Judy Crockett

Judy Crockett
Judy Crockett

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A "Time Out" Space in Your Home

"Go sit in the corner!"  We have all said it to our kids at one time or another -- or our parents have said it to us. We might even have a rug in the corner for the dog to get a time out. Time outs usually take place in a corner tucked away from others and with limited distraction. The corner actually is a settling place of calmness to get back on track.

I have a corner in my home that I set up just for myself. While our house is small, I was still able to create a space that is my happy place - a place where I can sit comfortably without distraction to read, think, or simply be.

In my corner, I have a rocking chair, a comfy old family heirloom. I have a small table and lamp, a candle, a comforter and a little pillow. At my feet is a beautiful Irish Claddagh woven rug -  a gift from a dear friend. When you create your space, you might choose to tuck in a small vase of flowers, your favorite books, or add soft music.

In my corner of the world, I can look outside if I want, talk on the phone, read, write, meditate, or simply rest. I have created an environment that is peaceful, calming, clean. When I look around the area, I see pictures and objects that make me feel happy and good.

Take time to make a happy place in your home when you can take a "time out" free of distraction to resettle yourself when life gets a bit crazy. Parents have relied on this practice as a way of adjusting behavior for years. It worked for you as a child; it will work for you as an adult - - maybe even better.

Go enjoy your happy place.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Creating Healthy Habits Through Self-Awareness

Have you even done something and afterward realized that you hardly remember doing it?  Mindless eating is common. We've all have had the experience of mindless driving: arriving someplace and not remembering a portion of the trip. I have had days that I look back and hardly remember what I did that day - - or how I even felt during the day. We get into the habit of doing things, of going through the motions, with no consciousness or self-awareness.

In a meditation, Deepak Chopra invites his students to "create healthy habits through self-awareness." Ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?"  What a great question! So often we do things, feel things, eat things, simply out of habit. Just think about ways you might do thing differently, think or feel differently in a situation, if you took a moment just to ask yourself that simple question: "Why am I doing this?" or "Why do I feel this way?"

Simply being aware of a habit we have, or aware of a feeling that we harbour, we have the ability to change the behavior or thought if we have the desire to do so.

As well, maybe we started doing something, created a habit, for a very positive purpose: talking a daily walk, reading a positive daily message, eating a particular food, doing a daily good deed. Even good habits can become mindless. I invite you to take a minute and ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?" to reaffirm and enjoy the positive impact of your good habits, thoughts and actions as well.

Enjoy each moment of the day!


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Staying home and reconnecting with my community and friends has been weighing on my mind more and more. It is no wonder I am ready to unpack and reclaim my home.

Since October 2007, we have logged more miles than most, beached from coast to coast, and experienced life in many of our 50 United States.

We spent nearly a couple weeks driving the coast of Ireland in 2007, exploring the coastline, visiting golf courses, eating in local pubs, climbing castles and rocks, staying in B&Bs along the way.

Since then, work has taken us to Ohio, Virginia, Massachusetts, Denver, Michigan, Illinois, and Florida. Work has allowed us to spend considerable blocks of time in various areas, often 6-8 weeks, giving us time to enjoy local flavor, see areas of interest, try new foods, visit like a tourist and act like a local.

We did a music tour stopping in Cleveland, Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans. We walked their downtowns, stopped in local bars to hear music, and toured The Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Graceland, Cleveland Music Hall and so much more.

We spent a couple weeks in Golf Port, Mississippi at a mission to help with Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Touring the region, talking with locals, witnessing the destruction, reconstruction, and the many helping hands that continue today to provide assistance to a region and people deeply impacted by this storm, was a life-changing experience for us.

We did an east coast road trip for work and pleasure that included a drive through Canada stopping at Niagara Falls - -it has come a long way since my last trip through. We visited numerous beaches and sites including Cape Cod, Coast Guard Beach. We visited the many homes of authors in Concord, Mass.  And we hiked around Walden Pond. We walked the 3.5 mile National Recreation Trail Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island along the coast and magnificent mansions. We even took in a Red Sox gamed at Fenway Park.

This past fall, we truly logged miles when we first visited our new grandson in sunny California and walked along Malibu Beach where we witnessed a whale blowing off the coast. Back in Michigan a few weeks later we walked the southern coast of Lake Superior and hiked Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore with friends. Then we were off to the east coast of Florida for work. Before heading back to Michigan, we drove to Key West completing a truly coast-to-coast-to-coast fall trek.

2013 has started off much the same way as other recent years. First enjoying a winters walk on Michigan's beautiful west coast here at home, but then packing up again for Chicago's northshore area and work on the other coast of Lake Michigan.

