Memorial Day thoughts

MH900399612I planned to write a brand new post for today, but then I started reading my earlier posts around Memorial Day and decided to offer a blend from the past. One of my favorite posts, is from May 28, 2010. It was about the life of a woman I never met, Vera Jane Clapper-Richter, but whose obituary inspired me. 

In 2011, my post began . . . “A lot has happened since I wrote about Vera Jane. Most important and touching of all, was being asked to and then writing my Dad’s obituary in 2011. Who knew that was ahead?”

And continued with the following, all of which still applies . . .

“But that’s the thing about life, we truly never know what’s ahead for us. There are so many experiences out there for us. I think the words I wrote just over a year ago ring even truer 367 days later. Here’s an excerpt from that post.

‘The reason I am bringing this up now, is summer is on our doorstep. I know it doesn’t officially begin for almost a month, but when I was growing-up Memorial Day signaled the beginning of summer, and I think summer is a great time to begin fully living the life I want.

This summer I will watch the moon rise and set from a mountain or a rooftop without interruption, or at least from my backyard with a really good friend. I will also watch the sun rise and set at least two days in a row, and I will run through a sprinkler.

I will sleep on a front porch or a patio, in a tent or on a beach, and with the windows open more often. (Yes, I know, I live in Florida, it will be hot and sticky, and I will sweat and the bugs will bite – but who cares, I will have more stories to tell and the teeny-tiny scars to prove them.)

I will spread more blankets out in the grass, and spend more time looking up at the trees, day dreaming and listening to the thoughts and wisdom of people under the age of 7.Patrice Koerper  Life Coach Wishful Thinking Summer Fun 1

I will ponder theories large and small – relativity, the chicken or the egg – without worrying about the answers.

I will be kinder and gentler; listen more and speak less; give more hugs, and send more hand-written notes. I will give people what they want, not what I think they need.

I will read more books, light more candles, and sing out-loud more often.

If you are in the mood to join me, please do. Summer is a great time to be a bit more courageous about being us.

This weekend, find your sleeping bag, or your bike, or your racquet or your glove, or your paint brushes and easel, or the book you have been meaning to read or paper and pencil to begin the one you have been meaning to write.

Open an ice-cold beer or bottle of Coke, pour yourself a tall glass of Sangria or lemonade, sip it slowly or with gusto, and then get started on the rest of your life.

Do what you think Jane might do. Or better yet, what you would do, if no one was watching, or if they were and you didn’t mind – not one little bit, which come to think of it, might be exactly how Vera Jane Clapper-Richter lived.'”

And, in honor of the true meaning of Memorial Day, in 2012 I posted . . .

mp900178942“Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day began after the Civil War to commemorate the Union soldiers, who had died. After World War I, Memorial Day evolved into a special way to honor all the men and women, who died while serving in the armed forces and to show support for the sacrifices of their families.

Today, my thoughts are with all who are currently serving, have family or friends who are serving, or who have served in the past.

My sincerest condolences to those of you, who have lost a loved one while he or she was serving our country. Your contributions and losses are in our hearts and minds this Memorial Day.”

Which brings me to Memorial Day 2013; my thoughts are still with the courage and commitment of all who have served or are serving in the armed forces. Special thoughts for each of them and their families.

Since the summer of 2010, I’ve spent time doing many of the things I mentioned above, but having fun, and finding flow and fulfillment is an ongoing process, so I will renew my efforts this summer to find new ways and to revive old ones that blend the carefree moments of childhood with the rich and satisfying experience of flourishing Permanently in adulthood. 

To welcome the summer of 2013, I’m visiting friends this weekend in the Fort Myers, Florida area and I’m heading out the door – right now – to visit one of my favorite nearby places – photo to follow! I hope your summer is off to a great start, too.

Today is my birthday!

I love birthdays! The fun never fades, because each year I’ve been lucky enough to share my birthdays with my fabulous family and friends here, there, and everywhere.

My birthday wish for each of you is that you take the time to celebrate who you are. You are a unique combination of strengths that when discovered and used, can help you create a happy, fulfilling, and exciting life. 

My birthday gift for you will change your life, if you let it! Visit the www.viacharacter.org to take your free VIA Character Strength survey, don’t wait a minute longer to begin celebrating the real you!

And, as a special gift, the first 5 people who email me at wishfulthinkingworks@gmail.com will receive a free 1 hour personal Strengths Coaching session in June!

Have a great day!

Are we there yet?

Patrice Koerper  Life Coach Wishful Thinking Works Are we there yetI love airports! My heart goes pitter-patter when I know a trip to an airport is part of my travel plans.

I know I’m in the minority on this, but I can’t wait to join the hustle and bustle and become part of the broad mix of people milling about at an airport – the intense, brief-cased business travelers clutching their laptops and cellphones or running to catch a flight, the laid back 20-somethings draped over the seats waiting for whatever’s next, and the elderly couples reading quietly with coordinated carry-ons at their feet.

