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2012/13 • FREE MAGAZINE ISSUE 2

NEVER NEVER GIVE UP

IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL THE BARREN LADY SINGS!

watch this space

Dressing for the

fabulous

SENIOR YEARS

A NEW CAREER AT 80

plus: • What an attitude • Rainmakers • Reflections on being Latera Lifegrandparent July 2011/12 • 1

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from the editor

Editor’s Letter Welcome to our new magazine Later Life which is directed towards Seniors. We are very excited to have the opportunity to offer a wealth of information for those in their later years. This is the time of life when you look forward to doing all those things you have wanted to do but were too busy with work, raising families and all the other pressures of life. It is a time when you can catch up on hobbies, do volunteer work, travel overseas, or even maybe have a career change – ‘it is never too late’. Actually it can be an exciting time of life – enjoy and make the most of it. One thing I

have learnt is that age is totally irrelevant to God. We can keep going with his work until he takes us home. Being a Senior means you have maturity to help younger people, you have experiences in life that you can always remember and pass on to others. Also, you may have grandchildren who you can enjoy and then hand back to the parents! There are some very informative articles in Later Life. We talk about finding your destiny, no matter what age you are; making sure your affairs are in order by making

a will and estate planning; health and fitness; donating and leaving a legacy – in fact a number of interesting topics for you to read and consider the information available. Being a Senior can be an exciting time in life but we need to be fit and healthy to enjoy it and we also need to plan for the future. Enjoy reading our new publication and may God bless you.

Lynn Goldsmith Editor

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www.visioncolleges.net Later Life July 2011/12 • 3

contents

inside this issue... 4 Editor’s Letter 6 Never say never Rivoli Howard’s journey into business - and her excitement and success in her later years 9 It’s not over till the barren woman sings Peter Irvine encourages us to

never give up. Life is not over until the day we leave this earth 12 Watch this space – a new career at 80 You are never too old to work for God. Berni Dymet says we need to think what to do with the golden years

12 15 Dressing for the fabulous senior years Mariela Demetriou has a passion for fashion and has some great advice for being ‘trendy’ in later life 17 The turning point in my life Becoming a missionary in her senior years Terri Bilton has had a very fulfilling life and has loved every moment of it 20 What an attitude Kathryn Johnston tells how we can become positive, motivated and inspired and see the glass ‘half full’ 24 Reflections on being a grandparent The joys and highlights of being a grandparent are reflected on by Jane Jeffery 27 Rainmakers Choe Brereton writes of two senior women who are working to give to those in need – you’re never too old to serve the disadvantaged

12 4 • Later Life July 2011/12

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Later Life July 2011/12 • 5

perseverance

IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL THE BARREN WOMAN SINGS 6 • Later Life July 2011/12

PETER IRVINE encourages us to never give up. Life is not over until the day we die...

S

ing and shout, even though you have never had children! The Lord has promised that you will have more children than someone married for a long time. (Isaiah 54:1 CEV). As we reach the later years of life, there is a mindset in the community, with the media, family and business associates, that it’s all over. Effectively we should ride off into the sunset! Thankfully this is beginning to change these days and certainly, nowhere do I see that this is God’s plan. There is no such thing as retirement in God’s Word. When we finish our career or sell our business, we move on to the next stage in our lives that God has planned for us. Take a look at Caleb in the Old Testament, he was 85 years old when he said to Joshua :

Joshua, it was forty-five years ago that the Lord told Moses to make that promise, and now I am eighty-five. Even though Israel has moved from place to place in the desert, the Lord has kept me alive all this time as he said he would. I’m just as strong today as I was then, and I can still fight as well in battle. So I’m asking you for the hill country that the Lord promised me that day. (Joshua 14:10-12 CEV) He was ready - he was still passionate and still strong. Caleb knew he would still have to conquer the enemy in the land but he was still eager to go in and take it. I only wish I am thinking that way at 85 years of age. God is not finished with us until we are dead!

So how do we conduct business in our later or senior years of our life? Recently when my wife and I were at a Bunnings Warehouse store, we were asking advice from an older part-time staff member who had retired from full time work. He jokingly said that he is back working a couple of days a week because his wife was sick of him being at home. We sensed this wasn’t the only reason since he obviously enjoyed the interaction, meeting and helping people. He admitted that he had retired from a job where he was well paid, and that his salary at Bunnings was only small in comparison, however the two days a week across various shifts kept him alive and active. It gave his life purpose and motivated him. I’m noticing a total change in the community, by government and business, as to the importance of people who have worked for many years. There is a growing trend not to waste their experience and wisdom. It was fashionable for many years to get rid of everyone over 50 and only employ young people. Certainly there are advantages as an employer, but there are also many disadvantages. There was a funny quote that said that ‘employ a teenager while they know everything!’ I believe many employers realize the need for balance in their workforce, I know of some who consistently fill part time positions with semiretired people rather than new recruits. We’ve all heard that age is a mind over matter, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. However we have to be realistic, we don’t always have the same flexibility and mobility depending

on what has happened in our lives. But in the end we still have a lot to contribute. So let me give you just a few ideas of what you can do when one part of your life seems to finish - what you can step into for the next stage of your life. 1. You can actually start a new business or new career. No one says that starting a new business is only for younger people or people in their midyears. In fact, franchising provides the opportunity for people to be able to start a new business in an area where they are passionate or they have always desired to be involved in, a business of their own liking. Many people have worked for years in a job they have not enjoyed, but now have the opportunity to go out, work for themselves, or be in a business where they can be satisfied. Note: You need to understand that a franchise comes with responsibility but at least a lot of the pre-work, branding and support is already in place. 2. You can become an advisor Not only to young people, but also to businesses. You can nominate the hours and what you get paid. And depending on your experience and background, you can offer a lot to companies and businesses that are struggling to move to the next stage in their development. 3. Board members Many senior business people have been able to take up a board position. In some cases they have experience in being a board member, on other cases they don’t. It is however, imporLater Life July 2011/12 • 7

