Archive for June, 2010

She’s 87 and Quite a Lady! Conclusion

(Conclusion of my inspirational Toastmaster talk)

When I visit, mom always had- and still has- a list of little things for me to do for her. You have to understand that Mom gets assistance from the landscape workers; my sister and niece help her—my brother and his wife help. You see, Mom can keep a crew busy all the time, regardless of the season! But there is always a list for me.

“Mom, what’s on your list?”

“Just a couple of things- only if you have time.”

The items on the list  range from taking things up into the attic for storage, bringing things down as the seasons change, putting together the fountain pump so that it would work, getting the right size piece of tubing from the hardware store for the project, etc. spreading woodchips for a garden path…you get the idea. Oh, and I always have to measure mom with my tape measure, measure her body fat % and BMI with my hand-held monitor…then we record it in her little notebook set aside for that purpose. You see, she daily wears a clicker- a pedometer that measures her steps throughout the day. She records her daily total. The measurements that we do together let her know the benefit of her fitness choices! Would that all my clients were as conscientious as Mom!

So what do I get – what can you get – from this lady’s life?

First, don’t think that getting old has to be boring and dull. In sharing all the different activities that my mom chooses to do, I realize that the variety of people in mom’s life and her service to others are keeping her vibrant.

Second, realizing my mom’s love language is quality time, phone calls and visits from me have to be a priority. Remember, typically, it is not what we do that we regret, but rather what we didn’t do. My bottom line- don’t let irregular talks or visits be actions that I regret when Mom goes home to be with Jesus.

Lastly, my Mom is a great role model for how an older woman should spend her time. She is daily taking responsibility for all aspects of her health. Spiritually, she prays, she reads and studies the Bible. Physically, Mom eats the best she can, takes great supplements (she is actually one of my very best clients!)- and exercises daily. Financially, she spends wisely, pays her bills on time, and is very generous to her family and specific organizations. Mentally and emotionally, she interacts with others daily, serves other people’s needs on a very regular basis, and operates with a clear conscience in her relationships. Scripture tells older women that they are to  “be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”

What about you? Do you have a godly mother as a role model? Have you expressed your appreciation to her? Are you a godly role model for someone in your life? Are you making choices daily that will allow you to be here with a sound body and a sound mind to influence future generations?

I’m so very thankful for my mom, Ruth.

I love you mom- and I’m posting this so that you and others will know how very much I appreciate who you are right now. You are 87—and quite a lady. When I’m 87, I want to be like you.

(Some comments I got from fellow Toastmasters: “Your mom is quite a lady!”

“I regret that my grandmother is not as active as your mother…”

“So obviously loving and sincere. What an inspirational lady, your mom…”

“I’d love to meet her and have her energy!”)


She’s 87 and Quite a Lady, Part 2

(Part 2 of my Toastmaster #10 Project, an inspirational talk. My setting is a mother-daughter event at church)

Back to mom’s day: after a short break from exercise class, Mom and her Service Team start to gather the residents from the third floor and bring them down to chapel for a service. Early afternoon, the Service Team gathers those residents who want to join the Root Beer Float Party: Mom loves root beer floats. Enjoying this special treat was something we did together when I would visit her: sometimes she had the root beer on hand, sometimes the ice cream. Of course, because one of us had gotten the taste for a root beer float, we made a quick trip to the Jewel grocery store to get the missing piece, but it was so much fun to know that you could “add a little bit more root beer, add a little bit more ice cream” to finish it just right- something you can’t do if you just buy a root beer float at the ice cream store!

Back to Plymouth Place: After root beer floats, the group  enjoys an old movie together. Last week after everyone had been delivered back in his or her room, Mom went home and applied fertilizer to all of her plants because ‘ everything was wet, and it was going to rain…so you have to do it.’ The last thing on her list was to pay bills “so I don’t pay late fees, you know.” In the evening, Mom may have had a visit with Jaimie, her almost-college-graduate granddaughter, who stops by regularly for special time with Nana.

