Flashback: Sink, swim, or hold on!

Flashback: Sink, swim, or hold on!

Dear readers: This flashback feature originally appeared on Grandma’s Briefs March 4, 2010. Update: I’m still holding on “with a steel-plated grip because I have no other option.” How about you? Thank you for reading my rerun.

Back in the '80s, before the real estate market crash that marked the end of that decade, I worked for a mortgage company. Business was good, and we were rewarded well by the company's owner.

One of the bigger rewards we once received was a day offwork ... and on the owner's boat. On a day we should be processing loans, the entire office (it was a small office) would get to don bathing suits and hang out at the reservoir, on a boat, sipping beer in the sunshine.

I didn't want to go. I really did not want to go.

I didn't want to go because despite having been born in Minnesota…

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Inspiration for 2019! Plus, GRAND Social No. 333 link party for grandparents

Inspiration for 2019! Plus, GRAND Social No. 333 link party for grandparents

Inspiration for 2019!

Each time the new year rolls around, I feel compelled to create a list of resolutions for the upcoming year. Or to choose a word by which my motivations for the next twelve months will be guided. I admire folks who manage to settle on such things, yet regardless of how deeply feel I should do one or the other, I do neither.

I prefer instead to simply find inspiration which supports my own personal mission that has guided me for most of my adult life. A statement I settled on many years ago when I was…

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Letting go plus GRAND Social No. 322 link party for grandparents

Letting go plus GRAND Social No. 322 link party for grandparents

Letting go

I saw this sentiment on Instagram Sunday and was immediately smitten. It’s bold and brief (my favorite sort of inspiration) and gorgeously displays the grandeur of fall (my favorite season).

It’s a lovely reminder of the need to let go. And I have a lot of letting go to do.

Much of what I need to let go is related to…

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Flashback: Everyday inspiration

Flashback: Everyday inspiration

I'm not a world-traveler who finds inspiration in ancient ruins, artful masterpieces, or in architectural—or natural—wonders.

I'm also not one of the fortunate few privileged to find inspiration in luculent discourse with the likes of Maya Angelou or other great orators of our time. (Although I have heard in person the likes of Kurt Vonnegut. And David Sedaris. More than once.)

No, I don't get my inspiration from such high-brow—and high-cost—pleasures. Yet.

Instead, I find inspiration—the impetus to be bigger, better, and more than I am—in everyday things. Things such as…

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Grandmas can change the world! Plus, GRAND Social No. 295 link party for grandparents

Grandmas can change the world! Plus, GRAND Social No. 295 link party for grandparents

How grandmas can change the world!

Maria Shriver publishes a weekly newsletter, The Sunday Paper, that's chock-full of positive information and inspiration. I was once a diehard reader of the print Sunday local newspaper but nowadays The Sunday Paper is the one and only newspaper I peruse, nay, devour on Sundays. 

In yesterday's The Sunday Paper was a quote that especially resonated with me, as I think it...

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Hope for hope! Plus GRAND Social No. 254 link party for grandparents

Hope for hope!!

I'm a fan of TED Talks, the easy-to-access messages of motivation and inspiration. This past week, a special TED Talk made waves across social media. It was a talk by Pope Francis for TED2017, recorded in Vatican City.

Although I'm not Catholic (I'm Lutheran) and I don't really follow much on the Pope, from what I've seen and heard, I do think he's a good man. And I do believe this particular message — on hope, personal responsibility, tenderness and more — would benefit each and every one of us now and for generations going forward if we took his message to heart, if we put the sentiments into action.

If you haven't seen Pope Francis' powerful TED Talk, here it is:


A few of my fave quotes...

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7 solaces in my sucky, stress-filled season

hope versus despair

My husband was laid off at the end of September. Again. It's been less than a year since we were in the same boat. Once again, we're worrying about paying for PLUS loans, prescriptions, and more. All because "the company chose to go in a different direction with the department."

Such circumstances stink. Even more so when additional stinky stuff was packed into the months between Jim's layoff last year and this year's job loss.

What stuff? you may wonder. Well, soon after my husband found a new job last fall — yeah, the job he just lost — one of my dogs was diagnosed with...

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Thoughts from Elizabeth Gilbert, plus GRAND Social No. 138 link party for grandparents

Thoughts from Elizabeth Gilbert

As the new year is still new, I wanted to share with you some fabulous thoughts from author Elizabeth Gilbert, words of wisdom — and an accompanying graphic — that Ms. Gilbert published on her Facebook page as dawn broke on 2015:



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What made me smile, er, cry this week

Happy Friday!things that make me smile

Other than seeing via FaceTime Bubby's pride and joy at losing his first tooth and learning from the editor (in another phone call with her!) that my picture book manuscript is still under serious consideration for publication at a fabulous publishing house, the video below is what most made me smile this week. After those first two things, of course.

