Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Losing Mike – Celebrating Mike

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that it’s often very personal. Today is the most intensely personal blog I’ve ever shared. Still, I feel that I have to share before I can move forward in any meaningful way.

Tuesday, June 2, 1987 was one of the most amazing days of my life. At 6am we welcomed Mike, our third and youngest son to our family. To say we were complete may be an understatement.

Fast forward, 23 years. At some point on Friday, December 17, 2010 the world stopped spinning, perhaps even wobbled as Mike took his own life.

A very real part of me was stunned in the days after losing Mike. After all when someone of great importance to the world dies, we usually see it on the television day in and day out. We hear it on the radio and read it in our newspapers. Headlines like ‘A Nation Mourns’ or ‘The World Says Goodbye’. It was incredibly strange not to see or hear that the lives of every person on the planet had been changed; because I feel sure that it had.

Moving forward is the only option left to any of us who knew and loved Mike. Be assured, to know Mike was to know laughter, enormous hugs, endless debates and great fun. To have Mike in your life was to know a special sort of love.

We will never know for sure why Mike felt it necessary to end his life. He didn’t leave a note or an explanation of any sort. Family, friends and acquaintances were all shocked. Mike suffered from Addison’s disease and we have come to believe that it affected him much more than any of us were ever aware. We may be right or it’s entirely possible that we are simply grasping at an answer that allows us to move forward. The simple fact is that we will never know for sure.

I have found that there is no gentle way of telling others that my son has died. Clearly everyone who knew Mike was affected. The loss is no more or less profound for any of us; it simply is different for each of us. We all knew and loved Mike in different ways. While we grieve and find our own way through the mourning, I find that it’s necessary for me to celebrate every moment of the 23 years that Mike breathed life on this planet.

It’s very meaningful to me that while family and friends stormed the house offering hugs, condolences and of course never-ending food; they also came armed with stories. Mikey-isms for lack of a better term. We have gone through more tissue than I ever imagined possible as we have cried oceans of tears. But in the past 8 weeks, there has also been more laughter shared that I could have imagined possible.  Mike not only was much loved, it’s clear that all who knew him felt loved as well.

Memories of being pregnant with Mike have been resurfacing lately. I’m short and he was one big baby! At the end of my pregnancy, many of my maternity clothes didn’t fit, so it was no surprise to welcome this 9 pound wonder into our lives when he finally joined us.  Mike was a content, happy baby and that is pretty much the way he lived his entire life.

Our other sons were 3 1/2 and not quite 2 years old when Mike was born. Mike changed all of our worlds. While most babies wake up crying, by the time he was a few months old we knew Mike was awake because we would hear babbling or even laughing. Are you getting the picture?

As he grew, Mike spent much of his time laughing, chattering or simply expressing joy and contentment in various ways. When the boys were small they spent most of their time together. It seems that our elder sons would frequently ask me to find a way to quiet Mike. He would simply wander around humming or singing under his breath. Happy and content. Needless to say, I never did quiet Mike, it was so much fun to see and hear someone so happy.

As the boys grew, they remained close in many ways although they were and are strongly individual and independent. Mike loved to tease his brothers about being taller than either of them, and often stood on his toes, even in cowboy boots to accentuate the height difference. Still his brothers were always protective of Mike. Standing up for him always. Mike simply took it as his due. When either of them would tease him about being the baby and being a bit spoiled, he would grin and say ‘Yep!’. Quite the interesting crowd, my boys.

Mike loved playing music. Learning to play the violin when he was a little boy, he bought himself another violin just a few years ago. He played and collected guitars for a while, beginning with the base guitar. And let me tell you, he was pretty good. We thought he had sold or given away all of his guitars, but learned after he died that he still played with a small group of his friends almost every week. Surprise.

Brewing beer, making wine, pickling eggs and hunting. So many things that Mike liked to do and that he shared with family or friends.

We absolutely know that Mike realized completely how deeply he was loved and valued by all. I also believe that each and every person in Mike’s life knew that Mike loved them as well. He shared those feelings with hugs, grins and jokes. Laughing easily and frequently. That’s who Mike was, a joyful, loving young man.

Why? Well, it’s my personal belief that we are born to learn and to teach lessons. For our souls to have human experiences. When those lessons or experiences are complete, I believe that is when we leave this life. It may be by way of natural causes, illness, accident or as in Mike’s case, by suicide. It’s entirely possible that my view may change as time passes, but this has always been my belief.

