Monday, September 1, 2014

Connecting Via USPS

A couple of years ago I posted an entry about The Art of Letter Writing in which I pointed out that I had done something very unusual for me. I had written a letter. Since that blog post, something has happened in my life that motivates me to write a letter every weekday. Pen in hand, I make use of a skill I learned in third grade from slave-driver, Mrs. Hodgekinson, who illogically connected the successful completion of writing assignments to the privilege of recess.

The “something” that happened in my life is that our youngest grandson, Ben Powers, became a marine recruit. Now in California, he will be in training and totally isolated from the outside world for thirteen weeks. No phones, computers, iPads, iTunes, video games, newspapers, magazines, television, or cars. His only connection with family and friends is via USPS.

As much as the recruiters try to prepare these young people for technology withdrawal, they have to be feeling a big void in their lives. So there is no way I will take the easy way out and type a letter on my computer. Each morning I pray for Ben and the other recruits, and I write a letter. As I write, I hope that a little information about the boring lives of two old people who live in Olathe, Kansas, will communicate my love to Ben.

It makes me sad when I read a post on the Company site that informs us there is a recruit who has not, during the first five weeks of training, received a single letter. This serves as a reminder to me that some young people grow up without the love and support of family. Caring mothers of other recruits have made additional time during their days to write to these lonely young men.

Pray for our military and, if you know someone who is serving, jot them a note of encouragement. I’ve even heard, but have no supporting evidence, that writing things in cursive will help to keep one’s brain healthy.

Platoon Guidon, Ben, Dad (Dale), Mom (Kayce), and brother (Michael)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fifty-Eight

Hope - Promise

This week will mark fifty-eight years since two starry-eyed young people, along with their hopes and dreams, and goals, walked down the aisle of a little church in Muncie, Indiana. Much has happened in the years since. Most things are remembered; some are not, but the hopes, dreams, and goals have been realized.

Fifty-Eight Years in Review

Family

  • The arrivals of four children, thirteen grandchildren, and six great-grands
  • Popping buttons (so to speak) at cribsides
  • Brushing back tears during high school and university graduations
  • Cheering at sporting events: T-Ball, Soccer, Football, Softball, Wrestling, Basketball, Track, Baseball
  • Appreciating K-12 concerts: band, jazz band, orchestra, choir
  • Applauding at parades
  • Watching our stars perform: plays, musicals, variety shows
  • Proudly encouraging military commitment

Professional

  • Six earned degrees: two bachelors, two masters, and two doctorates
  • Careers in education and ministry
  • Attendees, delegates, and presenters at multiple conferences and conventions
  • Publications of magazine articles and two books
  • Professional, church, and organization honors

Places

  • Lived in six states: Nebraska, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado
  • Been in forty-three of the fifty states + Washington D. C.
  • Traveled to England, France, Canada, Mexico, The Philippines, Hong Kong, The Bahamas

Blessings

  • Answered prayers
  • Good health
  • Christian wedding celebrations of children and grandchildren
  • Wonderful additions to our family by marriage
  • The privilege of observing thirty-six family birthdays and twelve wedding anniversaries each year 
  • And, many, many more!

Elvin Merrill Powers
The young man who captured my heart.

My groom sang Irving Berlin’s song, “ALWAYS,” to me before we exchanged our vows.

“I'LL BE LOVING YOU, ALWAYS,
WITH A LOVE THAT'S TRUE, ALWAYS.
WHEN THE THINGS YOU'VE PLANNED,
NEED A HELPING HAND,
I WILL UNDERSTAND, ALWAYS,
ALWAYS.

DAYS MAY NOT BE FAIR, ALWAYS,
THAT'S WHEN I'LL BE THERE, ALWAYS.
NOT FOR JUST AN HOUR,
NOT FOR JUST A DAY,
NOT FOR JUST A YEAR,
BUT ALWAYS.”

