With the cold nipping at my nose, I tied bells on my laces in anticipation of my family and friends arriving for the Jingle Bell Run. The annual fun run rings in the holidays for me every year. With elf hats, bells, strings of lights, and a toasty holiday drink in hand, I was ready to help one of my favorite charity organizations, the Metro DC Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation today.
Living with family members affected by this disease keeps this organization at the top of my list. Funds raised in this race supports research for new medications to help those affected with arthritis. Just in the past decade, biologic medications are literally keeping thousands of people out of wheelchairs and living a relatively pain free life.
I encourage you to choose at least one charitable passion and jump in and help. Not only is volunteering good for your community but it adds fun and fulfillment to your life. This is an exceptional way to help you live with purpose and intent! Since many organizations raise funds through charity races and walks,who knows it might even motivate you to walk or run more adding physical health benefits too. My niece and friend both took medals today in their age categories. They couldn’t have been more surprised!
Let me know what charitable organizations are close to your heart. The link below can help you explore different charities to volunteer for. Break out of your daily routine and get creative, motivated, and inspired to help others.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
Not that long ago, many early mornings started out with a game of hide and seek and yes, right inside my house. My youngest son was all to quick, flying by me and saying “you have to count to 20 then come and find me, ok mom?” His laugh often gave him away as he would giggle whenever I got close yet passed him by. Hide and Seek, tag, Marco Polo in the pool, tic tac toe, and hangman were all some of our favorites. As my boys became older, billiards, corn hole and beer pong replaced the list of early days. Even now, games are a favorite of my boys but somehow between the time my kids were young to being an adult now, I quit having as much “play” in my day. But in the pastures of Texas this past week, I was inspired to find my playful side.
Lucky enough to spend a couple of days with my best friend and her zoo crew, quickly brought back my sense of play with surprise, anticipation and excitement. Even though Izzy, a cockatoo and my friends’s two dogs bounced around the house and on me, it was Ava, the mustang that made me realize, we all need to have some fun and play. Did you ever think you could play chase with a horse? Well, my friend and Ava (her horse) played chase and oh what fun they had. I had fun watching them! Spending the day running, laughing, and playing made me realize what I had lost along the way and that I needed to make time to play again.
So what can we do to have or keep play in our lives now? To start with, we can set the intent to play more. Set goals to have fun along with your goals of exercise, healthy eating, and getting ample amount of sleep. All goals don’t have to be serious ones, right? I like to incorporate fun with my exercise so maybe try a Zumba class or some type of dance. If you played soccer or softball as a child, look for an adult league. Bocce Ball, bowling, and cards with friends or family can also be fun time.
Routinely having play as a part of your life can only add to your feeling of well-being. So get creative, start a game night group or join a sport and go laugh and play!
To me, Thanksgiving is best described as Happy, Thanks and Giving
A few of the Happy, Thanks, and Giving in my life….
Spending time with my family both far and near, moments of laughter with my boys Hunter and Cason, hugs from my husband, friends, seasons changing, my sweet dog Bloo greeting me at my front door, my first cup of coffee in the morning, wine, cheese, chocolate, the Chesapeake Bay, kayaking, boating, hunting for sea glass on the beaches of the bay, country music, hydrangeas, tulips, the sound of rain on the roof, holidays, laughter, kindness.
For blessing me with my wonderful husband Robert and sons Hunter and Cason who I love so much, Loving, caring and supportive relationships with my parents, sibling, extended family and friends, being able to laugh when the going gets tough, hugs, memories, for my life…wherever it may lead me, freedom, good health, all the reasons to smile, miracles, God.
To my family, others, myself, to the Lord
I wish you much Happy, Thanks, and Giving this season!
Lately I’ve been craving more from myself. This didn’t happen overnight but has been a constant tug and at times even a pull. Honestly, sometimes I think my subconscious is more menacing than helpful, but in this case, I appreciated what it was telling me.
Living in these middle years of life has given me a lot to think about especially since I’m almost an empty nester. I ask myself “what now?” And then I quickly remind myself, even though my kids are in college, I still have my wonderful and quite entertaining husband and career. Then why am I now craving more from myself? Could it be I need more purpose now that the kids aren’t home?
Having a career, friends and a hobby or two, definitely eased the transition. If you are approaching empty nest years be sure to keep your friendships with other parents, learn a new skill (I am learning photography) or find a fun hobby.
The years in the middle of our story, can be some of the best years and as meaningful as ever. We just have to start living these moments, days and years the best way we can. I’ve recently been craving to be more, do more and live more. I’ll not only be writing about it here but I may even be shouting it.
So how can we all continue to live a meaningful and complete life in all stages of our lives? There’s a lot of different theories and ideas about how we can accomplish this. I believe if we take care of ourselves physically and mentally and find our sense of purpose, we are well on our way but there’s more to do. Cultivate meaning in your life, learn about the 4 pillars that are essential to living your best life now. I encourage you to listen to the TED talk “There’s more to life than being happy” by Emily Esfahani Smith. http://emilyesfahanismith.com
Join me in enriching these years, making them meaningful, adventurous, and with purpose. Let me know what you are doing to make these your best yet.
Life as a child was fairly simple for me even with the challenges that came from having three siblings, a mother attending nursing school during the day and then working the graveyard shift, and a father who’s job at times took him out of the country. Our days were in constant motion, all chipping in to do our part and the conversations around the dinner table were mainly those of the day’s activities.