Mike was not a push-over. He stood strong and loud for things he believed in, enjoying the debate and arguing until he was sure you had to have accepted his point of view. Stubborn at times, especially when it came to talking about politics or spirituality. He was also open to hearing your point of view and would then share with great eloquence all of his reasons why you were wrong. 🙂

Classic country music was his favorite, pretty unusual for a young man his age. But we shared favorites and some of my favorite memories are recent shows we had seen together. We saw Charlie Daniels and had so much fun going to see one of Mike’s all time favorites, George Jones. He invited me to go with him because he said no one else he knew would get why he wanted so much to see him perform. It was just flat out fun.

The last week with Mike gave no hints that he planned to go. Leaving for work early each morning and arriving home in the late afternoon. We learned later that he hadn’t gone into work at all that week, but we simply didn’t know. The evenings were spent cooking, eating, laughing and watching television. In short, no indication that anything was amiss. Again, leaving us with questions, but truly with no regrets.

I have realized how incredibly blessed I continue to be. our daughter in law continue to be amazing. I know that each is suffering and moving through this grief in their own way as they each knew Mike in their very own special way. Each has memories that are private and some that they share. My husband is remarkable. He frequently talks about the fun he had with Mike, cooking and planning meals. How he used to sit at his computer in the living room around the time Mike was expected home so that he could serve the meal soon after Mike arrived. Hubby loved that and so did Mike.

When I share the news of the loss with others there are so many reactions, none of which are wrong of course. Some people move in for a hug, some recoil as though physically assaulted. It’s not personal at all, it’s simply the way they react and momentarily cope with the shock of losing someone so young and in such an unexpected way.

I refuse to acknowledge or accept that there is any stigma attached to suicide. In the past I thought that it was an incredibly selfish act. I ask forgiveness of anyone with whom I ever shared that belief. I no longer hold that belief at all. You see, Mike was one of the least selfish people I’ve ever known. He hated to inconvenience anyone, always thanking others for doing anything for him and apologizing if he felt they had to go out of their way for him. In fact he used to thank me for giving him shots when he was sick.  Not the behavior of a selfish person.

I have come to believe that suicide was simply the illness that ended Mike’s earthly existence. I don’t believe that he wanted to die. It was clear and remains clear to me that Mike truly enjoyed life. Still, there was something that was simply too much for him to bear and so death must have felt like the only alternative. Or, perhaps it was simply his time. I just don’t know.

There’s no blame, no anger, no recriminations. Simply lots of love, feelings of being blessed to have had him for the time that we did and profound sadness that he’s no longer here to share our days.

I’m not at all sure how to wrap up this one. I could go on and on – yes, even more than I have already! I guess I’ll simply offer my gratitude for having this remarkable person in my life for 23 years. I’m grateful to have the love and support of an amazing husband, incredible sons, fabulous daughter-in-law and more terrific family and friends than I can begin to acknowledge here.

I would ask you not to worry about any of us. If you knew Mike, a lovely acknowledgment or tribute to him would be to smile and laugh. Watch a crummy old science-fiction movie and enjoy it. Laugh out loud when you hear a joke and hug someone just because you feel like it. Mike would like that, it would make him smile, and Mike smiling was a very good thing

Namaste,

Sandy

Why on Christmas?

Friday, December 25th, 2009

First of all, if you celebrate Christmas I would like to wish you a most magnificent day! However, for a variety of reasons not everyone does celebrate Christmas, what does that say about them and how are they treated?

I happen to be a Christian so for me Christmas is a no-brainer celebration. After all, as a Christian my faith tells me that this is the day to celebrate the birth of our savior. In honor of that amazing fact, we as Christians gather together to sing praises to our God, we often exchange presents and offer good cheer to those we meet. So far, so good. I have many friends who are not Christian, no problem. I wish them a most blessed day on religious holidays that I know are important to them and they return the heartfelt wish on the days important to me. And then there are my friends who are agnostic or even atheist, no problem. Many of them celebrate the day in a totally secular manner, again that seems to be considered¬¨‚Ć acceptable to most people, Santa Claus visits, egg-nog is enjoyed and the world continues to spin to everyone’s satisfaction.

