Saturday, April 30, 2022

The A to Z's of Being 63


Z is for Zoo! 

Yes, when you are 63, you can go to the zoo! During spring break, our son was lining up care for our granddaughter because they were only able to be off part of the week. Pops was assigned one day and he told me they planned to go to the zoo! The zoo just happens to be near my office so . . .most everyone was out that week (all the folks with school age kids). I told Mark to swing by the church and pick me up and they could drop me off afterwards. I ran away for a couple of hours and it was PERFECT.

We saw the flamingos -- our sweet girl called them "friendengos" rather than flamingos when she was little. I still love that!

The zoo has a great play area. I saw one mom with her book sitting there reading while her kids played. I thought that was a great idea! I'm sure they have season passes.

Our girl loved sliding on the slide and walking on the rope bridge.

I thought this was such a cool photo backdrop!

We saw elephants.

and lions
We rode the train!

We waited in line for the train (photos out of order)

We waited a little longer for the train . . .

I love the big cats! They fed this one while we were watching and they put his food on a floating thing so he had to wade into the water and "catch" it. I think he swallowed it whole.

They have one section on Alabama animals so we saw some turkeys!

And we went to the petting barn and saw some stinky sheep!

Yay! I completed the month of April A to Z blogging everyday except Sundays! I was able to work in a couple of Sunday Stealing posts and a couple of Wednesday Hodgepodge posts. 

The A to Z's of being 63 are pretty similar to the A to Z's of any age - we have a little more freedom, we have a little extra spending money, we have a little more time (technically). Being 63 is pretty good!

Friday, April 29, 2022

Y is for Yes


I'm almost to the finish line. I can see it! Today is Y!

Y is for Yes . . .or maybe it should be Y is for saying Yes more often!

Here is a big piece of advice from 63 year old me! Don't say no so often. Say Yes as often as possible.

Can we make a mess? Yes, if it is going to create memories. I said no far too often.

Can we go . . .wherever? Yes! Yes to Israel, Yes to Ireland, Yes to Italy and Germany, Yes to the park!

I need to take my own advice more often.

Will you stop and play with me? Yes. Another one where I need to take my own advice.

Can I help you cook? Why didn't I say yes?

Mark is now retired and he asks, "Can I help clean the house?" I've been bucking it for weeks and this week, I said yes and I'm trying hard not to criticize a single thing. He did scrub all of the toilets by hand!

One afternoon this week, my son called and said that he and our granddaughter were close by. Could they drop in? When they got here, they wanted to take the golf cart to one of our parks. I have a final this weekend and it would have been so easy to say "no" . . .but I said YES and here is proof! I still had time to study!

She has a crazy amount of upper
body strength. She is in

my son and my granddaughter
swinging HIGH with the
sunshine peeking through
the trees!

What are some questions that you answered with a no . . .that you wish you had answered with a yes?

Thursday, April 28, 2022

X is for eXpress gratitude


X is for eXpress gratitude

I feel like I'm cheating today since I'm not actually using words that begin with X!

Today, I want to eXpress gratitude to a whole bunch of folks - I'm going to keep my list to 24 since X is the 24th letter in the alphabet. Just know that there are many more!

I'm so grateful for (in no particular order):

  1. Charlotte and Ronnie Perkins and Linda and Jimmie Nix and Carol and Clayton Dorough - they loved me back to Jesus after my divorce when I was so very young.
  2. Bess Studdard - my senior Advanced English teacher - she was tough but she was one of my favorite teachers
  3. My sister, Becky, and her ex-husband - after momma died and daddy was working nights, they let me live with them . . .and they were newlyweds (and our other sister, Glenine, who provided me with babysitting jobs and sold my crocheted purses)
  4. The Parker family - who claimed me as one of their own kids after momma died
  5. Inez and Hub Lane - they, too, claimed me as their own and took me on vacation with them for years.
  6. Matthew Penfield and Ann Neptune - who hired me to work at Trinity and actually brought me full circle - from a young woman rejected by the Baptist Mission Board because I was divorced to someone on a church staff who gets to be in ministry every single day
  7. Brian Erickson - who treats me as his partner rather than as a secretary - who believes in me - who shows me God's grace every day
  8. Mark - I've already sung his praises but you can go back and read ALL about him on the M day
  9. our kids
  10. our kid's spouses
  11. our granddaughters - they (9, 10, 11) are awesome in all the ways
  12. my co-workers - they make it a pleasure to come to work every day and some of them have become my close friends
  13. Mel Sparkman - who was my boss at South Central Bell when I went through my divorce. I was broke and I cried at work because I couldn't even afford a Christmas tree and he brought me a tree stand and helped me get a tree (that is just ONE example) 
  14. Ed Onimus, who was my boss later at South Central Bell and at AT&T. He could be a tyrant but he groomed me and made me into the assistant that I am today.
  15. Our supper club - we've been together since 2004 -- almost 20 years of life together
  16. Our Sunday School class - I'm serious. What do people do during crises when they don't have a church family?
  17. My "once a month" lunch buddies - we, too, have supported each other through good and bad
  18. My professor, Lucy Lewis - she is amazing
  19. My advisor at Jeff State who has answered at least a million questions
  20. Wade Griffith and Laura Eanes - we were amazing together
  21. Our parents - who never had it easy but never let us know that
  22. Susan Peterson - I miss her so much - cancer took her way too soon
  23. Nancy Smith - she introduced Mark and me - she was Mark's first cousin who was more like a sibling and cancer took her way too soon, too
  24. My mother-in-law who has always loved me as her own