perseverance

God is not finished with you yet – go for it tant to understand the legal responsibility of being a board member on a company. It’s not just an opportunity to turn up and leave and get paid well. There are enormous statuary requirements. ASIC certainly has a lot of firepower when a company is not fulfilling its obligations. A board member is someone that is a key in the firing line. 4. You can serve in your church The church is always in need of good volunteers and this can be across tasks that can include landscaping, cleaning, administrative work, counseling, follow up telephone calls, hospital visits, prayer and encouragement. It can be anything and it starts with your passion or desire and what you believe that God is calling you to do. 5. You can serve the community There are just so many organizations that need volunteers to serve in the community. From home helping, making meals, serving meals, cleaning,

driving people for necessary appointments. In fact there are many ways of serving in the community, even in paid positions. 6. Mentoring Mentoring has a bad connotation to some people. A good mentor is simply an encourager and a resource to help others move forward. If you are a good people-person, you’ve learnt a lot over the years, and you are willing to share and help people avoid the same mistakes that you might have made, then you can be a great mentor. And in many cases you can get that position and be paid for it. So we can serve, support and share our lives and our experiences right to the day we die. You need to remember if you are starting a business, or a new career, whether it is full time or part time, the same principles will apply as for someone who is starting out at a younger age. You need to plan, you need to create balance, you need to have good reporting procedures, and

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8 • Later Life July 2011/12

get a good accountant and lawyer who have good commercial reality in doing business. And you also have to learn to let go. So often when someone starts their own business, they want to become a control freak because they are fearful of what other people may do with their business. I have always said, especially when I speak to groups, that life’s a journey, not a destination. The day we get married, we haven’t arrived, the day we start a job, we haven’t arrived, the day we start a business we haven’t arrived. The same applies to when we start a career or business in our later years. The journey is just continuing. Let me remind you of some of the principles that are applied to building a business, career, family, or starting out in a new direction at some point in your life. 1. You need to lead It’s easy to sit back and say I’ve retired with some good financial backing and suddenly to see it just fritter away because we have forgotten the things we have learnt over the years. We still need to show leadership to make sure the business doesn’t stagnate. 2. You need to develop a plan Even though you are in your later years, you need to plan where you are going with this business or career even if it is only part-time. Where do I want to be in three years with this business? Do I want to grow it to new levels? Am I setting it up to sell it? The principles remain the same. If you simply want something to give you a passive income, you need to understand that there is no such thing as a passive income. If there is income coming in, you need to watch it, you need to plan it, you need to lead and you need to develop. 3. You need to act on your plan;

you need to move towards your success I know there are many business plans that people have developed sitting on the shelf gathering dust, or acting as a paperweight. So act on your plan - develop physical actions to move you forward. 4. Know where you want to go I have already talked about where you want to be in three years, however this is your vision - as part of your plan, you write your vision of where you see this business going and what it needs to be achieving. 5. Be passionate If you are starting a business for any other reason, than being passionate and having a desire to do it, then you’re going to be disappointed and disillusioned. If you are doing something because you think there might be a need, but you have no passion for it, then this will cause problems. I have no passion for IT and computers, even though I need to use them. It is no use me setting up a computer repair business or setting up a website development company or a software development company. Neither of these will excite me and I certainly will not sow everything into them. 6. Stay teachable There is some recent research that has been released that says that at 67yrs of age, most have people have nothing new to say. I think that at 20, 30, 40, and 50 some people have nothing new to say. I was certainly one of those and I have learnt over the years that I need to continually be reading, listening, watching and growing. Why? Because it’s easy to stagnate, become disillusioned, become unhappy and, if you are not learning and growing, life just seems to disappear. God wants us to learn

and grow. When His people settled down, they became disillusioned and did things that they shouldn’t do. He picked them up and moved them on. He knew they needed growth and they needed to conquer. 7. Keep on winning You cannot start a new business or a new career and say ���I am happy where I am.” If the business doesn’t grow, you will be out of business very quickly, because of cost increases and loss of clients. So the business itself needs to grow. If you don’t plan to grow, then don’t start a business. 8. Be generous Even in your later years, we are still required to be successful so that we can be a blessing to other people. This doesn’t change until our life is finished. 9. Build happy relationships Relationships enrich your success, so your family and those close to you – well you need to be building those relationships. It’s no use starting a new business and becoming so busy and tied up that it is wearing you out and you don’t have time to sow into your relationships. 10. Embrace change and innovation One of the things that we like to do is settle down and be comfortable. But business is constantly changing, especially in the way that people communicate with the internet and social media. You need to get your head around it. You don’t have to understand it all, there are many people out there who are very good at doing this, but you do need to know how it can benefit your business. 11. Develop your YES face It’s easy as we get on life, to become grumpy and easily upset by even

minor issues or minor events. So we need to continually get good positive input and mix with encouraging people. 12. Manage opposition and criticism Unfortunately opposition and criticism does not stop the day you get older and start something new, in fact it probably increases. Just understand that when someone is opposing or criticizing you, it means that you are probably taking ground and they don’t like it. There seems to be an attitude from the media, that businesses or churches that are growing and being successful must be doing something wrong. 13. The journey of faith It’s not time to give up your faith in yourself, your business and your career. And it’s not time to give up your faith in God. He is the one who births new ideas in us and creates the passion to do these things. So He is the one we must keep acknowledging. Often when people have had a successful life, they settle back and God ceases to be part of that journey. God is not finished with you yet – go for it.

Peter Irvine www.peterirvine.com Peter is Co-Founder of Gloria Jean’s Coffees, author of ‘Win In Business’ and ‘Building your Business, your People, your Life’ and keynote speaker.

