Over 50 and living life on the edge. As two Grey haired nomads (one balding, one dyed blonde!) we are excited as we are travelling and exploring this world in a new season of life. Preaching and praying around the world! Loving life and those we meet along the journey
Recently I paid a return visit to Haiti. As an Australian staying in the United States we are required according to our visa waiver conditions to leave the country for an unspecified period of time every 90 days. My daughter who runs a not-for-profit organization in Haiti had been trying unsuccessfully for quite a few months to get back down to see her girls. So we all decided to head down there as our exit strategy.
The last time I was there it had been an extremely challenging year with our grandson newly diagnosed and under treatment for leukemia and I was exhausted. I was also not personally feeling well so this trip was nice to follow up with.
Haiti is a country that defies many minds and hearts. It was the first country where slaves gained their freedom but it came at a great cost. Countries set embargoes against them, during that period in the 1800’s until recent times, causing incredible challenges to this small country.
Slavery although abolished still thrives though with children and women at risk of exploitation. Greater minds then mine have tried to find a solution but despite all the huge financial amounts of aide this country has seen come and go, it still suffers with insane poverty and all of the issues that festers.
Naomi and the many other organizations though that create work and good working conditions for her girls, including health and regular income, is helping to change the lives of those around there.
There are so many complex situations though including the one of escouad or pooling of finances. One person gets it all one month and so one. So virtually you would get paid once a year in the case of Naomi’s 12 girls!
My heart breaks when I see the hardship of so many families around the world who all they want is a better life for their children!
I loved visiting with them but now starts the hard work of selling their goods so that we can send more of the profits down to them. Our next goal, is to build them a functioning kitchen that will provide a place for them to cook out of and sell food.
They are also keen to learn hair dressing skills to supplement their incomes and help provide skills to improve life for the next generation.
So lots to consider. If you can consider purchasing some of the amazing jewellery and metal work from our site! You can change a life!
Recently I watched sadly as three hundred years of history was struck down with an excavator, hammer and crowbar, the rest was burned until absolutely nothing was left to tell the stories of yesteryear.
This house was built in the 1700’s. Now what was happening during that time?
Let’s take a look:
The British and Spanish were battling it out over territories
There were wars between the French and the Indians
The United Kingdom was formed and Britain started to expand the British Empire throughout the world
Alaska was discovered by Europeans
Hawaii was discovered by Europeans
Australia was discovered by Europeans
James Watt discovers the steam engine. Joseph Priestly and Daniel Rutherford independently discover nitrogen.
The American Revolution against Britain occurred.
The French Revolution occurs, ending in the execution of the king and queen and thousands of others.
This was an amazing era of discovery and change. On Capeville Drive, Virginia, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a house was built: A two story, home of above moderate size and appearance for the period. I don’t know who built it or even the history of the area other than there were substantial cotton plantations in that period in that area. You can imagine the owner building a lovely home for his burgeoning family, filled with dreams and aspirations for their future in this brand new country.
It survived a civil war, surrounded by fields that you can easily imagine saw incredible pain and deaths.
It was bemused as modernization came and tractors replaced horse driven plows.
It continued to watch as its young men marched off to two world wars, and other wars in far off countries.
It observed in silence as its country faced civil unrest. It stood in awe as man walked on the moon and more space exploration took and amazing discoveries in science.
And then, it was left to decay. Families died or were dispersed. Pickers came and took whatever they could take to break up and sell. People took no notice as the large trees, and vines encroached and left it struggling to stand.
Then one day a few weeks ago, three hundred years toppled to the ground. We took what we could of any remaining good timbers to re-purpose in another old beauty, but the rest was shoveled up or burned along with the 200 year old pecan trees standing guard over history. It was a confronting sight. All because the owner, a farmer of crops needed to have an unobstructed path for his free-roaming irrigation system!
It had served its purpose and the foundations had long since become hazardous but she was still a magnificent lady who had endured so much! It felt like she deserved better.
