Highway Detour

Our first car!

Sometime in the last few years I stopped driving on highways. I wish I could say, “that’s over now” but it’s not.

I have never been one of those “I love driving!” types like friends of mine but taking to the highway for a short trip or certainly to drive to downtown Chicago was never a problem.

Until it was. The first time it happened, I was driving on a very familiar route on a fast-moving highway. Suddenly an out-of-the-blue terror that I was going to fall off the overpass showed up.

Like most unwanted occurrences, I dismissed it and actually forgot about it until the next time. Same thing. Initially I was angry. Where did this come from?? But it was familiar enough to pay attention to and then I remembered. This wasn’t the first time I felt this.

The same driving sensation phenomenon showed up in childhood when I stared up at anything quite tall. Sounds crazy right? Not a just fear of heights from above but below as well. Same vertigo-like symptoms, sensation of falling, totally out of balance, that I felt in the car.

Can’t explain it but can’t shake it either. A few more attempts behind the wheel to push through occurred. None worked. Sigh.

I know there might be techniques to try, programs to check out, other helps available but for now, I am choosing the “avoid highway” option on my GPS. I get where I want to go but usually slower. If someone else is driving, I am mostly OK. Trains? The best!

Just so you know, driving itself is no problem, just the high-speed, steep curves in the road and changes in elevation. I could drive to California on a two-lane road!

I’ll admit, it’s hard to acknowledge that for all the competence and confidence I feel in many areas of my life, a simple thing like driving on a highway feels paralyzing. I can write books but not easily get across town.

Yes, if someone’s life depended on it, I would go for it and trust God to keep his hands over mine. So far, that hasn’t happened.

I’ll report back if anything changes.

How about you? Anything holding you back?

Hope for the best,

Tish

PS Don’t forget to check out my new book! 100 Need to Know Tips for Moms of Tweens and Teens!  Available here: 100 Tips for Moms of Teens!

 

 

Lent, Back so Soon?

Lent is not as much fun as Advent. In fact, “fun” and “lent” are rarely used in the same sentence. Lent, if you observe it, is usually stretching. In a good way you might say, like doing spiritual push ups. I don’t like doing push ups of any sort, but I do respect Lent.

Lent seemed simpler back then.  Like about every other kid in my parochial school, I gave up candy and that was it.  Since we didn’t have much access to candy anyway, it wasn’t a big sacrifice. I almost liked giving up candy, it seemed like a soft way to holiness and being holy was certainly a high held value in my small circle.

Then, when I felt I was too enlightened for all that religiosity, Lent was once again easy… to throw in with the Church towel. I didn’t need it and it didn’t need me to participate so we went our separate ways.  No one I knew “did Lent.”

We got back together, me and Jesus. He didn’t say anything about Lent in the Book but I still want to have a meet-up with it. Guess that will be tomorrow on Ash Wednesday.

By the way, Lent is making a come-back.  It doesn’t seem so easy anymore.  One friend spoke of her intention to secretly do something nice for someone everyday of Lent.  Easy for a few days but maybe not 40.

Facebook will incur a few drop-outs for Lent. Already a stream of friends showed up on the loop to say goodbye for 40 days. That wouldn’t be easy for me. Neither would foregoing fiction, bread, wine, or chocolate, some of my previous give-ups.  Still not sure for this year.

Maybe I will do an add-on instead like my “be nice” friend.  Instead of giving up something, add something else. Last year I wrote one letter a day during Lent.  I like writing letters though, so should probably add something else. Oops, I don’t like “shoulds.”

The “give-up” discomfort, hardly deprivation, keeps me focused.  In spite of what I want in the moment, I want something else more in the end. Hard to define, but it always shows up by Easter and it definitely feels holy.

So tomorrow evening, I will walk into my church and offer my forehead and my heart and await the adventure this year.  I will give-up and He will add-on.

And you?

Hope for the best,

Tish

Got kids? Lent for Kids: Five Ideas (and more) to Try

PS My new book is available now! 100 Need to Know Tips for Moms of Tweens and Teens (order here https://amzn.to/2T1SpV8)

 

 

Hamilton Lottery: Winner!

I enter a lot of contests. I almost never win. Often I decide no one ever wins and it is all a promo technique. So when I heard there was a lottery every day for Hamilton tickets, I paid no attention. I knew all about Hamilton from the massive promo and hype but it seemed so way out of reach, why bother.

But then my granddaughter got Hamilton-hooked and I started listening to the music also to see what the draw was all about. All the time. Going to the performance still seemed a dream but I casually started entering the lottery every so often.

