Posts Tagged 'fun'

How Do You Deal with the Winter Blues?

I confess that with the beautiful temperatures (low 70’s) we have, I am very thankful to be here and not in Columbus, OH dealing with ice, 5″ of snow and very slow traffic! This past Saturday, however, two special events that I was taking part in were cancelled due to the weather!  It rained and the prediction included stormy weather.  Not conducive for taking the family out for a couple of hours to leisurely stroll through a community event and certainly not fun for a women’s night out! I share this so that you know the weather is not perfect here!  No matter where you live, there are challenges!

In talking with my Columbus friends, though, I know this is a tough time: it’s January, it’s winter and most of the country is ‘very good at it!’

So how do you make it through this tough mental and physical challenge?

An article I recently read (I apologize for not taking down the source) gave a few suggestions that I further modified.

* If you are a gardener, get out a gardening magazine and begin to dream and plan for your ‘next’ garden bed.

* Start planning a short spring trip or event with a best friend or spouse. We have a corporate event in Dallas TX in late April that I know provides a great get-away south at just the right time!

* Do a closet audit.  If you didn’t wear it last spring or summer, you’ll probably not going to wear it in 2013.  Don’t wait for January 1 (2014!!) to get yourself to your ideal size! (BTW, I can help with that little project now if you give me a call…and we have a special product promotion that will help you get there.  Send me an email and let’s talk!)

One of my Phoenix Toastmaster friends, Mary Lynn Ilnitsky, is a Certified Image Consultant.  Mary Lynn gave a great seminar on Wednesday night, Ageless Style, and I picked up some great tips to ‘Live the Stage, not the Age!’   I’ll share them in another column.  One of my takeaways: many of us, even if we have unlimited resources, do not know how to dress ourselves and it is of great benefit to get connected to someone with skill and expertise in this area.  If you are in the Phoenix area, call me for Mary Lynn’s contact information. If you are not local, do your best to locate someone who can help you do a closet audit.  I’m looking forward to my time with Mary Lynn!

* Create! Take a class that teaches you a new skill.  Adult Education classes provide abundant opportunities to explore new skills in a safe, inexpensive venue, taught by experts who are typically available to take you further down the path if you find it to your liking. I plan to be teaching a class “How to Create a Happy Body” in an upcoming session of an adult education curriculum. Contact me for details if you are in the Phoenix area.

* Tackle a household job that you’ve been putting off: a closet, a spare room.  That might simply mean organizing, but it might mean painting or re-decorating it in some way. Pinterest might provide some inspiration.

* Get into some very comfortable clothes and get out some travel magazines.  Cut out pictures of your next vacation destination and post them on the fridge.

* Embrace winter!  OK, those of you who know me would agree that this was something I never could do.  It is why we are finally in the south.  However, if you cannot relocate south, then making a mental shift would be helpful: not just being resigned to winter, but embracing it. I think this might be the most difficult approach…and I believe doing this would look differently for each of us.

What do you do to handle the winter? I’d love to read your comments below.

A Productive Week for My Mom

My mom is 89 years old, and doing GREAT.  We are all so very proud of her.  In fact I’ve written three other posts about her.  Now, almost two years later, Mom still lives independently in her two-bedroom cottage on the same campus for seniors.  She still enjoys participating in regular activities up at the main building: exercise classes including time in the pool, dominoes, chapel, root beer floats, and special programs.  Last week, she told me about attending a class where she made chocolate roses- yummmm!

Mom celebrating her 89th birthday

Mom is still involved in off-campus activities. She attends a weekly Bible study (and still does the homework), a weekly seniors group at her church, a monthly seniors group at another church (seniors tend to be attracted to group settings where a meal is provided!), and  weekly church services.  Because my brother and sister live nearby, Mom stays very connected to immediate family as well.  Even though her grandchildren are not local, mom interacts with all three and now two great-grandsons via phone, emails, and even texting and video chats!  You certainly can teach an old dog new tricks! Mom is proof of that!

In spite of regular weekly events, there are still 24 hours in a day to fill, and you can only sleep, eat, and party so much.  So what does a senior Senior do with his/her time?

This week Mom sent me a note – yes, a handwritten note in the mail- that was priceless. Here’s what she wrote:

Sorry about the delay but you know how busy I am (or can think I am).  However did have a productive week (which I think means I didn’t misplace too many items that I had to seek- which means I wasn’t quite as busy in that sense looking for them!)

You see, Mom has observed that she and her friends lose things constantly, and a major part of their day is spent looking for them!  She has adopted a new philosophy that she easily shares with her senior friends when the conversation turns to what they have lost lately.  Mom says, “Oh, it’s not lost.  It’s just misplaced. You’ll find it in its new place!”

So how do you measure a productive week? Would love to read your comments below!

To Plan or Not to Plan. Is That the Question? Part 2

I looked at my watch. I turned to my husband Ed and said, “It’s 4:30.  I think we are officially lost. What do you want to do?”

Ed’s response, “Whatever we do, we have to do quickly. There’s not much daylight left.”

We quickly took stock of our situation: we had followed the trail next to a wash, had crossed onto the rocks looking for the continuation of the trail, and ended up in the  corner  of a canyon, staring at two walls of sheer cliff about 300’ high.  There was no trail to continue forward; we figured we had 45 minutes to an hour left of daylight, and both of our cell phones were dead. Of course our cell phones had our GPS location, communication with the outside world, and a flashlight app.

