Something has been on my mind for a while: the way we readily judge with our eyes. If something looks good to us, we like it. If it doesn’t appeal to our eyesight we express no opinion of it, dismiss it. Do we ever stop to consider how it makes someone else feel when we don’t say something kind or don’t recognize their effort, and bravery in sharing it?

10 Jan 2016–a fun, loose sketch.

Not long ago I showed some samples of my Weave-it squares to a male acquaintance. Each square was woven with the same pattern; only the color choices and sequence of use varied. (See photo below.)

Four squares, same pattern, different color combinations.

Four squares–same pattern, different color combinations.

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In her video, Yoga Over 50, Barbara Benagh says, “We live in a very youth-oriented culture and it contributes to a viewpoint that aging is loss. . . . Throughout life, the stages of life, each have their separate strengths. . . . Aging is a time of wisdom; wisdom can only come from experience . . .” To that I noted that Solomon asked for and was given the gift of wisdom from God in his relative youth. I do believe God is the bestower of wisdom, but age and experience help.

Yoga over 50 by Barbara Benagh

Yoga over 50 by Barbara Benagh

http://smile.amazon.com/Yoga-over-50-8-Routines/dp/B00ADO9C9I/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1440702177&sr=1-1&keywords=yoga+over+50+barbara+benagh

So I’ve been pondering this idea that aging isn’t loss, and have been cultivating a new appreciation for getting older. Heaven knows I’ve struggled with it. Maybe aging is harder for some people than for others, but I believe it’s difficult for us all.

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sabbath

I glanced over this article today.

https://www.lds.org/church/news/five-ways-to-celebrate-the-sabbath-as-a-family?lang=eng&cid=social_20150726_49764186&adbid=10153399164441550&adbpl=fb&adbpr=18523396549

Since I don’t have children or nearby relatives, suggestions for things people can do together as a family grab my attention less than other things might. But after walking away, I found myself thinking about things I liked about it–simple things to notice that will help us keep the Sabbath day holy.

Jeffrey Hill says, the Sabbath should look different, sound different, feel different, and even taste different. He neglected to mention “smell different” which my Sabbath always does when I go to church–perfumes abound. But laying that aside, I like the idea of the Sabbath being different in these simple, easy to remember ways.

I might also add, the Sabbath should think different, if you get my meaning. It can have a different attitude. Though I carry on many of my humanitarian works on Sundays, there are little rules I’ve set for myself. For example, I don’t operate machinery–spinning wheel, sewing machine, iron. I don’t go into mass production–laying out a lot of fabric or tracing and cutting out patterns. If I use scissors, I use them to trim threads, not cut out bear shapes.

Long ago I learned a song in Primary, “Saturday is a special day, it’s the day we get ready for Sunday.” That’s been a lifelong lesson for me.

It should watch different, listen different. It should do different. Ideas about writing books–note them, but don’t start working on your book. The Sabbath shouldn’t further your career. It shouldn’t be a day to carry out tasks for convenience sake, i.e. business in the church hallways. Clean up the dance room. Watch that Jerome Robbins video I’ve been wanting to rewatch.

This little suggestions can lead to greater Sabbath observance. Be mindful, be present, listen within; be guided by the Spirit. That’s how to make the Sabbath day different.

And when the day draws to a close, we can start working on this:

Alice walker

This morning on, our walk, my dog Maggie and I walked by our neighbor Tom Martin’s yard. He’s the kind of neighbor who wins City Beautification awards. (I’m not.)

Tom has a new young Japanese maple planted in his yard.

You know that feeling you get when you see a little puppy? I had that feeling upon seeing his new plant. Japanese maples are my favorite shrubs. I’ve planted five and have six at my home.

A-few-years-old Japanese maple growing in my yard.

A-few-years-old Japanese maple growing in my yard.

As Maggie and I completed our walk, I reflected on how pretty young things are. And I almost wished I could keep them that way–saplings, puppies, me. But I thought of the majesty of my other Japanese maples.

Japanese maple over twenty years old.

Japanese maple over twenty years old.

Japanese maple around 18 years old.

Japanese maple around 18 years old.

The red one has been pruned several times, but the green one hasn’t. They’re gorgeous, if you like that sort of thing (which I do).

And I thought about how enjoyable an older dog is–less work, more companiable. Puppies are delightful in all their stages of life, but there’s nothing like an older dog.

12-year-old Maggie.

12-year-old Maggie.

I also thought about President Uchtdorf’s talk entitled “The Gift of Grace.”

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/the-gift-of-grace?lang=eng

President Uchtdorf says we weren’t meant to stay in or return to Eden. We’re meant to progress. And we’re going to get pruned.

Years ago, Elder Nelson gave a talk on aging. He said, “The aging process is also a gift from God, as is death. The eventual death of your mortal body is essential to God’s great plan of happiness.”

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/decisions-for-eternity?lang=eng

What I remember most about it was that he said, or implied, that if we didn’t age we wouldn’t want to die.

I’m aging. Sad truth. I don’t like some of it, but there are things I appreciate about being older. I can’t say I’m more beautiful, but I’m kinder. Like the Japanese maples in the photos, I’m more apt to give shelter than censure. My interests, abilities, and influence spread farther than I realize. And I would never consent to return to the state of ignorance I once enjoyed (ignorance was bliss).

However, I feel old. I feel big. My body is yet capable of more movement than my current girth allows. My hip joints hurt and I have to move carefully. Part of me remembers physical youth–even as recently as a few years ago’s youth–and misses it.

Why does this tell me there is a God? Because there’s no logical reason why we shouldn’t go on and on and on. Our bodies are capable of rejuvenation. They renew themselves within a seven-year period. I’m a reasonably healthy, fairly uninjured person. I’m clever, accomplished, and eager to do more. Why can’t I go on living as a youngster? Because God says no.

I’m OK with that. As painful and uncomfortable and unattractive as aging is, I trust God. I know He’s trustworthy. I know it. And I know He’s got the whole world in His hands. We’re safe with Him.