Thinking about moving mom (or an elderly relative or friend) to assisted living? As a special offer, I am making one of my popular blog series available free as a PDF to my newsletter subscribers. Current subscribers will receive their free copy in the February newsletter. New subscribers will receive their copy when they sign-up.
This short guide offers insights on factors to consider when you face moving an aging relative. Many of us will have to make this call for our parents. Our culture does not make this an easy conversation. This guide helps you identify the signs that your relative or friend can no longer live independently. It offers suggestions for the tough conversation ahead and a checklist to help you manage your new responsibility.
Written in anecdotal form with warmth and humor, Moving Mom offers the words of an encouraging friend, letting you know about the blessings that abound at the end of this difficult road.Read More»
Choosing to play
Every year we can count on seeing great theater at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Like good books, great theater has the capacity to engage individuals in conversation. It might be an internal dialogue between reader and author over the treatment of a theme. It might be a lively book discussion with a friend. In the case of a play, the playwright, the director, and the audience each bring a unique point of view.
Choosing to engage in a theater experience challenges us in three areas: Understanding what the playwright was trying to convey; appreciating the lens through which the director chooses to view the work; and responding to what we are seeing. This year we chose to engage with the themes of Twelfth Night, Great Expectations, and Vietgone.
Twelfth Night is also titled What You Will, and that is the direction Christopher Liam Moore chose to take Shakespeare’s play about the grief of loss and the joy of discovery. The 1930s Hollywood setting and the slapstick antics of the clowns whose hands were welded to martini glasses overpowered the anguish of grief. Funny stuff, but on top of that we had to sort out the gender issues the director added to the masquerade at the core of this play.Read More»
Don’t overthink it, a friend laughed when I mused about the purpose of our trip to Costa Rica. Just have fun. We did have fun, but now that we’re back I feel compelled to shift back into overthink.
Papa survived the travel. His best days were hanging back with our son and grandson enjoying the hot springs in the shadow of the Arenal Volcano. That and zip lining in Costa Rica high above the Los Suenos canopy.
Son preferred the drier Pacific side to the hot, wet Caribbean side. Teacher that he is, he expressed particular enthusiasm for the presentation on the socio-political history of Costa Rica. Surfer that he is, he tried his darnedest to hitch a ride to a primo surfing spot but never made the connection. Still, he soaked in the experience.
Grandson learned to run with herd. Not one to pop right out of bed, he adjusted to early departures quite well. His proudest moment was the morning he rewrote his story. No more the boy who fell from a second floor window onto a concrete patio, he summoned the courage to kick away from a platform into the air. Suspended by cables, he zipped off the first of 12 platforms to the cheers of the other children, and the tears of his grandparents. He completed the course and now he’s a boy who zip lined in Costa Rica. He has new stories to tell.
A perfect trip for us
We all loved the meandering boat ride in the canal discovering new wonders around each bend: a brightly colored Northern Jacana trying to desperately to distract a caiman lurking in the water from a fuzzy chick hiding in the tall grass; a two-toed sloth, high is a tree, stuffing leaves into his mouth; leaping Jesus Christ lizards, sunning iguanas, soaring great green macaws.
As fun as observing the antics of spider, howler, and capuchin monkeys, our hearts were equally warmed watching a special group of eight children ages 8 to 15 bond immediately and treat each other with affection and respect. I highly recommend Road Scholar intergenerational tours.
A friend who visited Auschwitz recently told me tourists were buzzing about this book. Sadly, it’s a story that never gets old. Man’s inhumanity to man makes headlines daily. Holocaust can never happen again, we tell ourselves, but it can and it is.Read More»
Much to ponder in this compelling work of literary art
The line separating memoir and essay blurs in this book, which serves the reader well. Threaded through the author’s recount of a stressful time in her life, deeper stories exist. When do the stories we have always told ourselves about our lives, loves, and relationships need to be reframed? What are our options when life hands us the lingering illness of an aging mother and caps that with a health crisis of our own? We can stay in place or flee. Solnit does both.Read More»
A Biblical Approach to the 9 Enneagram Types
In Self to Lose, Self to Find, Marilyn Vancil masterfully shares her examination of the Enneagram system in light of Biblical wisdom. Not an easy task. She avoids the pitfalls of detailed explanations by introducing only the basic tenets of the Enneagram personality types to the faith community, charting the types so they are easy to understand. The material is well organized and well written.
We all have variations of some basic personality types. The author invites us to recognize who we are at our best and rejoice in our unique qualities. At the same time, she challenges us to be aware of our behavior patterns when we are not at our best.
Whether we are rejoicing or regretting—living from a place of thankfulness or lapsing into learned behavior that does not serve us and others —self-awareness without judgement is key to a balanced personality. Taking this awareness before God when we read the Bible or pray leads us into an authentic experience.
Most of all, I came to a better understanding of how freeing it is to lose yourself. This book will join the small collection of spiritual classics in my personal library. It’s a keeper.