Rowan Senior Savvy October 2023

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Recently, my wife and I witnessed something that really touched our hearts. It was the type of thing the reinstills the hope that there is still good people in this world. People that care about others, sometimes even before themselves. This is such a moment.

A few weeks ago, I was waiting in my car for my wife, what else is new, while she went into Walmart to pick up a few things. Not a big list, just a few things so I knew, or hoped, it wouldn’t be too long. After a while, she came out with the shopping cart, and as soon as I saw her face, I knew something had happened.

She looked just a little different. I said, ”What’s wrong?”

She pointed at a man who was walking towards his car, and I expected to hear something that was going to get me angry and make my Italian temper take off.

I said, “Yeah, what happened?”

She told me that after the clerk finished ringing her up, and she was going through her purse to take out the money to pay, that the man who I was looking at all of a sudden said to the cashier, “I’ll pay for that”. My wife looked at him and said, “What?” He proceeded to pay the cashier. My wife asked him why he did that, and he just said, “ I like to do that once in a while, it makes me feel good”). My wife couldn’t

thank him enough and he just smiled and said, “ Pay it forward to someone else”. If we all would do that, this world would be a whole lot nicer. As nice as that was, it’s not the moment I’m talking about.

Well, a few months went by, and I couldn’t get that out of my mind. One day after that, my wife and I stopped by a KFC to get a bite to eat. As we were eating, I was looking out the window at a man, his wife, and their two children. Nice looking family, he and his wife looked like they were in their thirties or early forties. Clean, and neat looking family. Unfortunately, he was holding a sign asking for a little help moneywise. It really

bothered my wife and I that we were sitting there pigging out, and there was a family in need, asking for help. I knew why he picked that spot, because they were hungry. I looked at my wife and said, “Time to pay it forward”. I went up to the counter, ordered a bucket of 20 pieces of chicken, fries, mashed potatoes, cold slaw and corn, and four sodas. I brought it back to a table and set up everything. Then I went Continued on page 2

The phone message sounded urgent. “Please return my call right away. I need your help.” Aunt Ider always calls on me when she needs something or is in a jam, Though she is not blood kin, she has been a close “member” of my family for a very long time. It’s almost always impossible to say “no” to her. She is a sweet quirky little southern “ball of fire” who loves most humans as well as many of God’s other creatures. If you are brave enough to ask her age, she will just smile and tell you, “somewhere between eighty two and the “omega”.

I returned her call and agreed to meet her at her home that afternoon. She wouldn’t tell me or even give me a clue as to why she was so anxious to talk to me. She just said that it was very, very important and needed my attention forthwith.

Upon arrival, I stumbled over Noodles and almost fell on the steps leading up to her front porch. Noodles didn’t care. He just stretched, yawned and laid back down in his spot. Noodles was one of the shelter cats that Aunt Ider had adopted and

was very lazy and very spoiled. There was a note taped on the front door that instructed me to enter and “make myself at home”.

It had been quite a while since I had visited Aunt Ider and I stared in amazement as I stepped into the front room of her quaint personal museum. There was a montage of pictures, sayings and quotes over all four walls. Some were neatly framed and mounted while others were just haphazardly tacked or taped.

I spied two items in the collection that I had given to her at some point. One was a quote that read, “You Come From Dust. You Will Return to Dust. That’s Why I Don’t Dust…It Could Be Someone I Know”. The other was my very favorite true saying, “Jesus Knows Me. This I Love”. A string of white blinking lights hung from the ceiling enhancing the importance of these odd message boards. Wow! Did I mention that Aunt Ider is somewhat quirky?

Continued on page 2

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Margaret Thompson-Shumate

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A Beautiful Moment

continued from page 1

outside and approached them. I explained that my wife and I wanted them to have a nice meal, and it was all ready for them inside at a table. He didn’t know what to say, and she got all teared up, and the kids were all excited. They came inside, met my wife, and I led them to the table. If you could have seen their faces, you would have thought a meal from the Queen of England had laid it out. I looked at them, and just said, “Pay it forward when you can”. They sat down and enjoyed every bite. My wife and I left before they had finished, and it really felt good to see them enjoying it so much. As beautiful a moment that was, that’s NOT the moment I am talking about.

We did a little shopping, and as I was in the car getting ready to go home, I saw the family come out of KFC carrying a bag that must have had what was left. I smiled, and felt good that they must have full tummies and then extra that they couldn’t finish. As they walked, I saw them cross over to what looked like a homeless man who was also holding a sign looking for help. It was then, at that moment, that I saw something beautiful take place. You could see the family, kind of huddle together as if they were talking about something, and then they turned and gave the homeless man, the bag of KFC leftovers so he could have something to eat. Food, that was so

Aunt Ider Plans Her Exit

continued from page 1

I suddenly jumped at least a foot when I felt something warm and fuzzy wrapping around my leg. I calmed down a bit when I realized that it was only Butter Bean, another of the rescued shelter cats. I bent down to pet her and noticed a strange centerpiece on the coffee table. Two large identical fish bowls sat facing each other. One bowl housed a beautiful blue fish. The other bowl was home to a striking red fish. Both bowls were labeled with name tags. The blue fish was named “Ana” and the red one was “Conda”. I immediately realized that these were “political” fish that most certainly had to be kept

separate. I snickered to myself as I answered Aunt Ider’s call from the kitchen.

