This selfie was taken with an app--Flare--which I'm helping to beta test.
I know it's only a number, but turning 70 this year seems like such a big number. For instance, in ten years I'll be 80. I know that physical and mental limitations start to show themselves more as one crosses these milestones. As a result, I know that I need to carefully prioritize my time. I know how easy it is to let time cruise by and not get anything done.
First, I need to deal with the number 70. It's a head thing, an attitude. It's easy to get lost in the feeling that I'm done. I haven't had a day job for 11 years. Somedays I've felt like my wheels have been spinning in the mud, while other days have felt like I'm stuck in a quick sand that's pulling me down.
Let me be clear. My wife is retired too. And we enjoy doing things together. Really, we do. Since, we've gotten married our life has been built around our mutual faith in God. We put value in being part of a church. Those involvements come and go. The church we attend now and the one that we really like seems to retire attenders to the backbencher once they reach a certain age. And, I think we've crossed that chronological line.
Our kids are great, as are our grandkids. We do try to plug into their lives, but because of substantial distance, we usually do it via FaceTime or phone calls and occasional visits. This technology allows us to be part of their lives, but in a limited way. We saw our granddaughter eat her first bite of cereal and we've seen one of our grandsons take his first tentative steps and then grow into a toddler and now a full-fledged walker.
We've outgrown our house as empty-nesters and we are contemplating the next move. Condo? Climate? Nearer to the kids? Money? How much can we swing?
The sand in the hourglass seems to be moving quicker and quicker. These are points to be dealt with this year. They are all positive, I guess.
Life is a big series of phases. There's the first time the baby sleeps all night. First time walking. Then they talk. You turn 50. Kids graduate from high school. Then college. Their first jobs. You walk your daughter down the aisle. Stand next to your son as his best man. And then the grandkids.
My junk mail has even gone through phases. A couple of years ago, everybody was trying to sell me hearing aids. Now I'm getting mail from funeral homes.
Yup, this is the year to double-check how I use my time. Less Dr. Phil watching and more doing what I really want to get done.
Twenty-seven years ago today, super-wife and I got married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bay City, MI. Sharing life with Gladys has been and continues to be the best thing I've ever done.
Throughout the day today, as we get ready for a garage sale tomorrow, I want to compile a bulleted list of my memories from that day and from almost 30-years of marriage. Here goes:
When I was fired from my job as pressroom manager at the State Capitol: Somehow I got in the crosshairs of the political gods as got fired about 20 years ago from my position as the conduit between the news media and the legislature and the rest of state government. After I was told, I knew that she was grocery shopping at the Meijers on Lake Lansing Road. I went there and found her and our two very young kids. She could tell what happened from the look on my face. She never lost her smile and never lost her confidence in me. She just wanted to know what I wanted for supper. Wow, that made me feel good. I never forgot that.
Drinking wine and eating a McDonalds burger on our wedding day: On our wedding night, we stayed at Bay Valley Inn in Bay City. Because of a big convention at the hotel room service was amazingly slow. So, we got in the car went through a McDonalds drive-through, went back to the hotel and feasted on the burgers and a bottle of wine given to me by my best man, Les Begick.
The text for our wedding sermon: Pastor Les Tyvela who performed our wedding ceremony used the text we requested for our wedding homily. Romans 1:10 tells about how Paul wanted to visit the Romans to support them in their faith. That was our mutual goal and that's what the pastor talked about.
Our wedding reception: We got married in the morning and our wedding reception was a brunch at the old Michigan Haus on the outskirts of Bay City. There was plenty of kielbasa, potato salad and like items. I remember lots of people in a place that at one time was a classy restaurant and watering hole for the area.
Honeymooning in Acapulco: We were given two weeks in a timeshare condo just south of Acapulco. But because of air traffic controllers who were threatening to strike we weren't sure about when we would get there or when we would get back. O'Hare Airport was wall-to-wall people who were anxious about being stranded.
Our wedding processional, Jesus Loves Me-This I Know: In Bay City, Gladys taught with a teacher who was also the church organist. He agreed to play for our wedding. He offered to write a special processional. I asked if he could include the kid's song, "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know." The organist, Don Sandor, did. The song has special meaning to me and it was extra special when he played it at our wedding service.
Krista holds on to her pants: I remember shopping for groceries one time with Gladys and Krista who was small enough to easily sit in the cart. I remember she wanted to go check out another part of the store. I told her to "hang on to your pants." She did it, literally. With her little hands, she grabbed on to her pants. Fun memory.
Barely a toddler, Justin tosses his socks: In our old house, we had a small circular kitchen table. It was pretty cozy and when we sat down, I'd quite often take off my socks and toss them under the table. One day, Justin toddled from the front room into the kitchen and pitched his socks under the table. We smiled and we knew who he got that from. Another good memory.
Long conversations over Char House pancakes--Before we were married and on Saturday's when I went home to Bay City, we'd usually have breakfast at the Char House on Tuscola where they would make great pancakes. We would talk about everything and time would fly by. We both drank lots of coffee. I still enjoy breakfasts with Gladys and time still flies by.
Before we got married, my wife and I spent some time picking out a wedding text, a verse or verses from the Bible that had special meaning for us. We had some serious discussion about this. We went through every verse we memorized, through those special verses from Christmas program and even our Confirmation verses.
The pastor who married us, Rev. Leslie Tyvela of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bay City, MI, preached our wedding sermon on those two verses. It was really special. I still remember it.
And my wife of almost 24 years has always been an encouragement to my faith in Jesus Christ. I've been up and I've been down. She's encouraged me. I've been fired from more jobs than many people hold in a lifetime. She never blinked in her encouragement. I could go on and on.
You don't see this attitude of encouragement in church that often, at least, not among the guys. That's too bad. We are missing out on something that could make a real difference in people's lives.
I pray that I can be that encouragement to my wife and others.