Enter Jeff. One of my favorite sons, Jeff¬¨‚Ć was raised Catholic,¬¨‚Ć however he has decided that’s simply not his belief system. He doesn’t rain on anyone else’s parade; he doesn’t disparage our celebration he simply doesn’t ‘do’ Christmas himself. It’s interesting what sort of conversations and interesting comments take place when he mentions this fact to others. Apparently this actually aggravates some people, my question is why? It seems that the common thought is that he is somehow a living, breathing, unreformed Ebenezer Scrooge because he doesn’t buy or expect presents or put up a tree. Huh? While I have no problem with folks celebrating in any way they choose it seems to me that we should be just as tolerant of someone who simply chooses not to celebrate.

I’ve heard some pretty disparaging comments about this and I don’t get it. Jeff¬¨‚Ć frequently asks simple but thought provoking questions, such as why so many people pretend to like one another this time of year, but can’t tolerate one another next week. Why do they spend money buying presents for these people if they don’t truly care for them? Why are people expected to overspend to show they care about one another even if they cannot afford to spend money?¬¨‚Ć Do any of those things have to do with the birth of Christ? From what I understand Jeff considers this sad and more than a bit hypocritical, I tend to agree. So, there are very unkind comments about him being unfriendly, stingy or even uncaring. While I don’t know the situation regarding every person who chooses not to celebrate Christmas I happen to know this is not the fact with this young man.

Jeff is always thoughtful about the feelings of others. If he is in town for Christmas or Easter he even attends mass with his Dad and me, not for himself, but because he knows it makes us feel good. I consider that very thoughtful. He’s absolutely not cheap or unwilling to spend on others; he is very generous without any special occasion in mind, because that’s just who Jeff is and the way he likes to treat people. More to the point Jeff and others I know who do not celebrate this particular holiday tend to treat people pretty much the same, day in or day out. Willing to know strangers before they judge them, loyal to friends and pretty firm in their stand regarding those they dislike. Now that seems very fair to me.

It seems that Jeff had a few things to say about this himself, you can read his thoughts if you visit Walden Ponder. http://www.waldenponder.com/2009/12/christmas-comes-every-year

Today I am celebrating Christmas with the members of our family who are in town. We will eat, open presents and enjoy being together all in the name of celebrating the birth of Christ. I’ve got to say that I appreciate Jeff and others who don’t celebrate for the gentle reminder they offer. I will try to keep his position in mind all year long, hopefully it will be a good reminder for me to keep in contact with those I care about, offer my love and generosity throughout the year and not only on particular days. I have to believe that is the best way I can honor my own Christian beliefs and respect the beliefs of others at the same time.

For those of you who celebrate, I wish you all the most wonderful blessings of this marvelous day. For those who don’t celebrate, I still wish you all the blessings of this marvelous day. Gosh that feels good.

Warmly,

Sandy

A Good Deed

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

DSC01004I’ve posted about this before, but every time I think about it I become very excited, so I thought I’d share with you.

Our mother’s taught us that we should be nice to others because it’s the right thing to do; I tried to teach my kids the very same thing. I remember from time to time one of my boys would ask why they should help out their brother, what was in it for them? Well, I was the grown-up in the house, so in the most gentle, loving manner I could muster I would calmly explain that what was in it for them was the opportunity to sleep inside the house that night and with any luck the next night as well! I tried hard to be a generous and helpful mom.

I wish I had known then what I know now. It turns out that every time we do something kind for someone else, from helping them find their shoes to untying them from the railroad track just before the speeding train arrives, raises our serotonin levels. In short it makes us feel good. Here’s where it gets even better. You would probably expect the formerly tied up on the track person to feel pretty good about the new situation. But guess what, you will too! That’s right not only are you doing just what your mama told you to do (rest assured, Mom’s feeling pretty good at the moment now as well) but your serotonin levels go up just as a result of your doing the right thing. Hot dog, you’ve got to love that. But wait, it gets even better!

This is not just a win/win for both the good deed doer and the good deed recipient, but it turns out that anyone witnessing the event also experiences a rise in serotonin. How cool is that? That explains why I felt so good when I would watch one of my boys help the other to build a snow fort. They thought they were simply doing it to protect their corner of the yard from the opponents on the other side of the yard, and in truth that’s what they were doing. But they undoubtedly felt good as a result of the kindness, their brothers felt good and I now realize that this act in full view of the neighbors probably made them smile and feel just a bit better as well.