But that is the end of all things in this world – decay, corrosion, and decline. King Solomon said it well that despite all of his wealth and wisdom everything is vanity because no matter what we amass the end result is we leave it to someone else. We can’t take it with us and ultimately it will all decay. It made me think of the importance of leaving a truly lasting legacy! An eternal legacy!
Jesus says don’t lay up for yourself treasures on earth for that reason, but lay up for yourself treasures in heaven. What are those treasures? He is our treasure! Set our hope on the living God. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Let’s pursue with diligence and energy the eternal things of life.
Ok…so my one goal to myself for this year is going to be to write something every day…That is about the only thing I will set in glue. The rest are just going to be plans…
My true goal though I have decided is to LOVE – that is what Corinthians tells us to do. Seek the best and Love is the best.
That is what I posted on Facebook for New Year,
so that makes it public and I am accountable, right? The funny thing was I met two amazing women at the local pub here on Eastern Shore in Virginia on New Years’ Eve (only place open and didn’t want to sit out in the cold until 10pm to watch the crab pot fall…more on that later). I had posted about love that day and guess what we talked about for a couple of hours…you guessed it LOVE.
One girl has just divorced her husband and was feeling the pain. I mentioned about the love Paul the Apostle talks about in Corinthians 13! It turns out that was the verse they read at their wedding! More pain for her right there, as she felt that she had definitely not been walking in that realm of Love in her marriage.
Love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, not arrogant, or rude. It does not insist on its own way; It is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing; but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends.
The next morning on the first day of the year whilst attending a gorgeous little Baptist church here in Cape Charles, with a couple of new friends, the pastor preached on – you guessed it, a call to duty to LOVE.
So I think what I will do in the next few blogs is dissect just what love is, how we get it, and how do we walk in it.
We are fed so many lies from the world on love eg. It’s a feeling. It goes away. It makes us completely happy – if it doesn’t it mustn’t be right; have changed; have no hope so time to move on.
So I am going to dissect all of the above thoughts on love and see how I fare this year as I endeavour to walk in the Fruit of the Spirit one of which is love and just see how that is worked out in my life.
Trust you will enjoy the journey with me..and comments will be welcome!
I wrote this earlier in the month but have been staying at a farm with no internet and snowed in…It is still relevant though.
Someone commented on my first post “Faces on the Wall” and said she couldn’t wait for the second installment of which I had not intended to write one. However, the last few days have prompted me to yet again contemplate just how our lives are a vapour.
My daughter started it with news of a young mum killed in a car accident leaving her two young children fighting for their lives, around Christmas. Then we saw all the faces of those in the entertainment industry or “famous” people who have passed this year including Prince, David Bowie and George Michael to name a few. Then in the past few days Carrie Fisher and for those who remember her Zsa Zsa Gabor. Carrie’s mum, Debbie Reynolds, one of my all-time favourites from the past, followed her daughter quickly afterwards.
So many famous faces fading away! Some are only youngish, in their 50’s and yes that is young despite the under 30’s disbelief. Some are in their golden years, 80 plus. But whatever the age their lives have all come to the same end, death.
Now this is not a great subject to bring up amidst the celebrations of Christmas and New Year but it is the most “real” reality there is! We will all face it. We all will only face it once! We will all have to suffer the absolute pain of losing a loved one. Death was not meant to be! We were created for everlasting life. Death came through sin, and the pain of death, physically and emotionally will be with us until the end of this age.
We all try to avoid the subject. We all try to avoid the inevitable, believing somehow that it will pass us by. But the bitter truth is that we will all go the way of death.
However, the truth of everlasting life and resurrection is what we are promised through Christ. He told Lazarus’s sister that if she only believed in Him, the Resurrection and the Life, she would see her brother again. By this time Lazarus had been dead for 4 days and had even been placed in a tomb. Martha was confused and thought Jesus meant at the end of time Lazarus would be resurrected, but in this case He meant He would raise Lazarus from the dead. Can you imagine the absolute fear, joy and wonderment of having your loved one come back to life after having buried them?
Our western culture is very anesthetized to death and sickness, keeping it all very secluded, separate and clinical, requiring anyone who has suffered a loss to complete their grieving as soon as possible so as not to make other people uncomfortable.
