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A Few Good Decisions Can Make a Big Difference

You only have to get things right a few times. Twelve investment decisions in my career have made all the difference. Warren Buffett, third richest person in the world

As I embrace my seventy-fifth year, I’m considering what past decisions help me sleep well and wake up smiling. Here are a few:

  1. I decided to do everything I can to stay mentally and physically healthy while living each day to the fullest knowing that, like everyone, my days are limited. I learned a long time ago that people DO die—including me.
  2. I decided I want to leave this Earth with no unfinished business. I choose to keep a clean slate with people I care about, make sure my financial life is in order, and have no unworn clothes in the closet with the tags on.
  3. I decided to be grateful for all that’s been given to me, including loved ones, rather than bitter, sad, or resentful about what’s been taken away. 
  4. I decided to claim the fact that Jesus died for my sins and, because I’ve asked Him, I am forgiven. This decision alone has kept me sane and joyful.
  5. I decided to surround myself with positive, trustworthy, caring people.
  6. I decided to stay active with friendships, creative endeavors, community activism, nature, and books.

Affirmation: A few decisions matter.

Coaching questions: What decisions have you made that make a difference in your life? Are there some others you need to make (it’s always a work in progress)? What’s holding you back? 

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Photo by Court Prather on Unsplash

How To Negate Negativity

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience. Eleanor Roosevelt

Did you know that your brain is built to be more sensitive to unpleasant news than it is to pleasant? You’ll probably remember the rebuke longer than you’ll remember the praise. Sometimes, the sadness of death will impact a person more than the feelings of joy and warmth they received from their loved one.

This bias for negativity generally causes us to worry more than necessary, fear the worst, and focus on bad narratives for too long. When we allow this to happen, we rob ourselves of experiencing the joys around us.

Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher and author, writes, “All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”

Affirmation: I feel the joy.

Coaching questions/requests: Are you experiencing an abundance of anxiety, stress, or worry? What about sadness, bitterness, regret? This week, take time to be aware of your negativity. As you do so, refocus your thoughts by meditating, having an attitude of gratitude, establishing a “worry time” or writing down your negative thoughts to get them out of your head. Some negativity will hang around for a while and that’s ok. What counts is your continued effort to redirect and reprogram. You will see the effects of it over time, just stick with it.

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Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash

Happy 100th Birthday, Mom!

I was forced to live far beyond my years when just a child, now I have reversed the order and I intend to remain young indefinitely. Mary Pickford, American actress

My mom would have been 100 years old today had she not died at the age of thirty-four. Even though she had a short life, she lived it well. She was a college graduate and a Rosie the Riveter during WWII, attaching the fabric to the wings of fighter planes. Growing up without a mother (her mother died when she was three), she had to learn housewife skills after she was married including how to cook what was available to purchase with a ration card (once, she bought horse meat thinking it was a bargain piece of beef.) 

I’m most grateful for her extreme good sense to marry my dad, Leon Horn. He turned out to be the best dad anyone could hope for. In the eight years she was my mom she taught me many things by her example. For instance, she taught me how to entertain graciously, appreciate girlfriends, and have good manners. I don’t have the usual regrets like not having her at my wedding or the birth of my children. However, I wish I could have seen her dance, I wish she could know how wonderful her grandchildren turned out, and I wish we could go for a birthday lunch and I could order her lamb chops with mint sauce. 

Affirmation: I had a good mom.

Coaching questions: What are your favorite mom-memories? What are the most important lessons you learned from your mom? If your mom is still alive, have you told her lately that you love her?

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Think You’re Too Old to_______, Think Again

Growing old is no more than a bad habit which a busy person has no time to form. Andre Maurois, French author

My next book project (I’m a glutton for punishment) is telling the stories of women from the Greatest and Silent Generations. Basically, women eighty years old and up. After writing a few similar stories for a newspaper, I discovered how rewarding it is to honor these women for what they have accomplished and are accomplishing. In the next few weeks I will have the honor of interviewing two women over 100. I can’t wait to hear their stories!

I haven’t interviewed these women (yet), but if you’re feeling “old,” consider these examples:

— Julia Hawkins, 103, oldest woman to compete on an American track – started running at 100.

— Nola Ochs recently earned her bachelor’s degree at 95 then went on to earn her master’s at 96 – moved into the campus dorms.

—Sister Madonna Bruder has completed over 45 Ironman competitions and continues to compete at 86.

—Harley Davidson rider, Gloria Tramonten Struck, 90, intends to embark on a cross country ride at 100.

—Oldest newly weds are George (103) and Darren (91) Kirby.

It’s not all about “doing,” it’s also about becoming and contributing. More on that another time. 

Affirmation: Age is just a number.

