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

Do You See What I See? Musings on Looking Older.

Circa 1990

“Are you old, Mimi?” one of my younger grandsons asked. “I’m older than you…and older than your dad, but inside I am young.” That satisfied him and we took off to play.

I really enjoy the age I am. Older, not old. Actually, I prefer “timeless” as what’s a number? When I reflect on my image,  I usually view the version of me that is inside:  Vibrant, full of life, childlike in a good way, “seasoned.”

Apparently, that view isn’t the one shared by my grandson or the grocery clerk at my local store. Tuesday is 10% off for those of us of a certain age and once again yesterday, the senior discount on my groceries rang up without me requesting it.  I wish I could say it was due to her remembering me, but she was new.

Same thing happened at the pharmacy later that day. When I inquired about my flu shot, the young associate quickly told me they were out of the ones for the over-65 crowd. Who told him I was over 65?? Sheesh, is it that obvious?

Don’t get me wrong, I love all the eligible discounts I qualify for and ask for them all the time. I just want to be the one doing the asking! My fantasy is that I am demanded to pull out my driver’s license to prove it. Hasn’t happened yet.

No judgement please. I am not trying to pretend I’m younger. I don’t use products that are “anti-aging.” I’m not getting any “work” done. I have a deep appreciation for all the years behind me and counting on at least 30 more to go.

All that I love so much in my life is NOW and wouldn’t have been possible in an earlier season. Of course, I have a museum of beautiful memories of the years gone by, but I don’t want to go back.

My lament is that my inside and outside no longer match. I miss that.

Oh well.

Hope for the best,

Tish

 

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Bite by Bite: Lunch with My Mother

Birthday lunch a few years back.

Four women eating lunch around a small table on a beautiful October afternoon. Such a common event, one might not hardly notice a group like that. All around the large room, other groups were dining too. As expected, snippets of conversation filled the air.

Two of the four women just met that day. As one of the two newbies, I enjoyed meeting a new acquaintance, Deborah. We exchanged the usual info like our names, family details, and what brought us to this table. Turns out, the same events.

While we were getting to know each other a bit, Deborah and I were also feeding our mothers. The other two women at the table. Like my mom, Deborah’s mom also suffered a stroke some time back. Neither one was now very successful in getting the bites into their mouths without help. We continued chatting like this was the most normal thing in the world. For both of us, it was.

Before this season of post-stroke, my mom and I shared thousands of lunches over the years. Such sweet times over her kitchen table or later, mine. Some in restaurants like truck stops in Missouri others, in places like Harrods in London. Most somewhere in between.

The first few hundred, she was feeding me, just like I am her now. It all comes around. I wonder if she thought about then that someday our roles would be reversed. A thought I usually don’t have when I’m lunching with one of my girls now. Just as well, those musings would take away the pleasure of the moment.

After lunch, Deborah and I pushed our moms in their wheelchairs into the courtyard and mostly sat in silence. A wind chime filled the air with occasional tones and the breeze felt good. I think Mom liked it. Sitting outside was always one of her delights.

Meeting Deborah was lovely. I hope we lunch together again sometime. Another unexpected gift from this season to add to the pile I have already opened.

No one asked for these events but much grace is present.

Resting in the courtyard.

Hope for the best,

Tish

I’ll Take the Train! (Part 3) The next generation.

Aaliyah’s first trip, age 3.

As a lover of train travel, I couldn’t wait to introduce my children to the wonders of the rails. Taking the car was cheaper with that many tickets needed so we didn’t go often on the train but with my parents living on an Amtrak line, it wasn’t long before I ventured out with the four of them.

We all did take the train on December 26 for many years during the middle years as part of our Christmas visit. The most memorable year was in 1983. Our car wouldn’t start due to the below freezing cold, so our neighbor gave the six of us a ride downtown. We never dreamed it was too cold for the train to go too!  While figuring out our next move, my wallet was lifted from my purse. It all worked out and we got to Quincy on the next train and my driver’s license was returned to me eventually.

Familiar station!

Fast forward to 2009. I’m still taking the train often to see my mom. Our grandson (age 1) was quite sick and needed to go to the hospital. Jesh asked me to watch Aaliyah (3) and I offered to take her on the train with me to Quincy. So the grandchildren adventures began! She and I have returned every winter to Quincy on the train and just had our 11th trip this year.

Aaliyah (13) reading “Becoming.”

Two years later, I started taking her brother too. My criteria was 3 years old and toilet trained! Judah and I now go every year too. Lots of Uno in the snack car!

Judah’s first trip at 3 and recently at age 10.

Four more of the other nine have also traveled on the train with me but with a parent along. I have traded juice boxes and crayons for books and games:)

Granddaughter # 3 enjoying the view.

          Granddaughter # 2 keeping herself busy!

Of course plenty of snacks come along too!

I’m leaving again tomorrow on the early train by myself. I always bring more books than changes of clothes but once again will likely stay fixed on the story just out the window. It never gets old.

All Aboard! I’m on my way once again.

Hope for the best,

Tish

I’ll Take the Train! (Part Two)

Why don’t you just fly? Is a question I often receive from well-meaning friends who don’t share my love of the rails.

In case you are wondering, I don’t have a problem with flying, just driving, and usually fly home from my trips.

Long distance trains provide transition time. I don’t know about you, but I’m always rushing at the last minute before a trip. I like to tie up as many loose ends as I can and usually dash to the airport mentally reviewing my check list. By the time I detach from all that and start thinking about where I’m going, we arrive and immediately land in the new environs. No transition!

Like Thoreau, “I love a broad margin to my life.” Rail travel provides that margin.

I settle into my seat, usually with a cup of tea, and let the rhythm of the train coax me into letting go of all the frazzle and undone items. As the small towns and countryside roll by the window, relaxation and calm soon replace the hustle. Nowhere to go now, just sit back and enjoy the ride. By the time I get to my destination, I’m all set for something new.

