Fifty-Three and Finally Free

Today is my birthday, and I’m now 53.  About a month ago, my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.  These are events that were once far out in the future in our minds, but they have now come to pass.  Naturally, we reflected back on our lives.  We talked about the dreams we had when we started our lives together, the obstacles that came our way to modify those dreams, the decisions we made regarding our family life, and the current state of things.  It was with reluctance that we decided I would have to go back to working for somebody else (as opposed to working for myself at home), in order for us to afford the short-term medical and dental expenses to fix my temporomandibular joint disorder and save up to be able to have the retirement we’d dreamed of.

So the past 2 weeks had been an eyeopener for me, as I put myself out there again on the block to be judged by prospective employers.  I wasn’t surprised by the world out there.  I already know what that’s like.  I was surprised by my reaction to it.

How can I put every experience in 25 years that’s not defined by a job title or salary range onto a piece of paper?  Let me tell you a summary of my last 25 years that no resume will ever be able to show you.  I have devoted the last 25 years of my life to the most important project and the biggest accomplishment of my lifetime.  I’ve raised 6 human beings from infancy into adulthood.  I’ve filled their hearts with love, given them confidence, shown them how to love others unconditionally, and encouraged them to be a light wherever they go.  To accomplish this goal, I’ve learned to do many things to either trim our budget, or make some supplemental income so that we can still have food on the table.  I’ve learned to sew, cook, cut hair, diagnose and fix computers, and extend the life of any broken things that can be fixed with household tools.  I’ve been able to make some money with some of these skills.  But if you measure my worth by how much I was earning in dollars for the past 25 years, I wouldn’t be worth very much at all, especially if you compare this to the potential earnings I could have had if I’d continued to work outside the home for somebody else.  But, for 25 years, despite the economic hardship, I remained dedicated to the goal of being home with my children.  And for 30 years, through thick and thin, I kept my commitment to the one man I love.

This strength in character and determination to succeed cannot be quantified on a resume, nor can it be reflected in any job application.  Back in the days, you could meet the person who’d be hiring you, and you’d have a chance to show them your character.  But today, your application goes to the HR department, and you’re judged by how well you can make yourself look good on paper.  No wonder we have such a high rate of people who are depressed in this country!

I noticed a difference between this time and the last time I was looking for a job 30 years go.  I’m not as affected by the rejection as I was before, and I’m not as desperate to settle either.  I know who I am and what I want now, and unlike before when I could be easily intimidated, today I am free.  Yes, I am free!  I’m free from being affected by other people saying “No” to what I want to accomplish.   Back then, 30 years ago, I listened to them when they said I was too young, did not have the experience, or was wrong gender, or wrong race, etc., to do what I wanted to do.  I’m hearing the same thing today, except it’s now “You’re too old” instead of “You’re too young”.   Well, I’ve learned that it is I who will have to live with my decisions, not anyone else.  It is I who will regret letting the naysayers stop me from doing what I want to do.  I care less now what others think of me than I did 30 years ago.

What do I want to do?  I want to expand my knowledge and experience about computer and networking, and start a new career in Information Technology.  Yes, at the age of 53.  I’ll be competing in the market with people who are 3 decades younger than me.  But I’d rather try and fail, than to not try because they say I’m too old.  I’d rather go to my grave having studied hard and not get all the certifications I wanted to get, than to back down because they doubt I can do it.  It’s going to be a hard climb to convince the companies that it’s a good investment of their resources to train me, but somewhere out there is a company who still values character over pieces of paper or youth, and will be willing to give me a chance.  I’ll just have to keep filling out applications and uploading resumes until I find that company.

Let me tell ya, it sure feels good to be free!

StLouis-09122014-8239

Not quite on top of the world, but close enough for someone with a fear of height!

