Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I have just begun reading through Dietrich Bonhhoeffer's short book Life Together.  After the Introduction and Chapter One, I find myself already convicted, challenged, encouraged, and looking forward to the next opportunity to sit down with this small volume.

When you consider the body of believers in which God has placed you - your local church, your Christian co-workers, your Christian relatives, etc. - do you more often than not find yourself frustrated and disappointed?  If these people are really Christians, then why are they so weak and petty?  Why aren't they more engaged/faithful/service-oriented/(whatever)?  Why don't they pray more, study more, give more, sing more....? Maybe you're thinking that if you could find a  more "perfect" body, things would be different, somehow better.

But how truly thankful are you for the mixed-bag of Christian people that God has placed you among?

Writing on the subject of Christian community and fellowship, Bonhoeffer writes in Chapter One:  Community:

"In the Christian community thankfulness is just what it is anywhere else in the Christian life.  Only he who gives thanks for little things receives the big things....We think we dare not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience, and love that has been given to us, and that we must constantly be looking forward eagerly for the highest good.  Then we deplore the fact that we lack the deep certainty, the strong faith, and the rich experience that God has given to others, and we consider this lament to be pious.  We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.  How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things?  If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ."

I don't know about you, but that makes me want to know, enjoy, and delight in my sisters and brothers in Christ more, and to thank God for this very interesting family into which He has adopted me!

Monday, July 30, 2012


I have a 30-year high school reunion coming up in September.  I know, I know - you find it hard to believe that I graduated high school when I was only 6 years old.  But, hey, I was a very precocious child.

A former classmate mentioned the upcoming reunion waaaaay back in the spring, when I was still cashiering at Wal-Mart.  Wow, I thought, six months isn't very much time to get ready for a reunion.  I'd better get on the ball! Let's see...I needed to lose 25 pounds, and get that book published, and overhaul my wardrobe.  And maybe learn to speak French.

Instead, I gained 15 pounds.  I have not gotten the book published.  Although I quit working at Wal-Mart, my wardrobe is still predominantly blue and khaki.  And I don't speak French.

What was I thinking?

Truth be told, I was an absolute dweeb in high school.  The movie Napoleon Dynamite (LOVED IT!) could've been written about me.  Socially awkward.  Living in a world inside my head.  Busy catching delicious bass and taming wild stallions.  Yep, that was me.  Really.

So, even if I trimmed down and toned up, landed a big dollar book contract, tricked out in a little black dress, and purred with a sexy accent, Dahling, my old high school classmates would know better.

But you know what?  After all these years, I think they'll be fine with me just the way I am.  Even without bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills, nunchaku skills...or really puffy sleeves. ;)

Friday, July 27, 2012


Three, two, one....AUGUST!


For all practical purposes, July is over.  Gone.  Ka-put.  Next week, we flip our calendars to a new month.

August:  the beginning of a new school year.  New books, new pencils, a new rhythm to the days as summer gives way to fall.  Since we homeschool here at Kendallville, we'll have the same classroom (the kitchen table), the same students (minus Tom, our most recent graduate), the same teacher (moi).  We'll be back at the books in about two weeks:  that thought makes me dizzy with a mixture of euphoria and panic.

Take a deep breath, Camille.  Everything is going to be fine.

Yes, I've been at this homeschool business long enough to recognize the familiar emotional cycle of the school year.  It looks something like this:

AUGUST:  Panic.  When I look at all that we need to accomplish in the year ahead, I think, There is no way on earth we are ever going to get all this work done!  I mean, have you seen the Apologia Anatomy text book?  That thing has a zillion pages and weighs almost 50 pounds!  British Literature:  We're reading how many books this year?!  And history.  And music.  A foreign language?  And...

In spite of the initial panic, I know how this will all turn out. We'll do Day 1 of school.  Then, we'll do Day 2.  Breathe.  Day 3, Day 4, Day 5 - exhausted and slightly less panicked, we'll find that an entire week is behind us.  The second week, we've just about got the routine down.  By Week 3, the train is out of the station and steaming down the tracks.

OCTOBER:  Smug confidence.  We have so totally got this school thing in the bag.  Chug-a-chug-a-Chug-a-chug-a- Choo!-Choo!