More accurately, the following video made me...

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Care for yourself: 16 ways grandparents should follow their own advice

We grandparents regularly show love and encouragement to our grandchildren. Yet how often do we turn that steady flow of love and encouragement on ourselves? If you're like me, not often.

Time for that to change.

Following are sixteen ways to nurture and care for yourself in ways you likely encourage your grandchildren to care for and about their selves.

boy walking dog

(15 more follow...)
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2014... In color and in word

The company Pantone is the authority on color, and every year Pantone chooses a Color of the Year.

For many years now, I've been intrigued by the winning hues. Because I'm not hip or up on color or fashion in any sense of the word, I think it's possibly the words themselves — some of the names given the color of the year — that most make me smile.

Pantone Color of the Year 2014

In years past there's been...

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To my 20-year-old self

I'm fortunate to be part of a Facebook group of midlife women bloggers, called GenFab (Generation Fabulous). This week we have our first blog hop, posting on "What would you tell your 20-year-old self?" Here is my response, followed by links to the moving posts from my GenFab friends.

Dear 20-year-old Lisa,

You became a mom when still just a child yourself. As you suspect, the age at which you have your three precious daughters (yep, that babe in your belly right now is a girl, too) will affect everything you do and are throughout your life.

That can be a good thing, though—if you allow it.

In hopes you will indeed allow it, I have some advice for you. Despite you being stubborn in ways many have yet to realize, I do hope you'll take my advice to heart, act on it.

My advice is this:

Stop being so scared. You're scared about what's to come, what people think of you, what your girls—hell, what you—will grow up to do and be. You're scared of the other, older moms who seem to know and have and be so much more than you. You're scared of not knowing enough, not having enough, not being enough.

Well knock it off! There's no reason to be scared. Well, there is reason sometimes. But there will soon be an advertising tagline that says, Feel the fear and do it anyway. Do exactly that—always, in all ways.

Question authority. That principal who tells you it's okay to send your barely five-year-old daughter to kindergarten? Question that. That doctor who tells you tubes in a child's ears are a thing of the past? Question that. That same doctor, who tells you your daughter has an infection when it turns out to be a <cuss> hernia? Question that. When you're assured a negative amortization loan is okay, question it. And when an editor rejects your work, question that—then send it to other editors and never. ever. give. up.

Don't take the job. A few years from now, you'll be offered a job by someone you consider worldly and wise. Don't take it. The damage to your self-esteem, marriage and more because of "friends" you make there is so not worth it. Trust me. Yes, your household desperately needs the money, but Just say NO! (another slogan that will soon be a pop culture hit).

Brace yourself. I know you, I know you'll ignore the advice above. So brace yourself. The stress caused by the consequences of that bad choice will wreak havoc on your health in ways that will affect you each and every day for the rest of your life. Seriously. But know this: It's not as bad as doctors first tell you. You will walk again. You will see again. In fact, your neurologist will one day tell you you're a miracle. Trust that doctor. And trust that you will be okay.

Brace yourself, part two. Those little girls you hold in your arms today and the tiny one in your womb? Well, they're going to hate you. They will love you at first, of course. But when they're teens, they will hate you. Or at least think they hate you and make you think they really do. Because you'll be a mean mom and won't allow them to do much of what their friends do. Yet you won't be able to stop the typical teen stuff your girls manage to do anyway. And your disapproval, restrictions, and determination that they respect themselves and their parents—and that they just plain stay alive through the trauma-filled teen years!—will have them screaming, crying, resisting, and swearing they hate you because you are such a mean mom.

Be mean anyway. Regardless of their freakouts and your heartbreak and self doubt, be mean. It's what those girls—what many children—need. One day they will thank you, I swear. In fact, one night 28 years from now, that tiny bundle in your belly, the baby whom you've not yet met, will send you a text (something you'll learn to do decades from now) that says this:

Your baby girl's text—along with similar gratitude from her older sisters, once grown—confirm being mean was one of the most right things you'll do.

Have no doubt, the years ahead will definitely suck at times. But those sucky times will make you stronger, smarter, bring into breathtaking focus the brilliance of the many non-sucky times. Ultimately, you, your marriage (which does last, by the way, despite the challenges, stats, and naysayers), your babies, your eventual grandbabies, your life will turn out far better than you ever imagined.

Even if you don't listen to my advice.

Which I know you won't. Because you've always been far more stubborn than most people realize.

I love you anyway.

~ Your far older and a wee bit wiser self

Today's question:

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Please enjoy the heartfelt posts from my GenFab friends. Warning: Tissue alert for most!