Choosing a word, one word, to describe what I am anticipating for this new year is not an easy thing to do….usually.  But this year it came to me in such a simple way that I couldn’t ignore it.  

Change is always challenging and these last four years have been all about navigating a lot of changes in my life.  2019 begins year number five and as it was nearing a close in December a lightness and anticipation began inside of me.  There wasn’t any one thing I can identify that made me realize my “word” for the year but this “lightness” was so noticeable it made me pay attention to it.  The last few years I have felt the exact opposite.  A heaviness has seemed to envelope me in so many ways and affected my everyday life in a way I had never experienced before.  So feeling “light” was such a change it was easy to notice.  No one around me commented about it but it was something inside that made me realize there is a change in the air and I began to be excited about it.

Some people say it takes up to five years to begin to adjust to a lot of change and maybe that is true.  I just know that I like it….whatever it is.  I wouldn’t trade all that I have experienced, in 2018 especially.  It wasn’t the easiest year, that is for sure.  But easy isn’t always the best and I know I have benefited from the difficulties and have become a stronger, more secure person because of it.  There is good in everything….especially when you trust God with your life.  His faithfulness and goodness never ends and I experienced so much from those attributes last year.

This year I am excited to experience whatever He brings my way.  My word for the year is ENJOY! Enjoy life, enjoy God, enjoy my family, enjoy my friends, just ENJOY.  I know that isn’t deep or necessarily profound but in my practical, ordinary way it means so much to me.  God has been so good to me and I have ignored His goodness because it wasn’t what I wanted or necessarily expected.  There is so much enjoyment to be had in my everyday living and I have been one who has not taken the time to even consider enjoying them.  Well, this year is different!

So….my word for 2019 is to ENJOY EVERYTHING THAT COMES MY WAY, EVERY DAY AND IN EVERY WAY I POSSIBLY CAN!  This picture says it all!!img_8554


I am in Lincoln, NE this week where I lived for 25 years and where my daughter and son-in-law and their 8 children live now and also where my 90-year-old mom decided to settle for her final years.  So, even though I moved from Lincoln to South Florida 4 years ago, I find myself back here often.  On Monday we remembered my dad who passed away 5 years ago.  I happened to spend the afternoon with my mom and she was asked to play tIMG_7840he piano (she has played by ear for a long time) for the Memory Care Center in the complex she lives.  She is living in the Independent Living side.  These patients love her piano playing and she loves playing the old hymns for them.  As she played I could see my dad standing next to her singing harmony….as they often did when he was alive.  All of a sudden I was crying….and I could hardly speak.  It totally took me off guard.  She wasn’t crying at all.  But I was a basket case.  And I am not typically an emotional person.

This season of change and transition has opened up a part of me that is very vulnerable.  I cry easily.  I laugh easily.  I feel lonely at times.  I don’t know if I particularly like this “feeling so much” me.  But, I have noticed that it has made me think of others more.  I’m not as critical as I have been in the past.  I forgive and allow for mistakes in me and others when I have always been hard on myself and others in the past.  Maybe this is a good thing.  I’m beginning to realize I will never be perfect and I can’t expect others to be perfect.  Without God’s help, I would actually be nothing!!  I’ve always known that but now I feel it!!

Maybe that is what this season is all about.…tenderizing….marinating….a time when the seasoning that comes from life’s experiences is finally getting into my spirit and making me full of flavor so God can use me more than ever before.  You know….”salt of the earth”.  Marinating takes time and tenderizing has to be beaten into you. I guess it depends on how tough your piece of meat is. God knows how much we need.

When I first arrived here in Lincoln my 7-year-old granddaughter gave me a card she had made just for me.  The front of the card read:  To: Nana   From: Tori.  She had drawn a picture of earth with a moon and stars.  When I opened up the card it read…..You will do one big thing.  She had a picture of me with a helmet on and the moon.  Of course it made me cry and laugh.  (The thought of me going to the moon made me laugh!)

The Rev. Billy Graham died this week at the age of 99 and we were all reminded that our lives will count if we just do what God asks of us and no more.  THAT ONE BIG THING!

