Friday, February 24, 2012

Appreciating Retirement - and those who work for a living

Arms raised to the heavens...

I went for a mammogram today.  I don't know why I made the appointment for so early but, I had to set the alarm and be there before 7 am.  When I arrived there were several ladies there already and everything around me was business and busyness.  After I finished the paperwork, I had time to look at all the people working and/or going to work in the hospital.  I said to myself, "You are not one of those people any more!"  I no longer have to be on a schedule to do things that someone else determines that I have to do.  I am appreciating it!

I also found myself appreciating each and every person that I dealt with today for what they do.  All were very competent, from the receptionist to the person who registered me, to the technician who took the X-rays.  You got to be gifted to squish boobies all day!

I felt the same way yesterday at the dentist office, when the hygienist said after looking at my teeth, "You did such a good job, there is so much less plaque on those teeth!"  (Referring to the inside of the bottom front teeth.)  I said, "How do you remember the change with all the people you see?"  I told her she is gifted in her job!  I would never want to be looking at people's dirty mouths every day!

What a joy it is when you meet with people who are doing the work that they are meant to do.  God gifts us in so many ways and it is a privilege to be treated by people who know what they are doing.  

Oh, I know that many times we meet with people who are in their wrong profession, or are tired of their work and burnt out, or are stressed by other things, but that did not happen to me; not this week.  

Thanks to all the people that are out there working!  Those of us who are retired need you!!! :)
My latest job - changing my videos to dvd's.  Having fun watching old family movies and the movies I took on my travels.

Being Responsible and Making a List!

Spanish Moss blowing freely in the wind
 I love the freedom of having chosen to not be working a job.  I don't feel entitled and I don't take it for granted.  I realize that this is another season of my life and I have a responsibility to make it worth something.  It has been 9 months now since I have been "to work", kind of like enjoying a gestation period.  But, I'm glad that I'm not going to be losing sleep with a new baby...  Oh sweet memories of those days and raising 3 children!  And, I must add, I am so happy to be sharing their parenthood with our wonderful grandchildren...
Andrew and Lauren:  Brother - Sister Love!!!
 But I regress from the theme of today's post.  I am reflecting on how I "fill" my days since the title of my blog is "Filled with Retirement."  When do I feel most fulfilled?  I think it is when I am doing "my thing"  whatever that is at that moment.  It must be because for so many years "my thing" was always last on my list.  It seemed like I was always busy doing things that I had to do for my job or for others.  I am still doing some of that (like housework), but I think that when I look at things that I do as a choice, they are more easily fulfilling while I am doing them instead of feeling fulfilled when those things are completed.  Is that hard to follow?  I don't get so stressed out when things don't go as planned and am trying not to be in control so much.
Durham just discovered real food!
I still make lists for myself.  And even if they are different now, I sometimes still find myself somehow bound by the list as if it is a set of laws or rules that I must follow. Then I remind myself that I am retired and I have time for everything.

When you are little you are always busy.  Caroline doesn't need a list!

My niece, Faith, writes in today's blog, The Life of Faith  about what it is like to work full time.  She is feeling the stress of fulling all her roles the best that she can.  I remember those days, of wanting to do it all and for God's glory!  I have no doubt that she will find a way!

Here is a poem that I wrote a long time ago when I was feeling like Faith!

Too much to do…

Lord I’m afraid of making the list
Afraid I’ll get lost in the doing
Of the that and the this

Not so bad!
I can do this today!
If I don’t waste time
There’ll be time for some play

Lord, You give me no answers
only a sense of peace
when I take time to seek you
I see an organized scheme

With You I can do this
My time is in Your hands
You are in control now
Your will is my command

All this time writing
     I’ve wasted an hour
  --- No!
I’ve just been renewed in
God’s wisdom and power

Your patience and power
Are all I need
To do all the things
I have put on my list

 Bea Skeens, 3/18/00

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday - the First Day of Lent

Don and I went to Mass today and received the Ashes.  It is the first time in years that we have done that.  I hope that it will kick-start a powerfully renewing Lent.  "Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return."  What I am and what I do is only worth dust unless it for God's glory and in relationship with Him.  So, I am going to following through with my Lenten Intention that I wrote about on Monday.  It is all about letting God work through me so I know that it will be worth it.   Last year for Lent I gave up not using my seat belt and I used it every time.  It's been a year and I'm still using it (mostly).  I think I purposely didn't use it as a form of rebellion toward the law for it...  I hope that my intention this year will also have a lasting effect on my daily life.  (Am I fighting a sort of rebellion here too?)

My niece, Faith just wrote in her blog The Life of Faith "25 Ways to show your hubby respect" from a book by Sharon Jaynes.  What lessons in humility for me after being married for 40 years!  I have gotten into some very bad habits and lazy in my relationship!  Thank you Faith for posting such a comprehensive list - I didn't like so many "don'ts", but then when I started reading the "do's", I went, "ouch!"  This is worth working on... 
shower half torn out.  Don is having fun!

