Category Archives: Perspective

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Reflections on Marriage: From my parents’ 45th anniversary

For my parents’ 45th anniversary in 2012, I

threw them a surprise party. I interviewed them ahead of time and told them that it was for a blog post I was working on about tips for a lasting marriage. My secret intention was to read their answers at the party, which everyone enjoyed. However, so that I uphold my word, here is a long overdue but timely post from my amazing parents’ experience, wisdom and humor. I interviewed them separately so the first time they heard the other person’s reply was at the party.

For those of you who know my theory about trees and clouds, you will clearly see that my dad is a cloud of clouds and my mom is more of a tree. More on that another time.

My parents, Glen & Lillian Whitmore

My parents, Glen & Lillian Whitmore

Me: What was the best advice you have received or been given on marriage?

Dad: I don’t know if it was best, but what comes to mind was a casual casual mini-moment in a sermon. It was the only time I was at this church as a student before we were married in Evansville. Just north of Chicago. I wrote it down. It caught my attention and it stayed. And it’s validity has been confirmed ever since in whatever area, money, decision making, relationships.. because it is a foundation point and that’s the key. Marriage is by faith. A person has no idea what it will look like. What twists and turns it will take, what flexibility it will require. And adaptability. And steadfastness that marriage the relationship will require. So you agree to it as a concept with no idea what it looks like but you agree to it by faith. You can’t go back. It’s very forward-looking in a positive directional sense. Colossians 3:15 says something that would be helpful. 

Mom: I never remember these things. I don’t remember if someone told me but choose the right person. Be smart about who you choose.

 

Me: What do you remember about your wedding day?

Dad: There will be several things – 3 with no particular order.

1. As we were walking up the aisle, Lil noticed “You’re trembling. Are you ok?” Yes. But probably embarking on a whole new thing. Life in 10 minutes looked totally different. 

2. We had discussed ahead of time, everyone attending was surprised, our vows were memorized (I had never said them perfectly until the right moment – to the relief and amazement of the bride). We had decided we would pray. I prayed the prayer of blessing over the microphone on the floor. 

3.  We had planned our escape from the several imagined people who would give pursuit. It worked flawlessly (even though no one chased). Footnote to that: talk to each other and plan well together.

Mom: It was fun. It was simple. Lot of our friends were there. And the bird got killed by the cat. Grandma Whitmore was looking after Mor-Mor’s bird [Anne’s great-grandmother]. And dad had a kitten the summer he was home. After the afternoon wedding and reception (cake, nuts and punch and tea and coffee), we went back to Willlowcrest [Anne’s Grandma’s home] to visit with family from out of town. And Grandma Whitmore was so upset. I had never seen her so upset. Everyone showed up. No glitches.  I had no doubts. I didn’t have any second thoughts. Sure was simpler than weddings now. 

 

Me: What is a fond memory of the last 45 years of marriage?

Dad: There are too many. (We came back to this one). People. 

1.  Outside our family: Qualified by significant relationships of mutual respect. Because wherever we lived, there was always at least one couple that was a cut above everyone else in every way and the close friendship. 

2. Our kids 

Mom: My goodness. I think probably the surprise trip to Glacier with Keebaughs before we left Idaho. I think just the experience of being in Idaho was really special. I don’t have unfond memories so it is hard to say the fondest one. Our trip to Vietnam. There have been lots of good ones. 

 

Me: What is your secret for making your marriage last?

Dad: Goes back to flexible, adaptable and talking together. A LOT. A lot is not good enough. Talking together about all of life including working through processing discoveries, working through surprises. Related to those, to read a lot and pray a lot and maintain a forward perspective.  

Mom: (chuckles) I don’t think I ever entertained the thought that it wouldn’t last. It was never on my radar that it wouldn’t last. So when I went into it, I went into it for the long haul. Seeing the positive side of things and not taking anything (I do take life seriously) but pessimistically seriously. Always believing that we would get through it and things would get better. Just life in general. Our common faith definitively contributed. Being willing to change. Holding in balance being dependable so we can count on each other (I never had a shadow of a doubt that he wouldn’t be there when I needed him)  and being adaptable. Not being stuck in a rut. 