NOVEMBER: A little book weary, but focused.  We've made noticeable progress.  Better keep pushing, though, because it's always crazy around the holidays - won't get much done then!

DECEMBER:  Holiday!  With half the school year behind us, it's time for a nice l-o-n-g break.  Hallelujah!

JANUARY:  Ugh.  It is so hard to get back into the books after a couple of weeks off.  But we're kinda craving the routine of school after the craziness of the holidays.  Hey, did you notice that we're over half-way through this math book?  The kids make countdown calendars.  It's all down hill from here - summer vacation, here we come!

MARCH:  We are never going to finish this school year.  We complete a lesson every day, but it doesn't seem like we're getting any closer to the back cover of this book.  Besides, who wants to sit inside at the table working math problems when the spring weather beckons us outside?

APRIL:  This is the month when homeschool moms look longingly out their windows each morning at the big yellow school buses rolling down the highway. Sigh.  I am so tired of doing school.  The kids are so tired of doing school.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to just push them out the door at 6:30 in the morning, then retire to the kitchen for another cup of coffee - alone?!

MAY:  EUPHORIA!  Happy Dance!  Can you believe it - another school year behind us?!  Grade reports are turned in, the books are packed away, and it's time to head outside to the garden, the creek, and all the delights of summer.

Next May, Lord willing, we will be graduating two high school seniors.  Amazing!  And you know what?  May really isn't that far off.

Let's do this.  Come on, August - bring it on!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


"You know it's beans-beans-beans that make you feel so mean, on the farm (dun-dun), on the farm (dun-dun)..." This is from a silly song we used to sing when the kids were little, one of those goofy, totally ridiculous ditties that helped pass the time in the car.

In my little experience gardening - and enjoying the bountiful produce of gardeners more gifted than myself - I have learned that this silly song isn't so very silly at all.

I've been neck deep in tomatoes this week.  One of my neighbors, Mr. Kenneth, is the king of growing tomatoes.  These beauties are huge, sweet, juicy, and red all the way up to where they join the vine.  And abundant - I think Mr. Kenneth planted enough tomatoes this year to feed half the county.  Well, not really that many - but more than enough for him and his wife, his kinfolk and friends, and his neighbors 3miles down the road.

As is the case with all garden produce, when the tomatoes are ready, they are ready - NOW!  A month or so ago, I had a period where I did little else besides pick, snap, can beans.  Then it was squash.  This week, it's been tomatoes.  Over 40 quarts of the beautiful red sunshine now line the tops of my kitchen cabinets.  When cooler weather sets in, we'll be enjoying some delicious chili, soups, and sauces.  Yum!

But at the moment, I'm about sick of tomatoes.  And I have about ba-jillion things I need to catch up on after devoting so much time to tomatoes.

What's for lunch today?  Why, BLT's, of course.  Alright, I take it back - I'm not really sick of tomatoes after all!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Last post, we saw how the good that we do in this life is inadequate to make us right with a holy God.  When we are weighed in the balance, even our very best deeds add nothing to tip the scale in our favor.  In fact, our salvation depends entirely upon the righteousness of Christ.

“Wait a minute,” you protest.  “If that’s true, then what difference does it make whether I try to live a life that honors God or not?!  If my salvation depends on Christ, and Christ alone, then I might as well just go on sinning!” 

If that’s your reaction, then I think it’s pretty safe to say that you are beginning to understand the good news – and the scandal – of the gospel.  The apostle Paul actually anticipated this response from those who understand the gospel correctly (Romans 6).

Continuing through the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 63 asks:  How can you say that the good we do doesn’t earn anything when God promises to reward it in this life and the next?  Answer:  This reward is not earned; it is a gift of grace.

Questions 64 continues:  But doesn’t this teaching make people indifferent and wicked?  Answer:  No.  It is impossible for those grafted into Christ by true faith not to produce fruits of gratitude.

Let’s look at Question 64 first.  The assumption here is that if our salvation is dependent on Christ’s righteousness and not our own good works, then we can just “get saved” and then keep on sinning like the devil.  But that is in fact impossible.  In the parable of the vine and the branches (John 15), Jesus clearly states that those who abide in Him will bear good fruit, the fruit of righteousness.  If we truly are saved – if we trust Christ’s work for our salvation – we are new creatures, with new desires.  Indeed, it will be impossible for us to not desire to obey and please God.

