​UGH! Another Year Older

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My husband and I will be celebrating birthdays this month. As I think about celebrating and getting another year older I have to wonder what happened to those two kids who were young, energetic, and ready to take on the world. We have become grandparents, less than energetic, and not so much ready to take on the world. We don’t let things bother us as much as they once did.
I look back and reflect on all that’s happened during our lives; all the tragedies, all the deaths, all of the sicknesses and wonder how we came through it all. I look back and see also the blessings that God has given us; four children, three sons-in-law and eight precious grandchildren, our siblings and more friends than we can mention. I have to also reflect on all that we have accomplished in our lives. We both have had jobs and been productive. We have raised our daughters to be awesome parents and to be good Christian folks themselves. I have written a couple of books, I have a website, I have spoken before groups of people and we have both worked on Emergency Response teams. We have done well.
The thing of it is we have not done these things on our own. We have had help from our family, friends, churches and our God. Without the love and support from God and all of these others I am not sure how our lives would have turned out. 
In my 60+ years what advice do I have to share? I think there are many important tips to share. The first one is: it was and still is a priority to follow God and to love Him more than I love anyone else or love anything else. I had to learn to put Him first above my family. That was a hard lesson, but one that was well worth it. I ask God each day to create in me a clean heart and to give me the right spirit for the day. I have and will continue to do His will even when He calls me to step out of my comfort zone, which is most of the time. He has never let me down; sure there have been disappointments, and yes, there have been times I have questioned Him, but in the long run it has been good. If you want to look back on your life later on and see all the good that has been accomplished the first thing to do is be willing to serve God and follow Him; not half heartedly like I did in the beginning, but whole heartedly like I am doing now. Follow His ways, follow His calling and you can’t go wrong.
Family is important. Never leave or depart from family angry. We both had great moms and dads growing up. We both had siblings that were always there for us. I still have a sister that I can call on whenever I need to. God gave you family for a reason. We love our family. We have tried always to be there for them. We never took them to school events or baseball games and just dropped them off. We made it a point to be involved in their lives. I can’t begin to share how many softball games or band competitions we went to or how many 4-H events or the list is long. We were always the house the kids in the neighborhoods or friends wanted to be at. Yes, we have had disappointments, disagreements, but we have always been able to work them out and love them in spite of having different ideas. Even living this far away from them we have kept our relationship strong and are still a major part of their lives. It’s something you have to work at not just something that happens.
Church is another important aspect of my life. Being involved in the lives of other Christians and seeing what God is doing in the life of the church has kept me on a steady path. Learning from others and hearing them share their story, their experiences and their knowledge has been truly a learning experience. I have grown so much in my faith through the church and its many programs it has to offer. If you aren’t in church I suggest you find a church. You can find encouragement when you are in a low spot in your life, you can find genuine love, you are supported in all ways and most of all you become family.
Friends are an important part of my life. I have more friends than I could ever imagine I would have as a child. I have as many men friends as I do women friends, my friends are like my brothers and sisters. I have friends inside the church as well as outside the church. I have friends of all ages. I have friends who encourage, love, and support me. I have friends who will correct me when I am wrong or going down the wrong path. I have friends who say, “I think you need to rethink this, or maybe this job’s not for you or maybe you are getting too involved.” I have friends who teach me crafts, who teach me about God and the Bible, and who walk alongside me. I say this about friends, “I have never met a stranger just a friend I haven’t met yet.” If you don’t have a friend or don’t have a lot of friends maybe it’s time to reflect on your life. Friends are what keep you going when you can’t go any longer. Friends bring joys to your life and friends are as much needed as your daily bread. Remember to have a friend you need to be a friend. What kind of friend are you?
The last thing I want to share with you is having a good attitude. I know so many people who are negative and their lives reflect that. Greg and I have struggled in our lives, but we have always tried to keep a positive attitude and a great outlook on life. When things didn’t always go our way we tried to look for the good in each situation. It was hard sometimes, but we were diligent not to let life get us down. Having a positive attitude can take you far. Having a good attitude can make life so much more enjoyable. We never let the situation dictate our attitude; you don’t have to either. Learn to be positive, make the most out of every situation (good and bad) and learn to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on. 
Yea, we are celebrating another year. We are one year older, but what a life it’s been. God has been good to us. God has blessed us and God has been there for us. Life is what you make it. Life is about knowing what’s good in your life and keeping that and throwing out the junk. Life is about trusting others, loving others, supporting and encouraging those you meet along the way, but mostly life is about God; following Him and allowing Him to be in charge. 
When you reflect back on your life what do you see? Who is in charge? Do you have friends, family, church and a relationship with God? If you do I bet your life is as good as mine if not better.
Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” The Lord is in my midst, He has saved me and I hope He is rejoicing over me. He has given me His love beyond measure and I hope one day to hear Him sing. 
Isaiah 46:4, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (NIV) God is my sustainer, my creator, God has carried me on more than one occasion and one day He will be my rescuer. Thank you Jesus. 
Prayer: Thank you Jesus for these several years you have given to me. Life is precious and I want to enjoy each day I have. Thank you for your work in my life, my family, my church and all my friends. May I be as much a blessing to you as you are to me. Grant that I may fulfill your wishes as I live another year. Be in me and be my life. Amen 
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