The last time I was in her kitchen, Aunt Ider was bent over with her head in the refrigerator. She had told me that she was sipping a protein shake and that the instructions on it had read, “must be refrigerated after opening”. You’ve just got to love her! She’s truly one of a kind! We sat at the table and ate pound cake chased with iced tea until Aunt Ider was ready to spill the beans about why she called this particular meeting. After discussing a list of legal issues, she asked me to be her Power of Attorney and help her make plans for her funeral. I took notes. She didn’t need six “Paul Bears” because she didn’t weigh much and that would be crazy. She wanted lots and lots of music. Her requests ranged from Classical to Blue Grass. Please – only artificial flowers because real ones cost too much and she was allergic. Each of her friends would be asked to stand and tell everyone their true feelings of the deceased. The casket was to be closed with no peeking allowed. She didn’t want any crying going on – just happy

valuable to them at that moment, they felt had a better place to go. Such an unselfish act of giving, it was a beautiful thing to see. THAT, my friends, was a beautiful moment.

Moral of the story, there’s always someone that could use a helping hand, even when our own hand is in need. Look for it, and reach out if at all possible, it will mean so much, and remember, “ Pay it forward”.

sounds. She would appreciate the ashes of her beloved deceased pets to accompany her on her journey,

After more than two hours and a notebook full of requests and demands, I agreed to do everything I could to satisfy her last wishes. Of course, she had me to sign an agreement to do just that.

Now I only have one last QUESTION for you, Aunt Ider, “Why are you requesting a closed casket? Everyone needs to see you one last time so they can remember how very special you were.”

This is the ANSWER I received…..”Well, Margaret, to tell you the truth, I’m not going to be in that box. I’m going to be in the back of the church heavily disguised and closely listening to the entire service. I want to be sure everything is as I planned. Besides that, I need to know how people honestly feel about me.”

Aunt Ider, dear Aunt Ider. You gotta love her and you absolutely can’t say NO to her!

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Just A’ Passing Through

severe trial of exile. How does this myth relate to us? Is it possible for us to cheat death too?

There is a war that man has fought and has been losing ever since he took his first steps on this planet. Time and disease have ravaged us all in every age. Scores of young men and women seem to succeed in the fight for survival and raise their families. Finally, when they hope to rest from their labors in their golden years, they face renewed onslaughts against their bodies and minds. Ultimately, the cemetery prevails.

The ancients stored up their dreams of overpowering death in their legends. According to Greek myth, Cronus, the father of time and harvest, received a prophecy about being overwhelmed and usurped by a son. As time passed, he swallowed each of his sons when they were born. Zeus, the last son, was protected and allowed to live. Later, he challenged and defeated his father. The term, Father Time, is a common expression across cultures. Cronus represented the present, while Zeus represented the future. The present and future are engaged in constant battle. Through his triumph over Father Time, he rescued his brothers and they all gained immortality. Though he escaped engulfment by his father, he suffered from being swallowed up by the

Through the ages, even in our day, people have searched the globe for a cure for aging. Juan Ponce de Leon sought the “fountain of youth.” Scientists today experiment with various drugs to slow or suppress the effects of time on our bodies and minds. They are working to shut off the aging gene. Others are looking into the medicine bag of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to overcome suffering and ineffectiveness. No doubt, the medical field is taking gigantic steps now, but I wonder if we are unknowingly opening another Pandora’s box.

In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde paints the story of a young man who obtains his wish to stay forever young while a portrait of him visualizes the changes that would naturally occur. As the painting began to bear the scars of his decadent lifestyle, he could not bear for others to view it. He hid the painting for years and even murdered the painter who was the only witness to the truth it bore. When Dorian, a bitter, old man finally died, his youthful appearance was traded with his portrait revealing how elusive eternal youth is. His body finally bore the ravages of his youthful transgressions.

We are so obsessed with physical beauty and hardiness that we often miss the meaning of this brief life. Time may indeed swallow up our beauty, our desires, and our physical

usefulness, but God reveals the way to immortality by focusing on the spiritual realm. Luke 9:23 says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Jim Elliot is credited with saying, “No man is a fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.” One of the things we cannot hold onto is our youth. I was in my mid-forties when a student suggested a part in the school play would be perfect for me. I asked her about the part. She said it represented a 68year-old man. To a fifteen-yearold high schooler, I suppose I looked old. I protested then, and even now, though I am finally of the age to play that part.

Jack LaLanne liked to say, “I can’t afford to die. It would wreck my image.” He marked his 70th birthday by pulling 70 boats with 70 people over a mile-and-a-half distance in choppy waters while shackled. Even he finally succumbed

to the devastation of time. At the age of 96, he died of respiratory problems. Every person who enters life will face vicissitudes that will (if he lives beyond youth) wear him down. Suppose scientists succeed in manipulating the aging gene and enable us to remain forever young. Would it be worth it? In the Garden of Eden, God turned Adam and Eve out because, in their fallen state, they might have eaten the fruit of the Tree of Life and become stuck in a sinful state for eternity. Even in the few decades my life has spanned, I have faced and witnessed enough suffering to recoil at the misery of living in sinful flesh for hundreds or thousands of years.

Years ago, a comic book told the tale of Superman outliving all of humanity and could not die. His life was lonely and miserable. If Adam had not been permitted to die and close the covers of an

Visit Our Website: 3 Our Faith Continued on page 8

Memories are for us…

Ireally appreciate being able to share my mom’s journey through dementia with you. I hope that someone out there, caring for their loved one with dementia can feel you are not alone. I hope those who are just beginning the journey with a diagnosis can take something I have written and use it on your journey as a small token of understanding and love. This month my mom has made another transition. I use the analogy of us living life at full volume. As my mom’s world gets smaller and more clouded, her volume is decreasing. So, every time she has a transition, I call it a dial down. It works for me. I can process her changes better that way. You must find something that works for you to process this horrible thief called dementia.

