Category Archives: Blog

Great Summer Camp for Texas Kids

I just want to give a shout out to our friends at Texas Kids Camps by Kidventure who, for many years have been making the old sweaty Texas summer heat fun for all the kids we know. We recommend to all families, including you, to allow your children to experience the joy of summer camp. There is nothing better than the comradely children experience in spending a summer having fun with other kids. It is so different from school where time is mostly spent sitting around listening (or trying to listen) to a teacher. At camp, especially overnight camp, kids are really engaged ENJOYING life, spending time with young adults (counselors) and peers that they may only see during the summer. Watch this cute little video or check out the fun loving kids on their Texas summer camp Facebook page to learn more about Kidventure and the joy that kids have on their faces in the many candid camp photos on the image gallery. Day camp for little ones and overnight camps for bigger kids are both available in different Texas towns including Houston, Austin, Plano and Dallas.

Send us your best summer camp photos so that we can post them on our Facebook page!

A guide to Baby Boomers in the Workplace

Here’s a funny video about what “kids today” (the millennials) think about us baby boomers.

The hilarious thing is that every generation complains about how hard it is “nowadays” compared to how easy their parents had it. Likewise, every past generation wishes that they could glide through life like the current generation. Anywat, check out this video for a good laugh.

Boomer Workplace Generosity

Can we change our world through acts of kindness at work? You bet we can! Being generous to ourselves, our colleagues and our community sends positive messages (OK, some would say good vibrations!) throughout our world and adds to the good that dwells deep inside us all.

It’s not only what we do but how we do it. Our attitude and projections; our words and deeds have power. We can harm or help; the choice is ours. Whether it’s a simple smile or a dollar, a helping hand or refusing to litter; a thank you or a hug just when it’s needed; what we do each day counts!

We Boomers are being tagged “the transition generation”. Part of this transition can be using our time, energy and experience to model a better world for our kids and grand kids! Our generosity and the joy it brings is just one way to exercise our transition talents.

As many of us are still in the workforce we have an opportunity to include our workplace in the theatre of transition.

Transition Generation “One Moment at a Time”

Far from the maddening crowds and competition of Beijing, and oblivious to the power plays in other far away places; it’s August on Vancouver Island. The morning sunrise over Craig Bay is truly a blessing to behold. It’s going to be another hot one today! Freshly brewed coffee in hand, I take it all in.
The tide is far out to sea. Scores of Canada Geese make their way in customary follow the leader fashion, across a beach patterned by soft, lime green, eel grass. High within an Arbutus tree nearby, young crows caw at their mother’s side; hoping for a morsel to satisfy a constant appetite. Two majestic Herons move nimbly through the shallows, keeping a sharp eye for any sign of breakfast. High above a lone bald eagle soars.

Thousands of tiny crabs make their homes in the bay. Many must scurry for hiding places as the footsteps of campers from nearby Rathtrevor Beach roam the shoreline. Small children play in the warming sand and couples stroll in summer wear, drinking in the mornings cool, sea breeze.

Mussels, clams, sand dollars and minnows abound. Close by beds of oysters remain untouched. Perhaps sacred reminders of the sustenance provided the historic inhabitants who’s midden remains; a testimonial of the good life here long ago.

One might ask oneself. “Who am I to witness all of this”? I can only wonder as I feel this gift of nature before me. I have no idea what the rest of the day will bring only that now I am, a part of this sacred energy. The words of my father come to my mind. “Play your cards while you have them”! I take full advantage, joyfully.
In this moment I take the opportunity to appreciate a generous gift. And if it holds true that the road to “Hiranyaloka” is paved with my karma, my response can only be to do my best to preserve this miracle of life I am witnessing. I can remain optimistic that future generations ( and wouldn’t it be something if it included a revised “Me”) can continue to wonder at the unspoiled beauty of creation.

The Transition Generation 1946-1964

“Once upon a time not too long ago there were these two guys. One guy was pretty big so he was called Big Guy. The other guy wasn’t so big yet so he was called Little Guy. They were pals! They loved to go on these adventures together and each time Big Guy brought his compass and Little Guy brought his whistle. One day…………………….”

These words are taken from a relationship formed between a grandfather and his grandson. They took shape through circumstance, imagination and love in a series of bedtime stories. (We now share them as Big Guy and Little Guy Adventure Stories.) They echo the joy of nurturing and the need for young boys to have a positive male role model. This relationship is an example of the unexpected that can happen to families at any time. We can make plans but we can’t plan outcomes!

As in most cases the outcome was a joyful experience. Somehow, through the twists and turns of life, a father with grown children found himself as surrogate father figure to his grandson. When a father helps rear his son and daughters there is an intuitive knowing the relationship will last a lifetime in some shape or fashion. However, little thought, if any, is given to one day being a “father figure” to a grandchild. Well it’s happening!

