Month: February 2022

Epiphanies Abound…

There are no accidents in a God-directed life.

All goes according to plan. 

The glory is His,

How sweet it is.

There is really no need for a middleman.  

 

All-In Or Nothing Beyond Retirement

 

CHAPTER 1

EPIPHANIES ABOUND …

The dictionary defines an “epiphany” as a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something or an illuminating discovery, realization or disclosure (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epiphany)

Many believe that epiphanies are a manifestation of the Divine, and that God sometimes answers our questions with epiphanies when we ask Him. 

I have been fortunate to have had a number of such revelations during my lifetime. All have been delivered at just the right time, so that they were understandable, relevant and significant to me. 

Here is just a small sample of what I mean: 

  1. As a boy, it dawned on me one day that:
    1.  I was a unique individual, distinct from my brothers and my mother and father. I was infused with energy and Life.
    2. God is real; choosing to live with Him and for Him became a major step toward fulfillment and happiness for me.
  2. As a young adult, I discovered that:
    1. My life was a result of the decisions I made; I dared not share or defer that responsibility to anyone else.
    2. Decisions had consequences, both good and bad. It was my responsibility to own them all and learn from them. 
    3. I could choose excellence in whatever task or situation I was faced with.
    4. There were no accidents in life; God had control of it all. 
  3. In my mid-life years, I learned about:
    1. Adding value wherever I was, especially in the lives of other people.
    2. Being a positive example to others.
  4. As I turned 50 years old, I found that:
    1. I was not bullet-proof as a person; natural law applied to me too. It was unwise to neglect my health, even on the altar of seemingly positive virtues, such as hard work and service to others. Bad choices lead to suboptimal results, which usually meant pain and suffering but most assuredly a waste of valuable resources. Great choices propelled me forward in the direction which I found desirable and meaningful. 
    2. It was important to find my passion in life in order to best fulfill God’s purpose for me.

Now I am in my 71st year on planet Earth. I have enjoyed my life immensely, and I wouldn’t trade the lessons I have learned for anything. The journey has been spectacular! I had many opportunities and many successes during my career as a military and civilian radiologist. In 2006, I “retired” from the United States Army after twenty-four years of Federal Service. Then in 2020, I retired again from medicine (Musculoskeletal Radiology/teleradiology) and launched into a career as a writer and teacher.

I am at least as busy now as I ever was during my “working years”, if not more so. I have realized that “retirement” should not be synonymous with slowing down or taking it easy. It is really only a transition from one role to another. Same person, same qualities; different role. And I am here to tell you that I am not done yet! In many ways I feel like I am just getting warmed up for the next chapter in my life.  Epiphanies continue to manifest themselves even now, thankfully.

So why am I writing this book? Well, despite my best laid plans, there was a fly in the veritable ointment. Things were going on with my body which I hadn’t recognized before and surely didn’t like. 

 

Maybe you will identify with some of the following: 

  1. My hair turned gray and my chest fell down to the level of my stomach.
  2. It became increasingly more difficult to get down onto the floor and especially get back up again.
  3. I was beginning to forget names and facts which would magically appear after a few minutes (“Google it” became a common refrain among myself and my wife).
  4. Sleeping was more interrupted and less restful.
  5. My five-hour bladder could barely make it two hours on road trips.
  6. Wrinkles abounded and hairs sprouted from the least likely of places.
  7. Liver spots appeared.
  8. Achiness in my hands increased as the smaller joints in my fingers became lumpier in configuration.
  9. Morning back pain became the rule rather than the exception.
  10. Loss of balance was a daily concern. 

You get the idea! 

I had hoped that my “Golden Years” would be filled with meaning encounters and accomplishments. I wanted to continue to help my kids and teach my grandkids about things I had learned to love. I wanted to bask in the light of a rewarding life with my beautiful wife for at least twenty-five or thirty more years beyond “retirement” from my job. I wanted to continue to strive and thrive by helping others. 

Instead, I realized that there was a piece or two missing from my life puzzle. I was obviously doing something or not doing something which was causing me to fall short of my own expectations physically and mentally. Friends told me that I was just getting older. They tried to convince me that it was “normal” to slow down, and that it was unrealistic to believe that I could think and do as I had at a much younger age. Even my own medical colleagues wrote off my symptoms as “age-related”.

With so many older Americans acting as I was (in decline), I began to wonder if what was happening to me was normal. I was resisting that thought; I was not content to accept the norm. I had to find the answer for myself.

I was not content to accept the norm.
I had to find the answer for myself.

What if I was right, and it was not normal for older people to get weaker and sleep less well? What if our joints were constructed to function well for 120 years or more? What if my mind was supposed to be sharp and quick for decades beyond my retirement from the job? What if we were designed to live for 120 years on average, not just the 80+ years predicted in the insurance actuarial tables? 