I thought the tickets might go down, they didn’t.  So I downloaded the Hamilton app and began to enter the lottery daily. “Unfortunately you are not a winner” was the daily dish.

We had a biggish anniversary last summer and, of course, thought winning the lottery would be perfect but who knew if that would happen. By now I had been entering for about a year. Another plan emerged, what if we forego all gifts for all the other holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, anniversary and spent it all on tickets? Would it be enough? It was. We didn’t win the lottery that day so purchased tickets for all our holidays combined. Amazing doesn’t describe it. All the hype? Absolutely worth it.

Like coming home from a long-awaited trip, we wanted to go back. So we kept entering , both of us,  we entered for tickets for every performance we could attend. Six more months went by. 18 months total of entering.

Meanwhile, the songs became themes.  “Look around, how lucky we are to be alive right now!”* fed my hopeful optimism about life. “I am not throwing away my shot”* reminded me to take advantage of every opportunity. “Who lives who dies who tells your story”* fits right in for a book I’m working on. I pressed ENTER again on the app. My husband did the same.

Last week, the day before Valentine’s, Tom texted me: WE WON! My response was incredulity. I couldn’t believe it. People won, we won!

Announcement on the app.

This time our seats were front row, literally.  We could almost touch the actors. Felt like a dream.

$10 tickets for the lottery.

We sat on the edge of our seats, on our provided boosters, mesmerized the whole time. Due to front row, we missed a bit of the whole stage experience but boy were we close and spellbound. By now, most of the songs were committed to memory but I succeeded in not singing along!

Our seats!

I think I could go every night and never tire of it.

How lucky we are to be alive right now.*

Rise Up!*

Hope for the best,

Tish

*All songs by Lin Manuel Miranda

PS My new book is available now! 100 Need to Know Tips for Moms of Tweens and Teens (order here https://amzn.to/2T1SpV8)

Read More/Scroll Less

(Bitmoji image)

Did you add “Read More” to your New Year’s Resolutions list? How’s that going in these first few weeks?

Somehow I seem to want to read more than I actually do. Books that is, not just Facebook scrolls. My husband might disagree as it seems like I am always commenting on a book but I decided to step up my game.

Here’s what’s working so far…

1. Sign up for a challenge. I chose Goodreads and decided to commit to 50 books this year. About 15 more than last year. As a life coach, I love accountability and can’t wait to list each book as I finish it. It is also fun to see what other friends on the site are also reading.

2. Make a specific goal. “Read more” isn’t really a goal, it is a wish. “Read 4 books a month” is a goal. I’m reaching for that. I finished two books early in the year so I counted those 🙂 This month, I have my four on the crossed off list. 44 books to go.

3) Pick a time and a place. (Sounds like a line from Hamilton.) For me, that time and place has to be in addition to my pillow right before bed. Taking a reading break before noon has worked so far. I leave my desk for a comfortable chair, grab a book and set a timer. I use this time to read mostly non-fiction books that look helpful or fascinating but don’t pull me too far in so I can get back to the work mode.

I save my novels for bedtime which means they sometimes take a long time to finish. If an evening is open, I find I enjoy the reading option more than TV and grab my novel and a hot drink and settle in by my (electric) fireplace.

4) Use your library app. Whenever I hear about some new-to-me book that sounds like a good one, I add it to my “hold” account. I always pick them up from my local branch when I get the notice and usually at least start them. That way, the pile is always ready. If it’s not a good fit after all, I return it quickly to someone else can give it a try.

5. Sign up for Bookbub This can be a little dangerous if you like to buy a lot of books for your e-reader but many are fr*e. Each morning you get a list of the day’s offering of digital books tailored to your tastes (you fill out a form when you sign up.) The books range from $2.99 to fr*e. If one of the higher priced ones looks good, I will add it to my books-to-read section in my NOTES app on the phone and later get it from the library.

Next time I’ll tell you about the books I’m currently reading/finishing.

How do you fit reading in?

Hope for the Best,

Tish

 

My Most Successful NY Resolution!

Since I am a Life Coach (certified as well!), you might guess I love New Year’s Resolutions. True that but I make them all year-long. Just like you through, some stick better than others. If I think I “should” do something, it is not going to last long. If I WANT to do something, I have satisfying success (usually.)

Even I am amazed, however, that a resolution I made one year ago today is still going strong. Exercise six days a week. Before you gasp at imagining me pumping iron and running hard, it’s not like that.

I simply answered an oft asked question, “what is one thing you could add to your life that would make the biggest difference?” For me that was some regular exercise (note the vaguely worded “some”.) Since I know myself well and that I do better with an “always” than an “occasional,” I added the six days a week. Sabbath is a high priority for me and in spite of the success, it still feels like work.