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I Was On His Mind

He went to the cross thousands of years before I was born.   But on that day, Jesus saw into the future, and knew me.  He was thinking of me when He gave up His life to cure me of the disease of the mind and spirit that can only be cured through the transfusion of His Spirit into mine.  He ripped the curtain in the temple in two, so that there is no more barrier between me and Him.  I can now approach Him as freely as my own children can approach me.  I can now talk to Him as a child to a Father without any fear, feeling completely safe, accepted, and loved.  All this was made possible because He loved me far into the future.   He thought of me and knew that someday, I would be born.  And He waited.  Patiently he waited.   Through all the time that I was searching everywhere else for love and a place to belong, He waited.  He saw me through time, knew what it would cost for our relationship, and He willingly paid the price.   He gave up His life, enduring the worst that humanity, His own creation, threw at Him, so He and I can be connected spirit to spirit as we are today.  I am forever thankful that He had me on His mind when He was on that cross.

 

WHEN HE WAS ON THE CROSS I WAS ON HIS MIND
by: Ronny Hinson and Mike Payne

I’m not on an ego trip, I’m nothing on my own,
I make mistakes; I often slip; I’m just common flesh and bone.
But I’ll prove someday, just why I say that I’m of a special kind,
For when He was on the cross, I was on His mind.

The look of love was on His face, and thorns were on His head,
Blood was on His scarlet robe, it stained with crimson red.
Though His eyes were on the crowd that day, He looked ahead in time.
For when He was on that cross, you see, I was on His mind.

He knew me, yet He loved me,
He whose glory makes the heavens shine.
So unworthy of such mercy,
Yet when He was on the cross, I was on His mind,
When He was on the cross, I was on His mind.

 


A Hero In You

Today, I want to share a song with those of you who feel you’re facing life alone, and your hope is fading.   I have been there, in those dark days when I literally had no friend to talk to (moved to a place where I knew nobody).  In your dark hour, don’t be afraid to look inside you, into the darkness.   Perhaps you see things you don’t like about yourself, and wonder how anyone can like you.  Or you’re facing problems you just don’t know how to solve, or dealing with difficult situations that you don’t know how to get through.

Here’s a truth I hope you will hear from me today:  You are created in God’s image and deeply loved.  God’s goodness is your origin, and you will find Him when you dare to look inside yourself.  Yes, you will see some things that aren’t so good, wrong choices you’ve made that brought you to this junction in your life, things that you want to change about yourself but don’t know how, things you’re ashamed of, or things you’re afraid that people will reject you for if they knew, or things that make you hate yourself.  Don’t be afraid to look at them, because as you dare to look at the truth about yourself, you will also see God and His grace there.  He will show you the good things about you; teach you to accept yourself, forgive yourself, and love yourself.  He will help you to move past the pain and forgive others who’ve hurt you.  There’s a Voice inside your heart that knows you are purposely designed for good.  Listen to that voice.  Inside you is all the strength you’ll ever need to get up and get going again, because inside you is the seed of Life that God has planted.

We are all created in God’s image and His Life is in us.  When we look inside us, and truly seek to find what good there is, we will find God in all that’s good about us.  That’s where I found Him–in the deepest place of my heart,  And He showed me how to see myself with His eyes; that I am beautiful.  He showed me I could be a hero and triumph over the darkness.  The strength came from within me where He is, and when I started seeing myself through His eyes, I became a hero.

 

Hero  (2009) by Moriah Carey

There’s a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don’t have to be afraid
Of what you are
There’s an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know
Will melt away

[Chorus:]
And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

It’s a long road
When you face the world alone
No one reaches out a hand
For you to hold
You can find love
If you search within yourself
And the emptiness you felt
Will disappear

[Chorus]

Lord knows
Dreams are hard to follow
But don’t let anyone
Tear them away
Hold on
There will be tomorrow
In time
You’ll find the way

[Chorus]


