“…a time for every matter under heaven..”

The days are getting longer, and much hotter. This past weekend we spent putting in all our starts into our raised beds. They did well the first day, but it got so hot, my baby lettuce is wilting. I have high hopes for the myriad of plants that are a little droopy! In Alaska, our days are so very long. Right now, it’s 75-degrees and not a cloud in sight. The sunlight today will be over 18 hours…

May 31, 2022

For new plants, that is a lot of light and heat, with an overnight low of 48-degrees. It is a rough time for those sprouting plants, but they will get the hang of it, and with that much sunshine, they grow massively fast and large.

There is a time and a season for everything under heaven: a time to be born, and time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Our lives are a rhythm and most of us who garden can really see those rhythms in the seeds, the little sprouts, the full grown plants, the harvest, and the autumn, when we uproot what is left over. As I have aged, I feel more and more like our time is speeding up. I recall thinking summers were endless as a kid, and longing to be back into the rhythm of school. And now, I wish the seasons would slow down a little bit more.

So me…

And as I come out of an intense weekend focusing on our plants and our yard, I am forever grateful for my husband. What a workhorse he has been. Never complaining, but just doing what needed to be done. In addition, gathering downed trees from a friend’s place to ensure we have enough wood this winter. I think he has about 3-4 cords. Up here, we try to plan for the worst and enjoy any extra that may bring us. I got sunburned and mosquito-bitten. He has scratches and cuts and bruises all over from hauling downed trees and then working on our raised beds. As our next door neighbor said on Sunday afternoon, “I see this and think that’s great, but man oh man, that is a lot of work. I’ll just buy my veggies from you!” And as we get older, it is a lot of work. Right now, we are still recovering from last winter’s dump on our yard, and trying to carve out a place for this summer’s activities and growth. It’s part of that life rhythm, to be sure, but this is the hard work part.

“…a time to tear down and a time to build…”

Ecclesiastes 3:5

Life is like that. We scurry around gathering knowledge and skills in order to make it in this world. We fall in love and get married. We begin families. We raise our kids. We mow lawns and go to little league games. We work and we work and we work some more. And then it sort of starts to slow down. The kids themselves begin their independent journeys and they move out and away. Letters from college. Letters from the military. Soon we are welcoming grandchildren and we wonder when this had time to happen. A friend just reminded me they had left CA where we were all friends, over 30 years ago. My word. She was in the delivery room when we had our middle son. He is married with 4 kids of his own. Time has flown by. And the cycle is continuing.

I lament that my life is in its sundown phase. It happened in the blink of an eye. I have 6 grandchildren and an empty nest. We spent Memorial Weekend in our garden… just us two. Kids off doing their thing. Simple days in the sun and dirt, quietly reigning in this acreage. Once I remind myself to ignore the sun and look at my watch, we will come inside and prepare a meal. Then we watch our TV shows and eat our dinner and climb into bed, totally spent. (Usually it’s a Gordon Ramsay show and we always discuss the contestants and some of the techniques, and even recipes! Can’t believe I have a man who enjoys it with me!!). The days are simpler, more direct, if you understand that. And still, this is an ordained pattern, a part of this rhythm.

“…a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain; a time to search and a time to give up; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear and a time to mend; a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.”

ecclesiastes 3: 5-8

And so as I keep an eye on my garden, and as I played with my grandchildren today, I think of these things, these rhythms, and I trust in the Lord. All time is His. My time is His. And He will be the voice I listen to, who guides me home.

New strawberries under our window and a bird cover….

“But understand this….

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of Godliness, but denying its power. Avoid these people.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Good Advice…

I have had a rather rough week. My mom passed away a year ago on Monday. It bothered me more than I thought it would. I can hear her voice and see her smile, and the way her eyes would crinkle up at the corners when she had a big grin on her face. I recall my stepdad telling us a story and mom leaning in and quietly saying, “Like I haven’t heard this one before.” And chuckling at her husband. He was an awesome story teller and even though he told them with great embellishment, we all enjoyed them, laughing all the while. He truly made my mom happy. Now they are both gone and I miss them being in my life so very much.

My dad is still with us. He is 95 and lives in a memory facility on the other side of the country. We chat now and then. This past weekend, he told me he was moving and was busy, and out of breath, packing his room up. I texted my brother, and he confirmed dad was going nowhere that he had been told. I texted my stepsister and her response was, “These are the delusions we live with. This is why he is where he is – we could not handle him any longer.” I had thought it was because of dementia and did not realize his dementia included delusions. It was a hard pill to swallow, as I have been enjoying what I thought were many lucid conversations with him. I spoke with him today and he had no memory of moving anywhere. He lamented that he had lived a good life, is making peace about death, and told me he is lonely. Told me no one comes to see him. And he misses me and wishes he were with me. (I have not seen my dad in person in about 20 years. So this was sort of a shock). He told me he wants me to come and get him and bring him to my home. He realizes I live across the country, but he said he is lonely for family. My stepsister told me that he tells her he does not speak to his kids, just his step kids. Sigh. Dementia. The long goodbye.

