The span of our life is seventy years, or if we are strong,
eighty; yet at best it is toil and sorrow, over in a moment,
and then we are gone.  Psalm 90:10 – Complete Jewish Bible

The above Scripture tells us we have on average, ­­a lifespan of seventy  or eighty years on this earth before we die.  We know many who don’t even make the seventy years of toil and trouble before their life is over.  But what about the few who go way past that time line by twenty, thirty or more years?
We all know of someone who has not only accomplished this fete, but is very aware, or as society labels it, “with it”!  Meaning the ‘with it’ person still has all their faculties, living in the here and now, able to converse on many topics in a clear and logical manner.  This is a wonderful blessing to family members who are helping in the care and well-being of that elderly loved one.
The year of 1912 is dear to my heart because my mother turned One hundred years old on October fourth of 2012!  Yes, she has surpassed the seventy or eighty years allotted her, but she has not escaped the toil and sorrows, nor the pains and problems that accompany an aging body.
I find the difference in my mother, when comparing her to most elderly who are often much younger than she, is her ‘attitude of gratitude’ that she exudes the majority of times.  Her attitude of positive thinking and her strong faith in Jesus, has especially carried her through the last year or so when she spent two times in the hospital; first from a floor cupboard falling on her and mangling her arm; and second when she fell and broke a hip earlier this year.  She spent months in a rehabilitation hospital learning to walk again where the doctors and nurses were amazed at how she responded to their care, all the while she kept them on their toes in regards to her recovery.
One often wonders why God takes some of us early while giving others a much longer time here on earth.  Only He knows the answers to this, but I do know one thing, my mother was in her eighties before she became ‘Born Again’.  Since she made that decision, she has been an avid reader of the Bible, and her faith has blossomed and strengthened her for this period of longevity.  She has been a beacon of light and encouragement to many friends she has made at St. Hilda’s.  Outliving most of them, along with her own sisters and brothers from a family of eleven. Her youngest sister is all that’s left and she has Parkinson’s and Dementia, making it impossible for Mom to even talk with her on the phone.
When one looks over my mother’s life however it is obvious how God has blessed her in so many ways.  Placing her at St. Hilda’s for the past twelve years where the kind caregivers fill many of her needs has also been a blessing to we five daughters.  The majority of time however, her care falls on my sister Roberta who lives nearby and loves mom in a sacrificial way.  She is willing to set aside her own life’s plans to aid and comfort mom in ways that the rest of we siblings are unable to do because of distance, time or our own health problems.

I have come to believe totally in God’s timing for anyone’s life, and all we family members (including grandchildren and great grandchildren) look upon her longevity as a wonderful blessing.  If we take our time, and stop to smell the roses, we have been given the opportunity to listen to her life’s story (which is a book in itself) and glean much wisdom from the lessons she learned over these one hundred years.

I gave my mother her first NIV Study Bible after she mentioned she would like to look up passages that she read from the large print ‘Our Daily Bread’ I sent to her every three months.  She had this Bible for some time before the small print became too difficult for her to read, at which time my sister Maxine gave her a large print Bible.  Around a year ago she gave me back the Bible I had given to her, and I found in the front she had written an amazing prayer!  This prayer has totally been fulfilled by God over the years of her growing faith.  She has always found great comfort in the Psalms, and followed her words with a notation to Psalm 139:23-24.  I asked her permission to share her written words with my readers and she graciously agreed, so here is what she wrote those many years ago!      Syb Brodie

“Almighty God, You know what I am undergoing.  Help me to overcome.  Don’t let me become a pessimist.  Preserve my optimistic outlook.  I may lose many things, Father, but let me never lose my faith.  Lord, You were the Undergoer who became the Overcomer.  You died on the Cross; You Rose from the dead.  Today hundreds of millions of people around the world know You, love You, respect You, admire You, draw inspiration and life from You.  You promise to be my friend.  You promise that if I keep believing, I will win.  You Promise!  Give me the courage to overcome the negative feelings that may depress my spirit, deflate my hopes and defuse my enthusiasm.  My Faith tells me that I have Your Power within me now, because You are standing beside me, encouraging me all the way with Your promise… “Victory will be Yours, My Friend.”
Thank You Jesus Christ.  Amen.              Ella-May Olivero

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 

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