Thursday, March 15, 2018
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
My last blog was when? January 8th? Wow-where have I been? Out to lunch? Daydreaming? Just taking it easy? Could it be a case of "writer's block", blank page stare, pencil paranoia? I'd like to think God was simply being silent since I wait on His leading for topics and information to share. Has He been off my radar? Definitely not. In fact He has given me several "ideas" but I have not "run with the ball" He has dribbled my way. Why? I was pondering that while walking this afternoon and actually the answer was not what I wanted to hear. It is laziness of mind. Now I would not categorize myself as lazy. I cook, clean, exercise, read, volunteer, socialize, and participate in any number of activities. Yet do I really THINK? Do I honestly challenge my mind regularly? Unfortunately that answer is a resounding NO. In retirement it is easy to coast mentally. I simply pick up a Charles Martin novel and I'm happily floating in another world. Some would say that is deserved at this stage in life. But recent medical studies have come out with the stats on the relationship between stimulating your mind and staying mentally healthy longer. OK. That should be reason enough to do crossword puzzles, play free cell, engage in cards or other stradegy thinking games. I do participate in game nights and enjoy them but writing these blogs best challenges me to dig deep in my mind, sifting out thoughts and words and weighing what is most relevant at the moment to share as God nudges me. He has spoken to me about such topics as "Our Identity in LIfe" and "The value of true friends". Maybe there will be a time I wax eloquent on these subjects but today I just want to challenge each of you to seek out your area of "laziness". See it for what it is, name it and face it and decide to do something about it. If it's cleaning, pick up a dust cloth; if it's cooking, open a recipe book; if like me your mind needs some stimulation, try a crossword or face a blank page and write on it! I am already feeling energized! God knows best when he encourages us, through the words of Paul, (even in retirement), to be self-disciplined and keep running the race of life.
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Let's all determine to run hard so that "in the end" there will be no evidence of laziness, even throughout the last years of life, but rather roads lined with trees of productivity under which our grandchildren can be refreshed!
Sunday, January 7, 2018
At 1 parents celebrate their toddlers first birthday with great vigor! At 5 generally a child begins formal education. At 13 teenage years begin. At 16 a driver's permit is issued. At 18 high school is complete. At 21 drinking alcohol is legal and at 25 one can rent a car. Certain ages seem to mark a milestone in life. What about age 10? Any significance there? Maybe not for most but in the Stall/Thorpe family it has become a significant age. 10 years old means doing something special with Nani and Nano(Papa). This idea was first born in Nani's head, borrowed from a girlfriend who took each one of her grandchildren, when they turned 10, on a hiking exhibition down and up the Grand Canyon. She continues this regime through her line of nine grandchildren. Thankfully she is in excellent physical shape being a runner and yoga teacher. If this was the required activity Hunter and I, with our bad knees, would not make the first descent into the Canyon let alone the climb out! We would, though, make the news with our grandchild having to carry us out! Yet the idea of celebrating the 10th birthday of our grandchildren appealed to us, just not that particular activity.
This year our first grandchild, Christian, turned 10. Since the Grand Canyon idea was "off the table" what would take its place? We also had to keep in mind that trailing close behind Christian are nine more grandchildren, all of whom will be watching what number one gets to do and be expecting if not the same activity, similar ones. Keep in mind that Papa (Nano) is 71 and Nani 68 so to cover all grandchildren the activities will need to cover six more years, anything strenuous being out of the question!
As we look at our grandchildren we see them developing a variety of interests. Therefore we decided that as that magical age approached for each grandchild we would discuss with him/her what currently interested them and go from there.
Christian has recently developed an interest in fishing, much to Papa's (Nano's) pleasure and horse back riding, which has always been a love of Nani. Since the grandparents could not agree on one activity Christian got to do them both! Guess the bar has been set pretty high. Ha! Oh well, grandchildren are SO worth it!
Therefore Christian went deep sea fishing with Nano and his Dad resulting in a successful day on the ocean. That evening the entire family feasted on a platter of delicious fish!
One week later Christian, his Nani, and his mom went horseback riding at sunset along a beautiful beach where we saw whales breaching in the distance as well as a rainbow and on our return ride we spied two wild boar and a huge cormorant. What fun!
We now look forward in two years to the next grandchildren "coming of age" and being a part of what they choose to do with their grandparents.
P.S. For those of you who were wondering, Hunter is called Nano by the Thorpe grandchildren and Papa by the Stall grandchildren. May be a bit strange for some but works fine for us! 🙃
"Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly.." Proverbs 17:6
Friday, December 29, 2017
Tropical breezes, swaying palms, mild temps., lush vegetation on steep volcanic hills all describe the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Our daughter and son-in-law and four children recently moved to Kailua, a small Hawaiian town on the east side of the island. They will be stationed there for three years with the U. S. Military. Hunter and I are currently visiting them enjoying the perks of island "life". We have hiked to a lighthouse, a waterfalls, and played in the surf on a beautiful pristine beach. Yet one of the most impactful moments was witnessing and being a part of the baptism in the ocean of Logan, our eight year old grandson. Christmas morning was unique as we went whale hunting while our Christmas cinnamon rolls rose at home. Although there were no whales just being outside overlooking the blue waves dotted with diehard early morning surfers was exhilarating.
Psalms 19:1 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands."
God's magnificent creation is on display in Hawaii wherever you look. Out our bedroom window, which is never closed, I hear birds singing and see palm leaves bending as though in constant worship to their creator.