Does that mean that once we are saved, we will never sin again?  No.  Certainly, sanctification is a process – we are learning to walk with new legs, so to speak, and rather prone to stumble.  But if we are Christ’s, we will most definitely find ourselves increasingly dissatisfied with sin and more earnestly desirous of God-honoring holiness.

Now, back to Question 63:  what about rewards?  Yes, God’s children are promised rewards in Scripture.  But again, these rewards are gifts of God’s grace, not something that God owes us.  Even though our good works do not merit God’s favor (because even our best works fall far short of the perfection He requires), God is pleased to reward His children when He finds us striving to please Him.

Consider the description of the final judgment given in Matthew 25.  The sheep and the goats will be brought before Jesus.  The saved (the sheep) will be ushered into Glory, while the lost (the goats) will be sent away to eternal punishment.  When Jesus commends the sheep for their good works, they are amazed:  “When did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?” (verse 37).  But when Jesus condemns the lost for their lack of good works, they are shocked:  “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name…?” (verse 22).

G.I. Williamson comments on this passage in his Study Guide to the Heidelberg Catechism (P&R Publishing, 1993):  “…the ungodly look upon their best works as having merit.  For this very reason they are perfectly obnoxious to the Lord Jesus.  The godly, on the other hand, see nothing meritorious in their own works.  On the contrary, their hope is built on the righteousness and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus alone.  For this very reason, the good works they do are pleasing to God.  In their case it is Jesus himself who is pleased to keep the record and to reward them on the Day of Judgment.  The only good works that can ever please God are the ones that we do with no thought whatever of merit.”

Do you ever feel like God owes you something for your good behavior?  Sometimes I feel that way, too.  When this ugly lie rears its head, let us be quick to repent, to run to the cross, to rest in Christ’s righteousness, and to praise God for His amazing grace toward us.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Friday, July 20, 2012


I am part of a group of awesome writers who work together to produce a weekly column ("Soli Deo Gloria") for the Religion page of our local newspaper, the Union City Daily Messenger.  Currently, we are working through the Heidelberg Catechism.  While I'm "catching up" after a lovely holiday, here is the first of two articles that I wrote for the series, originally published last May.  Tomorrow (or Monday), part 2. 


I was a straight-A student in high school.  I loved learning, loved my teachers, and loved blowing the class curve on test day – why settle for a score of 100% when bonus questions offered more?

Then, I went to college.

I still remember my first calculus exam.  I had attended class faithfully, completed all my homework assignments, and studied into the wee hours of the morning.  Should’ve been a piece of cake, right? When Dr. Austin handed our papers back, I stared at my score in disbelief:  a big red “54” circled at the top of the page.  I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach.  “Good enough” compared to my high-school classmates was nowhere near good enough compared to Dr. Austin’s standards.  Clearly, I needed more than good intentions and my natural “best” to pass Calculus I!

Question 62 of the Heidelberg Catechism asks:  Why can’t the good we do make us right with God, or at least help make us right with Him?  Answer:  Because the righteousness which can pass God’s scrutiny must be entirely perfect and must in every way measure up to the divine law.  Even the very best we do in this life is imperfect and stained with sin.

This question addresses a lie many of us embrace today:  if I just work hard and do my best, if I do more good in this life than bad, then God will smile at my efforts and reward my good intentions with heaven.  (Sort of like, “If I go to class every day, do the assignments, and study extra hard, then Dr. Austin has to give me an A whether I’ve mastered calculus or not – right?”)

I go to church every week, teach my children to say “Yes, ma’am”, and feed my neighbor’s dog when he’s on vacation.  I don’t cheat on my taxes or talk bad about my dead grandma.  I’m so much better than that sick, messed up dude in the mug shot on the evening news.  Surely, God will weigh my relatively decent life in the balance and say, “Good enough!”


The problem with this way of thinking is that it assumes God will be satisfied with the best we have to offer.  Sadly, because of our fallen nature, even our very best thoughts and actions are corrupted with sin and fall far short of God’s standards.  Isaiah 64:6 bluntly states that “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”  In Romans 3, Paul tells us that “by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight,” because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Because God is holy and cannot even look upon sin, He demands better than our very best – He demands absolute perfection.

