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Still Trusting

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I have been traveling through January being aware of my word for this year, ‘trust’.  I have read about it in a number of books, looked up Bible verses containing it, read blogs, and talked to the Lord about it.  I am also reading the book called, One Word, which tells the story of how this all came about and some ideas on implementing it into my life. One of the ideas presented is to always keep my word before me.  Now this is a great idea since as I get older and older I tend to forget more and more!  Even with good intentions, ideas that I have been excited about fall by the wayside, not to be thought of for a long time. Just as I need to stay connected to God through His Word and spending time with Him, so I need to keep before my eyes and heart this word that I believe He is growing in me.  It is now on my computer screen so it is the first thing I see when I open my laptop and it is on my bathroom mirror so I see it every morning and night.

I know that I have much to learn about trusting God and it is going to be a lesson that lasts a lifetime.  I am confident that He knows me so well and He will be the very best teacher.  I will trust Him to teach me in His way!

 

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TRUST

As I begin another new year, having many years behind me now, I came across a site that excited me and decided to give it a try.  It is called One Word, and the thought is that instead of making all kinds of resolutions that I really won’t follow through on anyway, I choose just one word to work on for the whole year of 2016.  Somehow the simplicity of this really appeals to me and I am looking forward to how it will impact and change me this year.

My first thought in choosing a word was to pick the word JOY because this is what I really want to develop in my heart.  However, right after I had that thought, the word TRUST flashed into my mind, not at all what I had been thinking!  It seems that the Lord is wanting me to focus on trust this year.  My life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 so the whole idea of trust is not new to me.  However, I know that so often I do not trust God, but myself, my family, my friends, what I read in books, and on and on!  I am very excited about how the Lord is going to weave this word into my life and around my heart this year!

 

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Hello Autumn

My favorite season of the year has arrived and I am filled with joy!  Fall has long been the season I love the most, but now that I am retired from teaching, it is even better -probably because I now have the time to really enjoy it and appreciate it’s beauty.  I think the year should begin with Fall!  Maybe it is because that is when the new school year starts, but it has always seemed to me that it is about beginnings!  I have memories of new school shoes, crayons, lunch boxes and all the excitement of a new school year.  Even after becoming a teacher, that excitement of a new year with a new class was present -although I was reluctant to let go of the freedom and laziness of the summer.  Now I get to share in the excitement with my grandchildren of being in a new classroom and meeting new friends.

There is just something about the cooler, crisper air that I relish! Even the sound of raindrops on my roof is music to my ears! I always look forward to being able to wear my leggings, boots and sweaters again.  I’m sure by spring I will be anxious to once again put on my capris, short sleeves and sandals, but for now I enjoy bundling up!  My house is brimming with my fall decor and scented with my pumpkin spice candles!  Yesterday I went for a walk and crunched through the leaves that have fallen.  They are turning their beautiful shades of orange, red and yellow and driving down the hill where I live is soon going to be breath taking!  I love this quote off of a little basket I have: “Autumn, the year’s last loveliest smile”.

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The Miracle of Life

Once again my son Sean and his four children, my grandchildren , have been here and gone back to Atlanta.  Long after the messes are cleaned up, the bedding is washed, and the bills paid, the memories live on in my heart and bring me joy and a smile to my face!  We played a game that was so much fun this time -one person has a headband on with a card in it and everyone else is trying to help that person guess what is written on the card.  This brought so much laughter as we acted out words and phrases and also gave verbal hints.  How hysterical to watch my grown sons act out Sumo wrestlers for my grandson!  Wish I had my video going on my phone, but the picture in my mind remains!

The day they left for the plane, an amazing event took place…..my first great grandchild was born!  Brayven Carter Delk is the continuation of life that flows from one generation to the next!  I have long prayed for this little bundle of sweetness, even though he was know only to the mind of God.  For many years now I have prayed for my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren yet unborn.  I wonder if my great grandma, who I never knew did the same thing?  Did she dream of and pray for the generations to follow?  I believe she did and my family is the result of her prayers and the prayers of other faithful family members who looked ahead through the generations to come and entrusted them to Almighty God!  I know that the most important thing I can do is lift up my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren up before the throne of God.  What a privilege!

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The Wonderful Happens

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I was rereading a couple of my favorite children’s books tonight.  They are the kind of picture books that are called children’s books, but really hold so much wisdom for adults as well.  I think children already notice the wonderful things that happen around us every day.  They don’t operate on our time schedules, which is why going on a walk with  little ones can take so long as they ooh and ah over every little bug, worm, flower and beautiful thing in nature!  This year it is my prayer that God will work in me the ability and the patience to look for the beauty that surrounds me.  It is so easy to see the ugly and the bad things because they call to us so loudly and it is in our nature (at least in my nature) to dwell on them. However, I do know that when I have actually opened my eyes and my ears, the beautiful and the wonderful floods in!  There is another lovely book called Something Beautiful, which reminds me to look for beauty even in the most difficult situations and places.  It also tells me that I can put beauty into those places where it is lacking!  I know that 2014 will be a year of beauty and wonder!

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A Heart That Is Thankful

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Today is my 66th birthday and I find myself thinking back over the many years I have been blessed to be here.  Sitting on my couch here, my eyes fall on a little spiral notebook I started writing in over 15 years ago -it is titled Things I Am Grateful For.  I feel my heart grow more and more full, warm and content as I scan the many pages I have written over the years!  I notice that some items have been listed multiple times and others are one time wonderful happenings and feelings.  Here are some of the many things that have filled my life with joy and contentment over the years!

