Tag Archives: aging well

A Year In The Life of …

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver

Well, once again I have fallen badly behind.  My excuse?  We have had a very busy time this year and are only now finding time to do the things we enjoy – and I certainly enjoy writing my blog.

The year started with a hiss and a roar and I related much of it in a post in April.

Then it was off to Europe for three months.  What a lot of fun that was.  We have friends in Como and made this our base for our travels.  Coming back to Como to welcoming friends (and a washing machine) was great.  These people have been my partner and his family’s friends for years and so it was with some trepidation that I agreed to go to Como.  And I am so glad that I did.  They welcomed me with open arms and within a few days, I felt one of the family. We enjoyed our time with these people and their family.  Three little grandsons were around almost every day and Claudio aged 3 was teaching me English.  His constant plea was ‘Storia Judith”  Well, of course, it was a picture book but as I know little or no Italian and he knows no English,  story reading time was hilarious.  He kept correcting me and I don’t know how many times he told me “pompiere” was the word for fireman.  “No no” he would say and fall about laughing at my pronunciation.  What a joy he was.

We had lunch with friends of our host and hostess at a lovely villa on the hills above Lake Como.  A dazzlingly beautiful day, great fun although much of the conversation went over our heads.

Venice (of course) beckoned as did Tuscany, Spain, France and the UK.  Three months is a long time to be away but hardly enough time to do all the things we wanted to do.  A visit to Germany to meet our friend’s mother who is 93 years old.  A pleasant day indeed.

In Switzerland, we had lunch with our hosts’ son who lives in Como and works in Lugano.

We spent a couple of weeks in Spain with our hosts and then went on to Barcelona for 9 days on our own.

Tuscany, of course, was a delight.  We stayed in a lovely converted farmhouse five minutes from San Gimignano for almost a week discovering and rediscovering the countryside and lovely towns and villages.  Florence called again and this time we found ourselves in a 15th Century converted farmhouse owned by a delightful young couple and only a ten-minute bus ride from Florence.  I have said before that Fiesole is one of my most favourite places in this wonderful world.  I waxed lyrical (?) about Fiesole when I stayed in Florence last year.

And this year we visited my favourite spots in Florence having somebody to share these things with at last.

We came home after our trip to Europe with the prospect of moving house looming.  We were still in the brother-in-law’s house but after a few days back here I organised the removal company to deliver the furniture.  What a huge job unpacking all that was.  Forty-six years of living in one house had my partner moving boxes and boxes and boxes of belongings.  My furniture and effects?  They were and are, still in storage.  Note to self –  make a decision about this..soon.

But now after three months, we are totally settled into our new abode.  My stuff is still in storage and by the way, talking of storage, the arsonist who set fire to the storage facility at the beginning of April has been charged and is currently being tried.  Would you believe he has pleaded Not Guilty even though there is CCTV coverage of him entering the facility complete with a petrol can?  Well, let’s see the outcome of this trial – what a waste of taxpayers’ money.






















Waltzing Matilda

My family and most of my friends know that my favourite song is I Hope You Dance.  This song sums up my attitude to life and I love it.  And I have chosen it to be played at my funeral.

Imagine my delight then when I received an email this morning with this video embedded – please watch it.

This unbelievable 94-year-old dancing the Foxtrot with a young man.  Whatever she has been doing for the past 94 years I want to do – and whatever she is on I want some.

And here are the lyrics for you to sing along with Lee Ann Womack.  Yes, yes I know I have given you these words before, but in case…

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.I hope you dance….I hope you dance.I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’,
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’,
Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.I hope you dance….I hope you dance.
I hope you dance….I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone.)I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.Dance….I hope you dance.
I hope you dance….I hope you dance.
I hope you dance….I hope you dance..
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone)”
Songwriters: Tia Sillers, Mark Daniel Sanders
Copyright: Soda Creek Songs.

2 old ladies

Maybe this is why I can’t dance like Matilda.

Bears Dancing

But these bears are having a good try

Related posts:


Six word Saturday button

It’s Saturday again so here we go. If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.


So today I shall be busy with last minute chores so that I can leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow.  We have to be at the airport at 4am so we shall stay at a friend’s house overnight and then he will take us out to the airport.  What a good friend 🙂

Lotte is going to stay with him for the time I am away.  He is looking forward to that and she seems to settle in wherever I leave her.  She has her coat, her brush, her rug and a couple of toys so she will be fine.

