Archive for the 'Intentional Day-to-Day Life' Category

Six Steps to an Intentional Summer*

Do you make a bucket list for each summer? June, July and August are still ahead  so plenty of time to create your personal plan for the best season of the year!

On the last day of school we used to take our kids out to the best breakfast in town to plan the summer fun and I have carried on the tradition sans the waffles.  Here’s what works:

  1. Decide what you love best about summer and plan that first:  Beach or pool?  Buy your passes.  Hitting the road?  Pick out those dates. Outdoor music?  Grab a calendar of events. Ride your bike? Check your tires. Scribble your calendar with your summer fantasies.
  2. Plan something summer-y to do this week.  Too often we put off fun for “later in the summer” and miss the opportunity of now.
  3. Change your menus.  We switch out our Sunday soups for summer salads and eat outside as often as we can. I also change out plates and silverware for summer-only colorful tableware.

  1.  Switch-up your summer reading.  Doesn’t have to qualify for a beach novel but a change of reading pace is fun. I love to read outside on summer nights until there is no light left.
  2. Try something new: Run/walk a 5 K? Try your hand at homemade salsa? Discover a new bike path? Visit a neighborhood festival? Browse an art fair? Lots of possibilities 🙂

  1. Make a “Summer List” and put it on your fridge like my grandchildren do.  Try to cross off everything by Labor Day.

According to my Memorial Day to Labor Day count we all have 99 days to soak up summer.  I want to savor each one!

Hope for the best,

Tish

* Annual post!

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Hola! Adios!

I don’t think I got the “language” gene. I concluded there must be one when I realized I didn’t have it. Nothing about speaking another language seems easy or even possible most days. Like playing piano. I endured years of lessons for that skill too. Must be a related gene.

Yes, my high school offered languages: Latin and French. I tried them both, two years each. “Et cum spiritu tuo” and “bon voyage” are my remnants from those classes. I made one more effort to take “adult beginners French” in my 20’s because I thought that would be cool but same results. Tres bien not.

I thought my language-learning days were over…until about ten years ago when my Colombian-born son-in-law entered my life. Well, not at first, his English is just fine. I thought about trying to learn Spanish but didn’t get around to it. I sort of knew how to count to ten from our Sesame Street years but rarely needed to use that skill.

Until we went to Colombia in 2015. My zip-a-dee-doo-dah Espanol was apparent to all. I decided to make more of an effort, but I didn’t. Now we’re going back.

This time, I have a private tutor, my granddaughter. She is quite fluent for her three plus years and always very patient with me. “How do you say____ in Spanish?” and she always knows. How is it so easy for kids?

To add to my training, in case she’s taking a siesta or something, I downloaded “Duo Lingo,” a free app which makes it easy and fun to pick up a few phrases. I now know I am a mujer who come manzanas (woman who eats apples.)  That will get me far! I do get the pronouns mixed up though and most other words for that matter. Ayuda!

I am confident, that my “so wonderful to see you” hug will be interpreted just fine when we see relatives. Gracias works well in most situations. Some statements need no words.

I’m hoping to get to 8% soon.

Do you have the language gene?

Hope for the best,

Tish

Dinner Special Tonight! (with recipe)

I can tell I’m finally past the holidays when I feel like making something new for dinner. During the long, fun-filled stretch from Thanksgiving to Tom’s January 15 birthday, the what-to-make-for-dinner question is usually answered by looking around. Most of the time I have stuff on hand or in my grocery cart for our favorites: Soups, stir-fries, fish, and Saturday night homemade pizza. I don’t have an Instant Pot but get similar results on slo-mo with items from the pantry and fridge I throw in the crock pot, sans recipe.

Last night I felt creativity slipping back in and decided to look for a fresh idea for dinner. A good sign for me that my holiday hiatus was back in storage with the Christmas decorations.

I probably could have tried anything new-to-us but decided on Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups. I only had to pick up a few items and was good to go. In case that sounds good to you too, here is the recipe:

Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups

  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil (I used sesame oil)
  • 3 Tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 12 Butter Lettuce Leaves (I used Romaine, Butter would have worked better)
  • 1 ½ C chopped English cucumber (the seedless kind)
  • 1 C shredded carrots (bought them already shredded)
  • ¼ C chopped peanuts (also purchased pre-chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped mint (omitted)

Combine 2 Tbsp. of the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar in a bowl, stir with whisk.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and brown the turkey. Cook about 7 minutes, stir till crumbly.

Add ¼ cup of the soy sauce mixture, cook about 4 minutes till absorbed.

Place about 3 tablespoons turkey inside of each lettuce wrap, top with carrots, cucumber and chopped peanuts, drizzle remaining soy sauce mixture over. Sprinkle with mint if you have it.

Easy and delicious!

Maybe I’ll keep this up or create a new tradition of something new every Wednesday.

Do you change-up your recipes?

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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