Opinions

Sat
30
Dec

Make your resolutions, but make them realistic

It seems the older I become, the more quickly time goes by. I can still remember how excited I was to become a teenager. Then I waited for my sweet 16th birthday. Of course, becoming 18 was exciting. In my day, we could go to bars at that age. I remember Club 45 in Clintonville and the Sha Bon here in Shawano. Age 21 was another milestone.

None of my other birthdays seemed too significant until I turned 50. I was working at Citizen’s Bank and my co-workers made sure I would long remember that day. They gifted me with a walker, prune juice, thick glasses, a heating pad, a shawl and over-the-hill birthday cards. Since that time, birthdays come and go. Sometimes I actually have to stop and figure out how old I am. Age is only a number now, and I am happy to celebrate every new year.

Sat
23
Dec

A coat warms a young boy for Christmas

A teacher contacted me requesting a copy of an article that previously appeared in my column. She said she would like to read it again to her class, but she misplaced it. The teacher commented she felt in today’s troubled world, we need to hear more about acts of kindness. I agree, so here is a re-print:

I remember my first Christmas adventure with my grandma. I was just a kid. I recall riding across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big brother dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” he proclaimed. “Everyone knows that!”

My grandma was not the gushy kind, had never been. I went to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always spoke the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a lot easier when swallowed with one of her “world-famous” cinnamon buns. I knew that they were famous because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Sat
23
Dec

Time away for the holidays

It’s a season of holidays when our communities set aside time for family reunions, travel, giving and worship. Since the beginning of time, holidays are time away from the daily routine to honor the tenets of a given society. I am always inspired by the nuggets of wisdom and perspective I gather in relaxed conversation with people I know well or just met.

During the bustle of the holiday season, I revisit two lessons I learned as a member of the Center for Creative Leadership that still resonate with me today: Slow down to speed up, and go broad before you go narrow.

Sat
23
Dec

Big or small, Christmas tree a sign of the season

To put up the big tree, or opt for a smaller one? That was the question I pondered a few weeks back. To tell the truth, my tree has gotten smaller over the years, and I no longer put up a real one. Plus my artificial tree is already pre-lit, so no need to fuss; however, it seems like a big job to bring the thing upstairs, plus all the boxes of decorations, only to take it down again in a couple weeks.

I mentioned my quandary, and a granddaughter overheard me. So she will come and drag the stuff upstairs. My question has been answered, for this year at least.

I never thought I would live long enough to ask that question. I always loved the Christmas trees I have had over the years. As a child, it was something my parents put up, and I helped decorate. The lights were bigger then, and more of the decorations were homemade. Cut-out cookies, nut shells and candy canes, to name a few.

Sat
23
Dec

Magnificent things in life

A number of years ago we took an RV trip to Branson, Missouri with members of my extended family. While it wasn’t all roses it got us away from the cows. It was a most memorable experience and for sure, something I’d like to try again one day.

While it was fun, there were definitely points of major discomfort, such as driving through St. Louis. In the rain. In the dead of night. During the World Series! We took turns driving and never before in my life had I manned a recreational vehicle. When it was my turn, I made sure my guide sat right beside me because, truth be told, I’d get lost finding my way out of a paper bag.

Sat
16
Dec

Have fun decorating the tree, but don’t forget the pickle

Christmas trees have a long history. It is said the evergreen fir tree had been used by pagans and Christians for thousands of years. Pagans first used the branches to decorate their homes during winter solstice to keep evil away and as a reminder spring would still come. The Romans used fir trees to decorate their temples. Christians believe they symbolize everlasting life with God.

A picture from Germany in 1521 shows a tree being pulled through the streets by a man dressed as a bishop. He was riding behind on a horse, possibly representing St. Nicholas. There is also a picture dated 1570. It is of a small tree in Bremen Germany. It is decorated with apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers.

Sat
16
Dec

Remember Mother and that final Christmas meal

Living in the past is not something that I choose to do all the time, but I will admit that I relish reminiscing now and then. As I was digging through some of my older writings, I came across something I wrote about my mother, and our last Christmas together.

It was Dec. 24, 1986, and I was hustling and bustling to get last minute things done. Since Ma had fallen around Thanksgiving and broken her hip, she was not coming to my house to spend the day here as in years past. So I went to visit her at the rest home she had lived in for the past seven years, due to a stroke.

Now, instead of using her walker as before, she was confined to a wheelchair. It was hard for me to see this independent woman confined in this way, and I am sure she felt much the same.

“I don’t feel like myself,” she confided. “I don’t think I will ever walk again. The therapy isn’t working, my arms get too sore.”

Sat
16
Dec

Rethink office layouts to improve workers’ health

Americans are gung-ho on getting in shape. Seventy percent say they want to take steps to improve their health, according to a new study from UnitedHealthcare.

Those steps usually stop at the gym door. More than six in 10 workers don’t take advantage of subsidized gym memberships and other wellness benefits, even though nearly three-quarters of employers offer them. This lack of physical activity takes a toll on worker well-being — and drives up health costs.

Employers may think they can’t force their workers to exercise. Indeed they can — by subtly integrating more physical activity into the nine-to-five routines. Office spaces that “nudge” employees to move around are proving that they can provide a hefty boost to workers’ health and productivity.

Most Americans are sedentary. The typical person sits 13 hours a day. Only one in five exercises enough, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thu
14
Dec

The vastness of violet

Provocative and thoughtful. Imaginative and inventive. Those are some of the words color experts at Pantone use to describe their selection for home and garden Color of the Year, ultra violet.

“Complex and contemplative, ultra violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own,” the group said.

For gardeners, the implications are as infinite as they come — with many of our favorite blooms available in rich, colorful shades of purple that brighten our landscapes and memories for years to come. Annuals, perennials, even fruits, berries and vegetables celebrate 2018’s color of the year winner.

Thu
14
Dec

Family keeping the Christmas spirit


Photo by Carol Wagner Alvin and Marilynn Suehring hold gifts that their family brought to their annual Christmas party this year. All the gifts will be donated to Toys for Tots.

The family of Alvin and Marilynn Suehring has a long association with the United States Marine Corps. Alvin Suehring enlisted when he was 20 years old; their only son also served, and now a grandson has enlisted as well.

So it made sense for their family – which includes seven children, 18 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren – to collect Toys for Tots at their annual Christmas celebration. The idea was suggested by one of the Suehrings’ daughters, Debbie Sanders, and everyone agreed.

“We’ve always donated to Toys for Tots,” Marilynn Suehring added.

The family’s Christmas gathering has traditionally been held the second Saturday of December at the Pella Town Hall. This year, 59 people attended.

The Toys for Tots program was founded by a U.S. Marine Core major in the late 1940s – just a few years before Alvin Suehring enlisted.

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