Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Crown of Golden Days

Like looking through a kaleidoscope, the leaves are changing color daily. Summer’s bright yellows, greens, and pinks give way to the oranges, russets and mauves of Autumn. Nature ages gracefully during this season. The fragrance of trampled pine needles and freshly fallen leaves delightfully perfumes the air, exhilarating both the senses and the soul.

As people age, however, modern culture encourages us to masque our years. Ads urge us to cover the gray, reduce the wrinkles, and eliminate unsightly age spots.

The Bible views seniors in a different light, even referring to gray hair as a glorious crown! (Proverbs 16:31) Respect and honor for elders is admonished throughout Scripture, recognizing that, as we mature, wisdom overcomes impulsiveness, and helps us avoid pitfalls.

Over time we learn that God's Word is true. Verses like "Be quick to listen and slow to speak,"(James 1:19-20) and "A gentle answer quiets anger," (Proverbs 15:1) are proven effective over and over. Along the way, we realize that integrity really does matter more than wealth. (Proverbs 28:6) Life’s lessons combine to make us better individuals, allowing us the privilege of offering immeasurable comfort and encouragement to others.

God has provided me with wonderful examples of perseverance, tolerance, and love, embodied in individuals who have blossomed with  each passing year. During my mid-twenties, Rev. Harry Sagar pastored the church where I worked part-time as a secretary. Harry radiated tranquility. As a young harried mother I often felt that on the train of life I was constantly trying to catch up with the caboose. After patiently listening to my tales of frustration, Harry would quietly say, “It’ll all work out, Pam. It’ll all work out.” Though at the time I found his answer confounding and, in all honesty, somewhat exasperating, time proved him right—things always did work out!

During our daughter’s difficult teen years, an elderly woman in our church often called to ask how things were going. Without one judgmental word, she listened as I vented my worries, frustrations, and fears. Encouraging throughout, Isabelle’s conversations always ended with, “I pray for all of you every day.” Her prayers gave me strength to remain steadfast when at times I wanted nothing more than to just run away.

Once our nest was empty, I managed a little gift shop in a nursing home. Daily, residents would stop in and admire the colorful window dressings and express their thanks for providing such a convenient place to purchase items for loved ones. Their heartfelt expressions of gratitude assured me that the long hours I spent there were well worth it.

How I hope that with each passing year I will develop grace and beauty like that of the golden days of Autumn. I pray I will follow the example of the willing listeners, gentle guides, and faithful believers who have encouraged me. And may I have lived a life worthy of the respect and honor due that glorious, gray crown.

Have a blessed day!

©2011 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Is is Hot in Here?

Grabbing up the lid to the butter tub, I fanned myself fast and furiously. Around the dinner table, my puzzled family exchanged quizzical looks.

“What? Don’t you think it’s hot in here?” I asked, noting their stares and yanking at my collar.

Their concern changed to amusement. At the time, I couldn’t quite find the humor in the situation, although I felt I could explain the mystery of spontaneous combustion—it had to be related to menopause!

While driving to the fruit market one autumn day, I suddenly cranked up the air conditioning in the car and strategically aimed the air vents directly at me. “Ugh! I feel a heat wave coming on,” I warned my husband Dick. He generously turned his vents toward me, too, and then zipped up his fleece jacket.

“Lord, help me! I’m on the brink of a meltdown, right here in church,” I fervently prayed under my breath one Sunday. Nonchalantly, I picked up the bulletin in the hopes of stirring a breeze without creating a scene.  Could everyone in a two pew radius feel the heat emanating from me? I could have easily given the pastor a few vivid illustrations on Hell for one of his sermons.

These days everywhere I go I encounter women who are searching for ways to comfortably deal with the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause—especially hot flashes. We surreptitiously whisper condolences to each other at fellowship meals, women’s Bible studies, family reunions, the doctor’s waiting room, and funeral dinners, just to name a few. At a Women of Faith conference, I heard comedian, Chonda Pierce sing loud and clear her revised rendition of the old Martha and the Vandellas’ song, “Heat Wave”. How wonderful to laugh till I cried about this phenomenon that can sometimes frustrate me to tears.

No matter how discreetly or not-so-discreetly we may try to ward off the sudden soaring internal temperature of a hot flash, they still insist on coming—usually at the most inconvenient and conspicuous moments! Most of us girlfriends just want to know one thing. How do you spell relief?

