As the calendar turns on our second year of the Covid 19 Pandemic, we know more and we’re protected some; but the virus and our understanding of it keep changing. If there was ever a time for resilience, this would be it!
With the introduction of vaccines throughout 2021, some of life’s normal activities returned. Even being able to do simple things like meeting for coffee or sharing a meal were greatly appreciated.
In our world, all but the most modest of travels were curtailed. What took on great significance for me were short visits with nearby family. I had missed them so.
In recent years, I’ve made it a practice to sum up our family’s year in photos. As you will see from the Katz Family Christmas Letter 2021 included here, we continued to find joy and pleasure in spite of the various restrictions of our times. We’re especially grateful for blessings of good health.
May this message find you well and looking forward with hope to life as it will unfold in 2022.
Warmest wishes to you all, Pat
Take A Walk With Gratitude
October 24, 2021
Thanksgiving has come and gone and as I took my morning walk today, I remained thankful for all kinds of things. In particular, I noted how grateful I am to have my mind and my memories.
What prompted this line of thought was the news that beloved children’s author, Robert Munsch (I’ll Love You Forever, Mortimer, Thomas’ Snowsuit, The Paperbag Princess, and so many more modern classics) has been diagnosed with dementia. This means that eventually his many memories and the stories he has created over the years will be gone to him.
This made me sad, and it made me appreciate my own memories even more. Many of my earliest recollections involve (more…)
Are You Giving Yourself Time To Play?
September 8, 2021
I could not resist! Driving home recently from a late afternoon appointment, I cruised by the kiddies’ rides in Kinsmen Park and thought to myself, “Why not?”
It was a stellar September day – sunny, calm and warm as could be – a beautiful day for a ride.
I pulled into the parking lot, bought myself tickets and hopped on a horse. When the merry go round rolled to a stop, I took to the skies on the Ferris wheel.
I ride carousels everywhere we go on our travels, and I hadn’t been on this one yet – this year!!! I’m glad I took that little detour and a timeout to play.
When I posted these photos and reflections on my experience to my Facebook page, I was struck by the dozens of responses I received. (more…)
Climbing Back Up When You’re Feeling Down – A Talk Reel Conversation
July 26, 2021
I so enjoyed this 45 minute conversation with Stephanie Staples and Barry Green recorded in early July as part of their Talk Reel series of engaging conversations.
We covered a few topics – but most especially the subject of malaise. We shared lots of info, insights, and plenty of laughs along the way.
So, when you next have a moment to put your feet up and enjoy a cup o’ java or a glass o’ vino, I invite you to tune in Talk Reel Episode #12 for a look and a listen.
I hope you find something that helps you traverse those moments of malaise that show up from time to time in your life.
PAUSE – 20.12 – Are You Searching For Glimmers Of Hope?
December 1, 2020
Reflection: Those of you who have been Pause followers for some time may remember that from 2004 through 2007, I ended each year’s messages with a set of reflections on one of the four jewels in the season of advent: peace, joy, love and hope.
If there was ever a year that we needed hope, 2020 – the year of the pandemic – would be it. And so I dug back into my files and pulled out that earlier message about hope.
I thought you might find it helpful as we wind down this year and look to the new year that is just around the corner.
For 2021, may we dare to hope for a reduction in the spread of Covid, the speedy delivery of an effective vaccine, and the return of those valued things we have set aside in our attempts to keep ourselves and others as healthy as possible.
Here’s that 2007 message on hope, one more time:
I’m sure you’ve learned a thing or two about hope over the years. You’ve probably hoped for positive test results on an exam (medical or academic), for a soulmate with whom you can share life’s joys and worries, and (from the sublime to the very practical) for a primo parking spot when you’re late for an appointment.
We know a lot about hope where I live here in Saskatchewan.
Farmers seed the land every spring in the hopes of a bumper crop.
Mining companies prospect and drill deep in hopes of finding oil, potash, diamonds and uranium.
Roughrider fans hope every year for their team to make and take the Grey Cup.
Sometimes those hopes and dreams come true, and sometimes they don’t.
Here are some of my favorite quotes on the powerful uplifting life force that is hope. Tuck some of these words in your pocket so they may lift your spirits in the days ahead. (more…)
PAUSE – 20.11 – Order From Chaos Revisited
November 4, 2020
Reflection: When I first launched my business – almost 35 years ago – I was focused on improving the lives of women working outside the home. Many of us were juggling career and family responsibilities and struggling mightily.
‘Order From Chaos’ was one of my most popular seminars. It zeroed in on dejunking and organizing the physical clutter of life and creating systems to manage endless responsibilities. There was something very satisfying about finding ways to feel more in control of all that was coming at us from every direction.
In the midst of a global resurgence of Covid cases, we face the prospect of a long winter of restricted movement and limits on activities for our selves and our families. Toss on top of our virus anxieties a list of ongoing concerns about economic uncertainty, rascism, social inequities, and a host of other issues. Once again – or perhaps still – many parts of our lives feel chaotic and beyond our control.
In the midst of it all, it may be time to resurrect some of those ‘order from chaos’ practices that helped us through earlier times. (more…)
PAUSE – 20.10 – Checking In To Check Things Out
October 7, 2020
Reflection: Well, it’s been a good half year since all hell broke loose and our need to respond to the Covid pandemic significantly changed the way we work and live. Many folks continue to work from home, having settled into routines that may or may not be working well.
Dr. Paul White recently released the results of a survey that highlights the concerns around those working remotely from home.