This Side of the Unknown

I have been through complete knee replacement surgery and have survived to tell the story!! 🙂

In my last post I described how nervous I was and the fear of the unknown was so very real.  But…and I shouldn’t be surprised……instead of fear, the last two months have been ones filled with encouraging words from friends coming at just the right moment.  They have been filled with thankfulness for my husband who has spent every day cooking awesome gourmet meals for me. The days have also given me another chance to experience the miraculous moments that only God can provide.  He definitely went before me in every place where I had fear and dread.  From the hospital staff to the surgeon to the housekeeping staff.  Every day I had significant improvement.  I even felt like God hand picked my physical therapists.  The encouragement I received from everyone I came in contact with was exactly what I had prayed for.  The more they encouraged me, the more I positively responded.

Since I am two months out from surgery I thought I would just note a couple of things that have impressed me in this time of healing.

  1.  The things I feared became small when I faced them directly.  It’s funny but everyone told me I would do good and that they hadn’t met anyone who had regretted getting their bone on bone knee fixed once they did.  BUT I wondered if my experience would be the same as others.  Now that I have walked through it all I would tell everyone the same thing….get it fixed, you won’t regret it.  I had to actually experience it to say that though.
  2. Prepare your body AND your mind.  One of the greatest battles I fought were the negative thoughts I had.  To battle those thoughts I read as much as I could about what was going to happen to my knee.  I watched You Tube videos and read blogs from people who had gone through the surgery.  I didn’t want to be caught not prepared.  And it really helped me.  Knowing what is happening to you is “normal” is half the battle.
  3. Expect to have pain.  Even pain pills don’t take all the pain away.  But I kept telling myself that I had to go through the pain to get better.  I remember when the physical therapist told me to lift my leg out in front of me from a sitting position and I just looked at him and said, “I don’t think I can do that.”  He said, “Sure you can.” So, I trusted him and told my leg to straighten out. I was shocked when it worked AND it actually made my knee feel better!  My mind was telling me it would hurt and I had to convince it that it was okay!!  Weird, I know, but it worked.  From that time on I just did what the therapist told me to do and it made me feel better every time.
  4. Patience is required for long recoveries.  And patience isn’t something I am good at. If I heard it once from the doctor and the therapist I heard it many times, it was “you are doing too much too soon!” I am in my third month from surgery and I still have to remind myself not to do too much.  I feel it the next day when I don’t listen.
  5. Let other’s help you.  I’m not good at that either.  My husband served me every day.  He is now the live-in chef at our house.  My sister-in-law insisted on cleaning my windows and took me out for coffee several times.  Every time I had to depend on someone for help I was reminded of how loved and cared for I am.

So, if fear is keeping you from doing something that you know will bring good into your life just know that facing it is the only way you will get through it.  Fear has a way of keeping us from good things.  God will go with you and before you, I promise!

Why another blog?

Why blog?  I guess I have a desire to begin writing about some of the things I have learned over my lifetime.  I turned 60 this year and began to realize I actually might have something to share with others.  The other reason I want to write some of my thoughts is to record them for my grandchildren.  They are all pretty young at this point but there will come a day when they will have their own families and my words just might help give them some insight on how to live life to the fullest and embrace each challenge that comes their way.  It would absolutely thrill me if they looked to the blog of their Nana and found a few words of wisdom to help them along life’s way.

Why make this blog public if it’s primarily for my grandchildren?  Well, maybe, just maybe there is a young mom who needs to know she will survive to the next season of her life.  Maybe there is another woman just like me who needs to know her thoughts and emotions are similar to mine and embracing them will give her the confidence and foundation she needs to get her into the next season of life.

What is the real reason?  I need to tell my story.  I know it will bring hope to others because it has brought hope to me.  I have found that God is so good to prepare us for each season of life.  He loves us so much and promises to be in the middle of the “good” and “bad” of our lives without judging us or condemning us but by teaching us as we embrace each season that comes our way.

Thanks for reading my story!