  My mother was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis before I ever entered the world, and a rough touch left skin slips or bruises on her fragile skin.  I learned early on the art of grasping without leaving a mark.  I learned as a student in pediatrics that babies denied a loving touch develop a syndrome known as failure to thrive and die without intervention.  A gentle touch became ingrained as a way of life.

I now home school a sweet red-headed grand with freckles and a lovable chuckle.  In almost every way she is a delight.  She’s just…messy!  Very, very messy.  I often wonder how a little girl who loves Fancy Nancy and all things pretty, especially all things that sparkle, can present me such ugly work.

Do overs, extended bouts of penmanship, scolding, praising, nothing fazes her.  Every day I see her becoming more and more entrenched in habits of messiness. Thus I decided one day, after receiving yet another page of abominable handwriting, that radical action be taken immediately.  A campaign was in order.  A gentle undertaking to touch her soul.

pensI added a summer course of calligraphy.  We find character building scriptures on relevant topics and letter them in fancy styles, adding flourishes and swirls, and on her paper, that means a lot of swirls everywhere.  She loves it.  Her calligraphy requires a loving eye in order to offer any praise, but here’s the point:  She invests almost an hour in one line or sentence, which is 59 more minutes normally occupied in writing the same line on any given day.  I offer hope for improvement.

Every parent or grandparent possesses the opportunity to touch the life of a child, and every child needs those loving touches.  This sweetie just lost her daddy, so every hug, every word of encouragement, every smile wrenched out of her situation equals a weighted touch.  So I’m learning to be generous.  Touch a child, your own or another’s, and offer an imprint on a little growing soul.  The soul you bless may one day legislate your Social Security, save your life in an ambulance, or just eat family dinner with you…but trust me, two lives reap the benefit, both now and later.  I encourage you, gentle reader, touch a little life.  You’ll find it therapeutic for everyone involved.

Why My DIL is a Bad Influence

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the girl to pieces.  Yet the fact remains…she taught me a bad habit.  A very bad habit.

Because they live on our property, we share a mailbox.  I collect their mail, meaning, all of her packages.  The UPS man stops here so regularly we’re on a first name basis, so you can see where I’m going with this.  Yes, she shops online.  A lot.  It started me wondering.  Why?  Does she get good deals?  Does she save time or gas?  What’s the attraction?

My first forays began so innocently.  Amazon, so naturally Amazon Prime, meaning free shipping!  What’s not to love, right?  Who could argue with that?  Do you realize just how quickly a person can rack up money spent online?  A single click and boom!  Suddenly I’m a proud owner of…more stuff.

I quickly banned trips to Amazon to once a week, and only with list in hand.  Then I discovered…you might want to cover this piece of information with your hand, it’s that explosive in nature… (and if you’re reading aloud, just whisper here) Tophatter–the most decadent and deceiving app of them all. You see the picture.  They tell you the retail price.  They show you the instantaneous savings.  The bidding lasts just two minutes, so you dare not contemplate on whether or not you need it or where in the world you would put it…hurry up!  Bid already!  Bid again!  Boom!  Now you really own more stuff, especially if you check it out several times a day, just to see what’s there, of course.

mailWhen I started adding up what I spent (as opposed to what I supposedly saved), I quickly realized yet another site needed banning.  I blame all this on my DIL, whom I love dearly and who, I am sure, buys only what she needs, because she is amazing.  But I ask you, is she worth her weight in stuff?  Because that’s what my unbridled obsession stacks up to equal or exceed.  Yes, she’s a very bad influence.  And, I repeat, I love her dearly.

Who’s Your Favorite Patriot?

Tough question, right?  When I look for a worthy candidate, I’m left scratching my head.  Leadership is like using a catalyst, an agent that causes a chemical reaction when mixed with another compound.  Nothing happens until the catalyst enters the mix.  When our Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia more than 200 years ago to write the Constitution, our population numbered around 3 million, yet six world-class leaders sat among the authors of that historical document.  The mix of those great minds resulted in a document standing the test of time.