*the sound of rain outside my window

*a hot shower

*sweet faces of my students

*the gift of laughter

*God’s mercy which is new every morning

*music -to calm, encourage and bring joy

*parents who love me

*many precious grandchildren

*the quiet of early mornings

*a steaming cup of coffee

*the privilege of being a parent

*the smells and sights of Fall

*snuggling up and reading with a child

*spending time with my grown children

The list in my notebook goes on and on and just reading through it fills me with joy!  I need to pull it out more often, not only to add items, but to reflect and grow thankfulness in my heart!  Happy Birthday to me!!

 

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Moving Into Year Two and Still Loving It!

A new school year is just around the corner and I am beginning my second year of retirement from teaching!  Tomorrow I will be helping the PTA serve breakfast to the teachers at my former school, as they must endure a day of meetings.  I am so very glad to be on this side instead of sitting through a long day of talk, talk and more talk!  I must admit that last year I felt a bit strange and even a little lost as the new school year began without me.  However, this year I am feeling nothing but joy!  I thought I would celebrate the beginning of this second year of freedom by making a list of things I have enjoyed during my first year of retirement.

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1. Unlimited time to read to my heart’s content! I read in my recliner, on my patio, in my bed, at Starbucks, and anywhere that I want to! (Thanks Valhalla for my Kindle!)

2.  Not having to get up at a certain time each day!  I do however continue to get up usually by 7 because I am a morning person!

3.  Spending time with my precious grandchildren and actually having the energy to do so!

4.  Attending a morning ladies group at church!

5. Getting my morning coffee at Starbucks each day and actually relaxing while I drink it!

6.  Going to the store or to an appointment anytime I want to go and not after work!

7.  Working out at the health club in the morning when I actually have the energy and inspiration to do it!

8.  Being able to take my time and notice the beauty of the world around me -not be in a rush all the time!

9. Not having to fight rush hour traffic!

10.  Being able to volunteer at my grandkids’ schools -way more fun than teaching!

11. Going to a movie in the middle of the day!

12. Being available to help my loved ones whenever they need me!

I am sure I could go on and on, but these are just some of the wonderful benefits of retirement that come to mind! Can’t wait to see what this new year holds!  I know it will be good!

 

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A Heart That Is Full

My oldest son Sean and his four children just left to go back to Atlanta after a delightful, fun-filled two weeks.  I finally got all the bedding and towels washed, but don’t have the energy or the drive to clean house yet.  I’m pretty  sure there are no hidden items left here, but there are so many memories that fill my mind and heart!  Sean is my only child out of four who doesn’t live close by.  My other three children and all my twelve grandchildren, with the exception of the oldest who is serving in the army in Germany, live nearby too.  Once a year we are all together for a period of time and I can’t tell you how much I cherish that time.  I loved raising my own children, and now I also love spending time with my grandchildren who are all so smart, beautiful and talented!  Having all of my grown children together again is something that brings me joy like nothing else can.  As I watch them and listen to them, I can see in my mind’s eye those four precious little ones I raised all those years ago.  I love listening to them retell escapades from years gone by and sharing the laughter as only siblings can do.  I am so very proud of each one of them and my love for them has only grown through the years.  I am grateful that the Lord has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams.  It seems that every year as we gather together we have all kinds of ideas about what we will do, but most of it never really happens!  However, just being together is the most precious experience.  My heart is so full of love and memories!

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Filled With Joy

monica-stewart-dance-of-joy-iI want to be a person who is joyful, but so often I fall far short of this.  I slide into envy, self pity, comparison, and just plain whining!  I recently have been having foot problems and am wearing a very unattractive and large boot on my left foot for two weeks.  I actually have a history of foot problems due to unusually high arches, but it has just recently really flared up. When everything is going well and I can walk and exercise without too much pain I tend to just take it for granted, but as soon as I can’t do this anymore I become discouraged and ungrateful.  This is NOT who I want to be!  Instead of looking at what I don’t have or what I can’t do, I want to rejoice in what I have and what I can do!  I still can walk!  I can even wear athletic shoes for an hour a day to work out!  I read a wonderful book by Kay Warren called Choose Joy.  This is how she defines joy: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in all things”. This is the way I want to live my life!  It doesn’t matter if I have a boot on my foot or even if I can’t walk at all!  Joy is a choice and I am determined to choose it!

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A Garden of Memories

Last weekend I attended a 90th birthday celebration for a former neighbor of mine who also happened to have worked in the library at Valhalla, the school I taught at for 27 years. She remains a lovely, active, outspoken lady who radiates joy and love.  All nine of her children were there, as well as many friends, former neighbors and family members. It was so much fun to catch bits and pieces of conversation between the guest of honor and her guests and also to hear how she has influenced the lives of so many.  I even ran into two of my former students and their mother and another couple that I knew years ago, but have since lost contact with.  All of us were connected in ways we many not even have known or understood.

When I got home that evening, I pulled out my class pictures from the 27 years I taught -I still have most of them!  As I gazed at the sweet little faces smiling back at me, I was struck by two things: first, how quickly the years have flown by, and second, what a privilege it has been to have been a part of so many lives!  Many memories flashed through my mind and I was filled with gratitude for the blessing granted me!  What a wonder that I could have an impact on the lives of so many over the years!  I pray that God will use the very small seeds I planted in their lives to bring forth bouquets of beauty!

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