The brain fog lifted briefly this morning and I realized that what I am going through right now is exactly what every one of us, male and female, struggled through at around age 12, give or take a year or two. Think back and recall the way your body suddenly took on a mind of it’s own and all you could do is hang on for the ride. One day your clothes fit and the next they were too tight or maybe too short. If you were truly unfortunate you may have become quite chubby even though you felt like you were starving to death. Another day you woke up with zits all over your face and greasy hair. Then you started having emotional mood swings from hell that made you hate your beloved parents and siblings and also cry over the dumbest things. You may have developed a crush on someone new or stopped being friends with a long time friend, but relationships in general became difficult because you lost your ability to communicate your thoughts and feelings easily. No one understood you at all! You wanted to sleep all day and eat everything in the house and got mad when someone said you couldn’t. Life seemed hopeless one minute and exciting the next! Thankfully your friends were going through the same hormone journey with you and you consoled each other. You hated on the kids who seemed to not have any troubles, not realizing that they really did. You helped each other get through the really dark days. What a wild roller-coaster ride it was and is. All thanks to our good old changing hormones. Can’t wait to get control of my body again some day. But for now I will try to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Scroll down any social media feed and you will see plenty of memes glorifying various addictions with humorous, creative graphics and witty sayings. These can be anything from alcohol, food, weight loss, tacos, running, crossfit, cycling, climbing, shopping, coffee, shoes, to iPhones and other weird things. Sometimes the posts don’t actually call it an addiction, such as memes related to anger, political outrage, judging others, or social media itself, but we all know people who are hooked on those and post about it daily.
Why is this okay? Why do we click LIKE or HAHA on these posts to give approval to what we know is sometimes a very unhealthy relationship or even unwanted slavery to these things? I do it, too! I laugh and then I think , well that’s actually not that funny, is it? So do we just laugh because otherwise we’d cry? I think it is because most of us are in the same boat and if we admit to it , we might want out of the boat and then we might be all alone and have no friends. So we play along and encourage the things that make us miserable or at the very least do not lead to joy and contentment and peace. Those things come from another place, a person, the Lord, Jesus Christ. But sadly posts about Jesus do not get the same approval, do they? I suppose it is the company one keeps. And I have over 800 ‘friends’ on the F-book that I may have something in common with, but not the main thing. I think most of my Christian friends are still following my posts, but many have either unfollowed or snoozed me because they don’t want to read Bible verses or logical political posts. They’d rather keep their heads in the clouds and focus on wine, tacos, and running. It’s okay. I will be praying for them and for myself to fight these non-Jesus substitutions, aka idols, for real peace and joy. And let me just add that I know that most of these things can be enjoyed in moderation in a healthy way and not be an addiction. We know if we’ve become dependent or not.
Romans 1:32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things are worthy of death, they not only continue to do these things, but also approve of those who practice them. ~ This verse refers to some pretty bad sins, but it came to mind as to how people tend to encourage others in the same behaviors they are slaves to.
When I was a kid in school, I couldn’t wait to get older. That 12 months between birthdays took FOREVER to pass by! “How much longer until my birthday?”, I would ask. Then I had my own kids and somehow things changed. During the newborn and toddler months and years, the days could pass very, very slowly and I couldn’t wait to go to bed every night, exhausted. My kids then asked me the birthday question. But the years passed quicker and quicker and they outgrew their cribs, then their toys, and then their need for me, it seems. But they still need my cooking!
I love seeing my children grow up but sadly this means I am getting older as well. My friends are getting older and some have died. My mom , though young at heart, is getting up there in age and has lost many of her friends and most of her relatives. I like to think that she will live forever but I know that her last day will come. Last night I had a bit of a shock when it dawned on me that my older sister, the one I go hiking mountains with, is only one year younger than my dad was when he died of cancer! And we had no warning that he was going to die. We had a family Christmas party as usual, and he was dead the next March. By the way, my sister’s motto is Live your life! She has lived her life to the fullest and continues to do so.
But that is how it happens sometimes. There are no guarantees for how many days or years we will be on this earth. I saw a video of a huge boulder rolling down a hill onto a car. The driver lived, but it could have easily been his last day. Last week a young man was drowned after driving into a flooded low water crossing and getting washed away and trapped in debris. No warning. One minute he was driving along and the next he was being swept away. Sometimes it seems like the good ones die instead of the ‘bad’ ones, but we don’t get to choose, do we?
