Thursday, October 18, 2012

Retirement is a Contact Sport!

I met Larry Genender in my classroom when I was teaching Photoshop Elements to seniors in a community college in Dallas, Texas. Being a surgeon, I expected him to be smart. But I quickly learned that there was so much more there...a robust love of learning, enthusiastic engagement with the life going on around him, and a great sense of humor.

This lovely image was taken at the Santa Clara ranch in far south Texas and is the result of treating "retirement as a contact sport" which so many of my fine students have done!

Larry and I have kept in touch since I retired, and I asked him if he would give us some ideas about retiring successfully. Here is how he practices "Seizing the Day":

"I view retirement as a positive thing – a stage in life where you can change gears, reflect on what you have accomplished, and then embark on the next stage of your career. Retirement is not for everyone – we all know of a few individuals who have stayed in their jobs or professions well into their later years, some with very productive and satisfying outcomes (but many others who should have quit years earlier). But there are far too many of us who regard retirement as the end of our 'productive' years and who do nothing truly enriching, just putting in time until the inevitable end. I think this is a pity – too much good living going to waste. I want to tell the story of how I have managed my retirement.

I was educated and trained as a physician; my specialty was general surgery. I am fortunate in that I have been happily married for 49.5 years, have raised 3 successful sons who have given us 7 fine grandchildren. My practice was successful professionally and financially. By the age of 60 I had accomplished almost everything I wanted to do surgically, and decided then that I wanted to retire at 65 while my skills were still strong – to quit at the top of my game, so to speak. I realize that not everyone has the luxury of being able to do this, but most people who have a steady vocation together with pension, savings etc. can do this. This is the first lesson I wish to convey – plan your retirement well in advance.

I took a young surgeon into the practice, and then another. This gave me a smooth transition into retirement – these younger surgeons took all my night and weekend calls and I helped then prepare for the time they would take over the practice. I retired at 65, 12 ½ years ago. My former practice is doing very well to this day, I’m proud to say.

Five years before I retired I began to work with wood as a hobby. Very soon I developed a passion for woodturning, where you create pieces of wood art on a lathe. This is not a naturally acquired skill set: not something you can learn from a book. I spent a lot of time and effort traveling to instructional courses around the country until I had learned enough and practiced enough to become what is known as a 'self-directed artist', which means that I no longer needed a teacher to produce quality work. By retirement time I had reached this level.

I still learn something every time I turn on the lathe – the learning part is what keeps it fun. I have sold a few pieces, but I don’t like the selling part. I did it just to prove that I was making pieces that people would pay green money for, i.e., to validate the quality of my work. In this way, I am under no pressure to produce pieces for a show or a gallery (galleries are fun to visit, but from the artist’s perspective they are a real pain. Ever seen an 'artist’s statement'? I think they are written with a shovel!!). I keep most of my pieces, and give some to my family and friends (they have to be really good friends!). And this is the second lesson about retirement – you don’t retire FROM something, you retire TO something.
There is one more thing to tell. I have played golf, rather poorly, since I was 35. I enjoy it despite the fact that I break 90 only rarely. I also have a bad back and neck – something acquired from years standing and bending at the operating table. About a year ago, the pain of swinging and walking about the course made me realize that my golfing days were over. Coincident with this came the realization that I no longer could spend many hours at a time at the lathe.

So… I needed a new interest, and I found it in digital photography. I joined a camera club and am taking classes in photo imaging. I now have an interest that I can handle physically, and I am still learning and making nice things.

My interest in photography lead me to the Heard Camera Club here in Dallas. Our group took a trip to Santa Clara ranch in far south Texas where I took the image of the redbird at the beginning of this post.

The picture you see below was taken at Caddo Lake.

Caddo Lake is the largest natural fresh water lake in the South. It covers 26,800 acres in Texas and Louisiana and includes the 13th Ramsar Wetland Site, which is considered a wetland of international importance. Caddo Lake contains a mature flooded bald cypress forest that supports a diversity of wildlife--some endangered or vulnerable--and contains indigenous fish that contribute to global biological diversity. The lake also provides a critical support to birds that migrate through the Central Flyway. Caddo Lake is a lake with a lot of history and a unique and mysterious beauty. Needless to say, this lake is a prime destination for nature photographers.

This is the third lesson about retirement -- Age is eventually going to catch up with you – don’t fight it, ADAPT to it.

