As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

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A Little Think

Age With Grace in Place!

This past June I was exhilarated by a few days with 400 Lutheran Women in Mission at Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria, Minnesota. I keynoted their retreat, which was themed "Whoever is thirsty, let him come; let him take the free gift of the water of life" (Revelation 22:17b). I picked up on their wisdom, vision and recipes! These women like to cook, really cook, as in from scratch and with recipes passed on through generations. My kind of people!

One evening several of the organization's past presidents reflected on life. Since we just considered age-defying versus age-defining in the opening article of this newsletter, I'd like to share a poem one of the former presidents wrote for us. Virginia Ansorge of Wilmar, Minnesota, turns 91 soon. She's a Lutheran pastor's widow with three children. She loves history, knits, and quilts. People bring her their quilts to stitch. She sews eight to nine teeny stitches per inch, with a one-inch-long needle! Her current quilt project excites her. It consists of 91, 10-inch blocks of fabric, picturing a log cabin. It was found in someone's mom's stuff and is that woman's grandmother's quilt. So this fabric is older than Virginia and has aged just as well! Enjoy her sense of humor and her sense of whose she is, more than who!

Dear Lord
By Virginia Ansorge

Today Dear Lord I'm 90, and so much I haven't done. I hope, Dear Lord, You'll let me live until I'm 91!

But if I haven't finished all the things I want to do, would You let me stay awhile until I'm 92?

There are so many places I'd like very much to see. Do You think You could manage to make it 93?

The world is changing fast and there is so much more in store. I'd like very much to live to 94.

And if my doctor tells me and if by then I'm still alive; it would be super, Lord, to stay 'til 95.

Then maybe You will go further and will let me choose and pick and I'll be grateful Lord if I can live til 96.

The Scripture tell us often of the joys of reaching heaven. But maybe You could grant me now the joy of 97?

By then I'll age, may totter, slow down and sometimes be late. But then, I'll have seen that life is rich at 98.

Each year on earth is precious, so I'm asking one more time. Please Lord, with Your permission, could I try for 99?

Whatever years are granted me, whatever is my fate
I pray, throughout them all, we'll meet at heaven's gate!

After Virginia's sweet reading on the stage, we clapped joyfully down below. Then a younger woman with white hair, maybe 20 years younger, spoke of the wisdom of age! Phyllis Jastram and her husband, a Lutheran pastor, were missionaries in Japan for 26 years. She cared for him the last nine years of his life when he became ill and dependent on her. Phyllis knows about aging in the Lord! She looked out at us with her regal stance and commented that at the last convention two years ago there seemed to be more white hair! But then, she assumed, modern technology had helped with that. She assured us that white hair is a sign of wisdom. It is to be respected for the life lessons learned and the many opportunities it represents to be Christ to other people. She didn't hold up a Photoshopped image on a woman's magazine. We got the point: don't look down on our age as we grow older, but thank God for the years, the lessons, and the chance to share Him with others. It's a healthy way to age with grace in place! Think about it!

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