Aging Isn’t for Sissies

old flower pot at a window

Aging isn’t what ads on television portray—retiring in this luxurious community filled with smiling folk who enjoy golf, tennis, fine dining, pleasant relationships, and lots of laughter. Those people must not have hip replacements, aching feet, chronic joint pain, failing eyesight, and thinning hair. In those commercials, they behave as if aging is the first dance in next year’s prom. I’m convinced they dropped their teeth down the laundry chute.

For that matter, who gets to retire when she still remembers how to drive to the local pharmacy, or while she still hears the moderator announce her winning card at Bingo? Before one retires she’s so exhausted she can’t get up for breakfast and merely wants to spend her life in pajamas.

Aging is a terrible blow to pride.

Who would have thought my contemporary rose countertops would one day resemble a salvaged relic from primitive settlers? How sad is that? I think my yellow drapes are lovely only to realize they are depressingly old-fashioned. This is what aging does for us, it labels us and all our treasures as signs of the past.

Our scarves become too short and skirts too long. The favorite sweater is the wrong color, shape and size. Our pumps are now pointed rather than rounded, the dress design ornate as opposed to simple, and the jewelry ALL wrong, just wrong. When we thought we had plenty to wear we don’t have a thing in our closet.

Looking in the mirror, my body isn’t proportioned as it once was. When I was a preferred size I never had money to buy Barbie clothes and now that I have the money I’ve lost the size. I told the clerk in the swimsuit section that I wanted a bathing suit for people like me. And she looked down at herself and said, “and me.” We both agreed that there wasn’t a swimsuit either one of us was fond of wearing. Aging.

Grand parenting is another stretch. We raise our children to the age where they have their own only to learn the doctors think we didn’t know what we were doing. We don’t know how to hold babies, burp babies, feed babies, or put them down to sleep. We might suffocate, choke, or kill them. We tremble whenever we’re near the little darlings for fear we might touch one and send it into a coma—too many germs floating around these days.

I think we’re eating a healthy meal only to discover it’s not organic. I jump on the organic track only to meet gluten-free. Forget it! Give me a desert loaded with everything rich and delicious.

Folk the world over fight aging. They take every known remedy from Vitamin B, C, D, and E or probably F, G, and H if they were available. Stretching, sucking, and botoxing become the norm where people who didn’t know where to start also don’t know where to stop. Before long one looks like a bee stung lipped, slanted-eyed clown wearing red boots and a mini skirt. Wow! I don’t know what to say.

Does it come to this with those who age? As fun as I’ve had with this blog, I don’t think aging in Christ is quite the same as aging in the world.

Christianity teaches us to revere our elders, respecting their wisdom. The world tells us older folk are outdated. The Bible instructs us to be modest in our apparel. The world instills sensual garments to promote sexuality. Christianity produces goodness, grace, purity, and knowledge while the world sells pride, sex, and materialism.

With aging comes wisdom. We have a choice. Our conclusion tells us to let the countertops remain because we like the color rose more than we embrace an unknown designer dictating society’s preferences. We adore our yellow drapes because we would rather have a happy home than a model house. We return to our closets and cast an indifferent glance to the current generation’s spend-a-holics for we’ve long since learned to use our resources for eternal purposes.

Whether big haired, little haired, tanned, or glowing white we don’t have to know all the rules, terms, twists, or lingo. Even though we walk with a limp, listen with a little less volume, and see only the large print, we bring a usefulness to the table far superior to the upstarts—a heart full of love, and an understanding as deep and wide as God allows.

The Perfect Woman (part 2)

Outdoor portrait of pretty young girl riding bike in a forest.

The perfect woman came to my house. I was merely attempting politeness when the invitation was sent. Really, she shouldn’t have come. This was supposed to be a lovely evening. Yet, in she floated like a ballerina on opening night in her fitted ivory pantsuit.

In one glance she eye-slid me. For clarification, this refers to someone who runs an eye up and down a person’s body and smirks. I peeked down at my blouse—it looked like I dragged the thing from the bottom of last year’s mission barrel. I especially liked this shirt, before tonight.

She roamed the room in a single glance, as I followed her eyes. Suddenly cobwebs burst from the ceiling and out from under the chairs, while the carpet displayed shadows of last year’s spills. My favorite designer chair looked like it arrived on the Santa Maria; the drapes I’d made a few years before seemed as though constructed by a novice.

