courage, Devotionals, Life Challenges, Life Lessons

CHALLENGING PATHS

Rossistones

As often happens when I’m away from home, I awaken early.

4:05 a.m. to be exact.

Rossi Place

 

I finally get out of bed around 5:00 and brew a pot of coffee.

Still in my nightclothes, I make my way onto the deck of our neighbors’ house on Lake Hamilton.

 

RossiSwing2

 

 

As the sky lightens, I notice a swing on the landing halfway down to the water. I go down the stairs but see that the seat is still drenched in dew, so I stand and sip my coffee, taking in the landscape.

 

RossiRRT

To the right, steps fashioned from railroad ties curve downward. Worn and mossy surfaces betray their age, and there’s no handrail.

Not for the faint of heart.

 

 

RossiNewPathOn the left, a newer stairway, constructed from decking and concrete, gives way to flat stone steps. It looks stable. And there’s a sturdy wire handhold.

I opt for the newer, more secure path and head to the dock and over to the seating area at the bottom of the old railroad-tie steps.

 

 

RossiMistWisps of fog hover over the lake. Somewhere across the way, a bird welcomes the new day with song. I wish one of those little clouds would drift close enough for me to reach out and touch its dream-spun softness.

I lift my head and breathe in the peace I always feel near a body of water. No wonder working people retreat here for weekends.

IMG_5769As I return up the rock stairs, I notice ferns and moss softening their hard faces.

 

Later, I find myself pondering the two paths. Although the older route would have appealed to a younger me, I’m acutely aware that at this stage of life, I would need a walking stick to maneuver down those ancient steps. Two scriptures come to mind.

Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jeremiah 6:16

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me
. Psalm 23:4

I find myself praying for the wisdom and courage to choose the right path even when it appears rugged. I recall past experiences when the way felt rocky and hard, but every time I held onto to God real tight, He delivered me safely to my destination.

 

RossiRRWay

What about you?

Are ever tempted to take the easy way out?

Whatever path you find yourself on today, whatever you are facing, I wish you peace and the revelation that when Jesus calls us to follow Him, we can trust Him to keep us.

 

For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God.

And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.

Isaiah 41:13

 

 

Aging, Change, Grandchildren, Life Challenges, Spring

Yippee! It’s Spring

Spring is finally here! The forsythia, jonquils, and Bradford Pears have been showing out for days. This week’s burst of glory, along with transitions in our oldest grandson’s life, have turned my thoughts to the changing seasons of life.

Brady just graduated from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and started his first job in architecture. Are we proud? For sure. Was he ready? You bet. But with all that pride and excitement, he’s also had to handle the stress that comes even with good changes. And his parents and grandparents have entered the land of Happy-Sad by coming face to face with the fact that he is now a full-fledged adult. Where did the time go? and all those other familiar phrases have run through our minds for months.

Terry and I don’t wish him to be a baby again, but it means we’ve aged by 20-plus years and have entered another phase of life too. Have we seen changes in ourselves? Sure thing. Did we want to acknowledge them? Not really. But I’m not sure that’s good. While every birthday reminds me of my mortality, I’m grateful to be on the down side of 60. I’ve had friends who longed to celebrate growing older. I just want to make the most of these years.

And guess what? I hear that 50 is the new 30. I like that! That must mean that 70 is the new 50. Even better. Terry and I had lots of fun in our 50s. You know, children grown, more money and time to do fun things. I’m thinking the next couple of decades are going to be good.

 
But I’m a realist and I realize from observing my parents and in-laws that the body betrays us as we age, especially if we don’t pay attention. Things get a little harder, but I think achievements are a little sweeter, too.

My plan is to embrace the days ahead, to take better care of myself—body, mind, and spirit—and to dare to be discriminating in my activities. If it’s not meaningful, I plan to say no. If I tell you no about something, it’s not you. It’s just where I am in this season of life.  

What about you? Are you taking stock with the change of season?

  For,“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” I Pet. 1:24
Comfort, Favorite Things, Happiness, Life Challenges

SAVORING LIFE

I shared these thoughts last week on a friend’s blog. Just thought I’d put it up here in case you missed it. Have a wonderful weekend!
 

Chocolate has always been my comfort food of choice. Back when Hershey’s candy bars came in five rows of double squares, I’d buy a bar and eat it at my desk.  The very act of sliding off the brown wrapper and opening the foil packet became a soothing ritual. (Must have been all that serotonin.) Anyway, I’d eat it—one square at a time, while I worked.

The problem was that sometimes because I was preoccupied with a project, I’d reach for another bite of candy only to find an empty wrapper. I’d think, “Where’d it go. I couldn’t have eaten all that.” But I had. It was gone, which meant I’d munched my way through the entire 200+ calories without truly enjoying every bite. That’s a real bummer when you need to count calories.

chocolate_11
 

 I get a similar feeling when I look back on this year. In January, I unwrapped 2013 with great expectations. While I’ve enjoyed much of it, I feel like I’m down to the last two squares, and asking myself what happened to the rest. How can it already be November? I know where September went and the first part of October—I traveled a lot. But I was home a couple of weeks before Halloween, and it still sneaked up on me. Now we’re burning weeks in November with Thanksgiving fast approaching.

I’ve become aware of my advancing years, so I’m more conscious of the need to make the most of my time. That’s complicated because I want to cram too much into each day, each week, each month. But when I’m too busy, I get distracted, rushed, stressed and sometimes find myself just going through the motions in much the same way I mindlessly gobbled up that chocolate.

So I’m changing my ways. Even though there are many good things, I’m trying to choose what’s best for me for this time. When my calendar starts filling up, I’m beginning to say, “Thank you, but I can’t do that.”  It’s difficult because I like people and saying yes too often is a weakness of mine.

            Cresent Hotel

But I’ve been practicing. Instead of going away for two weeks to write as planned, I’m enjoying three days away and seeing friends I love in the process. Most of our time is devoted to writing; however, we’re not slaves to a schedule either. Today, I’ve taken a couple of walks to enjoy the glorious fall foliage, dined with friends and still had time to work on several writing projects.  I can honestly say I did exactly what I wanted to do.

Dove candyIn just a minute, I’m going to partake of my latest indulgence—Dark Dove Chocolate. Just one. While I do nothing else except savor its bold, smooth flavor.

If you were here, I’d give you one, too. I brought a whole bag. 

 
     
Do you have any secrets for managing your busy schedule when things get hectic?