“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”
2 Corinthians 4:16

I find it so interesting how topics of one’s thoughts and conversation evolve as we grow older. In our youth we energetically contemplated our future. What school should I attend? Will I meet someone to love? Where will I live? The possibilities seemed endless and sometimes overwhelming.

Now in the age of retired life, we tend to have thoughts and conversations that are more reflective. It’s natural to spend considerable time looking back at valued accomplishments and/or nagging regrets. Certainly the topics of health and well being dominate our conversations. and hopefully, joy and thankfulness for the opportunities we have been given.

The fact is, no one lives into their retired years without some regrets and age-related health issues. It’s part of the deal. What we can do, however, is refresh our spirit. Be grateful for the blessings we have been given, and seek to raise up the spirits of others.

 

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Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

For those old enough, you can probably almost hear The Birds musical group singing these profound words in their song Turn! Turn! Turn! As we grow older, these words provide both reflection of meaningful memories and curiosity for the future. Predictions of our youth have now come to be and beyond.

Since Christmas I’ve received several phone calls from one of our granddaughters. The calls came from her watch. She is 9 years old. I’ve also received a call from two grandsons, 9 and 6, as their remote controlled robots were engaged in battle. I was remembering the thrill of getting roller skates for Christmas as I watched another grandson ride past me on his new motorcycle. He is 6.

I’m sure my grandfather must have been saying, “Back in my day . . . ,” as I whizzed past him on my skates

There is a time for everything. From Trisha and me, have a very blessed New Year!

 

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“Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thou mayest live long on the earth.”     Ephesians 6:2-3

I loved my late father and mother. They made it easy because they were two of the most kind and loving people you could imagine. They were both Christians. My wife also loved them dearly and we actually shared our home with them for the last thirteen years of their lives. It was a wonderful experience.

My father served in the Navy during WWII. He was a member of CASU 11, (Carrier Aircraft Service Unit 11), approximately 100 men sent to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. He traveled aboard ship for several weeks with ten other young men. They arrived on the island together, put together a makeshift camp, and worked for more than a year repairing and maintaining combat aircraft in the heat and humidity. There were alligators, snakes, mosquitoes, and Malaria.

They all survived, returned to the U.S., got married and raised families. As they got older, they reunited and spent much of their retired lives visiting each other, talking on the telephone, and having reunions. They were true brothers.

Wanting to see and experience the place my father and his “brothers” had served and recalled in their stories, my wife Trisha and I set out for Guadalcanal. Through Bill, another son of CASU 11, I acquired some maps and the name of a guide. Both worked out well and we found the old airfield (Henderson Field) and the campsite of CASU 11. In addition we visited the sites of many horrific battles that took place on Guadalcanal and the many memorials dedicated to those who served and lost their lives.

It was truly an adventure of a lifetime and one we will never forget. Our local guide Stanley was a extremely knowledgeable and a wonderful human being. He was a Christian and we will never forget arriving at the airport for our departure when he turned and prayed for us and our safe return.

                      Above: Trisha and local workmen, me with Stanley and driver, me with    CASU 11 banner Trisha made before the trip.

Below: Trisha and me at campsite (we left the banner), Trisha with locals at Christian school (the little boy is holding a drawing of Jesus Trisha always carries with her.

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Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.

As many of you know, for the last several years, my wife Trisha and I have been invited speakers for groups and organizations interested in planning and living a healthy and happy retired life. Our presentations, based upon our book The Best of Our Lives, have included everything from financial planning to travel tips. While much of our material came from social and medical research, expert opinions, and our own experiences, it was also based upon our religious faith.

As we look forward, we have prepared a new presentation entitled Retiring With Grace in which we emphasize the role faith should play in all of our lives, and most certainly as we prepare and live through our senior years. Each of us has the opportunity to live with God’s Grace and, as advised in scripture, constantly renew our minds, or as we like to say, “learning to fly again.”

If your church group or organization would be interested in our presentation, please contact us:

http://www.TheBestofOurLives.com

 

 

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Ephesians 2:8-9

“For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

As we prepare for and live through our retired-life years, we can be sure we will face a range of challenges, both physical and emotional. The modern world provides us with a vast array of therapies, gurus, distractions, and medications to help us cope with these challenges. None of these can compete with the Grace of God.

Grace, of course, is defined as “unmerited favor of God toward man.” Having the knowledge of this Grace provides believers a courage to face obstacles that others will never know.

This assurance of God’s Grace and the courage it provides as we live out our lives asks us only to be true to God and live our lives doing what is right and true. I enjoy reading the essays of C. Kingsley, and here is what he wrote about courage:

“There is one thing you have to fear in heaven or earth – being untrue to your better selves, and therefore untrue to God. If you will not do the thing you know to be right, and say the thing you know to be true, then indeed you are weak. You are a coward, and sin against God, and therefore you cannot expect Him to stand by you. But who will harm you if you be followers of that which is right?”

Isaiah 46:4

“Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you, I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

God bless,
John

ATTENTION!!!!   Trisha has some great new recipes posted.  Just click on

“Trisha’s Dishes.”

Photos!!!!

Here are a few pictures of Trisha and me on our recent trip.

Milazzo

Trisha and John Parker on Ferry to Sicily

On board the ferry to Sicily. Our train from Rome actually boarded the ferry.

Lipari

Trisha and John Parker in Lipari

We took another ferry to the Aeolian Islands and stayed on the island of Lipari.

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Trisha and John Parker on Mt. Erice

After driving, taking a gondola, and hiking, we reached the Temple of Venus on Mt. Erice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philippians 4:8 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

As we grow older into and throughout our retired lives, it’s so easy to fall into routines and behaviors that are simply comfortable and often monotonous. While we do begin to slow down physically, patterns of watching endless television programs and other such behaviors can leave one feeling mentally and spiritually empty.

This verse from Philippians provides God’s clear direction and guideposts for directing our minds. I’ve been reading it each day for some time and it’s truly amazing how often I find myself editing and changing the direction of my mental energy.

There is nothing wrong with entertaining ourselves, but why not do so with those things that inspire us. The things God would like us to think about.

Blessings,

John

Having survived this years political struggle, I’m reminded that Veteran’s Day is upon us. For me, I reflect on the service of my grandfather (Army) and my father (Navy). I personally served four years in the United States Air Force, but did not serve in a combat area. As most people my age, I lost a number of friends in the Viet Nam War. That nightmare still exists for so many who survived but have led a lifetime of illness and shorter lifespan due to injury and/or the effects of Agent Orange.

I hope all who did not serve will remember and honor those who did, and for those who did serve, I hope you will take advantage of the many discounts, free meals, etc., that are offered to you by so many businesses. I recently bought something at a local hardware chain and got 15 cents off my purchase for being a veteran. The young clerk was pleased to give me the discount and I smiled and thought about those four years.My father had a saying, “better than nothing.” I agree. I was bitter often during my service because I felt my life was on hold. Now, I am proud to have served and grateful for the wonderful people I met along the way.

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