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

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.

The October Makeover

Mid 80’s outside today but my electric fireplace was on this morning because it’s October* and the annual makeover is almost finished. I can’t just “fall into fall,” but love changing up little things all over our home during the first week of October. Yes, I know Autumn started last month but September is in the post-summer category for me 😊

Home: Our shelter, haven, nurturing base for those we love and others we invite in to share our table, our ideas, our lives. We can leave our imprint in the room through the ambiance as well as our words.

Fall has the best possibilities for changing out the day-to-day and besides something fresh to look at, you might see your energy rise with all the reminders that something new is in the air.

I start with asking my husband to pull out my large see-through box from Target from the garage which holds all the inexpensive decorations I have amassed over the years. A trip to Farmer’s Market for funny shaped colorful gourds and a pumpkin are usually the only new additions but this year I picked up some fresh eucalyptus too.

Candles migrate up from the basement where I stashed them last spring and I grab the bag of lap quilts from the back of the closet. Not that I can actually read by candlelight with a quilt on my lap, but I like the concept. Lots of Hygge going on here!

Like snowbirds, the summer plates and colorful flatware return to their winter home in the top of the kitchen cabinets and the Friendly Village plates from the local antique shop and white flatware return to the mainstream. Soup is back on the Sunday menu too which is such a relief as I’m not great at meal planning.

When the house is done, it’s my turn for the change-out starting with taking off my favorite ankle bracelet so I don’t break it while pulling off socks and changing my Fitbit band color. Will miss that fuchsia on my arm but it will be waiting for me in the drawer.

I’m kind of an accessory minimalist but have a few scarves and fun necklaces which also get switched out because I don’t have enough room to store everything all year round. A cute $3 box from Dollar General holds the out of season stuff until I need it again.

Wait, I need to keep notes where I’m putting all this stuff!

I’m still working on switching shorts to sweaters but with yo-yo weather until November around here, that will be a work in progress for the next few weeks. Socks and slippers are out though but don’t need either today.

Now all I need to do is need to open a can of pumpkin and start creating something!

How do you mark the change of season?

Hope for the best,

Tish

* I unplug it May-October

 

 

 

(Three) Gym Girl

My cousin inspires me! She’s 15 years older 🙂

No one would ever mistake me for a jock. I don’t run for any reason and I dislike sweating. Taking a walk is nice especially if I have a destination in mind or if there is water on my left (or right.) But I want to live long and strong and I can’t find any research that doesn’t say exercise is part of that equation.

I just never would have guessed I would end up belonging to three gyms now, all for no cost! Even more unexpected, I actually go, multiple times per week.

My gym history is pretty nil. After dreaded calisthenics in my early years, I decided no more of that and took up walking for years. “Aerobics for Women” was my guide in the 70’s and I stuck with the walking schedule.

Four kids later, I briefly joined “Women’s Workout World,” till it closed then made friends with Jane Fonda videos when the urge hit me to move a bit. We hit it off and I always felt better after the video than before (when I talked myself into it.)

Fast forward through more walking, a time at “Curves,” occasional yoga, a stint with a trainer until he quit and then back to Jane Fonda. DVD’s now instead of videos and definitely designed for women of “a certain age.” Somehow my sporadic attempts had only sporadic results.

What else could I try? A new book I picked up recommended exercise six days a week*. Sheesh I was getting busted! Clearly it was time for a new plan.

The answer came along with my new insurance policy: Silver Sneakers: A free fitness program. Five free classes a week at my local center and free gym memberships all over the country. I signed up for three! Two local and one in Quincy where I visit my mom often.

Two in town, one in Quincy!

Last January, I decided if I was going to go at all, it would be six days a week and so far, so good. I’m not so good at “occasional,” it usually results in never.

The biggest shift was in my head, I decided not to hate it.

Maybe there’s a way to live ling and strong with exercising but I’m not taking my chances…and clearly I’m out of excuses!

What’s your plan?

Hope for the Best,

Tish

* ” Younger Next Year for Women.”

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!

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

 



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