Losses and Gains

Today I feel like I am sending my kid off to college. I’m happy for them to have the experience and know it is part of their growth (as well as mine), but also feel a bit of a panic as I see that it is becoming real. 

Wrapping up this year of blogging feels pretty darn real and my emotions are mixed, for sure.

I want to write today of the losses and gains I have experienced over the last 364 days. As in every journey we begin, there are both. It is inevitable.

American politician, sociologist, and diplomat, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, stated “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” And friends, losses and gains are facts.

What I lost:


Relationship. I missed many a night sitting in bed eating popcorn and watching Black List or St. Elsewhere or Sherlock with my husband. Thank you for your patience and support, dear Mike. I’m coming back so get the popcorn popping. 

Socialization. In a previous blog I have mentioned my annual cousins retreat. Last fall at our gathering, I had to slip away for a couple of hours to write my blog. I probably missed some very meaningful conversations, or at least some great laughs. Whatever travel has happened during this year has involved me disappearing for a period of time to write.

Workout routine. Well, something’s gotta go. There is only so much time in a day. Along with sleep deprivation, my previous steadfast workout routine suffered as well.

A little pride. In the beginning of a project, no matter what it is, you have a Pollyannish bent. I assumed that thousands would flock to my site and Kathie Lee and Hoda would be sending me airline tickets to appear on their show in New York. Though that has not happened, I’m still believing it may. 

What I gained:

Perspective. A true definition of perspective is this: The art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point. In simple terms, the way we regard something; our viewpoint. I like the long version of the definition. “…the right impression of height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other…” Everything that comes into our lives has its own weightiness. It is in measuring and balancing those things that make or break us. 

Knowledge. I have done a lot of research and reading, which has been fun. Knowledge also includes new words. I hope you have learned a few new ones, too.

The “every day remarkable”, meaning I began to see, hear and observe every day things as blog posts. It opened my eyes to the extraordinary ordinary.

New conversations. When I met new people and they asked about my life, I told them about the blog. When I ran into old friends and they asked what I have been up to, I told them about the blog.

Discipline. That one is a given. If anyone ever asks me how I was able to keep up, my answer will be exactly the way we should approach life, one day at a time. 

More photographed time with Mama. I was mindful every time I was with her that I may write about her in my blog that day. Very often I would snap photos of us together. I didn’t use all of them, but I have them. And they will always be a treasure to me.

A larger heart (not literally) from the love and kindness and support of dear ones. You know who you are.

Eleven pounds. Yep, sadly that is true. It is quite possibly a combination of reasons; decreased sleep, a stressful year with Mama, the loss of consistent exercise, as noted in the “losses”, and perhaps too many late night chocolate milks and kettle chips at my desk. 

An important aspect of healthy living is embracing the good with the bad, the sickness and health, the gains and the losses. 

I embrace every moment and every day of the journey, and I am grateful. 

Hard Punches

World heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson, said: “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.” Tyson is more known for his “punches as hard as iron” than his wise philosophy, but when he made that off-the-cuff statement, he was spot on.

That quote by Mike Tyson reminds me a bit of my year of blogging. Early August last year when the idea came to me to document my 60th year by writing a daily blog, I was enthusiastic. When the idea gelled and my friend, Marcelina, helped me create the website, it was like Christmas Eve. I could barely sleep with the anticipation of making this thing real and jumping in.

That was the plan and it worked, but there were certainly days I got punched in the mouth. Many a dark, late night I sat alone on my bedroom floor thinking of topics then tapping away at my keyboard until one or two in the morning, driven to stay true to my pledge. I have fallen asleep sitting straight up at my computer. However, not once did I get into bed without writing my blog. I’m not looking for kudos, I am simply stating the challenge of a commitment. 

It’s all fun and games until reality sinks in. We know, cognitively, that we are responsible for meeting our own goals. But for some reason, in the back of our minds, we think/want/need another person to help. At the end of the day, and on a grander scale, at the end of our lives, we are on your own, well, humanly speaking. Thankfully, we have a sovereign God who helps us daily and at the end, meets us.

I have never lived on my own. I went from my parents home to living with my husband and then children soon followed. When you are surrounded by those you love and who love you, it is easy to get into the mindset that someone is always there to help. That is 100% true except when it comes to personal goals. The support is there and it has been huge for me this year, for which I am grateful. 