That’s my story. Not everyone will have the desire or the wherewithal to retire like I did, but the takeaway lesson is this:

You work too long and too hard to reach retirement time to waste that time doing nothing meaningful. Plan for retirement and enjoy it. Carpe Diem!" ~Larry Genender

We are the grey Tsunami folks. Let's make waves!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Time is so precious!

Bill Witcher, co-founder of Computer School for Seniors will be sharing words of encouragement, inspiration and hope with you each Sunday.

Enjoy your time with them,
they are so precious
and they grow up so fast!

A woman I work with walked into my office last week proudly showing off her one year old granddaughter. They were both all smiles. Mable was a very proud Grandmother with a pricious gift in her arms. Whenever this happens, I find myself making the usual comments, “How cute.” “What a great smile.” “Beautiful eyes” etc. and then I usually say what has become so evident to me, “Enjoy your time with her, she is so precious and they grow up very fast.

Mimi and I cherish the time we have with our three wonderful grandchildren. They are very special little people. They mean a lot to us and we value the time we spend with them.
As we grow older we have come to realize time is our most precious commodity.

Your priorities determine how you spend your time, and time is precious.
The following statements shared by John Maxwell may help put time in perspective:

To know the value of one year...ask the student who failed the final exam.

To know the value of one week...ask the editor of a weekly newsmagazine.

To know thevalue of one day...ask the wage earner who has six children.
To know the value of one hour...ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To know the value of one minute...ask the person who missed the plane.

To know the value of one second...ask the person who survived the accident.
To know the value of one millisecond...ask the Olympic silver medalist.

Your time is priceless. As Ralph Waldo Emerson advised, "Guard well your spare moments.They are like uncut diamonds. discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life."

Bill Witcher is co-founder of Computer School for Seniors (

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

The Home of the Brave

Poetry says emotional things so well. I'll let it speak for me today:

The summer soldier and the
sunshine patriot will, in this crisis,
shrink from the service of his

But he that stands by it now
deserves the love and thanks of
man and woman.

~Thomas Paine

Home of the Brave
by Roger Robicheau

Through the feel of war they brave this day
How proud they stand, their unselfish way

Our soldiers bear what we cannot see
They assure our right to live life free

Each trained will face an unknown fate
Our support they need, don’t hesitate

Just imagine how this land would be
Without their courage - catastrophe

All the liberties we have grown to know
Would not exist, this life would go

Find a thankfulness within your mind
Speak gratitude for our bravest kind

Have the willingness to show you care
For fallen heroes, hold back no tear

Reach out to God with his guiding light
For our troops do pray, both day and night

America raise your flags to wave
For we truly are 'home of the brave'

God Bless Our Native Land
by Frances E. W. Harper

God bless our native land,
Land of the newly free,
Oh may she ever stand
For truth and liberty.

God bless our native land,
Where sleep our kindred dead,
Let peace at thy command
Above their graves be shed.

God help our native land,
Bring surcease to her strife,
And shower from thy hand
A more abundant life.
God bless our native land,
Her homes and children bless,
Oh may she ever stand
For truth and righteousness.

I'll end this post with one of my favorite images. This picture has always made our men and women in uniform going in harms way so very real to me:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Best of the Best!

On her Pinterest account Suzi Holler defines her interests as, "Librarian, trainer, social media coach, Web search diva, purveyor of amazing Xocai Healthy Chocolate." What she has put together is a great combination of useful information, fun images and interesting websites.

I have mentioned this Pinerest enthusiast before, but I'm going to mention her again. She has added some interesting and creative new information to her Pinterest boards.

For starters, if you are new to Pinerest, check out New to Pinterest? How-tos here. There are 10 helpful pins on this board that will give you insight into getting set up in the program.


She has wonderful boards on Book Stores, Libraries, Book Accessories, Books as Art, Book Baubles, Bangles and Accessories, etc.

Also there are many links to Social Media if you are interested in that. Examples are Social Media Analytics, Blogging Websites  SEO, and Content Curation and Interfaces just to name a few.

Or how about just for fun...What a Wonderful World, Architecture and Engineering, and Color Me...

Here is her will enjoy it! says, "The wildly successful social media start-up Pinterest has exploded into the social media stratosphere and as of April 2012, was ranked as the third largest social media site behind Facebook and Twitter." Ben Sibermann is the CEO and twenty-something founder of this global Internet phenomenon.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fabulous Faces

More of Betty Levy's marvelous paintings featured in today's offering for the The Painters Palette!

