Doorway, Posillipo, Naples, Italy

I got a notice from the Neptune Society this week.


I felt like calling or emailing them to say, “I’m turning 70 this week. I am not dying.”

It’s weird to do the math confirming I am, in fact, entering my eighth decade and realize I feel maybe 35 inside.

Know what I mean?

I wrote a poem about just that called “Age is Just a Number,” it’s in my book, Hearts on Pilgrimage-Poems & Prayers.

The good news about feeling 35 (when the age spots on my hands tell me otherwise) is it helps me keep up with my 19 year old grandson who just moved in. Along with his cat, whom we all love.

The plan is to provide a place for HSC while he navigates a schooling program here where we live.

Besides the fact that my grocery bill has doubled (hey! I could ask for Costco gift cards for my birthday) is the fact that he stays up late and seems to be full of energy and ideas. (Well, after 10 o’clock in the morning….). I’m always in between sweeping floors, vacuuming cat hair, dusting my stairs, fixing meals, cleaning up after meals and so on.

My husband is a tremendous partner in all this, don’t get me wrong–his gifts lie in the hands-on projects department, where he and H are building a DIY cat tree. I am grateful to God for the bonding time between them–they’re like two peas in a pod.


I don’t have a lot of extra time to sit and read and ponder and think like I used to.

In the moments when I can steal some time to read God’s Word, I’ve been landing in Psalm 23 over and over. Occasional selections also show up in my social media feed or on a podcast and I think, “God’s trying to remind me of something.”

The translation I like best is in the CSB–Christian Standard Bible–a new favorite. Meditating on the six verses–only six!–provides a lot of food for thought.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need.

I have what I need. Thank you, Lord.

He lets me lie down in green pastures;

Some versions say, “He makes me…” I like this translation that says, “He lets…”

It is a gift and a privilege and a provision.

he leads me beside quiet waters.

Oh, I need those quiet waters.

He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

He leads me along the right paths not for MY sake, but for his name’s sake.

To bring glory to His name.
Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—they comfort me.

The way forward in this season of my life is a day to day discovery of what God wants to do.

Not exactly a dark valley but one that is dimly lit, where the light shines only after I turn another corner.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

God’s abundance is provided even in the presence of my enemy

my head is anointed, my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

My husband and I were discussing the phrase in verse six, usually rendered, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me.”

But I like the idea of God’s goodness and faithful love pursuing me all the days of my life, offering me the assurance I can dwell in His house as long as I live.

Even if I live to 80 or 90….. all my days will be with Him.

Praise His name–it is good to be alive.

I made this when I was six. The writing on the back says, “Joanna Ohlsen. 1 grade.” My Sunday School teacher was Mrs. Cluck…she looked just like Shirley Temple.


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