Turning 50!

Today is my birthday.

I’m 50 years old.


There it is.

It actually looks worse in black and white than it feels.

It’s not so bad turning fifty.
After all, fifty is the new thirty, isn’t it?

Today’s “older” women are different from the “older” women I knew as a child. Back then, women in their fifties dressed in polyester, wore rollers in their hair (wrapped in a colorful scarf) while they went to the grocery store, and showed up at potlucks with red jello.

Among other differences, today’s “older” women dress in leather jackets, wear chic haircuts, and cook gourmet.

Things I’ve learned with age…

You can disagree with your friends.
They’ll still love you.

Time with family and friends is more important than anything else.

You need to be true to yourself, no matter what other people think.

It’s okay not to clean the house from top to bottom “every” week.

You don’t need to be embarrassed about liking Gummie Bears.

It’s never too late to discover your gifts and talents.

There will always be new things to learn and experience.

Age is relative to your state of mind.

Here’s to being young at heart,

A Bit of Light

The wind is a powerful force.

It can be disruptive, destructive, and dangerous.

On Thursday, December 14th, the Seattle area was hit by fierce winds gusting to about 70 mph. More than a million homes and businesses experienced power outages. During the overnight hours, the temperatures dipped below freezing.

The power to our home kicked in the following Monday…but as I write this, a week later…thousands of people are still without electricity.

While we lacked power, we were fortunate enough to still have hot water and a wood stove that provided some heat, but many people had neither. Around four thirty in the afternoon the sun set. For the rest of the day and night, we maneuvered around our frigid home by using a Coleman lantern, flashlights, and candles.

No Internet. No television. In order to conserve remaining energy on our cell phones, we only turned them on to make important calls and to hear messages left for us.

Directly, just behind our home, a small cluster of homes never lost power. Throughout the storm and after, they proudly displayed colorful Christmas lights on their homes and yards. From the outside looking in, the people spared seemed oblivious to the surrounding community struggling to keep warm in freezing temperatures.

Were the people in the homes with power more deserving of light and heat?

I wonder if I experienced a small piece of what the “have nots” feel at times toward the people who “have”. There must be times when the poor who work hard, but have little, struggle with watching the rich appear oblivious to the people around them and the tough situations they live in.

Yet, I knew my situation of living without some comfort or conveniences would evidentially end. That’s not reality for everyone.

I’ve been hit with a bit of light…illuminating my heart with a little more compassion and understanding…

May we all grow to be more compassionate.

Big Things Come in Small Packages

Do you ever struggle with desiring something bigger, thinking it must be better?

I do...and then a lesson I learned as a child encourages me to let go...

The relatives gathered to celebrate Christmas at my aunt and uncle’s large Wisconsin farmhouse. The children were called together to play the game, Bingo, and were shown a display of gifts ranging from small to larger packages. Sensitive to feelings, my aunt made sure there were enough presents for each of the thirteen children to receive one after their first win.

Younger than most of my cousins, and quieter by nature, I was still just as excited about the prospect of being able to choose from the pile of colorful packages.

But, as we played, one child after another won the game before I managed to get my circular pieces in the required straight line. Packages were eliminated from the pile, and as the supply dwindled, my heart began to sink as the larger gifts disappeared.

It seemed to take forever, but finally it happened. I shouted, “Bingo!”

It was my turn to pick from the remaining few packages. I tried to guess what could be hidden inside each one. I made my decision and reached for a large gift, wrapped in bright red paper. There had to be something wonderful inside.

“Big things come in small packages,” my aunt whispered in my ear. She pointed to a gift, barely noticeable, wrapped in plain white tissue paper.

I trusted her and picked the smaller gift. I carefully unfolded the delicate tissue and discovered the silver ring that had been hidden inside. The setting held a round, cut piece of glass that reflected all the colors of the rainbow. The ring had to be inexpensive, but to me it was the most beautiful thing I’d every seen. In my eyes and heart, I held a treasure in the palm of my hand.

In our pursuit for what we think may be better, it’s so easy to overlook anything that might appear insignificant. But, what are we missing? What are the blessings, or everyday gifts, that we take for granted?

I don’t ever want to lose appreciation for a cool breeze blowing through the window on a hot afternoon, a comfortable bed after a tiring day, or a beautiful sunrise reminding me of God’s presence.

Wonderful, exciting, beautiful…and even life-changing things can be found in small packages. After all…didn’t the greatest gift bestowed upon us come in the gift of a small baby by the name of Jesus? And He gave the biggest gift of all. He gave us the gift of eternal life.

May you find great blessings in the small things,

So Much to Do and So Little Time

I can’t relate to people who complain about being bored. There are never enough hours in the day for me to do all that I want to. Maybe that’s why I smiled when I read the following quote. This describes how I feel some days.

“God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. I’m so far behind, at this rate I’ll NEVER DIE!” ~ Unknown

Time is precious and I don’t believe in wasting it. But, I also know that it’s unhealthy to let my life get out of balance. My husband continues to remind me that’s it’s okay to take time out. With his help, I’ve gotten better at it.

Where does this need come from to be productive almost every waking minute? Is it genetic? Is it a product of my environment? Or some inner need to prove myself?

God has put me on earth for a purpose and I don’t want to miss the mark. But, I also know that He loves me regardless of how productive I am. He doesn’t require that I prove anything.

God also has blessed “time out” and told us to set time aside for rest.

May we all learn to slow down.

Life Defined By Coffee

The following is a "forwarded" email I received from a friend. I searched for the author, but was unsuccessful, so I'll have to give credit to "Anonymous." Whoever the person is, they have great insight...

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to
visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink.

What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups ... And then you began eyeing each others cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee...it's the jobs, money and position in society that are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee.

You brew the coffee, not the cups.......... Enjoy your coffee!

The happiest people don't have the best of everything.
They make the best of everything!"

Here's to great coffee!

Cynthia Ruchti - Writer, Speaker, and Friend

Let me introduce you to another friend in my writing world.

I met Cynthia Ruchti through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s organization. Cynthia lives in Wisconsin, my home state. Although most of our interaction has been via email, we’ve been able to spend time together at several ACFW national conferences.

How can I describe her? Cynthia is like Starbucks coffee to a caffeine addict – like chocolate to a woman with PMS – like a day of sunshine after a week of rain.

To know her is to love her. A person feels good…and cared for…just being in her presence.

Cynthia is pursuing publication in Christian fiction. Her short pieces are known for containing a message wrapped in humor. She can make readers smile while encouraging them to look at life’s daily lessons.

Cynthia is also a co-writer / producer for the radio program, The Heartbeat of the Home. This radio ministry, heard on 26 stations across the United States, presents a spiritual lesson through gripping, poignant, and sometime humorous stories acted out. Each presentation concludes with a short, non-preachy teaching segment. I’ve been privileged to have scripts that I’ve written be accepted and broadcast through this ministry. Click on the link to learn more. http://www.heartbeatofthehome.org

You can also enjoy Cynthia’s wit by visiting her blog at www.splashinginthedeepend.blogspot.com, or by clicking on the link for Cynthia’s Humorous Insights on the side bar of this site.

Check it out!

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