My mom has always loved to travel. She would visit people throughout the day wherever she lived, having coffee, and visiting all day while us kids played. She would take month long trips to mission fields to help her friends around the world. She loved to just be out and about. When she was confined to an assisted living facility three years ago, because she was a flight risk, she would cry and tell me she felt as though she were in prison. So, we took her out two to three times a week. We would take her for a drive, take her to the movies, take her home just to sit and enjoy the quietness of familiar surroundings, take her to eat at places she remembered and new places she wanted to try. Today, she feels trapped if we don’t get her outside the walls of her assisted living facility. So, this summer, I included the grandchildren in our adventures. I figured we could do fun things and mom would have a blast being a kid again. We went to Dan Nicholas Park and walked as much as she could and had a fabulous time. She enjoyed the picnic

and watching the kids play on the playground. We went to Village Park and rode the train and the carousel and watched men setting up for a concert. She loved it and we rode the carousel three times at her request. We found great ice cream places and enjoyed cones that were decadent. But each time we returned to her assisted living facility, I would ask her if she had a good time riding the carousel, or seeing the animals… “Oh, are we going to do that?” she would excitedly ask. I would sigh deeply and tell her we would the next time we were out. Each time we did something I thought was special, she would forget it by the next visit. I grew frustrated with the situation. And that is where a friend who is further along the dementia journey with their loved one than I dropped this nugget for ME.

You see, when I take mom out, I think I am building memories for her with her family, with the grandkids, her friends, and my pets. But my friend gently reminded me of the thief and how it steals parts of my mom’s

brain that she cannot control or recover. Sadness hits immediately. However, my friend reminded me. You are creating memories for YOU and your grandchildren, your friends. These memories of mom smiling and laughing while she is twirling on a carousel will stay with me for years. She may have already forgotten the thrill of the carnival music and colored lights, but I won’t forget, and the grandkids will remember grandma great having fun, long into their adult years. Dementia may be a thief, but it cannot steal from me. I will continue to build memories with my mom. I will spend as much time as I can fulfilling her requests even though she won’t remember them tomorrow. Stay safe and take care of each other out there.

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How We Met

and stare but I think I see my knight in shining armor.”

An Instagram post posed the question, “Do your grandkids know the story of how you met?” So here is ours. I hope it prompts you to tell your story to your family. By the way, my husband is my first editor so if this is not right, he will have corrected it before you enter the picture.

I was in my 20’s and the youth director at my home church. Most of my work was with children and teens but some of the young adults were interested in an upcoming Christian singles conference at Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center. I volunteered to drive three other single women. I told them all the way to the mountains, “We are going for a spiritual experience, not to check out guys.” “Yea, yea,” they echoed back.

This was long before internet dating. In fact, it was years before cell phones or the internet period. We were met with booklets with printed classes and maps to find our way around the campus. We checked into our rooms and headed for our first meal. I was awe-struck, “Don’t turn around

All three friends instantly turned craning their necks, one even asking loudly, “Which one?” I slid down in my seat, hoping to go unnoticed. While I kept my peace the rest of the meal, I followed him with my eyes.

He left his tray on the cafeteria conveyer belt, stepped outside and lit up a cigarette. “Oh no,” I groaned inwardly. Then if that was not judgmental enough, I sized up his black, Led Zeppelin t-shirt. Yes, I was already trying to change him.

I said to no one but God, “If we could lose the shirt and cig, we might have something.”

The rest of the conference, I kept running into him, but I was too shy to actually say anything. I did say once, “I don’t know which class to take.” I’m embarrassed now to admit being coy. It did not work.

As young people often do, my girlfriends and I grouped up with others through-out the weekend. Everyone agreed to meet up for the final banquet, dressed up and ready to party. There would be a fancy dinner and Christian night club

event after.

As our large mixed group moved toward the dining room, I got separated from the group. We were latecomers and it was “take a seat wherever you can.” I sat alone in a sea of other young adults my age. I may have actually been happy to look single.

After dinner, the speaker was amazing. I wish I could remember his name. This was during what has become, “The Jesus Revolution.” At the end of his powerful message, he challenged us to pray privately for our heart’s desire. I prayed, “Lord, I have done everything in my power to meet this guy. It’s up to you. I have no idea where he is in the hundreds of people here but if it is your will…” The speaker woke me out of my plea, “Amen.”

I headed to find my friends and walked right into Mr. Knight (in a suit and tie).

I was shy. He seemed shy. I said, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” I immediately felt guilty for lying. He responded with genuine honesty, “I don’t think so.” Once again, I wanted to slide away.

But he did a double check and said, “Where did you go to school?” “ECU” “That’s not it. I went to Western.” I honestly don’t remember much after that because we kept talking and the rest is history.

Visit Our Website: 5 From Our Readers
Theresa Parker

On every walk we share stories about our past

versions of those stories;

consider dreams for the


Jayne Williams is a new contributor to the Trail Tales column. In this story, she shares some challenges she has faced. If you’d like to share your story in this column, text or call 980-621-0398. Instruction on how to obtain a free electronic version of this story is posted on the blog hosted at

Straws and Twigs

old, his sister just 8 months old. My sister would sit with those two.

The nest wasn’t concealed. The fledgling birds were exposed in their home of straw and twigs fashioned in a bush a few feet away from the pebble strewn trail. Momma bird appeared with morsels of nourishment at predictable intervals.

It brought back vivid memories about the time I was homeless with five children. At the age of 29, I needed to nourish four boys and one girl. Three of my children were in the school system, my youngest son was one and a half years

I worked in a factory, putting lipstick in a tube. I also received some public assistance, medical insurance, and a little bit of money; minimum wage was $5.65 an hour. The rent started at $1,200 a month. There was no Papa bird, and not much of a nest. Summertime hot asphalt and winter frigid concrete formed the trails of my youth. Perhaps not predictably, I nonetheless paid my rent every month, and put food on the table. Sometimes I didn’t eat, and other times I just ate what the children did not eat, their leftovers, and I was good with that. I began to keep a log. Here are a few excerpts that mark one trail segment.

