Empty Nest, Abundant Life

Nag Less, Pray More

Category: Coping with an Aging Body (page 1 of 3)

Conclusion to Embracing Fifty

Before I began this series, I approached my 50th birthday with much hesitancy.  As I spent the entire month evaluating how I wanted to live my life in my fifties, my excitement grew.  The more I thought and wrote, the more my anxiety waned and my anticipation soared.   Now I can’t wait to leap into this new decade of my life.

The task of determining my values was not an easy one.  It took a lot of soul searching and frank honesty within myself.  I laughed and cried at my computer keyboard as I reflected on what I valued most and how I wanted to rest of my life to look.  I would highly recommend this activity to anyone who wants to be more intentional with how they live each day of the rest of their life.

Thank you so much for reading my 31 day series.  I hope it inspired you to consider how you choose to live the remaining days of your life.  I’d love to talk to you more about it and will answer all comments.   I wish each of you an amazing life!


This post is part of a  31 Day Blogging Challenge entitled Embracing Fifty.  Please click here  to find all the posts in this series.  You can find the work of more bloggers participating in this series here. You’ll be glad you did!

Loving Others Well

I can’t think of a single better way to use the rest of my life than loving others well.   Before my eyes are even fully open in the morning, I have already mumbled “I love you” to my husband and scratched one of the cats.  Before I get out of bed, I express my love to God by reading His Word, applying it to my life, worshiping Him, and praying for over 100 people.  When I spend this time with God, I find that He fills me to overflowing with love so I can’t help but look for opportunities to love others all day, from those closest to me to those I have not yet met.

Love can be expressed in so many ways.  We often thing of it as physical affection, but that is just one way to show love.  We can make time to spend with others in deep conversation.  We can do something kind for others.  We can encourage one another with our words.  We can let someone know we are thinking of them with a text message, phone call, or a gift.  Even a smile to the grocery checker or the person in the car next to you in a traffic jam can ease a burden and make someone feel special.

The current rhythm of modern American life is becoming so fast-paced and impersonal that stopping to unselfishly invest in another’s happiness seems unnatural.  So many days I fail at loving others well.  I get caught up in the rush of life and my own agenda that I view others as obstacles to what I need to do instead of high priorities.  It is only when I go to God to get refreshed in His love that I have enough to give others.

When I am no longer on this earth, I want to be remembered as someone who loved others well!


This post is part of a  31 Day Blogging Challenge entitled Embracing Fifty.  Please click here  to find all the posts in this series.  You can find the work of more bloggers participating in this series here. You’ll be glad you did!

Purpose

We all have exactly the same amount of time in each day, 24 hours or 1,440 minutes.   We also have a limited amount of time on this earth.  Each day, I’m getting a little closer to leaving this earth for heaven.  I have no idea whether today will be my last day here or I’ll live another 50+ years.   With that in mind, I am stating my intent to spend the rest of my days living life on purpose.

Determining the purpose of our life here on earth can be difficult when we are young.  As we get to know ourselves better, we see our strengths and weakness, figure out what we are drawn to and passionate about, and feel a greater sense of urgency to accomplish what we are set on this earth to do and to leave a legacy that will live beyond us.   We also learn to silence the critics easier, whether the criticism comes from those around us or our misconceptions about ourselves.

Summarizing my purpose into a succinct mission statement is tricky for me.   I have a blurry exposure what my purpose is to be but am slowly bringing that into focus through applying my circumstances and gaining wisdom.  The two biggest words that come into my mind when I consider my purpose are encouraging and teaching.  Sometimes these two purposes can overlap since so much of teaching is catching our students, children, spouses, and friends doing the right thing then urging them to continue in that direction.  I can encourage and teach almost anyone I come into contact with, whether they realize I am doing that or not.

What do you think your purpose is in life?


This post is part of a  31 Day Blogging Challenge entitled Embracing Fifty.  Please click here  to find all the posts in this series.  You can find the work of more bloggers participating in this series here. You’ll be glad you did!

Hope for the Future

One of my favorite Christmas traditions as a child was sitting next to our stereo cabinet listening to Lionel Barrymore’s portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge on an album of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.   I loved the sound effects, the background music, the lively reading of the well-loved book, and especially Barrymore’s characterization of Scrooge.  I was a naturally fearful child, and the visits by each of the ghosts caused me to hide under a blanket for protection.  The most terrifying ghost to me was the Ghost of Christmas Future.  In fact, I can still remember the terror in Barrymore’s voice as he pronounced, “I fear you more than any specter I have seen.”   This was my first exposure to the word, future, so I always associated the future with anxiety and panic.

