Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Free to be Me

Today as you read this, I am relaxing on the beautiful island of Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands. I'm likely resting in a hammock or bicycling to the waterway. Whatever it is I'm doing, I'm sending up prayers of thanksgiving and gratefulness because today, I turn 50.

That's a pretty big number so in preparation for this day (it's one of those birthdays you prepare for) I've had much to consider and think about so today's blog post is a little bit different.  I hope you'll read all the way to the end and allow me a non-fashion kind of post.

So what's it like to be 50?

Not too many years ago I thought that people who were 50 were really old. They likely had no fashion sense and probably wore polyester and slippers most of the day. I'm sure I thought all 50 year olds had gray hair. I figured they were done doing new things and adventure was not part of their vocabulary. I also worried that when I turned 50 that the rest of my life would be boring. Seriously. I also hoped I would be happy because I figured the fun was over so I better be satisfied with where I was in my life.

Well let me tell you about what it's REALLY like to be my shoes (or wedge sandals).

First, I am so grateful that God picked me to be his girl. I like being on his team. You see, most of the time we wait around in life to be picked for things; committees, marriage, publishing contracts, etc....but my Pastor says we should stop waiting and pick ourselves. I like that.

I would say that I'm pretty much like that but in the case of Jesus in our lives, it's impossible for us to choose God without him drawing near to us first. He woes us and then we decide. But first, because he picked us. So, yeah, I like that he picked me.  I like it alot. But as far as "picking myself" to do what I want to do in life, I'd have to say that at 50, I feel free to pick myself on most occasions. Like getting a vision from God and going out to make it happen. Yeah, that's definetly me at 50.

I also like, that at 50, I can dress up to go anywhere I want to. Even if it's just the grocery store or my son's ball games. Even if no one else is dressed up, I can do it because I want to, because it makes me feel good. Being 50 gives you confidence like that. You see, I'm not a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, and I'm good with that.

I also like that at 50 I don't have to wait to get what I need in the form of gifts. My kids asked me what I "needed" for my birthday. Need? Nothing. And usually if I want something, I just go get it. That's pretty neat about being 50.

I also like that at 50, I don't have to change dirty diapers anymore. Perhaps I will one day when I have grandchildren, but by then, I won't mind it cause they'll be my grands...and then I'll be the "Glama"....oh yes, short for Glamour.

I like that at 50 I am solid in my relationship with the Lord. There's no doubt about my faith. At all.
I like that at 50 I can look my kids square in the eyes when they are doubting theirs and tell them to just trust...with boldness. And they believe me and doubt less.

I like that at 50 I can tell you I love cats and not care what you think about me. And one day I might even have a dozen of them. Because cats make me happy. I might be the crazy old cat lady and I'm okay with that.

I like that I have wisdom that I didn't have in my 20's and 30' fact, I really like the fact that I actually made it to 50 because I lacked so much wisdom when I was younger it sometimes amazes me that I am where I am.

 But for the grace of God go I.

I like that at 50 I know without a doubt that my husband thinks I'm the most beautiful woman in the world (and in any room). Even when I look downright awful. Now that's a man worth keeping.

I am so very grateful that at 50 I have a sixteen year old son who wasn't part of my plan, but was part of God's plan. And that child is the light of my life.

At 50 I can tell you that being a stepmother to three amazing step-daughters is a true gift.
At 40 I wasn't so with me, step parents? But keep on keepin' on.

And so at 50, I can pretty much say, I'm free to be me...always and forever.
It's a pretty neat feeling.

I leave you with this thought as it relates to you....why wait till 50? Be comfortable with yourself just how you are, where you are, and the age you are. Because honestly, today is the day the Lord has made and we should rejoice and be glad in it. Really, really glad.
I love you fabulous women...thank you for sticking by me and reading my stuff, trusting me with your fashion challenges and issues, and for being my friend.



The Calm of His Presence said...

Happy Birthday Shari!!! What a wonderful post. I know what you mean about feeling more confident of yourself as you get older. I am 37 and feel better than I ever dreamed I would at this age. (I know for you and others that isn't old) I have so much more confidence in myself & most importantly God than I did when I was in my 20s & even early 30s. I feel better than I have ever felt! If it gets better than this I can't wait to reach 50!

Have a blessed day!


Mariah said...

Happy Birthday! You make me feel good about growing old(er) :P Seriously though, I was very blessed to read your post and it's encouraging to see that some people still hold value in godly wisdom with age. I, for the moment, am no longer dreading turning 30, 40, or 50...maybe still 60 and beyond, lol. I will enjoy my wisdom "wrinkles" or "sparkles" as my son once called them and also informed me there were plenty on my face. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever make it to 50, I'm crazy now at, but God is good, and I'm glad He also picked me! :D

Kathy Kesinger said...