“We woke up one day,

getting ready for school and work, I noticed my daughter had a fever. I checked her fever, it was 101. I called my manager and told him that I needed to take my daughter to the doctor. He was children friendly and understood. By the grace of God, it was nothing serious and she was back to her baby self within 24 hours.”

“Two weeks later I received a paycheck, we didn’t have Paid Time Off or fancy stuff like that; you missed the day of work, you missed the day’s pay. Unfortunately rent is due this week, and I’m $100 short. I do have options, two of them. I can pay all the rent and not have money for groceries and formula, or I can short the rent, just $100. I’ve been here 5 years; I’ve never been late. The landlord would understand, I’m a single mom I’m doing the best

for my children.”

“The landlord does not understand. He will not take the $1100, he’s threatening to take me to court.”

“Thirty days later I am in court, I have all the money $2,425, the $100 that I was short, and the $25 late fee. He refuses to take it. The judge can’t even talk him into taking it. I have 48 hours to get out of a house I lived in for 5 years with five children. What am I going to do now?”

“I have family, but I don’t have friends, not like that, I still must get my children ready for school. I still must go to work; I still must pretend like everything is fine.”

“So, my children and I, we play car camp, we stay up at the truck stop at night, I run the car for heat. It’s the dead

Continued on page 14

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From Our Readers
The Carolina Thread Trail weaves a path through time and terrain. My friends and I discovered a natural surface trail segment in the Buffalo Creek Preserve. We often hike the path that meanders through restored oak-savanna and farmland along Adams Creek. Over time we have explored numerous other trails in the Carolina Piedmont. and future. In late 2016 we constructed a Little Free Library to house print we called them Trail Tales. We make those stories available to readers of Senior Savvy on a monthly basis, no hiking gear required. © 2023 by Jayne Williams


What should you know about RMDs?

RMD by Dec. 31. And going forward, you’ll also need to take your RMDs by the end of every year.)

You may spend decades contributing to various retirement accounts. But for some accounts, such as a traditional IRA and 401(k), you must start withdrawing funds at a certain point. What should you know about this requirement?

To begin with, the rules governing these withdrawals – technically called required minimum distributions, or RMDs – have changed recently. For many years, individuals had to begin taking their RMDs (which are based on the account balance and the IRS’ life expectancy factor) when they turned 70½. The original SECURE Act of 2019 raised this age to 72, and SECURE 2.0, passed in 2022, raised it again, to 73. (If you turned 73 in 2023, and you were 72 in 2022 when the RMD limit was still 72, you should have taken your first RMD for 2022 by April 1 of this year. You will then need to take your 2023

Not all retirement accounts are subject to RMDs. They aren’t required for a Roth IRA, and, starting in 2024, won’t be required for a Roth 401(k) or 403(b) plan. But if your account does call for RMDs, you do need to take them, because if you don’t, you could face tax penalties. Previously, this penalty was 50% of the amount you were supposed to have taken, but SECURE 2.0 reduced it to 25%.

When you take your RMDs, you need to be aware of a key issue: taxes. RMDs are taxed as ordinary income, and, as such, they could potentially bump you into a higher tax bracket and possibly even increase your Medicare premiums, which are determined by your modified adjusted gross income. Are there any ways you could possibly reduce an RMD-related tax hike? You might have some options. Here are two to consider:

• Convert tax-deferred accounts to Roth IRA. You could convert some, or maybe all, of your tax-deferred retirement accounts to a Roth IRA. By doing so, you could lower your RMDs in the future — while adding funds to an account you’re never required

to touch. So, if you don’t really need all the money to live on, you could include the remainder of the Roth IRA in your estate plans, providing an initially taxfree inheritance to your loved ones. However, converting a taxdeferred account to a Roth IRA will generate taxes in the year of conversion, so you’d need the money available to pay this tax bill.

• Donate RMDs to charity. In what’s known as a qualified charitable distribution, you can move up to $100,000 of your RMDs directly from a traditional IRA to a qualified charity, avoiding the taxes that might otherwise result if you took the RMDs yourself. After 2023, the $100,000 limit will be indexed to inflation.

Of course, before you start either a Roth IRA conversion or a

qualified charitable distribution, you will need to consult with your tax advisor, as both these moves have issues you must consider and may not be appropriate for your situation. But it’s always a good idea to know as much as you can about the various aspects of RMDs — they could play a big part in your retirement income strategy. I’m happy to advise on any issues around living in retirement, insuring assets to leave a legacy, and enjoying these precious years of your life. Call me and let’s together soon to make sure we’re taking care of the things that are most important to you. I’m John P. McGrail at 704-603-4354 and my Edward Jones office is on the corner of Innes St. and Ackert Ave. I hope to see you soon!

OCTOBER Crossword

Visit Our Website: 7 Across 1. Exclamation of contempt 6. Shredded cabbage 10. Play parts 14. Geologic period 15. Short skirt 16. Cut back 17. Category 18. Any minute 19. Double-reed woodwind 20. Gourmet meat 22. Serene 23. Cap 24. Tiny 26. Dad 30. Agitated 32. Detest 33. Dubious writings 37. Percussion instrument 38. Empty 39. Jetty 40. Minibar 42. A small island 43. Legal setting 44. Stinky 45. Moan 47. Viper 48. Unit of fat 49. Related to 56. Hubs 57. Sponsorship 58. Off-white 59. Not closed 60. Overhaul 61. Spooky 62. Large mass of floating ice 63. Observed 64. Clothe Down 1. Clothespins 2. Gush forth 3. Sharpen 4. Anagram of “Care” 5. If or if not 6. Brainy 7. Queue 8. Dwarf buffalo 9. Airfield wind sleeve 10. Cataclysmic event 11. Secret group 12. Fairy tale character 13. Appear to be 21. Tavern 25. Soviet space station 26. Crazes 27. Dugout shelter
28. Impact sound 29. Reunion 30. Not together 31. Adhesion 33. Winglike 34. Tablet 35. Stiletto or wedge 36. Pretentious 38. Bar security 41. Type of snake 42. Connoted 44. South southeast 45. Fondle 46. Formula 1 driver 47. Malicious burning 48. Amorphous shape 50. Curved molding 51. Fair attraction 52. Affirm 53. Ripped 54. Greek goddess of discord 55. Colors
John P. McGrail Edward Jones Financial Advisor

