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Have a Little Kindness

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on November 15, 2016 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (3)

And so, today is World Kindness Day! Wishes here ...that we continue to spread kindness' to those we don't yet know very well or haven't yet met, by looking around the corner, in Raleigh.

I was heart warmed, today, by a member of 2 years, who has only been to visit with us once, due to her health issues. She texted to say "You haven't walked away as so may do , because it's busy world and you haven't lost sight of what it's really about...people. She continued, "To me, every day is a kindness day. I always try to remember that we live busy, sometimes frustrating lives, but it can be done with mindfulness, kindness and grace, no matter the circumstances."

Her situation is a special one, and I ask ladies to consider reaching out as her new friend. She continued, "It's people who make all the difference in my attitude about this situation (to keep going). I've always loved having people in my life to be with, and enjoy their company. Without people, there is nothing."

"I've always been an active person, running, skiing, aerobics, boating, tennis and it's all been taken away...it came to a screeching halt. Here I am in Raleigh where my grandchildren are, and trying to start a new life at 63. Easier said than done, since I cannot do a lot of things I used to do."

Her words of affirmed hope and desire to grow gracefully through her trials make me want to cry tears for this fine lady. I believe she would like to gain some support.

So, if you've managed to read this , I would hope one + gals would step up to email her . Simply text me for her email address that I will gladly share. A new friend may be born amongst us. Imagine that!

And on this day, I am wanting you to know that I am truly thankful for kindnesses and support that has been shown to me, as I try to return the favor and grow older gracefully.

Random Acts of Kindness

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on November 13, 2015 at 12:00 PM Comments comments (0)

 

Here are some kindness ideas from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation:

 

Make a new friend today: Introduce yourself to a stranger and strike up a conversation. Perhaps if there is someone you've seen occasionally on the bus or in the neighborhood, ask them how they're doing.

 

Mentor a child or teen: Volunteering just a few hours a month with a child can start something amazing.

 

Pay the tab for the person behind you: It’s not something I’m likely to ever forget. These small kindnesses go a long way.

 

Write a letter to someone who made a difference in your life: With the internet today there are so many ways to find that person in your past so you can say “thank you, you made a difference to me.”

 

Listen: Sometimes the best thing you can do is to stop and really listen to the people around you.

 

Feed a meter: The change in your pocket could make this day a little brighter for a random stranger.

 

Cook a meal for someone: We all have friends, family and neighbors going through a hard or busy time in their life. Cook a little extra tonight.

 

Donate: Give a dollar when you’re asked in the checkout line, stop by your local blood bank, take some clothes to your local shelter, food to the food bank

 

Practice a random act of kindness today.

 

The Aging Puzzle

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on November 7, 2015 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)


It appears to me that with the knowledge and wisdom we have gained by gracing ourselves on this planet, we are approaching an aging experience much like working a puzzle. Ultimately, no one can tell how the pieces will fit together, although each component is part of a meaningful whole. In order to grow gracefully, we simply need to keep working at putting it all together as best we can.

So, how should we gracefully make some adjustments as we let go of our appearances, independence and abilities? At the same time, how shall we come to grips and embrace aging with open arms, as we celebrate and  shae our wisdom and expertise along with our newfound abilities to spring forth and celebrate retiredliving.   

I'd like to toss out a few thoughts, about this aging experience and the ultimate finality of life, although I’m still trying to get from point A to point B! 

I believe it's critical to stay involved in life , so  life will continue to have meaning and purpose. I am finding our WGOG woemn sensing this new call to rejoin life more meaningfully. Websites, groups, intentional communities, books, and the elder movement are blossoming everywhere. The Women Growing Older Gracefully events and Face Book pages have brought many fruitful connections to this community.  These gal pals are often committed r to support each other gracefully, with undying respect.

Being alone, isolated, pondering while worrying about what might happen and not doing anything about it doesn’t make any sense to me.Unfortunately, many older persons are guilty of this behavior.Our culture has made it pretty clear that seniors have not too much to offer, although this stereotype seems to be changing.

