Happy St Nicholas Day: Are your Shoes Out?*

st-nicks-shoes

Neither are mine but when my husband was a child, his heroic mom of 9 children managed to fill each one’s shoes with a special treat the morning of Dec 6 so St Nick could make his first run-through.

Did you know Nick was a real-life bishop who had a reputation for secret gift-giving?  He liked to put coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, especially the poor.

Some Christmas customs, like celebrating St Nick’s Day survive for generations, others drop off or transform into new traditions.  As a self-proclaimed traditionalist, I think we need both!

This year I am trying three new things:

1)     Small poinsettias in each room.  They are cheap and colorful and don’t need unpacking and are easily tossed after the holiday or when you get tired of them in February.

 

 

2)     Attaching a photo of the recipient instead of a gift tag. I have a huge supply of never used photos and it’s easy to cut out just one person to use as a tag.  Older photos are even more fun!

2012 Christmas Tags

3)     Do you send out holiday newsletters?  I stashed a copy of each of our past letters into a file and decided to put them into a red binder for display.  Office supply stores sell packages of letter size sheet protectors already punched with three holes.  Fun to look back over our highlights each year.

How about you?  Trying anything new?

Hope for the best,

Tish

*adapted from 12/6/12

 

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Mimi Musings

The Oldest

I’m thinking about my grandmas a lot these days. Grandma Schwartz and Grandma Wiewel. No cutesy names for these women, I don’t think the thought ever crossed their minds to be called anything else. ..not like me and most of my girlfriends.

Their birthdays are both this month, one today in fact, but I know it’s more than that.

Mostly I’m very aware that my beloved Grandma Wiewel died the December I was eleven. My oldest grandchild is now eleven. I’m suddenly seeing me from her eyes and wonder how deep the imprint is going. More than wonder, I pray all the time for wisdom to impart what has been sewn in me to pass on to them.

The Youngest

All of us have/had a grandmother, two of them in fact, even if we never knew them. Most of us will be one as well. Unlike motherhood which often takes us by surprise, lots of time is provided to prepare a nest in our hearts for the new generation of little ones to land. Make it soft, cozy and very secure.

The seven year old

More than the snippets of conversation or the fun outings, I remember how these strong women made me feel. Welcome, wanted, loved, safe. Many things I often didn’t feel on the playground. They never raised their voice at me or made me feel less than anything.

Painting at my kitchen table.

So today I’ve painted and baked with one and will pick up another one from school for tea soon. With seven in town and two a train ride away, it does take some juggling of the calendar to make it happen and still get a work week in.

I go on a train to see this one.

What drives me is the thought that someday, not too far away, their array of options of whom to spend time with will be very vast. I hope to stay on the list!

Sometimes Papa comes along.

So I’m in it to win it, this role I will own the rest of my life. Can you help me out? If you are a grandmother, tell me your best tip. If you remember your grandmother, tell me what you loved the most.

Hope for the best,

Tish (or as I am known to nine, Mimi)

PS More Mimi musings:Grandma You Left me Too Soon, Pray it Again: My Grammas’s Rosary, Freeze These Moments!,Dates on Our Hearts

Friday Night Lights: Back on the Field

Tom and I and our star.

Friday Night Lights – Evanston Township High School football, filled our calendar, our basement, and swept us away 20 years ago. Our son, Gabriel, #70, was the Center, that’s a position, not a mom’s bragging. I can’t really define that exact role but I always liked the sound of it.

After four years on the field, this 1997 season looked like the big one. Victory after victory, the wins kept coming. Each week the ranking got higher and soon they were ranked #4 in the nation by USA TODAY. Winning the state title felt like it was in the bag, but it didn’t happen.

USA TODAY 11/11/97

The sensational run ended abruptly during a snowfall at the last game of the season when no more victories came through and we all mournfully filed out of the stadium for the last time.

Tom and I stayed in touch with some of the players, they still came in and out of our home occasionally when passing through town. Most conversations still included at least some snippets about THAT fall when hope flooded the field and all dreams seemed possible.

