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The Examined Life


My last blog post introduced Bob Buford’s book, Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance.1 Buford begins his book by describing his successful career. Then, after experiencing the unexpected death of a family member, Buford describes his time of personal discovery during which he asks himself, “Is this as good as it gets?” Buford labeled that slice of time halftime because he equated it to a football coach adjusting his game plan between the first and second halves of a football game, thereby enabling the team to play their best game.

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Can I Skip the Crisis?

Can I have a constructive midlife crisis?

Today I began reading Bob Buford’s book, Halftime:® Moving from Success to Significance, and I’m especially curious to learn whether Buford’s book departs from or confirms the ideas put forth by Richard Rohr. As I read the preface, I anticipated that Buford’s experience might be very different.

Instead of facing a crisis as I approached middle age, I discovered that a new and better life lay before me. I called the process of discovery “halftime,” and the eventual outcome of this process led to my “second half.” The metaphor fit because, after a successful first half, I needed a break to make some changes in how I played the second. I had plenty of success over the preceding twenty years, and I wasn’t burned out or frustrated, but I felt something was missing and I needed to change my game plan. In retrospect I can see that I must have been divinely protected from chasing down the usual trails people take to find what was missing.

Compared to Rohr’s description of “a necessary suffering and humbling pain” moving people into the second half of life, Buford’s experience sounded a lot easier.

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A Necessary Suffering

crushed from every side

Yesterday I wrote a very brief overview of Richard Rohr’s book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. Basically Rohr says that people first build their identities, then experience a necessary suffering that serves as a crossover, and finally God calls them on to a further journey of faith during the second half of life. Rohr notes that not everyone chooses to move into that further journey, but rather they will spend their lives continually focused on building and maintaining their identities.

Does everyone agree with Rohr’s viewpoint? Probably not, yet it’s worth considering. I would say my own life does fit that pattern.

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A Midlife Crisis

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At last I finished reading Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life1 by Richard Roar. This was the first book I read so far in which the author acknowledges a midlife crisis.

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A Blessing

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Several days ago I wrote about leaving a legacy of a sincere faith, and today my husband shared an article with me from Verge Network that explained how easy that can be.

Dave Ferguson, who wrote Five Ways to Bless Your Neighbors, uses the word bless as an acronym.

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This Season

Look too far ahead or behind, and we risk missing the joy intended for here and now. There’s a certain richness in today that may never be around again.

This may not be your favorite time of year or your favorite stage of life. You may be dreaming of your next season already. Remember to fight that urge. There’s a certain richness in today that may never be around again. A year from now the landscape of life may look very different. Choose to enjoy the little things. Choose to enjoy the loud times or even the sometimes too quiet times. ‘Tis the season … to appreciate where we are, just as we are.

– Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Journal, page 24

A Sincere Faith

As Sophie Hudson opened part three of her book, Giddy Up, Eunice, she pointed out what may be obvious: “Lois and Eunice are mentioned in Scripture for, like, a minute.”

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well (2 Timothy 1:5).

She made two interesting points:

  • We need to embrace the idea of being an older woman (about 40 years old and up).
  • The legacy of these women is their sincere faith.

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No Greater Joy


“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4 | ESV).

I Am an Older Woman

Four Generations of Jesus Followers

“Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior” (Titus 2:3-5 | MSG).

A Secure Future

The gossamer fibers of a milkweed pod represent an end to one growing season and hint at the beginning of a new one.

 

On days when I feel anxious about my future, I go to God’s word. Two passages that author Lysa TerKeurst highlighted in Uninvited have been especially helpful reminders to me of how God loves his children.

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV).

… God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved … (Colossians 3:12 NIV).

When I “live loved,” my worry or fear is replaced with assurance and confidence in God and the sufficientcy of his grace for each moment.

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