Spring Hygge Anyone?

Spring

Raindrops and puddles

Laughter, dressed in yellow coats,

Umbrellas in hand

Yeah. Right.

Have you seen any kids lately wearing those Hallmark-style yellow raincoats? Me neither. Spring here in Wisconsin seems to be one wet, cold, windy day after another. Kids still love their umbrellas, but we all seem to be wearing damp jackets and holding our breath…just waiting for summer to arrive.

Have you heard of Wisconsin’s eleven seasons? Winter, Fool’s Spring, Second Winter, Spring of Deception, Third Winter, Mud Season, Actual Spring, Summer, False Fall, Second Summer (one week), and Winter. 

Spring is sooooooo long. We feel impatience. There is a restlessness in the air. 

So, how do you get your mind in a place of appreciation, mindfulness, and gratitude?

“Hue-Guh”

Many people have heard of the Danish word for coziness, contentment, and well-being by appreciating a simple life–hygge. But I’m learning that the concept doesn’t end when the snowflakes stop flying, the cozy blankets are put away, and the hot chocolate is all gone. Yet, I’m still feeling the need to consciously cultivate gratitude in my life… for my life. The Danes actually have seasonal variations for hygge throughout the year.

  • Forårshygge – Spring-hygge
  • Sommerhygge – Summer-hygge
  • Efterårshygge – Autumn-hygge
  • Vinterhygge – Winter-hygge

Here in Wisconsin, spring is in full bloom. After the wet, dreary, grey days of early spring, every sunny mild day is a sign of approaching summer.

When I taught First Graders, we would regularly struggle to keep the kids in their coats at recess in the spring. Once it was sunny and above freezing, the kiddos would toss their outerwear on the pavement as they played catch&run with the football or swung from the monkey bars.

One of my favorite activities from teaching was exploring seeds and growing things with my class. We studied the germination of lima beans and started sunflowers in recycled milk cartons.

One of the reasons I’m feeling so good about my post-teaching life is that I am still planting seeds and growing stuff.

This growing stuff and appreciating growing things is a huge part of Forårshygge for me. (Side note: Do you have any idea how to actually pronounce this word? As I write this, it’s really bothering me that I don’t.) 

I’ve seen a few other posts about what people are doing in the spring to experience and live “Forårshygge”.  The common thread that I see is honoring growth and renewal. 

Here are other ways I am growing things and renewing my life this spring…

Grow Dammit!

I planted seeds in trays weeks ago and set them by my basement window on heated mats. The tomatoes are a disappointment, it looks like somebody sat on the coleus, but the peppers look strong and healthy. It was a month ago that we moved the flats out into my little greenhouse. I’ll transplant them into the garden as soon as it stops raining outside.

Spring Cleaning Anyone?

Open the windows and clean spider webs out of the corners at the ceiling. When I was teaching, I either didn’t notice the cobwebs when I cleaned up in the evening–or, it was too much effort to get them down from the high corners. Well ladies, now. is. the. time! I also open the windows to let in the spring air, the house feels fresher. This can totally be ramped up if you hang washed bedsheets out to dry. (I actually hang mine on the deck railing since I don’t have a clothesline.)

Is it still alive?

Move and group houseplants from inside to outside. Most of the greenery in my house is more than a decade old. They thrive from May to October outside and then rather hibernate in a north-facing breakfast room during Wisconsin’s frigid months. 

A Little Vase of Something

But the most important of all the Forårshygge in my life is located on my nightstand in the bedroom. Beginning at the end of April, I bring a small, fresh blossom or mini bouquet and put it in a tiny vase. Spring begins with yellow forsythia twigs and in quick succession leads to pink tulips, yellow daffodils, miniature lily of the valley, and fragrant lilacs. This little display, along with a lamp, a pile of books, reading glasses and the vase makes me happy. 

It is like a neon sign to my brain reminding me to pause, smile, and breathe when I glance at it

Spring is finally here and there are no raincoated kids holding umbrellas in my life. Are these real for anyone? Instead, I have shrimpy seedlings waiting to be planted, soggy jeans drying for hours on my porch railing, and dirt circles on my carpet where a pot sat through winter.

We can only do what we can, moment by moment, to cultivate coziness… contentment, and…well-being.

Breathe.
Who is Lisa

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Fern Gardeners…Beware!