Patrice Koerper  Life Coach Wishful Thinking Works Are we there yet1I don’t mind waiting in security lines – considering the alternative possibility; I even enjoy the odd sense of camaraderie sliding off my shoes in the company of strangers brings (most folks are super nice at that point). I love watching families and friends reconnecting, and love savoring the nostalgic feelings evoked watching little ones drag blankets, tattered toys, and their parents from concourse to concourse.

To me, flight delays are a door to adventure, especially in international airports. Seven-hour delay in Zürich – no problem – there’s chocolate everywhere; nine hours in Istanbul is like diving into a sea of humanity and well worth the plunge; hanging out in Milan makes me feel trendy and cosmopolitan; Skopje, Macedonia leaves me wanting more, and Amsterdam is loaded with tulips and cheese! Stateside, Lexington, Kentucky is sweet and soft like the bluegrass surrounding it, Philadelphia is the perfect place for an ice cold beer, Cleveland is the gateway to family and friends, and the Tampa trams in my hometown make my coming and goings a breeze.

I’m a pretty good flier. I’ve learned to carry my favorite snacks, gum, and Chapstick, a book that I’ve previewed so I’m guaranteed a good read, and a notebook for jotting down my thoughts or planning a project – but I still over pack and I’m a sucker for those SkyMall catalogs. Who thinks of that stuff, and why is it easier to convince me at thirty thousand feet than on the ground that having a “Big Bang Theory Singing Plush” toy singing Sheldon’s favorite “Soft Kitty” song will enhance my life or that of one of my friends?

A Family AfarOn the upside of free, in-flight reading, I usually learn something new from airline magazines, and sometimes even find an article worth dragging the entire magazine along with me to my final destination. In fact, I just reread my favorite in-flight magazine article ever, “A Family Afar” in the May issue of Hemispheres, United’s in-flight magazine. I found myself LOL at the humorous trials and tribulations of family vacations shared by readers, which quickly brought to mind the wonderfully chaotic family car trips of my youth with at least 4 of my 8 siblings in tow: The fun of yelling “shotgun” as we stepped out of the front door onto the porch (everyone knows you have to be outside to make it stick), getting to sit in the “way back”, and arguing over backseat window placement – car sickness had its privileges.

Reading the article revived even sweeter memories of my now grown sons using their beloved Fisher Price tape recorder in the backseat of our car on a trip to the Eastern Shore to record very detailed potty talk. Somehow we missed hearing their lively opinions on the subject until years later when we discovered the tape and the joy of their sweet little voices, hysterical laughter, and preoccupation with personal hygiene was more touching than troublesome. And, yes I still have it somewhere! MB900174022

The article also included the fun family travel stats listed below; I thought they might bring a smile to your face, send you on a trip down memory lane, or at least prepare you for what might lie ahead this summer . . .

FAMILY TRAVEL BY THE NUMBERS

“Each year at least 5 million U.S. family vacations include representatives from three generations.

Parents traveling with children make up approximately 30 percent of U.S. adult leisure travelers.

Grandparents traveling with grandchildren represent 7 percent of U.S. adult leisure travelers.

Family travelers take an average of 4.5 trips each year (with grand­parents often footing the bill).

65 percent of Americans who have been on family trips describe the experience as relaxing.

24 percent of Americans say they usually need a vacation after they return from a family trip.”

And, my favorite, “Children ages 6 and younger ask “Are we there yet?” an average of 13 times during a one-week vacation.”

Get your summer off to a memorable start, by calling your parents (they might pay); packing the car or buying some tickets. Then schedule a second vacation to recover from the first, and don’t forget to set the electronic device of your choice to “record” for your kids. You never know, it just might reduce the numbers of “Are we there yet?”, and is sure to give you something to smile about in the future. And, after all isn’t that what family vacations are all about?

What are your favorite family vacation stories and memories?  We’d love to hear them. What was your best trip? Reliving the fun is a great way to start the week.

Wishful Thinking Works post #319 and counting . . .

167255_10150089374767695_7386712_nPatrice Koerper is a life coach, consultant and blogger @ Wishful Thinking Works,

who believes everyday should feel a little bit like summer vacation! 

The perfect one-liner

Other Wishful Thinking Works posts you might enjoy . . .

Remembering friends real and otherwise

Where are you sitting on the tree of life?

Active, Constructive

For Wishful Thinking Works services that can enrich your life, click here.

“Caregivers Choose Hope”

Hand Patrice Koerper Life Coach Wishful Thinking WorksToday’s post, “Caregivers Choose Hope” was written by my amazing friend Melissa, who lost her husband to cancer a number of years ago. The words are hers, their intent is universal – hope and help are the key to dealing with many life situations. Melissa wrote them as part of her activities for this past Friday’s Relay for Life in Fort Myers, Florida

It is truly my honor to be able to share them with you. (Please note the photo in this post is not the one Melissa used, I didn’t have hers, but thought this one shared her kind and caring ways.)  

