Get on Your Knee Replacements and Pray!

If You're Not Dead, You're Not Done


By Kris Kandel Schwambach

By Karen Kandel Kizlin

By Kathie Kandel Poe

By Linda Kandel Mason

Read by Kris Kandel Schwambach

Read by Karen Kandel Kizlin

Read by Kathie Kandel Poe

Read by Linda Kandel Mason

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Blending humor and faith, the four Kandel sisters encourage senior adults to be mission focused and never let age block opportunities to serve and minister to others.

With wry humor, they inspire you to investigate possibilities for your next assignment from God. If you have retired or are considering retirement, you will chuckle as they motivate you to look into new opportunities to serve God with that unhinged schedule, wisdom gained from experience, and perhaps even some discretionary income.

Cheerleaders encouraging the no-longer-young to stay in the game, the Kandels let you laugh out loud at their own real-life mishaps. They prove that age isn’t years, it is mind-set, and they offer a lighthearted challenge to seek new ways to serve God.

Do not let your number of birthdays stand in the way of your eternal impact. The big music for intentional, mission-focused living can begin even when you are well advanced in years.


Four Sisters,
One Voice

There are four of us writing this book, and it's pretty obvious when we're together that we are sisters. We look quite a bit alike. We like the same things. Our voices sound alike; we often move alike; we even sometimes laugh alike.

Three of us four sisters were born as a group. Kris entered the world first, followed by Karen six minutes later, and twenty minutes after that Kathie made her appearance. We three were wombmates who then became roommates. Yep, as triplets we started out as a herd and then increased. Linda was born four years later, so she is younger. She loves to emphasize the younger part.

We can finish each other's sentences and often respond in unison. We definitely have a herd mentality. It appears that we have some type of internal radar. We can't help it. We think alike. For example: We all love purses. Kathie lives a hundred miles from where we other sisters live. She went shopping and bought a new handbag. The next time Kathie came to visit, two of the same purses were sitting on the table. Karen and Kris had bought the exact same one! It was orange. Linda didn't need to buy that one. She already owns four orange purses.

Yes, we think alike.

Three of us started singing almost before we could talk. There was a good reason for that. When we sang, people gave us money. At family reunions, church picnics, and potlucks, we were asked to sing. Pennies, nickels, and dimes followed. We liked money. Our dad thought it was a good idea to make Linda the accompanist to our childhood singing group. People thought it was adorable that these sisters were bold enough to be in front of an audience and perform. Because we were singers, we practiced together and traveled together. As we got older we did more concerts, bigger performances. It meant more being together.

We all attended the same elementary and high school and all graduated from the same university with teaching degrees. We have over one hundred years of combined teaching experience.

After college each of us married: Kris to Dave, a pastor; Karen to John, a sales rep; Kathie married but was divorced after twenty-eight years; and Linda to Roger, a mental health counselor for school and a marriage and family counselor for church.

We all have children and currently the combined count of grandchildren is twenty-one.

Most important, we all love Jesus. We know that He is our Sustainer, Healer, Redeemer, Savior, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

We are all Bible teachers at our own churches. We speak together at Christian gatherings, women's events, senior adult ministries, youth meetings, and schools.

Kris has taught every age group at church, has held the role of children's director and women's ministry leader, and has been involved in mission teams and on numerous mission trips. She has written Bible studies and curriculum as well as devotionals.

Karen has led women's Bible studies, has been a women's ministry leader, and has written Bible studies and devotionals. She has served on both mission and prayer teams.

Linda has worked in prayer ministry, written puppet scripts, and worked with children's productions. She has written a prayer curriculum for her church, worked with incarcerated youth, and taught Bible studies for children and adults.

Kathie has taught Bible classes for all ages, sung on worship teams, written scripts for children's programs as well as devotionals, and she has worked in singles' ministry.

About five years ago we began sharing our faith through the written word. When we started to write books, we found our voices very naturally morphed into a single "I" and it was almost impossible to tell in our narrative where one sister's voice began and another's ended. Did we already say the four of us sometimes say exactly the same words at the same time? Yes, we really are a lot alike.

As you read our words in this book, imagine us all speaking in unison—or at least, all at once. The "I" could be Kris, Karen, Kathie, or Linda. You guess who. Often, rereading our words, we honestly can't remember who said what. We hope you won't be confused. But if you are confused, well, as four sisters, we're used to confusing people!

Chapter 1

Drum Roll, Please!

What comes to mind when you think about getting old?