Jesus Christ is the only man who ever lived a life of perfect obedience and righteousness.  The good news of the gospel is that Jesus willingly trades His record of perfect obedience for our record of sin when we trust in His goodness instead of our own.  If we are to escape utter destruction when we stand before the holy God of the universe, our  only hope is Christ – we must, by faith, be clothed entirely in Christ’s righteousness, not our own.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Steve and I are just back from a couple days of rest at beautiful Maple Hill Bed and Breakfast on Lake Barkley.  We're such exciting holiday travelers....let's see, what all did we do?

We turned off the cell phones and left the laptops behind.  No Facebook, no blog, no headline news.  We slept late, went to bed early, and took afternoon naps.  We read.  We watched a movie.  We worked a crossword.  We lolled around in the swimming pool.  We visited a local winery and enjoyed a mini course in wine tasting.  We lingered long over breakfast each morning and got to know the other guests at the B&B.

We enjoyed a thoroughly lazy, restful, stress-free holiday.  Doing just about nothing for a couple of days:  Awesome.  I highly recommend it.

Today, it's back to the busyness of life in Kendallville.  Except that it's TOO QUIET at my house.  All of my kids are scattered across the mid-south - except for Tom, who is out mowing lawns and weed-eating with Mr. Ferguson today.  Steve is at the office, catching up on phone calls, emails, and appointments.  This morning, it's just me and the cat.

Cat and I have fed and watered the chickens, picked cucumbers, run two loads of laundry, and canned 14 quarts of tomatoes.  I have a writing assignment to complete by this afternoon, and a few phone calls and emails to make.  Later today, I need to mix up a batch of sourdough bread, start a bucket of pickles, and pull up the spent Black-eyed Susans out front.  It is nice to be home and busy about the house, but I sure miss the noise and chatter of my kids.  Is this a sobering snapshot of what to expect in the "empty nest" days ahead?

Several of my birds should be flying back to the roost tomorrow night.  It will be good to have a full table at dinnertime, and to hear about all the exciting things they've done while they were away.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


In the garden, our original parents committed the original sin - they denied the veracity of the word of God and they disobeyed His command.

We, their children, have been committing the same sin - over and over, in numberless varied ways - ever since.

In yesterday's excerpt from the article "Christ Died to Save God-Haters", Dr. Rosenbladt wrote that faith "...rests upon the validity of the divine promise of the Gospel."

In the garden, God essentially told Adam and Eve, "If you do this (eat the forbidden fruit), you will die."  They didn't really believe Him, and they ate the fruit.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells us, "Because I do this, you will live."  Again, we don't want to believe Him.  Indeed, as children of Adam, fallen and sinful, it is against our nature to believe God.

Instead of humbly affirming the truth of God's word with a simple "Yes, Lord," we fidget and fumble and squirm.  "Yes, Lord, but I'm going to help You out a smidgen.  I'm going to do this little part over here.  My contribution won't detract from Your work...I only aim to help complete it."  We really don't believe Jesus when He says, "It is finished."  We believe it is almost finished.  Dr. Rosenbladt was correct in saying that we want to boast, "I stuck in my thumb and pulled out a plum and what a good boy am I."

God told Adam and Eve the truth in the garden, but they didn't believe Him.  God told us the truth again in Galilee, but we still don't want to believe Him.  God sent Jesus to atone for the great treachery of our unbelieving, sinful, rebellious hearts ("No, Lord, it is not so!"), and to give us living, loving hearts of faith.

Thankfully, the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not true simply because I do or don't believe it.  It is true because God said it.

Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Building on the themes of my last two posts - I want to share an excerpt from Dr. Rod Rosenbladt's essay "Christ Died to Save God-Haters."  A friend shared this with me a couple of years ago in a comment to the post Christ Alone.  It's worth your time today to read every word.

We incline to moralism by nature.  In other words, not all theologies equally draw us.  The theologies which draw us, as iron fillings to a magnet, are the ones that have to do with self-improvement, with the righteousness of the Law.  As children of Adam, we are drawn to those that say:  "I stuck in my thumb and pulled out a plum and what a good boy am I."  We are not neutral toward the various theologies.