 

Me: What is your favorite thing about the other person?

Dad: Three parts. 

First one is my enjoyment, admiration and respect of how she has developed her talents and gifts. Because this is a long story and it did not come easily and it has only been in the last 22 years and to me it has been very very fascinating to behold. 

2. Summary word would be her continual support. What was the question again? (that wasn’t one of the 3)

3. Her ability to succinctly communicate wisdom. Because I am an introvert and I look at someone who can express things well and I say, that’s really cool. I have to work at it – in contrast. Again, lots of illustration on that. 

4. Probably has to do with flexible.

Mom: I think as groaner-ish as his sense of humor is, his sense of humor. 

What was the question now?

His willingness to change.

His dependability. 

His kindness.

O yes, we’re so different. But that’s what makes it interesting. 

 

Ain’t that the truth.

 

I’m grateful to my parents for sharing and modelling real life love.

In Joy,

anne

 

By Anne Whitmore

 


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Perseverance… Steven Bradbury’s Olympic inspiration

When we see Olympic athletes on the podium, we know they worked really hard to get there. But http://www.theessaymag.com/canada/ Steven Bradbury’s story struck me with a sense of awe about his incredible determination and persistence.

In 1991, Steven was part of

Australia’s first team to win a championship in a winter sport. They won the 5,000m relay at the World Championships. In 1992, his team crashed during the semi-finals in the Winter Olympics. In the 1994 Winter Olympics, he was part of the short track team that won bronze. On an individual level, he was knocked over by a rival in a semi-final and limped across the finish line for fourth place and was eliminated. In another race, he was pushed by a competitor (who was disqualified) and fell.

More dramatically, at the 1994 World Cup, his right leg was cut by a competitor’s skate and he lost 4 litres of blood. It took 111 stitches and 18 months before he was back up to full strength. He was considered a strong contender for the Winter Olympics but didn’t place in team and had crashes in his individual events.

Then, in what could have been a career-ender, he fractured 2 vertebrae during a training accident. A month and a half in a halo brace, 4 pins in his skull and screws and plates bolted into his chest. He was told he would never compete again.

And then, in the men’s short track at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, a series of unlikely events created the opportunity for him to be in the finals. Because he had 4 races back to back and he was up against stronger and faster contenders, his strategy was to stay on his feet and stay in the race.

Ironically, in the end, it was an ill-timed accident that opened the path for him to… well, see for yourself.

His perseverance is inspirational. Against all odds, he showed up and was ready for opportunity. And then he did a “Bradbury” – an Australian expression named after him for doing an unusual or unexpected success.

Where will persistence take you? And how will you show up – both at the race and in the unseen training in-between?

To your success,

anne

 

By: Anne Whitmore


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What does “Wishing you the best for 2013” mean from your life coach?

Thoughts from your life coach for the new year As I signed my holiday greeting cards, I usually sign off with “Wishing you all the best for 2013!” It sparked my thoughts about what I really meant by that phrase “all the best”. What am I hoping for my friends and family?

In many ways, as a life coach, they are the same hopes and wishes that I hold for myself and my clients, reflecting the elements in life that I value. Here is the fuller version of what that means to me:

I wish for you a life of fulfillment, living aligned moment by moment with your values.

I wish for you a created life of conscious choices picked from a wide field of options.

I wish for you a community to surround you with love, support and accountability.

I wish for you challenges to grow, stretch and transform you into the person you are becoming.

I wish for you connection to your deepest feelings and moments – the highs and lows and everything in between.

I wish for you a year beyond what you could imagine.