Other cultures are not so emotionally detached from death with various celebratory stages of grief continuing long passed the death of the person. Choosing to remember, celebrate, commemorate, and cry over their loss and the life of their loved ones.
But at the end, no matter how we do or don’t grieve death, I am much more concerned with how I live. Have I lived with purpose? Have I loved with purpose? Have I impacted my world to the best of my talents and abilities? At the end of time when I stand before my God, I want to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant!” In the end that His approval is all that matters in life.
I can be rich; I can be poor; I can travel and do amazing things; I can stay in the same place all my life; I can be famous; I can be nobody that anybody recognizes; but if He doesn’t know me then my life has been in vain. It’s His voice I want to hear say, “I know you”.
My prayer for you today is that you will come to know Him so that you will be able to experience the Resurrection and the Life. He is Life and without Him we are dead even if we are alive.
My son-in-law has an obsession – apart from his wife! He loves old pictures, frames and heads. He doesn’t care who they are, he just puts them up on his walls. Eyebrows are raised often when people learn they are not relatives or in fact anyone he knows. There are the famous and perhaps even infamous and also just the obscure who have lived and died with just their families knowing of their greatness.
Recently we were in Jerusalem hence my absence from writing. It was too amazing and so little time to do everything including sleep let alone write! We were there during the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot, a Jewish celebration where they live in temporary outdoor structures called sukkahs built on balconies, yards etc to remind them how God brought them out of Egypt and how they lived in tents for 40 years. It speaks of the providence and provision of God covering them always.
During our stay we were staying inside the Old City at the Jaffa Gate, and decided one night to attend the light show in the Citadel of David just next door to us. The light show is projected on the walls of the old Citadel and the history of Jerusalem is told through the conquests and occupations by so many as the faces pass through the ages on the walls.
It gives you such a sense of history which in my home country Australia, we lack. Our European History only extends a few hundred years – Our aboriginal peoples, thousands of years but we lack the structures to remind us that people lived here.
It struck me this week again just how fast life is. As the lights flicked through the centuries and the photos testify of lives come and gone, you are reminded of just how quickly life passes. We are as the Bible says just a vapour, a mist. It’s there and gone. This past two weeks I remember those who have been gone for a year now. I think of those who have been gone much longer. I don’t want to sound morbid in fact the opposite is more true.
I think of their stories, their lives lived, their inheritance they have left in the love and lives they cherished. I think of the impact they have each made in their worlds. They may not have been famous or infamous but each life impacts others. I just feel humbled that each day we get to breathe and live to love and impact on others with that love. I most likely will never be famous and hopefully not infamous but my trust is that my deeds are noticed by those who matter most to me, and that I can impact those around me with love and purpose and hope. My greatest ambition is to stand before my Heavenly Father and hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter in to the joy of your Master.”
Know that each of us has a story and a purpose to our existence. Live confidently in that knowledge and live until you die!
I don’t know if you remember them but in the 70’s and 80’s there were “things” called flounces that you put around the bottom of your bed. I do not think they had any significant use other than to cover an ugly base to the bed. However, in the late 80’s and 90’s enter the water bed. I loved my water bed for two main reasons. One the old bed was lumpy and extremely uncomfortable and the water bed wasn’t, but the other thing was our water bed was timber based and I could ditch the flounces forever!!! I thought!
Currently we are in the United States living with our daughter. She has a bed with a base and she asked me to put on the “flounce” to cover the ugly base. Yes, they are back!! Now the things with flounces apart from their incredible lack of relevant use are they are extremely problematic when it comes to making said bed. They inevitably become entangled with the top sheet and you have to pull either out from under the mattress –very annoying if you don’t like the crinkled look of your bed. (Stop Press – I have found if I hold the flounce with my toes, I can stop the flounce from flouncing while I tuck the sheets in! Boom! Small victory!) However, this takes a few extra minutes of my life every day trying to control something that really makes no sense at all.
I was cursing the “flounces” the other day and commented to Paul just how flounces represent the useless things in life!
