The quiet blessing of grief that never ends

This writer finds beauty in the pain she feels over the loss of her sister

By Jill Smolowe for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

In the almost seven years since I laid my husband to rest, followed barely a year later by the loss of my sister and mother, I’ve developed an appreciation for just how unpredictable and, well, amazing grief can be.

I’m not talking about the period of hollowing when the shock and fog of loss clouds every thought and informs every waking (and perhaps sleeping) moment. No, I’m talking about the grief that comes after that. After the deceased loved one’s absence is no longer a constant presence. After the acute ache subsides and then, unthinkably, stills. After life moves forward, opening new melancholy-free vistas that trace no connection to the departed.

The grief I’m referring to lays claim to no stage and holds no hope of being put behind. Even on the happiest days, it lies patiently in wait for some quirk of logic to unleash it. A scent. A song. A glimpse of an almost-familiar face. Suddenly — whap! — you’re puddled in a heap, sobbing and thinking, WhatTheWhatThe.

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The 5 exercises you should do every day

Improve your range of motion and balance in less than 10 minutes

By Rashelle Brown for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Balance and mobility training can benefit us at any age, but it becomes more important as you reach and pass the age of 50.

Maintaining joint range of motion allows you to move naturally and helps to combat the postural problems that cause neck, back, shoulder and hip pain.

Far from only preventing stumbles and falls, balance training is extremely important for everyone because it makes us better at every physical thing we do. Having a keen sense of proprioception (the sense of where your body is in space) makes all movement more efficient. When combined with fluid joints that allow for a full range of motion, this puts you at your functional best.

Here’s a short sequence of five exercises you can do every day to improve and maintain your balance and mobility. Done in a slow, controlled fashion, you can finish the whole workout in under 10 minutes:

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Art is Ageless® winners announced


Jacquelynn Wynn’s “Natures Beauty” was the People’s Choice Award winner.

Rolla Presbyterian Manor recently hosted a reception for the winning artists in the annual Art is Ageless juried competition.

“We are honored to exhibit artwork by seniors,” said Joelle Freeland, marketing director. “Art is Ageless is unique in featuring only the works of artists age 65 and older. Our artists prove that art, in any form, is an ageless ambition.”

For the competition, works must have been completed in the past five years. Winners in the juried competition were:

Best of Show: Sandra Ford, “Just Dropping By”
People’s Choice: Jacquelynn Wynn, “Beauty of Nature”
Drawing (amateur): Carol Jessop, “Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France”
Mixed Media/Crafts (professional): Sandra Ford, “Occasional Table”
Needlework (amateur): Barbara Ford, “Tatted Book Marks”
Painting (professional): Ellen Reynolds, “Babcock State Park”
Painting (amateur): Elizabeth TeGroen, “Winter Ice”
Quilting (professional): Rolla Presbyterian Manor Sit & Sew group, “Trip Around the Orient Quilt”
Sculpture/3-D (professional): August Garver, “Large Mouth Bass”

Local competition winners will join winners from 16 other Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America communities to be judged at the masterpiece level. Winning entries at the masterpiece level may be selected for publication in PMMA’s annual Art is Ageless calendar and note cards.

Started in 1980, Art is Ageless is an extension of PMMA’s wellness programs. It encourages Rolla Presbyterian Manor residents and other area seniors to express their creativity through the annual competition, as well as art classes, musical and dramatic events, educational opportunities and current events discussions throughout the year.

Chaplain: No pain, no gain

shutterstock_456267475By Allen Teal Rolla Presbyterian Manor chaplain

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8, NIV).

“No pain—no gain” and “feel the burn” are mottos for serious athletes. “Gain without pain” is a more honest motto for the rest of us. When the New Testament was being written, days filled with long hours of hard work were normal. Little need existed for extra exercise. With the exception of soldiers and athletes, the Bible all but ignores physical training for the average person. It says plenty about spiritual growth and training.

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” ― Tony Robbins

Spiritual training develops strong Christian character. Training is about change. Change is hard. We will almost always pick the route through life that is shorter and easier. Taking the wrong road is easy. Most people have made a wrong turn during a long car trip. It may take you miles away from your destination. If the road doesn’t end up where you want to be, it doesn’t matter how nice it is along the way. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12, NIV). This death is spiritual not physical.

Physically, it is easy to sit on the sofa and do nothing.

The bad things that come from long-term inactivity are myriad. The book of Proverbs describes one outcome of coasting along through life. “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.” (Proverbs 24:33-34, NIV). Too much idleness can weaken the limbs, the heart, and the mind. Staying active is an important part of maintaining a high quality of life.

Spiritual inactivity leads to a lessening of our relationship with God.

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:26, NIV). This text is a conclusion to a passage that describes various Christian works. He makes it clear that active faith is living faith. The actions may be good deeds, Godly works, or steps of faith that require the believer to trust God. Just as an athlete has a training regimen to stay competitive, Christians need to put faith into action every day to remain strong and continue growing.

Finding love in a senior living community

Add romance to what single older adults look for when seeking housing

By Kimberley Fowler for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

There are many reasons older adults move into a senior living community, but is looking for love one of them?

Burdett Stilwell has been working with older adults for many years and, and as sales and marketing director of Somerby of Mobile,  she has had the pleasure of developing friendships with the many residents of this Somerby Senior Living home in Alabama. She’s up-to-date on who is dating whom. When it comes to relationships, Stilwell says, the Somerby people she knows fall into two categories: those who are interested and those who have “been there, done that.”

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