However, the work, the grit, the sitting in the trenches, the end result, was on me, as it should be. I have learned many things this year. One of my biggest lessons was persistence.

When I was a personal trainer, I used to tell my clients that there is no secret formula. In fact, it is quite simple. Small choices over time add up to real change. Let the workouts pile up and soon you will see a difference.

Some changes are subtle. Some commitments are long. Some progresses are slow. But movement is key. It is where all things begin. 

Serious Sunday

And what a serious Sunday it was. This morning we attended a service at the Yale University Church, held at the Battell Chapel. In 1757, Yale founded its own Congregational church, making it the first college church in America. Today’s service was called Service for Word and Table for Pentecost, Yale Commencement Weekend. It was truly meaningful and lovely. 

This afternoon we attended commencement worship at the Yale Divinity School. I have been delighted with the sacredness of these events. I have also been delighted at the honoring of these students. The faculty appears to be authentically saddened by their departure, yet enthusiastically anticipant about their futures. 


Come, Holy Spirit, move among us.

Kindle in us the fire of your love.

Come, Holy Spirit, breathe upon us.

Kindle in us  the fire of your love.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your people.

Kindle in us the fire of your love. 

Tomorrow morning, my Andrew will walk the steps from the Yale Divinity School atop the hill on Prospect Street and descend to Olde Campus where he will receive his M.A.R., Masters of Arts in Religion. He works harder than anyone I know and has received a monumental education during his time at Yale. And, I must note, has given a monumental chunk of time, energy and blood, sweat and tears to this endeavor. I am extremely proud of him for this success. Far beyond that, I have been proud of him his entire life. He is truly a fine gentleman and an exceptional human.

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus

Dominus Deus Sabbath

Osanna in excelsis

Hosanna in the highest, indeed. 

Pump a little Iron

It is not new news that strength training is good for us. We hear it on TV, we read it on the covers of magazines while in line at the grocery store, we even know it intuitively.

If the promise of more strength alone is not motivating enough, here are four science-proven benefits:

Strength training helps you age well
Muscle mass peaks around age 25. Twenty-five! A 2015 study published in International Journal of Nursing Sciences reported that a high percentage of healthcare costs for seniors arise from the negative outcomes of lean muscle mass loss. Another study found that just 15 minutes of strength training twice a week is enough to stimulate significant strength gains, which helps people avoid falls and fractures.

Strength training balances your hormones
Strength training stimulates the release of human growth hormone, which helps build muscle and burn fat. Strength training also has been shown to help regulate sex hormones – testosterone and estrogen. Women commonly produce less estrogen as they grow older, which can increase the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.

Strength training is good for your brain
Numerous studies suggest that strength training can help prevent, slow, or even reverse the progress of many common mental and cognitive issues. Older women develop fewer memory-impairing lesions on their brain when they perform basic, twice-weekly strength training workouts, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Strength training can be inspiring
Obviously, there are many physical rewards of exercise. There is yet another gem. For some people, exercise is a spiritual experience. Jolie Kobrinsky, owner of Primer Personal Training in Monterey, California, states this: “People explore the limits of their abilities and have an opportunity to express intensity when they strength train. That makes some sessions personal triumphs.” Kobrinsky has seen these daily struggles in the gym add up to significant personal transformations.

Who doesn’t want to age well, balance your hormones, keep your brain healthy, and experience personal triumphs? Each and every one of us wants that.

I am certainly not 25 but I am certainly not 95, so I am off to strength train!

Keeping at It

As a general rule, people admire steady performers. However, we are drawn to sensation. We pay to see unpredictable entertainers or players.

It is part of our human nature to welcome erratic adventure. Yet, we need leaders who stay the course and keep true purpose in view.

If I am on a boat in a stormy sea, I do not want a captain who is adventurous and daring. I want a captain who can find the destination and get me there.

I once read that most medical breakthroughs do not come from charismatic individuals who stumble upon a cure then party like it’s 1999.

Instead, life-changing research often occurs because people stayed with their business.

Steadiness by itself is boring. We often link it to complacency. Steadiness also occasionally connotes old age. Tsk!

*Steadiness with purpose is what makes all the difference. That purpose, however, must be true. Steadiness with pure purpose always requires a discipline to keep us from meandering.

When faced with the uncertainties of life, I want to look to one who is steady and I also want to be that one.

