60 Things to Remember at Age 60…

As you all know, at significant junction points in my life, I often write a Lessons Learned post about what I have learned from the circuitous path of my life. But today, I choose to share with you the wisdom that others have taught me–the things that have become huge paradigm shifts and have allowed me to slowly transform into who God meant me to be. Some are straight from God; some are from authors and famous folks, and some are from the people I encounter as I do life. I would love to tell you that I live out all of these flawlessly, but no, I’m still MaryAnn In Progress. I hope these become paradigm shifts for you, too:

  1. God wants to have a conversation with you–yes, you.
  2. God speaks all the time; few of us listen for his voice.
  3. God speaks quietly and slowly.
  4. The resurrection is true. Chuck Colson once wrote that within a matter of a few months, ten Watergate conspirators all confessed the truth about the “cover-up”; while 12 disciples often went to torturous deaths stating that Jesus was alive 3 days after his execution.
  5. There is a true me and a false me.
  6. False me cares what others think of me and is very, very needy. False me talks too much, is an extrovert, thinks she’s wiser than everyone else; is proud, self-hyper-critical, stubborn, and nervous. False me blames everyone else for her troubles. False me judges people unfairly. False me worries about the scale number and doctor visits. I’m rather revolted by her.
  7. True me is an introvert, knows that God is in control and has a reason for the state of my life currently and isn’t afraid to die. True me is a good writer, an okay wife, mom, and grandmother and keeps her house somewhat clean. True me can out research anyone on the planet. True me can create a great resume; find acronyms for anything; write great t-shirt slogans, decorate for Christmas like a magazine picture, and cope with a bunch of crazy health conditions quite well. True me is humble and hates how false me gets judgmental and thus, hates judgment unless administered in a court of law, at the ballot box, or parent-to-child. True me lives out YOLO. I like her. She just needs to show up more often.
  8. God can take me out whenever He wants.
  9. Because of #8, make peace with death. It’s not anything to be afraid of. It’s just the next transition. And what a great transition it will be!
  10. Because of #8, create a file on your computer that tells your loved ones what you’d prefer for the final-send-off. Write and sign your will. Create a living will. This is a gift to your family.
  11. Listen to your elders. Had I done this at a younger age, I doubt I would have floundered as much as I did in my early life.
  12. Listen to the next generation. They are endlessly fascinating; they have a new take on life and can talk you out of any depression.
  13. Forgiving others doesn’t mean you excuse their actions; it means you’re freeing yourself up to work on the things your true me was meant to do.
  14. Anger is just a mask for hurt and pain.
  15. The worst philosophy on Earth is to have a stiff, upper lip or pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Crying is just letting the hurt, pain, anger, and disappointment loose from your soul and acknowledging it. Once the crying is finished, it loses its power to control you.
  16. There’s a time and place to cry. I will grant you that crying in certain situations may not be best, but as soon as you feel that emotion and can let go, it’s wise to let it happen.
  17. Celebrate everything. You may not be around tomorrow to enjoy another great moment.
  18. Pick your favorite holiday and celebrate it to the hilt. I think you all know which one is mine. Of course, stay within your budget, but do it. You’re creating memories for those closest to you.
  19. Tell people that you love them…now. Do it a lot.
  20. Be your partner’s number 1 fan.
  21. Create a bucket list. When the finances permit, start checking off those items.
  22. Make your partner your best friend. Tell them the scary stuff. Apologize when your false me gets the better of you. Be selfless around them as often as possible.
  23. Make “Date Night” and “Family Night” a hallowed tradition. Put it on the calendar. Make it sacred.
  24. Tell your partner when all the “critical stuff” is happening for the next week in your family’s life. Throw it on an index card in color-coded ink or send an email/text message about it. I chose “red” for “Be there or you’re divorced” items, “yellow” for “It’d be nice if you could get there for this” items, and green for “It’s happening, so we might not be available.” It bonds the family together.
  25. Admit your mistakes. Grieve them out, if need be. Ask God for transformation in these areas.
