Tag Archives: 40s

Transformation and Aging

When I turned 40, I felt like life was clipping along at a rather high rate of speed. So much of my life was beyond my control, dictated by other forces. I had two teenagers, I was homeschooling two children, and the younger of the two was just beginning to be suspected of dyslexia with its added load of chaos. I had a presence at two schools, and I think that began the second year of really trying to get TeenMOPS rolling, which was a monster of an undertaking. I wanted to be available in my daily life to breathe grace into the lives of friends, neighbors and acquaintances, but I didn’t seem to have the ownership of my time to even stop and take cookies to a neighbor moving out, telling her I’d miss her. This was bad, and I didn’t want to continue in the fast lane the rest of my life. I needed something to change; maybe me to change.

Not a flattering photo, but of me in Texas, 40 years old, re-evaluating my life.

From this was born my 50 Before 50. I wanted to set in print, where it could take on form and potentially life, some of my true priorities. The expressions of those priorities made sense at the time, and I have achieved some in every category, albeit allowing for some flexibility of interpretation:

a closer relationship to God When I became a group leader for Bible Study Fellowship, I took that over a Kay Arthur Bible study (#31). With the required homiletics, I felt it was just as rigorous, and I know I learned just as much from my time in God’s Word.  As a Day Women’s Group leader, I also attended a BSF retreat with my group, and I counted that as a women’s retreat (#27). It certainly achieved the spiritual and relational goals intended. I haven’t memorized the verses, though (#32), which makes me kind of sad, because I invested time trying not to lose the ones I already have instead, and haven’t been completely successful at that.

a closer relationship to my family I am unsure how successful this one has been, but I ticked things off the list nonetheless. I did develop a habit of celebrating even the little victories of my children (#41), thus becoming a more positive, less critical parent. More could be done, though. And some of the items intended to build memories to savor in the future were done with family members, so also serving this goal. I attended my first opera (#24) with my older daughter, which became one of several we enjoyed our experience together so much. I made tiramasu (#8) with my husband, and it was fun together. But Stoney and I never did succeed in making time together for another dance class (#13), I never made time to take the girls to the Hill Country to stay in the Barn(#12), and Theo and I never made it to Mount Rushmore (#40) even after we moved to Kansas, when it would have been much closer to do so. I doubt I’ll squeeze that one in now.

improvements in my own character I’ve thrown out a lot of things I’m not using, and even simplified enough to trim things I was, but didn’t need to (#5). I got up enough courage to donate platelets (#35) and repeated several times more. I maintained a strength and weights program until my injury late this spring (#39), and I ran a 5K (#10), but I had lots of improvement goals that haven’t been met.

goals I need to help my kids achieve Well, I graduated the first three kids from high school, so that’s something (#s16, 36 &37). You might say it should have been on their goal lists, but getting kids through school requires a lot of coaching from parents! And I’m still on track to graduate a child from college (#17), this coming August in fact.

have fun and make memories That’s what most of the rest of the list was for. Some I achieved; many I didn’t. I think the most important ones have been checked off, though.

I just recently turned 47. Now, with time running out, I look over my list and wonder not only if these things are achievable now (any whales in this part of the Atlantic?), but are they even desirable now? My list doesn’t really show it, but these last seven years have been transforming; I am not the woman I was that short time ago. I thought God had already brought me through so much, changed me so much, but I could not have guessed how much more he had in store. My priorities haven’t changed, but are these remaining goals how I still want to achieve them? I’m definitely getting older, and my perspective of what is important is changing. Probably my physical abilities, too!  Do these goals still make sense?

In France at 47.

I’m thinking…no. Especially not in the light of my current circumstances! Most years of my remaining fourth decade are going to be spent right here in Europe. I need an addendum to my list! I’ll be prayerfully considering what I don’t want to leave France without doing, keeping in mind my priorities, and adding a priority: serve others more than myself. And I am willing to hear suggestions as well. When I get my addendum, I’ll add it to the 50 page and link it.



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Chicken Envy

My life-long friend Lauri got chickens this year. She doesn’t even like chickens, but her daughter and husband went to the feed store at the irresistible chick season, and couldn’t resist bringing home a bunch of Rhode Island Reds.

 She built them a coop and cares for them dutifully, but she doesn’t CARE for them. I, on the other hand, would LOVE a half dozen hens wandering about. My neighbors would no doubt call the city down on me, so I don’t attempt any urban farming, but I find them very peaceful.

My older daughter knows this about me. She knew that I raised them when I was younger. Hence this birthday present from her.

Extraordinary Chickens 2012 Wall Calendar She didn’t know that when I was about 10 or 11 I had a pet topknot chick that I carried in a shoulder bag and let it ride on my shoulder on occasion, until it was more pullet than chick. This is so extremely redneck a childhood story that this gift made for gales of laughter on both our sides. I wish I could show you the photos of the crazy chickens inside! This feathered friend is quite tame in comparison.

Well, I’m only in my 40s, so presumably I have time to possibly again know the peacefulness of little hens pecking and scratching and making their soothing questing noises. But they won’t look like this one. And it won’t be in this particular suburb, or anytime soon. But who wouldn’t love to throw scratch to a few of these little faces every morning?