We have a series of paintings on different subjects by this artist that will be featured during the next few weeks. Keep in mind that this talent lay dormant for 20 years while she put her brushes down to raise a family!

Betty Levy's paintings include an eclectic mixture of subjects--perhaps a photograph she has taken while traveling, or a photo from a fellow student that catches her fancy or someone she actually knows. I've often watched this process transpire in the classroom...she will see an image she connects with and the words that come out of her mouth are, "I'd love to paint that!"

Our first painting comes from the picture you see below that was taken while she was traveling...

The peasant...the woman...the warrior.

When I saw these two images, it brought to mind a quote from one of Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels, Walking Shadow..."the history of a people who for millennia had seen everything, and been shocked by nothing--unimpressed, unexcited, unflinching, tired, permanent, and implacable."

The much loved teacher...

Betty very much appreciates the strength that education provides people of all ages. So paint her teacher she did. I sound like Yoda...that's OK I guess as long as I don't look like him!

And the Grandfather and Grandson...

An enduring subject, powerfully portrayed.

Before I retired, as I would walk around my classroom, I would often see what my 50 to 90 year old students were working on independently. And after nearly 10 years, four semesters a year, five to twelve classes a semester, I continued to be surprised and delighted by the talent that would spring off of their computer screens.

It makes me want to shout...don't stop because of your age...believe in how good you are, trust in your talent, educate yourselves, be excellent. It is all within your grasp. You just have to let it live!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Painter's Palette

Seniors are doing many exciting things and we enjoy featuring their impresssive accomplishments on our blog. We have several painters who have kindly allowed us to feature work here.


I first saw one of these fascinating paintings on a computer screen at the junior college where I used to teach classes to seniors and boomers. As I walked by Betty’s computer, I asked her where she had found the image I saw there and she told me she had painted it!

Betty Levy was born in Argentina and exhibited a very creative nature at an early age. She told me, "I like to paint for the joy of it." The image you see below was painted when she was in Greece. She went to a pottery workshop taught by the man you see in the image below.


As a young person living in the Miami Beach area of Florida she had two notable accomplishments -- wining first place in the Canada Art Show 1984 and winning first place in the same year at a show at the Surfside Recreation Department. While in Miami she was an understudy to a remarkable painter -- Juan Manuel Segovia.

With two sons to bring up, homemaking and motherhood created a lengthy lapse in her career as an artist. She decided to return to her art and started taking classes again at Brookhaven College and most recently at Richland College in Dallas, Texas where she had an exhibit in their Brazos Art Gallery.

I told her that I would love to share one of her images on our Computersavvyseniors blog, and she generously agreed. Betty has traveled extensively and she takes pictures wherever she goes. These pictures inspire her painting. The paintings you see below came from pictures she took in Prague.

Tour guide for Prague trip:


A base player on one of Prague's streets:


Prague fisherman:


Special thanks to Betty Levy for sharing her talent with all of us.

"Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What's a sun-dial in the shade?" ~Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lifelong Learning: Our Minds, Bodies & Spirits

Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret of Making the Most of Your After 50 Years shares the benefits of Lifelong Learning in this post.


The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years.

Lifelong Learning in Your Later Years…
A Health Club for Your Mind, Body, and Spirit!

So, what is it about lifelong learning keep that keeps our minds, bodies and spirits active and alert? Let’s take a look.

Our Minds

Research during the 1990’s, a decade of pioneering brain research, proved that a stimulated mind promotes a healthy brain. The studies were conducted at many well-known university research facilities, and showed that keeping brains stimulated helps retain mental alertness as people age.

The brain’s physical anatomy actually responds to enriching mental activities. Scientists have discovered that the brain, even an aging brain, can grow new connections and pathways when challenged and stimulated.

These studies point out the value of incorporating lifelong learning into our later lives. Albert Einstein, Claude Monet, Arturo Toscanini, Hume Cronyn and Pablo Casals, as well as many others, were all productive and vibrant well into old age. Every day that they used their skills and talents to produce great works, they were learning.

In the words of Dr. Paul Nussbaum, Director of the Aging Research and Education Center in Pittsburgh, PA, “…every time your heart beats, 25% of that blood goes right to the brain. But while exercise is critical, it may be education that is more important. In the 21st century, education and information may become for the brain what exercise is for the heart.” Just like the human heart, our brains need to be nurtured through the health club known as lifelong learning.

