Part 1 – The Story of the Photo Shoot – Leia and I did our shoot back in November or December of 2013. I had a snow day and called High 5 Photography in St. Marys. As luck would have it, Emily had an opening that day.
I remember it like yesterday. It was the first time I realized how old Leia was. I knew she was 14 in my head, but my heart still saw her the way she used to be. Leia loved to walk and would drag me down the street. Not that day . . . She walked a couple yards, and I carried her the rest of the way.
I saw more signs at the studio. Signs I’d seen with my father and his Alzheimer’s. Leia started pacing, like dad did. She wasn’t searching for scents. She was in a panic, trying to figure out where she was. She only calmed down when I held her, like I did in the picture.
That’s the day I found out Leia was old, that we didn’t have as much time left as I thought. I cried all the way home. It was only 10 minutes, but I spent it reliving what Alzheimer’s did to my dad.
People still saw the puppy in her, but look again . . . Can you see the gray hair around her eyes? I didn’t want her to suffer so I asked for advice. I wanted to know when to say good-bye. The vet said look for trouble seeing, hearing, and with bathroom issues.
I didn’t see it coming, but my friend Danelle did. She warned me. When she had bathroom issues in her crate in February, 2013, I knew it was time. I made the appointment to say goodbye.
The best thing I did that day was to tell Leia stories while I stroked her back. It helped. The worst – I didn’t let her have chocolate. It was her favorite thing to sneak. She only did it three times, but it always made her sick. Now I wish I’d made time to give her that one last treat.
Part 2 – How Leia Joined Our Family – I took this photo back on the first day of school in August of 1999. My kids were in 5th, 3rd, and Kindergarten. Leia was 4 months old. We’d had her for a few weeks. Our house was full of life – with 3 kids and a dog!
My husband lost a Super Bowl bet, so we won a dog! Not just any dog! We picked a breed that fit our family. We used one of the doggie tests I’ve written about. We took it a couple times to make sure we had good results. We did!
We got three breeds over and over again. The kids and I voted until we agreed . . . the Border Terrier won. We found our breeder in Clinton, Michigan, and in July we paid the dogs a visit. Puppies are always cute. I asked my kids to look at the adults. They decided Borders were just right for us.
We picked up Leia in August, and I remember the day she came home . . . the neighborhood kids were on alert and in our yard.
Poor Leia! She’d been living with 2 ladies, senior citizens, and now she was surrounded by kids. Oh my! They put her down the slide and introduced her to the neighbor’s cat. Within the hour she ran into her crate and refused to come out. The kids knew the crate was her sanctuary.
My husband, Mr. Non-Dog Lover, was the one who got her out. His secret – a steak bone. It was their one and only good moment in 14 years.
My kids had so many! Leia was FAST! I remember her standing, waiting between two bushes. My son and his best friend stood waiting to catch her. Sure enough, Leia squirted out, right between them, and neither kid caught her. When her kids were young, chase was Leia’s favorite game.
And if you wanted to see her doggy smile, just say the word walk, and she’d go crazy bouncing and barking. She only weighed 15 pounds, but she’d drag me down the street, choking the whole way. She was so happy to be out leading her human around! But her favorite thing of all time – taking her kids roller blading down the street. There was nothing better!
Part 3 – The Heart of the Family – No one will ever love you like your dog. She was my best friend. Leia was always happy whenever we came home. We might have been gone 10 minutes, or 10 hours. It didn’t matter . . . She’d bounce and bark with joy.
Inside or out, she loved to play. She’d chase kids, soccer balls, whatever moved! Leia loved tug-of-war. She’d never let go, even if we tugged her across the room. But her favorite kind of fun was licking any kid who landed on the floor or ground.
She slept in the kids’ rooms, but every morning I’d find her waiting for me to say three little words . . . Are you hungry? If she’d been fed, she wouldn’t move a muscle. But if not, she’d bounce and bark until I got the kids moving.
That was the starting point for her story. Leia was such a great character I knew she had to be in a book. I’ve been working on it since 2011, trying to get it just right, for my best friend.
Would you believe her character could be anything from a Great Dane to a Chihuahua? The illustrator gets to decide what she looks like. I hope my Leia is somewhere in the book. It’s why we did that photo shoot.
This was my favorite shot. We talked like this from the time she was a pup until the day she died. Leia would stop and sit. I’d lean over. She’d look and listen, sniff my breath to see what I’d eaten or where I’d been. Even as a senior dog, she kept tabs on me. I don’t think I’ll ever have a better friend. It’s been 8 years, and I still remember and hug tight the memories, of the way we were.
Part 1 – Meet Simone Biles – This photo was taken in 2018 at the Voice of America (VOA). It’s the largest and oldest international broadcasting company. It didn’t say why Simone was there, but maybe she stopped into say she was back in the gymnastics game again.
Did you know she took 2017 off? I didn’t! That was the year after the 2016 Brazil Olympics, and Simone won 4 gold medals, the most ever for an American gymnast. I’m glad she took a year off.
Simone probably started training nonstop in 2011. That’s when she became an elite gymnast. Imagine training as your full-time job, and school what you fit around it.
And Me Too – I never found her training schedule, but I considered going into music. I played 2 instruments, and I was told to practice an hour a day, per instrument. That was the minimum to go into music, not to become a GOAT. I wonder what Simone puts in, on 4 pieces of equipment, per day.
