Monday, January 18, 2016

Retirement Mode

So here we are in the middle of January in a brand new year. Is anyone else still scrambling to catch up after the holidays? ;) True, the past few weeks have been beyond crazy for our clan, but that seems to be the theme for life at the moment. In the middle of the holiday season, my husband retired from his place of employment--somewhere he has worked steady for 34 years. We not only celebrated Christmas and a brand new year, but a major milestone in our lives. The dust is still settling.

As I look back, I can see that our lives have been a series of milestones. Skipping over the numerous landmark events that occurred as we grew into adulthood, there were many adventures along the way. Our engagement era was fraught with life-changing moments. Kennon had graduated from ISU, and was adjusting to life after serving a mission in Japan. My family had moved to yet another new area (we moved 8 times while I was growing up), I graduated from Ricks College, and developed a lovely character building condition known as Type 1 diabetes. Kennon and I met, fell in love, and married a few months later in the Logan Temple.

We gutted a small local home and after replacing carpet, painting walls, etc. claimed our first abode. About a year and a half later we welcomed our first child into our midst. Three months later, my father passed away. Three years after that, we buried my husband's father. In between we lost a plethora of other relatives, welcomed a second son into our clan, and built a new home.

The list goes on. More deaths, births, family weddings, life changing callings, and health challenges. While  my husband slaved away at a job he didn't always care for to provide a comfortable living for our family, I did my best to help raise our 3 sons and keep the home fires burning. I stumbled into the writing world in the middle of all of that which gave me a chance to help out with little things like braces, family trips, etc.

The years passed quickly and before we knew it, our sons were growing up. Now they were heading off to college, experiencing mission life, and starting families of their own. So it goes. I've heard life described as a giant circle. In some ways, that is an apt description. We pick up where our parents left off, and continue the mortal saga. In turn, our children do the same. And through it all, time passes much too fast. As we squeeze precious grandchildren, we wonder where the years went. Wasn't it just yesterday when we were squeezing our own children?

I remember hearing the advice to savor each day--and make the most of the time we have. In literally the blink of an eye, things change. One minute we're fretting over getting to work or sending kids off to school, and then we're taking care of our parents and preparing for our retirement years. One day we'll find ourselves on the other side of the veil, wondering where the time went. And from what I understand, eternal time is reckoned in a different fashion. We'll be shown that we were only gone scant minutes from our heavenly home. Some of us may exclaim, "No way!!! I was only gone 10 minutes . . . and I did all of that?" Hopefully that statement won't be followed by an exclamation of  "Oops!!! My bad!!!" ;)

In short, mortal mode is a probationary time of learning and growing, and in the wise words of my paternal grandmother, "You never know when you're going to be hit with a pop quiz." We take each day as it comes, and do our best. That's all our Heavenly Parents ever expected of us. We are following in Their footsteps, trying to emulate Their example. Our Elder Brother showed us the way--we have but to look to His standards of living to know what we're supposed to be doing in this mortal sphere. And someday, when it's all said and done, we'll find out it never is. ;) I fully believe that we will continue to grow and learn after we graduate from this life. There is no such thing as eternal retirement. I'm just sayin; . . .

So here's to life . . . and the whirlwind that accompanies it. As we continue from one adventure to another, may we pause to reflect on all that really matters, and ignore the stuff that doesn't. That is the secret to finding peace and happiness in today's crazy world.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Hello 2016!

I think this is the very first year that I didn't make New Year Resolutions - or set new goals for the new year. Or even make a list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to go. We've had super cold weather in normally sunny Southern California and my husband hasn't been able to play golf every weekday as usual so I've been improvising to keep him from dying of boredom. The greens are frozen!

I have to say - boredom is something that I simply cannot fathom. My children knew it was a word they didn't say in my hearing because I had lots of solutions for that condition. I'm not sure I have ever been bored a day in my life because I always have a list of things that is never fully accomplished. But here I am, making lists of things we can do to keep him from slipping into depression. He suffers from that seasonal disorder that is so aptly named: S.A.D.  I even bought him a "sunshine" lamp that he is supposed to shine in his face for 30 minutes a day to replicate the sunshine he isn't getting. Don't think it helped much.

We've put together puzzles, driven to an outlet mall and wandered around, then had lunch and drove home. Nice to be together and lunch was good, but after Christmas, how much shopping can you do!? We even watched all the Star Wars movies in order before my grandson took them back to the Coast Guard Academy after his Christmas vacation so we could go see the new one. I felt so weird watching TV in the day time! Something that I never do!

He'd be happy to go to lunch every day just to get out of the house but eating out isn't as enjoyable for me anymore since I'm off sugar, white flour, additives and preservatives and am trying to do all organic to prevent the recurrence of cancer so there are only a few places I feel comfortable eating. Then, of course, there is the expensive factor! :)

 But back to those resolutions or goals. President Thomas S. Monson said something that makes perfect sense regarding the subject:

1. When we deal in generalities, we shall never succeed.
2. When we deal in specifics, we shall rarely have a failure.
3. When performance is measured, performance improves.
4. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of performance accelerates.

So as I finally have a minute to sit down alone and think about where I want 2016 to take me and what I want/need/plan to accomplish in this new year, I need to keep those four things in mind. I promise I'll be specific, I'll devise a way to measure my success, and I'll report on progress and success in December. Guess the first thing on my list is making a new list of things to do and places to go to keep my hubby from going off the deep end until he can get back on the golf course and his daily five mile walk. Or until it is warm enough for him to go back to working in the yard and garden.