Posts tagged: EndNotes
How will you maximize your retirement funds? Many people are heading across the US borders to foreign lands and calling their destination their retirement home - and enjoying more luxury than they could in the USA.
Where would you go?
(S-R archives photo)
I have not cared for Angelina – given all that she did to mess with Jennifer Aniston’s marriage to Brad. But today…my heart has softened. Her story of facing her high likelihood of breast cancer – genetic certainty – will offer hope to the women who receive their diagnosis today and tomorrow and next week and…
Women make all kinds of difficult decisions when faced with their own mortality in the middle of motherhood. And death at an early age is not an option when parenting sweet children who need and love you – and worry.
In the years to come, Angelina will grow stronger in her conviction she made the right choice, her children will grow in their understanding of what she struggled with and how remarkably brave their mom is…and how much she underwent so she could continue to love them and accompany them on their journey through life. She will not be preoccupied with endless mammograms or freaked out with twinges within her breasts, wondering if it is cancer growing menacingly within her. Those twinges will be of love she carries in her heart, life’s joyful adventures, not agonizing over what may be quickly killing her. And today, I identify with an actress I now see as a woman of courage – the same courage I once needed and found, too.
(S-R archives photo)
Boomers may work longer than their parents for many reasons. But interestingly, perhaps the US economy needs you at work just as much as you need to be working.
A colleague tells me that his retirement simply meant that he was allowed to choose where and when he could work. Of course, he has a very portable career. So, what choices are there for you? Change jobs? Leave fast-paced office for easier work and friendlier environment? Less stress? Take a chance and start that business?
What plans or choices have you made about retirement?
Anna Quindlen’s column on motherhood continues to be the best reflection on the experience of every woman who has raised children. The days are long, the years fly by.
Take a moment and read her words. Then grab your child and go outside and play.
Susan Crandall’s new book reveals what dating after 50 can be like. Men and women are having fun together, savoring romance, discovering true love.
Some of her findings in Thinking about Tomorrow: Reinventing Yourself at Midlife follow:
People are nice — way nice and you see old friends in new ways. Sparks may fly with someone you already dated - when we have lived a few decades into adulthood, perhaps all that experience influences our view of a potential mate.
Puppy love still exists. When friends of ours fell in love - one a widow, the other divorced - we commented, “Oh, they got to fall in love again. How exciting!”
We’re comfortable with our sexuality - we know who we are and are more confident expressing passion.
Nobody sweats the small stuff - life has taught us what is worth getting worked up over and what is simply not worth making a big deal about.
You don’t have to change each other. As anyone who has been married for five minutes knows: the plan to re-model one's mate never works.
Have you dated after 50? What was the experience like for you?
(S-R archives photo)
He was my first professor at graduate school that summer of ‘79 and he taught “Theology and Spirituality” – a broad title for a class taught by a slender man. Kevin Seasoltz, a Benedictine monk, was a contemporary Renaissance man. He spoke without wasting one syllable; every observation was a tightly phrased, perfect comment. He integrated science, literature and theology, applying theory to real-life circumstances. We read six books in six weeks and wrote six papers. I was busy – and attached myself to his every thought.
“The evil of the day is sufficient thereof…” no need to seek suffering in an attempt to prove one’s attention to faith. Life will provide suffering enough. Man, that was an understatement. And on leadership: “to be in a position of authority requires one to “author” life into others;” lead them with grace and humility. “Surround yourself with excellence” and you will succeed in your work and be a better person. Do not be afraid of the giftedness of others – they do not threaten, they bless.
People who touch our lives, even briefly, can have a sustaining presence and impact on us. Kevin may never know how his ideas, comments or advice influenced me - and others - for decades. I still seek people who are smart, wise, compassionate and kind. Kevin was right: I am enriched, not diminished.
Kevin died last week. He enjoys now the magnificence of a new life he often reflected on: “life does not end, it is just different.” May he enjoy the company of angels and saints, friends and family who have gone before him and may the God he served so faithfully, welcome him home.
Many people will say, “God told me…” But how? And how do we authenticate those messages? Are they from God or from our own longings, imagination? How do we tell the difference?
Swimming last week (the pool is my favorite location for intense prayer – laps back and forth create a rhythm without distraction) I was praying and pleading and longing for guidance. As I touched the wall and prepared to turn, I could “hear” with my heart and my head, “Trust me.”
