lola guerrero

50-something empty-nest-search-for-God-and-happiness with more than a dash of humor


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Old Is The New Black, Part 2

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In the five years that I have known Walter, I have noticed that I seem
to see less and less of him. Over time, he has become despondent and
reclusive. Safeway now delivers his groceries. One neighbor, 90-year-old
Mary-Jean picks up his mail.
He didn’t want to be seen with a walker and walking to the elevator
was a hardship.

Well, dear ol’ Walter apparently had had enough of life. With his failing
health, he decided that he couldn’t wait for God to take him. Instead, he took
matters into his own hands. He committed suicide.

He shot himself on his deck.
Walter’s next door neighbor Nadine heard a POP sound around 9 p.m.,
but thought nothing of it. She went to bed. The following morning his
daughter came to visit and found her dad on the deck. The ambulance
came to take his body.

I’m not surprised Walter took his life. I don’t know how I will be at his age.
I don’t know what mental state I will be in if my body can’t do the things
it used to do like walk or jog along the beach breathing fresh air and
watching the waves come to shore.
Will I be able to walk my dog?

Will I be able to go fishing (if I ever wanted to do that which is doubtful)
or stretch out my arms and take a selfie?

We have a death once a year in our condo. Life reminds us each day that
we all have our season. A season to be young and restless. A season of
getting old and wrinkly. A season to live and die.

Dear God,
Thank you for opening my eyes to having more compassion for
my aging neighbors.

Remind us that life has its season and growing old
will arrive sooner than expected. Guide us to be
more caring and understanding with our senior citizens.

Amen, Lola


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Old Is The New Black, Part 1

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From our deck, one of God’s blessings is our captivating
view of the mountains, water, and ferries gliding by.
People from all backgrounds fill the pier.  People fish, walk by,
or sit and take selfies.

On the sidewalk, shirtless joggers pass by, mothers with lattes
stroll with their babies, and dogs on leashes walk next to their masters.

Around May a parade of high school girls with long prom dresses and
6-inch heels come with their dates for picture taking. They are giddy
and all smiley faced. I call them “the young and restless.”

Young brides and grooms come with their
bridal entourages at a certain time to capture
the perfect sunlight for their wedding portrait.
“I hope it lasts” I say to my brick wall.
Because after the church service and bottles of champagne,
the real work begins.

Up from our deck and inside our condo complex
is a different world divided into 25 units. The average age of the
people living here is 85.
We have two  widows who are each 100 years old.

I call my condo building the OLD AND  DYING. I have made peace
with living in our condo. It’s a little tight, but that’s what you do
when the kids leave home. You downsize. Greeting my neighbors
inside the elevator, I now have compassion where there was judgement.
I look at them and say “hi.” I make small talks instead of glancing down
at my newly painted toes  and
pretty sandals.

Two doors down is  my neighbor, Walter. He walks with his
shoulders curled and greets me with a baritone  voice.
A private man, he keeps to himself. No one knows  his exact age.
Some guess 85 or 90.
Of course, I notice there is not a lot of difference between ages 85 and 95.
The fact is you are OLD and WRINKLED.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow . . .

 

 


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Nothing To Do With Me

Last Wednesday in bible class we were studying the fourth book
of the old testament called Numbers.
Before attending bible class I never
read Numbers. Why would I want to read this section?
I have better literature to read!
I had no idea what it was about, but I knew it had nothing to do with me.

Well, as a matter of fact, now I know–it has everything to do
with me and you, too.

Our discussion was about the Israelites complaining and
being ungrateful for what God had done for them.

The Israelites complained that they wanted better food
instead of the manna that God blessed them with each day.
The desired meat and potatoes and vegetables.
“We are suffering,” they bitched to Moses.
“We should have stayed in Egypt.”
They soon forgot that they had been slaves in Egypt.

The following day I challenged myself to not
be like the Israelites. I pasted a note on
my bathroom mirror that said,
“DON’T BITCH AND COMPLAIN TODAY”

Later that day, I was in Starbucks where I get lots
of creative writing done. Next to me was a newspaper that read in bold
letters FINDING BLESSINGS.
I took this as a sign that the universe was
agreeing with me to find the good
in my life today.

The whole week that followed I had to retrain my
thoughts to be more grateful. I thought of ways
to find the blessings and look for what is right on target in my life.

One of my blessings is that I get to eat three meals a day, and in between
meals, I get to have snacks or a treat like a $4.00 latte at Starbucks.
I praise God for the food in my fridge for my husband and me.

Praising the One who provides all the good you have means your heart is in the right place.

One of my favorite activities is going to the gym and
sweating to Lady Gaga’s song Poker Face.

I say, “Thank you, Lord, that I have legs to get on the treadmill. It would be devastating to me to not have these legs. My depression would get the best of me.”

And I am blessed to be able to attend my bible class. I look forward to going each week even if during certain discussions I find myself nodding off. When this happens I say, “God, nothing against you. I’m just tired today.”