I can’t remember exactly my age when I came to realize my father was an American soldier, a man who fought for his country, a man who mourned for his friends who didn’t return from Korea, and a man that was grateful to God for sparing his life.
Having been born in the mid 1960’s overseas and not moving to the US until the 1970’s, war, soldiers, terror, and world conflict wasn’t in the forefront of our daily living and conversation as it is now. My father, being the modest and private man he is, never spoke of his service or the dark days of the Korean War. Even present day, at the age of 86, my father safe guards the days of war closely, never offering or mentioning the service he gave. The lack of sharing his experiences during those years spent, is evidence enough of the horrific days he must have endured.
It wasn’t but a few years ago during a visit with my parents at my home in Arlington, VA, that we all decided to visit the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC. As you can imagine, living in the Metro DC area and having many family members and friends often staying with us, the trips to the memorials are more numerous than I can count. To say the truth, none of the visits to the museums or memorials particularly stand out in my mind except for the one with my father. That evening couldn’t have been more emotionally stirring and poignant.
The day we visited, the mood was partially set by the evening sky, cool air, and earlier rain.
The aged man, the Army war solider that I have the privilege of calling dad, was standing at the feet of replica soldiers lined up in rows of Juniper shrubs as though they were walking through the rice paddies of Korea. The 38 soldiers were made wearing rain ponchos that appear to be blowing in the wind, some covering their equipment. The soldiers guns are either hanging off their shoulders or held firmly by their side. The expressions on their faces saying a thousand words.
We had the memorial on this particular evening almost to ourselves. Tourist season had since passed and the cool and rainy weather wouldn’t be very welcoming to most. It was a perfect evening for us, quiet, mood provoking, and the memorials were dimly lit because of nightfall. I find the war memorials in the evenings to be especially beautiful, they are perfectly lit with night lighting that casts the perfect amount of light on the images and stone walls.
My father, strolled through the Korean Memorial at a snail’s pace, taking it all in row by row and ending up at the Pool of Remembrance where the words are displayed “Freedom is not Free.” As I glanced over at my father, I could see the tears flooding his eyes and eventually spilling over and running down his face. He takes his cotton handkerchief from his pocket, wipes his tears and continues to walk over to the Wall of Remembrance. Here, over 2,400 photographs from the National Archives of the Korean War have been etched into the black granite wall.
I don’t know that I have ever felt more pride for my father than at that moment. My father is a quietly strong and modest man, a man who loves his country, God and family. A man I’m so proud to call dad .
As we all remember Veteran’s Day, please pray for all those that have served our country and those who continue to fight for our freedom.
The color vibrance all around us screams change is coming or change is here. Most of us, if not all of us, embrace the new season with anticipation and all that comes with it. I think it is high time we have the same attitude about the seasons of life! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to feel excited about our next stage in life as we age? How can we do this? One way I’m trying to embrace my age and feel good about it, is to embrace my days and fill them with actually living them, sometimes that means even in small ways. Creating a bucket list for the seasons is a great way to embrace and ensure you experience the changing seasons and all they offer. I’m working on an “age/stages of life bucket list” that I will share with you in the near future. For now, embrace your season of life and nature’s as well.
Take a hike and enjoy all the vibrance of nature. State parks are all around us, find one close to you. I like to take a flask or thermos of something seasonally yummy… an apple cider, hot chocolate, or mulled wine. Nature only happens like this once a year so go and enjoy!
Visit a pumpkin patch or apple orchard. This can be a fun day for all ages. Plan on going with your family, girlfriends, or grandchildren. Then treat yourself, family and friends with baking some delicious pumpkin bread!
Make Chili or try new fall recipe- My family knows with the first crisp fall air comes chili.
Add something of fall color to your wardrobe. I love to throw on a blanket scarf in fall plaids with a chunky sweater and a pair of boots.
Decorate your home with Indian corn and gourds or hang an Autumn wreath on your front door.
Savor the flavors of Autumn. My favorite is apple cider donuts this time of year. You can also bake seasonal inspired goodies such as apple toffee muffins or sip on Autumn inspired tea, coffee, or a latte.
Write Thanksgiving notes and let those you love and appreciate know you are thankful for them.
Everything about Autumn is in the air this morning. Upon rising, I was eager to tie up my running shoes and deeply inhale the cool crispy air of the Chesapeake Bay. What a blessing to be here on this fall morning in the beauty of nature. I’ve decided that today in addition to soaking in all that nature gives me, I will also spend time deliberately listening to God speak. Instead of allowing my mind to race and be full of insecurities and anxieties about creating this blog, I will breathe slowly, be mindful of my goals and intentions, and just quietly listen to the voice I hear and where my heart leads me.
So why would I endeavor into such an adventure to write, and share my thoughts, my inspiration and life with others? And why now? You would have to fully understand my path, my story up to these years I’m living in now. I find myself at times reflecting on the past decade of my life which has shaped me to be incredibly grateful for the now, the health of my family and the blessings and gifts of everyday.
There’s a strong desire inside me to make every day count, to be more, to give more, and to live more. So here I am blogging about living in the middle of my story and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next. I’m determined to live abundantly with intent, purpose, and a dash of adventure!
I hope you will join me and share your thoughts and story during these incredible years and the way you are making them some of the best days of your life.