Years ago when I realized I had inherited the gardening gene from a favorite uncle of mine, I lived in a different house, on a different street, and had different sun exposure.

There was full sun on all sides of my just-built house. It was fun planting flowers such as snapdragons, marigolds, zinnias, geraniums and I achieved a profusion of flowers and consistently brilliant colors. I spent hundreds of dollars every spring purchasing annuals to accomplish this result. 

Then, we moved, and guess what? I now live in a house with mature maple and birch trees. This translates into a yard with almost no sun. Can you say…gardening challenge?  As noted before I was used to lots of sunlight and could grow almost all sun-loving plants. 

So now I am limited to impatients, begonias, hostas, and whatever else thrives in shade…ummmm,(mushrooms anyone?). Unfortunately, I find this rather limiting, not to say, quite boring and rather unrewarding.

I decided that the areas that I created were far too extensive for annuals, and most annuals need…say it again, SUN.  So, a perennial shade garden would be the way to go. 

To make a long story short, I was gifted a couple of beautiful ferns. Probably two or three and planted them. I enjoyed the fact that once you planted them, you didn’t need to stake, fertilize, or replant yearly. In addition, they added a lushness, a cool, soft, green to my garden.

Sounds good.

I’m in.

Bring on the ferns!

Well, now several years later, guess what? I have so many ferns that I don’t know what to do with them. And, once ferns take over, they produce so much more shade that they block other shade-loving perennials from flourishing. Now, this could be pretty if you don’t like a variation in your garden, but since I need variety, this just doesn’t work for me. 

Another problem… they are beautiful in the spring, most of the summer, BUT when it gets to the “dog days of summer” they turn brown and look like shit – really ugly, brown, dry, crumply leaves. The result, a really uninviting garden. 

So, this spring I have been trying to keep on top of this problem by digging out ferns by the bag,  bucket, and garbage can full. So far, I have dug out around a hundred and fifty ferns and there appears to be no end.  Just a note–this needs to be done when the ferns are first coming up otherwise they tend to flop over and look quite stupid for the duration of the summer.

I have a feeling that I am doomed to have this be an unending problem. So gardeners beware… don’t plant ferns unless you want a “fern garden”!

Or, look more on the positive side and trust gardener and blogger Janet Kilburn Phillips at cronesgarden.com when she says…

 

“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.”



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Share the Love

In our neighborhood, there is a person who lives at the corner who hangs dog treats on the bushes next to the sidewalk. A small sign tells dog walkers to “Please take one.”

She is putting a little love out into the world.

The other day, I saw a woman in the grocery checkout line who was wearing a dress identical to one that I own. I thought that it looked nice on her. A few minutes later, as I was driving out of the parking lot, I saw the same woman.  She was walking to her car with her shopping cart. I rolled down my window and hollered “Hey, I just wanted to tell you how great you look in that dress. I have the same one at home and I love it.” She replied, “Thanks, I got it on sale at Kohls.” I answered back, “Yeah, I even wear it just like you do, with leggings and a jacket”.

Just putting a little love out into the world.

“I love humanity but I hate people.” poet Edna St. Vincent once famously wrote. In the same way, I often really need to make an effort to connect and engage with people. It is so much easier to talk with my family or work on my own shit rather than engage with the people I meet every day.

With that being said, it brings me happiness, even joy when others go out of their way to interact, engage, or reach out to me.

Writing thank-you notes was not taught or encouraged when I was a child (or perhaps I just don’t remember). As a teenager, I hated the little triangular-folded notes that friends passed at school to one another. As a young adult, I knew I wouldn’t keep in touch with friends after I moved.

But I’ve saved and charished EVERY note, letter, and spontaneous correspondence that I’ve ever recieved.I have a collection dating back over 40 years! I store sweet notes from friends  in a nightstand drawer. When I was dating my husband-to-be,  I printed and saved every email from that first year. I still have every love note from my high school boyfriend. Every letter my ex-husband penned are tied together with a string…in a box…in my closet. 

Happy Mail

It is time to reconcile this dichotomy in my life.  I want to be appreciative, thankful, and supportive.  (I should have probably begun this project at the beginning of the Covid shutdown.) But anyway, my sister Michelle suggested that what I was talking about was “happy mail”.

So I conducted a Google search.

