Mint Condition

Me and my grandson

This post is about my emotional trauma at turning 70 this summer, and the resurrection of Grandma Bessie’s mint plant.

First, the birthday. Sure, I’m grateful to be alive and in relatively good health. At the same time, turning 70 this past summer was tough. It was like falling into a stream and being unable to fight the current.

Keeping up appearances is getting harder all the time. Age may be a state of mind, but my body doesn’t know this. My weight stays about the same, but my body is sagging down, down. All of those funny cards about your boobs resting on your belly? They aren’t funny anymore.

Still, if there is a time to embrace your age, it might be 70. A cousin bought a ranch in Montana at age 70 and started over again. My mother worked until she was 73. Remember Miss Lillian, President Carter’s mother? She joined the Peace Corps at 75.

My third book, Amber’s Choice, was published the week I turned 70.   Perhaps this was my way to rebel against aging? Saint Paul encourage his followers to finish the race set before them. I’ll stay in the race as long as I can. Perhaps 70 is the line of demarcation between making a living and living a calling. These years of freedom from work obligations can be like the encore at the end of a concert, or like whipped cream on a dessert. I plan to keep writing.

Grandma Bessie’s mint and a visitor

Now, about that mint. Growing up at LaMoure meant stopping by Grandma Bessie Muir’s home at least once a week. I was very familiar with her large yard, and loved the mint that grew against the foundation of her house.

After Bessie died, I acquired a root of the mint when we bought a house in Bismarck. The plant did well. Years later, we moved to another home and transplanted it again.

When we moved two years ago, I was dismayed to leave Grandma’s mint behind. With four-foot snow drifts in the backyard, there wasn’t any way to dig up a plant. I mourned it’s loss.

Actually, I whined about it. After all, that mint was older than me, and my book about Grandma Bessie, Secrets of the Dark Closet, was about to be published.

That fall, my niece arrived from Minnesota with a root of Grandma Bessie’s mint plant. Thrilled, I put it in our tiny garden next to the foundation of the house and hoped it would survive winter.

The next spring the mint popped up and today it’s in “mint condition.” So far, it’s been served in lemonade, gifted to friends, and it helped squelch an invasion of ants. A grandson planted a root in a pot and it’s grown as big as a peony bush.

In other words, it’s older than me and still has a purpose.

Maybe that’s because it’s always been located close to a foundation that protects it. For we humans, the best foundation we can have is a friendship with Jesus. If we stay close to him, we can trust that he will be with us no matter what. In Matthew 28:20 he even said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Hebrews 11 is considered the ultimate list of people of faith. One of them is Abraham’s wife, Sarah. Verse 11 states that, “Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him (Jesus) faithful who had promised.”

While most of us aren’t too keen on producing a child in our old age, we can be productive in other ways. I like the idea of pursuing a calling in my golden years.

 There are so many needs in the world. Organizations that need volunteers. Friends that need encouragement. Kids who need mentors.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank


Writing Update

Wordsmiths Writers Group at Boneshaker Coffee Company

I had several interviews in August. The first was with radio station WMPC in Michigan. To listen to it, go to, click on Off the Bookshelf and find Amber’s Choice.

An interview that aired on KNDR-FM can be heard at Click on Interviews. Mine took place on August 21.

On August 12, I was the guest author on Lorrie Doman’s author blog. This interview can be found at  

Many thanks to each of these, and also to Christian Women of Aberdeen, where I spoke in August and to Boneshakers Coffee House here in Bismarck where I signed books a couple weeks ago.

Next up: Signing books at the Pie & Ice Cream Social at Memorial Park at Grand Rapids, N.D. this coming Sunday, Sept. 8.

Amber’s Choice is now available at bookstores across the state and at online bookstores everywhere.

Thank you to those who wrote Amazon reviews. Good book reviews are an important force for writers. Will you consider writing a review? It will be deeply appreciated.