However, at times, my ears perk up and I’m alert when a discussion like complaining about life holds true for me.

I know this bitching and complaining
reveals a hardened heart. An ungrateful
heart that is never happy, that nothing
is ever enough. It is like saying to God,
“Is this the best you can do?”

And complaining is contagious and brings everything and everyone down.

On that note, at this point in my blog about complaining, hopefully you are not thinking, “YOU ARE BRINGIN’ ME DOWN, MAN!”

Instead, I hope you feel challenged and motivated to open your eyes wide and the find blessings in your life.

Let’s pray.

Dear God,

Let us not be complainers like the Israelites.
Renew our thoughts to be more grateful for
all the blessings that you bless us with.

Amen,

Lola


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Not the Perfect Cocktail

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She clears her throat. “I have a proposal,” she tells me while I sit in my car.
I hear her cry over the phone. I know that it must have been a hard decision for her to make the call. I have known her for a long time. I know her.

“I need to borrow some cash,” she says.
I hold my breath and slouch down in my driver’s seat.

A friend or a relative borrowing money from me is always an uncomfortable space.
It’s a space I never want to be in.

Friends, relatives, and money do not make the perfect cocktail, nor is such a concoction a solution to a problem.

My husband and I have had a couple of circumstances where friends or relatives came to us for a loan.
“I will pay you back,” they say.
It is such a disappointment when they don’t deliver.
You go out of your way to write them a check and they flake out on you.

There was a time when I vowed never to be the borrower.
I see the borrower as desperate and weak.

I remember when I made that vow.
It was a sunny day in June. This was about 20 years back.
I was at a friend’s home and I asked three different people in the living room if I could borrow $20.00 for gas. One by one they all left the room. As if they never heard me.

Sitting on my friend’s porch, I was  crushed and I felt so alone. I realized this: NO ONE GIVES A HOOT IF YOU HAVE GAS OR NOT IN YOUR TANK!
From then on,  I told myself I will never borrow money from anyone.
If I lose everything in life and I have no food, no gas, and no pot to piss in,I would still
never go to a friend or relative to ask for money.

Instead I would do the following:

1. Get on welfare and food stamps so I could get back on my feet.
2. Sell my body.
OR
3. Work at Shari’s and live off my tips.

Selling my body would be a stretch for me. I would have more success being on welfare or working at Shari’s restaurant.

How did I answer to my friend’s proposal? I took a leap of faith.
I felt that she is a true friend who will deliver.
I loaned her the money, but not the amount she asked for.
My husband and I agreed on a certain amount.
I loaned her the money because she is a long time friend.
I trust she will be true to her word.

Dear God,
I have no idea how to pray for this situation. I do know this
I will let it go.  Bless my friend, help her with all that she
is going through. Thank you. Amen.

Lola

 


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The God of the universe will always respond as
you take one step forward
towards the light.

Here’s what this means for me:  God  is my source of light. I keep moving in the direction where it’s bright. Moving toward God’s light means I am doing the right thing for the highest good for myself and others.

The other day I was in a “not-feelin’-it” mood.  All I wanted to do was stay under the covers, and listen to the rain outside my bedroom window. I wanted to allow the day to run its course.

“God, find favor in me. I ask for lots of energy today. I have endless errands to do for others.”
I said this out loud to the ceiling. It is a habit I have had since I was five  years old. I  glance up and imagine my Lord who oversees my whole existence is suspended mysteriously above me on the ceiling.

Throughout the day, I kept telling myself “pay it forward.” Then I remembered
a post in FB from a couple with a very sick ten-year-old son name Bubby.
He has seizures and is in a wheelchair. His birthday is February 11th. His mom asked what he wanted for his birthday.
“Stickers,” he announced.
When I read this story, my mind said, “Wow, his parents must have a barrel load of patience and love.”

His parents went on to say, “He loves getting stuff in the mail. So, if you want to give our son
stickers for his birthday, we set up a PO Box for him.”

This sparked my  brainwaves to travel in the right direction.
God desires for us to do the right thing.
Right away I decided to go to Bartell’s and buy stickers for this little boy. I put
the stickers in an envelope and dropped it in the mail.

But, I was still not feeling energetic. So, I kept moving towards the light.
I asked myself, “Where do I think it will be the brightest?”

I crawl to my gym, which is located inside a hotel.
Entering the main lobby I see a table set up for wine
tasting. There are crackers, salami, and cheese to nibble on, too.

“Really God? You know I can’t pass up wine tasting.
Alright you got me, this is looking bright.” I say.

There’s nothing that will put a smile on my face faster than a wine tasting event just before
heading to the gym and getting on the treadmill.

Munching on my crackers and salami. I realize that
God knew what would make me happy. This treat is
my kind of happiness.

The wine tasting event definitely elevated my spirit to a higher level.
After five small sips of Pinot Noir, I marched upstairs to my gym. I did my one-hour workout
and got my endorphin fix. All was well in my world.