Happy birthday - now you know, 50 isn't so old, after all! I'm 68, almost 69, and I don't think of myself as old at all. I have more wisdom and more confidence, and I know that God can be trusted. I know, because over the years, I've seen that even when I didn't like or agree with His plan, when I look back, He was right all along. Trusting Him is easier now because of all we've been through together. It's great to BE - whatever age. I just want to be the best I can be where I am.

~Brenda said...

Shari, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this milestone birthday! I am 53 and have noticed that I have matured in my body, mind and soul. I too am more confident and no longer self-conscious. I now realize that along with wrinkles comes wisdom. God’s plan for my life turned out better than I would have dreamed. Enjoy your 50th birthday in the Cayman Islands, you fortunate friend of mine!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Braendel! Thanks for sharing your fashion-and faith- wisdom with all of us! :)
Alex L.

Randy and Brenda Cohorn said...

Happy Birthday, Shari! I hope your day is as blessed as my day has been just reading this fabulous post!!! YEA! ME! I'm 58, a newlywed and so so happy with myself and the way God has molded me. God bless you for many more of these special days!!

proudgrits11 said...

I'm so glad I came to check in on you today--Happy, Happy Birthday, girl!!! 50 is the new 30, right?? I hope you're having a wonderful time celebrating!!! You deserve it!
I wanted to let you know that after giving out your books as Christmas gifts, my mom and grandmother have recently revisited theirs! I helped my mom go shopping this past weekend for new stylish jeans (we "hit the jackpot" with a dark wash trouser jean and a casual Lee pair, both on sale!), three pairs of shoes to help her create cohesive outfits and several affordable tops in her POP colors. It is so amazing so know what to look for and what to pass up! We saved time AND money and she loves everything she got--and has already garnered compliments!
I also tried a new haridresser today after moving across town and got the chin-length bob you recommend for my face shape and I love it! I keep coming back to this cut--that's why you're the pro!! :)
We've inspired my 85-year-old grandmother to hit the stores for a new pair of fashionable jeans and some new shoes, too!
Thanks for your wisdom and inspiration! Your ministry--and just who you are--is a wonderful blessing in our lives!!

Michelle Angelique said...

Happy Birthday Shari! I am sure you are enjoying your day in the Islands! :) I am thankful that you are revived and have your vision back! I sure missed you this summer. Have a great vacation! Blessings!

Daphne said...

Happy, happy birthday, Beautiful Lady! I hope you had a fabulous and relaxing day and that your year is filled with God's bountiful blessings :-) It was so encouraging to read your post today...thank you for sharing your wisdom and fabulous fashion sense ;-) Love ya!

Anonymous said...


I am happy to see you posting again! And I see I have some catching up to do!! =)

I turned fifty-onederful this summer. My daughter-in-law calls me "Dad's Arm-Candy." =)
And ... I just finished off a wonderful month of changing our youngest grandson's diapers. haha
The next time I see him, he'll probably be out of them.

Life is such a wonderful blessing -
the "good" the "bad" and the "ugly."

Enjoy your vacation!

Diana C.

Amy said...

Friend, I just love you. Every bit of you that you described and more. Happy Birthday! I'm definitely celebrating you today.

Love you!

Anonymous said...

Birthday blessings to you, Shari! I'm really enjoying your blog :-). Any hints for a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal who likes to keep it simple (that's me)? Have a special birthday. Jenny C.

Jason and Brenda said...

Thank you for sharing your birthday wisdom with us. It was beautifully written.

Melinda said...

HaPpY BiRtHdAy!!!!! You are such a beautiful women....we need to see some NEW pictures of you!!!!

Henna-Maria said...

Happy Birthday! We share birthdays! I always thought August 31st is the coolest birthday ever; last day of summer. I love cats too, we have 3 and half cats (one kinda wanders) :D I liked reading how you are comfy in your shoes :) and I like the positive tone you have in all your writing.

BTW, one jeans comment made me think...have you met people who NEVER wear jeans? I read an article in a Finnish news paper ( about 4 people telling why they never wear jeans. What do you think?

Laura said...

I turned 35 a couple of weeks ago, and it was a milestone for me. Thanks to following the advice in your book, I have a new hairstyle that suits a 30-something, not my 20-something pony-tail, and I have clothes that suit my age and size. After 2 babies, I am carrying more weight than I would like, but for now I have embraced my plus size clothes. After all, now I can shop for the smallest sizes in the store (1X) instead of the largest sizes (XL). My husband says I look older now but he says he likes having a mature, womanly wife. He liked me at 23 when we met, but he likes the look of me more now. I can't understand it, but I am learning to embrace being the age I am, not longing for the youth that is past. Thanks for getting me to look forward to the next 15 years!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Shari, this was very well put. I'm slightly older than you are, but still feel much younger than my 'number'! I intend to keep it that way. What a wise post, proving that with age comes wisdom! So glad you are posting again - I've missed you! Karen