Seven Old Age Adages and One Piece of Advice

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This week is the celebration of the 55th anniversary of my graduation from Texas A&M University, known during my days there as A&M College of Texas. Thinking about all my aging classmates leads me to share with you these old age adages. Read, smile, and enjoy.

  1. A reporter interviewing a 104-year-old woman asked: “And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?” She simply replied, “No peer pressure.”
  2. A senior citizen feeling his age said: “I have outlived my feet and my teeth. I’ve had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I’m half blind and can’t hear anything quieter than a jet engine. I take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts. I have bouts with dementia. I have poor circulation and can hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. I can’t remember if I’m 85 or 92 and have lost all my friends. But, thank God, I still have my driver’s license.”
  3. Another senior said: “I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape. So I got my doctor’s permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over.
  4. An elderly woman decided to prepare for her funeral and told her preacher she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated. Second, she wanted her ashes scattered at Wal-Mart. The preacher asked, “Why Wal-Mart?” The lady said, “That way I’ll be sure my daughters visit me at least twice a week.”
  5. Know how to prevent sagging? Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.
  6. It’s scary when you start making the same noises as your coffee maker.
  7. A senility prayer: “God, grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

My serious and sincere advice: While you’re still of sound mind, be sure to take care of the responsibility and privilege of planning your estate. Provide for your family and your favorite charitable causes. We at Legacy Deo would be honored to help.

Commencement

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Commencement has special meaning to certain people at a specific time in their lives. Whether from kindergarten, elementary, junior high, senior high, college, university, med school, vet school, law school, or grad school of any kind, commencement means satisfactory completion of academic requirements necessary for commencing, moving forward, to what lies ahead.

During the past nearly nine years of Perspectives articles, I’ve written a number of times about commencement. Those articles had as their subject the graduation of our grandchildren from some of the educational institutions listed above. It’s time for another one.

The event occurred this past weekend in Stephenville, Texas, a small university town southwest of Fort Worth. After what must surely have seemed a very long haul for her (and for her parents), our granddaughter Kayla received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Hallelujah!

For nursing students, commencement includes two separate events. The first night is the pinning ceremony, a serious yet celebratory evening where each student walks across the stage to receive a nursing pin. At Tarleton State, a public university, this ceremony began and ended with prayer. Mind you, these were not generic prayers. They ended in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! At a state university! That blew me away!

The next morning was the actual awarding of degrees at the commencement service. It also began with prayer, to an unnamed deity, with a simple “Amen” at the end. No mention of Jesus or even of God. My referring to this prayer is not an effort to be picky. After all, this is a state university. And in today’s cultural environment, I’m surprised any prayer was even included.

While waiting for Kayla’s turn on stage, I watched the crowd of family and friends gathered to share the joy of their loved ones who were commencing that day. Many graduates were greeted with shouts and cheers. Loud ones! Other grads received only polite applause from the crowd. That led me to believe not many of their friends or family members were able to be present.

At one point I noticed the lady sitting next to me. As a graduate who must have been her daughter crossed the stage, this lady broke down in tears. Those were surely tears of joy, shed in relief that this part of her daughter’s professional preparation was now concluded. They were also probably tears of release, most likely from the emotional and financial burdens that accompany as rigid and lengthy a curriculum as the nursing program assuredly is.

For Kayla’s parents (our daughter Angie and husband Todd), her brother Kolby, her grandparents (Terry and I), Todd’s father Steve and grandmother Martha, and the many other members of our family who love her dearly but were not table to be present, this commencement was an event to remember!

Party Time!

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 7.03.52 AMAs some may recall, my dear mother attained her 100th birthday this past April 10. Prior to and on the actual date, appropriate but relatively low key celebrations took place. There’s a reason.

Some of Mom’s grandchildren and great grandchildren are still in school, which made coming from out of state for a Texas weekend in April a tall order! Having the main celebration this summer allows the branches of our family that still have school aged twigs and leaves to attend.