Can you imagine the stress of being a GOAT? You always have to deliver. There’s no room for mistakes, and everyone makes those. Did you watch Simone in team qualifications, or in the preliminaries? She was GREAT, but not perfect. She looked unhappy after each performance, even though she was at the top of the leader board.
I wonder, if Simone’s a perfectionist. I’m a recovering one. I’m learning to be OK with mistakes, but I used to go over them, over and over, endlessly. Now I stop when they teach me something that will help me grow. I have a feeling Simone does that too.
I was shocked, when I heard Simone dropped out of the team finals. She put endless hours into each of her 4 routines, for 4 years. You don’t invest that kind of time, that kind of effort into something, then quit. I don’t, and I bet Simone doesn’t either.
You keep going, whether you’re injured, or sick, until you hit a wall that tells you, YOU HAVE to. For me, it used to be losing my voice. Then I could call in sick and get my kids a substitute teacher. For Simone, it was the twisties, and they don’t look like this photo.
Part 2 – What’s a Twistie? – It happens when a gymnast is flying through the air. They can’t tell where they are, or where to land. Planes have the same problem in fog. They don’t know which way is up, or down.
I discovered twisties on July 28th when USA Gymnastics announced Simone’s withdrawal from team competition. I was shocked till I learned more. Simone said her mind and body just weren’t in sync. She also said she didn’t think many people understood how dangerous gymnastic surfaces can be.
Take a look at the picture above. It doesn’t look dangerous. Then look at the one below. It is! I thought Simone was upside down. NOT – she was in the middle of one of her twisty-airborne moves. If she lost focus, she might have landed on her head, or neck. YIKES!
Simone also talked about not having an inch of control over her body, not knowing where she was in the air. But even scarier, she had no idea how she was going to land . . . or where. I can’t imagine being brave and talented enough, to keep going after that first twistie.
I didn’t know Simone had the twisties before Tokyo, on floor and vault. This year the bars & beam piled on too. YUCK! I’m glad she took a break, but I’m also glad she came back and won bronze in the balance beam. I read that she did it for herself. Yay, Simone! Here’s to your new life beyond gymnastics!
Part 3 – Daring Young Gymnasts – Do you remember the song about the daring young men on the flying trapeze? Now they’re flying around equipment in the gym. They’re defying gravity and some of the laws of physics. It’s crazy good, also a little scary.
Did you know that about 100,000 gymnasts are injured every year? The most common injuries are wrist fractures, cartilage damage, and ACL tears. Did you also know that gymnasts are starting earlier and doing more difficult moves?
Death is rare in gymnastics, but it happened to Melanie Coleman after a fall from the uneven bars. It also happened to Julissa Gomez in 1988. She was vaulting and slipped off the springboard. Falls are dangerous.
Adriana Duffy and Sang Lan were both paralyzed by vaulting accidents 11 years apart. I’m glad there’s a new, safer springboard and horse for athletes today.
Men and women both vault over them, the gymnastic kind. Men also twist and rotate around pommel horses. It’s amazing what gymnasts can do, and they make it look so easy!
Here’s the new springboard and horse. Look at the old one, then the new one. Can you see how they’re different, and why the new one is safer? I’m so glad someone figured that out.
Take a look at all the positions this young man rotated through in a few seconds.
WOW! Gymnasts are amazing!
How Can You Protect Your Young Gymnast? – I picked 10 tips to share. To read all of them click on this link: Safety Tips: Gymnastics (for Teens) - Nemours Kidshealth
1. Wear the proper equipment – wrist straps, guards, grips, and footwear. Use spotting belts for new moves.
2. Warm up and stretch. That’s true for any sport.
3. Only practice on padded floors, not a hard surface.
4. Find a good coach! Somone who knows the latest in safety. A good coach will spot you when you try new/difficult moves.
5. Tell your coach if you’re uncomfortable with a skill. If you can’t, tell a parent or an adult who’ll help you. Kids don’t want to tell anyone. I saw it with my own, and with my 2nd graders. Sometimes parents had to tell me what their child wouldn’t.
6. Don’t try a new move at a game or competition, UNLESS you’ve practiced it A LOT.
7. No jewelry, gum chewing, or clothes that can get caught on equipment.
8. Never train alone.
9. STOP! If you get hurt or feel pain. Then get it checked out by a grown-up.
10. Play other sports so that you don’t overuse the same muscles. That leads to injuries.
CONGRATULATIONS to the Olympic athletes from all over the world! Win, lose, draw, or withdraw – you played the games and did your best. Thank you for the memories, for the inspiration you’ve given us, especially to the young athletes waiting in the wings for their turn. THANK YOU!
PS – OOPS! I forgot to write about mindfulness, but lucky for me, I already did! The link below will tell you what it is, and show you a few exercises that are great for kids.
PPS – They can help us grown-ups too!
Link: Rinda Beach - Blog - Rinda Beach
1. Simone Biles reveals depths of twisties problem at Olympics (nypost.com)
2. Simone Biles - Wikipedia
3. Gymnastics deaths are rare, but previous disasters have prompted safety changes - CNN
4. Safety Tips: Gymnastics (for Teens) - Nemours Kidshealth
Part 1 – The Price of the Dog
I love dogs! The first one is a border terrier like my dog Leia. The second is a doodle, the kind of dog I’d love to have. I’ve never thought of the price, beyond the fee you pay the breeder or the adoption fee, but there’s more. Much, much more.
