Sunday, April 28, 2013

Turning 60: Returning to my Childhood Camp!



My special day for April came at the end of the month. I think every woman—or man, for that matter—deserves a day to go on a retreat. Retreats can come in many forms, but my special day was spent with the ladies from Kirkmont Presbyterian Church in Beavercreek, as they celebrated their spring retreat.

This is a bit confusing, as the location of this retreat is also called Kirkmont, and is east of Zanesfield, Ohio. This is the church camp I attended as a child—in fact I noted to the group that my first year of camping was 50 years ago—and returned to the camp with my high school youth group the following years.
The Kroft House, which holds 24
campers overnight. We had 31
overall.

I also returned to Kirkmont (the camp) exactly ten years ago as the Miami Presbytery had a very nice “Secretary’s Day” for its administrative assistants, and I was serving as Executive Secretary to Covenant Presbyterian Church in Springfield at the time. That was probably the nicest “day” given to me by an employer, an opportunity to meet and talk with others who did my job in the same organization.

Ten years ago, as today, we were in the “new” lodge that camps about 24 people. It’s a log cabin type of building and is very well designed for small meetings and retreats.

I decided not to spend the two nights there as I had a busy Friday evening here in Fairborn, and I figured that we could make this just a day trip and be fine. I attended with my good friend Beth Milling, who I am familiar with going on “day trips.” She arrived at my house at 7:00 AM. I drove, as I knew the route well from many athletic events at Benjamin Logan High School. It is such a scenic drive, and we had a beautiful day to enjoy the view.

We had three meals there; music time, lesson times, games, crafts and ending our day with communion together. There were several “methods” of mixing us up and I met many ladies and enjoyed new friendships. Of course, I got to talk to the choir director!

The original lodge from my early days.
Mid-afternoon, we broke for personal devotions. I walked a little way to a pavilion that I remembered from my high school days. My worship music is on the iPad and I finished up a book on Galatians that I had wanted to complete. It was a beautiful day to sit out at a picnic table and just be with the Lord. Why don’t I do this more often?

I went down to the original lodge. It needs work, but it IS fifty some years old! If I recall correctly, the camp was fairly new when I went in 1963. Those were the days when there were many Baby Boomer kids coming of age to become campers, and you signed up early! My mind took me back to the campfires in the evening, the swimming pool, and hiking with my tent-mates. Singing and cooking around the campfire, spiritual growth (for a 9-12 year old!) and all the other things that make summer camp fun!

I also remembered the snowball fights of the youth group winter retreats; although those retreats took place entirely in the main lodge, we managed to get outside too! These were great memories!

Life is different today.  A place with so much potential is not used as much, and it has been turned over to a separate non-profit for its sustainability. It is used by many other groups other than Presbyterian Church groups, and that is fine. It’s a lovely place and not TOO far away.

When I come home from a day like this; I wonder why I don’t do something like this regularly. It doesn't have to be a group affair, maybe another friend, or two, or do tell, I could just be ALONE! Even in a blog called “Connection Intersection,” there is a time for solitude.

Well, I’m never REALLY alone!


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Aging Issues: Keeping in Touch!

My oldest client is 96. I spent some time with her recently. It's always a joy, because mentally, she is spot on, and we can have serious discussions.

I asked her how many people she still "kept in touch" with; thinking of friends, but certainly not limiting the discussion to that. I realize that, at 96, she has outlived most of her friends. She has outlived two of her four children, was widowed not long after I was married and has buried an adult grandchild.

I was interested in her responses. She pulled out at least 20 Easter cards sent to her from great-nieces, grandchildren, "adopted" family members and friends. She told me about these people and their relationships. I did specifically ask about "schoolmates" and she mentioned that she had a cousin that she started school with and they were still in touch, but she didn't mention anyone else.

But worry not, she does keep in touch! This year, I sent out about 100 “Happy New Year” cards, with pictures of our family at the wedding. That was to the “long list.” She told me she sent out 76 Christmas cards! I was amazed!

Without the Internet, she calls her friends and relatives, and told me of the "unlimited" plan that she must have with the phone company. We spoke of the importance of keeping up with the younger generation. She started her family at 19, I started mine at 30, which has always placed me in the company of people about ten years younger than I. If we live long enough, we are going to need those people.

I identified with her as she relates to her grand-nieces and nephews, her cousins' children, as well as her own direct descendants. She has a great-great grandson that is ready to graduate from high school! Healthy as she is, physically and mentally, it is conceivable that she could have a great-great-great grandchild!

Most people are fine with me using my smart-phone to look up medications, which are changing all the time. They don't ask a lot of questions, and I explain what I am doing as I go. However, as we talked about relationships, I decided to show her my phone and Facebook and how "it's done" today. She was fascinated! We had the best time! It was so much fun to discuss this with an older person, who didn't shrug off the concepts of email and Facebook as ways to keep in touch. She knew it was important; however I chose to do it.

Of course, I had to have some fun with her too. I showed her how easy it was to get the weather and news report; and we "googled" her name. The only thing that came up was whitepages.com, but there it was! She was amazed, maybe a little frightened, until I told her that it's basically saving a forest, the white pages are now online! We then googled ME and that was another story. Mostly, it's about this blog, the class web site that I administrate, and shows that I am on LinkedIn and Facebook. I explained to her what each of those represented. I am out there.

I was thrilled that she was interested in this stuff and she understood what was going on! Not that she's running out to buy a computer or a smart phone, but she was interested in what is going on in our world today. As she said, you have to keep up with what is going on, or you will die!

If I live to be 96, I want to be just like her!

Friday, April 5, 2013

My Fitness Journey: The Co-Worker's Diet

Oh, Lord, don't let me be this person!

My little corner of the world!
Maybe one of the reasons I am writing this and feeling this, is because I am at a stagnant place. It's the beginning of the year and everyone--it seems--is on a diet. It's frustrating at the gym, when you overhear those folks that are talking about how much they've lost since the beginning of the year. I don't know what they are doing--be it healthy or not--but I hear the conversation. It's depressing, to a point.

But I continue with what I am doing, exercising with three classes a week and personal training once a week, and there's another strength class that I am going to be a part of semi-regularly--and truly, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger--but the scales do not budge.

And I am frustrated.

However, that doesn't hold a candle to spending hours upon hours with an office mate that is on a "new" diet. Now this is a good and necessary thing for her health, and I want to be supportive of her. She has joined a gym and is very excited about it, and I personally feel like she's overdoing it; but I know her body will tell her, just as mine talks to me.

I have to listen to this non-stop and it is wearing on my nerves. Every discussion is about what she can and can't eat. As we know, I have not taken this approach. I eat anything I want--in moderation! Also, I DO have splurge days. I am not taking any approach that I cannot maintain the rest of my life! (And that includes a glass of wine once in awhile!)

So we have agreed to weigh-in at work once a week. I know that I am moving at a slower rate, and .5 pound a week is OK with me. She is upset because she ONLY lost two pounds. I quietly remind her that two pounds a week is VERY good and more is really bordering on dangerous--and what we all know, usually doesn't stay off permanently.

I have to remember that I do not compare myself with others, even as I am at this place. I don't go to the gym to watch what others are doing. I am not going to compare myself with a co-worker, and I know I am on the right path, even though I am moving at the tortoise's pace, not the rabbit's!

So what's the lesson for all of us? Just keep on doing what we are doing, and smile when people say they have noticed. We don't have to make announcements every time we eat or abstain or exercise. It's really boring after awhile.

Next : Camaraderie at the gym.