Dad’s under the impression that he has led a good life and that he is going to heaven. He also told me that after he hugs Jesus, he’s going to tell Him all the mistakes dad thinks Christ has made. Oh boy. Head-slap. His impression of himself fascinates me. And he knows he is in his last days, and he is beginning to realize that he may not awaken in the not-so-distant future. But he really has no concept of humility, nor of being subservient to anyone – especially if they don’t have the correct credentials. Dad doesn’t respect people very much who are not degreed or wealthy. Where he lives, there are at least 200 other people. He says they lack the education and only talk about farming, fishing, and hunting. None of those subjects interest him. So he sits alone, being miserable, watching birds outside his window and putting together jigsaw puzzles. Alone. In his misery.

The Ladder of Divine Ascent Icon

The icon above is one of my favorites. This is just a portion of it. I have a replica hanging next to the sink in my bathroom. Odd, do you think? Well, I chose that place so that each time I brush my teeth, I contemplate this icon. There are many rungs and there are pitfalls all along the way. Not all of us can hang on until we make it to heaven. Many are heading up there, but demons and choices yank us off. Before we die, if we are aware, we can make better choices and climb up that ladder, having a firmer grasp on our choice of heaven. Everything we do is a choice. And every choice moves us closer to God, or further away. It may just be a tiny step, but the direction is firmly one way or the other. Every, single, day we choose our steps. Every, single day.

In the world right now, life is chaotic. There are so many people making poor choices over and over again. Some people are at the ends of their lives; some are still so young. As I have aged, I have become more tolerant of people whose lifestyles do not align with mine. I choose to worship so differently than most of the people I have in my life, including my children, and other family members, and most of our friends. I do seem to be drawn to like-minded people in the areas of general faith, politics, economics, home life, etc. but they often worship differently. And that is okay. As long as their aim is upwards, towards God, I am good. Some of my friends dye their hair, whereas I do not. Some prefer trucks, while I drive a grandma sedan. Some are vegans, whereas I love my red meats. It’s okay to be friends with those different than us. However, as things get dicier and dicier, I return to the admonishment of St. Timothy above, “Avoid these people.” And in a way, it’s funny because my lifestyle precludes me from associating with many of those exhibiting those traits. Except for some family members. And there is the rub.

Sage advice,,,

I am deeply grateful for my life. I love my husband more than I thought I could love anyone. He is my best friend. He is who my world revolves around. We have amazing kids and grandkids. We live in a gorgeous place among the trees and mountains, streams and lakes. We have two amazing dogs that are accompanying us on this last journey. I have Medicare and just applied for Social Security. Times are slowing down. The glory days are behind us; peace is ahead. And still I ache over issues from family members. My dad is a case in point. We have not been close since I was in my early 20s. Once he left mom and chose to live apart from his family, that’s been his path. And it took him to the opposite side of the country. My youngest son only met him twice – once as a newborn and once as a 4-year-old. He is now 23. My kids have no relationship with their grandfather and he laments that – now. It never bothered him, up until he really started to age. (My kids adored my stepdad, so the roll of grandpa was fulfilled on my half. Their relationship to my in-laws was wonderful. They adored them. So that was great).

My thoughts center around the demented, aging population. How do they reconcile with God? My mom had no concept of God near the end of her life. Dad just thinks he knows better and would like to lecture God about the world. He has always been like that, which is why he flitted from denomination to denomination throughout his life. He could not abide preachers, thinking he knew more than they did. (He also thinks he has multiple doctorates, but that is part of his delusions). I had an Alzheimer’s counselor tell me once that the demented are at peace in their minds. They just don’t communicate out loud very well, and that God knows them intimately, and He knows their hearts. I was somewhat comforted.

Clinging to this for myself, and my loved ones.

And so I am trying to let this go. I seem to be on the verge of tears a lot. My granddaughter is getting three fillings in her teeth today – I wish I could be with her. I wish I could be out of my head some days and find peace. I am going to my grandson’s ball game later this evening. I will endeavor to find joy in the ballfields, amongst the sounds of the game and the children playing all around us. I will suck up the joy and youth and spirit and the life! God knows the hearts of His beloved. He will care for those I cannot care for. He loves us because we love Him. He knew us before we were even born (“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…Jeremiah 1:5) and He will take care of us, as Isaiah reminds us above.

