2012 is Moving into 2013

We are facing many changes in our lives in 2013.  How we meet them will determine what this year brings to each of us personally.

A review of 2012 is breathtaking.   We have seen devastating weather including Hurricane Sandy, horrendous school shooting, the endless presidential debates resulting in an amazing presidential election, the Arab Spring, the London Olympics, several loved public figures died including Andy Williams, Andy Griffith and Whitney Houston, a guy jumped out of an airplane 128,000 feet, the United States stopped investing space and retired the last space shuttle.  Young Gabby Douglas took the gold in gymnastics in the Olympics with energy and enthusiasm.

In the midst of tragedy, there is always triumph!

The Mayans thought the world would end on December 21, 2012, which proves how wrong all the people who predict the future can be.  Of course, there is three days to go until we know for sure if they were right or wrong – but I’m sure they were wrong.  Which brings me to the subject of 2013.  What will happen in the coming year??

For sure there will be tragedy.  I am thankful that we don’t yet know what that will look like.  Without doubt there will be wonderful events of victory, triumph and overcoming tremendous odds.  The question is, ‘How will we respond to each event?’

What do you want for the New Year?  A new car?  To change eating habits resulting in lost weight?  To save money?  To give more to your church or favorite charity?  To write the great American novel or a hit song?  To find a spouse?  To improve your marriage?  To  travel on a long awaited vacation?  To get a new job?

Already many people are saving more money than ever before.  Many have quit buying stuff and are sharing their finances with those less fortunate.  Many are traveling to areas that encountered devastating weather and are giving their time and finances to help them recover.  A great number are planning on starting a new diet after the first of the year.

What do you want?  Really want?  Don’t be afraid to succeed.  Share it with us and go for it!!

The Top Reason to Grow Old

Growing old makes no sense.  It is unreasonable.  I still feel like I am a happy, healthy thirty year old on the inside – so ‘whatsup’ with the change in the outside?  I look in the mirror and sometimes I see my Mother.  Sometimes, I see just an older version of me.  Sometimes I am shocked by the reflection and step outside of myself and consider the stranger that stares back at me.

Apart from the exterior, there are many things I like about being in my ‘encore’ time of life!  I like the freedom of relationships.  You don’t have to like me.  I know that I will survive your rejection.  I can tell a man of most any age that I love him and it just says, “I love you too.”  There are no innuendos and no concerns that he will suddenly want more than I meant.

I am thankful as I advance in years as not all people grow old and I believe that it affords us wonderful perspective.  .

I have time.  Time to reflect and play.  Time to sit and watch the clouds and feel the heat from the sun on my skin.  Time to listen to nature and to other people.  Time to write – love that!

My grandchildren amaze me with their abilities and thoughts.  My grown children are a source of pride in their accomplishments and character.  They live too far away – or I do.

My true friends are few but I value them and they value me.  We have walked past the ones that were for a season and those who are users.

I can travel if I want, but mostly I love being home and enjoying the peace and quiet companionship of my dear husband.

Everything is more intense.  The things that I have little or no control over seem to be moving at a more rapid pace including political divides, corporations like Monsanto that have high-jacked our food supply and led to the genetic modification of so many things, the patent office that made GMO possible, and so much more.  Our grandchildren have much to deal with and I fear our legacy isn’t a pretty one.  .  I still have a desire to impact things for good.

My husband of thirty-two years is more precious to me every day.  He doesn’t say much but the silence is filled with love.

But the top reason for growing older is the closeness that I feel to my Creator and the love that I feel for everyone I meet.  I used to look at others and judge their clothes, their financial condition and their failures – now I feel an overwhelming love for them and find myself praying for complete strangers.

I am truly free and I love living!

Freedom Isn’t Free

Freedom is a complicated subject.  We are only free as long as we see that there is a high price paid for freedom and that we have a responsibility to maintain it.  

When my children were in their teens and still at home, they had certain criteria that affected their freedom.  When those criteria were met, they had more privileges.

As a wife, there are limitations to my freedom if I want the relationship to be one of happiness and contentment.  It assumes faithfulness and truth.