When you are having a “not-feelin’-it” day, do something genuine for others.
Then  keep your eyes open for the blessings in front of you.

Doing a good deed for someone is walking towards the light.

Dear God,

Thank you for blessing me with your light.
Without it, my world would be as dark as midnight.

Bless all the children like Bubby  who are quite sick with no cure in sight.
Bring healing in these childrens’ lives,
Bring hope in the lives of their parents and understanding
that you will never give us more than what we can handle.

Amen,

Lola


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Because I’m Worth It

IMG_3127“I need something to perk me up, ” I say to my WALL.

If my wall could talk it would say, “Figure out what will perk you up and then go do that .”

“Okay, after my dusting and de-cluttering the condo, I will go buy some  springtime flowers for me.” Nothing like bright flowers inside a feng shui condo on a dark gloomy day.

For me, fresh flowers are always a “perk me up”
or a Kit Kat bar can be.  In the last few years, I began buying myself flowers.
I suppose I can have both: flowers and a candy bar.
But, today I thought about my waistline.
I shake my head. Think I will pass on the candy bar.

Are you like me? I used to wait on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day for my loved ones to
buy me my favorite flowers or roses.
I always thought the value of the whole act was to have someone else buy them for me because it’s a special day and I’m one special person.
Man, who planted that seed in my brain?

But, after 50, things have changed!

I decided I’m not waiting around.
“I could die today. Really! Why wait?” I say to no one but my constant companion–my wall.

Now, when I want some flowers I go buy some or if I want to see a movie that is an Oscar contender, by golly, I will go see it.
Finally, with my spine straight I can say, “Because I’m worth it.”

I think it takes longer for women to give themselves
permission to do something special.

In past years, I have gone around and around in my head coming up with reasons for why I should or shouldn’t buy this or that. Such a waste of energy.
It robs us of living for today.

Yes, I’m all for saving money for retirement.
That is why I always turn off the bedroom lights if I’m not in the room.
And I shop at Marshalls to save money.

What perks up your spirit? Is it unwrapping a Almond Joy candy bar? Is it buying a little something for yourself? Is it signing up for French lessons?

If you need a perk-me-up-feel-good moment–figure out the very thing that will make you smile. Then, go to that.

Dear God,
Many times I get stuck thinking and waiting
for pretty flowers to come my way or
more blessings to come knocking on my door.
I know this–you hold us accountable for
getting our own two feet moving and only then
we will find, with your guidance, our path to living
the life we were meant to live. Amen.

Lola

 


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God Is My Wide Receiver

Anyone a fan of ESPN?

My husband is. He turns it on for an hour.
It is his way of centering before he leaves for work.                                        IMG_1170-1
Of course, it is all about Superbowl this whole week.
Usually, I tune it out because I’m not into football,
but this week I’m interested because the Seahawks are IN.

I cozy up with my husband on the couch with coffee in hand and listen to the interview.
Mr. Andrew (not his real name) is a famous quarterback talking about what it takes to be a great player.

“It’s about Trust and Anticipation,” he says.
“When I release the ball, I have to trust my wide receiver or running back to catch the ball and I have to anticipate that he will be where he is supposed to be. Many times, I can’t see my wide receiver. When that happens, I throw the ball and trust. During practice, we throw and catch all day. When game day comes, we know what to do.”

Is a quarterback’s relationship to his wide receiver like my relationship with God?
Yes, I think so. God is my wide receiver!

My quiet time includes going to a tiny chapel close to my home. That is where I center. I tell myself to breathe and be still for 10 minutes.

Inside the chapel with candles flickering all around me, I throw or release all my dreams, goals, and all my worries to Him.
I anticipate that all my prayers will be heard and already answered.

I release all my cares to Him, and, as I look at the cross way up high,
I see his long arms waiting to receive all that I have.
I trust that he has it all under control and that He knows what to do.

And, like Mr.Andrew, sometimes he can’t see his  wide receiver.
At times, God is nowhere to be found.
I let him know. “God, I cannot find you in this mess .”

Throughout the day,  I do see miracles planted along the way. When I see a penny or a dime on the street, I always think God is watching over me. When I get a call or text from one of my boys, it is a happy time. God knows that I need those messages.

I will never forget this one session with my Christian therapist. She told me, “You hold your issues or whatever you are going through so tight-fisted that God can’t do anything about it. Why is that? Do you not trust God? He is bigger than your problems and you. God can’t help you unless you open your hands and release all your cares to him. He will find a way. Even if you see no possibilities, I promise you, He will do a much better job than you can .”

Dear God,

We place so much attention and support
to our athletes and famous people around us.
Help us to learn to have the same kind of contagious excitement,
belief and trust in our relationship with  you. In sports, teammates
learn to trust and believe in each other, teach us to learn to trust
and know that you will always be there to catch our prayers and
answer them .
Thank you and  Amen,
Lola