I guess what I am saying is, don’t waste your days. So many ways to do that. Today might be the beginning of the end for you or me. We could be dying and not know it. We could be killed in an accident. Sorry to be so morbid, but it’s worth remembering that our living days are numbered and should be valued. When I was a depressed student in college, I allowed myself to become trapped in a dangerous situation where my life was in the hands of another person who could have ended it. That day I had thought I didn’t care if I lived or died. But when I was at risk of having my life taken, I knew I wanted to be alive! I was able to escape and my life changed after that. I stopped being self-destructive and began to live again. I saw what a fool I was being and how selfish, not caring about the people who had done some much for me and truly loved me! I thank God that he gave me a third chance. Yes, I am a slow learner.
Embrace life, it’s short. Make it as sweet as you can by loving others and loving yourself and loving God.
Revelation 21:4 English Standard Version (ESV)
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
My happy and excited mood was instantly replaced with disappointment and questions when I checked the weather this morning. All week I’ve been patiently waiting and anticipating what was supposed to be great weather and a hiking trip for my birthday (which is actually Monday). Evidently the jet stream or whatever has shifted , as often happens for good or for bad, and now we are looking at a 60% chance of thunderstorms and a high of 80 degrees. I can handle the heat but this park closes the trails when it rains . So, now what?
The park is over 3.5 hours drive from here. Do we risk it? We have a hotel reservation , as well. Do I cancel or change it to somewhere else? Do we just pray and hope for the rain to hold off or be lighter than expected? If you’re from Texas you know most of the time rain here equals storms , not pleasant showers, but we get those occasionally and that might feel nice when hiking as long as the trails don’t get too slippery. They are steep and rocky , like I like them, but I don’t want one of us getting hurt.
The current weather is gorgeous! I’ll try to enjoy it while it lasts . I’m going to pray and see where God takes us. Maybe we need to stay home for some reason. I will choose to trust Him.
Once there was a family who needed help. Child Protective Services had taken custody of their son and the parents asked the court if my family could take him in. We did. He was my nephew. I treated him like my own son. It was a very difficult situation that got worse and required a lot from me. I did my best. God helped me, but I wish I could have done more. Then CPS gave him back to his family. Today is his birthday and I haven’t heard from him or them in a few years. It makes me sad. I pray for him. I hope he’s okay.
My cousin’s ex-wife died in a foggy car crash last week. She was around 50 years old and left 4 kids and 3 grandkids that she was very close to. I remember her as a young mother with a newborn. I went to take her baby gifts. She’s gone now. So unexpected and so hard on those she left behind.
I dreamed about my dad last night. In the dream I knew he shouldn’t be there because he died in 2002. He was acting strangely. I asked him, “What? Do you have cancer again?” “Yes!”, he said in a wretched tone. I’ve thought of him several times this week. I miss him.
I had a close friend that I used to run and go to the gym with. She had a Xanax addiction. After several years, I just couldn’t deal with her lies and I had to distance myself. It was hard on both of us. Today I ran by her house. I miss those days of laughing and chatting and running.
People come and go. Be nice to them and love them while you can.
I started worrying about menopause years ago because I have always suffered in various and often severe ways when my hormones go UP and DOWN. What does the future hold, I worried! Will I go crazy? Will I get a divorce? Will I get fat and lose all my hair? I had those thoughts because I’ve seen women do all of the above. I know so many women who have become extremely intolerant of their husbands and gotten divorced, been put on anti-depressants after telling their doctors they had no energy and no motivation, gained a lot of weight even though they weren’t eating more and still exercising regularly, quit attending to their appearance because they quit caring what their husbands thought of them, stopped doing anything fun and just stay home ,and just generally changed in many negative ways. This all scared me !
Knowing of the risks and causes of these life changes, I have been fighting hard to maintain those areas of my life. It’s not easy! I’ve had some very bad weeks and months where I was very focused on everything negative in my life, especially little things that my husband does that annoy me. As a Christian, I prayed hard and asked God to protect me and my marriage, and change my thoughts. It wasn’t instant, but I do see how God has been at work! I believe he used the race training as one means to keep us from going downhill, which I appreciate. As for the other stuff, it’s a daily battle to keep from gaining even more weight. I’ve gained about 10 pounds in the past year. That is a lot for a short person, but I’m still wearing the same clothes, although they feel tight . I recently caved and bought some bigger clothes. It was depressing, but necessary. My husband loves my rounder, softer body, so I guess that’s something. My mood swings and other bodily changes, have been rough to say the least. I don’t have hot flashes but I have long periods. It’s not fun.