Last October we walked 800 plus kilometres across France and Spain on the Camino De Compestella. It was an incredible experience and one which I will begin to blog about shortly….I was too exhausted on the trail each night to do much other than fall face first in to bed, to write anything significant along the Way! One of the things that both Paul and I noted was just how much stuff we all think we need in our lives to survive.
We each carried our back packs for around 8 weeks with everything we needed along the Way. We ditched quite a bit the first few days out as did many others, after a huge trek through the Pyrenees helped you decide what was really necessary for the rest of the 800 plus kilometre walk. I think many of us need to ditch those things that are weighing us down or keep us entrapped in this cycle of life – physical and emotional!
Here is my somewhat cynical portrayal of life especially after having packed up my parent’s houses and seen others die leaving behind all their worldly possessions. Mind you this is from a totally western perspective, yet having lived cross culturally I do see that there is an innate desire in mankind to accumulate, despite poverty and cultural variants.
We are born.
We have lots of toys and keepsakes as children.
We move out of home taking a few of those keepsakes with us – perhaps leaving the rest behind with Mum and Dad.
We may eventually get married or not but either way we accumulate what it takes to set up one house after another. As our income increases, so does our desire to increase our belongings.
Children may come..need I say more. Pets…can be just as consuming.
Children leave home, usually, but not always, taking with them those precious keepsakes.
We may decide it is time to downsize. So we sell off, give away or just store.
Sometimes we decide that we can’t live without all our “stuff” so start collecting again.
In only a matter of years much time and money has been spent re-accumulating.
Then time catches up and we find ourselves not able to really look after all the stuff any longer so start to sell off give away or dump by this stage.
Then if we are blessed with longer life than many others we might find ourselves in the proverbial 3 meter x 4 meter room and be lucky enough not to have to share with some other older person. We are allocated one cupboard and bit of wall space to hang our cherished pictures of family or a treasured art piece.
At the end of our vapour life we finally die and our few last possessions are either fought over by family or dumped at the nearest thrift shop.
Other scenarios are those who continue all their lives to accumulate, house after house, storage shed after storage shed to contain it all. Some leaving significant investments, jewellery, art etc all ending in the same scenario with family either fighting over it or dumped somewhere on to the next accumulating person.
I know it sounds cynical but my question is, “Why do we pursue these ‘things’ with such passion, fervency, desire, time and money?”
Other questions are:
Why do we train our children to become consumers?
Why do we feel we need so much?
Why are we afraid to let go of those ‘things’ that we think are everything to us.
I remember when we were in the Philippines a couple of years ago and I was walking with some friends listening to their stories of how they lost every single thing they owned when one of the world’s worst typhoons and tidal surge thereafter, killed so many, and wiped out entire townships and cities.
I asked if anyone in their area had committed suicide after the storm.
“Why would they?” my friend asked incredulously.
I explained the number of suicides occurring in the outback of Australia due to farmers losing their farms and their livelihoods etc due to extremely prolonged droughts and economic issues. ‘
“Why? Are they not used to being poor?” was her reply.
Therein is the kicker. We have so many expectations from media to family, to culture. To have is to be…be someone, be important, be happy, be content, be successful, be..If I have then I am. If I have then I was.
We are much more than stuff. I for one want my life to measure far more than through what I have or don’t have. I want to be..the person God has called me to be. I want to be there for the significant people in my life and the not so significant. I want to be available to go where and when God calls me, not encumbered by the constraints of this world. I want my wealth and health to be measured in the eternal weights and balances. It doesn’t mean I want to live on the streets etc but I just don’t want to be consumed by the acquisition of things to try and satisfy something only God can fill in my life and living for His purposes can bring value to my existence. Maybe I am the aged hippy my eldest daughter said I was!
Maybe I try to embrace a saying credited to Mother Theresa, “Live simply so that others might simply live!”
I will continue to make my bed with the flounce in respect of my daughters wishes but I can’t wait to ditch anything that doesn’t have significant use or value to my life………Its too short for flounces.
A few years ago I had an old SLR camera, in the days when you actually used film. It was a wonderful time where I discovered I might have an eye for a good photo and really became obsessed looking for the great shot. I wouldn’t think of photography as a profession but as a hobby. I love it!