This is more than a "thankful" post -- I'm deeply grateful for these people and what they meant in my life. I'm sure I've left out folks and this is not a comprehensive list.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

All things "V" Hodgepodge


1. What does the word values mean to you personally? Where did your values come from? What are some of the values that have guided you throughout your life? Values, to me, means those things we think are important. Some of my basic values came from my parents. After I typed that sentence, I actually googled the meaning of “values” just to make sure I was headed in the right direction. One definition: a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgement of what is important in life. Yes! I remember my daddy saying that there would be a lot of things we didn’t want to do in life but that there were things we did simply because it was the right thing to do. I actually remember the conversation and he has been dead since I was 25 and I’m 63. Someone had died and I didn’t want to go to the funeral/funeral home. I’m glad he taught me those things. This is one of our family values -- We both felt that it was important to raise our kids in the church. In our home, we got up and got dressed and went to church on Sunday morning.

2. Your favorite vanilla flavored something? I love to smell vanilla extract – when you are baking and the recipe calls for a teaspoon (or more) – it just smells so good.

3. What's something you've seen/done recently that you found to be very difficult, very confusing, very helpful, very interesting, or very special. Elaborate. I know that EVERYONE is ready for this semester to end so that I will quit talking about my Sociology class. I should be embarrassed about how much I’ve talked about it . . .but I’m not! It has been very difficult being back in a college class at 63. It has also been VERY interesting. Oh my goodness. Every single week I’ve had at least one (usually multiple) aha moments!

4. Something you own and love that is violet in color? I don’t think I own anything that is violet in color.

5. Do you have vacation plans on the calendar this summer? Tell us more. Yes! We are headed to Italy and Germany this summer and are so excited! We may take a little trip with our kids, spouses, and grandkids, too. We usually go to the beach but I think our son wants to go to the mountains.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  I’ve been participating in the April A to Z blog challenge and it is over tomorrow. I did it!

W is for What Would I Tell Her?


Over the weekend, I was digging through some photos to use on my "U" day, and I posted this on Facebook:

Imagine my surprise when I received 49 comments plus 110 likes/loves. One of my friends asked this question, "If you could give that young woman one piece of advice or one word of wisdom, what would you say to her?" W is for What Would I Tell Her?

Here goes:

Dear Lisa,

I want you to know that you have already lived through a lot but there is more to come. Along with the hard days, there will also be days filled with incredible over-the-top joy!

This is the main thing you need to know. YOU ARE ENOUGH. Seriously. 

You are a creation of God who is loved by him and he has and will continue to pour out his unmerited grace on you. Don't listen to those voices of the world. Listen closely and God will continually whisper into your ear,"You are enough. You are loved. I'm right here beside you - always. I'll never leave you nor forsake you."

You need to trust God. You don't know any of these things yet but you are going to have a good life. You will marry a man who loves you. You will have great kids who will grow into fine adults. You will actually live in a house with a white picket fence.

Make sure you surround yourself with good friends. Laugh a lot!

Go ahead and finish your college degree now . . .don't wait until you are 63.

Keep running - exercise will keep you young!

Get counseling - NOW! At 23, you've already lived through too much. Don't wait until you are in your 30's. Do it now.

There are so many other things. Don't waste time on guys who aren't worth it. 

Always remember -- YOU ARE ENOUGH.



What would you tell your 23 year old self?

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

V is for Validation and for Valuing the Truth


V is for Validation and for Valuing the Truth

We are in the final week of the blogging challenge -- April A to Z! I'm beginning to run out of words! Is anyone else experiencing this?