Later Life July 2011/12 • 9

careers

: e c a p s s i h t h c t wa

A NEW CAREER AT 80 You are never too old to work for God BERNI DYMET encourages us to never think of giving up. We need to think what to do with our golden years

I

don’t know if you realise this … in fact, I don’t know if you even want me to tell you this, but retirement is not a biblical concept. By that I mean that you won’t find it in the Bible. There’s nothing in there about amassing a tidy little superannuation fund. There’s nothing in there about doing the grey nomad thing around Australia. And there’s certainly nothing in there about having a nice, comfortable little retirement of pottering around in the garden, playing bridge and drinking lattes. Now some might find all that a little unsettling. A little confronting perhaps. Please don’t misunderstand me though. I’m not saying that any of those things are, in and of themselves, bad things. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have any of those things in our work–life mix as time goes on. But I think that it would be safe to conclude that since they’re not in the Bible, and many other things about what we should be doing with our time are, then having a nice relaxing retirement, just maybe, isn’t the main thing that God has on His mind and in His heart for us. Would that be a safe bet, do you think? Then he said to them all, If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23) 10 • Later Life July 2011/12

I decided then and there as we were singing one of his favourite hymns, that so long as I had breath in me, I would, in word and in deed, be telling people about my Jesus Or try this one on for size (Paul is talking about having a missional focus for our lives): I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short … (1 Cor 7:29) It’s an interesting question isn’t it? What to do with our golden years? After all, most of us have worked hard. Isn’t it time to put our feet up and enjoy those years we have left? My father was in his mid-sixties when he retired. He spent a year or so doing the odd jobs around the house that he’d always been too busy to do. After that, he became intensely bored. So, as a former BHP engineer, he picked up some contracting work with his old employer. First in India! Then in a remote part of northern West Australia. That kept him going for another six or seven years. But when that work finally dried up … so did he. He had nothing to get up for in the mornings. Nothing to live for. He died at age 74. Wherever did we get this idea that retirement is all about us? That retirement is about doing nothing for anyone else and everything for us. Perhaps that’s why there are so many lonely people around in this world. Let me introduce you to a man who started a brand new career when he was eighty. That’s right. Brand new. Something he’d never done before. A role as a significant national leader, in one of the most difficult times ever for his nation. God called him to take on an intractable problem. To confront a

foreign leader. And to lead his fellow countrymen and women to a new land. Of course, I’m talking about Moses. As a child and young man, he’d grown up in Pharaoh’s household in Egypt, adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. Then one day, he saw an Egyptian mistreating a fellow Hebrew and killed him. Killing an Egyptian was mildly problematic, so he became a fugitive and found himself in a place called Midian, where he was tending his father–in–law’s sheep. How old was Moses when God came knocking on his door? About eighty. Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. (Exodus 3:1) So here was Moses, this burnt out old wreck. He’d fallen from being the golden child in Pharaoh’s house, to fugitive tending some sheep. Not even out in the wilderness, but – notice what it says here – beyond the wilderness. He couldn’t have been further away from his glory days. What a failure he must have felt like, out there in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of stupid, stinking sheep. Plenty of time to think. Plenty of time to mull over past regrets. A nobody in the middle of nowhere, when once he’d been a somebody who lived in great privilege and comfort at the centre of the seat of power of the known world. “Poor old me,” he must have Later Life July 2011/12 • 11

careers

thought to himself, tending those lousy sheep. And God comes to him with a plan. Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey …The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:7–10) There it is. The call of God to Moses, from a life of obscurity and insignificance, to a life of fame as the new, national leader of God’s chosen people. Now you’d think at this point that Moses would be jumping at this call up, wouldn’t you? I mean what a job! What an opportunity! Where do I sign up – right? But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) Moses was reluctant. Moses was enjoying a quiet, safe little retirement. Moses didn’t want to be bothered with something difficult and challenging and dangerous. In fact if you read on over the next chapter or two in the book of Exodus, you’ll find that Moses had plenty more excuses for God. And as God addressed each objection, Moses came up with another one, until he kind of ran out and he just went with his catch–all, bottom line, pathetic … O my Lord, please send someone else. (Exodus 4:13) What was God’s response? Oh Moses, I understand. You just want to live out your quiet, safe little retirement through to the end. Not a problem. 12 • Later Life July 2011/12

Sorry to have disturbed you. I’ll just go find someone else. Is that how God responded? Not on your nelly! Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses … (Exodus 4:14) And the rest, as they say, is history. Moses spent the next forty years, leading a grumbling, complaining, ungrateful people through the wilderness, to the threshold of the Promised Land. Moses spent his retirement becoming one of the greatest leaders that the nation of Israel has ever had. My point dear friend is this. You and I are never too old to lead a life of significance. Age is never an excuse for taking down our shingle, and letting the people of this lost and hurting world go to hell. You have abilities and experience and wisdom that are unique in this world. And you have a God who has planned a whole new life of significance for you to live out for His glory. For you are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do the good works that he prepared beforehand for you to walk into. (Ephesians 2:10) There are people around you who desperately need what you have. There are people who are in oppression, in misery … and your God has heard their cry. He has a plan, and if we’ll only listen to Him, He won’t be long about sharing that plan with us. The one who would live a vibrant, exciting faith, a life where the power of God is manifest before their very eyes, is the one who goes to Him and pleads: Oh Lord – show me where you want me to go, what you want me to do, what sacrifices you want me to make, what risks you want me to take so that the name of Jesus would be lifted up in this world! Oh Lord, wherever you call me and whatever it will cost me, I want to go. Give me the courage; fill me with your Spirit.

Show me where and how and when I can lose my life for you dear Jesus, in order that I might find it. Start praying prayers like that my friend and I guarantee God won’t take long to answer you. Let me introduce you to Eric Sheehan. He was a long time, faithful supporter of our ministry. In his early nineties, he moved into a nursing home. Within weeks he’d organised a young man from his church to go out and buy a laptop for him and set up an internet connection so that he could receive our ministry updates. He was constantly ringing tour office, ordering books and CDs and other material for that man in the other bed who needs to know Jesus … for that woman in the room next door who desperately needs Jesus. It’s something he was doing right up until the week before he went to be with the Lord. Eric was a great inspiration to me. He still is. And sitting there at his funeral, I came do a decision. I knew that one day my body wouldn’t work quite as well as it used to. Of course that happens eventually. But I decided that I wanted to be like Eric. I decided then and there as we were singing one of his favourite hymns, that so long as I had breath in me, I would, in word and in deed, be telling people about my Jesus. That’s my plan. So … what’s yours?