I didn’t want her to enter the kitchen, but in she waltzed to congregate with the women who I thought were my friends. They should have halted her passage and eased her out the doorway. She offered polite conversation to those gathered while she scowled at the maple syrup drizzled down the cabinet. Why hadn’t I seen this earlier? Lemonade punch littered the counters and stuck to the white floor leaving a trail of footprints.

Pinterest offered an adorable swirly design for my cupcakes, yet now they were dry and a bit dull. In fact, this entire meal tasted like a bite of brown paper. The party ended at her entrance.

When she should have inspired me, she wilted me into sautéed spinach. For years I had contemplated her power over me. Not just her, but every woman who was polished, well educated, and widely traveled. They deflated me even when I wore my best jeans. But then something happened that forever changed me.

My transformation didn’t occur like Scrooge’s all-night drama. It was a slow slide into freedom. More like daily walks with Jesus. And listening. Listening with a heart eager to know myself and my Savior. Without Him some parts are missing. We continually struggle as seemingly perfect people rip the joy out of our heart.

Eventually, I became the gal who felt comfortable with my own imperfections. This is freedom when I can be real without fear of rejection, and accepting of those who are smarter, prettier, and thinner. This also leads to embracing those who wish me misfortune.

Jesus removes the cobwebs from our corners and brightens our favorite blouse. He takes our junk and converts it into treasured pieces that evoke our deepest gratitude. We eventually see people as just that, people—people on a journey.

I’d like to wrap this up with a fairy tale ending, but we all know life isn’t neatly packaged. We have those days when we’re in our own ivory pantsuit. Days when the president could eat from our kitchen floor and his dog drink from our toilet. But then there are those times when the perfect woman knocks on our door.

The Perfect Woman Came to Stuck (Part I)

Beautiful Young Woman Outdoors. Enjoy Nature. Meadow

We live in a town of Strawberry queens. I’m attempting to become a lady, but occasionally severe failure has greeted me in unexpected moments. Just when I think I can slip in the corner market for a tub of butter without makeup, there’s Miss Perfect in the dairy section.

The perfect woman never needs to apologize because she never says anything stupid. She doesn’t color her hair because it’s naturally the angelic shade of dripping honey. With her, there is no need to diet because she’s been the same weight since puberty. Her nails never crack, peel or split. The word “worry” isn’t in her vocabulary. She has flawless faith.

She never burns a roast, slices her finger with a steak knife or trips over the same footstool. She never sweats when she jogs and her feet never smell as if they’ve walked through a cow pasture. She never utters an unkind word, never forgets a birthday, and never, never, never forgets to return a call. She promptly answers every email as if she’s internally wired by her Internet service. Her Christmas decorations are in the attic long before January 2nd and dead azalea blooms are never found on her bushes.

Her windows sparkle when the sun’s glorious rays shine into her breakfast nook. Pollen doesn’t collect on her lawn furniture or dust on her furniture or germs on her toilet. Her photographs are creatively arranged in her scrapbook albums with cute little labels on every picture. She doesn’t know what it means to scramble for a pen when the caller wants to leave a message.

She shops at Lowes in Cinderella shoes and arises at the crack of dawn to prepare her husband’s favorite breakfast. When she bakes she doesn’t require extra ingredients because they’re always in her cabinet. The doorbell rings and she’s always prepared to answer—no quick clothing change, make-up repairs, or scattered items to shove in the closet.

This woman is perfect and I don’t like her because she makes me feel like Leah when I want to be the beloved Rachel. I’m afraid my husband might meet her and expect me to drag my despondent body out of bed to make him an omelet and waffles for breakfast.

I’m more likely the other woman. The one who leaves her car running for two hours while she enjoys herself at a woman’s fashion show luncheon. Or the one who sneezes when she brushes her teeth and explodes toothpaste all over the bathroom mirror. Or drops her favorite red polish on the tile floor. Or drives fifty miles to shop at a specialty store, only to forget what was needed. Or the one who has her nails painted only to smash them under the dryer before exiting the salon. Or the one who collects crystal even though she’s broken every piece of collectable item in her home. Superglue is a staple in this house.

My purse is a black scary abyss where anything can be lost from cell phone, keys, lipstick, breath mints, ink pens, and tissues. If you want to lose something I’ll help you. My socks refuse to match and my underwear drawer looks as if the FBI raided it in search for stolen merchandise. My life is more like perspiration stains on my favorite blouse, an outfit with one earring, and lipstick that sticks to my teeth.