Embracing one’s age involves opening our hearts and expressing a love to friends and those in our community, as they may also be going through changes in their lives. Holding onto the prospect of aging is not about being heroic; it’s about being authentic and connecting well with others. We elders each have much to give and can discover endless opportunities to share, because holding back seems criminal.

Perhaps I would do well to develop a more spiritual or philosophical approach, an intuitive sense of the meaning and purpose of aging and death. At best, I believe it quite important to take the time to trust one's own self and not become too quick to judge the aging self. Perhaps it's best to go with one's own knowing and experience about the talents and strengths we've brought into this world. Better yet, I turn to female friends I have made which have grown to nurture me through some hard times. Hopes fears and my needs as an older person seem easier to accept as part of this new adjustment, when shared with people who deeply care .

This time let it be soul work that we attempt ,but not as the young everyday working woman would do. This time, let those dreams and hopes flow from within, to energize a new way to give meaning and purpose to this amazing new stage of life, as we embrace our age with joy.


 

 

 

 



 


Get Motivated!

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on October 3, 2015 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Oh. What about that donut or sweet roll that’s calling my name or must I opt to order the boring and hard to chew salad that’s being offered at the deli? Is my ever widening belly ever going to slim down to a relatively trim size?

Shall I stay at home to watch the football game on TV or make that date with friends to play tennis and get some real exercise? Temptation sets in and I lack the willingness and willpower to do the right thing.

The APA’s Stress in America survey revealed that fewer than one in five adults report being successful making health related improvements, and that not having enough willpower was the top reason people were cited. I guess I’d better start by writing down weight watching goals, record what I eat on a meal by meal basis, and create a portion control system.

And occasional slip ups are allowable, aren’t they? If that’s the case, I’ve done well for myself. Sure. It’s easy to tout the virtues of being healthy and let everyone else know what they should be doing. In the meantime, it appears there hasn’t been a large enough motivation for me to change some of those bad eating habits. In addition to lacking motivation, I’ve also been told that a greater vision and commitment is needed.

Perhaps I should visualize myself at the age of 21, at fifty pounds less than I am now! Actually, I don’t want to look like Twiggy, but losing half as much weight would be a fine place to begin. Taking baby steps and giving kudo’s for doing the right thing are allowable.

I must remember to monitor my behavior and not let a slip up take me off the beaten track, by recommitting each day to the diet plan and seeking support from others who can help.

If I slip up, I must remember to not give up!

 

Embrace Your Niceness...

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on June 15, 2015 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

 

I have some lovely female friends who would probably give me the shirt off their backs if I asked them to. It’s a wonderful feeling to know this, yet I find myself warning them against being too nice ; that they need to pull back and not appear as a ‘pushover’ to their friends and family.

 

Much of the time, I sometimes feel that they’re being “too nice” about easily enabling others.

I must warn my friends of successful strategies, making sure they don’t burn out or become push-over’s. It’s all about the use of healthy boundaries for when, how and whom they help, and protecting their energy more carefully, focusing on what will have the greatest impact. I’ve also found that  it hwlpa by using empathy to open doors that meet others’ needs, without sacrificing their own. Then, they muat learn to advocate for others by employing a win-win strategy. They will also need to remember to keep their own interests at bay.

 

On the one hand, the concept of givers, takers and matchers actually allows givers the advantage of creating a flow with the support they offer others. While doing this, givers often widen their sphere of friendships and create ‘good karma’, with its tendency to cycle back.

Sharing and giving with others shows strength.  I ask my friends to do a little victory dance by embracing their authentic “niceness” as I also let them know that their way is the kind and right way to be.


Tools with Heart hosts classes for seniors ,in Women Growing Older Gracefully group workshops.  We redefine the aging process to challenge traditional approaches to aging and host discussions by asking seniors to create wiser choices about their wellness. We introduce important tools for improving the quality of life,  becoming more optimistic and motivated.  

A Tribute to My Father

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on June 15, 2015 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Father’s Day is a special holiday for me for many reasons.