I’m learning that we can anticipate the future with great hope and excitement or we can dread it.  The choice is ours.  The future will inevitably contain both positive and negative elements.  I am assured that I will die in the future, unless Jesus returns before then.  I could choose to focus my life on that so much that it prevents me from living today to the fullest.  I can look forward to upcoming great times with loved ones, the addition of a new generation to our family tree, and the chance to grow and learn into my fifties, sixties, and seventies.   I can’t wait to see just how valuable my golden years will be!


This post is part of a  31 Day Blogging Challenge entitled Embracing Fifty.  Please click here  to find all the posts in this series.  You can find the work of more bloggers participating in this series here. You’ll be glad you did!

Change

My life has completely changed in the past ten years.  In October of 2007, I had two young teenagers living at home whom I was homeschooling full time, my dad was still alive and took a lot of my time and energy, I was still driving close to 100 miles a week in a minivan, we had different pets, I weighed close to fifty pounds more than I do now, and my good health was sporadic.  Now, just ten short years later, the kids have moved out, my dad and two pets have died, I drive less than 50 miles a week in a sporty Camry, and I’m in the best shape and health of my life.

It would have been ridiculous to refuse to accept the changes as they came.  I would have done my children and my husband a disservice if I refused to allow the kids to spread their wings and fly the coop.  I get much better gas mileage in my car than I ever did in my van.  I have energy to get up each day, thanks to my new exercise and diet habits.

I used to view change as scary and unwelcome, but it is inevitable.  I can deny it and resist it, but that doesn’t keep it from happening.  It just makes life harder for everyone.

In this new decade of my life, I will choose to embrace change.  My husband’s and my lives will certainly change this coming April when his job of nearly 27 years comes to an end.  Our children’s lives are changing as is our relationship with them.  We can grow and learn so much from change.  I don’t know all the changes God has in store for my life in the next ten years, but I will trust Him and look forward what is to come.


This post is part of a  31 Day Blogging Challenge entitled Embracing Fifty.  Please click here  to find all the posts in this series.  You can find the work of more bloggers participating in this series here. You’ll be glad you did!

Nurturing Myself

 

Nurturing myself seemed like a selfish use of my time when I was raising my children.  My days were already so busy that taking time for myself appeared to be an impossibility.  I felt like nurturing myself would be the opposite of generosity.

Now I’m convinced that the beliefs I had were lies from the enemy to keep me in a depleted, ineffective state.   When I don’t allow time to refresh and recharge myself, my emotional, physical, spiritual, and social “battery” runs out and shuts off, causing me to be useless to myself and others except as an example of what not to do!

However, I don’t think we should go to the other extreme and live in constant indulgence to ourselves and call it nurture.    I used to think a good way to nurture myself was to eat a pound of chocolate and watch hours of television on end to the exclusion of the needs of my family.  We need God’swisdom to determine the balance.

Nurturing ourselves looks different to each person.  The music and activities that soothe me may agitate someone else.  I was so out of touch with who I was as a person that I didn’t know what to do with myself when I did get the opportunity to nurture myself.

Some of favorite ways to nurture myself now are listening to worship music (Sherri Youngward’s Pandora station is my favorite), reading (I’m currently over halfway through Jan Karon’s newest Mitford book), running, writing my thoughts down,  petting my three cats, hanging with my husband, and going to bed early enough to allow myself eight hours of sleep.

What are your favorite ways to nurture yourself?


This post is part of a  31 Day Blogging Challenge entitled Embracing Fifty.  Please click here  to find all the posts in this series.  You can find the work of more bloggers participating in this series here. You’ll be glad you did!

Aches and Pains

I will admit that aches and pains are not my favorite thing in life.  There’s not an hour that I don’t feel a twinge of discomfort in some part of my body.  However, I have learned some advantages to pain.

  1. It reminds me that I am still alive.
  2. It makes me rely on God more.
  3. It causes me to look forward to the day that I will leave this imperfect body on earth.
  4. It often signifies that I had worked a muscle hard enough to fatigue it.
  5. It allows me more empathetic with others who are experiencing physical pain.
  6. It forces me to slow down and rest.
  7. It humbles me and shows me that I am not invincible.
  8. It helps me to be thankful for the moments that I experience less pain.

As we age, aches and pains are inevitable, but moaning and complaining about them is optional.   I am making the choice to rejoice!

 


This post is part of a  31 Day Blogging Challenge entitled Embracing Fifty.  Please click here  to find all the posts in this series.  You can find the work of more bloggers participating in this series here. You’ll be glad you did!

Healthy Choices

My first half marathon, August 2015. I weighed 225 pounds and completed the race in just under 4 1/2 hours.

My second half marathon, August, 2016. I weighed 190 pounds and finished in just over 4 hours.