Berni Dymet is the CEO and Bible teacher of the Australian based, global media ministry Christianityworks. Each week over 40 million people in 160 countries listen to the radio programs that he produces. You can chat with him on his blog at adifferentperspective.org of follow him on Twitter @bernidymet.

Read Christian Woman online or pick up your copy in any Koorong store across Australia absolutely FREE!

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fashion

Dressing for the

fabulous senior years

14 • Later Life July 2011/12

Mariela Demetriou has a passion for fashion and has some great advice for being ‘trendy’ in later life

A

t the risk of sounding like a ‘young’ fashion snob, there sadly seems to be somewhat a lack of inspiration when it comes to gleaning from our older women in the fashion forward department. Clearly I cannot judge, as I am yet to experience the body changes that occur to women of a certain age, I also am yet to juggle looking after grand-children let alone the headaches that come with worrying about adult children! Today as I reflect on creating style for older women, it got me thinking about some of my favourite stylish women who I believe do it well. I pulled out some of my inspirational cut-outs in my fashion files of women who give us younger women some hope (yes, I have a file on aging fabulous). I stumbled on an article written on one of my personal favourite fashion icons, Iris Apfels, the New York socialite whose sense of style is a little on the eccentric side, but completely mezmerizing and just beautiful in my opinion. Iris has had a series of exhibitions of her clothes and jewellery over the years and despite turning 90, it would seem there is no sign of her toning things down anytime soon. The article has her featured in a sorbet green sweater with layers of gold and green costume jewellery, with a belted high-waisted super wide pant in a neutral tone and about a thousand bracelets on each arm. Her chic shortcropped pixie hair in platinum silverwhite looks stunning against her bright

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fitness

Create your own style, your own look and don’t settle for average. We need more brave women to pioneer the streets of style for the next generation orange toned lips. Hailed as one of New York’s hippest women, her response to be being asked about her style inspiration is simply “I can’t tell people how to have style. No amount of money can buy you style. It’s instinctive.” And whilst we can all agree that it’s ‘what’s on the inside that counts’; absolutely, but at what point did women decide that the outside got tossed out the window? It all matters. We may not all aspire to be the next Iris Apfels but aren’t the glory years supposed to mean that they are lived with courage, zeal and vigour without the hang-ups on the ridiculous body-image pressures we put on ourselves in our 30’s?? My point here is, take a few risks when it comes to fashion. Stop playing it safe. Stop dressing like a daggy granny (if you do!). I can appreciate that many style options come down to comfort and fit, but please stop forfeiting style along the way. My mother went into my daughter’s third grade class to teach the girls the art of embroidery with a few other grandmothers the other day. Apparently all the girls whispered to my daughter Siena, “That can’t be your nana…. She looks too young to be your nana…. Wow, your nana is just beautiful.” Yes, my mother is a ‘young’ grandmother – she is 64 and she looks amazing. She walks every day, does pilates, eats well, keeps busy and has an exquisite wardrobe that I like to visit every now and then. We didn’t grow up with loads of money, being new Australians, but I distinctly remember my mother only owned a handful of dresses in her wardrobe, but gosh they were beautiful. She always used to tell me that she’d rather save up for an eye-catching well-made dress out of beautiful fabric than waste her 16 • Later Life July 2011/12

money on something that was cheap looking and badly made. A piece of advice I still use today. My mother has all the elegant classic staple pieces; a slim pant, a cashmere cardigan, a caramel coloured fitted leather jacket, a crisp white shirt, her special day dresses in various silks and cottons and an array of chic ballet flats that has her running around at lightning speed. Somehow she always manages to look like she has just stepped out of a fashion shoot. She washes things by hand, keeps her shoes in boxes (and dusts them before placing them back in the shoe bag), her make-up consists of lipstick and mascara, but somehow her skin glows and her smile is radiant. When I asked her what her secret was she laughed and said, “There is no secret, I just don’t stop trying.” Ah! I love that… the key is simple DON’T STOP TRYING. Don’t dress like it doesn’t matter, don’t stop grooming, don’t stop buying the beautiful fabrics and under-garments, look after yourself, take some pride and make the time to think about what you will wear. So while it may seem that stores are packed with ‘youthful’ clothes, you can still find fresh, current looks that can work for you. Create your own style, your own look and don’t settle for average. Life in your glory days should resonate just that! We need more brave women to pioneer the streets of style for the next generation. My Do’s & Don’ts for 50+ women: Do 1. Choose the classics (shirtdress, trench coats, pea jackets, slim pants, crisp white shirt) now is the time to invest in ‘investment’ pieces as well as on-trend pieces to

highlight an outfit. 2. Costume jewellery is amazing, although nothing ‘blingy’ unless you’re related to Kanye West. 3. Have FUN, take some risk and if you can’t trust your own style instinct, ask for help from someone’s style you admire. Don’t 1. Don’t wear baggy, shapeless clothing 2. Leave the floral prints for the kids in the Sound of Music 3. Don’t always think you have to cut your hair short. A chic pony tail or blow-dry sans the over-done coiffed hair-spray look. 4. Don’t dress from another era where you thought you last looked good. The 70’s had its moment, move forward. 5. Keep away from the twin-set – the matching top and cardi, it’s so aging. 6. Suits need to fit well not make you look boxy and uncomfortable. Invest in a well fitted suit ala YSL. 7. Mix textures: fur, leather especially with all black or cream can go nicely. 8. Keep make-up clean, avoid blues and greys on the eyes. Keep it fresh and simple. Invest in good hydrating face products instead.

Mariela Demetriou Mariela Demetriou has over 15 years in the fashion industry, most recently as Brand - Global, for Akira Isogawa. A pioneer of luxury brands into the Australian market, by launching key international luxury brands into the Australian market. She was part of the small team that started the Charlie Brown label, a successful Australian brand to this day.

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Later Life July 2011/12 • 17

adventure

The TURNING POINT in my life With God age is no barrier. He wants to use us in every way and life can always be exciting when we follow Him. TERRI BILTON became a missionary in her senior years and has had a very fulfilling life and has loved every moment of it‌ as she explains.