I go to classes about 3 X a week and do videos at home the other days. When I’m traveling, I find a treadmill or gym or otherwise count steps. Believe me, I give myself a lot of grace, it all counts.

No, I don’t exercise on Christmas or if I’m sicker than a cold.

This year I decided I should pick up the pace and work harder or longer then I caught the “should” and backed off. When I really want to, it will happen.

My Gym Props

What resolution have you had success with?

Hope for the best,

Tish

PS My Next book, “!00 Need-to-Know Tips for Moms of Tweens & Teens” is coming soon!

 

 

 

Finishing a Dream

One year ago today, I arrived at one of the best jobs I ever had, hospital chaplain, swiped my badge, facilitated a spirituality group on the psychiatric floor, laughed with my colleagues over lunch and then swiped out and walked away forever.

Not a decision I took lightly.

My desire to become a hospital chaplain started when I was 26 and completed when I was 56. A thirty year wait for a dream. You might have some of those too.

I absolutely loved it. All my hopes for how God might use me in this role became true. At the end of the shift though, it always seemed like I was the one who benefited the most. Like the principle we have all seen but can’t quite figure out, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

I did receive a lot though…Deeper understanding of God, knowledge of myself, a few shifts in theology, lifetime friends.

When I started, ten years seemed like the right about of time to fully invest in this profession. I never saw it as “the rest of my life” kind of thing like I do writing but I wanted to give it a good decade. Truthfully, I wasn’t even counting until the last six months.

Almost like an apparition, the years flashed in front of me and I realized it was almost ten. During that time, two more of our children married, my grandchild count went from 1 to 9.  I wrote two books. My husband started his PhD program. I started leading small group personal retreats. Tom’s mom died, mine had a stroke. And thousands more things.

I decided to honor the sense of time commitment I felt at the beginning and began to step down. Getting a contract for a third book was an added push.

Sometimes it is the right move to leave the party while it is still going strong and you’re having the time of your life. You wonder what you might have missed but the memory of that party will be forever sweet.

Do I miss it? Absolutely! Do I have any regrets? None at all.

I’m still a chaplain though, of my everyday life. If you walk around with a little hope and encouragement in your pocket to give away, you are too.

As I was leaving the official role, my youngest brother, Mark, was coming on board as a hospital chaplain, also at a “later age.” Two of my seven first cousins are also chaplains. Must be in the genes somewhere!

Do you have a dream? Reach for it. Is it over? Lay it down so you can pick up the next one.

Hope for the best,

Tish

Who is Writing YOUR Story?*

journal-shelf

So what were you doing 30 years ago today? I took my two-year old daughter and her friend to story time at the library, got my six-year-old daughter to the ice skating, a friend stayed for dinner and we all watched the World Series. Riveting, right?

Some decades of our lives can just swoop by leaving a handful of memories like a few vacations or special events. Yet we are all writing in the book of life every day. Do you ever ponder where all that time went?

Thirty years ago on a nondescript day in October of 1988, I looked around at my four children aged 2-10 and wondered what any of us would remember about these days of playing house for real. So much of our time was all about making lunches, preparing dinner, cleaning up, tossing another load of laundry in and…you know how it goes.

That afternoon, in a rush of inspiration – the kind you have to act on immediately or it is gone for another decade – I piled them all in the van and drove to the nearest bookstore that sold blank fabric books. The next morning (because I’m not very creative at night!) I wrote this on the front page of the book:

To my children so you might know what your mother was like and how we lived our lives together when you were growing up.”

And then I jotted a couple of lines about what we did the day before:

10/18/88 (Saturday) Spent the day doing a marriage conference and Karla took the kids to the Art Institute. Christa was at Cooneys all day. Ordered pizza from Little Caesars and ate it sitting on the floor watching the first game of the World Series. Dodgers vs Oakland A’s.

For the past thirty years, I haven’t stopped.

Each morning in around 100 seconds I can record the happenings of the previous day in about three lines. Most days are just not that sensational! The notes are all about the facts, what happened. I save my emotion for my prayer journal. Can you tell I like to write?

Funny but the journals, I’m on # 29, now, have evolved into our family’s Google system. Questions like “Who did I go to prom with junior year?” “When did I get braces?” “Where did we go on vacation in 1993?” are all answered in the journals.

I hope to keep this up, for let’s say another 30 years. Maybe no one will really care that one day we ordered pizza and watched a ball game. Could be said about many days around here! But I care….and that is enough.

What is not recorded is not remembered.

Who is writing your story?

Hope for the best,

Tish

* Adapted from a previous blog post in 2016.



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