My grandmother (on my mom’s side) never stopped learning new things and challenging herself. When she was around 50 years old she took up oil painting. She caught on quickly and we are blessed with many of her paintings. People would offer her money to paint for them, but she gave all her paintings to her kids and grand-kids.
Then when she was around 60, she decided to get her pilots license. For a couple of years, she owned a small 2 seater plane. It was fascinating to hear the stories of what all she had to learn, to be able to fly on her own. Including kill the engine in mid air and then prayerfully restart it! When she was 70, she decided to get her real estate license. I had been looking into getting mine as well and ended up getting my real estate license about 6 months after my grandma had gotten hers. Interesting enough, everyone thought she had been selling real estate for years, so she started off like gang busters. I was in my mid 20’s at the time, everyone assumed I didn’t know much of anything (which was likely true), so I had much slower start. My grandma, on into her 70’s would walk 4 miles a day, play the stock market and continued to study God’s Word. Unfortunately, cancer took her from us, when she was 78 years old, after a 2 year battle. I had the opportunity to have a long conversation with her, after her diagnoses, but before she started her chemo. She talked about how even though her life had not been perfect by any means, that she really only had one regret. She had always wanted to visit the Holy Lands. The couple times she started to make plans, there was unrest in that part of the country, so plans were canceled. She said, in reflection, “if that’s the only thing I really wanted to do that I didn’t get to, I don’t think that’s too bad at this point in my life”.
As I have been quickly approaching my 50th birthday, I couldn’t help but start to evaluate where I am at… things I know for sure. My husband of 32 years and I are blessed to still have both our parents. Rick’s parent’s celebrated their 59th anniversary this year and my parents are celebrating their 56th. What a heritage both sets of parents have given us! We have 3 amazing sons, that we love and are so proud of the men that each of them are and continuing to grow into. In my 20’s I felt God put a real desire in my heart to go on a mission’s trip. In 2007 I was elated to go on my first mission trip to Honduras and have since had the opportunity to go on 4 others. I am blessed with many amazing friends and an incredible church family. Over the last 4 to 5 years I have started getting opportunities to share part of our family’s story, which we pray gives others hope and encouragement. In December of 2015 I started blogging which has been totally out of my comfort zone! I’ve always been a story teller but putting it in writing is WAY different! In February 2016 I had the opportunity to go into a local Christian radio station to record “Our Story in 99 seconds” that aired on the radio a couple weeks later.
My newest challenge, I started in March of this year. I purchased a road bike, knowing that 2 weeks later I was going to have knee surgery, for a torn meniscus. I had always swore I would never get a road bike because of those little uncomfortable seats! I rode it a few times before surgery and then less than 2 weeks after the surgery I was back riding again. I started back with 9 to 10 miles and slowly worked up to 15 miles. As much as I immediately enjoyed riding my bike, I had to work through several different issues. With any new journey, there are going to be somethings to work through and you have to decide if it’s worth the cost. Then a couple of months ago I wiped out for the first time on some really fine, loose gravel. Digging gravel out of my knee and elbow wasn’t on my list of things I ever wanted to do! I was just so grateful the wipe out happened on my good knee.
I mentioned to my friend, Jen (who did her first century ride this year!) that I wanted to do a 30-mile ride by the week of my 50th birthday. At the time that was less than a month away and I had ridden up to 22 miles a couple of times. I continued to add a couple miles each week until it was time to get in the 30-mile ride. The day we had picked, I woke up at 2:30 am that morning, not feeling well and ended up never going back to sleep. I had done a little too much walking with my bad knee a couple days earlier, so my knee was still swollen that morning as well. I was determined this was the day, so about an hour before we were to start riding I took an anti-inflammatory and iced my knee for a few minutes. It looked like the weather was going to be perfect… Jen and I had gotten about 20 miles of our ride in, when we were seeing some dark clouds and it started to sprinkle. We stopped and looked at the radar and knew if we kept going it was very likely we were going to get really wet! When I reminded Jen this was the week I really wanted to get this longer ride in, she was totally game to keep riding with me. It rained on us for the rest of the ride, but it certainly didn’t dampen our spirit. When we finished we were at 31.6 miles. If you can see the picture of us here (Jen is on the right), this was right after our ride, I was smiling so big because I wasn’t on that little seat anymore!
One thing I had always hoped I would have in common with my grandmother, was that I would never stop learning and continue to take on new challenges. New things, can be scary and challenging at any age. I told a friend around the first of the year, part of my motto for this year would be “do it afraid!”. I don’t want to get paralyzed and stop moving forward. My friend has reminded me, even if we are just taking baby steps, as long as we keep moving forward, that’s what’s important. I heard a speaker say recently we tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a year, but under estimate what we can accomplish in a decade!
I am getting the opportunity to do something this coming week that I’ve wanted to do for many years! I’ll post soon about that! Keep plugging away at things you have a true desire to do or accomplish! God started putting a desire in my heart to go on a mission trip when I was 23 years old and I got my first opportunity at 41! (This picture was from Honduras in 2007, the kids loved getting their picture taken then looking at them on our digital cameras!)
Now that I am officially part of the 50 club… I can’t say what 10 years or 20 years will look like, but what I can say is I pray to continue to move forward in whatever direction God wants me to go!