Our Bodies

Along with keeping our minds alert and stimulated as we age, everyone knows the importance of keeping our bodies active. Lifelong learning programs offer ways to incorporate activity into our daily lives. For instance, spirituality, meditation, stress reduction, yoga, exercise of all types, walking clubs, and outdoor programs are but a few of the many opportunities available.

If learning through educational travel sounds more appealing, then be prepared to actively explore new and different places, not just ride from place to place on a bus. Later-life learners who travel are out and about, taking part in spirited discussions, talking with the locals, and examining unique places up close and personal.

Lifelong learning through work within the community is yet another way of staying active, interacting with society, and keeping connected to life. Dedicated volunteers are not watching life pass them by through their living room windows. They are actively making a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. So, learning later is not only a health club for our minds, but for our bodies, as well. Regardless of your level of involvement, later-life learning promotes necessary physical activity which is especially valuable as we age.

Our Spirits

Finally, learning in later life engages our spirits. It provides the needed social interaction that is often lacking as we age. Older adults join lifelong learning programs as much for the social aspects as for the learning. Outdoor programs, field trips, luncheons, parties, and travel far and near, give mature adults the opportunity to make new friends, engage in stimulating give-and-take discussions, and share in life’s ups and downs with like-minded people. Life gets a little overwhelming at times. How better to get through these challenges than by sharing them with other later-life learners?

Making learning part of our later years also fosters a sense of personal empowerment and increased self-esteem. It ensures continued growth and intellectual stimulation, leading to a more fulfilling, enjoyable and enriched lifestyle. So, learning later is a health club for our spirits as well.

Those who participate in more formal programs of later-life learning discover their intellectual, social, spiritual and physical horizons have expanded far beyond any previous expectations.

David, a later-life learner from New York, concurs. “We have a fantastic program for personal discovery,” he says. “We base everything on the belief that our capacity to learn and grow does not decrease as our years increase. In fact, through learning and the adventures we embark on, we actually embrace self-fulfillment.” His statement really says it all!

Continuing to learn after age 50 is vitally important. It helps develop our natural abilities, immerses us in the wonders of life, stimulates our natural curiosity about the world, increases our wisdom, enables us to use our experiences to make the world a better place, and helps us face the inevitable changes of society.

Without a doubt, learning later is truly a health club for our minds, bodies and spirits. Using this health club every day ensures that our lives will be richer, more fulfilled and far more satisfying.

“Ah, nothing is too late,
Till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate.
Cato learned Greek at eighty; Sophocles
Wrote his grand Oedipus, and Simonides
Bore off the prize of verse from his compeers
When each had numbered more than fourscore years.”

…Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, April 29, 2012

It's All About Attitude and Effort

Bill Witcher will be sharing words of encouragement, inspiration and hope with you each Sunday.

I remember many years ago Robert Schuller saying how “Attitude determines your Altitude”. A positive attitude will help you fly high and achieve great things. A bad attitude will keep you down and hold you back. Right now in today’s world there are so many terrible things taking place, our ability to maintain a positive attitude is being assulted. Read the headlines, watch the news on TV, listen to the radio, we are being bombarded with so much doom and gloom that it can ruin our day if we let it.

Well John C. Maxwell wrote a book Called “Today Matters” in which he offers 12 daily practices to guarantee tomorrow’s success. The very first practice he talks about deals with our attitude. Here’s what he says:

Why Attitude Matters Today

While it is possible for people with great talent or drive to achieve with a bad attitude, it doesn’t happen very often, and it takes an incredible amount of effort. And even if they do achieve some degree of succes, they aren’t happy. And they usually make the people around them miserable too.

On the other hand, even barely average people can do great things when their attitudes are great. In The Winner’s Edge, Denis Waitley observed, “The winner’s edge is not in a gifted birth, a high IQ, or in talent. The winner’s edge is all in the attitude, not aptitude. Attitude is the criterion for success. But you can’t buy an attitude for a million dollars. Attitudes are not for sale.”

Here’s why your attitude makes such a difference as you approach your day:

1. Your attitude at the beginning of a task affects its outcome more than anything else
2. Your attitude toward others often determines your attitude towards you
3. Your attitude can give you a winner’s perspective
4. Your attitude – not your achievements- gives you happiness
5. Your attitude is contagious

Next Sunday, we’ll talk about how you can consciously make the decision to choose and display the right attitudes daily.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fine Food and Interesting Tales from Afar

The Internet provides us with so many wonderful opportunities to connect with people all over the world. I am particularly interested in bloggers who are age 55 to 100. I'm in that age group and I thoroughly enjoy these blogs. Since we have set up our Pinterest account I've found some good ones that I'll share. For now, here is one of my all time favorite blogs along with some of the pictures I have accumulated over the years.