I didn’t realize until I got an email from Abby at Bankrate.com. It was all about how to buy a service dog. Abby asked if I’d add her link to a post I did about working dogs. I said I could do even better . . . I’d share her information with my audience, with Abby’s permission, of course! Here’s her link: https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/how-to-afford-a-service-dog/
Meet a real service dog! How do I know for sure? From its vest!
Service dogs don’t come cheap! The average price – from 20,000 - $60,000. Why so much? Because of all the training they need. A service dog needs to know what to do, whether it’s assisting someone who’s blind or someone who has seizures. The dog has to perform every single time. He has to do his job.
Imagine if you’re blind and your dog stops guiding you in the middle of a street. If you have seizures, a dog can warn you ahead of time so that you can get yourself into a safe position. Can you imagine how much better a dog could make your life? It’d be miraculous! But there are more costs involved, and you need to make sure you can take care of your dog and keep it safe and healthy!
1. Dog Food – The cost per year – about $400, depending on the brand you buy. My Leia only got dry dog food, but we were an Iams family, because that’s what our breeder recommended. When she got older, and pickier, we probably paid more for her dogfood, but we never bought the canned or refrigerated stuff. That was too expensive!
2. The Veterinarian – Average vet care per year is about $260. That’s for both regular and emergency cases. Our dog had yearly checkups, shots, and medicine. We did have one emergency – she dragged some chicken bones out of the trash and tried to eat them. Oh my! I have never seen anyone or anything in so much pain! We took her into a doggy emergency room. I didn’t know there was one! They gave her something to help her pass the chips. She was better than ever! She lived to be 15, which is a really old age for a dog.
3. Health Insurance – If I had a dog worth $20,000, I would definitely get it health insurance. My granddog has it. My daughter says it’s a lot like human insurance.
I also wondered if it worked like cars do – if your dog died, would it help you buy another service dog? I don’t know! I couldn’t google the answer.
4. Heartworm protection – I did this for my dog. I don’t remember how often, but the link price was about $120 a year. Cheap compared to having your dog die because of worms. Yuck! What an awful way to go!
5. Flea and Tick protection – I did this for my Leia. $200 or whatever I paid was a small price to keep her safe. Fleas are insects that live on dogs. They bite and make them itch. Ticks bite dogs too, but they stay attached so they can live off the dog’s blood. Yuck!
Even worse, fleas and ticks can also leave pets to come live on you. They carry diseases that can make you or your pet sick. That’s another reason it’s important to protect your pet from these tiny insects!
6. Toys and Treats – Dogs need to have fun, just like you and me. $75 is a small price to pay to keep you and your service dog safe and happy.
The grand total, to take care of your service dog, is $1280 per year. No wonder my husband doesn’t want me to have a dog. That’s half the reason why. The other half - a pet’s like having a kid. You have to take care of it. You don’t just leave it home alone.
Part 2 – The Steps to Finding Your Dog – Now that you’ve decided a Service Dog is in your future, there are a couple steps to take ahead of time before you pick your dog.
Step 1 – Find the Program that Matches You: One kind of program helps veterans who served our country. They train dogs to meet the needs of soldiers whose service left them scarred.
Another program is for people with autism. They have trouble with social, emotional, and communication skills. Dogs help them too.
There are still other programs for people with physical disabilities. Moving, seeing, or certain health problems are difficult. There are dogs for them too.
Children can have autism or physical disabilities too, and there are dogs who are trained just for them, not for grown-ups.Bankrate.com has links for each program.
Theirs again: https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/how-to-afford-a-service-dog/
Step 2 – Determine Your Eligibility: Did you know you have to qualify for a program? Your level of severity (difficulty) has to be high enough. Did you know some breeds fit some medical conditions better than others? People who train service dogs want to make sure they find the best match for you, and for their dog.
Knowing your program can help you decide if you’re a good fit. Your doctor can help you and answer questions along the way.
When you’re doing your search, make sure that the program fits ADI standards (Assistance Dogs International). You want to make sure you get a dog who has the skills you need, not a fake.
Step 3 – Gather Supplies: Not sure what to get? Ask the people who are training your dog. They should have a supply list. My breeder did. She wanted to make sure her dog went to a good home.
Don’t wait until your dog arrives! Doing a little bit at a time spreads the cost, and the joy. You’ll need things like toys and bowls and medication. Some things like dog food can wait until the very end.
Another question to think about – do you want a service dog certificate, and can they get you one? If you travel, a paper might offer proof, and make your trip easier.
Part 3 – Financial Considerations – This is where the rubber meets the road. You know what your dog will cost. Now – to find the money! How? Here are some options for you.
1. Grants – This is like free money, sort of. You don’t have to pay it back, like you do with a loan, but there’s a catch . . . You have to fill out an application, and you might get the money . . . you might not. If it’s basic information, that’s easy. But it could be a lot more work, with no promise of a payday. Just hope!
I wrote a couple grants to get money for science equipment for my second graders when I was still teaching. It was WORK! I researched my topic, the equipment I wanted, and the experiments the kids would do. It was a LOT of work! And I didn’t know until a month later if it would pay off. It did! Twice!
Click on the Bankrate.com link again to find their grant information. https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/how-to-afford-a-service-dog/
2. Fundraising – Look for ways to raise money in your community and beyond. I saw an author put out a call to the kidlit community. She needed help buying a service dog. I donated money, and so did a lot of other people. She didn’t have to pay me, or anyone else back, and I felt good because I helped her.