Our Faith

Just A’ Passing Through

continued from page 3 incredibly sad book, he never would have walked through the portals of heaven. Imagine living with a pandemic forever. Sin is like a pandemic in its corruption and contamination of everything it touches. But there is a remedy for it. Millions have thoroughly loved the lives they lived because they embraced the moments God allowed them to have. However, the older saints I have known who saw death approaching, welcomed it. They enjoyed their work and families, but they were ready to move on to a new life, basking in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are believers whose lives are abbreviated in our judgment. They were taken too soon. The problem is we were not ready for them to leave. If we could question them now, they would have no desire to return.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. What happened? We know they did not suddenly keel over. The earth did not split open and swallow them. They did not even get sick. They lived for many years afterward. But they did eventually die. And

that is the lot of humanity, to this day. However, fellowship between man and God did die. Instantly! God, who is holy and perfect, became alienated from his beloved creations. The joy, peace, and love shared by man and his Creator was shattered.

Romans 5:12 tells us that Adam is to be blamed for the entrance of sin into the world, and the death that was the result. Back up a moment to Romans 3 and we read that, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Every descendant of Adam is guilty of sin and receives the same punishment of death. We are not just talking about death on this earth and separation from God during our lifetimes. Even more important is our eternal destination. Man sins, dies, is judged, and is bound for eternity apart from Him. The picture is bleak, but God is sovereign and loving. In Romans 5: 6-11, we are told that when man was ungodly and incapable of helping himself, and even called an enemy of God, it was then that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died as his substitute. He did not wait for him to clean up

his act. He did not wait for him to wake up to his need. When man was at his absolute worst, Jesus went to the cross for all mankind, including the Jewish and Roman leaders who sent Him there. All includes you and me.

Adam and Eve tasted the forbidden fruit, died, and left us with a horrible legacy. But the exciting news is that the infinite God invaded time at the birth of Jesus, lived, and died to provide the remedy for sin and its effects. The deliberate disobedience of one man, Adam, brought death into the world. The obedience of the second Adam, Jesus Christ, brought the possibility of life to all men. As the first man disobeyed and tasted death, so the Son of God obeyed, but He too tasted death. The enormous difference between the two is that Jesus conquered Satan, sin, and death. Because of his resurrection, He now offers eternal life to all who respond to Him. John 5:24, “He who hears me and believes on Him who sent me has everlasting life and will not be judged.” The death of Christ is sufficient or available to all, but it is only efficient to those who believe.

The last part of the verse states, “but has passed from death to life.” Everlasting life is ours and it begins when a person receives Christ.

The truth of the story of Dorian Gray is that he got it backward. When we exit this life, as our loved ones have done, we cast off our old bodies, which were ravaged with sin, disease, and age, and assume a heavenly body. In these last few years, the entire world has experienced intense suffering from pandemics, famines, wars, and natural disasters. The human body was never designed to withstand all the tortures of sin and a fallen world. Sin has installed a “break-down” gene in the human frame. However, this will all be changed in heaven. If we could only see our friends now, enjoying freedom in heavenly bodies, like Christ’s. … Wow!

The eternal home of the Christian is in heaven, not earth. We have citizenship in both places. But our ultimate home is above. We are pilgrims, aliens in a foreign land. We are just a’ passing through.

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Creole-Style Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo


2 - 14oz cans stewed tomatoes

1/4 pound reduced-fat smoked sausage, sliced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1/8 tspn crushed red pepper

1/2 pound fresh sliced okra

3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined salt, to taste

3 cups cooked rice, warm


1. In 6-quart (6 l) slow cooker, combine all ingredients, except okra, shrimp, salt, and rice. Mix well.

2. Close cooker and cook on low-heat setting for 6-7 hours, adding okra during last 30 minutes and shrimp during last 10 minutes.

3. Turn off slow cooker. Serve shrimp and sausage mixture with salt. Serve over cooked warm rice

Easy Apple Cake


5-7 Apples - peeled, cored and slice thin

1 (9 oz) package yellow cake mix

2 TBSP sugar

1 TBSP ground cinnamon

1 stick real butter


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

2. Fill 9×12 pan 1/2 full with apples

3. Sprinkle the apples with dry cake mix. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the cake mix.

4. Melt butter and drizzle over top of cake mix. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with ice cream, if desired… ENJOY!!

Pumpkin Milkshake


1 cup milk, cold

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

3 tspn pumpkin pie spice

4 cups vanilla ice cream

Optional Garnishes

2 TBSP graham cracker crumbs

whipped cream


1. Add the milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla ice cream (in that order) to a blender.

2. Blend on high or set on the puree setting for 30 seconds, or until combined and well-blended. *If the ice cream stops blending, stop the blender and stir the mixture with a spoon or spatula, then start the blender up again.

3. Divide the milkshake between two chilled 16oz glasses. If desired, top with whipped cream and graham cracker crumbs.

Southern Fried Cornbread


2/3 cup cornmeal

1/3 cup self rising flour

1/3 cup low fat buttermilk

1 large egg

oil for frying (I used 3 TBSP coconut oil, but you can use whatever you like)


1. Combine first 4 ingredients together in a bowl, mixing well. Mixture should be very moist but not soupy.

2. Heat oil in skillet and drop by spoonfuls into oil. Cook til brown on one side and flip (it cooks kind of like a pancake) to brown on the other side. Place on plate with paper towels and blot any excess oil.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles


1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tspn cream of tartar

1/2 tspn baking soda

1/4 tspn salt

Snickerdoodle topping

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine sugar and pumpkin puree and mix well.

2. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt to the pumpkin mixture.

3. In a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon to create the snickerdoodle topping.

4. Create heaping 1 tablespoon cookie dough balls using a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop.

5. Put cookie dough balls directly into the bowl of snickerdoodle topping and coat the outside completely with cinnamon and sugar.

6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the cookie dough balls about 2“ apart on the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes.

7. Remove from the oven when the cookies look set and before the edges start to brown (cookies will finish baking on the pan).

8. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.


Do you have a favorite recipe that you’d like to share with our readers? If so, we’d love to have recipes that are easy, healthy and are smaller in proportion – just right for someone cooking for one or two. Please send your recipes to

Thanks and we look forward to seeing what you’ve got cooking!

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potentially reducing mobility, ability to perform daily activities and life expectancy?

Iknow I mentioned this to you last month, but it is worth saying again. We recently learned that Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Associates (CEENTA) stopped providing audiology services in their Salisbury location. We also heard last week that they are no longer in network with United Healthcare’s Medicare Advantage plan. So, if you have received hearing healthcare services or have been fitted with hearing devices at CEENTA, we are honored to take over your care so you don’t have to drive down to their Concord office.

Since CEENTA is a medical facility, they fit the same type of devices as we do. Most retail locations, on the other hand, have their hearing devices “locked” so you must return to another franchised location if a store closes their doors. That is not the case in this situation. I also perform diagnostic hearing evaluations at Pinnacle Ear Nose Throat & Allergy; Dr. Whitaker’s office does accept UHC. Please, know we are here to help.

October is audiology awareness month. Did you know poor hearing acuity may increase the risk of falls

Intuitively and from experience, we realize falling is a bad thing. From toddlers to elders, “be careful, don’t fall” is sound advice. At home, work and play, there are falling risks every day. While many consist of environmental factors such as slipping on a rug or tripping over an object, more should be mindful how our body’s vestibular system affects balance.

As a useful learning foundation, Safe Balance relies on normal functionality of three sensory inputs:

Vision, to see and navigate daily environments. Visual Motion perception has a correlation to risk of falls, in addition to visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and stereo acuity. So if we have visual challenges or the lighting is poor, you have a great risk of falling.

Proprioception, often called kinesthesia, is how body position and self-movement relates to sensory neurons in our joints, tendons and muscles.

This “6th sense” guides momentary reactions to our place in the world. When our feet don’t feel the ground well (neuropathy) or muscles are weak we are

at greater risk for falling.

Vestibular System, providing a key sense of postural reflexes, eye movements and spatial orientation. Our complex inner ear structures and neural pathways perceive head movements and facilitate equilibrium.

As we age, our risk of falling rises. Data shows approximately 67% of emergency room visits for adults 65-85+ are for falls, considered a leading cause of injury-related deaths. Research indicates those with hearing challenges have poorer postural balance, an important factor in standing and walking stability. This may be caused by having fewer sensory cues in daily surroundings which help with spatial orientation and hazard avoidance. Further, the shared pathways between hearing- and balance-related structures can make it more difficult for older adults to focus reduced attention

capacity in safely finding their way.

It is sensible for you and your loved ones to consistently get professional hearing tests. While many things in life surprise us, we know hearing your best may help reduce the risk of falls. To help keep life in balance, give Jamie or Diane a call to schedule a hearing evaluation. Be sure to visit our website: www. and like us on Facebook. We don’t want you to fall! Dr. Mussler, Jane, Cheryl and I look forward to seeing you soon. For more information or to schedule a hearing evaluation, contact:

Dr. Lorin S. Oden at Hearing Solutions of North Carolina, 464 Jake Alexander Blvd. W., Salisbury, NC 28147 704-633-0023

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“Spring is beautiful, and summer is perfect for vacations, but autumn brings a longing to get away from the unreal things of life, out into the forest at night with a campfire and the rustling leaves.”
– Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

A Little Dose of Humor

A Great Reminder...

At age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA.

At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.

At age 24, Stephen King was working as a janitor and living in a trailer.

At age 27, Vincent Van Gogh failed as a missionary and decided to go to art school.

At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a single parent living on welfare who was clinically depressed and at times has contemplated suicide.

At age 28, Wayne Coyne (from The Flaming Lips) was a fry cook.

At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter.

At age 30, Martha Stewart was a stockbroker.

At age 37, Ang Lee was a stay-at-home-dad working odd jobs.

Julia Child released her first cookbook at age 39, and got her own cooking show at age 51.

Vera Wang failed to make the Olympic figure skating team, didn’t get the Editor-in-Chief position at Vogue, and designed her first dress at age 40.

Stan Lee didn’t release his first big comic book until he was 40.

Alan Rickman gave up his graphic design career to pursue acting at age 42.

Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his first major movie role until he was 40.

Morgan Freeman landed his first MAJOR movie role at age 52.

Kathryn Bigelow only reached international success when she made The Hurt Locker at age 57.

Grandma Moses didn’t begin her painting career until age 76.

Louise Bourgeois didn’t become a famous artist until she was 78.

Whatever your dream is, it is not too late to achieve it. You aren’t a failure because you haven’t found fame and fortune by the age of 21.

It’s okay if you don’t even know what your dream is yet. Even if you’re flipping burgers, waiting tables or answering phones today, you never know where you’ll end up tomorrow. Never tell yourself you’re too old to make it. Never tell yourself you missed your chance. Never tell yourself that you aren’t good enough. You can do it. Whatever it is that sets your soul on fire.


