In my grandmother’s trunk, I packed a…

Remember that memory game where each person adds to the accumulation in Grandma’s trunk?

My friend, Mary Rose, offered this advice as I prepared for a trip, “Don’t forget to pack your love, joy, and peace.”

My suitcase brims with such each morning.  But come evening, reflecting on the day gone by, I note a lack of love, a shortage of peace, and questionable joy.  My suitcase has snuck in self-promotion and a loose tongue, partly the result of one too many glasses of wine.

So with time at a premium for us Baby Boomers, join me in packing a trunk focused on love, joy, and peace.

Many faith practices entail prayer rituals exercised three times a day.  How about setting our phones to remind us to pause periodically for a moment of gratitude, or simply an acknowledgement of surrender, a look outside of ourselves?

Amy Morin in Psychology Today writes about 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude.

We will sleep better, have higher levels of self-esteem, enjoy deeper relationships, and experience satisfaction with life. In short, there will be more love, joy, peace.

“We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Rather than complain about the things you think you deserve, take a few moments to focus on all that you have. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.”

In my grandmother’s trunk I packed –

Gratitude, Love, Peace, Joy

And a timely cell phone reminder to get over myself.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-Psychology Today also tells us that gratitude helps us stop comparing ourselves to others.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

-Hey Loose Tongue, why not spurt out a compliment or two.  The sincere kind.  It wouldn’t kill you!

 

Enjoy the Ride!  We are grateful for YOU!

xox

Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

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Christmas Messiness

 

One Christmas I proudly mailed out our family Christmas card, only to realize after the fact that 4-year-old Jared’s hand was placed comfortably (yet firmly) on his crotch, center stage.

Then there was the time Grandma and I were happily preparing a feast, wine in hand, when she looked out the window at our neighbor’s Christmas lights, and exclaimed “Look at the donkeys!”  To which I responded, “Perhaps they are reindeer.  But I could be wrong.  Maybe Santa uses donkeys.”  We still giggle at our inebriated discussion!

And I’ll never forget the Christmas I briskly drove our SUV to the tree lot, fuming that I was doing this chore all by my lonesome.  And in this state of angry self-justification, I subsequently plowed this same SUV into our garage, forgetting the small fact there was a tree tied to its roof.  I can still hear the violent crunching sound.

Another year Alex and I brought home a complete Christmas village, with snow, miniature people, benches, trees, and intricate buildings lit up from within.  “We have to be very careful,” we said.  “They are so fragile”.  Upon the word “fragile” we turned at the exact same time and crashed the village churches into each other, teeny windows, roofs and doorways falling on the living room rug.  They were indeed fragile.

And finally there was that Christmas night we went to the movies, a certain-family member having selected the film.  Imagine sitting next to your daughter’s boyfriend, age 25, and watching the first (close-up) scene from The Wolf of Wall Street – it is not A Wonderful Life.   That certain-family member still gets teased about this selection.

Do you have some messy Christmas memories?

Well, take heart that the very first Christmas was also messy.   A teenage mom.  Stinky barnyard animals.  Straw.   Refugee status awaiting.  An evil ruler.

 

So don’t let a ruined tree, an embarrassing card, drunk cooks, or an awkward movie experience get in the way of marveling at the miracle of Christmas.

God coming down.  Messy and marvelous.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-Read Joy’s reflection.  My Favorite Christmas Memory (still)    Relish the messiness!

-And don’t forget to marvel!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ye Ole Comfort Zone

My daughter, Alex, needed to produce a favorite quote to be published in her company’s news periodical – alongside a photo and an interview.  She selected one by Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In.

“What would I do if I weren’t afraid?”

When I googled Sheryl Sandberg, I discovered a plethora of inspiring quotes that someone like me needs to heed.

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Here’s my favorite –

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If offered such a seat, let’s just say I’d be running the other direction!