 

Although my dad passed 15 years ago, his decision to adopt me as his first child will always be embroidered upon my heart. Knowing I was always loved and supported by my dad has meant a great deal to me.

 

My father was an elementary school principal for 43 years, and although he was always busy at work, he adored his five children. Problems were recognized and solved at the dinner table, with an overall feeling of  spontaneity and fun. Each of the kids were allowed to express what they believed; their feelings, thoughts, desires and fantasies, as we were made to understand it was OK to be different from each other.

 

Dad grew up in the depression, and was not a stranger to making sacrifices or being economical. He will always have a major influence upon my point of view about life; although I could do or be anyone I wanted to, it would take some real effort on my part

 

From self-esteem, to confidence, to being a role model, my dad was always there to listen, smile and would reply with a comment about the bright side, especially when I messed up. Mistakes were forgiven and recognized as a chance to learn.

Maybe my father wasn’t perfect, nor were we as his children. But he was the best dad I ever had!

I hope everyone gets a chance to spend time and honor their father's this year.

 

 

Who is Growing Older With Grace?

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on May 31, 2015 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

 

Whether seniors want to develop healthier eating habits, become more physically active or learn to enjoy easier living with chronic health conditions, we’ve got a workshop that can make a difference.

Our Growing Older Gracefully sessions help redefine the aging process and challenge traditional approaches as we ask seniors to make wise choices about their wellbeing. Our workshops uncover several tools and tricks to help guide and enhance their quality of life and offer tips for enjoying a healthier one.

One hour workshops are designed to address nutritional needs, physical and mental health fitness, lifestyle management, coping skills and relaxation tools. We intend to help monitor and incorporate an individual health and vitality plan.

Some of our programs are practically free, while others are offered to women’s clubs and organizations at a reasonable cost.

Given our proven approach to senior renewal and revitalization, we look forward to serving your seniors with the admiration, respect and dignity that they truly deserve.

You may review our workshops and other information at womengrowingoldergracefully.com

 

 

Media Technology for Youngsters from a Grandparent's Perspective

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on May 7, 2015 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (1)

As I sit in a café in downtown Raleigh, sipping on some coffee and knitting a baby sweater, thoughts begin to wander about my grandchildren and the future of technological media advances and its effects upon their education. I laugh inwardly, recalling that my granddaughter actually called me on my daughter’s IPhone at age 10 months and at 15 mos was able to turn off her dad’s program on his ipad and change it to Baby Einstein.

I wonder if by familiarizing them can actually teach new skills to children less than two or three years old or whether one on one parenting and companionship are a better course of action to pursue. My daughter is torn between the dos and don’ts of media management for her toddler.


Speaking as a two year old, I would much rather have my mom read a story to me and point to the characters and objects, as I speak baby talk and get her response. Instead of looking at a video online, I would much prefer dragging out and rattling pots and pans from under the sink, trying to fit them into each other. Or, get shoes out the closet and try them on to see which ones match. So much better than the substitute teacher on screen, mom might even decide to take me for a nature walk. There, I could actually touch and smell flowers or stomp in a puddle or feel cool drops of water from a nearby fountain.


I don’t believe that children need to be constantly bombarded with visual stimuli nor do they need to be occupied with passive watching. For a small child, it is only natural to be drawn to the exciting colors and sounds coming out of a box. Parents can easily deduce that children want to watch a video although it’s merely an entrapment.


This so called ‘biological imperative’ is part of the human survival mechanism, where we are naturally drawn to moving images and to fluctuating contrasts on the screen. Not only will they become less active, but miss spending real time with family in the next room. Later, when the child gets about three years of age, it would mean something as they learn how to use rules, gain increased eye and hand coordination, acquire computer strategy in games and puzzles and pick up on math skills.


This age of technology can be somewhat difficult as an older person, to understand and measure the significance of using media technology with toddlers. Studies have been somewhat contradictory, although the general consensus leans to better outcomes with children over three.