I found blogs and You-Tube videos dedicated to sharing appreciation to small business customers. There are also scrapbookers and “junk journalers” who share stuff with each other unexpectedly through the mail. These were BEAUTIFUL and inspiring works of art that people were sharing with each other in an effort to “share the love”.

I found it totally overwhelming!!! Some of these creations must have taken days or weeks to collect and construct.

I don’t consider myself a fluent writer. So I write a sloppy copy before I transfer the words into a notecard. It relieves my writer’s block and prevents me from stressing about making a mistake.

What I am proposing is buying and using store-bought blank notes and writing something thoughtful and direct like this blogger.

I also don’t believe that these notes need to be sent in the mail. They can be surreptitiously stuck under a windshield wiper, taped to a house door, or placed anonymously on a co-worker’s desk.

Iris Letters

My mom calls these “Iris letters”. They are the less familiar cousin and the opposite of “onion letters”. (Glinda versus the Wicked Witch of the West.)  An Onion letter is what you might send to a business to complain about the mess the plumber left after fixing your toilet or the rude comment the customer service rep made when you returned an item at Wal-Mart. Onion letters help a business correct wrongs. Iris letters acknowledge and appreciate service workers or businesses that go above and beyond.

I should have sent an Iris letter a few years ago to my local Aldi.

After checking out all of my groceries, I realized that I had neither cash nor credit cards in my purse. Upon realizing this, the cashier volunteered to pay my $80+ bill until I returned.  She said that she knew I was a regular customer and that I’d be back.

Profusely thanking her, I instead asked her to just put my cart of groceries to the side. I zipped home. Returning a half-hour later, I had cash in hand.  Thanking her again, she smiled at my appreciation, and I vowed to myself to write a note to the manager. I intended to appreciate, honor, and celebrate her good deed.

My goal was to share a little love and bring recognition to this kind woman.

I never did.

Her name was Leah.

I’m still amazed at her kindness.

Who is Lisa

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My Dog is Family

What is it with dogs? Are you one of the people that celebrated National Pet Day earlier this month? Do you love a furry friend?

Whoever said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend…obviously never had a dog!

Do you need unconditional love, something to love you forever and ever (sounds great, right!)?  

furry friendsDo you love having something warm and fuzzy to cuddle with, share a bed with?

When Mollie, a liver/white tri English Springer Spaniel that was with us for fourteen years died, I said it would be my last.  

I just couldn’t put my heart through another heartbreak.  

Well, six months passed, and guess what?  We broke down and got another fuzzy creature. She is a black/white tri-colored springer spaniel named Emma.  What a sweetheart, a pain in the ass, a total companion, a bed hog, has her own opinion and needs, and we wouldn’t give her up for anything.  

Furry Friends – The PROS…

I have read that owning a pet has several benefits for older adults.  This includes higher levels of physical activity…which results in better health.  Having a dog forces us to create daily routines or to have a  purpose to get out and MOVE. 

furry friendsDogs offer emotional support and give us something to talk about with other people (other than how upset we are with the latest political announcement or our upcoming knee surgery).

With a dog, you get constant love and affection, unconditional adoration (we all can use a little of that), lots and lots of wet sloppy kisses, and let’s not forget the lack of bed space.  Is this a pro? Well, some of us might think so.  

…and the CONS

The case against owning a canine fur baby is as follows (but not limited to):  Constant dog hair on your pants, brown spots in a once lush green lawn, ongoing poop duty, and the frustration when they are trying to communicate, but you don’t agree (time to go to bed or wanting to stay outside).

furry friends

Dogs also need exercise, rain or shine, cold or warm.  If you are sick, or well, you need to suck it up and get out there with a potty bag and treats in your pocket.  How about the grooming duties, brushing, and teeth brushing (yes, we are supposed to actually brush a dog’s teeth). 

I could do without the muddy paws prints on my white kitchen floor and cream living room carpet in the spring and rainy weather. 

It is also a pain in the ass standing outside in the freezing cold, in the middle of the night,  (even when Fido doesn’t really have to do anything) because he just wants you to be awake with him.  