Tai Chi

6am Tai Chi at The Golden Door

When I have been to the Golden Door before I haven’t had access to the internet.  Things may have changed but I suspect I shall not be writing blogs until I return.

And in case you think this is a holiday, here is a typical day at Queensland’s Golden Door:

  • 6.15am   Welcome a new day with Tai Chi Qi Gong at sunrise.
  • 6.45am   Enjoy a guided bush walk on our pink, blue or green courses; or Get wet and wild with deep water running in the bottom pool or challenge yourself with high intensity spinning class.
  • 8.00am  Buffet breakfast of seasonal fruit, Golden Door signature muesli and specialty breakfast cuisine.
  • 9.00am  Morning stretch class held in the gymnasium, a gentle and relaxing way to start your day.
  • 9.30am-11.00am  A health & wellbeing workshop aimed at providing you with the knowledge to make positive lifestyle changes.
  • 10.45am   A healthy and nutritious morning tea served in the dining room.
  • 11.00am – 1.00pm  Take part in the various daily exercise activities and spa treatments available. Try something new or take a challenge.
  • 1.00pm   A sumptuous buffet lunch served in the dining room.
  • 2.00pm-6.00pm    Choose from a variety of activities and seminars available to enjoy. Indulge at the spa where your relaxing massage, refreshing body treatment or luxurious beauty treatment awaits.
  • 3.45pm  A healthy and nutritious afternoon tea served in the dining room.
  • 6.30pm  Be rewarded after a busy day with a mouth watering buffet dinner created by our Executive Chef David Hunter and his team.

But it is enjoyable and I always come back renewed and filled with great plans for the future.  They usually last about two weeks, but hey it’s fun.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
World Health Organization, 1948

That Green Thing

I received this email from a young friend (well she is one of my surrogate daughters really) and although I have seen it before I thought I would share it with you.  So if you have seen it already, please bear with me.

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman,
that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.  The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”  The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

  • Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
  • Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling. Then we were able to personalize our books. But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.
  • We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.
  • Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
  • Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them)?,not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.  Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.
  • We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.
  • Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we older folks
were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Use it up, wear it out, make it do,
or do without.
New England proverb

My September Years

“One day you turn around and it’s summer
Next day you turn around and it’s fall
And the springs and the winters of a lifetime
Whatever happened to them all?”
So sang Frank Sinatra –
listen to the song here


As one grows older and has time to look back, we can marvel at the many things we have seen and done.  The people we have met, the places we have visited.  We can also perhaps ponder on the road not taken and the options and opportunities not taken up.

I consider myself to have been immensely fortunate throughout my life.  I was brought up in London during and after the Second World War by two loving and supportive parents.  From reading some of the blogs, I know that not everybody was that fortunate.

I married at a young age (19) and stayed married to that man until he died 41 years later.  Of course, there were bumps along the road, what good marriage hasn’t survived a few of those, but in the main it was very good.

We travelled around the world because my husband worked for an international company and was transferred to different places.  Consequently, my children learned to fit into new places and to make friends easily; they can enter a room knowing nobody and within a few minutes be in the middle of a conversation with a group of people.  Luckily, I have always found making new friends easy.

The busy years were good and full for all of us.  And the years that followed after the children left home,  when we had only each other to concern ourselves with were also very good.  We were able to do all the things we had planned and when my husband retired early we took trips to parts of the world we had always wanted to see.  I had only just started my own business at the time, and as I was some 10 years younger than he, was not ready to retire.  But we often talked about what we would do when I retired.

But as Charles Aznavour sings The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned and The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men (Robert Burns “To a Mouse”) then needed to be adapted to this new life I now live alone.

The places we still had left to visit after my husband died will remain unvisited.  Travelling is not nearly as exciting or interesting on one’s own.  Who wants to marvel at a fantastic view or a beautiful painting if there is nobody to discuss it with then or later over a glass of wine?  These things and places will remain unvisited by me.  In some ways I am now an onlooker in life.  I see others doing the things we planned.  I see others walking into the sunset holding hands and am slightly envious that they still have each other.

