Posts Tagged 'Letitia Suk'

What’s Your Covid Coping Style?

Be Productive! Be Still! Reach Out! Dig In! In the 36 days of my quarantine, all of those messages and more have shown up in my head as well as my social media news feeds.

Is there really a BEST way to respond to the most unusual time of all of our lives? Whose message is the right one?

As with most other things, you are the best expert on you. What serves you well during any other time of uncertainty or duress?

We all have a resume for tough times and hopefully got through most of them still standing. What had worked in the past for you? There are many right answers for how to cope.

Sorting Photos

For some of you that will be taking on projects: Clearing closets or basements, categorizing books, organizing photos, sorting recipes.

Maybe learning new skills is your coping M.O. Someone I know is learning French with Duo Lingo, another is baking bread for the first time. Trying something new uses part of the brain that also makes you feel good. An extra bonus right now.

Baking!

But if you’re not wired that way, you will likely only feel frustrated.

Maybe, adding SLOW to your day to day is most lifegiving. Stopping to smell the roses even if they’re not really there yet. Letting go of the pressure to perform even if it’s just in your own kitchen. Sleeping later, going to bed earlier, taking long walks, does that sound like you?

Walking into Spring

Many have reported that the early days were filled with novelty then intensity then calm. My own response followed those lines. The first few days felt so surreal then I started making lists. Part of my coping plan for just about everything. Then I modified the list as it was stressing me out!

What was essential to you? What can you let go of? What always works for you? What never works? Even the best ideas of someone else might not work for you.

One thing that does work for almost everyone is to laugh more! We are watching Seinfeld for the first time ever to guarantee times of laughter. 30 year old episodes but works every time! Last night we checked out John Krasinski’s SGN (Some Good News,) hilarious and heartwarming. https://bit.ly/3crfC9A

Even though we are well into these days with more on the way, figuring out your best Covid response  will serve you well for this and the inevitable next crisis.

Hope for the Best.

Tish

Walking With a Limp These Days

Midway Airport

I surveyed the long concourse last weekend at the airport and realized I couldn’t make it to the gate without help. More help than my ever-present walking stick, aka cane, could provide. I keep pretending I’m out for a hike in the woods with my trusty blue stick except I’m really inside my house or nearby, mincing along.

So, I flagged down some assistance and climbed into a wheelchair to get to my gate. The view is different from the chair. I felt I could notice everyone more clearly and no one noticed me. Certainly no one noticed me for about an hour as I waited for a push to baggage claims when I arrived at Midway.

Hopefully, my limp should be resolved sometime next year after my November knee replacement but for now, it is a daily reality. After months of lament, I’m beginning to stop resisting it and getting closer to embracing it as the next big adventure. After all, what’s the alternative?

For sure, I would like to avoid this invasive surgery. Many prayers have been offered with much resulting peace and presence of God, but no healing has come. At least in my knee. Later on, I will likely be aware of something fresh from the Holy Spirit showing up or waves of gratefulness sustaining me during this season – another kind of healing of sorts. I do trust that I have been heard.

Meanwhile, I am scheduling loads of pre-op appointments, rounding up comfortable clothing for the couch days, reserving books at the library, freezing food for no fuss dinners, thinking about how I will decorate my hospital room (this is fun!) and taking my sweet time getting places.

But before that day comes in a few weeks, with my faithful stick in hand, I’m hitting the road again. Taking the train to New Mexico, the bus to Phoenix, the plane to Chicago, the train again to Quincy and one more drive to a retreat. Many steps for this damaged knee, but these events were on the calendar before the surgery date. I always long for some time to reset after a lot of travel so this time I will get it for sure.

Life is full of plans we make and plans that get made for us. I’m leaning into reaching for the available grace no matter what’s on the table. Well, some days at least.

Hope for the best,

Tish

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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Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Summer!

Today is the first full day of Summer! *

Plenty of time left to make it one of the best and some intentionality goes a long way.

Here are my top ten ways to celebrate summer.    

  • Eat outdoors often.  This includes any meal anywhere you can feel the sun and the breeze.  Breakfast is especially nice.

  • Read a fun book, preferably while sitting outside.  I like to read books with summer themes in the evening and add something by Madeline L’Engel to my morning basket.

  • Listen to live music outside.  Free summer concerts play about every night of the week where I live. Check your local listings.

  • Go the beach/pool/lake and get in the water.  OK, I don’t always get in the water but it sure is memorable when I do!

  • Stop at garage/yard sales.  The ONE item you didn’t know you needed might be waiting to delight you.

  • Take a road trip somewhere. I love to keep on going once we hit the road.  Just a few hours away can feel like another world.

  • Find a festival. Art, neighborhood, ethnic festivals abound every weekend somewhere.

  • Watch a movie outside.  My Dad moon-lighted at the local Drive-In when I was a girl so I have always loved watching movies under the stars.  Check your local park district outdoor movie schedule or bring your laptop outside and watch one in your own yard.

  • Get on your bike. Ride around the block, down the path or to do your errands.  Wear a helmet!

  • Take lots of photos and get them printed.  Summer of 2019 will never come again.

Hope for the best,

Tish

* Reblog

 

Shelve the Fiction: A Fasting Story.

I love to read. I mean, I’m not one of those fanatical readers who polishes off a few books a week but a short stack a month is my style.

Usually I go for inspiration in the day-time (non-fiction) and entertainment at night with a steady stream of (mostly) historical fiction by my bedside. Reading is my TV and I am never without my bedside novel. In fact, the next one is always waiting in case I finish one before I get to the library.

But not this month.

Our church announced an opportunity to fast from “something” for 33 days to invite God to do something bigger in our national church and in our personal lives. An ancient practice, fasting has been a spiritual discipline for eons for people of all faiths. The idea is to set something you want aside for a period of time for something you want more. Usually it is food of some sort but can also be something else you are particularly attached to.

Like Facebook for some or YouTube or shopping. Or reading novels.

When the idea was first presented, I must admit I thought, “Didn’t we just do this for Lent?” By the next day, though, I was ready to jump in and began to scroll through the usual food give-up list. Frankly, it felt stale. If I am feeling deprived in some way, I want to engage with it, not feel same old/same old.

Brushing my teeth that evening, where many good ideas germinate, I felt a nudge to shelve the fiction for a month. This I knew was not from me.

The night before the fast began, I stayed up late trying to finish my current novel, but sleep took me down. I’ll have to wait until July 1 to find out what happened next. I put a hold on my requested list at the library and gathered up a pile of inspirational books I collected to read “at some point.” I’m on the second one now, it’s going kind of slowly.

Fasting works best when one substitutes prayer for the given-up thing. Sometimes I forget to do that. My long experience with God has taught me that he rarely works according to how I advise him to so I’m trying not to get too specific with an outcome for this fast. It has to be a no strings-attached deal. I’ll give up novels, but you don’t have to reveal all your plans.

Like celebrating at the end of Lent with a chocolate bar or a glass of wine, I’m looking forward to finding out what came next in my novel but I’m OK with waiting. I threw in a bit of the food thing too but find it is easier to do that part. Nine hours on my monthly train ride without a novel is a long ride.

I can say at nearly the halfway point…something’s going on. I hope to define it a little more in the days ahead.

Have you ever fasted from anything?

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



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