The most delicious train travel involves a sleeping car. I loved reading about sleeper cars in my many novels and envisioning what that would be like to stroll to the dining car and then return to my own little compartment for the night In my many decades of train travel, it finally happened! The experience was more exquisite than I even imagined!

To the left is the tiny roomette I stayed in a few months ago on the way to Gallup, NM.

The train attendant converts these two seats into a bed and stops by the next morning to revert to the seats.

For this trip, I boarded in Illinois, dined in Iowa for dinner and then fell asleep in Missouri.  After waking up in Kansas, breakfast was served in Colorado.

Most of the books I brought along stayed in my backpack as the trip itself was more fascinating than words on a page.

A community also develops on a train if you are open to that. I always am! Amtrak fills each table with diners who may or may not know each other. Little chit chat ensues and sometimes a longer conversation. I still exchange Christmas cards with a woman I met on the train several years back.

Sometimes the unexpected occurs. The first time I travel across country, a delay caused the train to be 12 hours late arriving. I think I was the only person on the train who had an “oh well” or perhaps “Oh goody!” response as it was MORE time on the train.

Another time, someone died on the train. In the middle of nowhere, the train suddenly stopped and finally word passed down that a man had a heart attack and we had to wait for the coroner to come. Hours past but the train community was very engaged by the time we resumed travel. A collective sigh of “I’m still here” pervaded the whole line.

Then there is the tunnel! I make sure I’m awake for the only one on the trip west. The Raton Tunnel is the pass from Colorado to New Mexico and just as fun as you would imagine.

 

I’ll finish up part 3 next time with introducing train travel to the next generation.

Hope for the best,

Tish

I’ll Take the Train! (Part One)

From the time I was a girl boarding a train in Quincy, IL to go the 25 minutes to Hannibal, MO on the Mark Twain Zephyr, I fell in love with train travel.

 

From Rail Merchants International site

Pretending I was on a long trip, I was always disappointed in a very short while to get off. My grandparents were waiting and probably called my mom, on their party line,  to say I made it.

Fortunately, my university was on an Amtrak line and my hometown is too, so I’ve enjoyed a lifetime of riding the rails. Still never enough.

At 11 years old, I took my first big trip from Quincy to St. Louis with two other girls. No parents aboard, we thought we were so grown up. Of course, a family member was waiting at the station. We got all dressed up as you can see! Look at those little purses 😊

Training at 11 yrs old.

I’m still waiting for an Orient Express (sans the murder) but my son and daughter and I took a 24 hour train ride from Beijing to Hong Kong in 2009 so that was my version on an “orient express.” We played Skip Bo for many hours and dined on snacks we brought along. I still can recall the sites from the windows. Small farms and even smaller houses.

Always ready for another train adventure, in 2012 I persuaded my beloved to take a train ride to Seattle instead of flying for a family reunion. I’m sure I loved it more than he did but we had fun cruising through Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington. Sadly, our hoped-for ride through Glacier National Park was in the dark as there were delays along the way. No worries, we eventually got there another year.

2012 on the Empire Builder.

 

As I walked down by the tracks at Chicago Union Station a couple of weeks ago to board the Southwest Chief for the 30-hour ride to Gallup, NM, I was so excited I started singing. I couldn’t wait to get on! All my train fantasies were about to come true.

Come back next time for Part Two of this story!

 

Hope for the best,

Tish

Winter View in Numbers and Pictures

Hard to believe it’s really over, at least by the calendar. Hat & gloves still close at hand for the chilly Chicago mornings. Actually, it will probably snow again ☹

As a reflector of all things, I can’t let this winter pass without looking back over my shoulder. Not that I will forget it anytime soon.

One: Trip to Gallup to visit our kids and their kids. Fell off my sled on a little hill but it sure was fun!

 

One: Fun Valentine’s Date at Hamilton in Chicago when we won the daily ticket lottery! Awesome Wow! As King George says.

One: Book Launch! “100 Need to Know Tips for Moms of Tweens & Teens” came out February 12 (Hachette). Order it here! 100 Need to Know Tips for Moms of Tweens & Teens 

One: Overnight downtown Chicago gifted to us for Christmas.

View from our room.

One: Signing with a literary agent! Thank you to the Blythe Daniel Agency.

Two: Retreats led at St Mary’s. One for “Getaway with God, a small group personal retreat and another for “Moms of Littles,” with lots of info passed on from this “older” mom to the younger ones.  Both very satisfying. So great to plug-in your soul for a long recharge like we do our phones. Interested? Ask me for details!

St. Mary of the Lake

Three: Chapters written in my work in progress, “Legacy of Days: How to Tell Your Story to the Next Generation in 10 Creative Ways.” Thanks FB friends for all your help!

Three: Sleepovers with four Grands. Best of Saturday nights!

Bug Bingo!

Three: Trips to Quincy to see my Mom. Holding on and hanging in. Love seeing her once a month.

Three:  MRI’s. All ending up with good results, but that tube isn’t welcoming unless Jesus goes in with you.

Six: Airbnb bookings for our upstairs apartment. Several stayed for long visits. Love opening the door and sharing the space.

Six: Monday evenings spent sharing, praying and dining with the close-knit group of women I do life with. Five in my living room, two across the world skyping in.

Eight: Medical appointments. Might as well get them all done at once!

Sixteen: Books read, usually in the evening.

Multiple: Sweet times with friends, authentic conversations with coaching clients, exercise classes, words written, photos snapped, prayers said.

Only God knows what the next season will hold but my journal and camera are ready to capture it! Boarding a train tomorrow for the next adventure.

Hope for the best,

Tish

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!

 

 



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