I looked up validation on Merriam Webster's site and here is the meaning:

an act, process, or instance of validating 

I don't know about you but I hate those kinds of answers. So what did I do next, I looked up validity and here is the meaning:

the quality of being well-grounded, sound, or correct

What does that have to do with being 63? I hope that by this age that I'm fairly well grounded so does that mean I'm valid? I've never heard the word used that way.

I looked it up on and one of the meanings of validity is: the state of being valid, authentic, or genuine. I've written about authenticity here!

Do you remember when we had to write sentences with our vocab words? has a tab for sentences! How about this one? "She had to research the topic for hours to ensure the validity of her argument blog post." Aha! That is how I'm working Validation into this post!

What about Valuing the Truth?

I think that the older I get, the more I value the truth. I don't want to waste time on someone else's lies or half truths. I never discuss politics but I wish our politicians valued the truth. 

Don't be telling lies to me. I value the truth! :-)

p.s. I totally realize that this isn't my best writing! 

Monday, April 25, 2022

U is for Ugly


U is for Ugly -- Ugly or Pretty? Does it matter at 63?

I know that we all came into the world with different appearances (except for my husband and his identical twin brother and other identical twins). Some of us have long noses. Some of us have big lips. Some of us have green eyes. Some of us have brown eyes. Some of us have straight hair while others have curly hair.

I've always struggled with self-confidence. I remember a boss telling me one time that we have to earn our self-confidence. 

In my Senior year of high school, I was in the top 17 (weird #, right?) of the school beauty pageant. The band actually voted and I was the one nominated to represent the band in the beauty pageant. I remember being so shocked because I NEVER thought I was pretty back then. When I was 22 or 23, I was in the "Iron Man Ski Queen" competition and was first runner up. This was a ski tournament held on a local lake and the Ski Queen and her first runner up (me!) donned our bathing suits and rode around in a ski boat and did the queenly wave to everyone! To be the queen, we didn't even have to know how to ski!

this picture and the one below
were from my portfolio from
the ski queen competition

For all of my life, I have struggled with my weight. If I could only weigh now what I weighed back then, I would be happy . . .YET . . .back then I thought I was fat. 

These days I have to watch every bite I eat to keep off the weight I lost in 2017 and 2018. Here are a couple of pictures showing the 70+ pound difference.

And then while I was digging through old photos, I found the picture below. I was in my early 20's and I'm amazed. If I were to see this picture of someone else, I would think "how lovely." Yet, I never felt "lovely" way back then.

this was my very first trip on
an airplane! I had dark
hair before I started
going gray!

Now I'm 63 . . .and I'm not a big make up wearer but I ALMOST always wear lipstick which was so weird when masks were required!

When our son married, I was much heavier than when our daughter married and I'll be honest. When I look at pictures of myself at the two events, I definitely think I look prettier when I'm thinner.

As a Christian, I know that God looks at our hearts so I try not to get hung up on my outward appearance. As I've shared here before, I don't always dress up. I'm happiest in tennis shoes or flip flops, exercise shorts, and a t-shirt. I like to have a little tan on my face so that I don't have to wear much make-up (have you ever used tan towelettes? they are my favorite!).

I prefer comfy dresses and casual shoes -- once again, tennis shoes when possible or FitFlops or Vionic. I prefer a swipe of mascara but I do love this heated eye lash curler. That is another thing - as I've aged, I have less and less eyelashes. Someone told me that eyelashes don't regrow - is that true? When I have my hair colored, my hair salon will also swipe some on my eyebrows which helps a little. I usually use a little "lello lotion" (what our kids called it when they were little) on my face and a little under-the-eye concealer and some blush and some lipstick and my make-up is complete.

denim skirt from Talbots, shirt from
Stitch Fix, Fitflop sandals (and 
Bob Goff!)

all dressed up at a wedding

comfy dress and fitflops at
the beach

No matter what age you are, do you feel pretty? What do you do to make yourself feel better about yourself? I've always struggled with my self-confidence. Do you?

p.s. Amazon and clinique have no idea I even exist so I'm not getting a kickback - I just love the things I mentioned.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

The A to Z's of Being 63 -- T is for Thankful


T is for Thankful

We can be thankful at any age, but today I'm thankful for  (not in any kind of order - some big, some small):

1. our cat, Harvey

2. our granddaughters

3. sunshine and blue skies and blooming flowers

4. our church

5. my husband, Mark, and our kids and their spouses plus our siblings/spouses and Mark's momma