There are places online like GoFundMe where you can find help. There are also groups in your community who might help. It never hurts to ask! People love to help good causes. I do!
3. FSA Accounts – Huh? What’s that? I had to look it up. FSA stands for Flexible Spending Account. A lot of people have this as part of their regular insurance coverage. That means X dollars come out of your check every time you’re paid, and it goes into a special account. It’s still your money, but it can only be spent on medical care.
The big advantage – you can’t be taxed on that money. If the government takes out 10% from your paycheck, you get to save that money in your account. If you have $100, you save $10. You’ll get a little interest, but the big advantage is that you get $100 in your account, not $90. Over a year, that’s an extra $120 for your medical care. That’s a great thing!
4. Personal Loans – Yes, you can borrow money. As long as you meet the bank’s loan requirements, you’ll get the money you need. The catch – you’ll have to pay the bank back, with interest. If you borrow $100, and they charge you 10% interest on that loan, each month you’ll pay money on your loan, and on the interest.
At first you pay mostly interest. The longer you pay, the more you pay towards principal. That’s the money you originally borrowed. You’ll also pay the bank back more money than you borrowed. If you pay $20 a month, your loan would be paid off in 5 months, but you’d owe $50 in interest. Pay $50 a month, and you’d only owe $20 in interest. The lesson – pay back your loan as quickly as possible!
5. Other Financial Considerations – Bankrate.com had 8 tips to consider, but I picked out three. #1. If you can’t get full assistance, buy your own dog, and find an independent trainer who’s certified. It’s a lot cheaper! #2. Some dog food and vets will give you a discount if you have a service dog. #3. If you need financial aid, try places like the Humane Society. They might be able to help.
Want to read the other five? Click on bankrate.com!
6. The Bottom Line – Service dogs are expensive, BUT you’ll get a lot out of them. You’ll have a friend for life, and that life will be easier and better. Close your eyes and imagine trying to get around your house without help. No peeking! Then imagine having a dog to guide you. A dog would be priceless!
On April 9th I got my 2nd Covid shot. I waited two weeks per CVC guidelines, and on April 23rd, I was free of Covid at last. Before I write about the things I’m free to do, here are two ways Covid helped me.
Gratitude – Covid took so many things away, but it gave me back two important things – time to write, and time to work on sleep issues. They’re both important to me.
In October I started polishing 4 manuscripts. I worked on them every day from 12-4, unless I had appointments. I kept my sleep times the same on 6 out of 7 days. That helped me to stabilize and learn to control it. Now as I reopen, I’m grateful for my year sheltering in place.
1. Shopping - Maskless! I limited my shopping during this long year of Covid, especially last spring. That’s when I went out for groceries and supplies. I made targeted trips, picking up only the things we needed. Covid took away the joy of seeing faces, especially on kids.
Now I’m free! I’m still shopping less, but I love being able to walk in without my mask. I feel free. I can smile, and people see it, and they usually smile back. Kids are back out again. Some in masks. Some without. Either way – I’m happy to see them.
PS – I’m shopping less than I was before Covid, but my husband is happier about that.
2. Eating Out Again! It’s one of my favorite things to do. My husband and I have gone out TWICE since our 2nd vaccine kicked in.
June of 2020, almost a year ago, was the last time we were inside a restaurant. We were helping our daughter and her husband move to Texas. We live in Ohio. Most of the time you can’t eat outside. It’s too cold.
Eating out after a year of takeout is glorious! The food comes out at the perfect temperature. When you carry-out across town or down the highway, the food is usually lukewarm to cold. I’m so happy to be out, about, and seeing people again. I especially appreciate the restaurant staff – they make eating out a pleasure!
3. Going to Church! The last time I went to church was in February of 2020. In March we traveled to Texas for my granddaughter’s baptism. When we got back, things were beginning to close up for Covid, and we didn’t return until this April, 2021. It’s great to be back. I’m actually kind-of OK about getting up early (I’m not one of God’s early birds! I’m one of his night owls.) The best thing about returning was taking communion again, receiving the bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ. As I took it that first time, I hoped it could make up for my year without it.
It was good to see our church family again. We’ve been members for about 26 years, and our kids grew up there. I told Pastor I was glad to be back, to be out of Covid jail. He gave me a funny look, but I think he understood. Everyone was masked, but it was good to see them again. The saddest part was discovering one of our friends lost her husband in February. I didn’t know, and I felt awful. Covid has taken away so much, and now I’m glad to be taking my life back again.
4. Back to School Again! I missed seeing teachers and kids this year. I finally had my first day subbing again. I was so happy to be back, to feel the energy of young children. I was in 4th grade teaching math, science, and social studies. I love talking to kids, getting them to think, helping them figure something out, but it wasn’t all sunshine and joy! YIKES! Fourth grade math is tricky! They were doing a review, and I had to work HARD to figure out the right answers. I think I did, OK?!
Inside everyone was still wearing masks. I’m glad I wore mine in. I only took it off for lunch and recess. It cracked me up that a kid reminded me to take it off as soon as we stepped outside 😊 Kids can be so sweet! I was glad to be outside, watching them in their natural habitat, having fun with friends. We’ve all been worried about Covid losses, as we should be, but those kids were so resilient. Some things don’t change. Thank goodness!
I loved watching kids and their boundless energy, seeing footballs fly across the playground, or a little girl telling me how someone was hogging the slides. Some things never change! I thought it was funny she told me, not the 4 classroom teachers standing nearby. Kids know who’s the softest touch. The best part of the playground– blowing my whistle again! There’s no place like school, and I’m so glad to be back!