  • Knee or hip replacements?
  • Wrinkles?
  • Wrinkle cream?
  • Healthy eating?
  • Eating whatever I want?
  • Wisdom?
  • Forgetting more than I thought I knew?
  • Going under the knife in order to go out without skin flapping in the wind?
  • The golden years, or silver sneakers, or the funeral preplanning appointment?

Do you remember the "talk" sometime around fifth grade when they divided up the boys and the girls? A few giggles and then an uncomfortable hush came over the room. We listened with wide eyes and gaping jaws as the nurse filled us in on stuff. It started something like this: "Now, as you get older, your body is going to change…" and it was off to the races with facts and information that made lots of us want to run for the hills.

But does anyone prepare us for the changes that take place as we get much older? Who's supposed to be doing that talk?

Bodies begin to spread out.

Hair begins to thin out.

Muscles begin to wimp out.

Feet begin to flatten out.

Eyes begin to wear out.

Teeth begin to fall out.

And maybe all of that makes us want to run for the hills. So what comes to mind when you think about getting old?

Here's my problem: When I think "old," I "think" old. And I don't like it! So I have determined not to get old. Nope, not doing it. My body may scream out for antiaging products, but my brain is still thinking youth and vitality. When I hear the word "old," I promise you—I ignore it. I don't want to get a tightly curled perm. I don't like desserts encased in gelatin…but I will always like fondue parties. Fruit Stripe gum did change my life.

Got it? I am who I am. I will not be defined by age, just like I am not going to be defined by my abilities, disabilities, talents, looks, finances. I have a mission.

This is not the curtain going down or even the curtain call. Drum roll, please. It is actually when the big music can start. Do you hear it?

There's a job to do that is just waiting for you. Every day you live, there will be a "to do" list waiting on God's table. You will never be done until the moment He says, "It's finished. You're done. It's time to come home."

Don't plan to be done until you are done, and then hopefully, you will hear, "Well done!"

Let this book be your antiaging product. It is supposed to be the face in the mirror of your heart that refuses to quit because of a date on a calendar. It is the cheerleader telling you to keep going, keep serving, keep praying. You don't have to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, because you have gained the wisdom to know where the front door is and have earned an access key.

Walk with us on the wild side of life on the other side of the hill. Not over the hill. You heard that wrong. We're going on an adventure that will lead us to some of the lives of men and women in Scripture who refused to take "No!" for an answer. They just kept going.

Lord God, I may have seen the top of the hill, but I want to do whatever it takes to accomplish all that You have for me. Give me energy, strength, and stamina.

Chapter 2

That Foreign Country
Called Retirement

Think back to the feeling you had when you finally got the job you wanted. It was amazing to know that you landed it. You were raring to go. It was thrilling to realize that within a few days you would be walking through the metaphorical doors of your career.

Then in that career there were days that were win, win, win, but there were also some that were lose, lose, lose.

Hopefully most days carried the wins.

My career was teaching.

I almost always thought that teaching was great fun, watching the light bulb go on inside a student. It was rewarding when kids got a concept or shared insight into something they had researched on their own.

There were moments that brought me so much joy. But there were parts of the job that I really didn't like. While field trips were educational, they fell on the low end of the love-to-teach spectrum. Anyone who has tried to outlaw prayer in school never took kids on a field trip.

Usually our students were well behaved, but taking them off-site meant uncertainty and unpredictability coupled with more responsibility. One year, the other sixth-grade teacher and I took classes to a train museum. Trains are historic; without them the United States couldn't have become what it is. The museum excursion offered a train ride, along with pizza and a drink. We hoped this would be a fun time for the students, yet instructional. The ride to and from the train was an hour each way; we'd then spend some time in the museum, and the train ride itself was an hour. Yes, an easy one-day trip.

When we arrived at the museum, train whistles were available for purchase. The field trip money parents had given the kids was burning holes in their pockets. Imagine, for a moment, sixty kids with train whistles. Did I mention my dislike of field trips?

We boarded the train and traveled down the track for about thirty minutes, savoring the pizza and relishing the ride. The second half of the trip was the return to the station. The expectation in most forms of transportation is a forward motion. That expectation was wrong. Instead of making a turn, the train started backing up. Where was that tidbit of information in the pamphlet when we planned the trip? It felt like a reverse roller coaster ride. Our sixty pizza-eating, soft drink–guzzling, whistle-blowing sixth graders were shimmied, swayed, shaken, and stirred. Many of their faces took on a greenish pallor. Another bit of information that was not in the pamphlet was that the train had no restrooms.

Field trips, however educational, were not fun.

