Dear God, Thanks

Bethany Parrish, 1997

Dear God,

You do so much for me every day and I am full of gratitude. I have so many thankful thoughts sifting through my mind that I decided to write you a letter of praise.

Thank you for the gift of life, for telling me to go to the ER, and for giving me the strength to recover. Thank you for giving me the faith and fortitude to make it through three surgeries in one year. Thank you for the joy I have in you, despite my circumstances.

Thank you for the dear friends and family who’ve brought meals, gifts, cleaned, and visited. Thank you for all those who prayed, sent cards, donated money and placed me on prayer chains. I am grateful and humbled by their generosity.

Thank you for the teenager who sent $20 of her babysitting money to my fundraiser saying, “They need it more than I do.” Bless the struggling families who gave in spite of their lack. I am rendered speechless in the face of such generosity.

I’m so grateful for the letters you sent with money and gift cards. I felt your love in each envelope. Remember the day I prayed you’d send me some money and hours later one of your cards arrived?  Thank you for the generous souls who hear your voice and obey. Give them favor and blessings in miraculous ways.

Thank you for the wonderful friends who helped us move, some we didn’t even know.  Please bless them with good health and friends who stick by in times of crisis. Thank you for friends and family who sent notes of support, and for those who called right when I needed to hear an encouraging voice.

Thank you for my online community, for their encouragement, funny antics, for sharing and listening to my struggles and joys.

Thank you for my mom, sister and husband who took turns spending the night with me in the hospital, sacrificing their sleep so I could rest easier. Thank you for my precious family, who prayed with me before surgery, showered me with love during my recovery and for the strong bond we share. Thank you for an amazing husband who stood by my side without complaining and encouraged me when I needed it most. Thank you for our incredible children, and their wonderful spouses, who make me proud to be their mom. Thank you for our beautiful grandbaby, who showers us with joy and helps us to look at life in new, exciting ways.

Thank you for sending skilled surgeons to operate on me, for their compassion and expertise. Thank you for the infectious disease doctor who kept me from having allergic reactions to meds and reacted quickly when needed. Thank you for the amazing nurses who went beyond their call of duty to make me comfortable; and for the fabulous nurses in the infusion center who made an unpleasant experience bearable.

Thank you for loving me in spite of my impatience, as my health improves and I try to do more than I should; for lifting my head and my spirits and reminding me of all you’ve done. Thank you for your blessing and protection during my health crisis, and for a life that has meaning, simply because you’re a part of it.

Your grateful daughter,

Jan

How to Grow Old Gracefully ~ Part 2

My Sweet Gramma Tweter – 80 years old

To Grow Old Gracefully:

Be comfortable in your own skin from the inside out. Nobody is perfect. In fact, our imperfections often set us apart from the crowd and endear us to others. Lauren Hutton has a cute little gap in her teeth. She probably hated that as a child, but it gives her distinction.

Are you satisfied with what is going on inside your body? Do you have unresolved conflict with a loved one? Are you tormented by the abuse or trauma you suffered as a child? Seek counseling; become more comfortable with who God made you to me and resolve those inner conflicts.

Don’t fight your age – embrace it. I wouldn’t want to be twenty again. I might enjoy looking twenty, but I wouldn’t exchange it for all the lessons my forty-seven years have taught me – and
I certainly wouldn’t want to relive any of those ‘lessons’.

My gramma made peace with her age. As I look at the skin on her face, I don’t see wrinkles, I see the family we share, the places she’s been, years of wisdom, and a life well lived. The small amount of
wrinkles on her skin have always been irrelevant to me.

Take care of your body. You only get one; you can’t trade in it every few years for a newer model. If you abuse your body with lack of exercise, or over indulgence, it will show wear and tear. Feed your body nutritious whole foods, exercise your heart, drink plenty of water, and use daily moisturizer and sunscreen. Care for your soul with prayer, spiritual nourishment, rest and times of quiet reflection.