If it was normal to blitz through all of life at 110%, with limitless energy and boundless enthusiasm, why wasn’t I living that way? I’ve seen too many chronologically older folks placed into extended care facilities and nursing homes (against their will) because they were no longer able to meet minimum standards of care for themselves. People are most comfortable in their own homes; why shouldn’t they be able to live and work and play where they are most happy, especially in their advancing years? 

The real questions for me were these: 

  1. What was causing me to function at less than my best? 
  2. What was I doing which was robbing me of my vitality prematurely? 
  3. Why was I deteriorating more quickly than I wanted to or should have to?
  4. Were there things I could do to slow or even reverse these changes?

  The new symptoms I was experiencing carried a message. Was I wise enough to heed its warning? Having symptoms meant I was not doing something right. It was time for analysis and change if necessary. 

Having symptoms meant I was not doing something right.
It was time for analysis and change, if necessary.

After months of prayer, thought and research, I can confirm to you that there are things that we can do to prolong life and make living more enjoyable. We can maintain our functionality much longer than we ever thought possible. We have realistic and doable options available to us. 

The objective of this book is to define those options for us, explain why they may work, and encourage you on your road back to “life in the enjoyable and fruitful lane.” There will be no mandates that you must follow. Whether you choose to try any of these ideas is purely up to you. A few of the options will cost extra money; some will require only that funds be reprioritized, but most of the ideas are free, except for the determination and the persistence to carry them out.

… most of the ideas are free, expect for the
determination and the persistence to carry them out.

By the way, my latest epiphany dealt with this very issue. All of life can be lived energetically and enthusiastically, at full tilt, right up until the day the Lord calls us home and we hear, “well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23 NIV) . The idea is to finish strong. That is great encouragement to me, and for you also, I hope. 

Finish strong!

So here we go …

Endorsements of All-In Or Nothing Beyond Retirement

The truth is your beacon,

Don’t ever forget!

A light in the darkness,

A faithful asset.

All-In Or Nothing Beyond Retirement

Whenever I write a book, I carefully select those whom I ask to write the foreword or an endorsement. I send them an Executive Summary describing the subject of the book and the content therein. This usually happens long before the book is finished. 

I choose people whom I know and who know me, because I want them to give you a bit of unsolicited insight into my character so that you will be encouraged and eager to listen to the message of the book. They make the message of the book believable! Let me tell you a little bit about these wonderful people. 

They make the message of the book believable!

Barbara Pace wrote the foreword for All-In Or Nothing Beyond Retirement. She is a gifted lady with many “irons in the fire” of her life. She owns a genealogy business which helps find lost parents of adopted children. She is a mother of nine of her own children, and a devoted wife. She is an avid reader, and is studying to be an attorney. She and her husband are very accomplished pickle ball players. 

Barbara’s foreword is personal and hard-hitting. She really writes from the heart. She and I have talked about some of my ideas for holistic health, so when she says that you can “leverage your knowledge, wisdom, faith, talents, and years of experience so you can continue adding value, enjoying your life, and impacting other lives for good, “ you can believe it! 

I love her last paragraph: “People in this world need your wisdom and experience, helping hands, loving heart, friendship, faith, and good example. There is so much good you can do. Don’t slow down- step up.”  She is referring to all of us here. What an encouragement!

I was privileged, honored, and blessed to be able to attend college at the United States Military Academy at West Point with LTG (Retired) Gary Speer and MG (Retired) Bob Dees. Both of these men distinguished themselves by serving in the Infantry Branch of the United States Army for over 30 years after we graduated in 1972. They are great leaders, and also men of phenomenal character. Gary continues to serve on many corporate boards and volunteers time to the Academy in matters dealing with the recruitment of outstanding candidates for West Point. Bob is the President of Resilience Consulting LLC and has spear-headed the development of the National Center for Healthy Veterans, an organization  which helps veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) heal and effectively reenter our world as vibrant, influential, and functional members of society.

Dr. William S. Spears and I became friends based on a mutual interest in the history of the Civil War. I was impressed when Bill earned his Doctoral degree in business management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), well after his 50th birthday. He founded Cenergistic, Inc. in 1986, and has continued as its CEO for the past 35 years. Cenergistic, Inc. is a conservation company which teaches administrators and managers at schools, churches, hospitals and state and local municipalities how to save energy and other precious resources. He is an example of one who has never “retired.” He continues to contribute to his community and his country, irrespective of his chronological age. 

David Henslee has been a physical therapist in north Texas for many years. He and I have a mutual interest in sports medicine. After stepping away from that business model and retraining himself, he became a certified Health and Wellness Coach. He continues to serve his community by helping senior citizens rediscover and reclaim their zest for life. He knows only too well that “our world grow smaller as we age. It’s imperative that we find a way to push back, to regain the lives we once knew, to reclaim our physical, emotional, and spiritual vitality.” David truly “walks his talk.” 

Mike Abel is the quintessential Renaissance man. He and I became good friends in 2010, as we began shooting metal silhouette targets together. We competed, but also cooperated with one another to make us both better. A very solid bond of trust developed quickly between us. I marvel at his attention to detail and his commitment to excellence in all facets of his life. Mike is a quiet leader who is very principled in his walk through life. 