Now the life coach in me realizes that even if I didn’t intellectually understand this all those years ago that I probably intuitive understood it and that others probably do as well. But how cool is it that we now actually know intellectually what we felt all along?

I’ve had conversations with other Reiki people about this from another angle. For instance, while I give myself Reiki frequently I most feel the wonderful effects of Reiki when I am offering it to another. That is definite motivation to be sharing Reiki with anyone and everyone who is open to the experience. It just feels good and makes me happy.

What to do with this information? Perhaps just knowing it is enough to make you smile and feel good. You might share the info with others and hopefully motivate them to do an extra  kindness.

In truth I don’t care just what the motivation was that made my little boys help one another out from time to time. They did and clearly they got something from the experience as they are all now adults who don’t hesitate to assist others cheerfully. I feel better just having that knowledge.

I wish you a fabulous week, offering, receiving and observing kindness and good deeds.

Warmly,

Sandy

Changes

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

DSCF0535Optimistic. Happy. Excited. Those are some of the words I would use if asked how I feel about life these days. I realize that there are big changes going on everywhere. Many people are losing their jobs and we are told many times a day that times are tough. We are in a crisis. Things have not been this dire in years. But that’s just not the way I feel.

I find myself turning off the television and radio and simply ignoring most of the newspaper. It’s not that I’m hiding my head in the sand to avoid reality, it’s just that I’m selective about which reality I want to immerse myself in. The truth is that I’m happy and healthy and so are most of the people that I know. Some have lost their jobs and yes, many have tightened their belts and had to make substantial changes in their lifestyles. What does that mean? It simply means change. Change is neither good nor bad on it’s own, but it does offer options to us.

It seems that many large businesses are closing or paring down. At the same time, many small businesses are healthier than ever.

Many of the people I know, friends and clients are entrepreneurs, others work for small businesses. Most of these people acknowledge that the way they do business has changed substantially, but most of them are enjoying abundance and prosperity at a level that is not being described in the media. Why? Because scary is more dramatic, it sells better. The truth is that I’m not likely to watch the news if I think the announcer is only going to talk about the fact that the businesses operated just fine today. All the children showed up on time, healthy and happy for school and all is generally A-okay all over town.

We get excited, all worked up about bad news. It motivates us to get out there and save someone or something. That’s great! Now let’s get just as excited about the good news.

I have to say that life is changing for me, personally and professionally. Particularly this time of year I find that I really enjoy the changes. I deliberately make changes in the house from rearranging items to changing colors. It elevates my mood and helps me to get ready for the holiday season and colder weather.

What can you do to learn to flow with the inevitable changes that life brings? I suggest a few things. First and foremost I encourage you to simply turn off negative messages whenever possible. That may mean only listening to the television or radio news long enough to hear about the weather and sports. Better yet, why not read a newspaper and select which articles you want to read. That way you have control of what messages you are receiving and when. If you find yourself surrounded by negative people, either change the subject or simply excuse yourself as soon as possible.  Refuse to add to  the conversation when gossip starts.

Another of my favorite tools is color. Most of us react very strongly to color whether we realize it or not. Wear colors that make you feel happy. Surround yourself with these colors if at all possible. I don’t mean that you have to refurnish entire rooms, adding pillows, candles or even flowers can bring in colors which have a dramatic affect on your mood.

Music is another powerful tonic to gloomy days. Most of us have a favorite song or CD, listening to it always puts us in a good mood, so put it on whenever you have the opportunity.

Of course I add Reiki, it always helps me to regain my focus and balance and to relieve the stress in my life.

Making a list of the things I’m grateful for, the blessings in my life, reminds me that while my life may be unfolding in a way that was not originally part of my plans, I always have much to be grateful. This always helps my mood.

It’s important to be sure to use good self-care when going through stressful change. It can help to balance the emotions and of course¬¨‚Ć things like eating right and exercising not only keep you healthy, but make you stronger in mind and body to handle whatever is happening, hopefully in a more positive manner. The holistic life coach in me just couldn’t wrap this up without getting in a plug for self-care.

Change is inevitable. Some changes will be tougher to get through, but I know we will do better if we stick together and work together to make the outcome positive for all. In short the outcome is not pre-destined, we have options. Arm yourself with a few tools for tough situations and know how to lighten up your tough days. We can and will get through these changes and more will come. Exciting isn’t it?

