Monday, August 21, 2023

A Hot Report From The Retirement Home

our front patio

While the school kids resume their classroom education, we at the Retirement Home are sitting around not doing much, just waiting for summer's heat to morph into something cooler. (You understand, I hope, that the "Retirement Home" is the same house I've been reporting from since Gary and I got married... 😉)

Sue, a friend, sent the following graphic last week. I hope it does not offend anyone. Hardships are usually easier to bear if we have a sense of humor.

The first picture posted at the top of this post is the view from my patio chair after we have completed our bike ride. With our wheels returned to the garage, we get something to drink and sit on the front porch to gradually cool off. Often I get a wet cloth to swab down my face to hasten the process and to wash off the sticky feeling caused by the combo of perspiration and humidity. 

After my one year of residency in Orlando in 1995-1996, I never would have thought that one day I'd call Florida "home" again. The climate was doing me in.

It was around that time I discovered my body was experiencing the hot flashes of menopause, which surely did not help. Blessedly, we were sent back to Colorado where my hot flashes seemed to decline in frequency. Forgive me; I may be bordering on TMI (too much information). 🙄

the guest room and my desk

Due to summer's heat, this has been a fairly quiet week for us. While we usually enjoy our afternoons out on the lanai at the back of the house with the windows wide open and two fans on high speed, sometimes that is too much warmth for me and I migrate to the kitchen table where I can still see Gary. He tolerates heat better than I do (and I handle cold better than him); but even he has called it quits a couple of times and joined me inside with the air conditioning. 

another view of my desk

Our guest room is used less for company and more for me to sit at my desk reading, managing finances on-line, and composing emails and blog posts on my laptop computer. 

By the way, I love the portability of my laptop, enabling me to be on the computer in any room of the house. I can send and receive text messages on my phone, but I don't write blog posts that way.

St. Augustine, Florida
just about 30 minutes south of Jacksonville

The summer of 2017, the year we moved from Colorado's Front Range to Jacksonville, local TV urged people to visit St. Augustine after the children returned to school, promoting the idea that the crowds would be smaller. Beloved and I fell for that and drove the 30 minutes from our house to the historic city on the water. 

photo with cannon at the Spanish fort
overlooking Matanzas River, St. Augustine

Oh yes, the crowds were not bad. It was mostly just us dumb newcomers (like us) and out-of-state tourists who were sweltering in the heat and humidity. When I told my blogging friend, Terri D, about it, she pointed out that Florida residents don't generally get caught up in that,  choosing instead to wait until October when the temperatures are much more comfortable. 

Mary Ann and me

Moving on to a cooler topic, we had guests this week! While they did not need to stay at our house (some of them live in the next metro area just north of us), we met for dinner in the cool comfort of the grille associated with our golf course.

Mary Ann is the sister-in-law of my late husband and like a sister to me. She's ahead of me in this earthly walk and has proven herself over the years to not only have valuable experience but also calming wisdom. 

Since Gary and I had what could be described as a "whirlwind courtship" and a private commitment ceremony when we exchanged rings, it's only over time that Gary and I are gradually meeting people in each other's families. As I've indicated in the past, re-marriages can (and often do) bring in some baggage of varying shapes and sizes. So although I expected a good meeting with Mary Ann and two of her adult children, one cannot help but hope it will go well.

It did. Very well. The next day after I sent her snapshots taken the night before, she said the most wonderful things. Her sentiments illustrated to me, once again, the power of words and how they affect us.

"...I wish [our visit] could have been longer. I would have liked to spend more time with you and Gary. It was so obvious that you both care very much about each other. It makes me happy that you have been able to move on with your life and doesn't mean that you have forgotten your love for Tom only that you can accept another love. Gary is a fine man and I knew he would be or he couldn't have won your heart. Enjoy your life together..."

Us in our living room

In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, chapter 18 verse 23 it says:

Life and death are in the power of the tongue.

And in Proverbs 31:26, regarding the virtuous woman, it says:

... the law of kindness is on her tongue.

For some of us who count "words of affirmation" as our primary love language (see the book by Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages), words are really important to us, carrying more weight than gifts or time. Words lift us up to the heavens or cast us down to the absolute depths. 

I have been convicted of how my careless (and sometimes very intentional) use of words has landed on the psyche of others. I try to be much more careful than I have been in times past. When others speak (or write, text, etc) words to me, I take them seriously. According to Scripture, that's the way we are created to respond to words.

antique family table; 
"And together they built
a life they loved"

As I bring this report to a close, I want to share this graphic from a pastor friend of mine (from my church youth group days) regarding how we can pray for students in the beginning of a new school year (and every day, for that matter!). Again, our words make a huge difference as we speak to each other, and to God about anything. I'm using this to help my prayers. Will you do the same?

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, grace and peace.


  1. I enjoy reading your blogs and consider you a forever friend. Your sweet spirit resonates in your writing. 😘

    1. Didn’t plan to reply anonymously….

  2. I've often said that people in the South are much tougher than those of us in the North. I couldn't handle that heat!
    I love what MaryAnn had to say. Those are good words. I agree, I need to be careful of my words too. I don't want to hurt someone by speaking carelessly.

  3. Always, always such enjoyable and wise posts. It's wayyyy tooooo hotttt here and we're about tired of it, but, we press on. Blessings abundant!

  4. I just told someone the other day to wait for October!! How funny that you remembered I said the same to you. I so enjoy your posts, Barb. Loved my visit here and am so happy Mary Ann had such good things to say about you and Gary and your new life together. She is correct in her well-chosen words!! Love & hugs!!

  5. So glad you and Mary Ann had such a wonderful visit! I know that did your heart good.

  6. It sounds like you all had a wonderful visit with Mary Ann. The view from your front porch looks fantastic, Barbara. I love the graphic with the verses for praying over students you shared. Do you mind if I share it with the members of my education group?

  7. Oh, to always think before we speak! Those were sweet words of affirmation you received from Mary Ann. Glad you could have that visit. I'll need to share that prayer list! The view from you porch looks nice. Hope you have a nice Tuesday!

  8. Hooray! Blogger let me actually subscribe to your new blog, Barbara. I'm thrilled about that so we can stay in touch more frequently. Your sister-in-law sounds like an absolute gem, too. We all need words of encouragement and affirmation, and she is so generous with hers. I also loved the back-to-school prayer meme for children and grandchildren. I couldn't figure out how to print it here, but will look online for a copy.
    Blessings and survive the heat!

  9. I'm sure it warmed your heart to read those kind and thoughtful words from Mary Ann, Barbara! It must be a bit nerve-wracking to introduce folks who knew your former spouses, but I'm sure they all walk away being so happy that you found each other. I know I am and I don't even know you :) Have a wonderful week ♥

  10. I agree with Carol. I am sure having Mary Ann's kind words helped a lot. Your view is pretty and very central Florida. The local weatherman has confirmed what I already has been the hottest summer on record since 1895. Coldest winter and now hottest summer. The only good has been that we have had a high pressure dome which I think is holding storms back, but we could use just some nice afternoon tropical stuff. I love your little desk area. It is nice to have our own little spot. If only I could keep mine clean at this time in my life. It is a VERY hard season. My word of the year should have been perserverance.

  11. It's definitely a HOT week but looks like we may have a bit of a change soon. I love your pretty desk and thoughts on words. I'm glad you had a good visit too. Enjoy your day! Hugs, Diane


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