Laugh – It Will Change Your Perspective

When I see two-year-old Beth walking up to my house, I feel joy – partly because she is my granddaughter and partly because Beth is almost always happy. She loves to laugh. Her robust giggles bubble up freely from her belly. Why is it that we tend to laugh less when we get older?   Perhaps it’s because we grow aware of all there is to grow heavy hearted about: work and financial pressures, health concerns, the discord and violence in our world. Then there’s our kids – those little people we love with all our hearts and want the very best for. (I care just as much about what happens to my grandkids as I did their parents – only there’s now 11 of them!)  Being earnest about parenting (or grand-parenting), we consider carefully each and every decision and work diligently to help our little ones mature.  In troubling times, it’s easy to grow overly serious and let go of joy. Also, the busyness of life gets in way. Maybe we run out of time to laugh.  The old proverb “If you are too busy to laugh, you are too busy”  certainly rings true for me at times.  That’s why I love to be around Beth.  She reminds me to take the time to be joyful. Here’s five reasons why we should laugh more: ONE: Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. – Victor Borge “We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh.” (Author, Agnes Repplier) Laughter triggers positive feelings and fosters emotional connection.  This bond can serve as a shield against stress, arguments and disappointments. Think about how...

Be Content With Today

Years ago, I read this poem in Linda Dillow’s book Calm My Anxious Heart.   It was spring but it was summer I wanted; the warm days and the great outdoors. It was summer but it was fall I wanted; the colorful leaves and the cool dry air. It was fall but it was winter I wanted; the beautiful snow and the joy of the holiday season. It was now winter but it was spring I wanted; the warmth and the blossoming of nature. I was a child but it was adulthood I wanted; the freedom and the respect. I was twenty but it was thirty I wanted; to be mature and sophisticated. I was middle-aged but it was twenty I wanted; the youth and the free spirit. I was retired but it was middle age that I wanted; the presence of mind without limitations. My life was over but I never got what I wanted. The author of this poem, (a 14 year old boy!), has no idea how much his words have touched my heart over the years.   I recently re-read it, and again the inherent wisdom spoke to me deeply.  I think of days gone by when I would wish time away – wanting to get past diapers, past busy kids schedules, past homework, past teen social issues, past stressful work, past conflict, etc.  The older I get however, the more I want to squeeze all that I can out of each day – regardless of what it holds.  Perhaps it’s because I watch my mom whose life is now defined by the second to...

Gentleness

Taking care of my 88-year-old mom, who is afflicted with Alzheimer’s, reminds me of the days when my own kids were toddlers.  The fits. Her need for supervision.  Her efforts to do things independently despite the fact that she can’t.  The spills and accidents.  The need for repeated reminders.   Yesterday had been a particularly difficult day and I needed a fresh perspective, so I decided to replace my grumpy attitude by trying to be grateful instead and by focusing on what God was doing within me in this journey with my mom.   “Thank you for these moments with my mom and thank you for using this time to grow my patience and gentleness,” I wrote in my journal. Immediately as I penned these words, it dawned on me that being gentle was exactly what God was perfecting in me.  Just like with my own kids, being impatient and reacting harshly served only to breed fear and insecurity.  I need to be more gentle. Like Jesus.  Isaiah 40:11 speaks of his gentle nature, stating “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”    King David proclaims in Psalm 18:35 that “Your gentleness made me great.”  I reflected back to yesterday when I had reminded my mom, again, to put her dirty clothes in the laundry hamper and not her dirty tissues. To be sure, I had reminded her a bit sternly, having grown impatient over her daily practice of filling her laundry basket with soiled tissues and...

Finding the Gold in Ordinary Days

Taking care of my mom, who now lives with us, has certainly impacted my life — especially my freedom. Much like when I was a mom of young kids, I now must consider her needs, and provide the supervision she requires as a result of Alzheimer’s. I listen to the same stories repeatedly. Answer the same questions. Show her how to do simple things over and over and over. She sincerely desires to help – to pull her weight – yet her assistance requires that I help her help me. This can be quite exasperating, something I attempt to do without undermining her dignity. Now I must order my days around her needs and am restricted from doing what I want to do when I want to do it. (A benefit of an empty nest!) If I am honest, I fight feelings of drudgery. I remember feeling similarly when my own kids were little. They would bombard me with questions and want me to read certain stories continuously. I would show them repeatedly how to do something. Their efforts to help usually meant more work for me. While I deeply valued being at home with them, sometimes I also grew weary of the repetitive, everyday tasks. After writing a draft of this post, I picked up Utmost For His Highest, my favorite all-time devotional by Oswald Chambers and read the devotional for June 15. It starts out with the statement: “In the matter of drudgery.” That got my attention! First the Holy Spirit moved me to ponder this, and then the words of Oswald Chambers drove the point home....