I realize these confessions are like laying on the interstate waiting for Miss Perfect to run over me with perfect solutions to these conundrums, but today I have the “I don’t cares.” It’s a good day filled with transparency, where feeling like a failure isn’t the worst thing that can happen. I could be stuck in Stuck.

Strut out of Stuck

English front cottage with bicycle

“Stuck” is a fictional name for small town America.

I’m a southern conservative Christian from a small town. People from other places call our town Stuck. Some say we’re narrow-minded because this is what people do when others reject their ideas—they name call to advance their position, to belittle others. I’m okay with this. They can call us Stuck because I know we’re anything but stuck. We know exactly what we believe and we don’t mind talking about it to anyone willing to sit for strawberry pie.

Our town might not agree on the best recipe for chicken and dumplings, but we hold tight to our convictions about general living. We take offense to high-minded folk who walk in with fancy degrees pushing divisive ideas into our lunch box. Some people haven’t understood why they don’t fit here. Well this is it. I can run my car through a window, but stomping on the heart of our roots is a misdemeanor not easily overlooked.

Chivalry is still an important characteristic of our culture. Through the decades the meaning of the word has been lost. It refers to a feminine appreciation of gentlemanly conduct such as opening the door, carrying heavy items, and a polite rising to stand when greeting a woman. In Stuck we appreciate gentlemen. Yet, we realize some women like to blast men, therefore, we leave it to them to install their own washing machines.

We value men who repair toilets, install curtain rods, and walk up ladders so we can move onto the more important issues such as deciding which restaurant to eat at tonight. Yes, things have changed, even in Stuck. We don’t always use our kitchens, but rather depend on Aunt Bessie for the fried chicken dinners—although ultimately we cleave to the notion home-cooked is better.

I found my roots in Stuck. It was here I became comfortable in my own skin—accepted as if I’d always lived here. Their big hearts embraced me as if I were their own child from the cradle—so different from other towns where I felt like a deer in a forest full of hunters.

Big cities have big ideas. I’m for progress if it’s truly advancement and not regression dressed up like a large load of manure. Being Southern doesn’t mean stupid and simply being non-southern doesn’t indicate brilliant. Leave us to pick in our strawberry fields and we’ll let them find their produce at Wal-Mart.

Stuck’s temperament is like an extended hug. This gift requires a little unwrapping to survive in a small town. We like to pack our suitcases for brief trips outside the community, but our souls are fed in our own backyard. It’s not necessary to dream of fame beyond here because we’ve already achieved what’s truly important. God. Family. Friends. Purpose.

People from Stuck don’t complicate things that are simple.

We believe Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sin. It saddens me that this offends some folk because I can’t make this pretty. No one can. In fact it was brutal. His crucifixion represented the huge divide between the wicked and the righteous, a symbol as plain as daylight to us in Stuck.

In cities people tend to cover up their sin with arguments. It’s much harder to do in a small town.

Sin isn’t simple. It’s irrational, mean, and ambitious. It complicates lives and sends people down twisted paths piled high with dirty underwear. Nobody wants to dig in the laundry to sort it out for washing. At the bottom of the basket a woman may discover a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, read it in the bathtub and wonder why she still feels dirty. After all, it was a secret.

We suggest a dive in the river of forgiveness staying down under until Jesus cleanses our innards.

Some of us folk in Stuck are a holy people and we’re madder than a bantam rooster at politicians, Hollywood, and the teachers’ union for corrupting our children. We care too much to just accept it. In our fight we’ll use weapons the big city doesn’t know about. We’ll fight on our knees, in our sleep, and without relenting until we defeat corruption. And it will die one day—banished from the face of the earth and we will live in peace with our Lord. Read the Bible. In the end, we win. Jesus reigns.

Upcoming Posts: “What to do When…”


  • Your car runs through the local hair salon
  • An angry woman butts you
  • Feeling below average in a star-studded world
  • Failure meets you during morning coffee
  • Alzheimer’s creates a comedian out of your dad
  • A close friend becomes your worst enemy
  • When Mom gets stuck beside the bed
  • The day Darrell fought back
  • Miss Perfect shows up at the grocery store
  • God is missing
  • The reputation you gained is also the one you lost
  • Living in an igloo seems fun
  • You’re NOT racist
  • The gardner overhears a delicate conversation
  • Dying seems better than living
  • Mom lost her teeth
  • The horse poops in your parade