Today we also just started to destruct our master bathroom for a complete remodeling.  We want to get it finished before Easter.  Yesterday we went and picked out the tile and the cabinet style.  I can start to imagine what it is going to look like, and what it will feel like being there.   I will do the same as I open myself to change during this Lent?

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Lent Intention that I don't want...

Horse manure in sawdust over the garden - ready to be tilled and fertilize our garden.  Am I ready to be tilled and fertilized?
Today is the Monday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  I think I know what the Lord is wanting me to do for these 40 days but I don't think I can do it.  More than that I don't think I want to do it.  Joyce Meyer says that if God puts something in your heart to do, you better do it or it will always be there for you to do.  I can't reveal what it is here, though I have written it out in my journal.  Right now I am praying to be strong.  It is Monday and I have 2 days to decide...
I wrote this poem in 2005 when a close friend of mine died.  Why am I feeling like this again?  I guess that I know that if I make this Lenten intention, it will feel like this because I will need His strength every minute.  I know that I cannot do it and may not even be able to.  Do I want to?

My Limitations

My God, I’m yours, now and always; but more now as I sense my limitations and feel your presence.

My God, you are mine, now and always; but now I need You more since no one else around me can know me.

My future is now and all I see in the past has turned to now with a joy and a peace of seeing You here with me wanting to fulfill Your will.

I’m doing my best and offer all to You and trust You will bless all that I have started and all that I will dream.

My love has never seemed enough but now I know that it’s not up to me but You.

You are the peace in knowing that I’m just a small piece of You that always was and always will be.  So my own present, past and future is all in the same You; and that includes all of us in the now and in the then.

And so I pray my life to bless, for me and for all that are mine; and I
thank You, Lord, for Life, for Love, for Joy today,
and all my days.

Love you, Bea
August 2005

Like a Hermit Crab

Hermit crab from the St. Simons Island Pier

I've been feeling like a hermit crab these last two weeks - just peeking out of my shell for a few activities but mostly doing things at home.  It's been cold and rainy (and we thought that Spring had come!)  
I started transferring my VHS tapes to dvds with my new Magnavox dvd recorder.  I knew it would be a big project and didn't want to set it up and have to stop before I finished.  So it's in the guest room on an old school table and using and old school TV.  I've had a great time watching videos of family get togethers form 1993 and the originals of the videos that I took on my trips to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and Spain.  It's taking time because I'm sitting here watching them while I record.  I don't even have to look at the instructions now that I've made 17 dvds!  I still have about 15 more.  Some are recordings from the TV of famous entertainers like Gloria Estefan and the Macarena original video.  Ani made me sad when she said that no one would ever see them so that I better enjoy them.  I might use them again to teach as guest speaker...  Then there are family videos of the kids when they were little,   I hope someone will want to see them.  I even found the one with Brian at 11 years old when he played the Lion in the Wizard of Oz!  I have some original super 8 cassettes.  I hope to have the right cord.  I have to look through the box of miscellaneous cords...

I've also been reading books that are  not the type that I usually read.  I just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,  but now it's not at the movies any more...  I liked the characters and the plot kept me reading.  

Then for a totally different theme, I listened to The Shack because my sister said that she was reading it and I like to share what I read.  I checked out the CD book from the library.  Once I made up my mind to continue past the sad part of the daughter's kidnapping, I couldn't stop.  I've talked to some who said that they had to stop when they reached that part.  I know what they mean and I am encouraging others to continue it...  Now I want to go back and read parts of it to take notes on it so I borrowed the book.  I'm glad that I listened to the whole thing first or it would have taken me too long to read it.  There are lots of parts that I want to reread and ponder and journal. I don't think I agree with everything that the author says about God from my own personal experience but I love the opportunity to meditate and reflect!  Now to start...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fat-urday from Doctor Oz and other things good to eat