5. Visiting My Mother in the Nursing Home – It’s so much easier and more comfortable for me to visit. This isn’t me or my mother, but it’s closer to our new normal. Over the last year we’ve visited through glass, through plexiglass, or socially distanced at 6 feet apart.
Now that we’re both vaccinated, I can visit her room. We sit in chairs facing each other, like we’re sitting across the kitchen table. We pass things back and forth. No waiting! Her favorite – my cell phone – that’s where I have the latest pictures of the Texas grandkids. I’m still masked, escorted in/out, but it’s better. I’m looking forward to June and getting back to normal.
6. Visit My Texas Grandchildren – I haven’t held my granddaughter since her baptism last March. Now I have a new grandson to meet. We’ve all been vaccinated so I’m ready to travel west. I want to hold the baby, maybe even change a diaper. I want to play with the toddler, read her a story, do grandma stuff, but toddlers have minds of their own. I hope I can charm her like the 4th graders from the other day. Fingers crossed!
Janet Campbell from Elderspark.com reached out to write another post. I said sure. Here’s what she wrote . . .
When it comes to types of retirement, there are few that offer as much self-sufficiency and personal satisfaction as homesteading. This is a style of retirement built around hard work, cost-saving, and the pride of a day well spent. However, it’s not for everyone. Here’s a quick look at some of the pros and cons of homesteading, as well as some tips that I’m happy to share with Teacher, Speaker, and Author Rinda Beach. I hope they help you find your perfect place.
Part 1 - What Is Homesteading?
“Homesteading” is a broad term, but in general, it’s a lifestyle in which people try to live more sustainably by “living off the land,” so to speak. Homesteaders may grow their own fruits or vegetables, raise meat, grow crops to make fabric for clothing, or a combination of these practices. In addition to benefiting from their own hard work, many also sell their homegrown fare in their local community via farmers markets or mom-and-pop shops.
People of all ages can homestead. Seniors can certainly pursue this lifestyle post-retirement, but as we discuss below, those with physical disabilities or mobility issues are wise to be selective about homesteading hobbies that accommodate their needs. For example, rather than growing potatoes in the ground (which are heavy and require a lot of physical labor to tend to), planting lightweight lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes in raised containers might be a better option for older adults.
Part 2 - Benefits of Homesteading
There are a ton of wonderful pros to homesteading for retirees. The first is that, when you’re homesteading, you can make a fixed income stretch a lot further. The food you produce on your land substantially cuts down your grocery bill, meaning you have more money to go toward other costs.
Moreover, if you really get a knack for it, you can look into selling goods you’ve grown or made. If you go this route, however, be sure to check out whether or not you need to register as an LLC. This designation offers some legal protections that make good sense for anyone running a business out of their home. Turning your homestead into an income source can put you in an even better financial position.
Another great benefit of homesteading is that it’s a very physically active form of retirement. It’s easy to grow sedentary when you’re done working, but it’s terrible for your body and your mind. Staying active keeps you strong and sharp, helping you stay healthier for longer. Since homesteading is, by its very nature, a physically demanding lifestyle, you’ll be certain to get plenty of healthy exercise and fresh air.
Part 3 – Cons of Homesteading
Despite its myriad benefits, homesteading still isn’t for everyone. Take the physical activity element mentioned above. Although it’s great to have the opportunity to stay physically active, it can be unsustainable. If you already have mobility loss, for example, a homesteading situation can be impossible to maintain. Now, you can often mitigate this by planning a smaller garden or limiting your planned production, but it’s important to recognize the physical commitment from the start.
It’s also a big commitment and can preclude some other retirement aspirations. It’s difficult to travel while homesteading since you must find someone to care for your crops (and animals, if you have them) while you’re away. Many hobbies are also difficult to juggle along with the demanding schedule homesteading often requires. This isn’t to say homesteading will occupy all of your time, but recognizing the demands before you get started can help you figure out if it’s a good fit.
Part 4 – Finding a Homesteading Property
When it comes to finding your perfect property, keep an open mind. Many people assume homesteading can only happen in rural areas, but it’s far from the truth. There’s a ton of technology out there that makes homesteading accessible for people in suburban and even urban areas. That said, you should always check zoning laws before you commit to make sure the features you’d like to have are allowed at that address.
You should also take time to think about your overall ideal lifestyle and the kind of spaces you’ll need to achieve it. For example, if you think you’d like to make (and perhaps, sell) your own jam, you’ll want a spacious kitchen with plenty of room for canning, as well as a pantry you can use to store your products. Consider any workshops, guest rooms, and other features you’d need and like to have to be able to achieve the homestead retirement that’s right for you.
Though it’s not for everyone, homesteading is a wonderful form of retirement. Do the research to figure out if it’s right for you and, if so, invest in the perfect property to achieve the golden years you’re dreaming of.
Tonight I have a Guest Writer, Stephanie Haywood from My Life Boost. We had an email conversation that turned into this post.
Staying healthy is important any old time, but it’s undoubtedly crucial at this moment, with COVID-19 threatening everyone’s health and sanity. Sadly, it can be hard to maintain healthy routines with gyms and fitness centers closed or at limited capacity. Moreover, even the once-inane task of buying fresh food can present various dangers, now that social distancing is the norm. Thankfully, it’s far from being a catch-22 as there are some foolproof ways to stay healthy that are still at your disposal even in these uncertain times. Author, speaker and teacher Rinda Beach invites you to try out the following tips.