I leave all these thoughts with you because my brain is so busy and there is just so much rambling going on!! May the Lord bless you with peace…

This is for everyone in our lives, but especially our family and friends with dementia.

“Splish-splash I was taking a …. swim”

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:22
Water Aerobics

And so here we are. Almost summer. And the doctor not happy with the latest bloodwork. Glucose numbers down! Yay me! Cholesterol almost doubled in 3 months. What the heck? My cholesterol has always been fine. Until this last 3 month check up. LOL. Two steps forward and 1 step backwards. (Well, maybe a side trip! LOL!) And so now my diet (I actually love my nutritionist – she has become a good friend) devised by my nutritionist helps me monitor my blood sugar, the carbs, and the various fats. Yep – I basically eat like a squirrel.

Bike Peddler

One of the ways to positively affect your health is to move. I love being at home. I would rather be fiddling around with my husband and dogs, in our home and yard, than almost anything. And in the long winters here in Alaska, that time is mostly indoors. Sometimes it’s just too cold to be out in it. We go to events; we go on walks – but for the majority of winter, we are going to and from places. A lot of time is spent inside. On my recliner. (Recliner potato!) So to combat that, I added a peddler like the one above. I can watch/binge my favorite TV program and exercise at the same time. And it elevates my heart rate and works my legs/back muscles. But I needed more, and my nutritionist/friend asked me to join her at open swim at the local high school. Each time we go, we spend about 45 minutes exercising, and then we sit in the hot jacuzzi tub. Not gonna lie, that hot tub is worth the pool time!

Me and my buddies…LOL

One of the best things about sharing your health journey is that you have built-in support. My friends each have their own health issues they are working on, and we are there to support one another. We also, and this is such a key, we also pray for each other. It makes this whole thing far more doable.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

I have never taken my health for granted, but I have also never really involved entities like doctors, nurse practitioners, and nutritionists. Over the past two years, along with Covid, I was dealing with shoulder/spine issues and was blessed to find doctors and therapists who were holistic in their approach and preferred a dietary/supplemental approach over a pharmacological and surgical one. To add daily pharmacologicals to my diet annoys me. Incredibly. But I also realize I need some help getting my pancreas to behave itself and operate within normal measurable metrics. And right now, it is still reactionary. It is very affected by diet, stress, sleep, and if I catch some random bug. So the medicine is helping until I can reign it in. Along with glucose regulation, I have to keep fats and cholesterol under control. It’s a pretty full agenda. To say I was overwhelmed is to understate it. Having been a person who uses essential oils for pretty much everything, pills and medications are not my preferred method of taking care of myself. I now have a pill dispenser and I refill that weekly. I feel old. LOL!

This is what I now use…

I am excited, though. Summer is arriving every day. We now have 18 hours of sunlight per day. The average temperature is rising and we are supposed to be up to 70-degrees by next week. And the outside is calling me. My aerobics and peddling are geared towards my health, but my secret goal is being able to hike with my kids and grandkids. Alaska is so beautiful I will spend the rest of my life trying to see more of it, but I know I will never get to see it all. But if I can hike the glaciers and see more of this incredible place, with my grandkids alongside me, I will be so happy. And to get there, I need to push myself. Healthy numbers from the doctor, and healthy limbs and breathing from me. I know I can do this. I need to do this. All of this is to say, whatever impetus you need to get going, find it and do it. The rewards are life-extending. The rewards are the physical ability to make memories with your family. And those are my goals.

August 2019

The photo above was my first hike with my DIL and family, in 2019. We hiked a glacier!!! And I made it up and back, a little over 5 miles. I could not have done it without Kathleen’s help. She was encouraging, and physically assisted me over rocks and gulches and steadied me when I needed it. And I want to do this, and more, again. I want to use my new hiking poles I never got to use because of weather, and then a very busy summer in our garden. This year, we have some camping trips already planned and I want to keep up, not be a hinderance, and to enjoy the outdoors with my family, God willing.

My prayer…

“..and a time to every season…”

Life-long Friends

As most of you who read this know about me, I am not a young woman. I have been married to my best friend since 1984. We have 6 grandchildren together. And we have two standard poodles who now fill our days with laughter. Life is still stressful and some nights sleep eludes me for most of it, but all in all, we live a blessed life. Are all our relationships hunky-dorry? Nope. Are we financially well-off enough to retire? Nope. Do we have a place to live that brings us joy and a warm bed at night? Yes, we do. Like I said, we are pretty blessed in this life.