Having said that, I am still making memories each day, with my friends and family.  My grandsons never fail to amaze me at what they do, what they already know and what they are learning.  They certainly will learn so much more than I’ll ever know.  How lucky am I that I get to share in parts of their lives.

“But now the days grow short, I’m in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life as vintage wine from fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs, and it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year”

Apart from a couple of hiccups along the way – a brush with osteomyelitis and breast cancer and the death of my husband and both parents, all my years have been good.   I am very thankful for that and look forward to the next years being as good.

And just because I like this picture and Marilyn Monroe’s quote –

Red Shoes

If only I was still able to wear those heels I would really be in my element!

“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot!”Marilyn Monroe

A Winter Week in the Country

“Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money and they can take away your health; but no one can ever take away your precious memories.” Judith Baxter 1938 –

I read this blog from 1959duke today and I thought I should like to share another of my memories.

It came upon me very gradually.  I had been on my own for 4 years  following my husband’s sudden death of after 41 years of marriage.  My sister in America, had to cancel her visit to me for health reasons and in all, it seemed that my life was at a standstill.  I was waiting for something to happen.  Then I realized I had to make it happen.

I decided that I would visit my sister in LA for several weeks and then go on to my other sister and father in London.  But there is always a question of money when one goes away for any length of time.

At the time, the New Zealand dollar was so weak that everything became exorbitantly expensive when one was traveling.  Through a friend I had heard of a company in the UK that arranged short-term placements for companion/housekeepers.  So the first move was to get information from that company and once it was established that I did qualify to work for them, other arrangements were made.  The apartment was leased for four months which gave me time to decide what I was going to do and where I was going to live.

Having visited with my sister is LA I went to London to spend Christmas with my father and my other sister and her family.

Just before Christmas I went to the agency that was to arrange a job for me.  They had only one position to offer me.  This was with an elderly (89-year-old widow) who lived alone in a small village outside Chichester.  This is not an area with which I am familiar.  I met the client a couple of days before Christmas and it was decided that we would have a trial period of two weeks, commencing early January.

The day I was to start working in Sussex I woke up to a ‘winter wonderland’.  London totally covered in snow.  All the road and rail travel in chaos.  I took a  taxi to Victoria Station to go to Chichester.

I had a very interesting train ride  during which I met two South African women who had been acting as companion/carers, one for a period of 8 months and the other for 4 months.  Their motivation for doing this was to be able to purchase a property when they returned to Johannesburg. Neither of them was particularly happy in their work and did their best to put me off.

Snow in chichester

Chichester Photo Ashley Stevens

Arriving in Chichester I took a taxi to Highleigh, my destination and part of a very small village some 6 miles out.  Unfortunately the driver didn’t know the way and of course, neither did I.  Luckily I had my mobile phone and we could call the client for directions.

After taking afternoon tea with my client during which we discussed Christmas and how we had spent it; she was in Tenerife at a great nephew’s wedding and I was in London with my sister’s family; I took time to unpack and settle in.


Eggs to be scrambled

Supper was a disaster.  It was decided we would have macaroni cheese.  A very simple dish that even very young children can make. However, the oven’s temperature guide was in Fahrenheit and I am used to Centigrade.  As the resulting macaroni was inedible we settled on scrambled eggs.  Not an auspicious start and particularly as I had been warned by the agency that this was a very demanding woman and nobody had ever managed more than two weeks with her.

Sunday – I woke to find that the oil central heating wasn’t working.  The plumber was in Oxford taking a daughter back to university, so a telephone call to a friend of the house-owner resulted in taking off with the friend to the nearest large hardware store to buy a heater.  We found two old heaters in the house and so were able to manage until the plumber came on Monday.

Monday dawned wet and windy.  The plumber came but the gardener did not.  He decided that he would rather do extra shifts at the local hostelry and so would not come back to do the garden.

Tuesday started very well.  I took the dog in the car and we then had a lovely walk around the harbor.  But when we returned we noticed that the dog was very quiet.

Perhaps she was exhausted from the walk?  Not so.  She was chewing her way through my handbag to get at the chocolate covered raisins.

Victoria sponge cake

Not content with that, and following being severely chastised, she then took the top off the sponge cake I had put out for afternoon tea.  To complete the day, she then made a big puddle in the sitting room.