The truth was we bought a camera for me as Paul and I were continually fighting over the one camera. He has to have the shot exactly centered and his little ducks all in a row. However, most times the ducks have flown before he gets the shot! Me I am a lazy photographer and just aim and shoot. Thank God for a camera that adjusts automatically and takes quality shots now – on a phone! The age of the digital photo is wonderful. You can fail and not have to pay for the failure! This gives me an amazing sense of freedom.
So recently when we went on our walk through France and Spain along the Camino Way to Santiago de Compestalla, I only took my little Samsung 5 whose camera is amazing for such a small item. I do see things differently to the average person and love taking the unusual or different angles. I love close ups and would really like a lens that takes micro and macro shots but for now my little camera will do. I had so many lovely photos to choose from when I made Paul a photo journal book of our trip as a keepsake for us, it was hard not to make a 100 page book! Much to the dismay of my youngest daughter who tried to insist I only use the “best of the best, sir”!
I also love visiting new places and love landscapes or “things” rather than taking shots of people – except for my grandbabies who are great subjects to shoot and love to do crazy things for the camera, even the babies! But one thing I remember learning when I first got my camera is about perspective.
When you are looking through a narrow lens it is easy to be like Paul and want to have everything centered and perfect, focusing on only what is in front of your lens and you become distanced from other things around you. It’s not a bad thing by the way but somewhat limited.
One of the surprises I found was if sometimes I looked up or around or moved position, the different angle could produce such a better photograph or a completely different appreciation of the subject being photographed. It never ceases to amaze me that simply changing your perspective can produce such different results.
Even a slight cropping can do away with the superfluous and can bring an awareness of something maybe not noticed before.
In life I don’t know how many times this lesson could be applied. As a counsellor this was a great learning curve for me with my administrative, prophetic giftings. My moto was and to some degree still is- Tell it like it is. Build a bridge and get over it. The balance of truth and grace tipped heavily towards the truth side of the sea-saw. I had mercy for those who needed mercy but if you were making dumb decisions or needed to hear the truth, I could be very tough, although I tried to never be mean or demeaning to people! I have mellowed somewhat over the years and definitely a balance is pending on the sea-saw.
One of the lessons I have learned and continue to learn is that I may need to shift position on some things or at the least see things from the perspective of someone else. The lesson has taught me to listen, to appreciate the other person’s feelings. I really try to look through their lens and try to see what they see. In trying to see a different perspective though, the Truth is still my lens and I go to the Word of God to ensure my perspective is staying on track and not straying so far off, to become out of focus and blurry. I may not agree with someone but I can appreciate their argument, their thoughts and their position in a matter.
I feel it may have made me a better mother, wife, and friend. Am I still learning? Of course! Do I fail to shift my perspective in the heat of a moment? Sure I do! But it is an ongoing lesson and effort to ensure I continually look at a situation with eyes that aren’t mono focused but constantly looking to see if there is an enhanced position or superior outlook that can produce an improved product. What areas of your life might need a perspective adjustment or refocus?
Yesterday I heard something that made me a little sad. We are currently living in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. It is and has been historically the largest naval base in the US, actually the world. It is a lovely city and part of the Hampton Roads area with about five other cities surrounding it, making it a metropolis of approximately 1.7 million people. So really a large country city!
Just out of our window at night you can see the lights of the “Pearl Necklace” one of the longest bridge/tunnels I have ever driven, adorning the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. It is the fourth longest bridge tunnel in the world. Veerry impressive!
It is 23 miles long, or 37 kilometers for those who use metric (the rest of the world other than the USA!) It boasts a combined 12 miles (19 km) of trestle, two 1-mile-long (1.6 km) tunnels, four artificial islands, four high-level bridges, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) of causeway, and 5.5 miles (8.9 km) of approach roads—for now. This may change shortly with additions! So all up a pretty impressive sight and experience to drive over it and feel as though you are in the middle of the ocean. Driving it is one of my nightmares – being on a causeway surrounded by ocean and not being able to outrun an incoming tide!!! But I do love the thrill of crossing it each time – especially in my daughter’s mini with the top down!
