Posts Tagged 'Letitia Suk'

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

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)

 

 



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