Nevertheless, when establishing goals for electronic media use, the AAP recommends no more than 2 hours per day of any combination of high quality screen time for children under two. Nevertheless, I prefer to believe as an old fashioned grandparent would, by reminding us that the best teacher is with a one to one mother child relationship. As the old saying goes, “What you say will speak to your child. What you do will scream to them”.


Perhaps one would do best to err on the side of moderation.

 

 

Empty Nester's Embrace the Newness

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on April 25, 2015 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Now that the kids are gone, I could be faced with feelings of loss and the possibility that my life is empty. But that's not really the case.  However, this feeling was once real and took some time to overcome. Given a few hints and prods by friends. new discoveries have been mustered up. I must now think about myself instead of the children that are gone, and find some treats, like getting a newly styled haircut and pedicure and reviewing my wardrobe for it's sprinkling of color.


The cupboards all need cleaning, right? And there's that lovely yard that needs to be mown and raked, right?  I keep putting of taking that new class that I've been thinking of, so this  would be a great time to sign up, right? Oh, and there's that gourmet cooking claass that my friend wants me to join, and the room that I was going to redecorate and paint. Oh, and the knit scarf pattern awaits my attention, as I found it on the floor only a few days ago. 


My my my! I can't forget to go to the volunteer session this week at the NC Museum of  Science, nor the date my gal pals have made  for the birthday blast. Of course, it's always nice to sit at the computer for hours and write blogs, newsletters and more workshops for this little business,   just to try and stay on top of things. Ah... the book club meets tomorrow and I must inish that novel!


After all, I'm onto a new and exciting chapter , one in which our children would be, hopefully, as proud of me as I am of them. 


So, won't you follow along with your dreams and come with me to embrace your newness?


Being Older

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on April 19, 2015 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

It’s absolutely brilliant to come to the realization that getting older isn’t as appalling as people make it out to be. Being much more mature than ever before, and enjoying retirement, has turned out to be a step up from those earlier life stages. Now, contentment and confidence have become good friends of mine.


There seems to be an epidemic of women who worry about their future. At least half of them seem to be unsure of what the aging process will bring or we often believe we must stay young in order to be loveable.


I can wear comfortable clothes without needing to show off the latest style and not trot about in painful high heels, worried that my pantyhose is twisted and my purse doesn’t match the outfit. Being older brings a good measure of gracefulness without having to ‘fit in’ with anybody.


Instead, those comfortable life clothes do not present a ‘situation’ in the midst of under dressing, nor do I get alarmed about what others think of my wardrobe. A real pleasure.


It has always been essential for me to be happy, and as I age, I’m also comfortable in my own skin. What is different, now, is an increased ability to deal with those crises, those feelings, and the inevitable changes they bring to our daily lives.


Then there’s the opportunity to come and go as I please. I don’t have to out race anyone, nor do I suffer from road rage. Instead, I can ‘pinch the peaches’ at my leisure and not worry about trying to beat the clock.


Life is simply too short to argue, as one begins to realize that skirmishes with others need not turn into a full scathed out war. And when we hide our feelings, we are lying to ourselves and to each other. It's important to be honest about what we are feeling. All one needs to do is ask if you’d rather be right or happy. I’ll go for the latter.


Statistics report walking as one of the best exercises. Youth can suffer the marathons, the lifting of weights and traction machines. A 30-40 minute daily rendezvous outside suits me just fine. I think kthey call it 'smelling the roses'. And then, there’s nothing better than to curl up and read a good book; maybe take a short snooze once in awhile.


I’ve learned, over the years, that you don’t have to be good at everything. But, with a kind of 'good gratitude' feeling for everything, you live in a wonderful world., because it is experienced as living in joy. It allows a person to become less materialistic, more optimistic, with happier memories  and an increase in friendships.


Life can be as exciting as you want it to be! Growing older does not present a problem for me.

Our Growing Older with Grace sessions help redefine aging and challenge traditional approaches to ask seniors about making wise choices and  determine ways to continue to lead productive, gratifying lives. One hour workshops are designed to address nutrition, physical and mental fitness, community links, lifelong learning, health and spirituality, social relationships, leisure time, recreations skills, and self-empowerment.

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