On Wednesday we went into town to do some shopping.  Unfortunately, my lady  parked the car facing the wrong way in a one-way street – the result an instant thirty pounds sterling fine.

Peugeot car

Mrs M's car

Later we decided that it was time to call the window cleaner.  He hadn’t been seen for months.  His response was that he was about ready to retire being eligible now for the pension.  He thought he would work only part-time for now and would only go to those clients who paid the most.  Blackmail or what?  So add that to the chronicle of disasters for the week.

Thursday it snowed and  the snow caused chaos in parts of the country.  Motorists were stranded on the M11 one of the busiest motorways and on the M25 the motorway that circles London.  Great outcry about the lack of foresight of the various local bodies and those responsible for applying the grit to the road.

Chichester Cathedral via Wikipedia

Friday dawned another freezing cold day.  I went into the town and explored the Cathedral and the quaint shops and lanes.

Well, then Saturday.  We awoke to find that we had no telephone.  The owner of the house was 89 years old and a trifle frail and therefore, very vulnerable.  Luckily I had my trusty mobile phone but when I did get through to British Telecom I was told that there was a fault outside the house and it could be next Friday before anyone could get around to fixing it.

Old phone

They did tag the call priority, but could make no promises as to when the phone would be in working order once again.  The whole morning was spent chasing British Telecom and the Care Line Service that provides assistance to elderly folk in case of emergencies.

Again, Mathilde (the Dandy Dinmont dog) was very quiet.  The breakfast tray cloth was larger than the tray and yes, you’ve guessed it, Mathilde tugged the cloth and the whole tray fell distributing tea, butter, milk, marmalade etc etc everywhere.  Not only did the floor have to be washed but also the kitchen table and the covers on the kitchen chairs.  Oh happy day!  And we were having guests for lunch!


So to Sunday.  A beautiful clear, frosty day dawned.  We decided we would go to Church.  The Church in the village is 12th century and has been used for worship regularly since then.  It is rather simple but very lovely.  After Church we were taken to lunch at the local country club.  Roast beef was on the menu, so following a dry sherry and a conducted tour of the premises, we all tucked in.

On our return to the cottage we heard the dog barking furiously.  The silly, greedy, little thing had been scavenging in the downstairs cloakroom and got her head stuck in the empty bag that had held dog biscuits.  Not quite frothing at the mouth when we arrived.

So you can see that life in an English village is not uneventful. My family was amazed that I didn’t throw my hands up in disgust and return home.

“To live in lives we leave behind is not to die. So don’t forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday.”  Judith Baxter

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You Do Need Friends

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You’ve got a friend -Carol King click link for the video of Carol singing her song.

Today’s post was prompted because yesterday I helped a friend clear out the cupboards of a man who died recently.  The reason she was involved in this for her late client was that he didn’t have friends.  He had lots of acquaintances, business associates and such but no friends.  No family available to do this chore so it fell to us.  I thought then of the man I had met and how sad that he had so few friends.

The church was full for his funeral but the eulogies were given by business associates and only one family member was present.

So here we were clearing out the detritus of a long life that had been well lived but mostly alone.  He had godchildren but no children of his own.  He shared his associates’ family lives.

And then I read this blog entitled Behind the Scenes and I began to think of friends IRL (in real life) and friends met through the blog-sphere.  There is a well-known quote “People come into your life for a reason. a season or a lifetime” and following this I found this fantastic video.

Doesn’t that say all we need to know on the subject of friends.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need.  They have come into your life to  assist you through a difficulty period and to provide support and aid physically and emotionally. They are there for the reason and the time you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this relationship will come to an end  Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes because of something they have said or done and you need to take a stand, then they walk away.  Here we recognize that their work is done and we move on,

Then people come into your life for a SEASON to help you grow and learn.  It is well-known that ‘when the student is ready the teacher will appear’.  They bring their experiences to you and may teach you things you have never experienced.  Usually they bring you joy and often peace.  This is real; enjoy it but only for that Season.

LIFETIME friendships/relationships teach you lifetime lessons: things you  build upon.  Accept the lesson, love the person for what and who they are and what they have taught you, and use what you have learned in all areas of your life.

“Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure.”-Jewish saying

I have very few Lifetime Friends but I treasure them all.  I have many friends for a reason and again treasure them all.  I have had friends for only a season also.  But some ‘friends’ are fair weather friends and are not there when we need them.  They very quickly show their true selves and then walk away.  I quickly get over the hurt they cause and rejoice in my true friends.

My true friends are Lifetime Friends.  They teach me lifetime lessons and I choose which to take on board and use what I have learned in living my life.  Goodness that sounds as if I have my Life Coach hat on.

And I love – Love maybe blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Enjoy your friends, laugh with them, cry with them, dance with them and treasure them.

“When it’s too hard to look behind at the past and it’s too difficult to look forward to the future – Look to the side and you will see a friend” Judith Baxter, friend, grandmother, mother and blogger

Miss Lotte and her best friend

“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.
Walk beside me and be my friend.”
– Albert Camus,1913 – 1960, French Algerian author, journalist, and key philosopher.

There must be a reason

Juvenile Red billed gull, Petone, Wellington, ...

Image via Wikipedia

There must be a reason for rivers to flow.
For beautiful trees and flowers to grow.
And why have the birds wings to fly?
There must be a reason why.

The changes from season to season,
The dawning that brings the new day.
These wonders must all have a reason,
It was intended that way.

So sang Frankie Lane eons ago.  If you are not old enough to remember the singer or this song click here.  Oh sure it’s a love song, but I wanted to write today about not only the changes from season to season but the changes from day to day.

If you read yesterday’s blog (what there was of it) you will know I was close to retreating into my cave.  Now today I am my usual self and ready to take on the challenges of being over 70 in today’s fast-moving world.

Petone beach

Yesterday the sun shone and it was a good day to take my small dog for a walk along the beach.  I was in Petone having lunch with a friend and a walk along that deserted beach was a great idea.  Where else in the world would you find a beach this deserted on a public holiday?

Lotte (the Tibetan Spaniel) enjoyed the change of scene and it certainly lifted my spirits.

Petone Settlers MuseumPetone is a thriving suburb of Lower Hutt City, Wellington’s nearest neighbor.  On the shore is a memorial built to commemorate the arrival of the first New Zealand Company Settlers on Pito-one’s shores on 22nd January 1840. Serving also as a bathing pavilion, the Wellington Provincial Centennial Memorial became the heart of Petone’s thriving beach scene.

Petone beach wasn’t thriving yesterday though.  But it was just great for a solitary walk accompanied only by my best friend.


And then the camera batteries died and as it was Good Friday, none of the shops were open.  We have strange laws about Easter here.  Coffee shops and restaurants can be open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, as can gas stations but not Supermarkets, electrical/hardware shops or Garden Centers.  Go figure!

Bathing women

Photo: Charles Adshead. Collection of Petone Settlers Museum

So now to today. And here is the rainbow I’ve been looking for


The rain has gone

Easter Saturday.  All shops are open now that I don’t need them.  Batteries are recharged so the camera can operate once again.

The day dawned as overcast and threatening to rain.  So once again no gardening.  How sad!  If I was a real gardener I would go out for a couple of hours.  But the weeds will still be there tomorrow or the next day.

Anyway,  a friend and her son and his family came to visit.  Her son lives way down in the south island and so we don’t get to see them often.  But he and his sister grew up with my family and his sister is one of my surrogate daughters.

Now they have left. So what next?   Once again I am spoiled with choice of what to do (having decided what not to do).

Bowl of soup

via Wikipedia

The chicken is in the pot making stock for soup.  And now I ask myself what soup to make.  But I know I shall make Mulligatawny soup.

The books are in a pile just waiting for me to get at them.Pile of books

Lotte escaped this morning and is now looking for me to take her for her walk. But I think she will have to take her ‘escapologist adventure ‘ as her walk for today.

Fire alight

The fire is alight and looking so inviting – perhaps I shall just read a book while I wait for the stock to be ready.  In fact, I know that is what I have decided to do.

And here is a particular favorite quote.  Enjoy.

“Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way. Say nothing, and listen as heaven whispers, “Do you like it? I did it just for you.” — Max Lucado, 1955 – best-selling author and writer and preacher


So what is it that you fear?


Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism.  Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person.  Dr David M Burns.

I am part of a group of women who get together to support and learn from each other.  This is a new group that has had only one meeting so far.  At that meeting it was decided that future meetings would have a ‘theme’ and the ‘theme’ for tonight’s (the second) meeting would be FEAR.