Wishing you a fabulous week of changes.

Warmly,

Sandy

Justice

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

One of my favorite authors is Don Miguel Ruiz. His book ‘The Four Agreements’ is a quick and easy read, only about 140 pages, but I think it’s deceptively simple. In fact I think it’s quite profound. I read this book often, however, I find that when I listen to it on audio-book I notice and appreciate it in a whole new way.

Yesterday I was driving up to the lake and listening to this book once again. What struck me was what he had to say about justice. Let me put this into my own words and of course give you my point of view. Basically, he says that if there was justice regarding people, once we have made a mistake we would own it and move on. There would be no lingering guilt and no on-going recriminations. Wow, what a concept!

The truth is that my dog gets it. When I’m in a bad mood and he makes me a bit crazy I sometimes slip and shout at him. As soon as I realize what I’ve done and I apologize, offer him a snuggle and a rub behind the ears, Indy forgives me completely. He doesn’t bring it up every time I’m crabby, he doesn’t remind me that I was snotty next time he wants a treat and I don’t offer it up quick enough. In short, I hurt his feelings, I apologized, and Indy forgave. Nice.

The problem is that as humans we seem to operate with a different set of rules. When someone hurts us we bring it up again and again. Sometimes verbally, sometimes intentionally, often just by thinking about it and being cautious with the offender long after the offense. As a holistic life coach, I think it’s really important to remember that any time I choose to hold this offense against someone, it affects me as well. For justice to be served at its best, after an offense is committed and apology accepted, the offense would be forgotten. Not just forgiven but actually forgotten.

If my husband has come home late, caused me to worry I might well be angry. However, after he has apologized and I say he is forgiven neither of us is served well by my reminding him the next day to come home on time to avoid my wrath. All that happens then is that he is on edge and I’m all ready to get upset again. Of course this is the most simplistic example, but the point is the same regarding justice at any level. We do not forgive simply for the sake of the offender, but for the sake of the offended as well. If I’m living with the thought of something that was done to me, rehashing again and again, I’m letting that offense color my entire life. By the same token, even if punishment was meted out, every time I bring up the offense I am punishing the offender again and again. Never letting it go, never allowing either of us to move on in a healthy and productive way.

Of course I recommend that you read the book. This subject and many others is addressed in detail and put much better than I ever could. Just the same, I wanted to share my thoughts. Let’s make an effort to not only forgive, but to truly forgive. We’ll all be much healthier and happier for the effort.

Wishing you a fabulous day, filled with forgiveness and justice.

Warmly,
Sandy

Are you Connected?

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

My five favorite guys, good reasons for me to keep in contact.

My five favorite guys, good reasons for me to keep in contact.

Friends and family are important to me, so I try to send cards, make phone calls, and basically keep in touch. The truth is that sometimes I’m just not as good at it as I would like to be. Life gets busy, it’s just that simple. Now you are welcome to tell me that as a holistic life coach I should be aware of how very important these relationships are, and you would be right! I am aware, but I still get behind from time to time.

Enter the picture, the Internet. I was not at all sure when I started tooling around on the Internet that I would ever be comfortable, but it’s done so much for me. Email saved my sanity. When our eldest son, Bill, was deployed we had an easy way of communicating with him. Naturally he was not often able to catch up on his emails, but I had the ability to write a few lines or a short novel anytime I passed the computer, it was terrific. This absolutely did not replace cards and letters, but it allowed me to know that what I was saying him was instantly available to him when he had the opportunity to read it. The same story is true when our son Jeff travels, a great way to stay connected. At this point most of my family and friends at least check out their email once a week or so, I love that. 🙂

Facebook has entered my world more recently. Now I’ve got to admit I was a bit reluctant about the whole social page thing. I didn’t understand it, truly a few things about Facebook still confuse the daylights out of me, but I’m having fun with it. It’s given me a way to find some friends that I have not spoken with for a while, I can post pictures, send short messages and best of all find out what my family and friends are doing by just taking a quick peek. It’s awesome!

Now, I’m not suggesting that we abandon phone calls, greeting cards and personal visits. All of these are amazing. What I am suggesting is that when things get busy and we find ourselves feeling a bit lonely or simply missing those we care about, the Internet offers another option. After all, my job as a life coach is to offer alternatives and suggestions, to find another way to approach the situation.