Growing old gracefully is more than just looking good on the outside – it comes from the inside out. When you fill yourself with grace, it will be evident on your face and in your life.

Instead, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him belongs glory now and forever. Amen.

2 Peter 3:18 (CEB)

Read part 1 HERE

How to Grow Old Gracefully ~ Part 1

Parrish Family Photo 1994

When I turned thirty, I wrote an article about growing old gracefully. Was that really seventeen years ago? It seems more like seventeen months. I’ve never been hung up on age. I don’t care who knows I’m forty-seven. Maybe it’s because ever since I was child, I’ve always done things early.

When people tell me I don’t look old enough to be a grandmother, it’s really not a complement, because I’m not. I married my husband when I was eighteen. I gave birth to our eldest when I was nineteen and our youngest was born when I was twenty-one. When my son was in high school, he used to tell everyone my age when he introduced me. “Because I don’t want anyone to think you had me in high school.”

We live in an age-restricted community. You have to be forty-five to live here. My mother-in-law lives with us and my parents live two houses down. I think I’m the youngest one in this community. There are nine who are under the age of sixty; most of the residents are in my parents’ age group.

So in nearly every group, I’m one of the youngest, which helps me feel young.  Someone reading this who is older than me will say, “You ARE young!”  But a younger person might say, “Whatever! You ARE old.” So we can establish that age is relative and feeling old or young is a state of mind.

Part of aging well is genetics. Either you are blessed with good genes or you’re not. You will probably age as well as your parents. My dad’s father had blond hair until he was about eighty and then it seemed to turn overnight. My dad is about to turn seventy-five and he has just a touch of white around his sideburns. I love this because we have the same hair. Each year that my dad stays blond, I cheer because I’m anticipating my hair will respond just like his.

So what does it mean to grow old gracefully? Is plastic surgery OK? Is it wrong to dye your hair? What does God think about Botox? Please join me as I explore all of these questions and more over the next few weeks.

Part 2

A New Pair of Shoes

I could have picked a better time, I should have picked a better day, but Friday was the sale at Famous Footwear and I really wanted to get these Sugarlicious shoes for my grandbaby.

Baby Blue Eyes was thrilled with the prospect of going shopping with Grammy. Grammy, on the other hand, was less than thrilled with going shopping so “late” in the afternoon. After all, it was 4:15. But I talked her into it.

“Mom, we need to get your shoes today because they’re on sale and it’ll be too crowded on the weekend. Plus, I want to get Kamy those cute shoes with the lights.” That sealed it – anything for Kamy.

I helped Mom and Kamy get into the truck. Kamy was fascinated with the stool Grammy used to climb into the Expedition and wanted to use it too. Once we were underway, Kamy said to mom, “Grammy, it’s hot in here. Roll down your window.”
“What?”
“Roll down your window.”
“No, I don’t want to mess up my hair.”
A few minutes later, Kamy said, “I need my window rolled up. It’s messing up my hair.”

Once we arrived, the first item of business was to check shoe sizes. Mom went up a half size. Kamy’s feet are growing so fast it’s hard to keep her in shoes, which is fine with her because she’d rather go barefoot anyway.

We looked for moms shoes first. At eighty-two, she doesn’t like anything hip or “flashy.” I found some cute pink and brown Pumas, “What about these?”
“No, those are ugly.” she said.
“No, those are cuuuuuute!” Kamy said. We all laughed
“What about these for around the house?” I asked, pointing at some understated Dr. Scholl’s.
“What about these for around the house?” Kamy asked, pointing to some patent red pumps. She definitely isn’t into understated.

Kamy loved the stores bright red benches, which she called sponges since they have the look and feel of a sponge. She also enjoyed playing with the shoehorns and was doing her best to “measure” our feet with them.

It was an interesting dynamic, shopping with a toddler and a senior. Mom found a good pair of walking shoes and Kamy loved her sparkly new shoes. What I discovered is that it doesn’t matter if a woman is two or eighty-two, a new pair of shoes will make her day!