When a grandparent assumes some portion of the role of parent to grandchildren, it’s both a challenge and an opportunity for growth. Boundaries, balance, generosity, modeling behavior and patience are just some of the issues that surface. Though this “experience” may be the norm in some cultures, it goes against the grain in North American culture; a culture that embarked upon an exodus from extended family support some 40 years ago. Back then, I believe most grandparents supported parents (mother and father); they didn’t assume a parenting role unless one parent was absent and that was the exception.

Parenting our grandchildren is just one example of the changes that are taking place in our society. “Boomers” (those of us 46 – 61 years of age) have been participants in rapid change since the 60’s. Apparently we are pretty good at it and there are legions of us. Due to our size and status we are being viewed with increasing interest. We are political blocs, market feeders, snowbirds, technological adapters, parents to our grandchildren and have aptly been named “the Transition Generation”.

I may be among millions of boomers asking, “Where Did I Come From? What Am I Doing Here? Where Am I Going?”. I may digest the teachings of Jesus, the Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, and the Dali Lama. I may read about the journeys of authors like Joseph Campbell, Marianne Williamson and Oscar Romero. I may focus my intentions not to harm others; to be compassionate, kind and generous to all sentient beings and this incredible planet. I may believe the responsibility of our generation is to model peace, harmony and joy with all those we come in contact with. I may believe positive words and actions bring positive change in every sphere of influence. I may desire to join this Transition Team with the soul purpose of helping to build a kinder, gentler, healthy planet for my grandchildren, children and me! Membership is free!

Something’s Happening Here Boomers!

“Hard as it may be to believe in these days of infectious greed and sabers unsheathed , scientists have discovered that the small, brave act of cooperating with another person, of choosing trust over cynicism, generosity over selfishness, makes the brain light up with quiet joy”…………. Nice eh!

Reading Rambam’s Ladder (A Meditation on Generosity and Why It Is Necessary to Give) by Julie Salamon introduced me to this little gem. The quote was borrowed from an article written by Natalie Angier and fit nicely into Ms. Salamon’s meditation. Somethings happening here!

Heaven knows I am not a scientist but I can certainly identify with the discovery. It’s like way down deep within we have this goodness button. When we push it or someone else pushes it for us (giving and receiving) a ”stillness” affirms the action with a moment of joy. A wonderfully warm (YES) feeling attaches itself to a spontaneous act of generosity. It just happens, like a bird released from a cage. Whoosh!

This awareness must take some practice and focus considering the insanity of daily life; what with wars, homelessness, crime and most everything else on the 6 o’clock news. Nonetheless this quiet joy is here for the experience in millions of positive actions that take place every day.

Yesterday the dock workers of Durban South Africa turned back a ship full of ammunition and weapons bound for Zimbabwe. Now it has nowhere to unload. Nice eh! A moment of quiet joy!

Walking into a strip mall last Christmas to get a few things, this elderly man was walking by. Out of the blue he asked for two dollars. My immediate feeling was surprise as I rarely carried cash but wait; I might have a Toonie (two dollar coin) in my pants pocket. So I reached in and voila! I pulled it out and gave it to him. He mumbled something like “I’ll pay you back” and kept walking. I was like what? Later I tried to recall the feeling. It’s not easy to put into words.

You know the first scent of a garden flower in springtime? It seems to rush in with a breath and then linger for just a moment as you breathe out. The moment and the magic fade away but for a simple light hearted smile. I think that just may be the brain lighting up with quiet joy. No hoopla. Just a rainbow over the heart!

Imagine all these moments happening each and every day. Imagine the more you and I tune in to the ones we experience. Imagine a world aware of the opportunity for each brain to light up in quiet joy. The more we become aware, the more we transcend to create a world where we can all experience quiet joy. And some thought Boomers had given up the ghost!

Choose to trust our collective ability to overcome our “stuff” – one at a time. Choose to believe that before the day is done the Transition vanguard will call on Boomers to help lead the way; to expand our awareness and become all we were meant to be. There it is!

Christmas! Where the Heart is!

Many years ago I found myself far from home as Christmas approached. I was in a country that spoke a different language and I hardly knew anyone I was with. There was no escaping the fact it was December 24th and the next day was sure to come.

Had I been a child removed from mum, dad, sisters and a visit to Santa, I can imagine the trauma of no stocking hanging on the mantle, no tree, no presents, no Christmas songs to sing along with (“All I want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” and Gene Autry singing “Frosty the Snowman” were my favorites) and no turkey dinner! I would have found a way to celebrate in some way. No matter what! .