I got so excited when I heard Doctor Oz today say that you could have one day a week to eat whatever you want - cheating on the diet.  The program showed three ladies eating all kinds of sweet and fattening food and carbs!  It was great!  He brought out trays with all the great stuff that these ladies ate that day.  Then came the let down.  When he showed what were the cheating meals that he recommended for Faturday, it added up to 1400 calories!  The meals he suggested were mostly things that I eat on a regular day.  He even showed pizza with whole wheat flour.  That is not cheating!  Only the real, thick, white flour crust pizza satisfies my pizza craving!  Have you ever tried the cauliflour pizza?  It is awful! 
This week I almost even considered joining his Transformation Nation with the Weight Watchers deal just because he suggested it.  Oh and it's free!  I would like to lose 10 pounds...
I love Doctor Oz and we dvr him every day and watch him usually during dinner.  My husband likes to watch him too and we learn so much about good things for our health.  My kids get tired of hearing:  "Doctor Oz says..."  
I am even inventing a new cookie with cocoa, agave, coconut oil, insweetened shredded coconut, oatmeal, ground flax, and other things healthy.  I still haven't finalized the recipe.  Have to try it one more time.  I'll post it next week.
Did I say that it has dark chocolate chips?  and they are crunchy, not chewy...
When I start to cook, I can't decide when to use olive oil and when to use coconut oil.  Because they are so good for us!  But I got the LouAnna Pure coconut oil (which is flavorless and odorless) at Wal-Mart and we googled the difference between pure and extra virgin coconut oil.  Wow! we read and read but we still don't know if the LouAna pure has the Lauric acid, the good ingredient with medicinal properties, or if it has been taken out with the smell and flavor.  When we went to Florida, Don wanted one of the  many coconuts on the trees.  First he opened some old ones from the ground but they were dried up and rotten.  Then when we were at my sister's house he got one recently fallen from a tree.  He is going to open it and we might shred it in our new Cuisinart food processor.  We are going to have the freshest food!!!
Does the LouAna "pure" coconut oil have all the good stuff from the coconut like the "virgin" kind?

On one of this week's shows, Doctor Oz recommended the ingredient Argineline for crow's feet instead of botox.  Well, I'm sure interested!  It is a synthetic peptide in some face creams and serums that is being used instead of botox to reduce the lines around the forehead and eyes.  So I pinned it on Pinterest and within 10 minutes I got and email that 23 people had re-pinned my pin!  That is the most that I ever got pinned!  I think I will pin it from my blog this time.   Well, here is the picture from The Dr. Oz fans website .  Read more about it on the link. 
What do you think about all this hype?

My mother loves me...

Mom and I at my daughter's wedding.
I know that my mother loves me!  She is having a hard time showing it these days.  She is so focused on keeping her independence, and on going to her weekly scheduled activities.  Since I am not a part of her routine, it is hard for her.  So, lately, when I go visit, she thinks that I am going to meddle, try to change things, or  take away something of hers.  We live 12 hours away and when I retired, I made a goal to go and visit her more often weather she wants me to come or not!
We just returned home and I was so tired!  Oh I didn't get tired from visiting some friends along the way nor from spending time with my sisters.  Nor was it from shopping at the Sawgrass Mall one afternoon.  My husband drove and we stopped at St. Simons Island a few good days of beach weather, so it wasn't the driving either.  It wasn't all the oysters that we took and ate everywhere we went.
Don and Jimmy eating oysters at Cristi and Juani's house,

Don win Angie and Bo eating oysters at Bo's parents' house.

Julie and Robert at our house with the last of the oysters.

My mom is a very active 89 year old who lives alone, and she is finally admitting that she is getting old and doesn't want to!  On Tuesdays she has chair exercise class with one of my sisters.  On Wednesdays she goes with her group of Senior to play cards.  On Thursdays she goes on an outing with the Seniors group - she loves it when they go to the casino because she usually wins.  Then Fridays another chair exercise class.  Her favorite day is Saturday when she volunteers at the Church Thrift store.  She loves talking Spanish and French with the customers and usually sits at the cash register.  Sundays she goes to Church.  Monday is the only day that she doesn't have anything scheduled!  The last couple of weeks she has given up the exercises which we are not happy about but she tires out doing all the other things with her friends.  She still drives but only close by.  She dreads the time when she will lose her car.

My mother, Maria Luisa, working at the Church Thrift Store

When we go down there we usually plan to fix some things.  This time Don fixed a wall in the garage.  I didn't just hang around and talk, or helped her organize, or clean some part of her house, or yard like other times that we have gone.  I hope that she was happy to see me. I didn't get too close so she wouldn't see me as a threat.  We sat and chatted a while in her living room, and mostly stayed at my sister's house and I called her on the phone and asked her if she wanted me to come over and see her.  But we did go to Church together and I sat and waited while she went to Confession.  That was our special time this visit.
My mom now knows that she has become forgetful and writes things down, but don't tell her to write it or she won't!  My sister goes over there and writes little notes for her.  She lives 2 blocks away and is wonderful to her.  She takes her shopping, and to the doctor, and the bank.  She always makes extra food to take to her.   Another sister who also lives nearby is her main confidant.  My mom calls her on the phone all the time and my sister has to patiently listen to the same stories and complaints. 
My sister, Cristi, preparing chicken for dinner for everyone.

We talked on the phone the other day and I told her I was making plans to go see her in April again and she said,"Why?"  I told her that since I retired I wanted to go see her 4 times a year instead of 2.  "Is it not reasonable that I should want to see you 4 times a year?"  She didn't answer.  I'll just have to keep telling her.  Then maybe she can look forward to seeing me.  We are 6 sisters and I guess I am not the favorite...  But it's okay, I still love her!
Mom in the middle with 5 of her daughters and their families at a family reunion.