  26. Do what God calls your attention to first. (It’s called your conscience/intuition, etc.) Even if that means you’re running around your workplace/home like a crazy person. You probably needed the calorie burn, anyway.
  27. Take care of you. You can’t help others if you’re down in bed. Take your medication. Exercise as much as you can. Rest 7-8 hours a night.
  28. Brag about your partner, kids, and grandkids. Everyone needs a champion. Yes, you’ll bore and annoy the tar out of your friends, but chances are, they’re just as proud of their kids and grandkids as you are. Your true friends will get it.
  29. Embrace change as much as you can. Let God decide what is “bad news” and just adjust.
  30. Hug everyone. Yes, for people outside your family and close friends, ask permission first and don’t be creepy, but we all need care.
  31. Be thankful. Even on my worst days, there is still a silver lining. Dwell on that.
  32. If it won’t matter in 10 years, forget about it. If it will, do that first.
  33. Tell stories. Even Jesus knew that telling a great story teaches and encourages people (or at least warns them what NOT to do). If possible, make it humorous.
  34. Be present when you have the present of someone before you. They’re the agenda today.
  35. The people you ignore, seem needy, or seem insignificant often become the most important people in your life.
  36. There’s something to be learned from each person you encounter in your life.
  37. Visit friends and family. Save up the money, plan and just do it.
  38. Express yourself. Are you an artist? Then, create art. Are you a writer? Then, write. Are you an engineer? Then, create the next best thing. Are you a scientist? Do meaningful research that changes the world. Are you a doctor? Heal. Are you a lawyer? Create fairness where none exists. Are you an interior designer? Inspire people with your designs. Are you in the maintenance field? Clean what everyone else ignores. Do you sing? Then, join the choir or sing wherever anyone will listen. Are you a homemaker? Be creative in the way you maintain your home and raise your children.
  39. Creativity is everywhere. It’s in the products around you right now; it’s in nature; it’s in the people around you. Notice it. Be inspired by it. Celebrate it. Promote it.
  40. Find nature regularly. It’s a great teacher and a great healer.
  41. Find your “tribe.” There are probably several groups of people out there who “get” you just as you are. Let them heal and transform you.
  42. Give to your community, whether it’s your time, your talent, your gifts, or your presence. (I think I’ve heard that somewhere before.)
  43. There’s a gift in giving.
  44. Pray for your enemies. To do this well, I have to put myself in that person’s shoes. It changes how I view that person instantly. They have a reason for behaving the way they have.
  45. Get help when you can’t help yourself, in every realm of your life. Let “the help” be blessed by getting to help where they are experts.
  46. When you criticize another person harshly, you just criticized yourself. We over-notice, in other people, the very things we are struggling with ourselves.
  47. Your dreams are a free tool to know yourself better and to heal and to prepare. Keep a dream journal by your bed and record them.
  48. There are no perpetrators. There are only victims who have been so mistreated and neglected that they eventually become perpetrators.
  49. Substance abuse is just self-medication for past trauma. “Falling off the bandwagon” is just part of the disease.
  50. There is no problem in this world that God can’t solve.
  51. God chooses to involve us in # 50, even though He could do it alone. Why? Because it will bring you joy.
  52. You get to choose whether to involve yourself in # 51.
  53. Clinging to possessions winds up possessing me. Releasing them frees me and often blesses someone else much more than it blessed me. (I reserve the right to cling to my Christmas trees and ornaments until I can’t decorate them anymore! See # 18.)
  54. Think of yourself as a multi-career, multi-talented person.
  55. The bravest people in the world go to mental health counselors and spiritual directors.
  56. The true answer to mass shootings is changing the mindset of the shooter before they shoot.
  57. You are the difference between life and death for many, many people by what you choose to say and do.
  58. The most insignificant thing I do is the most important thing to someone else.
  59. Do the thing you fear the most if that thing will not harm another human being. Fear is the biggest culprit for the problems in this world.
  60. You are designed for a specific purpose, on purpose. Do you–the true you–and the world will be a better place.

What’s the one thing that changed how you viewed the world…for the better? Post it below.