Every autumn we said to each other, “let’s go back to a game” but we never did.

Until a few weeks ago.

The boys came back.  Twenty years had passed and it was time to gather again.

Our grandson looking out on the field where his dad played.

Like stepping into a time machine, we headed back to the field. Tents were set up and a long table of barbecue lined the perimeter. Player’s parents like us showed up but now also wives, girlfriends, and kids. A whole new crowd that wasn’t around back then but had heard all the stories of the season that blew everyone away.

We swelled with pride once again when the announcer proclaimed that this team’s record was still standing and invited them all out on the field for half time. Tears wet my face as my son picked up his son and strode out there with his teammates to thunderous applause.

I know football is under closer scrutiny now, for good reason. I also know the camaraderie, community, and common vision that fall impacted us all in ways we’ll never forget.

Thanks, ETHS Wildkits, for the chance to cheer again, one more time.

Hope for the best,

Tish

What Story Are You Walking Into?

Ironically, the evidence splayed all around on the pull-down diaper changer in the women’s bathroom of a well-known sandwich shop. Someone had taken a pregnancy test and fled, leaving a trail behind.

The result was negative, I didn’t have to do any snooping to see that. All the packaging and the testing tools were strewn around the surface.

I thought a lot about the mystery not-now-mom on my long drive home.

Was the negative result good news? Was she not ready for motherhood? Did her family feel full? Was this not a good time? Not a good relationship? Was she so excited she ran out without cleaning up?

Or, was it a sad result? Another loss? Hopes dashed? Bitter news? Was she so heartbroken she slipped out without picking up the pieces? Could she not face the result again?

Why was she doing this in a public place instead of home?

Either way, I longed to congratulate her or mourn with her. Obviously, a big event in her life that night.

So many stories all around us. So much hidden joy and unexpressed pain.  If only we could see, but then what would we do? How many stories can one hold?

I hoped someone was waiting for her outside that bathroom or in there with her. Someone who would know just how to respond with happy laughter or heartfelt compassion or maybe swoop her up and give her a hug. Some events shouldn’t be solo-runs.

Even for those of us who hold a lot of stories in our circles, we sometimes don’t hear ALL the stories. Some details are too fragile or vulnerable or not ready for sharing.

So, I said a prayer for her. And left everything as is. Maybe she was coming back in to scoop up the evidence or long gone. I did leave with a snippet of her story that I am passing on to you. Maybe one is unfolding around you at this moment too.

Look around, there are stories everywhere. Here is an excellent 4-minute video from the world renown Cleveland Clinic to illustrate this:

Hope for the best,

Tish

 

Month at the Beach (not what you think!)

Selfie at the beach on my “Little Mermaid” towel.

Yesterday I lugged my bulky beach bag about a mile and a half on foot to Lee Street Beach because I didn’t have the car. Last month or the one before or, in fact, any of the other eleven, I would have just kept working or found something else to do for a break like laundry. Not this month.

This August, I resolved to go to the beach every day before autumn came calling and so car or no car, I’m getting there. Monday, I rode my bike, harder to manage all the stuff.

My self-employed work load hasn’t eased up, in fact, I’m working more. Which means, I get up earlier or stay up later or bring my grandchildren along or whatever it takes to get my visit in.  I only stay a short while, enough to feel the sand, smell the water, read a chapter, take in the sights. I haven’t gone in the water yet.

My Local Beach

My husband, who has never had his own beach token, decided to get in on this too but can only manage to go occasionally, later in the day. Evanston tokens are half off now so I got him one, better late than never. Sitting at the beach the other evening after work seemed to put us in another realm. It was nice.

Not just “my” beach.

This is a new one for me, there are only a couple of items that go in the “every day” category and this one is just for the month.

I’m keeping this promise to myself, maybe it will propel me to keep a few more.

Like clear off my desk before I go to bed, think about dinner before 4:00, keep chocolate in the “occasional” category, write down the expenses. Or maybe even the harder ones like putting the phone down.