Wishing you a fabulous day connecting with family and friends.

With warmth,
Sandy

Everything Connects

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

When I decided to become a life coach in Milwaukee, Wisconsin it was clear to me that I needed to become not just a life coach, but a holistic life coach. Why? Because I’ve always believed that every aspect of life truly does affect all others.

Think about it a moment. If you are trying to get in shape but find yourself working long hours, juggling family life and other important commitments, I’m willing to bet that the exercise plan is going to fail pretty quickly. Even with the best of intentions, unless you find a way to prioritize your life, delegate a few things and generally find some balance you are not going to see much progress.

This makes plain and simple sense to me. I’ve been married for a couple of million years, raised a family while trying to keep up with work, extended family, school projects for three boys, Boy Scout activities, sports, etc. You get the idea. I know very well that when I was too overwhelmed in one area another would surely suffer. Just the facts of life, that ripple effect that we all know too well. I found out very early that I was the person who wanted to be involved in all activities. Great intentions, but when I spread myself too thin I wasn’t able to be effective or helpful to others. So, I needed to find balance, again and again. That’s a holistic point of view. I had options and choices; these were reevaluated on a continual basis. Did I get it all right? Nope. But I always learned something and looking back I’m very grateful for those lessons.

I continue to try to find balance in my life. Between career, family, social life, fitness, spiritual life, etc. All are important to me and the balance changes constantly. Sometimes I achieve that balance, sometimes I’m a bit off. That’s alright, the process continues.

So, Milwaukee holistic life coach, yep that’s me. I’m always going to ask others to view their life as a whole, not just bits and pieces.

Wishing you a fabulous day as you find the balance in your life,

Warmly,
Sandy

Thanks for the Blue Water

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

We’re all familiar with the line ‘little things mean a lot’. I think that’s true, little things are very important. Small compliments make us feel warm inside and leave us smiling for hours, sometimes days.

We have three grown sons. One of them sold his condo last spring and has spent most of the time between then and now traveling, working from his laptop where ever he may be at the moment. He has recently come back to town for a visit and has been staying with us. During this time we have of course tried to do what we can do make him feel at home. Nothing major, his favorite peanut butter cookies made with crunchy peanut butter, his favorite meals now and then and of course there’s the blue toilet water. When he was a little boy he was always so excited when I would use the blue toilet bowl cleansing tablets, so I’ve been using them again since he came home. Apparently he noticed and really appreciated this because he came up to me one day, gave me a big hug and said ‘thanks for the blue water, I love that!.

Every time I think about that comment, hug and grin it makes me feel warm and I know that I’ve got a silly grin on my face. I appreciate that he made it a point to tell me about his excitement. It’s motivated me as well. When I think about his comment it reminds me that it doesn’t take much to lift someone’s spirits. What a wonderful, easy way to make myself and others feel better. How cool is that?

As a life coach I encourage you to take positive action. Keep in mind how little things, small kind gestures, friendly smiles and genuinely friendly comments affect you. Then take the opportunity to pass along these gestures, smiles and comments to others. They’ll feel good, you’ll feel good. I do believe that’s a win for all. And if I may make a suggestion, you might want to try the blue water to get even more smiles.

Wishing you a fabulous day, filled with little things that make you smile.

Warmly,
Sandy

Be a Kid Again

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

It turns out that our kids are always teaching us lessons. All three are grown and in fact the eldest is married. Each of them has been on their own since he was eighteen years old, they have responsible jobs, and if you would meet any of them one on one you would have an impression of average young men. But when they are all together, they resume the roles they had when they were all less than 10 years old. It’s a hoot!

My husband and I joined them at our place at the lake yesterday, the place where everyone can just completely relax and have fun. As soon as they heard us arrive, I heard one of them call out ‘Indy’s here!’ Yes, they really were more excited to see the dog than their Dad and me, that’s okay; he was incredibly, silly happy to see all of his kids too.

As soon as we got in the house the stories began. Each one upping the ante just a bit when it came his turn to get a word in edgewise. For some reason the lampshades were all slightly askew and I actually asked how in the world lampshades on standing lamps got knocked awry. Silly me. It didn’t take long for the story-telling and needling each other to move on to a bit of ‘nudging’ one another as they walked around. Oh yeah, that’s how the lampshades get in that condition! How in the world had I forgotten? They teased one another and had the dog running from one to the other for what seemed like forever. In short, they all acted like they were little boys again.

