Friday, September 14, 2012


The last little bit of warm weather is lingering, and I wanted to know how many more days I had to drive Barbie (my convertible) with the top down, so I hopped on the internet to check the weather. An ad caught my eye.  You know the kind.  There on the right-hand side of the screen.  They flash, wiggle and nearly beg for your attention.  I am usually annoyed by them, but this time the attention getting method worked on me.  “Senior Singles”  the banner read.  “Find your perfect mate”.  I’m not looking for the perfect mate, I’ve got mine, but I noticed the faces of these “senior singles”…they sure looked younger than seniors… and their ages….. This has to be a typo… 42..43..46!  Seniors?!  So much for checking the weather, my mind was on to other issues. 

Since when is 40 considered senior?  When did this happen?  How can this be? Who gets to decide when a person enters senior-hood? The fact that this bothered me so much…bothered me. Why did I care? Age is only a number. Right? Ok, so I’ll choose my number. I will stay thirty-something.

In one stroke of the minute hand, I went from “thirty-something” to forty. Just one day on the calendar shoved me into the next age group. I don’t want to be rude to all you in your 40’s, this has nothing to do with you personally, its just that 40 sounds so much… well, older than 30-something. And so, I decided to stay in my thirties. I understand, this does make shopping for a birthday card for me somewhat difficult – this year you will need to find one that says “Happy 30-fourteenth”. 30-fourteenth. It’s still thirty-something, even if it is thirty-a-lot-of-something.

Age is such a touchy subject for some of us. They say never ask a woman her age and I’m coming to agree with that. There was a time when I did not mind being approached with that question, feeling young and unafraid of age. I even readily supplied an answer with honesty.

But, alas, the years have come and gone and left in their trail enough evidence that the same question now is not so welcomed. We can fight age, deny it, slather firming cream on it, wear longer sleeves, longer shorts, tuck, pinch and suck it in, but the truth is, we all age. It’s inevitable. And it is not all bad. There is blessing in the aging. Knowledge comes with age (even if we don’t clearly admit what that age may be.) My growth came something like this:

At 18 I thought I knew everything and definitely more than my parents or any other adult for that matter. I had the firm belief that “I we can do whatever I want, I’m 18.”

At 21 I was wise enough to realize that I knew nothing at 18, but still foolish enough to think that now, I knew everything.

At 25 I was ready to admit that I did not know everything at 21. Ah-ha! 25 was the age of knowledge.

At 30…Wow! What was I thinking, I didn’t know anything at 25, how foolish to think I did. 30 is the age of enlightenment. Feeling very smug and full of knowledge I let people know of the genius in their presence.

By 35 I had come to realize that just when I felt I knew everything, the reality was that I knew nothing, there was still so much to learn in life. This would be a continuous cycle. So much more exciting than achieving know-it-all status and coasting from there. There is always something new to learn. My Grandma Ready once told me that you can learn something new each day. She is right. It is a challenge to open my eyes, smell the coffee and look for what each day presents and learn from it.

No matter how clever I get and how hard I try to avoid it, I am aging. In the past few years, God has been leading me to a new-found maturity in my heart –no, I do not know it all now- but He has been showing me the petty, shallow things I’ve searched after and is bringing me to a quiet peace and security in Him and life. I'll take this instead of youthfulness. Aging has its benefits. Who knows, maybe soon I won’t even mind giving up that “thirty-something” charade, but give me a little more time, He is not finished with me yet.
How have you grown through aging? I'd love to hear your story! Leave a comment for my birthday! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On The Tip of My Tongue

Yesterday while doing some cleaning with a few kids at the youth center where I work, one in particular kept stopping work (my pet peeve) to ask questions totally unrelated to the work we were doing. Then, to top it off,  two of his cousins came in needing change. These boys know they are not supposed to be in the building unless they are working when it is not open. Irritated at being interrupted once again, I spoke the first words that came to mind. I told the boys (without asking what they wanted) they could not be in there, we were not open, and we need to finish our work. Period. Now, I did not yell, but my tone was not kind and I should have stopped to ask what the situation was. (His grandma wanted to give him some money for food and games for the rest of the evening.) And I could have communicated the same thing in a kinder way than speaking through my irritation. 

Funny thing is, when someone else communicates in that way, I immediately notice. And I think to myself “I wonder if they know what they sound like…. They should say that in a kinder way… with more grace…” and then I go on about my life assuming that I don’t sound like that. But I do sound like that. At least at times I do. Probably more that I want to admit. I just don’t listen to myself; I’m too busy listening to my rationalizations on why it’s acceptable for me to speak that way to one of God’s creations. Not nearly enough thought goes into what I say and how I say it.

A sizeable amount of thought, however, does go into what I wear everyday.  Comfort, weather, the day’s activities ahead, my mood, whether it’s a “fat” day or not (you know what I mean, girls!)…all these things play into what I choose to put on each morning. It’s something I go through daily. And sometimes I get all ready for the day and I’m just not feeling the red striped top I chose so it begins all over again. As if the success of my day depends on my clothing jiving with my mood. (Well, ok, it does make a difference just like my coffee mug coordinating with my look for the day (I’ll have to fill you in on that oddity about myself later, but not one of big importance.)

So, as I was going through my morning routine of thinking through the more important points of what to wear today, it dawned on me, what if I put this much effort and thought into what I speak each day? What if I thought through the day’s activities ahead, the people I would encounter, my mood (which can easily throw me off), the “weather” with those around me and planned to put on a heart attitude that would help me to beautifully speak into each situation and life as would please God? What if? Then I would be a perfectly coordinated woman. Coordinated with Proverbs.

What I wear really has no effect on those around me, but what I say, how I communicate can make or break their day. It can affect their heart in strong ways. What I say has the power of life and death. It’s that serious. If I wear an outfit that just doesn’t “feel” right that day, there is no lasting affect. It doesn’t matter. On an eternal scale, it doesn’t even show up. But what I wear on my tongue, what comes out of my mouth, has affects I may not even realize this side of Heaven. On an eternal scale the weight is huge. Mega. Colossal. 

Proverbs 12:18
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 18:21
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 16:21
The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.

Proverbs 16:24
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 10:20
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.

Proverbs 15:4
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 31:26
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Lord, may my words be gracious and faithful, may they bring healing and promote instruction. May my speech be a soothing tree of life to those around me, soothing their souls and healing their hearts. Bring to my mind each day the power I have right on the tip of my tongue and guide me to be pleasing to you in how I use it to minister to those you place in my midst.