Part 1 – Healthy Movement
Keeping up with your fitness routine is a must. Regular exercise benefits you physically and mentally, and it can help keep your immune system in fighting condition. You can still stay fit even if you’re unable to hit the gym by creating an exercise space at home and streaming workout videos.
Some Links for You:
Stylish Home Gym Ideas for Small Spaces
Make Any Room in Your Home a Temporary Yoga Studio With These Packable Essentials
Stay Fit at Home With Over 20 Home Workouts and Apps for Free
YouTube Accounts to Follow for the Best Workout Videos
Are Live Streaming Yoga Classes the Wave of the Future?
Part 2 - Healthy Homes
Spending more time at home can feel suffocating for sure, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As your retreat and safe haven, it’s important to find ways to maintain a healthy environment. When your home is germ-free and decluttered, you’ll notice a boost in your family’s physical and mental wellness.
Some Links for You:
House Cleansing: A Checklist for Clearing Bad Energy from Your Home
7 Absolutely Free Ways To Make Your Home Healthier
8 Tips to Revamp Your Kitchen for a Healthy Well-Being
How to Elevate Home Wellnes
Part 3: Healthy Eats
Nutrition is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. To keep your immune system strong and to ensure you’re eating a well-balanced diet, make a point to always include fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins. Many people struggle with knowing exactly what to eat to be their healthiest selves, but these resources can help — they include tips on what to shop for at the grocery store, easy plant-based recipes, and more.
Some Links for You:
A Healthy Quarantine
Your Healthy Quarantine Grocery List
15 Superfoods to Eat While You're in Quarantine
30 Easy Vegan Recipes for Quarantine Using Pantry Staples
Keep Food Fresh and Healthy with Costco Delivery
Can Supplements Help Boost Your Immune System?
Part 4: Final Thoughts
Simply put, staying healthy at this time should be your priority, and yes, it can be done even in quarantine. Indeed, there’s no better time for self-care than now. And the best part is, you now have the time for it.
This post started with an email. Janet Campbell at elderspark.com sent me some great links to help seniors. She also asked if she could write a piece for their families who live far away. I said ABSOLUTELY! I saved Janet’s links for a later post. Here’s the piece Janet asked to write, the piece she wanted me to share.
In the past, someone who wanted to act as a caregiver for a senior relative would have to live close by. For seniors with serious medical conditions who require daily in-home care, that is still the case. But what about seniors with limited mobility who may need frequent doctor’s appointments, yet still manage to cook, clean, socialize, and take medications with little assistance?
If this describes one of your parents or another relative, you may be able to handle basic caregiving duties even if you no longer live in the same area. This guide from teacher, speaker, and author Rinda Beach discusses the devices and technological support systems that will keep you updated on your loved one’s health and well-being no matter how far away you live.
1. Choose the Right Cell Phone Plan
When it comes to phone plans, many carriers provide plans that cover unlimited text, talk, and data. When you’re responsible for checking in on your loved one on a regular basis, you want to know that you can stay connected without racking up any overage charges.
Some seniors are very tech-savvy, but others may need assistance to choose the right cell phone and plan. You may want to spend an afternoon with your loved one and go shopping together to help them make an informed decision.
2. Alert Systems
When it comes to location and medical alert systems for seniors, you have several options. Your loved one may feel safest with a wearable device that sends out an alert in the event of a medical emergency, like falling. You should ensure that any wearable device you purchase has GPS - if your loved one gets lost, this function is invaluable.
Installing remote monitoring sensors in your loved one’s home can help you keep track of their daily routines and habits. According to Seniors Matter, these sensors should be placed in strategic locations around the house - for example, placing one on the refrigerator door can let you know if your loved one is eating at normal times. No matter which monitoring system you choose, you can rest assured that you will be notified if your loved one needs your help.
3. Install Security Cameras
If you would feel more comfortable seeing your loved one during the day, placing a few security cameras in different locations around the house could be an option. You will have the ability to live stream the video footage on your smartphone, laptop, or tablet.
While many seniors and their caregivers find that having security cameras around the house allows for peace of mind, your loved one may not be open to the idea of being recorded. Make sure to have an honest conversation with them about the pros and cons, and do not install any cameras without their permission.
4. Financial Monitoring
Unfortunately, seniors are often targeted by online scammers who are hoping to make a quick buck. Kiplinger suggests helping your loved one protect their savings from scams and personally checking their accounts for any suspicious activity with a financial monitoring system.
These services will generally charge a monthly fee to scan an individual’s accounts and credit reports and catch any charges that seem abnormal compared to their usual spending habits. If you are alerted about any strange purchases, and it turns out that your loved one was not responsible for the charges, you can contact the bank and credit card companies immediately to remedy the situation.
Taking on the role of caregiver can present all kinds of challenges. But modern technology is making it easier for people to ensure the safety and security of their parents and relatives as they enter their golden years, even with hundreds or even thousands of miles between them.
What is it?
If you’re mindful, what does that mean? You’re present, not just in the room. You know what’s going on around you, inside you. No multitasking allowed!
Being mindful means listening to what your head and your body say. You’re aware of your surroundings, the world around you. The most important part is recognizing your feelings. Don’t judge them. Just let them be.