I thought you might enjoy a laugh today, so here are some recommendations I have received.

“Try Black Cohosh—it’s all natural,” suggests my friend Roxanne.

“Drink three cups of sage tea every day,” Ginny confidently prescribes.

“Have you tried soy nuts? Soy seems to really help me,” Debi, an assistant pastor claims.

My doctor recommended anti-depressants. “I’m not depressed!” I told her. “I’m hot!”

My aunt shared the old adage, “Stick your head in the icebox.”

Though temporary, this method actually worked marvelously for me. Why not long ago, I opened the freezer, grabbed a bag of peas, and put them on the back of my neck. Leaning into the frosty compartment, I fanned myself with a frozen slice of ham. Ahhhh, blessed relief! I laughed out loud at the picture I would have presented had someone rung the doorbell at that precise moment.

My friend Debbie owns and operates a tea room. Debbie’s favorite treatment is the oscillating fan, set on high. Since she spends so much time in the kitchen at the tea room, she purchased one mounted on a four foot stand. Numerous times I have found Debbie standing directly in front of the spinning blades. With the speed cranked up as fast as possible, she closes her eyes and lets the cooling air currents whip around her. It really does work wonders, though its effects on hair could give customers a fright!

My absolute favorite tonic for hot flashes is a pint of chocolate fudge brownie low fat frozen yogurt. I keep a container in the freezer at all times. Just a few spoonfuls of this delectable concoction and I am chillin’! One word of caution: This tonic is addicting. As for whether it really works….who cares? It’s delicious!

However, for me, the very best therapy for menopause is spelled F-R-I-E-N-D-S, other fifty-something women sharing the hormonal roller coaster. Knowing I am not alone in the process helps immensely. I cling to the encouragement of 2 Corinthians 10:13, “Every test that you experience is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm. . .” (TEV)

A heart to heart talk with another woman somehow makes me feel like less of an alien in my own body. A day out with a friend refreshes my exhausted soul.  We enjoy a comforting cup of freshly brewed coffee, accompanied by a large glass of ice water, just in case. We fan ourselves with the menu and discuss the latest changes in our wardrobe styles. (We now know why scoop and V-neck tops sell so well to over-fifty females.) The mixture of our laughter and tears renews my sense of normalcy. This time of intimate sharing refuels my spirit as I traverse the undulating road of menopause with my temporarily unreliable internal thermostat.


©2011 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Who's Your Provider?

The Simon's Cat series of short films
by Simon Tofield is a hilarious must-see!

Our cat, The Baxter, loves canned cat food and knows what cupboard the food is kept in. He can even get the cupboard door open, but he can’t remove the lid from the can.

Though it is an exercise in futility, The Baxter often circles, sniffs and paws the tins of his favorite canned food. But they remain tightly sealed. Since he is an indoor cat only, he's totally dependent on my husband or me as his providers.

Who is your provider? Do you depend solely on yourself? God wants to be our Provider. He will supply all that we need according to His riches in glory. (Philippians 4:19) But, like The Baxter, many of us try to handle everything ourselves. Rather than leaving things in God’s hands, we fruitlessly toil and struggle through life trying to be independent and self-sufficient.

The longer we try to control our lives by our own wisdom and strength, the longer we remain unfulfilled. The more we refuse to trust in God as our Provider and Guide, the more frustrated we become. When we finally admit we just can’t make it on our own—we don’t possess the wisdom, strength, or foresight—God is able to step in and care for us, providing what we need just when we need it.

Let God’s Spirit speak trust to your soul as you ponder these Scriptures:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know.
Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way.
Proverbs 3:5-6

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Some trust in their war chariots and others in their horses, but we trust in the power of the Lord our God. 8 Such people will stumble and fall, but we will rise and stand firm.
Psalm 20:7-8

Blessings as you trust in Him!

©2011 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


The night begins to fade as dawn ascends.
Then sunlight streaks the sky
and darkness ends.

When people wake from sleep,
what do they find?
Renewed anxiety? No peace of mind?

For those who follow God,
each brand new day
Just brings another chance to live His way.

As we seek rest beneath God’s mighty wings
The Lord will grant us peace;
our hearts will sing!

To reach that sheltered place
so close to God,
To join His family, to know His love,

All He requires is that we believe
In Jesus’ saving grace—
His gift, receive.

John 3:16
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. (The Message)

©2011 Pamela D. Williams