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Midway Through the Decade…

When I turned 40, I put together a list of 50 things I’d like to do in the coming decade. It was for fun, but it was also purposeful, intended to insure that I didn’t just live life haphazardly, watching 10 years go by mired in the mundane and meaningless. I wanted to be able, at 50, to say I had accomplished some things of value, and lived out a dream or two.

Well, today I am 46, halfway through the allotted time. Am I halfway through my list? Well, close, actually. I’ve highlighted 22 items on the list, although a few have been modified as my circumstances changed. Some I can definitely see possibly achieving in the next four years: the cross stitch, maybe a scrapbook, some form of a women’s retreat. But there are a few I really don’t aspire to anymore, for whatever reason. My kids don’t have Dance Dance Revolution anymore. I gave up on the email diary, and the paper monster is more tame than he used to be, but I don’t really believe he’ll ever be fully domesticated. Some are on there for my own good, but I doubt they are achievable; should they stay, then? Or should I replace them with something that could actually happen?

I am encouraged when I look back at all that has been achieved on this list so far, though. And interestingly enough, these aren’t even the coolest things that have happened! God always has dreamed so much bigger than I. I would NEVER have thought to include “initiate and help re-found and organize a seriously major (and successful) charity event in the community to which I moved, recently.” Or “teach art (ART?!) in a Christian classroom setting to K-6 or 7.” Or even “graduate a child from high school EARLY.” My life is considerably more interesting than I could plan for myself! I have no idea what the next four years will hold, but I know my God, and I know it will be exciting!

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Me (far right) and my buddies in the Derby Days Parade

Well, it’s been another year since I completed my sabbatical year, and goodness, has God ever remade me! Not only have I continued to act as Survivor Chair on one of the best-grown Relays in the state, but God dropped a teaching position in art education in my lap. I worked with the Census all spring and summer, and that mostly funded this year’s tuition for my son; but I am also teaching art to kindergarten through 7th grades at his school, Faith Lutheran. Yet another dream I would NEVER have dreamed for me was imagined by God, and I have been blessed beyond measure! It has been a long time since I have had so much fun! And then God added yet another undreamed dream: growing the art teaching to homeschool classes. I am humbled and overflowing with love for the Father who cares for me so creatively.

So, just as I have been remade in a new phase of life at 45 years old, I am remaking my old blog. It will serve to document my art lessons and teaching experiences so that I can learn from my mistakes and build on my successes. Happy birth to the new me!

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Not again!! ARGHH!!

As I sit here writing, I am rolling my left foot over a frozen water bottle. My plantar fascitis is acting up again, whether from one leg being longer than the other as Coach suspects, or the foot never quite recovering from the fall a few weeks ago. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that something, anything, is YET AGAIN getting in the way of my 5K goal! I am SO frustrated. I adopted this goal more than 5 years ago, in my 30s, and with one injury, strain, (even overtrained heartvalve!) after another, I still haven’t even run in my first Fun Run. Now I’m in my 40s, and it made my 50 Before 50 list. I am bound and determined!

Coach says to take out the jogging from the program for one week. And I will; I follow her instructions to the T. But I’m mad about it. Mad at my body, I guess. I was having so much fun.


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Time keeps on slippin’…

OK, so today I am another year older in the trek through the 40s. I checked off one more thing on my 50 list, and have one more about to go. Well, I feel like I am at an interesting place in my life, a crossroads of sorts. I’m remaking me just a bit, so I really have a lot of choices before me. They have the potential to really impact my future and that of those I love, so I am trying to live very deliberately right now. What will 43 look like? What do I want it to look like?

For instance, for the fall semester I signed me and DH up for a Saturday water aerobics class. I was on the verge of signing me up for another fitness class two or three days a week, when it struck me. Even with my kids in school, I was scheduling me right out of flexibility. There might be some accountability to a class schedule, but forfeit would be the ability to seize opportunities to minister to (or even just encourage) other women God puts in my path. With no free mornings, I wouldn’t be able to offer to watch someone’s preschoolers when they have a cold, or to do some task for T’s teacher. And it would add stress to my goal of transforming my home, because half the day would now be unavailable. No, I’ve been in that place before, where my time is all committed, like my paycheck to a debt. So I CHOSE to pursue Coach’s workout plans for myself and stay out of a class. I hope it is a choice God can use for His kingdom purposes. I pray I would recognize those forks in the road throughout this coming year and make real choices, instead of living on cruise control.

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Tuesday’s toe tips

DH liked the closeup bestComing up on my 40th birthday, I created a list of things I wanted to do before I turned 50. One of those was to have a French pedicure. (yeah, I know. Dream big.) So when my 20th anniversary rolled around that May, I celebrated that biggie with white-tipped toes for the first time. Goofy me: I recorded it for posterity on film. It seemed such a cheery, Mayfest-ey way to usher in the summer, so I did it again last year. DH insisted I photograph them again. Thus is born a tradition, and here, on Tuesday, I present my 22nd anniversary pedicure. When I’m 50, I’ll have a 10-year progression showing my aging feet!  🙂

And I love my flip-flops!

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