The bridge replaced ferries and takes you on adventures to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and an alternative route to Washington and New York or other coastal areas further north. The Eastern Shore has woodlands, bird havens, barrier islands and meandering waterways moving through grassland swamps. It has some incredibly quaint little American townships where you feel as though you have stepped back in time. One such little place is called Cape Charles, a step back to the era of grand style beach retreats.
It is a haven for sailing ships and day trippers as well as summer holiday makers, and antique hunters and seekers of all things art.
So all this detail to say what I thought was a really sad comment. We were coming back over the bridge and discussing the fact that many of our daughter Naomi’s friends, who have lived their whole lives in this area have never crossed the bridge! Our friend working on our daughter’s house, again who has lived in this region his entire life, has also only been on the bridge, never across it. None of them had been to Cape Charles or north. I found this sad. Such an engineering marvel within easy distance and historical explorers dream-towns barely an hour away and they have never stepped out and crossed over!
I have to ask the question, why? Do they not find one of the longest bridges in the USA on their front door, or history, and nature over the bridge, compelling enough reasons to move? Do they become so consumed with their everyday lives that they don’t look around them (figuratively and physically) to explore their worlds. I don’t know, but it is fascinating to me that people will not venture out of their comfort zones to explore their world around them. This to me is sad. Sad because they miss so many amazing sights and experiences and adventures, not to mention meeting amazing people along the way.
We miss so much in life when we fail to look up and look out. I loved Facebook for being able to follow friends’ photos as they explore their worlds. It might be the park down the road, the nearby city, their state, state parks, a nearby country or a far away county (my friend recently travelled to Iceland and I stalked her mercilessly watching her journey. Others went on an epic trip from Finland to Italy). Others explore their city and we see through their eyes things we might otherwise miss.
There is so much to see and do in this amazing world in which we live. Don’t be too scared or too consumed with daily activities to crossover whatever bridge you need to cross to get to the next adventure!
Well, finally! It’s here…Green Peas and Other Green Stuff! My new blog!
I have had numerous other sites that I used for blogging but this one is my first in Word Press that hopefully won’t disappear like the others. So Green Peas you ask? What does it mean?
As a child growing up in Australia, the one thing I couldn’t stomach or maybe there were a few, but the worst were the vegetables my mother cooked. At that time, a common form of cooking was to cook your vegetables in baking soda. It was supposed to green the vegetables but in my mum’s case nothing helped when you boiled them deep in water and copious amounts of salt for much longer then required. Even now I sit here and could gag at the thought of eating them! (Foot note: She did improve as the years went on!)
Anyway – Green peas and beans were probably themost chuckable for me and came to typify everything I found hard to swallow. Many times life cooks us up a pot of the unpalatable stuff. The interesting thing now is I love vegetables – any and all. There are very few things I don’t eat and in fact I appreciate food so much more – probably too much now! So sometimes what seems hard to bear can turn around and create some wonderful moments we otherwise would not, could not have appreciated.
This blog will be about all the things that go into the pot of life – relationships, journeys, questions about life, thoughts, health, adventures, trials, victories – the list is endless.
As a couple of over 50’s in Paul’s case over 60 we have some stories to tell and some we won’t – but this blog will be a sharing, caring place discussing some of the hard questions of life, and sharing the joy of moments as well. We would love to share our lives with you and invite you to come along, comment, add thoughts and just enjoy.
It’s a new day for us, not just the blog, but this stage of life as well. We have been travelling and doing things that we dreamed about for many years. Semi-retired, kid free, and young enough still to explore our world we have become aged hippies as my eldest daughter called us! Living out of suitcases for the past two years, we have done and seen some amazing things. I will re-post many of the posts from our time in the Philippines and also add some of my older posts from previous years, more for my own benefit as a reflection on the years past.
I love a scripture that says we go from glory to glory. Life is not about remaining as we are but moving on in this journey and loving each step of the journey as we go on changing and growing until the day we die! Let’s live until we die!