Source: Mindfulness: How It Helps Your Health (webmd.com)
I found five exercises that will help you find your way to mindfulness. Here are my sources:
1. 25 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens (+Tips!) (positivepsychology.com) I selected four, and they all sited Karen Young. These activities take longer, but can be modified to fit your classroom practice.
2. Karen Young. (2017). Mindfulness for children: Fun, effective ways to strengthen mind, body, spirit. Retrieved from www.heysigmund.com
3. 5 Minute Classroom Mindfulness Activities for Kids (teachstarter.com) These are shortened versions of the selected activities.
Five Mindful Excercises
1. Mindful Posing – Try striking a pose. This one might help your kids feel strong, brave, or happy. Test drive a few rounds of these. I bet your class will love them. If they do, I bet they can come up with a few new ideas for poses of their own! Source #1,2
- This illustration looks like a Superman pose, but it’s actually Wonder Woman. Stand tall, feet apart, with your hands or fists on your hips.
- To make the real Superman, stand tall. Have your arms reach for the sky, like you’re ready to take flight.
2. Spidey Senses – Kids will need their inner Spiderman for this one. They’ll need their senses to tell them about the world around them. Have them pause and focus on what their senses tell them. What can they smell, see, hear, taste, or touch? Source #1,2,3
This is a great way to encourage observation, curiosity, and living in the present!
3. Mindful Jar – Another name is Glitter Bottle. The first thing to do is to make one. Here’s how . . .
Fill a clear jar or bottle with water. Add glitter glue (glue & dry glitter). Put on the lid. Source #1,2,3
Part 1 – Shake up the glitter. Which emotions swirl like it? (example – anger) Connect those emotions to how they affect thoughts and decisions.
Part 2 – Now watch the glitter settle. Which emotions feel like this (calming)? Connect these emotions to how they affect thoughts and decisions. Discuss how you can calm your mind (example – take deep breaths).
4. Mindful Walk or Safari – Take a walk, inside or out. Long or short. Keep your mind on the present. Use your five senses to find living/nonliving things in the environment. Source #1,2,3
5. Gratitude – Give students time to think of things they’re grateful for. You can share them out loud. Write them down on paper. You can keep them in a journal or on a bulletin board. If you need suggestions, click on the link for Source: 3
Life changed back in March of 2020. Businesses and schools closed down. I thought things would return to normal by Easter, but Thanksgiving has come and gone. Life isn’t the same. Covid has taken some things away, but, if you look hard enough, there are some silver linings, and that’s what I’m holding onto.
1. Seeing My Mother – This isn’t my mother, but it could be. My mom’s in a nursing home, and I’m like so many people – I see her through a closed window.
We can’t hear each other so we use white boards. It’s a little more work, but, it helps us communicate.
We’ve been doing this since March. I miss going inside her house, sitting down, and chatting.
Now she’s at The Gardens, an assisted living home. There’s always plexiglass, glass, or six feet between us. I’m thankful for the white board.
I wish we could go back, but I know my mother is in a better place. She used to live alone, and I worried about her. Now she has people around 24/7 to help her.
2. Finding a Market for My Lake Book – Lake Fun debuted on May 9th, and I was hoping to have it for Memorial Weekend. That didn’t happen! Thanks to Covid everything took longer, from printing to shipping.
I finally got my order on June 5th, completely missing Memorial Day sales. When I arrived with my books, the marinas were like everyone else, just trying to survive.
I didn’t find a market for Lake Fun at the marinas, but, thanks to a God wink moment, I hope I found a better one with the rental market. I won’t know until March 2021. Fingers crossed!
3. Visiting the Lake – I have been to our lake house exactly four times since March. It usually is closer to nine.
I used to visit at least once a month for my critique group. But when Covid hit, we started meeting on zoom. It seemed safer for me to stay put in Wapak, so I did.
My first trip back didn’t come till June. That was to support my lake book. Then in July I made it down to see my sister. Her family needed a lake vacation as much as I did.
In September I drove down to help my husband get the boat out of the water. Now I’m here for Thanksgiving, and it’s my longest stay. I’ve missed it!
Covid took away my lake days, but not my love for it. There’s no place like the lake. The silver lining – being able to help my mother. Her health issues have been growing for several years. Covid pushed her into making a hard decision. Being home in Wapak meant I could give her more help with that decision, and its ramifications.
4. Seeing my Grandchild – The last time I got to see and hold my grandgirl was at her christening. That was in March, and she was 3 months old. (This isn't her, or me either.)
In June we were back in Texas to help my daughter and her husband move. I was hoping to see my GG, but my son said no. He was being cautious. It’s his job to take care of his family.
We didn’t go. How could we? What if we’d brought the Covid virus to them? How could we ever forgive ourselves?
We lost that time because of Covid, but we were lucky. My daughter-in-law sent lots of pictures and videos. It wasn’t the same, but it filled that hole. I’m hoping we get to see them at Christmas. What a gift that would be! My fingers are crossed!
5. No Subbing for Me – I haven’t subbed since last March. I was glad to take a break. It felt safer, and I thought schools would open before summer. They didn’t. The longer I’m out, the more I miss schools, teachers, and kids. There is so much life, so much energy. There’s no place like it!
One silver lining – writing time! There’s never enough. I have 4 manuscripts to get agent-ready by February. I write better stories, but there are no guarantees.
But the BIG silver lining – SLEEP! I’ve been fighting this since last October. I just discovered why. I stop breathing 10 times an hour. That’s every 6 minutes. No wonder I need 10 hours of sleep. It takes that long to make up for what I lose. If I don’t sub, I don’t get up early, and I can get in those 10 hours. It’s lovely, maybe even life-saving.