It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve

It’s the last day of 2012, and I’ve been hearing in my mind throughout the day an old song from 1977 by Barry Manilow called “It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve”. It pretty much sums up what I want to say to you, my friends, especially if you are spending this evening alone and feeling lonely. I just want you to know that you’re not really alone. There are people who care about you and love you, like me. Tonight is just another New Year’s Eve, and tomorrow morning is the first day of a new year, and the rest of your wonderful life. A brand new start, yet also a continuation of things as they have been. It’s really just another day in your life, where you get another chance to make choices, make more mistakes, fall down, get up, and keep learning and growing as a person. And along the way, you’ll make new friends, deepen the relationship with the old ones, and sometimes say good-bye to one or two who, for whatever reason, no longer want to be friends with you. Such is life, year after year. Hopefully as we journey along, we’ll learn more about ourselves, learn to love one another better, laugh more, worry less, and grow wiser somehow.

If you’re reading this and consider me a friend, I thank you. You have been a part of my life that I cherish most. Together, we will make it through another New Year’s Eve, and another New Year.

Happy New Year! May 2013 be full of adventures and opportunities to grow wiser, but perhaps not much grayer. 🙂

IT’S JUST ANOTHER NEW YEAR’S EVE
By Barry Manilow (1977)

Don’t look so sad, it’s not so bad you know.
It’s just another night, that’s all it is,
It’s not the first, it’s not the worst you know,
We’ve come through all the rest, we’ll get through this.

We’ve made mistakes, but we’ve made good friends too.
Remember all the nights we spent with them?
And all our plans, who says they can’t come true?
Tonight’s another chance to start again.

REFRAIN
It’s just another New Year’s Eve,
Another night like all the rest.
It’s just another New Year’s Eve,
Let’s make it the best.
It’s just another New Year’s Eve,
It’s just another Auld Lang Syne,
But when we’re through this New Year
You’ll see, WE’LL be just fine.

We’re not alone, we’ve got the world you know.
And it won’t let us down, just wait and see.
And we’ll grow old, but think how wise we’ll grow.
There’s more you know, it’s only New Year’s Eve.

REPEAT REFRAIN


Merry Christmas From The Family

My husband and I heard the song Merry Christmas From The Family by Montgomery Gentry (2001) on the radio while we were out running errands this morning, and we were both in stitches from laughter.  The song was originally written and recorded by Robert Earl Keen in 1994, and is about a dysfunctional Texan family celebrating Christmas together.  I like the song, not just for its humor, but also for how well it illustrates the love and freedom that Christ’s coming has made possible for us, that we can come together in all of our imperfection, and through all the mishaps, still stick together as a family and have a good time anyway.  Isn’t that what the Christmas spirit is all about–God loving us in our imperfection and adopting us into one big family?

Merry Christmas From The Family
Written by Robert Earl Keen (1994)

Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk
At our Christmas party
We were drinkin’ champagne punch
And homemade eggnog
Little sister brought her new boyfriend
He was a Mexican
We didn’t know what to think of him
Til he sang Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad

Brother Ken brought his kids with him
The three from his first wife Lynn
And the two identical twins
From his second wife Mary Nell
Of course he brought his new wife Kaye
Who talks all about AA
Chain smokin’ while the stereo plays
Noel, Noel, The first Noel

Carve the turkey turn the ball game on
Mix Margaritas when the eggnog’s gone
Send somebody to the Quik-Pak store
We need some ice and an extension cord
A can of bean dip and some Diet Rite
A box of pampers , some Marlboro Lights
Hallelujah everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the family

Fran and Rita drove from Harlingen
I can’t remember how I’m kin to them
But when they tried to plug their motor home in
They blew our christmas lights
Cousin David knew just what went wrong
So we all waited on our front lawn
He threw the breaker and the lights came on
And we sang Silent Night
Oh Silent Night o’ holy night

Carve the turkey turn the ballgame on
Mix Bloody Marys cause we all want one
Send somebody to the Stop ‘n Go
We need some celery and a can of fake snow
A bag of lemons and some Diet Sprite
A box of midol, some Salem Lights
Hallelujah everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the family


United We Stand, Divided We Fall

United we stand, divided we fall. This is my thought for America this morning after the election.  I know this popular song from 1970 by Brotherhood of Man is about two lovers, but I believe that same attitude applies to us as a nation as well.