Home once again, and back on my own beach, I look forward to settling in, reconnecting to life here, and enjoying my own bed for awhile.

But just for a short while...did I mention Jamaica in April?

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Walk on the Beach

While Spring is showing no sign of return in Manistee, I am still drawn to long beach walks even as ice still lingers along the shore and the north wind still pounds waves high on the coastline. I wrap up a little tighter and pull a wool hat lower down over my head, and tug on a pair of comfy rubber Boggs to keep my feet warm before heading out. And as always, I tuck a plastic bag into my pocket.

Searching out shards of colored beach glass and hunting Petoskey stones keeps me occupied on these long beach walks. My head is down (today to help keep the wind out of my eyes) as I search the sandy shore for beach treasures.  The froze sand crunches under my feet. I can feel the spray from the waves on my exposed face. Today was a good day. My plastic bag was tested. I have a decent amount of new found glass and stone to add to my collection.

Beach walking is also my time to think, to center myself, and to simply be. I am able to collect my thoughts and think through scenarios. And an hour on the beach does wonders for the soul as well as the heart. The crisp air will stay with me long after the walk ends.

I never want to take for granted the beauty, the serenity, the peacefulness, and majesty that is here on the coast of Lake Michigan here in my own backyard in Manistee, Michigan. While we have traveled extensively and enjoyed many beaches and coastlines, truly none compare to the sugar sand shoreline here...no matter the season. Our beaches here are pure. I hope we have the sense to protect them and keep them that way.

Get outside and talk a walk.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Carol Atkins Passes On

We received word that our dear friend and leader in the women's movement passed away On Saturday, March 16, 2013 in Ohio. Carol was a tiny woman with a booming voice - a voice of equality for all. During her time in Manistee, when I met her, she was an activist, author, playwright, poet, community leader, and strong supporter of the Women's netWork.

In October, 2008 Carol Atkins was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. I had the honor of introducing her that evening at the awards dinner. Her husband Ned, and daughter Cindy and her family were there with her. I looked back in old computer files, and here is what I read when I introduced Carol that evening:

"If I were writing a paper for school about what I would like to be when I grow up, it would be titled “When I grow up, I want to be Carol Atkins.”

Carol has been a grass roots leader working for women's rights most her adult life...and the stories she tells about those experiences – both good and bad - - - give me and other women she meets, the courage to continue to work toward equality and justice for all people.

When you meet Carol, picture her in 1973 -  35 years ago ---  as she and several other NOW women organized a demonstration at the Little League World Series that drew several hundred activists.  Carol and the others charged onto the field in the middle of an inning and ran around the bases.  Carol told me later - - we made it around the bases 3 times! Little League Baseball was changed forever - a change that eventually would allow nearly five million girls to participate in the world’s largest organized youth sports program.   Talk about impact!  This is just one story I can tell you abut Carol - - but this tells you about her determination, courage, passion, and her vision.

When I was first introduced to Carol, we met over lunch to talk about the possibility of her being a speaker for our Women's netWork luncheon. Her small frame, and soft voice were no match for her fiery eyes and passionate words. I could not help but giggle as she told stories, animated and lively, about working to get equal rights for all people. As she described her adventures, for me it felt like the history pages were being opened and the characters from the past were stepping into the coffee shop. I loved her from that first meeting and take advantage of every opportunity to talk more with her to soak up her energy and determination.

Her message is as loud and clear today as it was then - - and she continues to share her thoughts, ideas, poetry, dreams, and passions with anyone who will listen...and sometimes, even with those who will not.  When Carol Atkins speaks...people listen.  After all, how can you argue with a woman on oxygen.

Please welcome – my friend,  my mentor,   Carol Atkins"
...Rest well, my dear friend Carol.

21-Day Meditation

Early this month, my daughter invited me to participate in the Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Challenge online. I am so glad I took her up on the invitation. While I was not in a place to commit on day one of the challenge, the program is available online so I simply started a few days later.

It's been a wonderful experience so far and I have just completed day five. One any given "normal" day for me, I wake up with a start with my mind racing about all the things I want to accomplish in the day. I typically have my hands in a few things within an hour of waking up and end up sort of all over the place by noon.

It's amazing how after just a couple of days into this program, I have had calmer mornings and more organized days. I'll write more about that later, but for now, I just invite you to click on the link below, and accept the 21-Day Meditation Challenge from Oprah &  Deepak and enjoy a more productive, settled day.


I'd like to hear from you. I'd like to know how the challenge impacts your day and life.