“For the Relay event, I have put together a handout. The tips are printed on purple paper and each one has a second page attached. It is a large hand print outline. With each packet there is a small ribbon magnet that says ‘Caregivers Choose Hope’.

The purpose of the hand print is for someone to write on the hand something they will do for a caregiver. They can then present the packet to the person. Or, a caregiver may take the packet and write something they NEED for someone to do. They can acknowledge it is okay to ask for help. Then taking the next step, they can share their need with whomever they are comfortable.

Caregiver Support Tips

As a Caregiver you may find yourself facing new responsibilities; many of which are unfamiliar or intimidating. You may feel overwhelmed and alone. But despite its challenges, care giving can also be rewarding. And, there are a lot of things you can do to make the care giving process easier for both you and your loved one. These tips can help you get the support you need while caring for someone you love.

Tip 1: Accept your feelings

Care giving can trigger many difficult emotions, including anger, fear, resentment, guilt, helplessness, and grief. It’s important to acknowledge and accept what you’re feeling. Don’t beat yourself up over your doubts. These feelings don’t mean that you don’t love your family member—they simply mean you’re human. In order to deal with your feelings, it’s important to talk about them. Find at least one person you trust to confide in.

Tip 2: Don’t try to do it all – Ask for and accept help

Even if you’re the primary family caregiver, you can’t do everything on your own. You’ll need help from friends, siblings, and other family members, as well as health professionals. If you don’t get the support you need, you’ll quickly burn out—which will compromise your ability to provide care.

Take some time to list all the care giving tasks required. Then determine which activities you are able to meet (be realistic about your capabilities and time). The remaining tasks on the list are ones you’ll need to ask others to help you with.

Tip 3:  Take care of your own needs

While you’re caring for your loved one, don’t forget about your own needs. Caregivers need care too.

  • Find something to laugh about everyday.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Keep a journal to express feelings; give yourself permission to cry.
  • Take a break everyday.
  • Listen to music or utilize other relaxation techniques.
  • Watch for signs of depression and keep regular checkups with your own doctor.

Tip 4: Take advantage of community services

Find Caregiver services in your community, utilize family member affiliations; churches, temples, fraternal organizations.

Tip 5:  Balance work and care giving

  • Learn your company’s policies (talk to your company’s Human Resources department).
  • Know your rights (Family & Medical Leave Act).
  • Talk to your manager.
  • Inquire about flex time. (Ask about the possibility of working from home once or twice a week so you can also perform your care giving duties.)
  • Say thank you to coworkers.”

Special thanks to Melissa and to her family and friends for sharing and caring in so many wonderful ways.

Remembering friends real and otherwise

Patrice Koerper  Life Coach Wishful Thinking Works Reading Characters

Have you ever read a book where the characters were so real that you missed them when their story ended? Or, found yourself thinking about them days after you’ve closed the book on their lives?

I love that feeling. It’s warm and fuzzy, and a lot like a good friendship.

Why not take a moment this week to let your real friends know how much they mean to you? Send a special FB message, write a short email, send a card, or pick-up the phone. It will only take a minute or two, and will no doubt make their day and yours. Positive psychology research shows that maintaining relationships is an important part of a happy life. In a variety of studies close, confiding relationships were correlated with happiness and well-being.

Friendships matters. People feel better and do better when they have at least a few people in their lives they can trust and confide in. Sounds elementary, but the truth is, many folks are walking around the playground of life without anyone to play with, and they’re not as happy as they could be!

If you want to do a bit more to show someone in your life how much you appreciate them, consider writing them a gratitude letter. It’s free, doctor-tested (Ph. D. Docs, that is), and taught in positive psychology classes at universities around the world! I’ve adapted this practice a bit for Mother’s Day and will be sending a dear friend’s Mom a note thanking her for raising such a wonderful daughter. Last year I received a sweet FB message from a friend wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day and sharing what a good Mom she thought I was; I will never forget her kindness or her thoughts. Get creative and enhance your relationships!

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy some great summer reads. I recently finished Sherri Coner’s “Forever the Willows”  – it’s all about friendships, and I’m still missing Jen, Babby, Ivy and Bizzie!

Other Wishful Thinking Works posts you might enjoy . . .

Building a solid support system

Active, Constructive

Gratitude, happiness, a road trip and a wedding

For Wishful Thinking Works services that can enrich your life, click here.

Where are you sitting on the tree of life?

Patrice Koerper  Life Coach Wishful Thinking Blob Tree Pip Wilson

Where are you sitting on the tree of life?


Where do you want to be?


You can do it.


Don’t give up!


Other Wishful Thinking Works posts you might enjoy . . .

The Lollipop Effect

The Light Side of Life

Happy, Sad, Glad, Mad

For Wishful Thinking Works services that can help you change your life, click here.

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