Accordingly, nearly 50 of Mom’s 54 living immediate family members from Illinois, Colorado, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas will soon descend on New Braunfels, Texas, for the big celebration. It’s almost party time!

How does one celebrate a centennial birthday? With cake and candles and balloons, just like any birthday! In our case, we’ve rented a spacious old home in New Braunfels, which will serve as headquarters for the event. While not large enough to house all 50 of us, it will allow us to have our home cooked meals together, along with activities, laughter, conversation and devotions.

The main character, of course, is Mother herself. While quietly but happily anticipating the event, she’s certainly not as active or as vibrant as she has been for nearly a century. Her physical condition has weakened significantly, making it nearly impossible to walk. Although still in good spirits, she regularly expresses her fervent desire to go home to heaven to see Jesus.

Those of you who have experienced the lengthy illness of a loved one, particularly one who has achieved advanced chronological maturity, can understand what I’m about to say. There may come a time when a loved one reaches the point where a return to physical health and strength is almost assuredly not going to happen. Under those circumstances, for family and friends to pray for restoration of health and strength for that loved one in all reality becomes a selfish prayer.

So my prayer for our dear mother is that her real party would soon begin. Birthday parties may not even occur in heaven. If they do, they may or may not have cake, candles and balloons.

Be that as it may, that eternal party will be held in the place where all believers in Christ will someday be at home. The hymn aptly states: “I’m but a stranger here. Heaven is my home!”

Happy Birthday, dear Mother! It’s party time! Let the celebration begin!

April Birthday Ladies in My Life!

Credit:  Zsuzsanna Kilian

Credit: Zsuzsanna Kilian

April is an important month for some very important ladies in my life!

April 10 is the date my dear mother, Elda Mary Hellman Kieschnick, was born in Nashville, Kansas. The year was 1916. Do the math! This young lady turns 98 years of age today! Her health is strong, with relatively few minor aches and pains. She lives independently, cooks and entertains folks with bed and board. She is called “Granny” and works like the Energizer Bunny!
Two years ago Mom gave up driving but still goes lots of places, with kind assistance from her friends. She has been blessed with four children, 12 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren, two of whom are still living here on earth. One of the premature Christmas triplets passed away two days after birth. Granny is a blessing and loved by many!

April 10 is also the date my dear wife, Terry Lee Roos Kieschnick, was born in Austin, Texas. That makes it easy not to forget either birthday! The year was a few decades later than that of my dear mother noted above. Terry and I have been married more than 48 years and have been blessed with two grown children, one grown son-in-law, and two grandchildren who call her “Mimi.”

Terry has been and continues to be a genuine blessing to our immediate and extended families and to many other dear friends and loved ones across the country and around the world. She is blessed with many gifts, including the gift of hospitality. She loves to feed people, as few as two and as many as 120 at one time! Terry also loves to decorate our home, which she does beautifully and joyfully! She is very special to me, to all our family, and to many others!

April 15 is the date Terry’s mother, Dorothy Nell Gruesen Roos, was born in Austin, Texas. The year was 1926. She left this earth for her home in heaven on June 21, 2011, at the tender age of 85. She was blessed with two children, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Dorothy was a lifelong member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Austin. Her life is remembered in many ways by many people and is especially memorialized by a beautiful wooden cross dedicated to the glory of God in the chapel auditorium at Concordia University Texas.

April 6 is the date our dear daughter, Angela Lynn Kieschnick Keith, was born in Springfield, Ill. The year was 1970. Angie arrived shortly before Terry and I left the seminary for our first call in Biloxi, Miss. She is a very special young lady who has blessed us with much joy and pleasure!

Baptizing our infant daughter moments after I was ordained on June 6, 1970, was my first official pastoral act. She was crying! Her pacifier was not handy. So I put my index finger in her mouth. That did the trick! Angie and Todd have been married nearly 25 years and are blessed with our two awesome grandchildren, Kolby and Kayla. Kayla, born in August, broke the April birth pattern!

In our home April is an important month! I am blessed to have all these wonderful women in my life, together with three sisters and other female family members. I thank God for each of them!