The one that is true - that Christ's death alone saves - we are hostile to, because we are children of Adam.  Somebody will ask you, "Gee, don't you believe that we contributed anything to our salvation?"  The Reformation answers, "Sure:  sin, hostility, alienation, death, guilt."  It's not the answer they are looking for, but, sure, we contribute all of those things and more.  But we don't like that answer; we are resistant to this theology.

The reformers said that faith is of its very nature, assurance, the opposite of doubt.  It rests upon the validity of the divine promise of the Gospel.  Faith doubts not, though the Christian doubts often.  This doubt must be reproved and combated.

But how is doubt combated?  It is combated by hearing the doctrine done well.  Somebody should answer back to you in terms of what the doctrine is in the promises of the Word.  This is how the Spirit produces reliance and assurance.  If you say, "Gee, I wonder if I'm really a Christian," and your friend tells you to pray harder, cry more, read the Scriptures longer, fast, and so forth - go find another friend.

Find a friend who will talk to you about Christ, what He did at the cross, the sufficiency of His death, the truth of the imputation of His righteousness to you; those are the things we need to hear.  If the reformers were correct, you can relax about whether you're going to heaven, even if a lot of times you hate God.  Christ died to save God-haters.  And the death of Christ is greater than your hatred of God.  The death of Christ is greater than your and my flabby Christian life.  It is greater than that.  The doctrine of justification is greater than our sin.

This doctrine is what makes Christianity Christianity.  You've got to get across that the righteousness that saves isn't a change in the human heart, it's a declared sentence, "I declare you innocent."  And we say, "But I'm not innocent, I'm guilty as sin!"  But the judge says, "I know, but I didn't say that.  I said I declared you innocent."  That's what Christianity is.  It's a declaration of innocence based on another's righteousness, and reckoned to you as if it were yours.

Brothers and sisters, this is good news for God-haters.  Good news!  Gospel good news!

Monday, July 9, 2012


Another thing about those last chapters of the book of Mark....

I was thinking again about how Jesus's disciples betrayed, denied, and deserted Him.  When Jesus was tried, mocked, whipped, and condemned to die, He was on His own.  No one stood up with Him.  Nobody testified on His behalf.  No one defended Him.  And when Jesus went to the cross, He went alone.  Sure, several of His disciples were present among the crowd, on the side lines, in the shadows - but they were not identifying themselves with Jesus.  None were testifying to the truth of who He was.  There were no Amen!-s of affirmation or encouragement.

Still, Jesus went to the cross.  He did what He came to do.  Jesus did the great work of redemption.  He made atonement for His people.


Some folks believe that salvation is a joint effort between man and God.  Jesus did His part - dying on the cross for our sins.  Now, we need to do our part - believing, professing, being baptized, living holy lives.  I try hard to be as righteous as I can, and Jesus will step in where I fall short.  It's the old equation:  Faith + Works = Righteousness.

"You could say we're like two peas in a pod.....We're a team, me and God."  Catchy song, Mr. Turner, but it's a lie. Peas in a pod...they are alike.  Made of similar stuff.  God is so completely Other from us that Scripture says it would destroy us to stand in His presence.  When confronted with the almighty God of the universe, the prophets quaked in terror, crying things like "I am undone!" - they did not sing catchy tunes about peas.  No, "me and God" are nothing alike.  And we're not a team, either.  God isn't one of my buddies, running out on the field of life with me after a motivating cheer and a High 5.

Jesus didn't save Peter because Peter believed and stuck with Him.   Jesus saved Peter because He loved Peter.  Remember Peter's "I do not know this man..."? Jesus died for a man who was morally and spiritually bankrupt, a man who was broken and confused and humiliated.  Peter couldn't even choke out a whisper, "I know Jesus."  Peter could not bring one single thing to the cross to help atone for his sins.  All he could do was watch.

Peter - indeed, all Jesus's disciples - were saved not by their unwavering faith or their bold testimonies or their good works.  They were saved by Jesus.  Jesus alone.

Seems to me that, by sending Jesus to die alone on the cross, without friend or aid or encouragement, God made that point perfectly clear.  He deliberately cleared all the "best" of Jesus's followers from the stage, to avoid any possibility of confusion on the matter.  If even the disciples couldn't contribute anything to their salvation, why do I think that I can?