I, personally, have had a lot of pets including, birds of all shapes and sizes, chameleons, fish, hamsters, turtles. But my nine dogs (over the years) are in a special category that is unique and exclusive…

Companion

Confidant

Family

I have read or heard it from somewhere that the best compliment to a deceased pet is to replace it with another. I totally agree. Or, to quote American novelist, satirist, and poet, Erica Jong…

 ” Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs, your heart is very big.”

Who Is Sandy
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How to Deal with Impatience and Not Go Crazy

impatienceLately, I find that I have absolutely no patience with the people and things around me.  I’m sure my family will say that I’m always like that, but I think it’s been getting worse.  Yesterday, I found myself slamming my phone down on my desk simply because the screen would go into sleep mode too soon.  Today, I feel like I’m just trying to pick a fight with anyone that crosses my path.  Even as I sit here writing this, I can hear the person across the table from me crunching on food and it’s making me feel crazy.  

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Wallpaper With a Twist

home

In our family, we all like to help each other with projects, especially home projects.  Just one word of warning.  If Sandy is creating be sure you understand the parameters of the project. We were asked to help wallpaper Michelle’s bathroom. That request sounded tame enough. Right??

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How to Gain 8 Pounds in 8 Weeks

The day that I’m writing this is exactly 8 weeks until June 1st.

June always feels like the beginning of summer to me. Summer..sleeveless shirts, shorts, sandals (read no more covering up with turtlenecks, sweaters, or fleecy leggings). I’ve used these items to camouflage my fluffy body for a few months. Putting on weight happens soooooo effortlessly. I weigh myself every Monday (mostly) and watched the numbers creep up, pound by pound, each week. I wasn’t trying to lose weight, just trying to stay the same. But I was struggling.

poundsYou know when you’re struggling.

Slogging along in life.

You can smile at your neighbors. You take out the trash on Fridays and make sure your family is fed. Brushing your teeth happens. But you lose touch with yourself. There is no bandwidth,  no energy to do what makes you feel good and be healthy. I was in this place for about 8 weeks after Christmas and through February. Here is what I’ve learned if you want to gain 8 pounds in 8 weeks:

Livin’ the Couch Potato Life

Don’t exercise! In so many magazines and blogs I’ve read recently, I’ve heard about how you can’t easily lose weight by exercising. But let me tell you, you sure can gain weight if you don’t. I regularly walk each morning with Stella, and now our puppy Evie. But have you tried to exercise or do yoga with a puppy? I wrote about my daily routine here. But sometimes you just don’t FEEL like exercising. So I’ve been walking and when I get home, there is just so much to do. Breakfast, writing, homeschooling, making the bed, cleaning the grout on the kitchen floor…

Carbs are Your Friends

Eat carbs like a teenage boy. I have a husband, two teenage sons, and a daughter who dances 8+ hours a week. Carbs are staples in our kitchen. When I’m feeling tired, meals are served with pasta, rice or bread. (Last night, we had spaghetti for dinner and  I not only ate several slices of warm, soft, chewy Italian bread, but I slathered sweet butter on each slice…yum!)

Chug-a-lug

Drink alcohol daily. I love going to my parent’s house. Dad makes the best Brandy Old Fashioneds–sour, not sweet. (I got him this gift last Father’s Day and I have really enjoyed it!) Since my one son just got his driver’s license and needs practice, we go over and I have a couple of drinks EVERY night…I’m not driving…right?

STOP!

I’m even having a hard time writing this. I think I may be having an anxiety attack at this very moment. I am serious about how I put on the weight, but I’m not genuine about having neutral feelings about the gain.

You see, no one but me knows that I’ve put on a few pounds. I don’t look a lot different, but I FEEL different (and not in a good way). I’m stiff, my arms feel weak. There is a bike tire around my middle. I notice that it’s harder to cross my legs when I’m sitting in a chair.

Just 8 little pounds and all this fuss?!? It’s just a symptom of a larger problem, really. I’ve lost sight of myself, not taking care of ME. I’ve gotten wrapped up in the day-to-day and everyone else’s needs. Can you relate?

pounds

I’m wearing yoga pants and athletic shoes so I must be burning calories, right?

Well, we have exactly 8 weeks until the “beginning” of summer. Let’s walk a little more, ditch the sugar, and say no to flour.

Are you still with me?

Let’s drink lots of water and have some “come to Jesus” time with veggies and leafy greens!

That’s my plan. Check back on June 1st to see how well I fared.