Today we number at more than 200 million Americans, and in looking at the explosion of media before us, one would think rock stars, Hollywood icons and quarterbacks serve as present day heroes.  Our world, both locally and abroad, suffers from a drought of great leadership.  With the press so firmly partitioned into bias camps, we find no good way to separate the sheep from the goats, much less ascertain the truth of what takes place, who did what when, or which quote to believe.

Now before you clamor for one public figure or another, realize I speak hypothetically.  No real contest exists.  I am expressing equal disdain for all public figures in every bias camp.  My past vote for candidates remains private.  I bear the utmost respect for the office of the Presidency and the man who serves, whether I count him my favorite patriot or not.  Because I respect the office of the President of the United States do not assume my opposite assignment of villain status to all his naysayers.  None of these dignitaries in any office earned my vote as favorite patriot, so don’t jump on your your high horse too quickly, just take it all at face value.

My candidate for favorite patriot this 4th of July is…the unknown soldier.  He cannot be vilified.  He cannot be microscopically scrutinized for missteps or words inadvertently spoken.  His sole accomplishment lies in the anonymity and totality of his service.  His willingness to give his all without recognition or remuneration or medal of any kind speaks volumes about his character and qualification.  Indeed, he cannot be faulted in any way.

And that’s the real problem, isn’t it?  Everyone feels the need to point fingers, weigh in, assess blame, state an opinion.  Where are our public servants?  Is their conspicuous absence the fault of the press?  The people?  The cowardice of the public servants?  Until we can read a true and faithful report of the real actions and words of a single public figure, gratefully accept the service rendered, politely suggest things to improve the situation, making sure everyone involved feels safe to participate, and at the end of the day we bury our hatchets and sleep peacefully at night, our hero will remain the one unimpeachable candidate resting in an unknown grave.  The Unknown Soldier.  May he rest in peace.  May we find more of his ilk and stature in the days to come.  We desperately need them.

For All the Princesses

princess1I’ve written a book and am in the process of figuring out how to publish it…but in light of yesterday’s blog, I thought I’d post a chapter for you to critique.  The book is for all our daughters, helping them find a right path, a good self-concept, a right relationship to God.  Experts say to write what you feel passionate about.  This is it for me!  What do you think about this chapter?

 

Let Your Mind Be Transformed

Chris awoke to a bright sky, the sun gleamed through her window.  A smile spread across her face as she threw back her covers and jumped out of bed.  She hastily pulled on her clothes and tiptoed out her bedroom door.

“Good!” she thought, no one’s up but me.  A spark of decision settled it—she was going outside to explore the garden before anyone had the chance to stop her.  “And after all, I am the princess.  I should be able to command my breakfast whenever I want it!  And everyone else can wait for me!”

As she reached the lower level, she heard servants at work in the kitchen, so she stealthily crossed the hall.  “They won’t even know I’m gone,” she thought.  With that she ever so quietly opened the side door, slipped out, and carefully closed it without even a click to give away her presence.

She quickly crossed the courtyard with the fountain and benches she enjoyed each afternoon, and proceeded to a walk through stately elms along the opening path to the garden.  Once again she reached a juncture where the path divided into three sections.

Looking at them, she saw with dismay that through the night each path had changed dramatically.  The path on her right, which had seemed so appealing yesterday, looked grim and foreboding.  The daisies she had picked from a frothy bank of golden sunshine yesterday afternoon had vanished, as if they had never grown there.  Instead, the edges of the path were overgrown with thistles and dandelions.  “How is that even possible?” she wondered.

Tentatively, she reached out to pull a yellow flower from the nearest dandelion, but the moment she touched its stem, her fingers burned as a toxic film oozed out.

“Ow! Stop that!” she cried, and instantly, her father’s image appeared before her.  “Give me your hand,” he said quietly.

Chris held out her hand.  He grasped it gently, and in a flash, the ooze disappeared, the pain with it.  She stared wonderingly at her hand, rubbing it in disbelief.  “How did this happen?” she asked.

“Christine,” He said quietly, “what are you supposed to do each morning?”

She looked down, contrite, ashamed.  “I am supposed to present myself each morning and receive my work for the day,” she responded.

“There is a reason for that,” He replied.  “I know this garden in all its forms—joyous and deadly, wild and groomed, pleasant and frightful.  Indeed, I planted it here for your protection.  That means I know how to direct you and protect you.”