A

fter a full career as a nurse/midwife, raising four sons and a broken 30 year marriage, I had no idea what the future held. As a Christian I really believed that God had a plan and a purpose for my life even though I was entering the autumn end of my life. In 1996 a young couple from my church asked me to join them in Papua New Guinea to help them restart a bush hospital which had been run down. For a few days I kept telling myself NO! This is not for me. The thought however would not go away, and finally I told them I would help them but only for six months. These six months were to be the start of the change in my life. The journey from Auckland New Zealand to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea was long but relatively uneventful, apart from having to lighten my baggage at Auckland airport. However when I reached Port Moresby, one of my bags did not turn up until the next day. The beginning of my need to trust God. Looking back on the events which got me to Papua New Guinea, and the six month stay there, I see what God started to do right from the beginning. He was making me learn to trust Him no matter what I was going through. The next day I flew out of Port Moresby on a 10 seater plane filled with all kinds of people and live chickens. I was the only white person! We landed 18 • Later Life July 2011/12

on a grass air strip in Baimuni. The next leg of the journey to Kapuna hospital where I was to learn a little about medical problems which were prominent in Papua New Guinea was a one hour ride in a canoe. No water to drink but my first taste of coconut milk. Gorgeous! The welcome at the hospital was lovely, garlands of flowers around my neck and beautiful hibiscus flowers and a note of welcome on my bed. A great start! The month I spent at Kapuna Hospital was a big learning curve which helped me so much when I finally arrived at Kikori Hospital. Fortunately for me I had family and friends praying for me as I became involved in the biggest challenge I have ever had. God always provides support when you walk the road He has asked you to. The hospital in Kikori was dirty, muddy, and hopelessly disorganized. You would not believe the conditions. Lack of equipment, filth and a general hopeless atmosphere! We had no doctors - laboratory, xray equipment and medication was very low too. Lots of potential for improvement! Ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes and tiny little flies, were all a problem

because they got into almost everything. Rats figure largely in that world also. Cleaning up the maternity labour departments was a task with no cloths or mops so we used coconut shells. Worked well! The clean-up took about three days. The two National nurses who helped me were lovely and the atmosphere was very good. They worked hard but were a bit anxious that I was scrubbing, cleaning and fetching buckets of water with them. Apparently Papua New Guinea leaders only give orders. They eventually realized I was not going to give up. People in the area heard that there was help available in the hospital after more than a couple of years, so they started to come and check us out, especially the women having babies. My job was to run the obstetric department and oversee the general wards when needed.

The number of nurses was low so I sometimes had to work alone which was difficult - not being able to speak the language. Expressing and talking with your hands and face works quickly when nothing else works. Antenatal sessions, deliveries and postnatal mothers and babies checkups, began quickly! When we decided to start an immunisation project for the babies and infants, we did not expect much to happen for a while because most of the people had to come to us by canoe, and we had only put out a local notice. What a thrill it was to see 30 women and their children waiting for the clinic to open. How they knew we never found out. God does do some amazing things! The general part of the hospital was very busy too, and God started to teach me that if I listened and trusted Him, He would see me through. A woman who was having a fit, was

brought to the outpatient department. None of her relatives spoke English, Pidgeon or any of the languages most of the nurses spoke. Eventually a boy about 10 years old told us that his sister had not taken her medicine. It turned out that she was an epileptic. A few weeks into my time in Kikori I was checking some antenatal women, when suddenly there was a great commotion outside the wards. There had been a domestic dispute between two brothers fighting about their father’s gun! The daughter of one of them went to her father’s aid and got soundly thrashed in the process. She had been beaten with a canoe paddle, and needed stitches to two wounds on her head. One of her arms was very swollen and bruised but not broken. Her father also needed stitches to his head wound. After searching around we finally came up with equipment which would do the work even though it was not

quite what I knew I would be used to back home. It was a challenge to fix up the wounds because the only suturing I had done before was in the obstetric field! That afternoon I did a round on the TB ward. A four year old boy with TB was all skin and bones, and losing weight fast. His arms and legs were like match sticks, and he could not stand by himself. He had the loveliest eyes, and was so patient and untroubled. Seeing him lying on his floor mattress so quietly, touched my heart. I asked his parents if I could pray for him. They consented and bowed their heads while I prayed. As soon as I started I was overwhelmed by the need to cry. I could hardly get the words out of my mouth. The strength of the presence of God was amazing. After the time of prayer we came up with an idea which I am sure God gave us. Little Thomas needed some strong food to build him up. Peanut butter came to mind and we knew we could get it as much as we needed. Peanut butter is high in protein and it worked. In a few weeks Thomas had grown significantly and was standing by himself. Eventually his health improved enough for his family to take him home. Lots of rejoicing! Another day of learning! A small boy with a cut hand needed help. He had chopped the top of his thumb and nearly severed the index finger on the same hand. He was so good for such a young child. The only time he complained was when I put the local anaesthetic in his hand. That was very painful for him. The finger was not quite so bad but needed aligning and suturing. There was so much need for doctors. With so much lack of experience in those difficult cases I was learning fast that prayer was vital in those situations. God was teaching me to trust Him, especially listening to and obeying that still small voice. I would ask Him for wisdom and direction, and nearly always it was there for me. So many sad things happened which were cultural, and for me unexpected.

Later Life July 2011/12 • 19

optimism

The time in Papua New Guinea was the beginning of a 10 year journey doing things I never thought I could or would ever do. It totally changed my life, and showed me that old age is no problem for God. A middle aged man was admitted with an asthma attack. He was stabilized quickly and kept overnight just to see how he was coping. Early the next morning a group of about 20 men arrived and told everyone that the man was going to die because he had been cursed. They had come to mourn with him.Three hours later he went totally berserk smashed windows and furniture. It took four men to hold him down. They laid him on his bed, and he died. It is quite amazing how people in Papua New Guinea believe in what they call ‘The pay-back system’. You or your father/mother could have upset or hurt someone. If they cannot get you at once, they will do it later. Sometimes it is a generation later. There is great conflict between Christian and old ways.You read about these things but you never expect to

actually see it happen. So many things God put me through but He was there to help me when I put my trust in Him. I was up three times one night to suture a child’s foot, incised a breast abscess and deal with an incomplete abortion. The abortion was a 20 week pregnancy, bleeding lightly and when I examined her the baby was almost out of the uterus, in the bag and complete. So no on-going problems! God kept things going so well in everything that was taking place. My time in Papua New Guinea was the turning point in my walk with God. He filled my heart with a need to do whatever He wanted me to do. It showed me that when God puts you on the path He has for you, He gives you the skills you need at that time to bring glory to Him, and accomplish all that He requires of you.