Jesus promised he would send his Spirit, an advocate, who would guide us – perhaps with messages we can hear. For now, I am listening.
Have you ever heard the voice of God?
(S-R archives photo)
…we all scream for gelato? Oh, yeah. As anyone who has tasted the treat will tell you: “It’s sooo much better than ice cream!”
And it is another gift a Florentine (Bernardo Buontalenti credited for inventing gelato) has shared with the rest of the world. While clicking here will not allow you taste this satisfying concoction, you will read about its success – and then perhaps make a quick trip to the store. Buon Appetito!
(S-R archives photo: Gelato Joe's offers many flavors of Italian gelato. The Smiths fell in love with the dessert during a trip to Italy)
We have seen the image often: the raising of the American flag at Iwo Jima. The man who was responsible for that flag raising has died.
The images of historical moments are part of our American story and become even more meaningful when we know the whole story.
(S-R archive photo:Joe Rosenthal won a Pulitzer Prize for this image of six World War II servicemen raising an American flag over battle-scarred Iwo Jima, taken on Feb. 23, 1945. )
If we have advance notice of our approximate time of death (“Mr. Jones, you have stage four cancer…you have perhaps four months left”), how will we choose to spend the time?
A colleague of mine died of cancer and she worked that last year, after diagnosis, until in one day she went from her office to her hospital bed to a few days in that bed where she died.
Many of us watched as she came to work each day, sighing, “If that were me, I’d have my office cleaned out within two hours after the doc delivered the news and spend my savings on…” We each had our own plan.
But many people, like Nora Ephron, choose to continue working as long as they can. Even when I was in the middle of my own cancer treatment, I co-authored a book with Becky and Dan Kendall, a Jesuit priest. It was at that computer where I lost my sense of the looming decisions, the icky consequences of each choice and the physical pain from surgery. When I write, I leave “kronos” time and enter a different place. A nice place where inspiration comes from outside of my own consciousness.
So, perhaps, if one’s death is preceded with advance notice, one can choose to take that precious time and “work” – when work is a place of contentment, satisfaction and joy.
Last night was chaotic and confusing in Massachusetts: One police officer was shot and killed near MIT; scores of law enforcement responded to gun shots, explosions? in Watertown, Mass. Media reported scattered details leading to uncertain conclusions. One detained man was ordered to remove all his clothing before he was put into the police car – in case he had strapped explosives to himself.
We send soldiers overseas when the war has arrived on our own soil.
So much to pray for in a country that feels like it is losing its sense of decency, safety and trust.
(S-R photo: An official stands guard at Massachusetts Institute of Technology following reports of a shooting, Thursday, April 18, 2013, in Boston. State police say a campus police officer at the school has died from injuries in a shooting on the campus outside Boston. )
Often other people say it best…But I will say, our hearts are broken, we pray without ceasing and our American resolve of compassion and generosity will aid Boston in the days to come. Peace.
(S-R archives photo)
He made my parents laugh…and laugh…and laugh. He died and will be remembered by the audiences he entertained as well as the comedians he mentored.
Jonathan Winters was 87 years old when he died Thursday evening at his Montecito, Calif., home of natural causes.
I love Jim Carrey’s comment best: “Jonathan Winters was the worthy custodian of a sparkling and childish comedic genius. He did God's work.”
May his legacy continue to inspire us.
North Korea continues to flex its supposed-nuclear muscle and threaten its neighbor to the south. Whenever I read about such political or social unrest, I ponder the reasons. But when I have traveled to the destination where trouble brews – my heart aches.
In 1978, I traveled to South Korea as an ambassador with Friendship Force. Started by Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, Friendship Force seeks to promote understanding among various cultures around the world through exchange programs of ordinary people.
I was 23 years old and applied with a group from the town where I lived at the time. Ambassadors are chosen to represent a variety of ages and professions. As the youngest person and the only person who worked in a Catholic Church as an educator, I was selected. We paid our fee ($250) for the adventure before we knew where we were going. This sequence encourages people to participate with goodwill in mind, not dream vacation destination plans.