A spark of defiance lit her countenance, and she placed her hands on hips and argued, “But I am the princess!  I should be able to explore and map out the garden all on my own!”

“Your tone, little one,” He chided her.  His eyes gazed at her, full of love, piercing her soul.  “You are the princess, and while this garden is yours, and while it can please you, it also separates you from the outside world.  You will have dominion over it in time, but you are not yet ready.  When you slip out of the castle on your own, you are also out from under the protection of the guard I have posted here for the express purpose of seeing that no harm comes to you.”

Christine felt His sorrow deep in her soul, and a tear or two brimmed her eyes.  “I’m sorry,” she whispered.  As she had learned before, she added, “Will you forgive me?”

In a trace her Father’s image vanished and peace flooded her soul.  She turned and retraced her steps.  Entering the castle through the side door, she saw servants setting out breakfast for her and her retinue.

“My lady,” Kelsey said.  “Your Father asked me to prepare your favorite breakfast.  He wants you to present yourself right after breakfast.”

“Thank you, Kelsey.  Are any of my ladies ready for breakfast?” she asked.

“No, my lady.  You are alone this morning.”

Good, she thought.  I need this time to settle myself.  Christine happily sat down to a plate of waffles, which she generously doused with syrup, remembering the bountiful harvest of sap the trees in the garden had provided this year.  “Kelsey, these are delicious!  Please give my compliments to Cook this morning,” she exclaimed.

“I will my lady.  She will be most pleased,” Kelsey replied.

It was some time later when Christine left the table, ready to enter the throne room.  She entered reverently.  Awe, as always filled her senses.  The ornate carvings depicting her Father’s realm reminded her of how little of the world she had really seen.  This castle, these grounds, these servants, these guards, and her ladies-in-waiting were all she had ever known.

As she reached the empty throne, her Father’s image appeared.  “Christine.  How good to see you again this morning.”  His smile gladdened her heart, and she marvelled that she couldn’t detect even a hint of reproach.

“Your majesty,” she answered, as she bowed before Him.  “What are your instructions for this day?”

“It is my will that you begin a course of study to prepare you for your work in life.  Listen to your instructor.  Let the words you hear transform you into the handmaiden I need at my side,”  He said.

A smile broke across her face, and she bowed in acceptance.

 

Study:   Read Romans 12: 1-2.

  1. What does the word transform mean? Look it up in dictionary, and write its meaning in the space below.

 

  1. How does God renew your mind?

 

  1. How would your life be different if you actually imagined presenting yourself to the King of your life each and every morning…and did it? Try imagining it now.  What might the throne room of God look like?  Would trumpets blare when you enter the room, or would it be quiet and serene?  When you kneel before the Lord, how would you feel?  Try it and see.

 

  1. What are your orders for today?

Arches, Swirls and Whorls

My friend, Candy, possesses an instinctive flair for design.  Large floral arrangements look stately in her living room, and when I visit, I always think I should go home and create something just like it.  I love that look.  Yet when I go home and play with arrangements, the affect falls woefully short.  Imitations never measure up, do they?

The trick lies in finding the grace inherently deposited within each of us.  As individual as the arches, loops and whorls inscribed in our fingers, we create different testaments of that grace.  The tragedy of our century has been the enslavement of our daughters to the silver screen, which portrays a staged, manicured, false image girls vainly strive to imitate.  They cannot, for our daughters are real.  An unscripted life will never result in the elusive images of Hollywood icons.  Celebrities don’t even look like icons outside of the illusory realm of Beverly Hills.

Sug and NanaIn the process of trying to be someone else, girls lose their sense of self.  Bereft of those underpinnings they fall victim to depression, anorexia, and worse.  Talk to a girl, I mean really delve deep down, and you’ll hear her say, “Oh, if only I had a straight nose.”  “If only I had a flat stomach.”  “If only I had a bigger chest.”  “If only I had long legs.”  Insecurity plagues each one.

Conversely, maturity lies in eschewing cheap imitations for the real, unvarnished gleam of healthy skin and shining eyes and a good heart.  Girls need to see it modeled and hear our admiration when they express themselves.  They need the tools to discover and create their own grace notes, their own instinctive “prints” of natural beauty.