3 years ago, I took my Grandma Doris to the cardiologist for her annual checkup. The doctor, after exchanging the normal pleasantries, made a comment that I wasn’t expecting. He said, “Doris, I wish I had your genes. If I didn’t know you and was just looking at your tests and vital signs, I would think you were 65 years old.” At the time, Grandma was 95, living on her own and walking a mile or so every day.
This weekend, we celebrated Grandma’s 99th birthday. I remember her saying that she wanted to live to be 100 and now there are only 365 days left for her to accomplish it. She doesn’t deny her goal, but she has shifted her focus and says she will do whatever the Lord has planned. What a great attitude and mentality to keep! She is an inspiration to me and many other people. As Grandma gets older and her body starts to wear out, she still serves and blesses people in many ways.
Grandma’s daily habits contribute to her longevity and her physical, mental and spiritual strength. If you ever needed to see the benefits of keeping good habits then Grandma is a perfect example. I believe habits and routines are incredibly valuable to us. Here are just a few habits that Grandma Doris has told me or I have observed in her:
- Eat and Drink Healthy. Grandma eats a balanced diet, including dessert, but never too much. She only drinks water and has 1 glass of juice every day. She will tell you (as I heard her say today) that one thing may have helped her live so long: “I’ve never drank coffee, tea, soda, or whisky.” While true, I’m pretty sure she just throws the last one in to get a laugh!
- Daily Bible Reading. Even with her eyesight getting worse, she still reads 2 chapters in her Bible daily. Last week, she told me that even with her large print Bible it is hard to read but she still gets two chapters read each day. It just reminds me that no matter your age or how much you have read in the past, you should still spend time in God’s Word everyday.
- Exercising. Until last year, Grandma would walk a mile everyday and do exercise classes a few days per week. Now, with her eyesight getting worse and her balance needing more concentration she doesn’t walk for exercise. But she does do exercise 6 days per week, with weights! She has a DVD that she starts and does the exercises standing next to her chair and some sitting. If you think you are too weak, too old, or too out of shape to exercise then you are wrong. There is always something you can do to start, even if it’s sitting in a chair and moving your arms and legs to stretch. Here’s a picture of Grandma just a week before her 99th birthday doing her exercises with her great-grandson (also about week before his birthday, but only #4 for him).
- Serving. My earliest memories of my Grandma are of her serving others. She served in the teachers resource room at her church, took care of neighbors, gave away her garden produce, delivered cookies to new neighbors at Tealridge Retirement Center, and many more things. She is even an international children’s author… or so I like to say. She has made, colored, laminated and gave away countless books for children. The books are staples in her grandkids and friends houses, but have also been taken around the world by missionaries to give to children everywhere. She isn’t able to see to do the fine motor work of the books now but that hasn’t stopped her from serving. She puts labels on hundreds of envelopes used to send Bible materials to people all over the world. Her heart for service and the habits it has created always reminds me that everyone has a skill and God will use those skills if you are willing to take action.
I may never live as long as Grandma Doris, but I’m betting these habits will help me get close (well, except for that coffee one, I can’t give that up yet!). If you don’t have positive habits in your life then negative ones will take over. Don’t let excuses get in the way of positive changes. You can make small adjustments to your routines and habits for big impacts over time.
Do you know Grandma Doris? Leave a comment below with your favorite story about Grandma or send me an email. I would love to share these with her and our family as well. Do you have your own grandma or someone that inspires you? I would love to read your comments about that special person in your life and how they inspire you to better habits.