My most recent half marathon, August 2017. I took nearly half an hour off my previous year’s time, and I weighed 170 pounds.

My health, laziness, and gluttony dictated my lifestyle through my twenties, my thirties, and most of my forties.   Brownie bites and peanut M&M’s were staples on my Costco shopping list.   My exercise routines were nonexistent.  I chose dinner recipes based on ease of preparation and what the family liked instead of looking at the nutritional information.  The number on the scale rose steadily over the years, but I blamed it  on stress, my health, and having babies instead of my sedentary lifestyle and poor habits.  The more I weighed, the more my health declined and the less I moved my expanding body.  Three years ago, I was hospitalized for five days, too weak to breathe or walk on my own due to neuromuscular issues.  I weighed well over two hundred pounds.

After my hospitalization,  I made the decision to take control over my health.  I began training for walking a half marathon.  I purchased less junk food.  I focused on getting the rest my body needed instead of waiting for illness to force me to rest.   After walking my first half marathon in 2015, I decided to kick it up a notch and hired a trainer, a friend in her forties who had birthed ten children and then had made wise choices about her strength and health.  She designed a strength routine for me.  The first time we met, I was so weak that my whole workout was sitting down in a chair ten times and standing up again then ten bicep curls with five pound weights.  Even that was a struggle with my debilitated muscles.  She also had me log each piece of food I ate with an app called MyFitnessPal, trying to keep under 1200 calories a day.

Now, more than two years after starting with my trainer, I strength train for over 30 minutes three times a week with up to fifteen pound weights.  I walk or run three other days a week.  I still log my food each day.  In fact, I have almost a 600 day streak on MyFitnessPal.  I have dropped nearly 70 pounds.  I have completed three more half marathons.  I have more energy.  I am off all prescription drugs and all their nasty side effects.  I see a holistic chiropractor monthly who checks me not only for misalignment and weak muscles, but also hydration levels, vitamin deficiencies, food sensitivities, and thyroid and adrenal gland function.  I try to average close to 8 hours of sleep a night.

All of these new activities in my life are not part of a “diet,” but have been integrated into my lifestyle for the rest of my life.  It doesn’t mean that I can never have a piece of chocolate.  I enjoy a piece of Dove dark chocolate 3 or 4 days a week.  It also doesn’t mean that I never go out to eat.  It doesn’t mean that I can never take more than one day a week off exercise.  I’m flexible, and I’m giving my family the gift of a healthier, happier wife and mom who plans to thrive on earth for many more decades!


This post is part of a  31 Day Blogging Challenge entitled Embracing Fifty.  Please click here  to find all the posts in this series.  You can find the work of more bloggers participating in this series here. You’ll be glad you did!

Acceptance of Current Circumstances

We have a limited amount of time each day and free will on how to spend that time.  We can waste it by pining away for the past, fretting about the future, or wishing away the life we have today.

Maybe our current life is not what we thought it would be.  I never thought  both my parents would die of cancer before I reached my 50th birthday, I would deal with so many health issues, or that  my husband would lose his job, yet all those circumstances are a part of my everyday life.  I can choose to allow the sadness and stress that these circumstances cause to keep me in denial and from moving forward in life, or I can accept those circumstances and trust that God will work them together for good.

I am confident that I will look back on this time in my life twenty years from now and see exactly how God used these parts of my life to grow me.   When I do catch myself slipping into a funk, I try to apply the Serenity Prayer each day, “God, please grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Amen.”


This post is part of a  31 Day Blogging Challenge entitled Embracing Fifty.  Please click here  to find all the posts in this series.  You can find the work of more bloggers participating in this series here. You’ll be glad you did!

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes may seem like an odd choice for a list of what I want to embrace in my fifties, but I’m choosing to take the positive route.  I’ve been in perimenopause for nearly ten years now, and I’m starting to notice some new and welcome developments.  I have to shave my legs a lot less now.  The acne that once plagued me has subsided.  I’m not experiencing the constant concern whether I am pregnant.   I have an excuse for being occasionally irrational.  I love the feeling of a frozen washcloth on my neck during a hot flash.  I feel like the world is wide open to me.

My mother started her menopause journey even earlier than I did and was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer when she was about ten years older than I am now.  She was convinced that hormone replacement therapy had a causative effect on her cancer, and she insisted that I steer clear of that route.  Even though I’d never heard of any correlation, I promised her that I would avoid this treatment if at all possible.   I wish I would have asked her more about her symptoms and experience.

Hormonal changes are a common factor in all women’s lives, and it’s time to discuss them and celebrate them!


This post is part of a  31 Day Blogging Challenge entitled Embracing Fifty.  Please click here  to find all the posts in this series.  You can find the work of more bloggers participating in this series here. You’ll be glad you did!

Older posts