Miracles happen when God wants them, and you know it is Him and not you who brings healing, both physically and spiritually into your life or another person’s life. When I returned to New Zealand He gave me time to heal old wounds, restored me in so many ways. Looking back on that time of refreshing I realized that I needed it before taking on the challenges God gave me when I joined Mercy Ships International in 2000. The time in Papua New Guinea was the beginning of a 10 year journey doing things I never thought I could or would ever do. It totally changed my life, and showed me that old age is no problem for God. Ps. 92 v 12-15 Terri Bilton

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optimism

What an

attitude Do you love being around positive people, those who have a great attitude? KATHRYN JOHNSTON tells how we can become positive, motivated and inspired and see the glass ‘half full’.

Y

es, we all have it – attitude! No, it is not a new virus but it could be catching and there are two strains: an optimistic attitude and a pessimistic attitude. An attitude is something we cultivate in our lives and the lives of others. Attitude is the way we construct our thinking, emotions and actions about life experiences, essentially it is how we view life itself. Our world view can be hard-wired in us through education and socialisation and influenced by teachers, parents, relatives and friends – the world around us. Do you have an optimistic or pessimistic outlook on life and life’s circumstances? Is attitude a learned behaviour and if so, is it possible to change? Perhaps at times it may be necessary to change because a pessimistic attitude will make a

difference to how you cope and manage life. Also it will have an effect on your enjoyment of life and the joy you give to others. If you had a choice would you spend your time with people who are negative or with those who are positive and encouraging – despite life’s circumstances? My preference is to spend as much time with those who see the glass ‘half full’ rather than ‘half empty’. Those who have a positive outlook are inspirational, they lift our spirits, they give us energy and when needed they restore our enthusiasm for life. I have found people with an optimistic attitude are the givers, those with pessimistic are the takers. Sadly pessimists rob themselves of the best life has to give, extracting the joy from their life and others along

the way. It is like taking marrow from the bones. Healthy bone marrow will release mature blood cells into the blood stream when they are required for a healthy functioning body. When a person has an optimistic attitude, it is like marrow to their bones. It produces a healthy, positive and cheerful person and they become a source of encouragement for others. In my view this is a well-adjusted person – someone I like to be around, someone who builds up the body of Christ. A positive attitude gives you latitude. An optimistic and encouraging attitude is beneficial for yourself and others; it can rejuvenate a marriage, a family, a group of Christians, a church community and it can provide healing to dry or pessimistic bones. An optimistic attitude provides the Later Life July 2011/12 • 21

retirement

Attitude is the way we construct our thinking, emotions and actions about life experiences, essentially it is how we view life itself nourishment or marrow for the bones – for living a fruitful and successful life. In Ezekiel 37 there is a prophecy about the valley of the dry bones. All that was left of the house of Israel was dried bones – they had lost hope and were separated from one another. This is what happens to us as Christians if we allow ourselves to live in a space dominated by pessimism. After a while we lose hope, people are not attracted to us and when believers separate themselves from other Christians they lose the moisture and life from their bones – all that is left is dried up emotions and infertile thinking. The end result is that the joy is extracted from their life – totally devoid of marrow and flesh – they become a walking skeleton. It is time to revive If you are in the habit of making negative statements and thinking negative thoughts it is time to reinvigorate and nourish your life. If you are thinking, “I will never amount to anything in life” or “I always seem to miss out on a promotion” or “Why do bad things always happen to me?” then you are seeing the glass as ‘half empty’ and perhaps you need a new pair of ‘looking glasses’ to see the world and your life in a different way. A negative or pessimistic attitude limits your potential and life can go in reverse. There is no latitude or opportunity for life to be different; you are on the downhill run and oblivious to the benefits of an optimistic attitude and outlook on life. What do you do next? Take time out to revive and 22 • Later Life July 2011/12

identify at least one positive aspect of your situation. Let the negatives go and concentrate on the positives! If you resist doing this you deny yourself the opportunity to exploit your potential; to make your life better; to enjoy the benefits of joyful living – all found in a positive attitude. Having a positive attitude inspires others People who live within the sphere of an optimistic attitude encourage others; their attitude is expressed in positive thinking, positive emotions and actions. This type of person always looks on the bright side of life. When you find a person with an optimistic attitude you will find a person who accepts the situation, re-evaluates and has an attitude of gratitude, despite the way things turn out in their lives. On top of this they generate hope in the lives of others when things are not going as well as expected. A positive attitude allows the Spirit of God to work in our lives. Similarly, in Ezekiel’s prophecy it was the Spirit of God that gave life to the dry bones. Cultivating optimism in our lives Optimism is infectious, so choose to spend time with people who are positive and inspiring. If you find you share your life with people who are negative and/or you struggle to gain or retain a positive attitude, then exploring the principles found in the Bible will help. Psalm 118:24 reminds us to rejoice in the day that the Lord has made. Again, in Romans 5:3-5 we are encouraged to give thanks in all circumstances. Even though we experience trials and tribulations we are still to rejoice. The basic meaning of the word to rejoice is gil (pronounced geel) and it means to be jubilant, ‘to spin around’. If we praise God and give thanks he will elevate us about our roubles. Praising God in

difficult circumstances is an expression of trusting God; an expression of faith in God; and a declaration of victory. A victorious person is not pessimistic but optimistic, a person with this attitude always holds on to and hopes for a great future – after all it is a promise from god. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares he Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11). If you have doubts – perhaps just a little bit of pessimism about the benefits of having an optimistic attitude, be positive; cultivate it, do it anyway! The following poem is sourced from a sign in Mother Teresa’s children’s home of Shushu Bhavan, Calcutta India. The author is unknown. Do It Anyway People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centred LOVE THEM ANYWAY If you do good people accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives DO GOOD ANYWAY If you are successful, you win false and true enemies SUCCEED ANYWAY The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow DO GOOD ANYWAY Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight BUILD ANYWAY People really need help but may attack you if you help them HELP PEOPLE ANYWAY Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU’VE GOT ANYWAY Kathryn Johnston