 

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What to Do When Your Body is Falling Apart

What do you do when your an active woman with a full life and your body starts to fall apart? Well, I made an appointment to see my primary care physician…

At the office visit, my doctor informed me that that I no longer needed a mammogram, pap smear, or colonoscopy.  I found this interesting so I asked, “Why is that?”  He skirted around the question, but I guessed, “You mean I am just too old?” 

Well, the fact is, say…if cancer is detected,  I am actually too old to go through the process of working on a cure or whatever….

body

Midlife: That time in your life when you finally get your head together and your body starts to fall apart!

WOW!

HELLO?

Let that sink in a moment.

That made me feel, kind of, sort of WEIRD. 

I never thought that when you got older you kind of just let things go since they are going to go to hell anyway.  I guess I’m just not quite ready for that mindset.

So are we just supposed to die young?  It seems to me that our bodies are set to work until a certain age and then they seem to fall apart. (I seem to have gone past the life expectancy of my right knee!)

I have come to the conclusion that the reason the life expectancy of people years ago was much younger was that the body parts are for a certain age. If you have to deal with worn-out knees, painful hips, or other decrepit joints, it just really takes the life right out of you. 

I had been doing really well–physically, that is.  (We won’t talk about mentally.) I love to exercise–mostly walking with my dog, Emma. Well, I loved to when I had a knee that actually worked. 

But you want to know what is so hard about this whole situation? I don’t want to be “layed up” for weeks and weeks! I have always prided myself on being in fair shape.  But now that I have reached the ripe old age of xx, o.k. 76, I am really bummed out about this because I don’t have the time or the patience to have downtime or a recoup time.  My life has to go on. as. it. is.  

body

If you look around, you will see people with canes, walkers, wheelchairs.  That is because their longevity has run out and they are spending a lot of time and money just trying to keep their muscles,  joints, and bodies working.  

I now understand, but don’t want to believe it.  

So, here is to one knee replacement, with another one to follow.  Onward you old body. You need to keep up with my wants and my desire to keep active and enjoy life.

So, if you ever find yourself in a similar position, your body seems to be ready to leave the party (and way too soon for the rest of you)…suck it up! Do whatever it takes to make your body do what it takes to keep up with your active lifestyle. 

Life is too short to waste.

Pain sucks.

Let’s fix this old body and get on with living!

Who Is Sandy

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Voiceless Woman

I remember driving with my mom in the passenger seat. I might comment on a pretty house. She answered me with silence. 

When I asked my mom for her opinion on how a new dress looked on me, she would reply with “I wonder what it would look like on me?” She wouldn’t answer my question.

If I asked for her opinion about a new couch or a new pair of pillows for the living room, she would only respond to my question by  asking, “What do you think?” She WOULD NOT add her 2 cents worth.

Opinions. I hated that my mom had NONE. (It still pisses me off and she passed away almost 20 years ago).

Now I am an older woman and I don’t want to be voiceless. I want others to ask my opinion and value my thoughts. I have experience, damn it, and life has taught me a thing or two.

You go through life with your kids (as babies, toddlers, and young children…and they adore you!  Then they become more independent, but still need you and start growing into their own. When they become “tweens” and teens, the change begins.   This is not a fun period of life for a lot of parents of teenagers, as you begin to feel that you are viewed as out of touch.  They know everything and work very hard to show this to you.  Actually, the fact is this is when they are the dumbest.  (This must be true as I read it on the internet!!)

Fortunately,  when your children become twenty-something adults, they seem to love your opinions, some of your tastes, and are usually, you see I say (usually), fun to have around. 

Then, when your children have children of their own, they become your friends and you love to be around them. Grandparents are VERY valuable!!!

Then, something happens, they bring around their friends.  They have fun talking and sharing ideas with each other.  Since you have been having a good time with your child/children you feel justified to share in their conversation. (Especially if they are on your domain.)  

Well, guess what, I have discovered that some of their friends think you are a total uneducated, unworldly, and just plain boring person!  What?!? I have gotten the feeling, somehow, that I am “in the way”, an obstacle to navigate around. 

opinion

The result…people either ignore your insightful comments or ignore you completely.  I’ve gotten this look that says, “We were talking…who are you and what do you know about anything”?