Once accepted we met a delegation from Korea at a hotel in Olympia where our destination was announced and we learned a bit about the culture. A few months later we boarded a plane and landed in Seoul. A young woman greeted me, she would be my host for 5 of the 10 days. She was lovely and curious about me and worked as an artist (metallurgist) creating jewelry. She lived with her grandmother and – quite unusual – was divorced. Her husband was granted unquestioned custody of their son. We spent our days working to communicate and traveling around the city. I bathed at a community bath house, walked through a university campus and rode a bus with a zillion people packed on board. I loved it. My hosts laughed when I took a bite of kim chi and my eyes watered with endless tears… I spent the remaining five days with Maryknoll sisters who lived and worked out in the country. They had a clinic. We walked through the heat one day, following a tiny little girl across the rice fields; she took us to her grandmother’s home (a small hut). The grandmother suffered from debilitating arthritis and was unable to get off the floor. The sisters were angels of care and compassion and the only Caucasian people in the community. So when I arrived, I was a huge novelty. I played soccer with the kids in the dirt road and they wanted to caress my forearm – so taken with its light color. I learned some phrases and they giggled endlessly. (I later learned that I was using the formal expression, reserved only for adults, not children.) I hold tender memories from the kindness of these people.
And so, today, my heart aches and I wonder about Young Ja and her now-adult son and the Maryknoll Sisters who continue to care for the ill of that small community – a land described as “The Land of the Morning Calm.” I pray it is so.
(S-R archives photo)
The week has been filled with anniversaries of historic events: the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the last episode of M*A*S*H.
We often ask each other: “Where were you when this important event happened?”
When Martin Luther King, Jr was killed, I sat practicing piano in anticipation of my June recital; the recital went on that June night when Bobby Kennedy rested in a Los Angeles hospital fighting for his life.
When M*A*S*H aired its final episode, I skipped out early on a church meeting, saying I had “family concerns at home.” Married, living in an upstairs apartment, my husband and I watched Alan Alda and his team fold up their tents, head for home and say “GOOD-BYE,” in rock-solid fashion. Best kiss of television aired that night between Hawkeye and Hot Lips.
Our lives are punctuated with real-life tragedy and dramatic story-telling that demonstrate truth while entertaining; these memories continue to inspire, entertain, teach and bless.
Where were you when your life-defining events happened?
(S-R photo: James “Plunky” Branch plays his soprano saxophone near the new Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial in Washington)
Families and friends have wondered and agonized and prayed for the remains of their loved ones to be found within the debris, the pieces, of the September 11 attack.
Some may still receive the physical evidence, the pieces of bones, of life, that once were part of a body, a life, as workers once again sift through material from the site.
Our determination as a country and as individuals to honor and care for each other and our sacred bodies - even after death – may offer comfort and solace to those left in grief.
(S-R archives photo)
Enough! of the nonsense of trying to frame Amanda Knox for a murder that someone else is already serving time for, someone else whose presence at the crime scene is supported with evidence.
Seems unfathomable that this young woman must endure more publicity, more scrutiny for an acquittal. Perche`?
Legal experts say that the U.S. will not allow her to be extradited since our own legal system does not support someone being tried for the same crime twice. But unfortunately, Amanda may need to leave her passport locked up for a very long time.
(S-R: Amanda Knox’s upcoming memoir “Waiting to be Heard” will come out April 30, two months later than originally scheduled.)
So many journeys at this time of year…vacations, visiting friends and journeys to a final home. Poet John O'Donohue - who died suddenly a few years ago - writes beautiful words for the traveler:
For the Traveler
Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.
New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.
When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:
How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.
A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.
May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.
May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.
~ John O'Donohue ~
(S-R archives photo)
Who will the new Jeopardy host be in 2016? We have watched Alex Trebek for decades, but eventually everyone retires, even game-show hosts. Two candidates’ names are circulating in the media.
What do you think the given answer will be?
(S-R archives photo: Alex Trebek)
He appeared humble and gentle as he stood at the balcony, asking the crowd below to bless him and pray with him.
The Catholic Church has undergone a purging of evil in the last decade with brave adults telling horror stories of abuse during their childhood, suffered at the hands of clergy. And the Church called to act justly: to admit its sins and compensate victims.
May the hands and heart of Pope Francis I work to infuse the Church with love, trust, integrity, healing and a continued compassion for all of God’s people.
(S-R photo: Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio who chose the name of Francis is the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.)