This little old lady goes to the doctor and says, “Doctor I have this problem with passing gas, but it really doesn’t bother me too much. It never smells and it’s always silent. As a matter of fact I’ve passed gas at least 20 times since I’ve been here in your office. You didn’t know I was passing gas because it doesn’t smell and it’s silent.

The doctor says “I see. Take these pills and come back to see me next week.”

The next week the lady goes back. “Doctor,” she says, “I don’t know what you gave me, but now my passing gas… although still silent, it stinks terribly.” “Good”, the doctor said, “now that we’ve cleared up your sinuses, we’ll start to work on your hearing.”


Two young boys walked into a pharmacy one day, picked out a box of tampons and proceeded to the checkout counter.

The pharmacist at the counter asked the older boy, ‘Son, how old are you?’

‘Eight’, the boy replied.

The man continued, ‘Do you know what these are used for?’

The boy replied, ‘Not exactly, but they aren’t for me. They’re for him. He’s my brother. He’s four.”

“Oh, really?” the pharmacist replied with a grin.

“Yes.” the boy said. “We saw on TV that if you use these, you would be able to swim, play tennis and ride a bike. Right now, he can’t do none of those.”

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At Comfort Keepers , we provide in-home care that helps seniors live safe, happy, and independent lives in the comfort of their own homes. ® • Personal care • Grocery shopping and running errands • Companionship and housekeeping • Dementia and Alzheimer’s care • Respite care Offering Personalized, Traditional and Cremation Services 704-933-2222 1748 Dale Earnhardt Blvd Kannapolis, NC Family Owned and Operated

Labor Day Is Over, Ring Those Christmas Bells!

Trevor and I were lucky this summer. The upper part of the state of Wisconsin was a very nice alternative to our 100 degree days. Close to Canada and all that.

Does it seem to you as if our summer has come and gone, and here we are sitting here still hoping for nice porch sittin weather. What an unusual summer. So hot, you could not enjoy being outdoors, or raining like a monsoon. Not much in between.

I remember the Golden Girls TV show, and Rose always prefacing every remark with “up in St. Olaf”- - - The other goldens wanted to stifle her, as Archie Bunker would say. Anyway, since returning home, it seems we have been inundated with holiday catalogs. I’ve been seeing Christmas decor in catalogs since the 4th of July. Why must the merchants do this? We no sooner get into one season and begin to enjoy

No, I’m not getting old

You grow old, they told me, you are no longer you, you become distant, sad and lonely.

I didn’t answer...

I don’t get old, I get wise.

I stopped being what others like me to become, but what I like to be.

I stopped seeking the acceptance of others and accepted myself.

I have left behind the lying mirrors that deceive mercilessly.

- No, I’m not getting old.

I just become more selective with places, people, customs and ideologies.

I have let go of attachments, unnecessary pain, toxic people, sick souls and rotten hearts... bitterness and unhappiness are not for me, I release them for my health.

I’m ditching party nights for learning and embracing insomnia.

I stopped living stories and started writing them, I threw aside the imposed stereotypes.

I no longer carry eyeshadow in my bag, now I have a book that beautifies my mind.

I exchanged wine glasses for coffee cups, forgot to idealize life and started living it.

- No, I’m not getting old.

I carry freshness in my soul, innocence in my heart, and it discovers me daily.

I have in my hands the tenderness of a cocoon that, when opened, will spread its wings to other places unreachable for those who seek only the frivolity of the material. I have that charming smile on my face when I observe the simplicity of nature.

I carry in my ears the chirping of the birds that delight me and accompany the walk.

- No, I’m not getting old.

I become selective, betting my time on the intangible, rewriting the story I’ve been told, rediscovering worlds, saving those old books I’ve forgotten half open. I’m becoming more cautious, I’ve stopped the outbursts that teach me nothing, I’m learning to talk about transcendent things, I’m learning to cultivate knowledge, plant ideals and falsify my destiny.

- No, I’m not getting old.

I begin to live who I really am.

it, when we are hit with the next one.

The other day I got a catalog that had Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all in one book! The day after Christmas, we’ll get the ones with Valentines and St. Patrick’s Day stuff in it!

As a child, I used to love the fall, the cooler air, the pretty leaves, smell the smoke from the burning leaves and bonfires. I still love the season, and look forward to each day of it.

We need to slow down a bit, savor every day of every season. Forget what’s coming in 2 months, be happy for today. That could be a lesson for

the politicians also --- already running for an election that’s more than a year way. By the time November of 2024 rolls around, I’ll be tired of looking and listening to them, won’t you? AND, we never hear about what they want to do to better our lives, only how awful the other candidates are.

I absolutely refuse to look at another Christmas catalog, or listen to another politician --- I want to enjoy my fall season.

Halloween is coming up, enjoy it, and all the little spooks and goblins running around. The other stuff will take care of itself --- in time.

Halloween Word Search

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Navigating Medicare Open Enrollment with SHIIP

Period, SHIIP counselors can help people find out if they are eligible for Medicare cost savings programs.

Asign on the water reads: ‘No Wake Zone.’ One thing is certain when it comes to the vast sea that is Medicare...waves are bound to appear no matter how slowly the ships roll in. At Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, commonly known as SHIIP, is here to make the navigation as smooth as possible.

At a recent Medicare 101 event, participants received a firsthand glimpse of how important it is to keep afloat of the changes that can occur for older adults who have transitioned or are anticipating transitioning into Medicare.

SHIIP is a division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance and offers free, unbiased information about Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Advantage, long-term care insurance and other health insurance issues. In addition to helping Medicare beneficiaries compare and enroll in plans during the Open Enrollment

Medicare beneficiaries can compare and evaluate their current plans and make necessary changes during the annual Open Enrollment Period. Medicare plans and prices change. It is important for Medicare beneficiaries to take advantage of the Open Enrollment Period by contacting (SHIIP) counselors to potentially save money, improve your coverage or both.