How did we get here?

We PLANNED it!

Well, loosely speaking…we did.

Ed and I had decided a few days previously that we would take a hike in the desert on Monday, our last full day in Phoenix.  We planned accordingly.  Ed had purchased a book of loop hikes in Arizona, hikes where you start and finish at the same point.  He picked hike #44, called Garden Valley.  The trail was in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains, about 30 minutes from Gilbert where the kids live.  The description of the trail gave every indication that we would enjoy our time: the trail was 8.6 miles long, taking about 5 hours to complete, and was rated moderate- which is one notch up from easy.  We had snacks, PB and J sandwiches for lunch, water and my sports nutrition drink, binoculars for bird watching, and the hiking book. Most of these items were in the backpack that I carried.  Yes, I did feel a bit like a packmule, but because I carried the pack, I made sure we stopped for snacks and water as that lightened my load.   So that was a good thing.

These photos give you an idea of what we were hiking through.

Ed leading on the Dutchman's Trail

Weaver's Needle, an important landmark

A wash along the trail

Ed standing by a Saguaro Cactus gives perspective about size

Although I did periodically simply stop and look around to enjoy the beautiful setting of the trail, and Ed would stop to identify an unknown bird call- we kept moving at a good pace.  At one point, Ed commented, ‘This is taking us too long.  We should have been back by now.” A short time later, we found ourselves cornered in the canyon.

We prayed for signs, and as we backtracked, we did indeed see trail signs that we had not seen before.  I interpreted three stacked rocks as ‘This is the path, no turn here,’ remembering trailblazing signs from Girl Scouts. This week I discovered that there are other meanings for that particular trailblazing sign, so I am extremely thankful that the Lord gave us good direction in spite of my faulty memory!

We finally arrived at our car in the trailhead parking lot at 5:45 pm, and drove out of the park with the sun sinking quickly behind the mountains, very mindful of the Lord’s graciousness in giving us the signs that we needed when we needed them.

Bottom line: our PLAN was a simple 5-hour hike, and that’s what we prepared for. Reality was a 7-hour hike, including about three hours of being lost in the desert, and that’s what we were unprepared for!

PLANNING gave us a very unexpected result, which required a heightened dependence on the Lord Jesus. This hiking adventure  was a clear reminder that ‘A person plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).’

So did these two personal illustrations give any clarity to your own decision about planning for 2012?  To plan or not to plan?

Read Part 3 for my response.

Puddle Stomping

I just read this post by someone I don’t know, on a site I don’t think I could find again… but I love the sentiment:

“When my daughter was little, I use to require that she go outside with me and dance in the rain, stomp in puddles and squish mud. Now, a senior in college, she is still a rain dancer. I think this is a life skill everyone should have.”

Reminds me of a Sunday after church, in Ft. Myers.  It had rained while we were inside, and there were puddles in the parking lot.  I watched as two moms of sons responded to the obvious temptation of…you guessed it…boys stomping in the puddles. One mom very sternly grabbed her son (about 3 years older than Daniel, who was probably 4 at the time) and would not let him even get near the puddles.  The other mom was simply distracted and her three boys ran and jumped in the puddles, much to the chagrin of those walking nearby.

I was a relatively new mom- and the pastor’s wife. These two moms were my ‘mentors,’ unbeknownst to them.  Actually they were consistently opposites in their child-rearing techniques, and thus provided me with extreme examples of how I could respond.

On this Sunday, I chose the middle ground.  Going through the puddles was great fun, but to me, there seemed to be no point in ruining shoes or getting adults upset about normal boy behavior.  My boys were eyeing the puddles and were about to make a break for them. I corralled them, knelt down and  took off Daniel’s and Nathan’s shoes…rolled up their pants…and said,

‘Go run in the puddles.’

I don’t remember them hesitating.

They had a blast…and so did I, watching them have fun. I think it was a win, win- although we didn’t talk like that 30 years ago. Yes, Daniel will be 30 years old on Jan. 1!!

It will be fun to watch my boys let their boys be boys!

What about you? Did you ever have a ‘go-run-in-the-puddles’ moment with your kids? Will there be an opportunity while the kids are home from school to have a puddle-stomping moment? Take it!

Holiday Family Time

Do you play games as a family…I mean board games? Have you ever captured the event on video? Keep reading!

Ed and I headed over to LaGrange, IL on Wednesday for Thanksgiving with my family.

We spent a nice afternoon with my mom, showed her  videos of Greyson (her first great- grandson) that were posted on Youtube, including one of the most recent ones of Greyson reading to Sawyer (3 weeks old!). The ending is priceless!

The challenge was that we had three sets of rules: my mom plays dominoes regularly with her friends and of course, they follow the rules-with a few ‘in-house’ variations; Jaimie, my niece, was reading the official rules; and the third set came from Jaimie’s experience. Sound familiar? Do you ever play family games with a variety of rules?

During play, I pulled out my iphone and captured some unique footage. This first clip shows one of our interactions about the rules. The second clip features the family realizing the challenge of changing the rules.  The third clip   recorded everyone processing the implications of my mom and Jaimie rolling their second Yahtzee (lots of points and pretty impossible to beat!)

Family time around board games must be unique in every family.  I would love to hear about your family experiences, either memories as a child, or currently as an adult.