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.

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! 

Summertime and the living is easy . . .

I am mesmerized with summer this year.

I forgot how much I love it.

Maybe it is being back in Florida, this is my first summer here in three years. 

I had forgotten all the luscious, tropical beauty, the scents, the flowers, the rain, the steamy hot days and the ever-so-slightly cooler nights.  June weather in Florida is like August weather in northern Ohio where I grew-up, a relentless stream of heat and humidity with scattered moments of sweet breezes and cloud-covered skies.

Maybe it is because I was back home in Ohio this year as spring was breaking and floods of warm memories came with the showers. 

Memories of long lazy days, when my biggest decision was: Do I play ball or Barbie, build a fort or read a book?

My family hosted lots of summer parties, we had a huge, wooded backyard and my parents were fond of having cookouts for my Mom’s 13 siblings and their families,  my parents’ friends and the neighbors.  While the grown-ups relaxed, my cousins, sisters, brothers and I could do pretty much whatever we wanted.  I remember unlimited supplies of little glass bottles of pop and hot dogs and marshmallows on sticks – heaven to a seven-year old.

Kid summers grew into even lazier teenage summers.  We spent a lot of our early teen years babysitting to save-up money so we could stroll around in really short, shorts or cut-offs, trying to look cool eating cotton candy and candy apples after screaming our way through rides with our friends.  Sad, but true, some years that was as good as it got, and we thought that was great! 

In our later teens, we used to sunbathe on the roof of our house – removed as much as possible from our younger siblings and the world – listening to our battery-powered radios, covered in baby oil and iodine – hard to write that without laughing and feeling the need to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist, but, hey, we were stranded in suburbia, the roof seemed exciting and all the magazines suggested the tanning benefits of that particular combination.

My teen years gave way to great adult summers.  I will never forget one particularly wonderful summer when my sons were still  pre-schoolers, my neighbor’s pool was our daytime hang-out and my nights were filled with running sales and accounting reports at a company I loved.  Really was the perfect summer – lots of easy, fun, lazy time with my sons and friend and work I enjoyed.

Whatever the reasons, this summer seems sweeter than ever, and I am going to savor every sunny, sweaty, and sticky minute of it.

Hope yours is off to a great start, that moments are being enjoyed and memories are being made.

Do you have a favorite summertime memory you would like to share?  If so, we would love to hear it.

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