But I know this is part of life and I am trying to maintain my sense of self while accepting the inevitable changes. I attempted the Keto diet but I just didn’t feel good . My sister has done great on that diet, lost a lot of weight, has tons of energy. She is 7 years older than me and now weighs less than me. I was looking at some old photos of us hiking in Moab and she was chubby and I was skinny. The tables have turned! But she gives me hope that I can regain my body eventually. And my 77 year old mother is very petite, although I recall her going through a stage when she gained a few pounds when she had a hysterectomy. Now , my mom eats less than a bird, so that might be one reason she weighs 100 pounds. I know that all of this is vanity, worrying about my weight, but I worked hard to lose those 50 pounds in 2010 and I really don’t want them back! And I want to be healthy and strong enough to run and hike all day long, as well as take care of my family and whatever else needs doing.
So I guess I just want to encourage all you 40s to 50s women who are struggling like I am to stay young, vibrant, and beautiful. I can’t say that I am really embracing this age, but I will say I am trying to accept what I have to and work at the rest. I just started taking a Maca supplement after reading that it is good for menopause. I’ll let you know how it goes. We need to support each other and share information about what helps with these issues. One thing I see happening that really bothers me is women encouraging other women to leave their husbands. I’m talking about women who say they ‘just aren’t happy’ , but their husbands are not abusive or cheating or anything like that. I’d rather try to help her through her irritable times and get her to the other side of these changes, THEN let her make up her mind. Do not encourage selfish, short-sighted, impulsive behavior that may have serious consequences for them and their families. I know at least one couple who divorced when she got a hysterectomy and had instant menopause, then they remarried a few years later. Save yourself the money and trouble by staying together! One thing I do is go hiking or running or go read a book if my husband is on my last nerve. Remember, you are probably annoying at times as well. Men tend to be pretty forgiving of (or oblivious to) our grouchy moods, so let’s cut them some slack when they won’t stop talking about sports or politics or whatever their annoying habit is. Last of all, I am trying to remember that selfishness never leads to joy. Joy comes from showing love and kindness, serving, helping, honoring, and giving ourselves to others. Protect your heart and soul from the worldly ideas that are constantly shared in social media, and please don’t LIKE or Share them. We older women are setting examples for the younger ones whether we like it or not. I’m thankful for my mother’s example.
God bless you in your journey! He will keep you safe as you trust Him
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 English Standard Version (ESV)
10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 English Standard Version (ESV)
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
Every morning my dogs are eagerly waiting for me to finally get out of bed and immediately take them outside. The slightest delay while I make coffee or turn on my laptop will start the whining from the dachshund. If possible the Shepherd will put her nose under my bedroom door or at least lay against it loudly to remind me that she’s waiting for me, lazy bones, and I should hurry up ! When I emerge from the room she will run to whatever bedroom the Dachshund is sleeping in and stare at the door until I open it to free her buddy so she can accost him by putting his head in her mouth. They both will stare at me intently and watch my every move and try to telepathically force me to do their will. Usually I can’t stand the ultra high pitched whining for long so off we go. Here are some photos of what we see along the walk, with captions.
Today I almost beat the sunrise over the trees. It’s only low 70s right now but will hit mid-90s by noon.
On your left is the red dirt “pond” that only holds water as long as it keeps raining.
The Sky is really pretty today.
Looking north back towards the “hill” where dewberries grow in May and where we run and ride dirt bikes up and over and down.
Along the road we get wildflowers in the spring . I run on this road.
This part of the trail is very sandy and slightly uphill. It’s more fun running down .
Trying to get the mole they can hear but we can’t .
this is the much hated Yaupon bush that grows and takes over property all over Texas and is very difficult to remove .
The back of the hill. You can see the dead berry brambles.
The steepest path down the hill , also gravelly . No trouble for Ellie.
and back to the house. My husband made the fish . There’s a huge hornet nest by the door. Lots of them this summer. Hard to kill .
I hope you enjoyed our walk! Now it’s time to drink coffee and then start another busy day! Maybe tomorrow I’ll share some of the hundred different hummingbird photos I’ve taken lately . God bless you and keep you.