Please folks, stop pointing fingers and name-calling each other. Stop blaming and villianizing. I’m convinced that the only entity that has the power to really destroy us is ourselves. And unfortunately, we’ve been doing a pretty good job at polarizing ourselves into extreme positions in just about everything now. Please folks, it’s still not too late to turn around and embrace each other as fellow Americans (as opposed to segregating ourselves into Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Conservatives, Liberals, Christians, Muslims, Catholics, Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, homosexuals, heterosexuals, etc.). Let’s work together to mend what’s been broken in this country–our unity being one of them. Instead of pointing finger at another, examine your own heart, see your own part in contributing to the problem, and do what is needed to be a part of the solution.  Listen to each other, try to understand those with different ideas than yours, work out a compromise.

We need to get back to connecting with each other as human beings, instead of allowing ourselves to become “machines” controlled by ideologies, political parties, and religious agenda.   Currently, divided as we are, we are vulnerable to those who would use our polarity to manipulate us.  We will destroy ourselves if we keep going this way.  We are better than this!

UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL (As recorded by Brotherhood of Man in 1970)
Written by Tony Hiller and Peter Simmons

There’s nowhere in the world that I would rather be
Than with you my love
And there’s nothing in the world that I would rather see
Than your smile my love

For united we stand
Divided we fall
And if our backs should ever be against the wall
We’ll be together, together, you and I

For united we stand
Divided we fall
And if our backs should ever be against the wall
We’ll be together, together, you and I

And if the world about you falls apart my love
Then I’ll still be here
And if the going gets too hard along the way
Just you call, I’ll hear

(Repeat Chorus)


Beer With Jesus

My husband was leaving on a business trip this morning and I took him to pick up his rental car.  On the way back, the song Beer With Jesus by Thomas Rhett (September 2012) came on the radio.  The song really touched my heart-strings because I have been longing for such a time with Jesus, just sitting around, shooting the breeze, laughing, crying, sharing my heart with a dear friend.  I have that kind of time with him now spirit-to-Spirit, but oh, to actually sit down and chat face-to-face, with no time constraint and no care in the world, that would be awesome!  My drink of choice would be coffee instead of beer though.  Perhaps Jim Beam Bourbon-flavored coffee, with some cream and a generous glob of whipped cream on top.  I can just imagine Jesus and me, laughing at each other’s whipped cream mustaches!  😀

BEER WITH JESUS by Thomas Rhett (2012)

If I could have a beer with Jesus
Heaven knows I’d sip it nice and slow
I’d try to pick a place that ain’t too crowded
Or gladly go wherever he wants to go

You can bet I’d order up a couple tall ones
Tell the waitress put ‘em on my tab
I’d be sure to let him do the talkin’
Careful when I got the chance to ask

How’d you turn the other cheek
To save a sorry soul like me?
Do you hear the prayers I send?
What happens when life ends?
And when you think you’re comin’ back again?
I’d tell everyone, but no one would believe it,
If I could have a beer with Jesus

If I could have a beer with Jesus
I’d put my whole paycheck in that jukebox
Fill it up with nothing but the good stuff
Sit somewhere we couldn’t see a clock

Ask him how’d you turn the other cheek
To save a sorry soul like me?
Have you been there from the start
How’d you change a sinner’s heart?
And is heaven really just beyond the stars?
I’d tell everyone, but no one would believe it,
If I could have a beer with Jesus

He can probably only stay, for just a couple rounds
But I hope and pray he’s stayin’ till we shut the whole place down

Ask him how’d you turn the other cheek
To save a sorry soul like me?
What’s on the other side?
Is mom and daddy alright?
And if it ain’t no trouble tell them I said “Hi”.
I’d tell everyone but no one would believe it,
If I could have a beer with Jesus
I’d tell everyone but no one would believe it,
If I could have a beer with Jesus