Ping-pong, ping-pong, ping-pong. “We could go on like this for hours,” we laughed. My 85-year-old mother and I had ridden our bikes to the Rec Center where we picked up the paddles and had a blast!

In the month of October, I had the privilege of taking some time off and playing a lot of Ping-Pong with my youthful (did I say 85-year-old?) mother.  For five days straight I got to spend from early morning until bedtime with this amazing woman. We exercised our brains with math-y card games and daily Scrabble, something we have enjoyed together since my childhood. (The ping-pong was new this year!) Together, we visited the sick and the lonely, and she sang hymns to them.

For 55 years now, or at least as long as I can remember, I have been learning from my mom. And I think the older I get, the more precious the lessons become.

I have an unusually wonderful mom. If you have one of those, give thanks to God for her.  If you don’t, look for other older, wiser women to watch and learn from. We should each have an ahead-looking vision of what we want to be like in the years to come.

Now that I have completed my 30-year homeschooling career and since I have come home from my mom’s, I have been thinking about what I want to be like at 85.

If I’m still living at 85, I want to be strong and energetic both physically and mentally. I want to see beyond myself and live generously. Of course, I think we would all say that. But how many of us will do the things EACH DAY that need to be done to Lord-willing arrive there?

I watch my mother push herself and work at it. Playing ping-pong didn’t just happen. She exercises daily, stays active daily, and eats a healthy diet daily.

*Can I add here that we sure enjoyed that Cherry Chocolate Chunk ice cream?*

But then within a week of getting home, I got the call. “Honey, I’ve already taken off those couple extra pounds we put on!”  “Good for you,” I groaned with laughter in my voice.

Possibly one of the things that keeps my mom the healthiest is her positive outlook on life and her generous spirit.

Daily, no matter the circumstances – and there are certainly those, I see my mother put on a smile and greet each day as if it holds new possibilities for her.

I watch my mother put her own arthritis and aches and pains aside in order to cook and home-deliver soup to those who are ill or lonely. Some of whom are twenty-plus years her junior, “young enough to be one of my children,” as she says.

One neighbor lives on Coca-cola and cigarettes. She is unhealthy and reeks of old smoke, and some would point out that she created her own health problems.

But that doesn’t matter to my mom.

Then we visit another neighbor. “People stay away because he has no teeth and his hygiene is lacking, his body is crippled and he’s extremely difficult to understand,” she goes on, “but you’ll love him.”

Wait. Love him? She makes it sound easy.

That’s only because my mother has made it her habit to see the best in people. And to love. Unconditionally.

I could go on and on, but it would just make my mom uneasy. You see, she’ll be reading this since she’s one of my most faithful readers.

Thank you, Mom, for reading this and all my blog posts, and for cheering me on. And thank you for your lifelong example to me and to those around you.

May we each sow the necessary seeds DAILY that we may grow into the best version of our future selves.






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