If you were to ask Blue Skies of Texas residents Vickie and Jim Phelps to describe what a typical day in their lives looks like, what you’d get is something akin to a kaleidoscope—an ever-changing, multifaceted, colorful view of an extremely vibrant community.
“We’ve lived here for nine years, and we love it,” says Vickie. “We just feel really connected to this community and lots of people. I don’t think we were ever this busy when we worked. It’s significantly different now.”
While some days kick off before 7 a.m. with their walking group, other days could mean separate schedules jam-packed with water aerobics and Zumba, meetings with one of the dozens of resident-run clubs, or quick jaunts around town. No matter what happens, Vickie and Jim make sure to connect throughout the day, enjoying relaxed time together, especially during meals.
“Sometimes we’re doing the same activities,” says Jim. “I may be on the stationary bike in the fitness center while Vickie’s doing Zumba; then I go swim and she heads off to yoga. We clean up and meet each other for lunch, then go do whatever we have to do. Then we meet up again later to enjoy the evening together.”
They made sure to note that the chef-prepared meals made readily available for dine-in and carryout add an extra layer of convenience.
“There’s no preparation or cleanup with meals,” says Vickie. “We can have what we want, and it’s OK if I’m having something totally different from what Jim’s having. Because I love grilled onions, and he definitely does not.”
Jim chuckles and nods in agreement. However, he quickly points out that Vickie does not share his affinity for liver.
Quite the Journey
Married for 50 years (51 years officially this June), Vickie and Jim’s journey to Blue Skies of Texas began when the couple felt something was missing from their retirement.
“After we both retired and were living in a community where you didn’t go to work every day, we were looking for more purposeful activities—more interaction with people from hour to hour, since we are both active people,” says Jim.
Additionally, Jim suffered from back pain that required access to rehabilitation care and didn’t want to worry about tackling physically demanding home maintenance tasks while recovering from treatment. [SM1] But before they could make any decisions about their future, the Phelps’ children wanted to ensure their parents were in good hands.
“We had to get our kids’ approval,” says Vickie. “They told us, ‘If we don’t like it, you’re not moving there.’ But when they came and saw Blue Skies of Texas, they asked if they could move here instead. They said it was like a resort, and we agree.”
Making an Impact
Since their arrival, Jim, a former Army chaplain, and Vickie, a former director of Christian education at a local San Antonio church, have been involved in a number of resident organizations on campus, including Bible study, the drama club and the Ambassador Program, to name a few.
“Jim volunteers to teach the AARP driver safety program and also helps people prepare their taxes through AARP income tax preparation,” says Vickie.
“Vickie volunteers with Stephen Ministry,” says Jim. “They’re a group of people who go through hours of training and listen to those going through a difficult time or experiencing a crisis.”
Their connection to the Blue Skies community goes beyond having an active and engaging social life. Rather, their connection is driven by a deeper need to serve others.
“At our age, it can be a struggle to remember we’re still relevant,” says Vickie. “But it’s such a joy to serve others because that’s what we can contribute to our community—and that counts for something. We’ve been here for almost 10 years and look forward to the next 10.”
Want to Know More?
Interested in establishing community connections and living an active lifestyle like the Phelpses? Reach out to one of our senior living advisors today at 210-673-2761 or visit our website to learn more.