The men and women who fought for our freedom in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and every war since have paid an enormous price for our freedom.  My uncle Jack was a ball turret gunner in a plane that went down over Belgium in WWII.

The Civil War and the life of Martin Luther King paid for the freedom of those who had been enslaved.

As a citizen, my freedom is contingent on my attention to the people we place in office and to be aware of what they do after they get in.  It is always based on my exercise of my voting privileges.

Have you ever noticed that people who aren’t free want to trap you in the same web that enslaves them?

A drug dealer wants you on drugs.

An alcoholic invites you to have just one more.

A thief will work to get you to steal.

A gang member will have an initiation that will ensure that you are guilty of crimes before you can be a member.

A smoker is all too willing to share a cigarette with you and teach you the ‘how to.’

A person driven by lust will try to get you hooked on it as well.

Advertisers want you hooked on prescription drugs, fast food, cigarettes, and a myriad of other products that are designed to keep you buying their products.

We have the freedom to say anything in this country and on the internet, but there is some speech that is designed to put us in bondage like pornography.

The ultimate price was on the cross when Jesus Christ shed His blood so that we could choose freedom

We are reminded of the rights and responsibilities that we have in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,[76]that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long-established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Our future freedom depends on our actions today.

I am gratful to God for all the freedoms that we have in this country.  We are still the greatest nation in the world.

 What freedoms are you grateful for this week of celebration of the independence of the United States?  

Living on Fast Forward in Retirement

The internet has really captured me.  I started working with it because I like to write and now the ministry, that we participate in, has asked me to help with their  blogs and websites.  At sixty-nine years young, I thought that the task was overwhelming and then I got into it and found out that I was right.  The good news is that I have found people to help me develop the web pages which are beginning to come together and look good.  But, because of this activity my personal blogging has taken a back-seat and I really miss it.  So – here goes!

Being retired isn’t just sitting in front of the television, traveling, and feeding, the birds.  My life is full and busy.  I still do the normal things of taking care of the house and yard.  We visit my 95 year-old Mom and our kids.  The ministry has monthly tent meetings and that has kept us engaged.  My Usana business has suffered a bit.  Visit me at http://www.encorenow.usana.com and help me out!

Pinterest is a pin-board that is a fun leisure time activity.  Most interesting to me is that I can do it and not feel like ‘if only’ I had this or that.  It is just a place to see pretty things, learn things, get tips, learn about products, and find humor.  Yes, it can be a time-waster but I am learning just to do it for short bursts of time!

In addition to the normal part of my life, who would have thought that the very thing that I struggled with at work (the computer)  would become a  passion?  So now the writing bug has me wrapped up in blogging and posting to web-pages.  I am learning so much.  I guess the book that I pondered will have to wait.

Here is one of the web sites that I have in process – http://www.fireinthestreets.com.  The picture is what I am using as a header.  Cool huh?

So what is keeping you engaged and happy in your retirement?

Presidential Wisdom

Lessons learned from Presidents past and present:

Lincoln – Understand that the White House belongs to the people represented and let them camp out in it when they need a place to stay.

Kennedy – Never take a ride in a convertible in a parade.

F. Roosevelt – Use the Fireside chat to comfort an entire generationT. Roosevelt – Ban guns?  Are you kidding?

Eisenhower – Everyone is entitled to vote regardless of color.

Truman – The buck stops here!  And I don’t need the salary given the President.  I have enough money.

L Johnson – You can be defeated by public opinion.

A Johnson – You can be defeated by the bottle.

Taft – The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.  What a guy!

Washington – With very little support from your peers, but with Providential wisdom, you can defeat an empire and establish a nation.

Wilson – Transfer the control of currency to an independent bank and call it the Federal Reserve.

Nixon – Don’t record anything you don’t want everyone to hear at a later time.

Clinton – Define even simple words with new meanings to keep yourself out of trouble.

Busch 43 – Be a cowboy who doesn’t care about what people perceive allowing the opposition to gain a foothold.

Bush 41 – 1000 points of light can lead you to darkness

Carter – Just because you get elected doesn’t mean you can handle the job.

Obama – Don’t define terms – like CHANGE

What is $1 million worth to me?