Rita and I have been friends for several years even though we live in different countries--me from the U.S. and she from Canada.

In fact, when tornados were roaring through the Dallas area, and the sirens were blaring, I came in to my office and read several posts from Sage Cuisine to get my mind off of the insanity that was going on around me!!

She says on her blog, "Food is my passion and instead of a novel I much prefer reading a cook book, recipe book anything to do with food. I post once a week about things that make me Happy. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and a friend to a few special people.

Family, memories, food, recipes, gadgets, chefs, cooking, restaurants, herbs, markets, travel etc. will be my focus. Rita"

I agree with Norman Kolpas who said, "Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort." So does this website. Filled with excellent quotations, travel memories, sweet graphics and delicious recipes, this is one you'll love.

You will find posts about such things as Paninis and Daffodils, Food for Thought, and A Surprise Visitor. Be sure and scroll down to "older posts"...there is so much there to love!

Another lovely aspect of this blog is the people who follow Rita. There are 202 of them and they are from all over the world. Here are a couple that I liked:

Cooking Varieties-Food and Health Benefits
Kitchen Basics
Love the First Bite
A Brit in Tennessee

Sage Cuisine and many of its followers adhere to Fernand Point's marvelous quote where he said,
"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

Enjoy Rita's charmer at:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Have a High Appreciation for Life

Bill Witcher will be sharing words of encouragement, inspiration and hope with you each Sunday.

I’m going to continue sharing excerpts from John C. Maxwell’s book, Today Matters because when we wake up in the morning, God has/ blessed us with a brand new day and how we handle His gift really does matter.

Have you ever known people who complain about everything? Their soup’s too hot. Their bed’s too cold. Their vacation’s too short. Their pay’s too low. (There are a lot of people today who would be grateful to just have a job at any pay level.) Such people simply don’t appreciate life no matter how good it gets.

John Maxwell tells the story of a friend who emailed him the story of a very “together” and independent ninety-two-year-old lady who was moving into a nursing home. Since she was legally blind and her husband of seventy years had passed away, the move was her only option. She waited in the lobby of the facility for a long time before finally being told that her room was ready. As she was escorted down the corridor, her attendant started describing the room, down to the curtains hung on the windows.
“I love it,” the elderly lady enthused.
“But we’re not even to the room yet. Just wait,” the attendant responded.

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged. It’s how I arrange my mind.”

Appreciation isn’t a matter of taste or sophistication. It’s a matter of perspective. John Wooden said, “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” The place to start is with the little things. If you can learn to appreciate them and be grateful for them, you’ll appreciate the big things as well as everything in between.


"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
- John Wooden

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

May all of your weeds be wildflowers!

The word serendipity is defined as the faculity or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for. Does that sound like a wildflower or what?

Frank Fandrick has been a contributor to our blog since we started in 2009. I was delighted to hear from him after a trip he had made to Austin, Texas where he had taken some pictures of one of my favorite things--wildflowers! I emailed him immediately and asked if we could use them on our blog, and he graciously agreed.

What a pleasure these images are. I did some browsing on the Internet and found quotations, music lyrics and an essay that fit right in these pictures such as:

"Love is like wildflowers; It's often found in the most unlikely places.”

Or remember this song:

Hey, I’m a wildflower, growin’ in the sunshine
Soakin’ up the way of life I was raised in
Runnin’ barefoot bloomin’ in the summer shower
Ponytail dancin’, I can’t help it. I’m a wildflower.

The next image is a repeat of the first one with the addition of some Photoshop filters--looks dreamy!