Another side of Mom that is filled with activity is motivated by a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  We are so very thankful that she has the confidence that her next home will be in heaven with Jesus. Although Mom attends church and Sunday School on a weekly basis, she is also involved in a weekly Bible study that requires daily homework. Sometimes she calls up my husband who’s a pastor: “Ed, I’ve got this question. I was at the Bible study the other day- and I kept my mouth shut. I knew they were wrong. Now here’s my question…” Besides simply attending church, for years Mom assisted in the church nursery taking care of the babies so that parents could attend the worship service or moms could attend the weekly Bible study with one or two less distractions. Mom provides transportation- yes, she still drives- for several of her friends to their weekly senior fellowships at church. She calls them, tells them when she will be picking them up. After their lunchtime, she takes each of them back home.

Mom’s commitment to serving others- even those she doesn’t know- prompted her to  initiate two projects at two local churches: she decorated a box and made announcements for collecting Bibles, used Christian material and devotionals. Mom packs up the material in boxes, takes them to the Post Office, pays the postage, sending them to Love Packages, a ministry that ships the material overseas to pastors and churches who have little or nothing to share with those in their congregations and villages.

Her second project is collecting Christmas cards and stamps for the prisoners at Cook Country jail. She knows the chaplain there- and this is a way to help him minister to the needs of those he is called to serve.

(Conclusion tomorrow- what can we learn from this lady’s life?)

She’s 87 and Quite a Lady!

Yesterday, I gave Project #10, an Inspirational Talk, at my ToastMaster’s Club meeting. The setting for my talk was a mother-daughter event at my church, although I was actually addressing my local club.

I’m posting the text here over the next 3 days. So do come back and finish reading.

Do you remember when you first became aware of your mom’s age? I was 12 years old. My mom was 40. I wondered if I would ever be that old…40.

Ladies, I’d like to introduce you to my mom, Ruth.  Right now she is 87- and quite a lady. I wonder what I’ll be like when I’m 87.

Mom was the oldest of four children, a child during the Depression. Living through that time of history left its mark on a person in unique ways. Mom has odd habits that appear every once in a while. For example, in our house, we didn’t just have one extra roll of toilet paper in the house- we had a whole shelf full- I mean 10-12 rolls…I often wondered what had happened in their family that toilet paper had become such a treasure to be hoarded- but I haven’t asked that question yet.

Mom was the only one who continued her education after high school, completing nurses’ training and then serving in WW II as an army nurse in the Philippines. Mom and Dad married in 1947, had four children, and provided a comfortable life for us. We never knew the sacrifices or challenges that they went through to make that happen, but I’m sure there were many. All four of us went to college and all of us are successful in our own fields. Mom has three grandchildren and one great-grandson. She has a very special relationship with each one: and now as young adults, each grandchild calls her on his/her own for conversations he/she doesn’t have with parents. The kids know that Nana shares practical wisdom—and prays for them.

When adults talk about their parents, they will often say,’ Mom always said…” My Mom didn’t talk- she worked. And she expected that we would, too. So the tape that plays in my head: “If a job is once begun, never leave it til it’s done. If the task is great or small, do it well or not at all.” Of course as children, we would much rather have focused on the “not -at-all” option…but with Mom, that was not really an option!

Gardening is an example of Mom’s life continuing to be one of action. Even now, Mom’s garden is often the destination of residents and their guests. But she does more than gardening. Here’s a typical day: She gets up between 6 and 6:30, has a little something to eat- some carbs, some protein (she takes my suggestions to heart); walks up to the main building where she joins other residents for an hour of exercise. Mom does exercise classes 4 days a week- two mornings a week she does swimming. She found, though, that swimming followed by the exercise class followed by a couple of other activities was a bit much, so on swimming days, she cut back on the group exercise class. On Saturday she actually leads the exercise class! That’s amazing to me because it seems like a total change of philosophy. You see, Mom never related to my dad’s choice of bowling or golf or handball as something he needed to do. Although she cheered for my brother throughout his entire athletic career- her personal philosophy was  ‘be active throughout the day, and you don’t have to do something extra.’  So the reality that she is now LEADING an exercise class at age 87 blows my mind and reminds me that we all can make huge changes in our philosophy at any age!

To be continued