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superannuation

The joys of being a grandparent are reflected on by JANE JEFFERY

T

he sky is blue the air is warm and the sun is shining a perfect autumn day in Sydney. We are heading off on an adventure. It is the Thursday before Easter and the last day of the school term - we are going to grandparent’s day. This is the day when grandparents, grand friends and great grandparents are invited to visit their grandchildren’s class rooms at school. We will be entertained and served morning tea. There will be hugs and kisses excited smiles and gifts made by the children to mark the occasion. There are only three classrooms to visit this year. Our eldest grandson turned thirteen this year and started high school; grandparents are not invited to the high school. It would not be practical to have visitors wandering through the school. As well as being embarrassing to many of the students! Relationships have to be built up in the early years and it is important to know where, when and how to interact with them as teenagers. . The entertainment prepared for us is a reflection on what grandparents mean to grandchildren. It also shows us the variety of activities, interests and talents that the grandparents have. Grandparents are just as varied as any other part of God’s creation. It just happens that in addition to all the other things they do they are the parents of parents. As part of the baby boomer generation the most frequent response to our children announcing that they are to become parents is, “I don’t feel old enough.” We cope when our children are leaving school and getting married. These are in many ways a time of liberation. Responsibilities are complete 24 • Later Life July 2011/12

and to a large extent, we are free from the financial burden of raising children. As our children reach their adult years they no longer need the supervision and protection they did when they were young. We are free to travel try new experiences and even change career direction. The current generation of grandparents are fitter, healthier, better educated and for the mast part, more financially secure than previous generations. Thus they have more interests to pursue and there are more opportunities. The realisation that they are to become grandparent comes as a shock. Thoughts invariably go to one’s own grandparents. Oh dear! They seemed so old. Am I really that old? We ask ourselves. This was not the evidence I saw at grandparent’s day. It was not the reflections of the poems, stories songs and the artwork that had been prepared to entertain us. The evidence was that grandparents participate as fully in life as they did before that fateful announcement was made! They still go out each day and do important work, enjoy sports and hobbies. They are funny, serious, encouraging and supportive. They have practiced on their grandchildren’s parents so they know what they are talking about. At least they think they do. It is grandparents who can create many of the lasting and meaningful memories of the childhood. This doesn’t mean that they have to spend vast amounts of money. Memories and relationships cannot be bought. It is the quality of the time that builds which lasts. The hugs and words of assurance and encouragement are a lasting

Reflections

on being a

The current generation of grandparents are fitter, healthier, better educated and for the mast part, more financially secure than previous generations. Thus they

grandparent

influence. We never know what influence we will have on those young lives. Skills and interests stored enrich their lives and widen experience. We started attending a new church after moving to a new state. After the service we spoke to the pastor. As part of that conversation we discovered that we had known his grandparents many years ago. They had taken him to Sunday School as a child. We don’t always have such a profound influence on our grand children. But we can and must support their parents to help ensure that our grandchildren grow to be all God created them to be. As my thoughts return to grandparents’ day it is clear from what the children say, that grandparents have a special role to play. Our stories give these young people a sense of belonging and an understanding of their heritage. Tales of our childhood and their parent’s younger years amuse and engage their imagination. Telling them about what their parents did when they were growing up can ease the sadness when that parent is away from home for a time. The last class we visit is that of the six year olds, our youngest grandson. The smile of welcome is bright and warm; he is excited to show us his books, his works and the class fish. This morning he sat on my bed while I helped him put his shoes and socks on but he is still excited to see me in his class room. As I walked through the car park on our way home a familiar voice calls out, “Bye Janie.” I go over to say good bye and he kisses his fingers and puts then thought the fence to touch my lips. We solve the problem of not feeling old enough to be grandparents by being called by our names. We don’t need a title to feel special about our relationship or to let them know that they are special. I tell people that we don’t use the G word. “I will see you later you love.” There will be fresh baked muffins for afternoon tea. Jane Jeffery M Ed

Later Life July 2011/12 • 25

rainmakers

CHOE BRERETON writes of two senior women who are working to give to those in need – you’re never too old to serve the disadvantaged

26 • Later Life July 2011/12

charity

L

ast time I sat holding my grandmother’s hand, she would have been over 100 years old. My mother said they had stopped counting long ago. “She’s definitely over 105,” Mum told me. “Maybe 110!” By then, her eyes were diming. She could see shapes, but no detail. Her mind on the other hand, was still as sharp as steel, and though she mostly sat in her chair and listened, her growing frailty never compelled her to turn anyone away. So much of what I’d heard about Grandma revolved around her generosity. She dominated her close community as only a woman intent on bringing change could. Clothes. Food. Nothing she worked for was ever hers to keep. Generosity was what it was—loving others sometimes meant sacrifice. The significance of living open-handedly couldn’t always be rationalised to those who asked why she did it. Instead, my grandmother led by example. She nourished those in her surrounds like rain nourishes a desert. On the day we arrived, neighbourhood children still wandered her home. I shook hands with grownups she had taken in; harried individuals who weren’t relatives or even close friends. They had come for help and, as much as she could, Grandma helped them. I don’t think she was ever wealthy, but she had so much of everything I couldn’t really tell. Generosity was a perpetual thing to her, as was love. The real thing I mean. The sort that raised dissatisfaction in her the moment she saw something wrong or unfair—a love that always drove her to action. Interestingly, only a few days after thinking back on such a woman of substance, I was uncannily introduced to two more. In much the same way my grandmother did, they too bring