Sometimes, even for a Life Coach like me, it is hard to know the difference between a wish, an intention, a goal, a promise.  I do know deciding in advance makes it easier to stick with resolution in all areas of our life.

So, I’m going to the beach. Not like committing to the “Whole 30” or the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) Both never tried. Yet.

Cloudy Day

What have you committed to for a month? What would you like to?

Hope for the best,

Tish

10 Ways to Make Intentional Choices about Everyday Stuff (Part 2)*

Our summer plates.

Last Thursday I reminded you that Intentionality doesn’t mean you start a whole new set of behaviors.  Thank goodness!

All of  our to-do lists come with a few slots already filled in each day so just paying attention to the ordinary daily round is a fine place to start making some fresh choices.

Here are five more everyday areas to make intentional choices.

  1. Dinner.  So easy to get in a rut here with the same old chicken.  Most of us own a cookbook.  Looked at it lately?  Need a change-up in your dinner plates?  I like to change them throughout the week.  Could you try something new one in seven dinners?  Trade cooking with another family? Intentionality trumps dinner-dread.
  1. Exercise.  Most of us at least say we went to incorporate more movement.  Do you get bored?  I sure do.  Try mixing up your movement with a new class, different time of day, fresh venue like a new gym or running path or at minimum, change your music.  I find an exciting read on my Kindle keeps me on the treadmill.  A personal trainer can help you jump-start to a new level.  Super simple: wear a pedometer at all times.
  1. Reading.  I enjoy a few favorite authors and can slip into only reading from that small pool.  Deciding ahead of time to choose a new author or genre each season can open up all sorts of new perspectives.  Even a two familiar to one new author works.  Try a new-to-you author this summer and let me know what you read.
  1. Talking and listening.  You know the powerful experience of a conversation just taking off into a timeless zone?  Sorry, those generally can’t be scheduled but providing an opportunity to engage in a variety of topics can often open one of those doors. Resources like www.tabletopics.com provide questions for getting started or just write your own. Check out 10 Ways to Start a Dinner Conversation
  1. Bedtime.  I did write a whole post on this if you want to check it out Do You Need a Bedtime Ritual? but since this event is a daily occurrence, you might want to make some new choices about your bedtime this season, your pile of books by the bed, your summer PJ’s, your bedtime prayers.

Feeling inspired?  Me too.  Gotta go find something new to make for dinner tonight!

Hope for the Best,

Tish

*adapted from previous post.

August: The Grand Finale!

August 1, save the best for last! The third act of summer is the grand finale. Instead of lamenting all the things you haven’t crossed off your list yet, start doing them today.

Use one of your many calendars to keep track of your daily “Summer Fun.” Trust me, you will be glad you did when September rolls around!

Need ideas for the next 34 days?

  • Read outside.
  • Flag down the ice cream truck.
  • Stick a beach or bag chair in the back of your car and use it.
  • Find one of the many summer concerts still going on this month.
  • Take a walk around your block before bed and look at the stars.
  • Eat outside once a day.
  • Put air in your bike tires and take off.
  • Visit a farmer’s market.
  • Throw back to the zoo or nature center just like when you were a kid.
  • Use one of the five weekends left in summer to get out of town.
  • Climb into the kiddie pool with your kids.
  • View a sunrise or sunset, both show up in your town every day!
  • Play a board game outside.
  • What would you add?

I know for many of you, the end of this month will bring back- to-school frenzy. It will probably feel that way regardless of how many pencils and rulers you stock-piled, and BTW, as my mom often reminded me:  there is always another sale.

My life coaching advice, if I may, is…Fill yourself up NOW with life-giving pursuits of summer to draw on in the crowded days ahead. Good self-care yields good other-care. Just like at the ATM, you have to put in so you can take out.

I’m choosing to stay in the moment, it is only August, 1/3 of the season we wait all year for still to enjoy. Join me?

Hope for the best,

Tish



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