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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.

Crossing the (Wisconsin) Border into a Legacy

Three grandchildren, six games, one jigsaw puzzle, two movies, a jug of cider, a bag of popcorn, a box of graham crackers, a package of marshmallows, chocolate bars, M & Ms …plus all the real food we might need for a couple of days weighed down our car as we drove north to Wisconsin last weekend. Our destination was Green Lake, the charming town Tom and I discovered 42 years ago.

Other than Quincy, it is the place I have returned to most.

Surely there are trendier Wisconsin destinations like Lake Geneva or Door County, both of which I also love, but sleepy Green Lake holds memories of seasons of my life and keeps calling me back.

25 years old, looking for a weekend getaway from the city with my love in our young marriage, we found our way there. We meandered, shopped a little, stared awestruck at the brighter stars, sipped cider, talked about nothing and everything. The next year we went back, listening to a Carter-Ford debate while we drove. We returned the following year too, following the same script. Always the same tiny fishing cabin. No, we don’t fish.

Fishing for seaweed.

We took a little time off to have a few kids but started going back again, squishing everyone in the same little cabin. They loved it, we loved it. We meandered, shopped a little, stared awestruck at the brighter stars, sipped cider, talked about nothing and everything and added throwing a football around.

Fall after fall, Green Lake was always on the schedule. We worked around football games, high school jobs, crazy schedules and sometimes sold extraneous stuff to cover the costs. It was always worth it.

The first year the oldest was in college, we went to Parent’s Weekend instead. Oh sure, we talked about doing both, but it was just a fantasy. We had one weekend to spend every fall and Washington University got it. Then University of Iowa, U of I and finally Purdue. Wonderful times indeed and no regrets, we were onto something new.

A pretend adventure at sea.

Green Lake waited politely. After a 17-year break, we returned with all our kids and their kids and easily fell under the spell of Green Lake once again. Green Lake 2013 Post We meandered, shopped a little, stared awestruck at the brighter stars, sipped cider, talked about nothing and everything. We still rented the fishing cabin but added the larger lodge for our crowd sized group.

Five more years flew by sans a trip to the town until last weekend. Tom and I and the “Bigs” as we call grandchildren # 1, 2, & 3, did a perfect reenactment. Including the football that got tossed all the way into the town square. The grand adventure occurred when it landed in the river, but a dramatic rescue ensued. No doubt that story will live on for decades.

Always a puzzle on hand.

Just like always, We meandered, shopped a little, stared awestruck at the brighter stars, sipped cider, talked about nothing and everything. Like five years ago, we also built a fire and roasted s’mores right before the flashlight walk when they stayed up way later than their parent’s policy. Oh well.

Walking to “town.”

As we dropped them off, the question, “Can we go back to Green Lake next year?” was already in the air. The legacy was clearly passed to the third generation.

Yes, my loves, we can always go back. Even if just in our memories and photos, as the imprint is deep and near at hand. But I put it on the calendar just in case!

Hope for the best,

Tish

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

 

 

 



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