Two main issues stand out.
Topping the list is a concern about the emotional and mental health of team members. How are people dealing with the roller coaster stress ride that is life in a pandemic? How are uncertainty about the future and the requisite social distancing affecting our state of mind? How do we get a real sense of people’s state when contact is limited to business focused head and shoulder zoom chats?
Secondly, there is the challenge of maintaining any sort of healthy boundaries between a home life and work life. When your front door opens to both your home and your office and you don’t know (as one person put it) ‘whether you are working from home or living from work’, how do you allocate your time and attention? What and who may be getting shortchanged? And how do you cope with feeling caught in the middle?
There were many other concerns identified in the survey, and if you check out the resource link, you can read the full report for yourself.
Action: What to do with information like this? (more…)
PAUSE – 20.09 – How Could You Reach Out In Kindness?
September 2, 2020
Reflection: In response to last month’s Pause ezine, one of my readers reminded me (and rightly so) that all is not easy-peasy wine and roses for everyone in the midst of this pandemic. Those with frontline responsibilities, those trying to juggle working from home along with childcare, and those facing financial hardship are struggling and exhausted. I get it.
I’ve been thinking more about how we can ease the burdens of those around us by reaching out to connect with kindness and support.
Action: Here are a few actions I’ve noted and/or experienced that might spark ideas for you.
Lend a hand with the kids. Harried parents can use help – even at a distance – engaging with the youngsters so mom and dad are free to finish up a work project or start cooking dinner. I’ve been using the Caribu app to connect with my 4 and 7 year old grandsons. It allows us to see each other while reading stories, playing simple games, or co-doodling on a drawing.
Catch up on colleagues’ lives beyond work. There’s a tendency to think of workplace zoom meetings as needing to be ‘all business, all efficiency, all the time’. However, in the ‘old normal’ workplace, there would be time for informal chats about life in general. Try booking a zoom coffee break, lunch or 5:00pm wine date with a colleague with the express intent of getting caught up on each other’s lives outside of work. A bit of genuine empathy can help ease the burden.
Meet briefly outdoors in person. Face time and zoom conversations are good. But sometimes you just need to see a real (as my friend says non-digitized) face. Connecting in person at a safe distance for a conversation, a coffee, or a walk can lift the spirits of all involved. (more…)
PAUSE – 20.08 – Pandemic Delivers The Goods
August 5, 2020
Reflection: Well, we here we are about five months into the pandemic here in Canada. I can’t say this situation is or was something I welcomed. Did any of us?
I am fully aware that differences in our stage of life, family, career, and finances as well as our geographical location means that we are all experiencing this situation differently. A single mother working from home while juggling education and childcare is facing a totally different set of challenges than a retired pensioner living on their own. And of course there are many variations in between those two extremes.
So let me preface this by saying that from my corner of the world, as a self employed, empty nester, I have noted a few good things arising from the experience.
Since we are ‘at home’ for the entire summer, we signed on to take delivery of a weekly basket of fresh vegetables from Spring Creek Gardens. So far we’ve received baby potatoes, carrots, broccoli, swiss chard, kale, lettuce, radishes, beets, dill and more. It’s always a surprise to see what’s come into its own each week. And the resulting meals that hit our dinner table bring back childhood memories of fresh produce from the garden at the farm.
With the exception of the year we hosted our daughter’s wedding in our backyard, our garden has never looked better. I’ve cleaned out back corners and trimmed up shrubs that haven’t seen much attention for years. And I’ve done a much more regular job of fertilizing. The plants are happy about that. Biggest hydrangea blossoms ever!
Mornings are a delight. I’m up in good time with no place I have to go. There’s time to enjoy a morning walk, a bike ride along the river, or yoga in the garden. As warm summer days have finally arrived, I’m reading the paper, sipping my coffee, and doing my crossword puzzle outdoors while birds swap the morning news in the trees above.
I’m learning new things – how to navigate my way around delivering virtual presentations, for one. And since I’ve signed on for a couple of online language classes, my French is improving. Merci beaucoup pour ca!
We’re definitely spending less money. Other than grocery and greenhouse shopping, we haven’t spent much time hanging out in the stores or even shopping online for that matter. And our travel expenses, which are normally a big part of our budget, are nil. (more…)
PAUSE – 20.07 – The Risks Of Barreling On
July 1, 2020
Reflection: Last Friday dawned dry, calm, and sunny with a forecast of temps in the high twenties. Seemed like a perfect day to trim the hedge along the driveway.
Instead of starting early in the morning, when it was cooler and the sun not quite so high in the sky, I headed out around 11 am. By 12:30, with the job half finished, I took a break for lunch. Once fed and watered, I immediately headed back out, hat on my head for a little portable shade.
By the time I finished the job around 2:30 in the afternoon, I was overheated, flushed, lightheaded, and reduced to a labored shuffle as I stooped to clean up the last of the clippings on the ground.
Slowly making my way into the cool of the house, I collapsed into a recliner calling out for ice water and a cold cloth. Sunstroke? Maybe. Heatstroke? Likely. Stupidity? Certainly!
I could hear my Dad’s voice in the back of my mind declaring, ‘Damn fool!’ That’s what he used to say about our farmhand who insisted on weeding the garden in the heat of a summer day. I, apparently, had morphed into Bill McGowan!
As I headed into the last of the work on the hedge that day, I knew I wasn’t feeling well. But did I pause, take a break, or stop for the day? Nope. And why not? Because I was intent on crossing the finish line. Damn fool! (more…)