Archive Page 2

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!

 

 

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

 



%d bloggers like this: