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Happy Birthday to me

My birthday is tomorrow. I started celebrating yesterday.

My philosophy about birthdays is this: The older I get, the longer I get to celebrate. It works for me. So this year I started early.

Sweet William took me to get my birthday present, two pots of lovely yellow knock-out roses. They remind me of a primrose blossom. I have a spot picked out in the garden that will be just right for them.

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Next was the grocery where I had a birthday epiphany. Ice Cream. Let the celebration begin! I found peanut-butter-chocolate on sale and headed to the cookie isle for a generic Nutter Butter cookie. After lunch, Sweet William crushed the cookies and mixed the ice cream with them – I love that man – and we had our own version of a Blizzard.

This morning I baked biscuits, from my mother’s recipe, and topped them with jam made by a friend. I think of my mother in the days leading up to my birthday. I miss her especially when the day arrives. She taught me to cook and cook well. And for that Sweet William is very thankful.

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Today I made a Plum Cake, pulling the recipe from my stash of those tried and true. Everyone should have a birthday cake, even if she has to make it herself.

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Tomorrow, we will visit a church where a younger friend is a member. She is scheduled to sing in the service, and I love her and her voice. Then we plan to visit a young man in rehab who needs to know he is loved and that prayers are being lifted heavenward for him. No agenda. No message to give. We simply want to show we care.

I’m trying to figure out being this age. It’s taken a lot of years to get here. My experiences are showing on my face, fine lines deepening more than I like. My silver hair seems to be even lighter and a bit thinner. I have aches and pains regularly and especially after a day in the gardens.

I am changing eyeglass prescription more frequently, and the trifocals make me squint sometimes, just trying to find a place of clarity. My hearing is still good and my mind is clear, thank the Lord.

My figure is fuller than it used to be and in odd places. And that information about gravity pulling everything down? It’s a real thing.

I can’t put in the same hours of work I did a decade ago. That’s frustrating. I’m not as busy I as I used to be. I’m OK with that.

I wish I had kept a journal more consistently when I was younger. Those events I thought I would remember easily? I don’t. When I read old journals I am surprised at what I’ve forgotten.

Life is still sweet. I appreciate the simple and the small. Friendships are deep, us having been through years of trials and loss, blessing and triumphs together. New relationships are exciting now that I am more comfortable with who I am. I can be myself, and I don’t have to strive to impress.

I’ve learned to be a better listener without trying to fix the problem.

I’ve found God to be trustworthy through these years. I do not understand Him or His ways, and I’m coming to accept that more. He is beyond comprehension. I still wonder why He loves me like He does, and how His grace can be so inexhaustible.

I still treasure the Bible and believe it to be true. In an ever-changing world of science, technology,  medicine, philosophy, and the latest idea, the words of Scripture are reliable. They speak a steadfast truth in a world that constantly wants to change the meaning of truth.

I’ve never wanted to live my life over. Why would I want to go through all that again? We often wish we knew “back then” what we know now. Wouldn’t that be a lot simpler? But I think we only get the wisdom to understand as we live through this life. I’ve learned through the living.

If I had the chance, what would I say to my younger self, the one who was in her twenties, thought she knew most of the answers and didn’t have a clue?

  • Slow down and smell the roses. Pay attention to the little things.
  • Don’t worry about the dust on the furniture. It is not a life and death issue.
  • Invite people over more without cleaning the house first.
  • Play with children and welcome them into your life. They show us how to live in the moment.
  • Laugh a lot. Sing out loud. Move to the rhythm.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. It is healing to your body.
  • Put those photographs in good albums that won’t fade the memories.
  • Slow dance with your husband.
  • Listen well to your friends and family and neighbors and anyone who needs an ear.
  • Save some money and spend some money. Plan for the future because it is coming.
  • Buy quality not just what is on sale. It will last longer.
  • Memorize Scripture while the brain is young. Memorize poetry too.
  • Let go of hurts and don’t hold grudges. Forgive and get over it.
  • Don’t worry about what other people are thinking of you. They aren’t. They are thinking about themselves.
  • Take good care of your skin. It’s got to last a long time.
  • Disregard the size of your dress or jeans and what the scale reports. They’re only numbers and not the value of your life.
  • Respect yourself and respect others. Speak up for yourself when necessary.
  • Slow down when you eat and enjoy the flavors.
  • Pay no heed to your critics. Instead, hear the people who care about you.
  • Pay attention to your elders. They have been where you are.
  • Stay in church. There are people there who need you. You need them too.
  • Be patient with yourself and others. Pray for patience if you must. It does not bring more tribulation as you may have heard.
  • Don’t whine. It is not attractive.
  • Smile a lot. It brightens the face and makes it more beautiful.
  • Don’t let the rich and famous be your role models. Some of them are not doing so well themselves.
  • Love yourself, the unique gift you are to humanity. Explore your talents and enrich them however you can. Then use them to bless the world.
  • Love others well and freely without expectations. Expectations kill relationships.
  • Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You are one of a kind, made in the image of your Creator who makes no mistakes.
  • Be thankful. Always. In all circumstances. Everything is working for your good.

Life is a precious gift. The years mount up and I wonder how many birthdays I’ll have to celebrate. But that is not my concern. My God is in control of that, and I rest in His divine plan.

Tomorrow I will be 68 years young. I feel every bit of it. I have lived it, laughed in it, cried through it. I have been loved greatly and have learned to love in return.  I have experienced the miracle of salvation and felt the ocean of grace all around me.