I was honored when COL (Retired) Terry Wallace described me as a “clear thinking, measured coach that those of us in our mature years can listen to and trust. His research and analysis of the proper way to approach a healthy, though retired, road ahead will be of interest and benefit to all who read his work.” 

The relationship and the friendship which COL Wallace and I have developed over the years was forged in the crucible of West Point. Then MAJ Wallace was the officer in charge of company (E1), United States Corps of Cadets, from 1969-1972. I was a member of the cadet Class of 1972 in that company. COL Wallace mentored me when I was the company commander of E1 as a senior. 

I found COL Wallace to be a sage, level-headed teacher and guide who allowed me to lead others in my own way. He was indispensable to my development as a leader. I always felt that COL Wallace had my best interest at heart. He, and his wife Audrey, still come to our company reunions. It is always a joy to reconnect with them. 

The impact that COL Wallace had on my life is impossible to measure; I can only hope that I can be as effective a mentor to others as he was (and still is) to me. 

I am fortunate to have developed such great friends along the way. They inspire me daily. A character quality common to all of them is a giving Spirit. They make things better than how they find them, whether it is people, programs or institutions.

… a giving Spirit.

I would encourage you to take inventory of those who have had a positive influence on your life too. Thank them publically, if possible. They deserve to be recognized and lauded for the impact and direction they have had on your life. They cared enough to help you over some of the rough spots. That is significant!

I hope you will read about all of the precepts in All-In Or Nothing Beyond Retirement with both interest and intent. The book outlines an adventure into living perspectives and health-truth, and is as complete and practical as I know how to make it. It would be almost impossible to adopt everything that is described in the book, but I am sure that some parts will “speak to you” very clearly from the outset. Keep the other principles in your “back pocket,” in case you wish to use them later. 

This book is my gift to you at this time in history.

Other blogs will follow. The next blog will be Chapter 1 of the book. I hope to give you a feel for its message and the tenor with which the precepts are presented. From there on, we will be discussing other interesting facets of the journey toward vitality and increased functionality Beyond Retirement.

Glad to have you aboard. Enjoy the ride!

Introducing All-In Or Nothing Beyond Retirement

Just because you don’t believe,
Doesn’t mean it is not true!
Don’t be blind;
Open your mind.
When you believe, you will see.
Breakthrough

The comprehensive, faith-based book on successful aging you have been waiting for!

This book will honestly and objectively answer questions you may have had as you  have gotten older, such as: 

  1. Does everyone age in the same way? 
  2. Can aging be controlled, arrested, or reversed? If so, how? 
  3. What is causing me to function at less than my best at my age? 
  4. What is robbing me of my vitality? 
  5. Why am I deteriorating more quickly than I want, or should have to? 

All-In Or Nothing Beyond Retirement is a book for the Boomer Generation,  my generation. It outlines holistic, practical solutions to the problems of advancing  age. While no mandates or guarantees for success are offered, this book suggests  options for each person to consider in order to slow the aging process.

The idea is to maintain and sustain one’s energy, vitality, longevity, and  functionality for as long as possible. This idea contributes to self-worth, and delays  moving from your home to some assisted care facility or nursing home. 

Personally, I want to live my priorities right up until the day I leave  this planet! 

All-In Or Nothing Beyond Retirement is realistic. I lived it as I wrote it.  I was evidently doing something wrong or not doing something right as I was  experiencing my Beyond Retirement years, which was causing me to fall short of my  own expectations physically and mentally. 

My friends told me that I was “just getting older.” They tried to convince me that it  was “normal” to slow down, and that it was unrealistic to believe that I could think  and do as I had at a much younger age. Even my own medical colleagues wrote off my  symptoms as “age-related.” 

I resisted those thoughts. There had to be another, better answer. And there is

The physical factors (nutritious diet, vitamins, and approved supplements, plenty  of pure water, sound sleep, the right amount of exercise), may be very well-known to  most of us. Just a bit of fine-tuning may be all that is needed. 

But what about decreasing stress meaningfully, replacing hormones that have  naturally waned, getting rid of waste that is harmful, and preventing accidents so you  don’t have to experience the agony of surgery and rehabilitation? 

What role do these factors play in accelerating the rate at which you age?

Consider: 

  • Is there a way to use your emotions, intellect, and Spirit to help you age less  quickly and more gracefully?
  • What would you desire your friends and family to say about you at your  funeral?
  • What sort of footprint do you want to leave for others to follow? o How important is legacy to you? 

You will find answers to these questions, and more, as your read. There is no time like the present to choose improved personal habits and attitudes.

None of us are getting any younger! 

All of life can be lived energetically and enthusiastically at full tilt, right up until  the day the Lord calls us home and we hear, “… ‘Well done, good and faithful  servant.’” (Matthew 25:23 NIV) 

~ Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used  by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. 

The idea is to finish strong

That is a great encouragement to me, and for you also, I hope. 

Finish strong! 

Enjoy the read. This is my offering to you.