When we finally returned to the train museum station, our bus driver was frantic, fearing we would not make it back to school in time for dismissal. She wanted to leave immediately, allowing no time to let the kids walk off the nausea they felt and get some fresh air. We boarded the bus to head back. I kept telling myself we could make it, although I knew school buses weren't a smooth form of transportation, especially when kids are already sick.

Field trips can make learning contagious, but throwing up is also contagious. If one kid does it, a whole lot of others join in.

I liked teaching, but field trips made me think about retirement.


No career is easy, but when people ask, "And what is it that you do?" you have an answer. "I am a ____," and you fill in the blank. But then, sooner than you think, a day comes along where you face walking out of those doors, probably never to return. Most people call it retirement. It's daunting.

When I first started seriously thinking about leaving my career, I went to the retirement website. I clicked on the picture of a confused-looking man. He represented a link to find a retirement seminar in my local area. I had heard changes were coming down the pike for retirees in the state. I knew I needed that information, but thinking about retirement was terrifying. With trembling hands, I filled out the page, put my finger on the button, held my breath, prayed, and pressed Send. I was registered.

I sat in the seminar sweating and almost hyperventilating. I had a good job and I liked it—field trips aside. Why was I thinking about retirement? I had been at the same school for twenty-five years. I loved the people. I loved the kids. Why was I thinking about retirement? I made a living wage. I could pay my bills with some left at the end of each month. I could afford to buy Christmas presents for my kids and seven little darling grandkids. If I wanted new shoes, I could buy them. Why was I thinking about retirement? Could I cut my income and still buy Christmas presents for my grandkids? Overwhelmed, I sat listening to an expert provide, in what sounded like a foreign language, information about going to what seemed like a foreign country called Retirement. I attended a bunch of seminars. The same expert from the teacher retirement program led each of them. He saw me so often I needed to add him to my Christmas list, but I was afraid I wouldn't have the money to buy him a gift.

Retirement can be scary. Retirement is a big deal. If you've already done it, you understand. If you're facing it, you can identify with the concern over the unknown.

There are defining moments in our lives. Choosing to retire is one of those.

Why was I considering it? Other teachers had worked longer than I had. I still had a few more good years in me. No one was walking me out the door yet. I had no desire to just sit with my feet up all day or to become an expert on daytime TV.

The answer?

I believed God was calling me to a second run, a different career, a new direction. I knew there was a plan for the days after my final day as a teacher.

God made each of us for a purpose, and that doesn't stop the day we leave a career. What it means is that He has something else for us to do.

I had put in the time. I had worked enough years to retire. I wasn't throwing caution completely to the wind. God knows I need stability in my life, but it was still challenging to agree to a cut in income. It was taxing to think about. I had to process it. I had to crunch numbers. I had to play out the what-ifs. It took me a year and a half until I sent in the forms to my school corporation. What I found out is that God was okay with that. He made me cautious and a planner. He built in me the desire to know where every penny goes and how far I can stretch it. And facing retirement stretched me.

But there comes a time when, just like the apostle Peter, we have to get out of our comfortable boats and take a step of faith. I chose to get out of my boat and put my eyes on Jesus.

Lord, I'm going to trust You. I know that my income has never been my source—You are. I believe You are calling me to step out in faith and do something new and different even at my retirement age. And I am asking You to help me with the challenges. I love when I read in Your Word that when Peter took his eyes off You and began to sink, You immediately reached out Your hand and caught him. Thank You for catching me every time I begin to sink.

Chapter 3


I was driving and had about thirty miles left until I got to my house. The car was an older model with faded paint and some dents and dings, but it still had some miles left in it. It ran pretty well. I wasn't expecting any difficulties.

Then I heard a noise. I felt confident that it was something from outside the car, since I had never heard that particular noise before. I made the logical choice: I ignored it. I told myself the sound was because of the rough road, and kept driving. The noise continued. The car wasn't driving the way it was supposed to. I was having trouble steering it. I didn't want to stop. I tried to keep driving, but finally I had to pull over.

When I got out to look, I was appalled. The tire was not punctured or merely flat. There had been an eruption and pieces of the shredded rubber lay in a path behind my car. I could see the metal rim of the driver's side front tire, and there was very little tire left. It was bad—very bad. Ignoring the noise had not been the best choice. In order to get home, that car absolutely had to have a new tire.


On Sale
Apr 2, 2019
Hachette Audio

Kris Kandel Schwambach

About the Author

Kathie Kandel Poe, Karen Kandel Kizlin, Kris Kandel Schwambach, and Linda Kandel Mason are four sisters — three of whom are triplets — who teach, write, and speak in church settings. They live in Southern Indiana near Louisville, Kentucky.

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