This wasn’t going to be easy. The place where we were staying had no fir or pine trees to chop down for a Christmas tree, let alone a stove to cook a turkey. Heck there weren’t even any turkeys in that part of the planet. What about gifts? Presents? Oh, what to do? When in doubt call an emergency meeting! We huddled up and agreed ….if there was a will there was a way…. we needed to capture that magic of Christmas spirit found in a child. The adventure had begun!

We went outside and eventually found a scragglyy little bush; snipped it with thanks, brought it in and weighted it down with pack sacks. We covered it with the most colorful sleeping bag we could spare and hung every imaginable thing on it. Journal paper cut outs, bracelets, rings and shoelaces (tied up in bows) took the place of bobbles. Passports took the place of those special envelopes someone always tucked away in the branches and a “star” was fashioned from a used tin can of tomatoes. What about Christmas lights?

OK! Place the flashlight at the base and point it up! It’s either that or taking turns holding it on the tree. Easy decision! We hung our socks on a clothes line made of bungee cords, then picked names and wrote notes of good cheer on them and scrunched them up as presents. Someone came up with the idea of building an oven outside to cook our Christmas dinner. We did it using flat stones gathered from the hillside. Meanwhile, at the little village across the valley we purchased a leg of lamb. Roast lamb for Christmas!
Rumor had it there was an American army base not too far away so, two brave souls volunteered to go see if they could find it and pickup what they could to add to the festivities. Mission accomplished! Christmas Eve turned out to be a joyful flurry of activity and a fairy tale come true.

Christmas morning we wished each other Merry Christmas and opened our “gifts”. After fresh fried eggs, hot coffee & toast we went for a long walk up to some old caves high on the mountainside. If they could only talk! In the late afternoon we picked a fresh salad right from the hillside and cooked that lamb in our home made oven. We sang our favorite songs and enjoyed the bounty scored from the U.S. base. After a deliciously different Christmas dinner, we laughed as we reminisced about our Christmas’s past with family and friends back home. We thoroughly enjoyed each others company. A great time was had by all!

Looking back, Christmas is what I choose to make of it. What really matters is capturing the spirit wherever, however and with whoever I am with. This generous moment need not be for just a day. It can be for every day. Happiness, I am told is a choice I can make whatever the circumstance. I believe that! I simply need to remind myself of the child within me.

Merry Christmas to you, wherever you are and whoever you are with.

On the Road to Peace

Like many others, on November 11th, I took the time to pause, reflect and honor those who have gone to war. I watched the ceremony on television and said a quiet “thank you”. What am I saying thank you for and why do I feel a sense of sorrow?

Obviously, I’m grateful to live in a democracy. I’m grateful that I have not officially “had to go to war”. Really, I have no idea of what front line battle feels like. Or do I?
I feel sorrow for the loss of life, for the families that have lived with that loss, for the soldiers that have lived with the first hand experience of going through a war. I also feel a tremendous sadness, that despite the testimonials of countless active soldiers, veterans and their families reflecting on the futility of war; we are, in fact, still going to war.

I watched the soldiers as they partook in the Remembrance Day ceremonies and wondered what it would be like if we did not have a need for soldiers or for the guns they carry. What if Remembrance Day was a day for honoring the past and celebrating peace? What if we lived in a world without distinction of borders, without a belief of “them and us”?

How would this be possible? Many are “for peace”, attend peace rallies, and support peaceful movements. Why have we not learned from the past and why does worldwide peace not exist?
The Buddhist’ philosophy states that we must start with ourselves. If we truly desire peace for our society and the world, we must first attain peace within ourselves. This brings me back to my earlier questioning of having no idea what front line battle feels like. If I truly desire peace, I must reflect upon my thoughts and actions. I need to ask the question, “What battles do I engage in?” How can the possibility of peace exist if I am unable to attain peace within? How do I harm myself and others through my thoughts, words and actions?
Rather daunting questions! So, how can I achieve peace? First, I need to be clear of my intention of peace. It’s easy for me to state what I’m against and “how horrid war is” and to talk of peace in the same breath; but intention without appropriate action is ineffectual.

What is effective action on the road to peace? As I go about interacting with myself and the world, I can learn to be mindful of my thoughts and actions. I can meditate to learn stillness and calmness. I can access many spiritual tools to increase my awareness. I can pause and think before reacting to my environment. I can learn to focus on positive thoughts with gratitude. I can silently affirm compassion for all sentient beings and wish them “freedom from suffering”, thereby creating connection or re-connection. I believe this has to include myself, as the more compassion I have for myself, the more compassion I am able to extend to others. If I am in a state of true connection with others, I am in a state of peace!

These practices allow me to see that most…well okay…all of my inner conflicts are really projections and create disharmony for me and others.

So, how do we attain peace? One thought at a time!