Two of them took Indy for a walk so that Indy could see the beautiful Wisconsin autumn. When they returned, another enticed Indy into a game of chase. They ran up and down the hill, hiding and then pouncing when the other came into view. The third boy was hanging out with his Dad, puttering with the boat as they got ready to put it away for the winter. Too much chattering and laughing was heard for it to have been efficient, but they got the job done.

Later they ‘discovered’ the games that have been on the shelf in the family room for the four years that we have been here. I heard one yell ‘We have Battleship and Scrabble!’ the others came running. From there on I heard good-natured accusations of cheating, shouts of surprise and not just laughing, but giggling as they tried to out-smart each other. No one was exempt, the daughter-in-law was in the middle of it all and even my husband was trying to make up words for Scrabble.

I want to thank all four of our kids (yes, we consider our beautiful daughter-in-law to be one of our kids now) for reminding us to relax, let go and have fun. They are all responsible adults in their day jobs, but when they are together they remember to enjoy each other and laugh. Simply laugh. Once again, I’ve been reminded that most of us have amazing life coaches in our lives; we just need to look around and pay a bit of attention.

So just for today, I suggest that you take a trip down memory lane. Try to remember that fabulous feeling of laughing and giggling. Remember the mud smooshing through your toes on a warm spring day, the feeling of flying a kite, playing in a leaf pile or making a snowman. Whatever it is that makes you feel like a happy kid again. Please take a few minutes, close your eyes and try to recall. Let yourself feel the happiness, the smooshy mud, the cool breeze, the warmth of sun on your face as you lay in the grass and watched clouds float by. And don’t forget to allow yourself to chuckle, grin, laugh and giggle.

I wish you a fabulous day recalling happy memories and making new memories to recall in the future.

With warmth,
Sandy

This Life Coach Needs People!

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

I’m a pretty social person, my husband…not so much. Now he’s a great guy and he enjoys being with family and

My five favorite guys, good reasons for me to keep in contact.

friends, but frankly he gets pretty much all of his social needs met by spending time with our grown kids, the occasional outing with friends and spending those 24 hour shifts with ‘the guys’ at the firehouse.

As for me, I need people! I need to work, see, talk to, play with and generally interact with many more people. Much of my daily life is handled on the telephone, and while I appreciate and enjoy this very much, I also have an absolute need to spend time being in the actual physical proximity of other people.

So, I do a couple of things. I attend business networking groups, I’ve joined a book club (I love to read!), I take my dog for lots of walks or to the dog park where I am sure to meet people with similar interests. I go to Curves, a gym for women, it’s chatty and friendly, and I get to fit in the dreaded work-out while I’m having a great time getting to know the other women. Having lunch or seeing a movie with a dear friend is always fun. It’s not unusual at all for me to call a friend or one of my boys to invite them to just come over and hang out; we might have a meal together or simply enjoy a glass of wine outside by the fire.

Years ago, this was a bit more difficult for me. My husband works as a firefighter and that often meant that he was gone. Most of the time I appreciate and enjoy my alone time, but sometimes I need that social contact. For me that meant getting involved in…oh, so many things. When my boys were younger, I not only took them to Scouts, I got very involved. It was a great way to get to know the other boys and their families that my boys were interacting with. And it was fun being a leader for so many years. The same with school, I participated in many activities. As my sons got older my social activities revolved around them less and less. Yahoo! It was time for me to be a grown up again. It’s been terrific finding my own interests and participating in things that I truly enjoy.

Now, keep in mind I mentioned earlier that my husband would rather spend most of his time with me. That’s fine! When he’s around I spend a great deal of time with him, he compromises by doing a few social activities with me and I compromise by doing most of my socializing during his work days. Of course I do spend some time doing my own thing when he’s home, but with each of us doing just a bit of bending it works very well.

So, the life coach in me wants to turn this into a lesson. You didn’t think I was just rambling on did you? Early on I discovered that I had much more need for social outlets than my sweet husband. We talked about it and decided that the most positive and satisfying way to work this out was just the solution I have already described. That was the action part, in case you missed it. There’s no way that my husband can fulfill all of my social needs and for me to drag him everywhere would make both of us miserable. So, our solution is a positive for both of us.

Wishing you the fabulous joys of as much or as little social activity as is right for you.

Warmly,
Sandy