I don’t know what my future will look like. I trust my Father with that. He’s been looking after me all these years, and He will continue to keep His watchful eye on me.

I do believe the best is yet to be.

peggy little girl

 

THE RECIPES

Mother’s Drop Biscuits

  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable shortening or oil
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup of milk – use buttermilk if you have it

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put about a tablespoon of vegetable shortening or oil in a skillet or griddle. (I prefer a cast iron griddle.) Put this in the oven as it heats up. You want the oil to be a little hot so the biscuits will cook crispy on the bottom.

Measure flour into a large bowl. Pour the oil into a measuring cup, then add the milk on top of it to equal 1 cup of liquid. Stir the liquid into the flour and mix.

Drop by large spoonfuls onto the hot oil.

Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes until the little peaks of the drop biscuits are browned.

Serve with butter and jam. Oh my goodness, they are good!

  *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    * 

Plum Cake

This is a simple cake with a spicy flavor. It is very moist and looks lovely baked in a bundt pan setting on a footed cake plate.

  • 1 cup of oil – or for richness use butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 small jars of plum baby food. (I’m having trouble finding plum baby food these days, so a dark fruit substitutes well.)

Combine oil and sugar. Add eggs one at a time.

Mix flour and spices together. Add to oil/egg mixture and combine well.

Add baby food and continue to mix.

Pour into a greased and floured bundt or tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about one hour.

ICING

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine all and pour onto warm cake, poking a few holes in it to allow the flavor to infuse the cake.

ENJOY!

 

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A senior moment

 This is me when I was a little girl.  Just kidding!  LOL!  I’m feeling my age, and it feels really great.

It’s my birthday today and I’m having a senior moment.

One of the highlights of living to my sixth decade a couple of years ago was being considered a senior in the eyes of Kroger grocery stores.  I signed up right away.  On the first Wednesday of each month, you will find me shopping the isles of Kroger with all the other old people  You see, Kroger offers a 10 percent discount to seniors on that one day of the month.  The store even plays oldies music over the speaker system so we can sing along while we fill our baskarts.  I’ve learned to stock up on standard non-perishables (paper goods, dog food, etc.) and to buy lots of the sale items. 

I’ve tried shopping different times of the day to avoid the crowd.  Don’t go between 10 and 12 o’clock.  The isles are packed, the stock runs low, and checkout is a bear.  Early morning is best, 8 a.m. or earlier.  After 3 p.m. is not bad either.  I think everyone must be home watching Dr. Phil or their favorite soap.

I remember my 55th birthday.  I was taking the grandchildren to Mr. Gatti’s for lunch and found out their senior rate begins at age 55.  What a great birthday present, a discount on my meal.

I also get an amazing amount of pleasure when I drive through McDonald’s and say, “Give me a senior coffee, please.”  The price is hard to beat.

Except when I left my teens and turned 20 years old, I’ve really not minded my birthday.   I happen to like finding cards in my mailbox, having people wish me birthday greetings, and of course, getting presents.   Growing older does have it advantages.

However, it is no surprise that getting old is not top on anyone’s list.  It seems we try to fight it tooth and nail.  We can’t do anything about the increasing number, but we will not give in to looking old if it takes all the Botox in China to do it!

There is a big difference between getting older and growing old. 

I am comfortable being the age I am.  Though we wish we knew in our youth what we know now, it could not have been.  So much wisdom has come through the experiences of life.  Some days the roads were rugged; other days were filled with joy. I could not have gotten here without all those birthdays.

For what its worth, here are a hodge-podge things on this senior’s mind.

 ▶I’m not concerned about pleasing everyone, whether it’s the way I dress, the color of my hair, or how I decorate my house.  I am content with the person God made me to be. 

 ▶I have a love-hate relationship with my no-line bifocals.  I’m glad I can see, but the glasses are not like new eyes. 

 ▶When my underwear draw is empty, it’s time to do laundry.

 ▶The dog has trained Sweet William and me to feed him when he scratches at his bowl.

 ▶Ears get bigger the older we get.  (Oh great!)

 ▶Being nice to people is important.  It’s how they will remember me.

 ▶The grandchildren think I am beautiful because they love me so much.

 ▶Being married to the same man all these years is pretty special.

 ▶What I wear is not nearly as important as a pleasant expression.

 ▶Cute shoes are nice when your feet are young.  Comfortable shoes are a must when your feet get older.

 ▶I am not too old to learn something new on the computer. 

 ▶Reading good books will never replace video games.  (At least I hope not!)

 ▶Older people have stories to tell that are worth hearing the second or third time (or more).

 ▶Wrinkles are not so bad as long as they are laugh lines.

 ▶I recognize people I’ve met almost every place I go these days (especially at Kroger).  Remembering their names is an entirely different matter.

 ▶Just because I’m 62 doesn’t mean I can retire – or that I want to. 

 ▶I miss my mother a lot on my birthday.  

 ▶The older I get, the longer I think I should celebrate.

 ▶I want to leave behind lots of fun stories, memories my family can tell at my funeral so they will laugh instead of cry.

Sophia Loren, a woman who aged  beautifully said, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. ”

Wise words, I think.  But here is the Word on which I lean and trust.  This is how I rest in the days to come:

”   .   .   .    you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth.  Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He.  I am He who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”  Isaiah 64:3-4

The rest of my birthdays are held in God’s hand.  I am at peace with that assurance.

Leave a Happy Birthday wish if you’d like.