Jesus saves, and Jesus alone. In what then shall I boast?

In Christ alone.

Friday, July 6, 2012


I just finished reading the book of Mark.  When reading again of Jesus's betrayal - by Judas, by Peter - and of His abandonment by all of the disciples - those men who knew and loved Him best - something new struck me.  Or maybe, it's just that something old struck me in a new way.

I have some young friends who are disillusioned with the church.  Earnest in their study of Scripture and their understanding of right doctrine, zealous in their desire to live rightly, these friends see others within the body of Christ who just don't seem to be getting it right... People who call themselves Christians, but who struggle to understand and embrace the doctrines of grace.  People who call themselves Christians, but who mess up really big in the practical business of living out this faith.  People who seem to be totally devoted to Jesus (Peter said to Jesus, "Even though they all fall away, I will not." Matt. 14:29), but then who turn around and, by their words and deeds, deny the very Lord they profess to love (Peter:  "I do not know this man of whom you speak." Matt. 14:71)

Yes, I suppose it would be easy to grow disillusioned!

But I find great encouragement in the writings of Mark.  Jesus knew these men - that they would be fickle and faltering, that sometimes they would get this faith business really wrong, that they would even run from His presence - and He loved them anyway.  And, in spite of the fact that every one of them really, practically, undeniably blew it, Jesus used them to build His church.  It was thrilling to me to read how Jesus, after His resurrection, went straight back to these men, assured them of His love for them, and set them right to work proclaiming the good news of His Gospel!

This encourages me in two ways.  First, when I see others in my local church who are just "not getting it right," I can be confident that Jesus is sufficient to overcome their ignorance, cowardice, or weakness.  I don't have to bombast them, hate them, or run from them.  Also, it is a HUGE encouragement to know that when I am ignorant, cowardly, or weak, Jesus can handle that, too!  I can never mess up so badly that my Savior can't find me (even if I'm hidden away in an upper room, behind locked doors) and restore me to Himself.

Also, this gives me great hope for my young, disillusioned friends.  They look around at the messed up people who call themselves "Christians" and wonder how on earth there can be any veracity to this faith.  But the good news of the Gospel is that Jesus came to save nasty, messed-up sinners - and He does just exactly that, and He does it very well.  He doesn't lose a single one of the souls He came to save.  Not one.  The Gospel is true and sure because of the faithfulness of our Savior...not because of the faithfulness of His children.

That gives this messed up Christ-lover great hope, great encouragement, and great security.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Seemed appropriate, after yesterday's post!

(Originally posted on Friday, May 7, 2010)

 ...you understand the meaning of the term compression garment. Your underwear is a practical application of NASA technology, and, in size, is not unlike a space shuttle landing field.

...you climb out of the recliner after working the daily crossword in the newspaper, and, hearing a clatter, begin looking to see if you've dropped your glasses or your pen. Oh, yeah, I forgot....that's just my joints cracking.

...your kids have ever laughed at you for simultaneously wearing two pairs of glasses - one on your face, and a forgotten pair on top of your head.

...you have discovered that, at large gatherings, everyone in the room sounds like the adults in a Peanuts cartoon. "Wah, wuh-wa-wah..." You're seriously considering taking a class in lip reading.

...you hesitate at the top of stairs, trying to decide between the danger-induced thrill of walking down normally or the safety of taking the steps sideways, one at a time. Step, close. Step, close. Step, close.

...the Classic Rock station plays all the tunes you loved in high school. Where do they get off calling those songs "oldies"?

...your son asks if he can spend Saturday helping a friend round up cows, and you answer by telling him the menu for tonight's supper. "What?" "Oh, you weren't asking about dinner, were you. I misunderstood. What did you ask?"

...your hour-glass figure has transformed into something more like a Ripley's-Believe-It-or-Not version of a sweet potato. Yep, you finally got some curves...they're all just six inches lower and much bigger around than they're supposed to be.

...you think making the bed, showering, and getting dressed in the morning qualifies as an aerobic workout.

...you drop something on the floor, and, after a pause, you decide to leave it there. You'll pick it up later, after you've dropped three or four other things. That way, bending over will be more worth the effort.