I love my Comfort Zone.  And now that I’m retired, it’s all too easy to bask in it.  To be a lazy bum and then condemn myself for being so, then open the freezer and reach for a Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Chocolate carton to seal the deal.

You get the picture.   Ms. Sandberg is not exactly my doppelgänger.  (Never used that word before.  How’s that for risk taking?!)

As we age, we need to guard against social anxiety (my middle name), self-induced isolation, and lazy bum-ism.

We don’t have to board a rocket ship, but we do have to MOVE.

In fact, the word, MOVE, can be a Rules-for-Life acronym for us Baby Boomers who are leaning-in – just not as Ms. Sandberg advocates.

M =  Mindful (THIS is our one life; And Time, she’s a mover.)
O =  Own your age (As you thinketh, so you are-eth – a loose Proverbs translation – by moi)
V =  Volunteer (even just a smile or kind word; a note; an hour a week with the elderly, the homeless, the “least of these”)
E =  Exercise (remember Peggy in her high heels?)

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We of an introverted nature may need a kick in the butt.  Reuters News published this 2017 piece that could be our butt kick.  Check it out if you have a minute.

Exercise linked to lower risk of premature death in older women

So goodbye, Comfort Zone, I’m heading out to play paddle tennis.  Then Codie wants to go to the nursing home.  And then I may meet a friend for a beer while Codie contemplates her canine life (food) alongside.

No need for a trip in a rocketship however.  Sorry, Sheryl!

Today’s Takeaway –

– MOVE – Be mindful of your days; own your age; volunteer; and exercise.

-Take that seat in the rocketship if that’s your thing.  I’ll drink my beer and applaud you from a safe distance!

Enjoy the Ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

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Living in the NOW

In her later years my mother endorsed Eckhart Tolle’s best seller, The Power of Now.

Peggy saw no reason for dawdling in the past and rehashing the Done.  She grabbed each day – waking with the sun and attacking her projects – prepping for Bible teaching, planning the next party, volunteering at the day care center.  In her immutable style, she was fond of saying, “You have to get off your ass”.

Tolle would agree. “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”

The Bible also speaks about living in the present.  “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.”

“THIS is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

The latest buzzword for living in the present is “mindfulness”.  And we retired Boomers have ample opportunity to practice this practice.

But first I have to admit – I am lousy at this.  I have befriended anxiety;  fear is my longtime pal.  And my glass is usually half empty.  God must look at me and sigh.

SO, in the interest of evoking a smile from God, I’m going to be intentional about living in the NOW. Want to join me?  Here are some “tricks” offered by  Health Line  to reduce anxiety and promote mindfulness.

 

Set an Intention

“Setting an intention can help you focus and remind you why you are doing something. If something gives you anxiety — like a big speech at work — set an intention before it takes place. You can set an intention to take care of your body before heading to the gym or to treat your body with kindness before eating.”

Turn Household Tasks into a Mental Break

“Instead of obsessing over your to-do list or clutter, let yourself relax into the moment. Dance while you do the dishes or focus on the way the soap runs down the tiles while you clean the shower. Take five slow breaths while you wait for the microwave to stop.”

 

Wish Other People Happiness

“You only need 10 seconds to do this practice from author and former Google pioneer Chade-Meng Tan. Throughout the day, randomly wish for someone to be happy.  You don’t have to tell the person, you just have to send the positive energy.”

 

The author of Health Line, Mandy Ferreira, also suggests we take walks, look up, pause at traffic lights, take a break from social media, lose our phones for a bit.

And then she adds an interesting point.  We can actually feel anxious about  not being mindful enough!  She says that Netflix has its time and place.  (Phew…I’d hate to forego the next season of the Bachelorette!)

So let’s channel Peggy and Eckhart and  enjoy the gift of NOW – while we get off our asses.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

  • Don’t let worry rob you of your NOW moments.
  • Pick one trick and give it a go.  I like the one about dancing while doing the dishes. No one’s looking.  Well maybe my golden retriever, Codie, will turn away in horror.

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

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