Here is part of an essay called Wild Flowers, written by Richard Jeffries:

Before I had any conscious thought it was a delight to me to find wild flowers, just to see them. It was a pleasure to gather them and to take them home; a pleasure to show them to others--to keep them as long as they would live, to decorate the room with them, to arrange them carelessly with grasses, green sprays, tree-bloom--large branches of chestnut snapped off, and set by a picture perhaps. Without conscious thought of seasons and the advancing hours to light on the white wild violet, the meadow orchis, the blue veronica, the blue meadow cranesbill; feeling the warmth and delight of the increasing sun-rays, but not recognizing whence or why it was joy...the various hues of the petals pleased without any knowledge of colour-contrasts, no note even of colour except that it was bright, and the mind was made happy without consideration of those ideals and hopes afterwards associated with the azure sky above the fir-tree. A fresh footpath, a fresh flower, a fresh delight. The reeds, the grasses, the rushes--unknown and new things at every step--something always to find; no barren spot anywhere, or sameness. Every day the grass painted anew, and its green seen for the first time; not the old green, but a novel hue and spectacle, like the first view of the sea.

A special thank you to Frank for bringing us this breath of spring!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

We Are Easter People

Bill Witcher will be sharing words of encouragement, inspiration and hope with you each Sunday.

A friend sent me an article written by David Burchett that is very appropriate for this Easter Sunday.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through

A couple of years ago I saved an article from USA Today . The title, We are Easter People, was intriquing enough to merit a second look. Here is a portion of the piece written by Diane Cameron.

One of the lowest points in my life occurred years ago when I was living in Washington, D.C., at Easter time. My older sister had recently died and both of my brothers were seriously ill; my best friend was leaving town, and on top of that I was questioning my work. In my journal that April I wrote, "Am I depressed?" When I read those pages now I laugh and shake my head. "Depressed?" That I even had to ask. In that long year I thought I'd never laugh again, just as I thought I'd never again feel love, the joy of easy friendship, or the satisfaction of good work.

I went to church that Easter out of both habit and desperation. I had grown up in a church-going family. It was what we did. And so to honor the family that I was losing I went. Easter after all, is the centerpiece for Christians, honoring and recalling Christ's triumph over death.
I chose a big downtown church for Easter services — one with hundreds in the congregation — not daring to visit a smaller church where I might have to speak to people or be embarrassed by my own tears. I wanted the paradoxical safety and anonymity of being in a crowd.

The minister that Easter Sunday said many things that I don't remember, but one sentence has stayed with me all these years. He said, "We live in a Good Friday world."

That I understood. A Good Friday world is a world full of suffering, questioning, unfairness, trouble, mistakes, hurts, losses and grief. Good Friday in the Christian faith is the day Christians commemorate Christ's suffering and death on the cross. So that certainly made sense to me at that difficult time in my life.

"But," he continued, "We are Easter people." Those words stopped me cold. I was stunned to be reminded that painful morning that there was something other than what I was feeling.

Wow. What an amazing message as we head into the Easter week. We do live in a Good Friday world. How easy it is to stop right there, just short of healing, not realizing the hope of resurrection. The story of Easter week did not stop on Friday. The hope of this season is all
about Sunday.

And as always, our special Easter greetings and heartfelt thanks to our armed forces, whether overseas or at home!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Mind/Body Connection

Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret of Making the Most of Your After 50 Years will share the benefits of Lifelong Learning on Thursdays.

The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years.

Lifelong Learning in Your Later Years…
A Health Club for Your Mind, Body, and Spirit!

For the next few weeks I would like for us to take a look at the Mind/Body Connection. No, we won’t be studying any hocus-pocus, but rather some sound scientific research. Being aware of the Mind/Body Connection is very important, especially as we age.

The belief that our thoughts and actions can influence our health–the Mind/Body Connection–is not a new concept. Over the years, in certain circles, this notion was an accepted fact. Research in the latter half of the 20th century, however, has shown that this long-held belief is actually true.

But what does this belief really mean? It’s probably safe to say that wishing for a gold Rolls Royce won’t suddenly make one appear in your driveway. But there is significant evidence to suggest that coordinating the interaction between our minds and bodies can result in amazing things. Lifelong learning plays a major role in this because it helps balance both your mind and body. And when things are in balance, you feel better and have the ability and desire to create a rich and satisfying life.

Technically, the study of the Mind/Body Connection goes by several intimidating labels certain to demolish anyone playing Scrabble with you. Among these names are such polysyllabic nightmares as psychoneuroimmunology, psychophysiology, neuropsychology, and psychoneuroimmunology. We’ll opt for a much shorter abbreviation of the last one: PNI.

In the 1960’s, one of the early pioneers in the study of modern day PNI was psychiatrist George Solomon. He observed that depression seemed to make rheumatoid arthritis worse. He then began investigating the impact of emotions on immune function in general. His research was responsible for the development of the new field of PNI.