Trinity’s Tales: Tail-Waggers vs. Growlers

Sometimes I get to go to this place far, far away and play on a very big playground. The Mommy and Daddy people call it “The Reserve.” When I go there, I have to make a long trip in this very big dog with a huge mouth with round legs that holds my crate, the “goodie box” (that’s for another tale), and my bed. It also holds an awful lot of stuff for the Mommy person. I guess she needs more goodies than I do. All I know is that it has a VERY big mouth and needs a lot to eat. At first, I was scared of this dog, but now I know it usually takes me to great places, and it can run fast with those round legs.

When we get there, I get to jump in two very big bathtubs and even swim in those bathtubs. I like these bathtubs so much better than the one at home. The mommy person insists on putting this stinky white stuff on my fur when we’re at the small bathtub home, and it’s inside where I can’t see anyone or anything. But these bathtubs are continue reading…


Criticism Wanted…

I have asked several people to critique my book. Unfortunately, only one person has accepted that challenge and done so. Most authors/writers would pay someone for this critique, but since I make no income from my writing, I hate to make the hubby pay for yet another one of my writing adventures.

I have pretty much exhausted the free types of services. Then I thought, “Why not allow my blog fans to have a whack at it?”

So, if you’re game, I will put out the introduction to my book in this post and then one brief chapter of the book in another post. What I need most is to know whether or not it makes any sense to you. If not, please be specific about what wasn’t clear, so that I can work on correcting that.

Also, would you even pay a couple of bucks to download such a book on your e-reader? If not, I need to either scrap this writing idea or work really hard to make it worth such an expenditure. continue reading…


Word of the Week: Garniture…

This week’s WOW is garniture. You know the rules: No looking up the word on your electronic device or in an actual paper dictionary. Submit your guess in a comment below this post.

Here are my guesses for what garniture could possibly mean:

garniture (ˈgär-ni-chər ) 1. an amount of garnisheed money 2. a piece of furniture that also can be a garnish on your salad (That’s flexible furniture, now!) 3. a caricature of Garth Brooks

I can’t wait to see your guess(es) below!


Trinity’s Tales: Her…

I think there was a dog at my human home before I got here. I thought maybe the dog was still here, but I have looked for that dog everywhere, using my best sniffing, and can’t find that food-stealing dog anywhere.

But here’s why I think she might still be here–When I’m not looking, my food disappears each night and doesn’t return until morning. So that dog has to be taking it when I’m asleep. I don’t know how that dog goes without sleep, but since my human mommy and daddy are asleep at the same time, I know it has to be that sneaky, daytime-sleeping dog.

I think the dog is a female because once in a while, the human mommy and daddy call me “Maizie.” And they get mad if I don’t answer to that name. I don’t know why they do that, but they usually apologize and call me Trinity or Trin and pet my head afterwards. continue reading…


The Grief of Tears…


As a stoic Scot, tears are not considered “kosher.” (How’s that for mixed cultural references?!) I tend to abide by that idea. In my defense I have several reasons to do so:

  1. I get migraines from a stuffed-up head. Even though I now have much better meds to prevent and deal with these headaches-on-steroids, my 50+ history of dealing with them has created a habit of not giving into anything that produces a stuffy head.
  2. When I do cry, I’m the ugliest of criers. Probably because I do wait eons to cry, the actual act is much worse–because tears for everything that has ever caused frustration and pain usually converge into 1 enormous crying session. The result? A stuffed-up head–see # 1.
  3. I’m a pastor’s kid. As the daughter of a pastor, I learned to pretend that I had it together. I am now so good at it that I consider this an asset. And, like their pastor parents, we PKs learn to be strong for others and only break down when we have no resources left.
  4. Because of the ugly crier issue, I prefer to cry alone. This means that I often have to wait until I get home to let the crying commence. For a couple of decades even getting home wasn’t a remedy because I had to be wife and mom when I arrived home. After arriving home, I would often forget that a crying session might be in order due to these responsibilities.
  5. I’m an American. We Americans believe in pulling ourselves up “with our bootstraps.” We’re fiercely independent and believe that tears are a sign of weakness. As Tom Hanks said in A League of Their Own, “There’s no crying in baseball.” And apparently the only places were really allowed to cry are in hospitals, funeral homes and at weddings. Even at funerals and in hospitals we Yanks live with the possibility of being called a “sissy” for crying.
  6. I grew up with two older brothers in the early 60s. Frequently, my teenage brothers wanted time to themselves, away from their demanding, whiny sister. I, on the other hand, just wanted to be a part of their “club.” If they denied me this privilege, I usually cried. They often responded with a denigrating tone, “Cry-baby!” This taught me that crying was not okay.