Steadiness + pure purpose – complacency x discipline2 = a calm as we follow truth.

The key word there is follow, insinuating movement. That is not a passive plan.

My math skills have never been strong, but that is one formula I get.


*Inspired by When True Simplicity is Gained

Wrapping it Up

I love the physical and mental challenge of the Olympics. It shows us the best and the most disciplined of humanity.

Sports psychologist, Jim Taylor, wrote an article in Psychology Today titled “Mentally Preparing for Olympic Sports Success”. One of the strategies he teaches is ‘Dance with the one who brung ya.’ Yes, bad English but it portrays an important message.

Often, when athletes are preparing for a big event, they feel the need to do something different, something special, that they need to ‘raise their game’ because the event is so important. “That is the worst thing you can do”, states Taylor.

“To the contrary, you want to keep doing exactly what you did to get there. Dancing with the one who brung ya means sticking with the fundamentals of what has worked in the past.”

Taylor suggests that athletes maintain good eating and sleeping habits. He also says they should continue their usual conditioning program, though dial it back to ensure staying rested. He said it is important to keep to the practice and competitive routines that got them prepared in the past.

The Olympic athletes that Taylor worked with identified some specific strategies that they use as their competitions at the Games near and deploy them on the day of the competition.

One of the major ones was ‘be happy’. It seems a bit cliché but just doing things that made them happy was one of the most common suggestions among the athletes. They identified particular people and experiences that generated positive emotions. Ideas included listening to music they love, watching fun movies, reading interesting books, spending time with friends and family and meeting athletes from other countries.

With all of the information and technology available, two little words that make up one simple thought can help athletes meet the mammoth challenge of the Olympics. Be happy.


The 2018 Winter Olympics are about to wrap up. As in all major sporting events, there was the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

I’ve heard that winning bronze in an event is similar to being third runner up in a beauty pageant. Sure, it is a great honor. Yes, it means you accomplished more than the other pageant participants. Of course, it means you are still amazing. But will they remember your name? It is a hard reality.

The photo above is the epitome of what many of us would love to do and look like doing it. However, most of us, perhaps it is not a stretch to say not one of us, will ever get there. It is a hard reality.


60 1/2

Today is my half birthday. Today I am 60 and a half years old. Today I am half done with the commitment to my year of writing every day about being 60 years old.

We all have good ideas.The challenge is making them happen.

Ben Wicks, the British-born Canadian cartoonist, illustrator, journalist and author said: “In golf as in life, it’s the follow through that makes the difference.”

Oh, how true that is.

Several years ago I heard from a medical professional that occasionally in the inner city emergency rooms, they see people come in with ear pain from bugs (icky cockroaches) finding their way into their ears during sleep. Oh my goodness. As I write this, I am gagging.

I had the idea to create a solution for this. I even wanted one for myself, just in case. Once in a while we get a less than pretty critter inside our house. And it only takes one. Lord help me.

The thought ran through my mind to describe my idea on this blog post. I even gave my idea a catchy name. I started typing about it but then my (somewhat) good sense kicked in. Hey, do I want to give away my great idea and have someone else execute it and make millions of dollars, and oh yeah, help keep bugs out of ears, too? I think not.

If my great idea only stays in my head (no pun intended), then it will die there. As Mr. Wicks stated, the follow through is what makes all the difference.

I am full of catchy phrases and clever thoughts and good ideas, but my follow through is not always quite as good. And to that point, neither is my golf swing.

When you begin to get older, you realize that no one is going to do it for you. You face the truth that if an idea or goal is inside of you, that YOU have to take steps to make that happen.

That almost always comes down to one ugly word: Discipline.

Discipline is defined as: The practice of training to obey rules or a code of behavior. Order maintained by training and control. A regimen that develops or improves a skill.

Yep, that about sums it up. Those words aptly describe the reason most of us do not do what we want/need to do ~ rules, a code of behavior, order, training. We bristle against those words.

However, we do love a few of the words in the definition: develops or improves a skill.

Now we are getting to the good stuff.

I want to develop or improve a skill. I want to develop or improve quite a few skills. Don’t you? Who would possibly answer no to that question?

I have a little bucket list for sure. But for now, I am going to discipline (ugly word) myself in order to develop or improve a skill (pretty words).

Happy Half Birthday to me and to my quest for blogging!