...even when you're wearing your reading glasses, your arms are not long enough to allow you to read the buttons on the TV remote.

...in the morning, you reach for the Raisin Bran or the Meusli instead of the Lucky Charms or Cap'n Crunch. And you absolutely MUST have that morning cup of coffee. For health reasons.

...at bedtime, you frequently find yourself debating whether to take two ibuprofen - or - drink a glass of wine - or - just go straight for the Lunesta.

...a good night's sleep means you stayed in bed until the alarm went off (not that you slept the whole time), except for the two times you got up to use the bathroom and the time you got up to change nightgowns after a nuclear hot flash.

...instead of doing things for your kids so that they won't hurt themselves, your kids now do things for you so that you won't hurt yourself.

...removing your brassiere is a cost-effective alternative to having surgery for a face lift. Here is the dilemma: Do you lose twenty pounds in pursuit of your youthful figure, only to find you now look like one of those raisins at the bottom of the box? - or - Do you keep the extra weight, sacrificing your fanny for your face, so that you look a little younger above the shoulders?

...you've ever thought that you have probably already lived at least half of your life. You've paddled your canoe to the middle of the lake. From here on, no matter what life throws at you, you're paddling toward shore. It's all home from here!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


My lips feel like big hunks of bologna, and my tongue is wearing itself out trying to get re-acquainted with my two back molars.  Doctor S drilled out and replaced two old fillings this morning.  Not having visited a dentist in about ten years, I expected a lot worse.  Surprisingly, last week's exam and x-rays gave us only this little bit of follow-up today.  An hour total, in and out, and I'm good until next year.  Thank you, Jesus!

Having recently turned Almost 50, I am acutely aware that my body is not what it used to be.  Old dental fillings crumble.  Things creak and make odd popping noises.  Other parts buckle or sag or wobble.  People often sound to me like they are talking with rocks in their mouths, or like they're speaking from the back of a cave.  "What?" and "Articulate!" are the words my children hear most frequently from their mother.  Print - in books, on signs, anywhere - seems to have gotten much smaller than back in the old days.  I find that I tire more easily than I used to.  What on earth is the matter with me?!

Recently, I also had my first doctor's appointment in over 10 years.  The nurse weighed me, took my blood pressure, checked my temperature, and settled me into a tiny exam room. On the wall hung a huge poster:  "Your Maturing Body."  While I waited for the doctor, I read all about how my blood vessels are beginning to atrophy, my muscles are losing strength, my skin is losing elasticity, my joints are wearing out, my bones are becoming brittle.  Niiiiice.

At the end of that appointment, Doctor D (who looked to me to be about 18 years old) asked, "Do you have any more questions?  Any thing else you want to talk about before you leave?"

"Yes," I answered, patting my jolly food baby.  "I would really like to lose a little bit of this tummy before it becomes permanently attached to my body.  As a medical professional, do you have any suggestions or tips?"

Doctor D looked at me without blinking and answered not a word.

I squirmed on my perch at the end of the exam table.  "Well, I mean, besides 'Eat less and move more'?"  I thought she must surely know some secret medical trick, right?  Something to make it easier for a "mature woman" to shed a few pounds.

She looked at me a second longer, then replied, flatly, "Really?"  That's all she had to say.  These young doctors are so sassy!

Okay, so the bottom line is, after exams and blood work and x-rays and long-overdue dental appointments, it's official: I'm in fantastic shape.  For a fifty-year-old.  AND, my "mature" body is slowly falling apart.  Which is normal.  Not a crisis.

This morning at the gym, I was giving my food baby a ride on the elliptical walker, the only piece of cardio equipment that my knees don't protest.  I wiped the sweat out of my gray hair with a towel, and squinted to focus on the TV screen above me.  "Do you want to look 20 years younger?" purred a svelte, blonde, 20-something in a white lab coat.  "Do you want to look and feel like you did years ago, when you were at your prime?"

I laughed.  Nope, I thought.  Forget 20 or 30...50 is looking plenty "prime" to me.  Even with the loose bolts and squeaky gears.  Don't believe me?  I've got Doctor D to back me up.

Gotta run, now...time to go pick up my new bi-focals!