Yet unknown to many there are "negatives" to living in Hawaii. Flys NEVER freeze! We are constantly in battle with them in the kitchen especially! I never realized I had natural curl FRIZZY hair until experiencing the high humidity in this tropical environment! Traffic is often a problem! Remember we are not the only ones wanting to enjoy warmer weather year round! So as you can see this is not a paradise as it is labeled by some. (I realize this is only MY opinion.😉)
The only real paradise awaits us in heaven. And that is only available to those who have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. So if you want to spend time (aka) eternity in paradise take that step of faith, confess your sins, and ask Jesus to be Lord of your life. Then you are guaranteed a "ticket to ride"* to spend forever in the TRUE paradise!!
* Ticket to Ride is a new Christmas board game our grandson received this year. Fun!
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
",,,you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name." Psalm 61:5
When I think of my "heritage", pictures flash through my mind. My grandfather rests at the head of the Thanksgiving table where are gathered faces of cousins and aunts and uncles listening as he quotes Numbers 6:24-26
" The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."
My grandmother sits flipping through her well-worn Bible sitting in the dining room at the old oak table dimly lit by a tiny lamp nestled on a crocheted doily. My Dad, after long hours plowing his corn fields, wearily lowers his frame into his comfortable recliner opening his Bible preparing to study for Sunday's Sunday school lesson, which he weekly led. My Mom, early in the morning with her simple breakfast, locates the days Daily Bread devotional and her Bible to read and learn and share.
These snapshots have "carried me" through times of doubt and discouragement. As street lights illumine a sidewalk so these pictures have been a beacon directing me along the path God has carved out for me, one I too often stray from! God has often used my spiritual heritage to open my eyes and nudge me along life's road, filling me with tears of joy realizing the blessings of godly relatives.
As we age we think about what will we leave behind, What will make a difference in the lives of our loved ones? Will the precious jewelry, or the antique dresser, or the photo albums, or the valuable coin collection make an impact on the souls of the next generation? Will these "things" last through eternity? Instead of answering that question I would rather ask 3 others:
What pictures am I leaving in the minds of my children and grandchildren? Do they have a snapshot of me with God's Word in my hands? When they remember me will that stir their soul?
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Dirt bikes were secured to the bike rack as we maneuvered down the gravel road approaching "The Dismal Swamp" near Chesapeake, Virginia. A sunny, fall day of planned adventure and fun traversing the back roads of the "swamp"was our goal.
The Dismal Swamp is an area of thousands of acres of swampy, untillable land in Virginia and North Carolina surrounding the second largest lake in the state, Lake Drummond. Dating back to George Washinton this area, then millions of acres, provided waterways for transporting people and supplies. During the Civil War it was also a popular "station" for the Underground Railroad transporting slaves from southern states to the north.
Hunter and I began by walking a 3/4 mile boardwalk which snakes its way through a small section of the swamp giving one a taste of the cypress trees with the cypress "knees" popping through the underbrush and other vegetation. A multitude of birds, of which I am hopeless to identify, accompanied us along the well maintained walkway.
After lunch it was time to ride. We chose a four mile route over a rough, grass covered backroad which promised a lake view at the end. The goal? Rest quietly by the lake after completing the four miles. Sounds easy enough until one realizes the amount of energy needed to ride a dirt bike over tree roots, uneven overgrown grass, and thick muddy tracks pulling at tires already sufficiently dirt-caked! A 25 year old with an overload of testosterone would laugh in the face of this mild ride but a 68 year old lady struggling with balancing issues related to Parkinson's Disease didn't see it quite that way!
Encouraged by my optimistic hubby I peddled along, each 1/2 mile marker bringing a sense of accomplishment and fueling a determination to reach the "end", whatever that played out to be!
But when mile marker four was reached and NO lake was in site frustration set in as did exhaustion.
I sent Hunter ahead to locate the elusive lake. Fifteen minutes later he returned announcing there indeed is a lake view just a mile ahead. I simply then asked three questions: Is there a burger joint there? An ice cream shop? A soda fountain? When Hunter smiled but said no,I replied, from my prostrate position on the ground, then I'm not going!
Defeated with only enough energy left to mount the bike seat I began the return trip. Each 1/2 mile took untold effort! Yet I was rewarded with three beautiful deer sitings and glimpses of several turtles splashing into the water canal as I passed on the bike. Although out of breathe I began to notice the bits and pieces of God's creative genius along the road from the burnt orange of the fall leaves to multicolored butterfly wings. Eventually I rolled my tires and weary body to the car. In reflecting on the afternoon trip I was reminded of my sister's favorite saying: "find joy in the journey"!
As we each walk the path in life God has ordained for us there will be times of defeat, times of expectations not met, times of weariness but through it all we can find "joy in the journey" if we but open our eyes and recognize the blessings along the way!
Friday, October 20, 2017
A few weeks ago my two sisters and I rented a condo on Virginia Beach for four days. We talked a LOT, sat on the beach, reminisced, ate fine dining, walked in the rain, and laughed much! In reflecting on those moments I feel so blessed. Although we have the same parents we are very different. One likes drama productions while another would much rather sit in the stadium of a lively football game. Two are rekindling their musical talents while another would rather be peddling a bike than practicing notes! Ha! While all three enjoy traveling one likes a quiet sit at the beach vacation while two others are trip advisor enthusiasts checking off every activity available. All three love being an active part of the "Grandparent Club" and work hard at creatively entertaining their grandchildren when given the opportunities. Loving God comes naturally for all three, as we often reflect on the spiritual heritage left by our parents.
The following poem best describes how I feel about my two sisters!