Have you considered what you would do if a million bucks fell into your lap.  Many people bet several dollars every week in the lottery with the dream of winning a vast sum of money.  We know from history that winners of the lottery don’t usually fare too well.  Many of them are good-hearted and share the wealth with family and friends . . . and then new friends come along with their hands open and stretched out to receive some of their windfall.  Thinking it will last forever, since it is such a vast sum, they continue to buy things they don’t need and to dispense cash to loved ones and “hangers-on.” (Is that a word?)

This brings me to the pensive thought for today’s writing.  What would I do with a million dollars?  And by default, what would you do with all that money?

Of course, there are the obligatory taxes which I just learned would be over $300,000 depending on my base income.  This reduces my problem somewhat.  Now I have $700,000 to spend.  The next out-lay would be to tithe $100,000, and make some gifts to my favorite ministries which would be at least another $150,000.

With a more manageable balance of $450,000, I would invest $100,000 in precious metals and a safe hiding place to keep it.  Now I have about $350,000.

This is a list of incidentals that would be nice to have:

  • Update and enlarge the kitchen and bathrooms and change the door on the walk in closet to a slider on the washroom wall to gain more wall space in the master bedroom.
  • Add a bathroom and increase the size of the guest bedroom.
  • Update the washer and dryer.
  • Have the carpet cleaned.
  • Have the deck rebuilt with pretend wood that will never rot.  :0)
  • Get Joe a new car.
  • Joe and I take a trip to Israel.
  • Have some light landscaping done.
  • Add a fireplace.
  • Get a generator.
  • Put new siding on the house.
  • Lay in a supply of dried food for emergencies and other essentials.

How much is left?  Now I am down to about $200,000.

It is possible that I would gift our children the amount allowed without incurring taxes – about $20,000 each from each or us – so if my surmising is correct, that would leave about $120,000.  With the decline of the dollar, it is possible that I would find a way to invest some of it in people and ministries that I trust.

I would always save about $50,000 in CD’s and savings because now our home and Joe’s car are worth more than they were.  Our property taxes and insurance would have gone up and if we haven’t planned carefully, we’ll potentially have issues.

So, what gain would we have from this spending spree?  It would have been fun blessing others, taking our dream trip, and touching up things around the house.  If we remained sane and planned wisely, we could live financially secure ever after.

I wonder if I would really do it this way.

What would you do?  I know there are more creative ways to spend $1 million!   Please  share your ideas.  Come dream  with me.

Thanksgiving then and now

Have we forgotten our history?  The Pilgrims came her to escape religions persecution, taxation without representation, unfair court systems, oppressive monarchs and a lack of freedom of speech.  For this, these men, women and children left their homes and all that was familiar to go to a new land where they could have a government by the people.  The first Thanksgiving was a celebration of that possibility.  They shared the meal with the Indians in a microcosm of acceptance and mutual good will.

As time went by, our country was born.  The foundation was laid to protect the precious freedoms that they risked all to gain.  As a result, we have celebrated the highest and best quality of life known to man.  We saw the fulfillment of their dream.  Yes, we had issues that had to be addressed with a terrible civil war.  We are far from perfect, but we are the best of the best.

I am old enough to have been a beneficiary of the foresight of the pilgrims and our nation’s founders.  This land of the free and the home of the brave was a laboratory of that made us so comfortable that we forgot why we were a country.  And because we forgot, now we have new issues that look a lot like the old issues.  We are suffering religious suppression, taxation without representation with an unfair court system that legislates from the bench.  Our elected leaders now think they are a ruling class.  Another way of limiting free speech is political correctness.  Our government is covetous of the wealth of its most successful and is creating a class of people who are dependent on entitlements.  We have loaned money to countries that have never repaid it.  We have borrowed money from countries who are holding us hostage.  Some of this sounds familiar and some of it is new.  

This year, I will celebrate possibilities of what our country can be again.  I look forward to the government of the people being restored.  I am praying for wise leaders who will remember what made us great and bring restoration to our great country.

So, here is the question.  What would the Pilgrims do today?  Let me know your thoughts.