6. Cancelling Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving still came on the 26th, the 4th Thursday in November, but it was like no other. For 61 years I’ve always had my family around. I thought I would this year, but Covid cancelled it.
My son-in-law came into contact with Covid on the 20th. He went into self-quarantine for 14 days. He had a Covid test that came back negative, but that doesn’t mean you’re safe. He won’t be for sure, my daughter either, until December 4th. That’s still 4 days away.
My husband and I are both in our early 60’s. We did the safe thing, the prudent thing. We canceled Thanksgiving. It’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever done, but there’s always a silver lining.
My husband and I celebrated Thanksgiving together at the lake. Our first with just the two of us, in 35 years. The bright side – almost 2 weeks of peace, quiet, and a great view. I focused on sleep and writing. We talked to our kids, but the best part so far, no one has Covid. Maybe we’ll do a family Christmas, but only time will tell.
PS – If you’re wondering why I never show pictures of my family, it’s to preserve their privacy. I chose to write and publish blogs and books. They didn’t, so I respect their wishes.
Covid and My Risk.
This is 2020. A hundred years from now, it wil still be known for Covid 19. For all the things that we can’t do, like go out to eat, or see our seniors. It will also be known for the things we have to do like wear masks or stay socially distant.
I’m considered at risk. I’m 61, and a diabetic. I knew when Covid came out that I had to follow the rules. . I stayed home, went out only for groceries, and wore my mask.
Summer came, and my husband and I helped my daughter move. It felt so good to be away from home. To wear my mask less. I even ate at a restaurant, outside. It was lovely!
Then Covid spiked and my kids talked to both of us, about following rules and staying safe. It’s funny to have your children give you advice. I loved them for doing it, but I didn’t want to be a baby, or a wimp. I promised them I would take it seriously, and I did . . . I talked to my doctor about my plans.
And the Doctor Said
I wanted to sub this fall. I thought I’d be fine, but I promised my kids, my husband too. I asked the doctor, and the doctor said . . .
No subbing for me, unless I’d be willing to be double masked all day. She wanted me to wear an N95 mask, with a face shield.
I’ve been wearing an N95 since March, but I’m only out for groceries or quick errands. An hour, tops. I’m always glad to take off the mask and breathe again. For me, it’s just not worth it to take the risk, and, wear a double mask all day.
I thought I’d be subbing in my hometown by now. I thought the spread would slow, and I’d be safe to go out. But, I’ll listen to my doctor and wait – till she says it’s safe. When you can’t do something, you really want to do it.
What I Miss about Subbing –
This is one of the elementaries I subbed in last year. I hope I’ll be back before this year ends. From the outside, it feels cold and empty, but inside it’s full of life.
The second picture could have come from inside, but it didn’t. One of the best things about an elementary is walking the halls and admiring the projects. You can learn a lot about kids by examining them, AND, it’s so much fun! Kids think differently from adults, and they say what they think. I love it! Usually, LOL!
These photos came from two different classrooms. I love to look around when I sub. What’s on the wall tells you a lot about what they teach, and how they teach it. I’ve used them in lessons – that’s why they’re there.
The other photo is from a smartboard/SmartScreen. Every single room I sub in uses them. They’re so much easier to use than when I was teaching 6 years ago. Why? The teachers put the links on their computer screens and in their plans. Once or twice a teacher has had a student who was my tech support. They loved it! Me too!
In Wapak the teachers also have a para-educator who’s in and out all day. They can find the link for me. Sometimes they even teach the lesson, especially in math. It has key vocabulary words that classroom teachers use. I don’t want to use the wrong ones and throw the kids off. Paras are WONDERFUL! For teachers, substitutes, and especially – KIDS!
But – what I miss the most – are the kids. Without them school is dead, like over summer vacation. BTW – I wrote a manuscript about that. It’s still in my computer, waiting for me to get the words, just right. I will!
There is so much life in a school. Sometimes too much! It literally bubbles out the door and bounces around the playground. I love talking to kids about content, in any subject. I love opening their minds to something new. I love chatting with them at recess. I guess I just love kids!
I miss them. The only good thing about being locked down – is that I have more time to write stories for them.
Me – at a few of My Favorite Places –
Can you guess where I’m at? If you answered school, you’re right! The first photograph was taken last year at one of my favorite elementaries. I won 4 books within a month, so I did a post about them. I had my picture taken with each one. I miss reading books to kids. At home I read in my head. It’s faster, but not as much fun!
The second photo was taken 5 years ago. I was visiting the school where I used to teach. It was lovely visiting and seeing my ‘old’ colleagues. There’s no place like school! My favorite part of that picture is the kids’ faces. Look at them, lifted up, looking at me, like I had something fascinating to say. I hope I did!
At home, no one looks at me like that. At school they do, whether I’m doing an author visit or a regular day of subbing. I love hanging out with kids!
This is me at 3 different book events from 2019. The first is from my local library. I was on the schedule, which was a thrill! Having MY book at MY local library, it was a bucket list moment!
The other two are from two local stores who sell my book. Being there is like visiting a friend’s house. It’s lovely. In spite of Covid, I’ve done two book events at both stores since March. I wear my mask and visit with people. It’s lovely to get out of the house and talk books! And, I always shop – I love to treasure hunt!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!