hope and life to others—like desert rain. Helen Helen Bawden is a Queenslander in her sixties who cleans houses to fund a cause she so passionately believes in. She walks with purpose and talks in much the same way; no waffling or confusion of words, just plain speak and sweet honesty. I know little of her initial story; what drew her so deeply to children in poverty. Yet so far, her devotion has found a way to encourage and nurture several of them through an organization she backs wholeheartedly. Helen was introduced to Compassion more than 30 years ago—a ministry that partners with local churches in developing countries to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. What she earns she donates to their work, and to the children and students she personally supports through their programs. “I’d only ever seen Compassion’s programs on paper,” she says, “and I supported them, and was happy with them.” But then a rare opportunity presented itself; a chance to see firsthand what she was convinced of in theory. In 2010, Helen boarded a plane to Uganda as a witness to Compassion’s work, and to see the impact its programs had on one particular individual: Isaac. A university student she had sponsored for almost four years, a soul she had cherished and cared for in an almost maternalistic way, and now, a figure of success only a few days from graduating. “I had been nervous about meeting Isaac for the first time,” she said. “Would the bear hug I usually give my sons be considered inappropriate?” But then she watched him approach—tall, beaming, impeccably

Instead, my grandmother led by example. She nourished those in her surrounds like rain nourishes a desert

turned out in his graduation uniform—and her concerns gave way to instinct. She ran to him, just as she would one of her own sons, wanting only to assure him of her deep affection and love for him. He had grown up so beautifully despite a challenging start to life. “It was the most overwhelming, wonderful experience,” she says. “We just gelled. This trip confirmed everything that I believed and knew about the programs, but had never seen in operation. The images will never leave me. They will stay with me forever. I can’t go home and back to cleaning houses and just forget that these people exist. Never! They’ll be even more burned into my heart now that I have been there and seen it with my own eyes.” Knowing that what you do matters can only be surpassed, I suppose, by seeing that what you do matters. Helen still cleans houses so that Compassion can continue to assist children in poverty all over the world. Isaac alone is proof that her efforts are worth it—once a retiring boy, now a confident young man; once a child in poverty, now an adult released from poverty in Jesus’ name. Wyn Winifred Finlayson—known to most Later Life July 2011/12 • 27

charity

as Wyn—lives in Perth. Though they know nothing of each other, both Wyn and Helen relate in two crucial ways: they both believe in the work of Compassion, and they both use what is naturally inherent to raise funds for the organisation and the children they personally sponsor. In Wyn’s case, her craft is a fragrant and delicious one. In her orderly home, at one end of a room with striped wallpaper, a pair of dark cupboards opens to reveal marmalades, jams and chutneys; dozens of them stacked jar upon jar. Wyn’s mother used to make jams, ‘melon and lemon’, and ‘lemon and ginger’. Now Wyn makes them. “They are old-fashioned jams,” she says, fingers idling on a shelf. “You young people don’t know about them but they’re lovely.” She smiles. They are indeed lovely, marked with homemade labels and capped with white and yellow lids. Both Wyn and her jams look like they belong in a classic English tea house, among scones and cream and delicate china teacups. Her hair, snow white and wavy, looks like a well-defined cloud and when she laughs, her gentle eyes nearly disappear. At one point she starts to talk about her ‘two boys’—the motivation for all the jam making—recounting with lucidity what the funds she has so far raised have been able to achieve. “I sell my jams for Compassion,” Wyn begins. “I have my two boys, one in Uganda and one in Bangladesh. The money I raise makes such a difference to their lives. [In Uganda, my boy’s] mother used to sell little pieces of toasted corn in the markets to feed five children. With the $100 [I contributed] she started her own business. They’ve built a room on their house—they had a one room house—and the second room they’ve let out so there’s more income coming 28 • Later Life July 2011/12

into the house. First thing my boy in Bangladesh bought was a toilet. They’ve bought beds too. What I’m really pleased about is that the father bought tree seedlings. That’s looking to the future. They’ll use it for wood or making furniture later on.” “It’s not much,” she continues. Then adds, “Just a $100”, as if to play down the importance of her contribution. It’s pretty obvious though, that her statement is not about underplaying anything. What Wyn understands that many still don’t, is that a little really does go a long way in breaking the back of poverty. Selling jam may not always rake it in, but it certainly makes an unimaginable difference in the lives of benefactors like ‘her boys’. And, for every $100 worth of jam she sells, Wyn also donates an additional $100 to Compassion’s Child Survival Program, which specifically aims to prevent premature death in babies, secure good health and enable positive development in young children, while offering critical assistance to their mothers. She concludes beautifully by saying: Poverty is what they fight against, a condition that can so often look like an underfed beast—hungry, growling, invincible. But Wyn, Helen, and so many others like them have decided to take a stance. They are rainmakers to those they reach out to, nourishing and growing them little by little. Like my grandmother, they may not be overtly wealthy, but nevertheless they choose to use what they have— what’s in their hand. Isaac’s life has been forever changed, as has the life of every child Wyn and Helen have sponsored, are sponsoring, and may one day sponsor through Compassion. Choe Brereton Compassion Australia

Let your compassion live on Australians are some of the most generous people in the world. Almost three in four of us support charities in our lifetime. We hold morning teas. Shave our heads. Run marathons. Dress in red. Bake cakes. Hike thousands of kilometres. And all in the name of lending a helping hand. But when it comes to remembering charities in our Wills, most of us don’t do it. In fact, only seven per cent of Australians leave a gift to charity in their Will. You might be thinking that’s because only rich people leave money to charity when they die. Actually, most bequests are made by ordinary, hardworking people who want their life’s legacy to have a meaningful impact. Melbourne anaesthetist, Ranu Basu, sponsored several children with Compassion throughout her lifetime, but when she passed away, her bequest impacted thousands—it was enough to give 66,000 African children malaria nets, or 50 Leadership Development students the opportunity to achieve a tertiary education. Compassion, phone 1300 22 44 53 or email bequests@ compassion.com.au

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Later Life Magazine 2012