It’s important to contact your local SHIIP counselor before deciding on coverage because you may be able to receive more affordable and better Medicare health and/or drug plan options. For example, even if you are satisfied with your current Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, there may be another plan in your area that covers your health care and/or drugs at a better price.

The Open Enrollment Period begins Oct. 15 and runs for eight weeks, through December 7th, giving you ample time to review and make changes to your Medicare coverage. Changes must be made by Dec. 7 to guarantee your coverage will begin without interruption on Jan. 1, 2024.

To make an appointment, call Rufty-Holmes Senior Center’s SHIIP office at 704-216-7724. Daytime and Monday evening appointments available.

Straws and Twigs

continued from page 6 of winter with hubcap deep freshly fallen snow.”

“The security guard knows our situation. At the truck stop we’re able to bathe. We get a ticket when it’s our turn to shower. The children can’t tell anyone. Someone might take them away from me. I’m not homeless because I choose to be. I am homeless because I took my daughter to the doctor.”

“We can stay in a hotel on the weekends. I’m at work at night, we play car camp, we have a boombox that has a little TV that pulls in Channel 5 and Channel 9.”

“Homeless for two weeks, the younger children didn’t know what was going on, they really thought we were playing car camp, but the older ones knew.”

“We moved into our new apartment two weeks later.

I needed a month’s rent and additional month security deposit. Done, life continues, better times ahead.”

My children are grown up now. We rarely talk about that time and never gave up on each other or our dreams for a better life. I’m sharing this part of my story with the hope that it could help somebody else. Perhaps you are that somebody.

About Jayne Carter Williams:

In addition to her writing, Jayne is a volunteer for several charitable organizations that provide care for others who have faced similar challenges. A long-time resident of Kannapolis, Jayne is also a candidate for municipal office. You can reach her at or send a note to P.O. Box 1857, Concord, NC 28026.

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Ron Church Community resources Manager rufty-Holmes Senior Center

Life, what a gift! God is the giver of life. Even if we were conceived in sin, (as David said in Psalm 51:5), the life that was given us, is God’s great gift.

Having recently traveled back to my former home place, it struck me with great reality what a precious gift life really is, and much of it’s savor is relationship. You know, God made us to live in relationship. Family is His idea. Our families can be a great blessing or terrible heartache to us. We desire to have smooth, compatible relationships, and hopefully we are a blessing to our loved ones as well.

What is life? Real life, the true life, is life in Christ Jesus. Oh yes we can have a very enjoyable life living, “on our own”, so to speak, without really knowing Jesus. This world offers many enjoyments, entertainments, amusements and yet we can “live” never really experiencing the true life that is found in Jesus alone. For many years I lived what I had considered to be a good life. I had good parents who were loving, fun, good providers, and my mom brought us up in church. She shared with us what she knew and it was good, but it only went so far. I went through our Confirmation class, but it didn’t really bring a true change; however, it was probably my fault because when we really mean business with the Lord, He always

does His part. It was a few years later when my life was troubled and I worked with a lady who became my friend. Without a doubt her prayers had a tremendous effect. One evening, after a visit with her, (when normally going home would have meant a sleepless night), her peace, or the peace of God just overflowed on me, and my sleep was sweet. I told her she had something I needed: what was it? She and her family testified about having a relationship with Jesus and being filled with the Holy Spirit as described in Acts 2:4. I went to her church and later was baptized in the Holy Spirit and had a water baptism too. It was there I truly repented, asked Jesus into my heart and knew without anyone telling me that He had changed me! My life was different. Jesus removed my sin and gave me a desire for Him. We think before we really accept Him; “I can’t live for Jesus, I’m not good enough, I can’t live the life He expects of me,” and that is true. What we don’t realize is when we truly repent and ask Jesus to live in our heart, He gives us His desires and removes our old sinful ones. Yes, often there is still a sinful pull for our old life in certain areas, but God gives us power to say “NO”! And as we continue to walk with Him and continue to get to know Him better, those old

sinful pulls melt away and God’s desires grow bigger within us. He tells us we are overcomer’s in Him. This is Life, the real life, the true life. And…once you’ve been changed, nothing and no one else can fill that place in our hearts that is meant for God alone. We often spend our lives in sin looking to fill up that void that only God can fill and only God can truly satisfy. And just as when we drive our cars and the gas tank gets low, so we, as we live our daily lives run low on spiritual strength. That is why we need to refuel and be refilled with the Word of God, prayer, taking time to worship, and having fellowship with like minded believers. Yes, in this world we will have trouble, the Bible says so, (see John 16:33), however God promises to never leave or forsake us. And the more we’re in our Bibles, the more our faith grows, (Romans 10:17).

Thinking back on our recent visit, I was reminded we never know how long we have here on earth. We experienced some

very wonderful, encouraging and heartwarming visits which put a smile on our faces and swelled the love in our hearts. Also, we had some sad news regarding the health of some of our friends, which saddened us, nevertheless, we continue to pray for them. In any case, if those friends are suddenly gone from this life, we have the hope of seeing them in heaven where we’ll have an eternity of rejoicing together, serving our Lord in an eternal joy and bliss. Even the gatekeeper in heaven will have overwhelming joy!

Don’t wait! The Bible says if you seek me you will find me.

(Acts 2:21 & Jeremiah 29:1113). So call on Him to day won’t you, and if you really mean it, expect to meet Jesus, expect to be changed. Keep on seeking and just keep on, don’t give up, and what you receive will be greater and better than what you ever expected. It’s LIFE! He is worth it all.

May God Bless you dear reader.


Puzzle Answers

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