We were asked to put something together about our fears and how we planned to get over them aka move/live through them and come out the other side.

When I sat down to put together my piece for the meeting I thought about the many acronyms for FEAR and several came immediately to mind.

The obvious one is False Expectations Appearing Real but what about

For Everything a Reason

Forget Everything and Run

Forget Everything and Remember

Failure Expected and Received

Face Everything and Rejoice

False Emotions Appearing Real

Forget Everything and Relax

Future Events Appearing Real

Of these my favorite is ‘Face Everything and Rejoice”.

But of course when we usually talk about FEAR it is in the negative sense.  For me, having lived this long and interesting life, there really is nothing I fear except perhaps ending my life as a vegetable.  This could be Alzheimer’s or some other debilitating illness.

MPH LogoEach week at the hospice I see people in the last stages of their life.  By the time they arrive at the hospice they all appear to have accepted that their life is coming to an end.  I don’t fear this as an ending to my life but I would hate to be totally dependent on somebody else for all my needs.

Not since I was a small child have I been dependent on somebody else.  I was inter-dependent with my late husband  for more than 40 years but this is something quite different.  We were mutually supportive of each other.

There are two things that I really dread – losing control of my mind and losing control of my body.

So I am doing everything I can to stop either of these things happening.  I walk up and down the hills of this very hilly suburb in Wellington, on a daily basis.  I walk to the local store and take opportunities to walk when I can.

Golf club and ball

Photo -Karl Nelleson

I play the occasional game of golf with a friend.  Neither of us is particularly good but we love the game and the open air.  I promise to play more golf in the coming months.

I read vociferously.  I love words and word Pile of bookspuzzles and these form part of my everyday life.  I play bridge, not as often as I used to but I promise I will take it up again.  I will find three others to play with on a regular basis.

Playing cards

I will keep on working on these things so that my daughter will never hear me say “Who are you?” when she comes to visit.  And I will also  exercise the body.

I would sort out all the arguments and see which belonged to fear and which to creativeness. Other things being equal, I would make the decision which had the larger number of creative reasons on its side.  ~Katharine Butler Hathaway 1890-1942, American author.

If I Had My Life to Live Over, I would…


“If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall I would go to more dances.  I would ride more merry-go rounds.  I would pick more daisies.”
Nadine Stair was 85 years old when she composed this poem.

When I moved into a much smaller house I had no room for all the books I had collected over so many years.  So many of my old friends were given to be sold for charity and I hope they have all found good homes.

I kept those that had special memories for me and two of those were bought by my late husband for no reason other than he thought I would like them.  No birthday presents, just ‘presents in-between’ – as he used to say, ‘because quite the nicest presents are the presents in-between’.  These books are collections of writings and poems by women, reflecting on their lives to date.  One is entitled ‘I am becoming the woman I’ve wanted’ and the other ‘If I had my life to live over’.

No doubt we all know Erma Bombeck’s “If I had my life to live over” and today I found this video.  I just love it.

With Mother shortly before she died

I have few regrets in my life but when I found this poem I started thinking of my own mother and what she had missed because two of her daughters moved away to far places.  So though she is no longer with us I should like to dedicate this poem to her

If I Could Begin Again…

grow as a speck of dust would grow then let me begin by being a better daughter Let me begin by understanding the silence of your life; by showing you the sounds of sight: how a peach full in the sun might be the sun, how a flock of starlings fanning the sky is like one large wing, by remembering Dad’s gentleness his quiet but deliberate way of speaking, so easily read by you. Let me begin with patience – that I need not shout, simply face you when I speak. ~Sue Saniel Elkind~

Sue Saniel Elkind started writing poetry at the age of 64.   She died on January 21,1994 and is finally beginning to receive recognition, long overdue, as a distinctive, significant voice in contemporary American poetry. 

These books are full of such moving stories and poems.  I am trying to become the woman I have always wanted to be.  I slip and slide just when I think I am getting there.  And then a breakthrough when somebody compliments me on something I have achieved, or a stranger smiles thank you because in some way I have helped them, or one of my grandsons smiles just because he sees me. This ‘getting there’ is not easy and is a continuing journey.  I am enjoying the journey and I hope you are enjoying yours.