6. our home

7. great neighbors in a great neighborhood

8. a bed to sleep in at night

9. clean drinking water

10. a pantry, fridge, and freezer full of food

11. a dining room table where we can host friends and family

12. the possibility of getting a Wolf stove (really! we are waiting for them to come and measure and see if it is even a possibility)

13. some of the best friends you could ever imagine

14. good health

15. the ability and means to travel some

16. books - both kindle and actual paper

17. fresh fruit that is in season - especially strawberries and the hope of good watermelon

18. a wonderful job that is meaningful PLUS wonderful people with whom I work

19. a big front porch and a screen porch

20. a million shades of green - here in Alabama, everything is coming into its glory and when you look at a hillside covered in trees, you truly can't count the number of shades of green!

If you were to make a list of things you are thankful for, what are a few that would be on your list?

Friday, April 22, 2022

S is for Self-Care

 Before I begin today's post, I have to tell you that the A to Z folks answered my email yesterday. I was #35 on the theme reveal spreadsheet but evidently I forgot to sign up for the final list. S is for So Frustrated with Myself! I'm actually proud of myself because in the past, I would have thrown in the towel and said, "I'm done." Instead I'm powering on.

S is for Self-Care at 63

About 30 years ago, I remember saying to myself, "when our kids are grown, I'm getting a pedicure anytime I want to do so!" I guess that time has arrived. I usually get pedicures about 3 weeks apart. Sometimes, in the summer, I might get a few every two weeks apart. I got a pedicure yesterday and I told the lady as she massaged my feet and calves that I was the most relaxed I had been in a month!

I remember saying the same thing about having my hair cut and the roots covered. I now am able to do that about every 5 weeks. This was taken the first time I was able to get a haircut after the big shutdown in 2020. I had whipped my mask off long enough for a quick photo.

Here are some other things I consider self-care -- especially at 63. Most of these would be good for any age!

I know that too much sun is not good for our skin, but sometimes a dose of sunshine is just what we all need.

We all need friends and spending time with good friends is a major self-care item for me and for Mark, too.

For us, our faith is important and going to church together has probably saved our marriage quite a few times over the years. Our daughter was home for Easter so she was able to snap a photo of us before church.

Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! I can't say it enough. My mental health is often dependent on exercise. I just so happen to love reading (see yesterday's post) and I most always have a book on the rack while I ride. I just so happened to be studying Sociology on this day.

Pre-covid, I had a massage several times a month. We booked with Hope who brought her massage chair to the church and there were 5-10 of us who signed up every time she came. You could pay for as little as 15 minutes or up to an hour. During the pandemic, she moved out of state with her boyfriend and we haven't found a replacement yet. Massage is an excellent self-care practice.

I've just listed a few self-care practices that I use at 63. How do you take care of yourself? What is your favorite self-care practice?

Thursday, April 21, 2022

R is for Reading

Today is R . . .and then we have S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z and I, along with others, will have made it through the month of April as a part of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge.

R is for Reading

I learned to read many years ago and have always loved to read. So why am I blogging about reading in the A to Z's of Being 63?

In all honesty, because it fits . . .and I do love to read.

I want to say that I have more time to read at 63 and I guess I do to some extent. I ride the recumbent stationary bike every day and I love to take my kindle and read while on the bike. The 30+ minutes usually fly by. I even have an acrylic rack on the treadmill and read there, too. Mark likes to go to be early and I usually take my kindle to bed and read for about 30 minutes while he is going to sleep.

What do I read? I read all sorts of things!

Right now, I'm reading my Sociology textbook. I also get lots of book recommendations from other blogs. As a matter of fact, the book that I'm reading now is written by D. L. Hammon. I was commenting on someone's blog one day and he had made a comment and mentioned his book (or maybe he is blogging in the A to Z Challenge and I read a post??). I immediately went to Amazon and ordered the book and I'm reading it now. The name of the book is Knight Rise and I'm enjoying it.

I've ordered books after reading Katie's recommendations at Preppy Empty Nester. I've ordered books that Shay Shull over at Mix & Match Mama has recommended. My sister is in a book club and she often tells me what they are reading and I order it and read it. I also just love a cozy mystery or a thriller. In the last year, I've also read some historical fiction that I've enjoyed along with a few other novels.

I have a kindle and I have the kindle app on my phone and use both of those regularly -- almost every day.

Here is my most recent list, in addition to my Sociology textbook and my Bible plus any Sunday School material for teaching:

I'm reading Knight Rise now.

I just finished Blood and Back Stitches which is part of a cute series about a single mom who has a demolition/resell business and she finds a lot of dead bodies.