Then in the late 1960s and early 1970s, cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson began studying the effects of meditation on blood pressure. He developed the term “the relaxation response,” which today is recognized far and wide. Finally in the mid 1970s, psychologist Dr. Robert Adler’s studies demonstrated that cognitive and emotional cues could affect immune response. Thanks to his research PNI was finally recognized as a legitimate medical specialty.

Since these early discoveries researchers everywhere have been studying PNI. Over the ensuing years, PNI has demonstrated its value in three different research areas – physiological research, epidemiological research and clinical research.

More on this very interesting subject next week…

John C. Lilly, American physician, psychoanalyst, philosopher and writer said, “In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true.” Well, if that’s the case, then we all have the ability to create meaningful later lives for ourselves – lives that are enriched and far more exciting than we ever thought possible. Lifelong learning is one important tool that can help us create that life.

Till Next Time…

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Find it with Zuula!

Here is another tip from one of the wonderful teachers I had when I took classes at a local community college. Can't beat tips from a pro!

Does it bother you that the results from search engine to search engine can be very different? As
I sometimes do, you probably run an important search in various search enginesjust to make certain you did not miss anything. Take a minute and experiment with Zuula!

Zuula is really one part metasearch engine and one part time-saver! It searches other engines and brings you individual lists that you can compare and contrast without running multiple searches or opening multiple windows.

Zuula’s real power is not as much in its search but in its functionality and customization. Run a
search in Zuula and you will get a series of results tabs. Each tab is a results list from a different
search engine. Simply click the tabs to compare and contrast the results.

Want to specify which engines are being searched and in which order? No problem! Zuula can be customized to poll only the search engines you trust and in an order ranked by you. You can even set your preferences by type of content (web, images, video, blogs, etc.) being searched.

Visit and give it a try!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Maxims With Meaning

Bill Witcher will be sharing words of encouragement, inspiration and hope with you each Sunday.

Max Lucado is one of my favorite Christian authors. He is a minister, author and the daily speaker of the radio program UpWords.

He has a special writing style that captures your heart and your head. He's got a great imagination, a keen wit and a gift for communicating the Word of God.

In his book When God Whispers Your Name, he talks about his writing style and shares some "Maxims"...

We learn brievity from Jesus. His greatest sermon can be read in eight minutes (Matthew 5-7). His best known story can be read in ninety seconds (Luke 15:11-32). He summarized prayer in five phrases (Matthew 6:9-13). He silenced accusers with one challenge (John 8:7). He rescued a soul with one sentence (Luke 23:43). He summarized the Law in three verses (Mark 12:29-31), and he reduced all his teachings to one command (John 15.12).

I love the short sentence. Big-time game it is. Hiding in the junlgle of circular construction and six-syllable canyonms. As I write, I hunt. And when I find, I shoot. Then I drag the treasure out of the trees and marvel.

Not all of my prey make their way into chapters. So what becomes of them? I save them. But I can't keep them to myself. So, may I invite you to see my trophy case? What follows are cuts from this book and a couple of others. Keep the ones you like. Forgive the ones you don't. Share them when you can. But if you do, keep it brief.

Pray all the time. If necessary, use words.

Sacrilege is to feel guilt for sins forgiven.

God forgets the past. Imitate him.

Greed I've often regretted. Generosity-never.

Never miss a chance to read a child a story.

Pursue forgiveness, not innocence.

Be doubly kind to the people who bring your food or park your car.

Don't ask God to do what you want. Ask God to do what is right.

Nails didn't hold God to a cross. Love did.

You'll give up on your self before God will.

Know answered prayer when you see it, and don't give up when you don't.

Faith in the future begets power in the present.

No one is useless to God. No one.

Succeed in what matters.

You'll regret opening your mouth. You'll rarely regret keeping it shut.

As much as you can, give thanks. He's already given us more than we deserve.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pinterest-You've Got to Try It!

This is such a fun thing to get involved with! I have learned a lot about special places to go on the Internet through Pinterest.

Here is how they describe themselves:

"Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. It lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. To get started, request an invite.

Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests."

You can repin things to your "boards" so you will have them within easy reach. I have had more fun with this than anything I've tried on the Internet for some time. Here is the link to our blog's Pinerest boards, and then a link to a another Pinerest enthusiast that I really like:

This lady is a retired librarian and has some wonderful ideas:

Here is the Pinterest home page:

This is a great place to be creative and take advantage of other people's treasures.

"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves." ~Carl Jung