continue reading…


Love Bunny…

Love Bunny

I wouldn’t exactly say that the hubby and I are poster children for a great marriage. We, like most married for 35+ years, have had our share of arguments and moments where we wondered if calling the divorce attorney was the next best move for us.

But, as the hubby says, “No one else would put up with me and I don’t want HIV/AIDS.” The same could be said of me.

So, what do you do when your marriage has its ups and downs?

My answer is silliness. Yes, silliness.

If a couple can maintain a sense of humor and playfulness in the midst of all the serious things they must address, then the marriage can probably make it to the “other side.”

How to be silly?

I think the best silliness comes from your creativity and works for you as a couple. But, let me suggest one crazy idea that just might make marriage fun again. The best part? It’s cheap and it doesn’t take a lot of time. continue reading…


Trinity’s Tales: My New Name…

Hi. My name is, I guess, Trinity. Sometimes the human people call me Trin. I think I like it better than that Trinity. For one thing, the human people seem happier when they call me Trin and I’m all about the “happy.”

They started calling me Trinity when I went to my new home. It’s much bigger than my natural mom’s home and it has warmer floors. But there’s no big light keeping me warm and no Doggie Mom keeping me even warmer.

But, that’s okay. Because now…I get ALL the dog toys and ALL the chewies! I don’t have to share them with my brothers and sisters.

My Doggie Mom is called Ava. According to my human Mommy, I’m one of her last pups and I’m a full-blooded silver lab. I had blue eyes at birth, but now that I’m older, I have yellow eyes. My human Mommy says I’m a Pretty Girl (That seems to be one of my names, too.)

If I look brown in my picture, it’s because silver labs look different in different lights. I can look brown in dimmer light; silver in bright light and almost black at night. Because of that, my human Mommy makes me wear a reflective collar, so she can find me at night outside. I guess she’s really blind at night. (She doesn’t see that well in the daytime, either.)

I have grown a lot since I began staying with my human parents, so pretty soon, you’ll see an updated picture of me. I’ve had a lot of adventures since I came to my new home and I now have new puppy friends. And I have a lot of favorite play toys to tell you about. One of them is a roll of something the humans call toilet paper. The humans don’t seem very thrilled about this being a favorite. They are so silly.

Anyway, expect to hear from me again soon. After I have my 8th nap….today.


Lessons Learned from a Mammoth Charity Garage Sale…

The nonprofit counseling center that I helped to start in 2015 is now in its 4th year! In fact Compassion Counseling Center is nearing the 4200 hour mark for number of sessions it has provided to our area citizens.

Unfortunately, there is still a gap in what our clients often can pay and what it costs us to provide an hour of therapy. We need a total of about $ 6000, bare minimum, to cover this gap for 2019. We have chosen to never turn a client away because of an inability to pay because we believe that changing mindsets for the better is the key to improving life in our communities.

This past Saturday the small church that hosts Compassion out of pure kindness, Oakdale United Methodist Church, also hosted a massive garage sale for Compassion. continue reading…


YOU Are Invited…

In May I received a certificate in spiritual direction from HeartPaths DFW. What does a spiritual director do? For me, it means that I sit with directees and listen for where God is active in their lives and I lend my expertise to help people develop a better relationship with God through prayer.

We 21st century folks often fail to notice God’s activity simply because we don’t slow down long enough to focus on God’s actions. God doesn’t trumpet his actions or post them on social media, so if one isn’t quiet and still and looking for that action, he or she will often miss it.

One of the best ways to “train” for this is through prayer. There are a plethora of ways to pray, but unfortunately many of those traditions have been lost over the centuries. Thankfully, spiritual directors are “keepers” of those traditions. Thus, I have exciting news for you! continue reading…