I’ve seen several articles over the years about the “invisibility” of older people, especially women. See here, here, and here

If you are lucky you might even get an opportunity to share a thought or experience.  After you ponder this idea, god forbid, you think your opinion must be needed or even appreciated.  Well, think again.  You must have happened to have been included because you probably heard the conversation, by accident I’m sure, and thought surely they wanted your opinion.  Don’t kid yourself.  This is not the case. The proof is when you  are told, “I knew I shouldn’t have shared this topic with you.”  So much for being included.  

opinion

I had a mother who never gave an opinion. It seemed like  It made me think that she must not be very smart since she never expressed herself.   Well, guess what, I now know why.  She just got shot down so many times that she decided it wasn’t worth it. So she just gave up. 

On the other hand, my mother-in-law gave opinions when asked (usually not what you wanted to hear), but everyone loved her for it. One of my favorite memories of her when I asked her for her opinion about a rustic mirror that I put above my sofa. Her response? “I think it is the stupidest looking thing I have ever seen!” On other occasions, she would reply with, “Well, YOU have to live with it.” She shared her unvarnished opinion with heart and an indifference to whether you would agree or not.  It still makes me giggle when I think of the vehemence with which she shared many opinions. 

 opinionWell, guess what?  This old senior citizen will never shut up, so get used to it.  Somewhere there has to be someone that likes my opinions and wants to listen to some very worthy and worldly advice. I want to be heard and my opinions appreciated by people over the age of four!!!!.

So what is the solution? Do you have a suggestion? I am not going to give up who I am. I am going to continue to express my opinion.  My mom lost her voice when it wasn’t valued. I don’t want that to happen to me…

 


Who Is Sandy

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Be True To Yourself

love youselfWhile we are all trying to improve ourselves and make the most out of our lives, one thing that we must keep in mind is to be true to yourself.  Following what society expects or desires you to be or to look like or to accomplish does nothing for you if you don’t agree with those expectations.  All you end up doing is frustrating yourself.  Here are 5 things to consider when trying to fit into society’s expectations and also be true to yourself.

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To Meditate or NOT to Meditate

Meditation is supposed to be a wonderful way to relax, come to terms with your inner self, help relax your body, help your mind focus,  blah, blah, blah.

Well, you know what?  I have found meditation to be a huge waste of time.  I have tried, really, I have tried! 

Comer on inner peace...I don't have all day!

Come on inner peace…I don’t have all day!

(I know people around me would sa I HAVEN’T really tried,(see here) but that is just not true.)

My introduction–and conclusion–to meditation was a couple of years ago.  I went to a meditation workshop with my sister.  Inside a church, on a Saturday was the destination for the day (ALL day mind you)..  We were to sit in a pew, a hard pew at that.  To begin our day, there was a speaker for a short time. Then we were to sit. and. meditate.  This consisted of clearing our minds, relaxing, centering (this means controlling and balancing yourself), not talking, sitting quietly, and, well, MEDITATING!!!!

So…I have a hard time meditating.   It was a BEAUTIFUL, mild, sunny day in January for that workshop. The fresh snow was pearly white, and it was just a  gorgeous winter day.  

We were supposed to sit and be quiet for a whole morning, afternoon, AND into the night!  I just couldn’t do it.  Sometime in the early afternoon I told my sister I had to get outside or I might crack up, or at least have a nervous breakdown.  My energy level was at a high, I needed to move and do something, anything, and I felt like I would run a marathon.  

Unfortunately, when I try to meditate my brain just won’t shut off. I understand that  the goal was to develop my psychological well-being. Its a calming thing to do. Unfortunately, to me, it felt rstless, like I was wasting time. I would rather do just about anything other than just sitting,immobile, trying to clear my mind. 

Give me a book, that would work.  

Paint a wall, that would work.  

Weed a garden, yes, that would work.  

I guess I will have to call one of these activities my type of mediation.

0MMMMMM

Who Is Sandy
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Helping Your College Student with Homesickness

Homesickness

When my youngest kid left for college this past fall, we went through some significant homesickness.  She has always been my “velcro” kid and loves to be home and a part of things.  There were a lot of tears and feelings of “I don’t want to go” happening.  As a parent that likes to always see her kids happy – this broke my heart.  I didn’t know how to help – so I resorted to the Internet to guide me in what to do.  After reading a few posts – I decided on my own methods.

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