Happy 58th, Hubby!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Six + One: Things Modern Church Leaders Should Know About Senior Citizens

  1.  A “wall of sound” during congregational singing renders a person with significant hearing loss unable to find the appropriate pitch so he/she can be involved in singing.
  2. Things projected on screens sometimes cause problems for those with vision loss. If print is too small, contrast is poor, or videos are of poor quality, seniors, by default, become non-participants.
  3. When instrumentalists play loudly, older congregants can’t understand the words of choir numbers.
  4. Though aging, seniors still have the awareness to recognize when the time signatures of their favorite hymns are changed so they can be sung at a “snail’s pace.”
  5. Negative effects on seniors when standing for long periods of time include aching joints, feeling faint or weak, and swollen feet. 
  6. Older congregants feel conspicuous if they are sitting while others stand.
+ 1. Senior church members need assurance that there is no substance to the rumor that our time has come to be set adrift on ice floes.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Once I Wondered . . .

“I wandered lonely as a cloud …” Oops, wrong poem.

When I was younger, I wondered about a lot of things. Now I know some of the answers.

Answers

Older women put lots of blush on their cheeks because they can no longer see how much they’ve applied.

Older women don’t pluck out most of their eyebrows so they can draw them on with eyebrow pencils. Their eyebrows disappear as they age.

Older women add weight because cutting calories by 20% and totally eliminating empty calories is close to impossible.

Older people squint at pages of print because they think that doing so will make the print larger.

Older people cup their hands behind their ears because this action redirects sounds into their ears (and also blocks out surrounding noises).

And I Still Learn

I'm learning that most women, including those in my age group, desire to: 1) appear younger (around $60 billion spent world-wide each year for anti-aging and skin care products) 2) be thinner (about $40 billion spent in America each year on diet products and weight loss programs), and 3) have healthier bodies (approximately $1.5 billion dollars spent on supplements and vitamins each year in America and several billion on fitness centers and exercise equipment).

And I Try

Okay, I’m guilty of #1 and #3. I purchase beauty products, vitamins, and supplements (but not equipment). As for #2, my success with controlling portion sizes and limiting empty calories is situation dependent. I estimate a 70% (maybe less) success rate.

So, since I can’t make myself younger, I wrote some reminders that are based on years of people-watching, mostly in airports and shopping centers.

Notes to Old Self

Always
  • Remember Edith Head's advice: "If it's not pretty, don't show it."
  • Keep hair cut above shoulders
  • Use hair-removal cream on face

Never
  • Color hair inky-black
  • Use bright right red lipstick
  • Apply excessive or greasy foundation
  • Use glitter eye make-up
  • Wear wide belts (with the exception of a seat belt)
  • Wear “plastered-on” pants or short skirts
  • Show cleavage
  • Use cologne in excess 

Remember When Shopping
  • Current fashions are created for the young
  • Older arms do flap
  • Older thighs are fat
  • Spider veins are visible


Now maybe I can find a supplement that will help me remember my notes.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Making Memories


Grandson, Jacob Walker, and his wife Nicole came to visit us July 20 - 22. The same day they left, we traveled to Michigan to visit our daughter and son-in-law, Joanne and Michael Mruzek. While in Michigan we enjoyed:
  • a great day at Greenfield Village.
  • a tour of Jo and Michael’s “home-in-progress.”
  • gourmet meals cooked by Jo and Michael.
  • time with Grandson, Kyle Donovan, and his wife Kristi.
  • time with Granddaughter, Megan Fuller.
  • holding and playing with Great-Grandchildren, Sophia & Greyson Fuller and Mackenzie Donovan.
  • shopping in historic Tecumseh, MI.
  • a craft fair in Ann Arbor, MI.
  • Sunday worship at St. Andrew Church in Saline, MI.

On July 28, we motored to Chicago where we visited with Daughter-in-Law, Nancy Powers, and Granddaughter, Katy Powers. While in Chicago we:
  • had a delicious lunch at the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center.
  • went to the site of the new Salvation Army Freedom Center.
  • enjoyed delicious cherry pie cupcakes at a downtown bakery.
  • got a new recipe for “Hoosier Pie.” 

Late that afternoon we traveled to Bourbonnais, IL, to see our son, Merrill Powers, who was teaching a one-week class at ONU. While in Bourbonnais we:
  • toured the ONU Campus.
  • talked with a young man who is on the Chicago Bears staff.
  • saw where the Bears train (no Bear sightings, though).
  • enjoyed dinner at a restaurant of Merrill’s choice.

On July 29th we arrived home. Tired, but happy!