The book before that was by Jodi Picoult -- Wish You Were Here -- and it was a good book but it was about living through the pandemic . . .and it made me relive a lot of things.

Have you read The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell? That was good and weird and I couldn't put it down.

I also love books by Janet Evanovich and recently read The Recovery Agent.

Jana DeLeon has written a series of books called the Miss Fortune mysteries and I just finished book 22 and I've read all of the previous 21. It is a laugh out loud series that doesn't require a lot of thought but there is always something for the main characters to solve.

According to my Kindle app, I've read 186 weeks in a row. 

Do you like to read? Do you read multiple genres? What is your favorite genre? Do you read on a Kindle or do you read regular paper books?

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Q is for . . .PLUS Hodgepodge



I’m going to combine my A to Z post plus Hodgepodge #459


Q is for Quality/Quell Rumors/Quiet


Q is usually one of the hardest days to me for the A to Z Challenge. I did think of 3 words that might have something to do with being 63.


Q is for Quality


Just this past weekend, I ordered some new barstools for our island. We went to several places locally and couldn’t find any we both liked. The ones we have now were relatively inexpensive but they have actually held up quite well. With furniture that you want to keep long-term, my mother-in-law always taught me to buy quality and it will last. We bought our dining room suite 37 years ago plus a small camel back sofa and two wing chairs and the sofa and chairs have all been recovered multiple times and it is amazing what great shape they are in.

The chairs and sofa are
covered in fun fabrics now because
we are using them in our
loft area

One chair in the background
minus a cushion which
I'm sure someone is sitting
on! She is so cute and sweet!

The sofa is YELLOW and fun!

There are some items that I don’t always purchase the best quality. I love wearing dresses to work and I like to be able to wash them and hang them to dry and wear again. Some of my dresses are from Amazon, some from Belk, some from Talbots, and some are from various other places. Sometimes the lesser quality garments begin to fade but sometimes the higher quality ones don’t hold up well either.


Do you always purchase “high quality” items?


Q is for Quell Rumors


By the time you reach the ripe old age of 63, you should be the one quelling rumors . . . not starting them. I’m not sure I need to say anymore about this except if you are the one starting rumors of any kind, you might want to start working on that now – whatever age you are.


Q is for Quiet


We love when the kids and grandkids come over and everyone is laughing and talking and having fun. We have noticed that when everyone leaves and the house is quiet . . . .we like that, too! Some people like to turn the TV on when they are home alone, but I’m not usually one of those people. I actually enjoy some quiet time every day.


What about you? No matter your age, do you enjoy some quiet or do you require noise all of the time?


Moving on to the Hodgepodge for today. Thanks so much to Joyce for the questions (I could count that as part of my Q!). You can answer in the comments or you can copy and paste the questions into your blog and answer and link up here.


1. What's something you wish you had spent more time doing when you were younger? Explain. I’ve used this so much lately on my blog that even I’m tired of it! I wish I hadn’t dropped out of college but I will say I’m enjoying it now! I wish I had spent more time with my daddy before he died. I saw him every week but I wish I had asked more questions about his family and about his upbringing. My mom died when I was a Sophomore in high school so I wish I had asked him more questions about her, too. I was 25 when he died and I’m sure I was pretty self-absorbed during those early 20’s.

this was not long before
he died

2. Who inspires you to be better. Tell us how. I feel like I’m inspired to do better every day because of where I work. I sit right outside the senior minister’s office and I get to hear a lot of the good and bad throughout the day. I want to be better!


3. Share a money saving tip with us. I should ask my husband this question. Our cleaning lady messed up her knee and hasn’t been able to work for the last 6 week or so and my husband has decided he can take over the cleaning since he retired and we can SAVE THAT MONEY. I want our cleaning lady to come back soon – very soon. I’m not the saver in this relationship and never have been but I’m so thankful that Mark made us save when we were young.


4. It's National Garlic Day...are you a fan? Your favorite dish that includes garlic? I like a little garlic – in a red sauce for lasagna or spaghetti. If a recipe calls for 4 cloves of garlic, odds are that I will put 1 clove of garlic. I do like garlic bread but I usually melt the butter and add garlic powder not actual cloves of garlic. I think it adds great flavor but I don’t like for it to overpower the other flavors.


5. Would you describe yourself as decisive or indecisive. Elaborate. Hmmm . . .let’s see . . .actually, I’m decisive about some things and indecisive about others. What does that say? hahaha!


6. Insert your own random thought here. We went to dinner on Monday night with two other couples and had so much fun.