Coaching questions: What does age mean to you? How do you feel about growing older? What do you want to accomplish as you age?   

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Photo by David Vilches on Unsplash

Sometimes, It’s OK To Talk To Strangers

If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world. Francis Bacon, English philosopher and statesman

I’m the kind of person who talks to stranger. Recently, while waiting to board a flight home from Iceland, I sat next to a friendly looking woman and said hello. During the time my husband was away at the bathroom, I learned her early history, the story of her divorce, about her education, her past and recent careers.

Isabel was raised in the shadow of the Palace of Versailles in France. Her playground was, literally, the Gardens of Versailles. She wasn’t happy with the the fact that she was terribly sheltered by her mother. She eventually married an American doctor, moved to the U.S., and had a son. The doctor left her for a nurse. She has a master’s in bio-something but didn’t enjoy it so she earned a doctorate in anthropology. She enjoys the fact that she can call her ex-husband at the hospital, ask for Dr. Miller and say, “Dr. Miller is calling.”  She’s a college professor but, because of her French accent, mostly teaches on-line. About her accent, she said, “When my students call me on the phone asking for help, they don’t seem to mind that I have an accent when I solve their problems.” She lives in Seattle. I encouraged her to write a book. She said she would stay in touch so I can keep her motivated to do so. All this in a matter of a few minutes! Whew! 

Isabel’s energy was contagious. She was delighted to meet a new person, hear about me, and share her life. I’m so glad I didn’t pass up this chance to have a few memorable minutes with a fascinating stranger.

P.S. – Isabel once visited Figi to reconnect with a man she met in an airport. She has my card. I may see Isabel again. 

Affirmation: I’m delighted to hear the story of a stranger. 

Coaching questions: If talking to strangers seems scary or odd to you, why do you think this is true? What might you gain from talking to a stranger? What might your lose? 

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Eat More Plants! Consider These Superstars

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

For most of us, our guts are screaming, “Eat more plants!” This is because our gut needs friendly bacteria to help digest our food, fight pathogens, maintain a heathy weight, and fend off some diseases, including cancer. Research has shown that if you want more friendly bacteria, which relies on fiber to flourish, you should eat more plants. 

All whole plant foods provide some fiber but these superstars will help you reach a goal of the recommended 22 to 28 grams per day.

  1. Navy beans – 1 cup cooked – 19.1 grams
  2. Lentils – 1 cup cooked – 15.6 grams
  3. Black beans – 1 cup cooked – 15 grams
  4. Green peas – 1 cup cooked – 8.8 grams
  5. Avocado – 1/2 large – 8.5 grams
  6. Bulgur – 1 cup cooked – 8.2 grams
  7. Raspberries – 1 cup – 8 grams
  8. Pear – 1 medium – 5.5 grams
  9. Brussel sprouts – 1 cup cooked – 4.1 grams
  10. Oats – 1 cup uncooked – 4 grams

Source of list: Experience Life magazine

Affirmation: I eat plants.

Coaching questions: What is your gut telling you about your diet? Are you listening? What’s one thing you will do this week to move towards having a healthier gut? 

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Photo by ja ma on Unsplash

Tips For Caregivers From A Motherless Daughter

Alzheimer’s SUCKS!☹😭 Robyn, motherless daughter

I met Robyn in a Alzheimer’s on-line support group. I’m not a caregiver but I’m in the group to offer support to those who are. In her final post, Robyn offered some great advice. Family members are frequently the best experts. 

Final post 💜….. (written by Robyn)

I’d  like to thank all in this group, including administrators. This group pulled me up when I couldn’t. My Mom, Terry, had Alzheimer’s. She passed  2/12/17. I stayed in this group after she passed to “pay it forward. ” For those just starting this journey, I would like to share a bit of advice from MY point of view. 

1) U are not “less than” if u put ur L.O. in a nursing home. 

2)  The only medication my mom had was her baby doll, with whom she was buried. It gave her a “purpose.” Buy one!

3)  Get yourself educated about the disease as early as possible. If I had learned earlier, I would not have tried to reason with my mother.

4) Live in their world.

5) Feeding tubes only prolong the agony. 

6) When death is near, their loved ones from beyond come to take them. I was not there when my mother passed but I believe that she was not alone😔.

7)  If you are raising children, put them 1st. Your loved one would want that. I was a single mother sandwiched between my son and my mother. I did the best I could.

8)  And finally, to those who are just starting this journey…God bless you. 💜💜💜💜💜💜

ps…Alzheimer’s SUCKS!☹😭

Affirmation: I learn from others’ experiences.

Coaching questions: What advice would you give others based on your life experiences? How will you get your message out so, like Robyn, you too can make a difference? 

 

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Photo by Tomasz Sroka on Unsplash