I have been dipping my toes back into politics and although I am stimulated by the exchanges and conversations, it also stresses me out. And one of the stressers for me is that I find very, very few people in their 30s or 40s involved. I understand that I am reaching that stage in life where things are simpler. My kids have kids; kids who play little league and take dancing lessons; kids who go swimming at the local gym and are active at their schools; kids who have their friends over; kids with homework and school work and life is messy and noisy and very busy. I did all of that. Our youngest finally moved out last month – we are an empty nest at last. I understand that your time is not your own when you are in the midst of raising a family. I do get it. However, when I attend political functions and all I see are balding heads and various tones of gray, I get concerned. Who are we going to share this brain trust with? Who will inherit our value system and keep this country running?

Meetings…meetings…meetings..

One of the hardest things about politics are all the meetings. And there are endless meetings. Some I attend, but most I skip. Why? Nothing changes. No new players. Blah-blah-blah-blah, is what we hear – ad nauseam. Nothing seems to change because most of the people involved have been involved for decades – and they like it the way it is. To them, if it’s working, why change it??? Well, for those of us on the outskirts, we can see it is NOT working and we want to nudge the system a little – to get it back in sync!! The hurdle in front of me is to be heard – to be allowed to participate in my party at the district level. And so far, their action has been to muzzle me. Why? Well, for example, at our last district meeting when we had endorsements to vote on, my husband and I were the sole “nay” votes. At the point where they allowed discussion, they did not like what I had to say. And I was interrupted by district leaders, trying to explain away the why’s of their patterned behavior. And I left frustrated. Funnily enough, I was thinking I need to get out of this party and my husband volunteers for precinct chair! LOL! I’m feeling like I’m banging my head against the wall, and he’s wanting to get in there and change things from the inside out. God bless that man.

My meeting attitude…

And now we get to ranked choice voting and mail-in-ballots. It about makes my head explode. Have you listened to Capt. Seth Keshel? He has a Telegram account, he’s on Truth Social, and he has a podcast. Well worth your time and effort. He travels the USA exposing voter fraud in each area he is visiting. So he tailors his talk to your particular situation. He was amazing on the fraud in Alaska. He had statistics and figures and graphs and lots and lots of samples. His stories and quotes from his dad were great. But he also offers solutions? Who does that? Not our ingrained political party participants. One of the outspoken members of our combined districts does not believe there was fraud in Alaska. He also did not attend Capt’s presentation. It was open to the public and only 150 or so attended. Pretty sad state of affairs, my friends.

Falling off the edge….

So many people link those of us who think outside the box as crazy conspiracy nuts who are losing our control and focus on life. Well, how many crazy nuts have stood strong against things like mandatory vaccinations and even in Friday’s info dump have been proved to be right??? That now, Johnson & Johnson has been restricted for use because it is known to cause blood clots? Pfizer is now shown, in its own publication, that its efficacy is 12% and shrinks to less as time goes on? That study after study has come out to insist masks did nothing to prevent Covid but may have actually contributed to the length of time it took for this “plandemic” to run its course? That Covid has now been shown to be almost the same as the flu??? I suffered with covid for 6 days in the hospital and lost 70% of my hair, and am still dealing with these weird electrical zings across my skin, as well as diabetes. It took its toll on me and I refuse to get the vaccine, to this day. Just this week my doctor said, “I know it’s stupid to ask you, but you aren’t interested in the vaccine are you?” As I shook my head no, she said, “I’ve had the initial vaccine and two boosters and now they say I need a third. I am declining. Enough is enough.” How refreshing!! It took her three injections to reject their advice, but she is finally seeing the hype for what it was. There are signs in the office to wear a mask, but no one does. Yay! All this brings me back to voting and elections and the common practice of following the guy in front of you. Just don’t! Think for yourself. Critical thinking is not being taught, nor practiced by many these days. Don’t be a “sheeple.” Demand more of your legislators. Demand they keep their campaign promises. And don’t be afraid to dig into the system. You can see, and it is required by law that you see, all the campaign contributions for each candidate. Follow the money – it can be very enlightening. And don’t go by slogans. Look and learn who the people are who want to represent you. When it goes against your beliefs, just say no. Do not pour good money after bad. Don’t perpetuate a model that does not work. Seek change.

Are you?

Don’t let the system scare you, either. It’s too big and too costly as it is. Let’s get this simple, again. A system where each of us can serve a term, then go home and enjoy life a little. There should never be professional politicians. Ever. Look at how long people have held office. It is more than time for a change. Be the voice of change in your local elections. Start close to home. You do make a difference! And even if you are the sole contrary voice at these meetings, it is important that you be heard. They need to know not everyone out there is a sheeple. Stand out from the crowd.

Be the change…stand out from the crowd!