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On Turning 50 Today...

This was me, at around 8 years old. Judging by the glasses, I would say I am in 3rd grade as it was my first pair. I secretly loved my granny glasses. (See? I was already messed up.)

I have an ulterior motive here in posting this hideous picture. I could have posted a glamour shot of me looking fabulous at 50 (there’s got to be one somewhere!) I have no idea how to do that, though. I’m old, remember? No tech skills.

You see, in posting this little gem, if anyone should feel compelled to share another one of me that is anything less than flattering, consider yourself warned!! I have already shared what I feel is the worst blast from the past. I am giving fair warning - you might want to remember I have one of you too (and you know who you are!) I will be happy to share yours as well.

When I look at this picture two memories immediately come to mind:

1. I hated that dress. It was solid polyester and it itched horribly. My older sister had it in green and I was blessed with that one too, a few years later. This is cropped out of a church picture (that's my Dad’s plaid leisure suit behind me.) And believe me, the rest of the family's style was pretty similar to the era. What can I say? It was the early 70’s and that was the look. My mom was a fashionista and a maniac on the sewing machine, so I guess we were actually pretty put together.

2. I chose this haircut. My first memory of making a huge mistake. I had long, thick, hard-to-manage hair. This was going to be “easier.” I remember feeling like I had been shorn. It reminded me of when we took our collie in to the groomer and they had shaved him. Our collie looked like a large skinny chihuahua and he hid under our porch for about a week.

I could relate.

So here it is, my big day, September 10, 2016. I guess it’s a big day. I mean it’s not every day you reach the half-a-century mile marker. (Ouch.) It has prompted me to do a lot of reflecting on my life so far. I didn't do this at 20, 30, or 40. I just rolled with it. But this one has kind of gotten to me.

I feel a little like those decades all got clumped together. When you're a kid, it’s all about birthday parties, cupcakes, and spanking machines. Who thought that one up? You'd probably go to jail for that now!

Then, you turn 16 and you get to drive. Then, my personal favorite, the big drinking age of 21. You hit the dirty 30 and it's not that dirty. You act like it's a big deal, even though you know it’s really not. You're confident it will be a while before you are old. Forty comes with slight anxiety, but then I was told 40 is the new 30, so I’m good! Then 50. What the heck happened to the last 10 years?!

Ten years of big changes in my life! One by one the kids left the nest, I drank too much, I quit drinking, became a grandma, two kids got married, rode my bike 16,000 miles, changed careers, and the list goes on and on. It’s like all those major changes happened at lightning speed. It seems the closer I got to 50, the more time just sped up! I hear that others often feel the same way. That’s why I was kind of, “oh well,” about turning 50 because there really wasn’t anything I could do about it. Time keeps passing no matter what.

It is also not a milestone birthday in the way that makes me want to improve absolutely everything about me. That’s where I’ve already been living since I quit drinking.

There has been another shift though. It seems like up until recently, I was busy acquiring and after 50 it has been more about eliminating. Getting rid of the junk, both physically and emotionally. Those earlier decades may have been formative years, but this stage of life feels more decisive. I’ve made up my mind about who I am and I am very secure in that. I will say that, like it or not, this birthday is a reality check. A reminder that I really don’t have all the time in the world.

The minutes pass no matter what you are doing and I get that now. I have a drive in me to accomplish so much in what feels like so little time. It could be sooner rather than later, who knows! I love my life and have worked hard to get here in this happy place. But I refuse to take credit for it. God gets all the glory here.

So, how do you do this? How do you get to this place in life where you are at peace with who you are? You own it and you embrace it. You want to be this person that God has created you to be. You do this by making sure your foundation is solid. I compare this to my foundation in life.

When you think of a foundation, a house often comes to mind. If something happens to cause the foundation to crack or crumble, a multitude of things could go wrong. One thing leads to another, and it starts a domino effect that can end up literally destroying your home. That was my problem.

One by one, all these things in my life were cracking and crumbling my foundation and I didn't address them. Year after year I ignored, buried, and avoided the issues that eventually led to my drinking. People have asked me, what made me drink? I honestly said for a long time, “I have no idea.”

I can see now looking back, it was because I allowed one thing after another to bring me down. Basically, the devil put his foot in the door until it was wide enough for anything to come in and live there, for as long as I would let it. I now know that my foundation starts with God and the faith I have in him, to keep it solid. It supports everything else in life.

Having a solid foundation makes me feel secure in that whatever comes my way, I am equipped to handle it. I am firmly standing on his firm foundation, which is his love for me. He will see me through whatever comes my way, not the bottle. I feel his love for me and live there. Sometimes I wish I had discovered this truth much earlier in life, but believe me when I say, “It was so worth the wait.”

There is more to this solid foundation. My family. My husband has been my rock in this journey. He is my best friend and I no longer take him or my marriage for granted. He is a rock solid part of my foundation.

Then there are my friends. They are a part of this too. The older I get, the more I appreciate the friendships I have. I was so worried that I would lose all my friends when I quit drinking. I did lose some and that’s okay. The friendships that remained are stronger than ever and I know they are there for me and I for them. I have found that quality in friendship is so much more important than quantity.

I am not the woman I once was and I am good with that. I am happy that this year I will wake up the day after we celebrate and feel wonderful. I will have no regrets from the night before. I plan on waking up like that everyday. Being ok with who I am.

I feel like I have used this verse a million times (or at least twice,) but it is my favorite and I see it in all I do.

I do not live in regret, guilt, or shame anymore and that has left me free to enjoy this beautiful life. Do I wish I could have done things differently? Of course I do! But then I would not be who I am today. All of those things were formative in making me who I am today. Not perfect, but better than who I was. And THAT is a wonderful place to be.

The best part is, God is not finished with me yet. All that God wants you and I to do is wake up everyday and say, “Whatever you want from me today, God, here I am.”

I apologize! I did not mean to make this weeks post “ode to Sherry,” but I guess I did. I have come to the conclusion that I am proud of who I am and as long as I don’t burst out in song singing, “I DID IT MY WAY,” it's ok. God gets all the credit here.

I want to end with a song. It’s by Mercy Me and I have been calling it “my song” for a long time. Enjoy!

Peace and Love,


Dear Younger Me,

Dear younger me

Where do I start

If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far

Then you could be

One step ahead

Of all the painful memories still running thru my head

I wonder how much different things would be

Dear younger me,

Dear younger me

I cannot decide

Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life

Or do I go deep

And try to change

The choices that you'll make cuz they're choices that made me

Even though I love this crazy life

Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride

Dear younger me, dear younger me

If I knew then what I know now

Condemnation would've had no power

My joy my pain would've never been my worth

If I knew then what I know now

Would've not been hard to figure out

What I would've changed if I had heard

Dear younger me

It's not your fault

You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross

Dear younger me

You are holy

You are righteous

You are one of the redeemed

Set apart a brand new heart

You are free indeed

Every mountain every valley

Thru each heartache you will see

Every moment brings you closer

To who you were meant to be

Dear younger me, dear younger me

Before the shag of ‘74


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