Peace and Joy,
anne

 

By: Anne Whitmore


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Tis the season… to be calm

Have you noticed the pace has picked up this month? When you step into a mall, the frenzy is almost palatable. People scurrying around, desperate for the perfect gift, worried that they have forgotten someone, and distracted by the myriad of colors and choices on display. Bright lights, big stress!!!

The holiday season is meant to be about love, joy and sharing. Somehow the combination of generosity, obligation and tradition with a healthy dose of commercialism has created a mindset that is antithetical to the intention behind the actions. There is a contagious element to the frenetic holiday vibe too. The good news is that we get to choose how we will be about the holidays.

 

Several years ago, I talked with my family about Christmas and how I was feeling. My preference is to buy gifts for people throughout the year if I see something I think they will really love. I think that in my family, we generally have everything we need and if we don’t, we go and get it. I would rather spend time with someone doing something meaningful than swapping gift cards or checks. Communicating about values has made gift giving a lot lighter and more enjoyable in my family.

If we look at holiday stress as a bit of an epidemic, what is the antidote or inoculation?

– Being clear on what is important or a priority. What will set the house on fire if you don’t do it? What can wait? What is significant even though it is not urgent?

– Setting reasonable goals and timeframes (I remember helping my brother on Christmas Eve to shop for a present for my parents. We actually slid between closing doors to the department store so that we didn’t get locked out… we made it fun but it was also chaotic)

– Take care of yourself. Planning down time – In the go-go-go pace, make time for yourself to relax. You may even need to make appointments with yourself in your calendar. Do things that you enjoy doing or find relaxing. Go see your acupuncturist to boost your immune system and have stress relief. Eat well AND regularly. Have a bubble bath. Take a yoga class. The better rested you are, the more equipped you will be to handle the extra pressure of the season.

– Communicate with the people around you about your approach to the holiday season. Design with your family how you would like to handle different aspects of your time together. Be mindful of your responses and words when people talk about how stressed or crazy they feel. You get to either collude with their stress or be a stress buster.

Sometimes I feel a bit like a country girl floating through the big city. I like to keep life simple (even when traveling at break neck speed) and not engage with the drama.

What is your relationship with calmness?


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Tis the Season… of Traditions

Our family has some Swedish heritage so our big family event is Christmas Eve (although, now that I think about it, we also have Christmas Day brunch and turkey dinner on Christmas Day. So we actually had 2 full days of activities… Funny how we can

tell ourselves something that sets a frame when the reality is actually wider.)

Anyhow, we have certain Swedish things that have always been part of our  family tradition on Christmas Eve like sil (pickled herring), potatiskorv (potato sausage) and spritz (little shortbread cookies). Usually the kids help out with making these throughout the week leading up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve, we have dinner at my parents’ with our traditional foods (every now and then my mom tries to throw other things in). After dinner, the dishes must be done before we sit together in the living room and listen to my father read the Christmas story from the Bible. Lighting the advent wreath is also another tradition in our home so on Christmas Eve, the white candle is lit to symbolize the birth of Jesus. My dad will say a prayer of gratitude and blessing and then…. the presents!

The youngest in the family is always the one who hands out the gifts from under the tree (and the tree is always Charlie Brown style as per my dad’s preference). We usually take turns opening one gift at a time. Anyone who receives clothing must model it (this was quite funny when I was younger because my mom’s mom would send her underwear every Christmas. Not only were they granny panties but they were always way too big.) After all the presents are opened (and my dad has collected the paper for recycling), we sit back at the table for dessert.

Over the years, our traditions have changed slightly. I think my mom has managed to add some vegetables to our Christmas Eve dinner. We used to read “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” together over the weeks of advent and then read the final chapter on Christmas Eve. That no longer is part of our practice although there is usually a joke about the Herdman’s during the evening. In the last couple years, we also play a domino game called the Mexican Train after dessert. Some years, we have included other people at different meals but we have decided that Christmas Eve is most special to us when it is our family at the table.

This year, my new in-laws will be joining us for our Christmas Eve festivities. We have added a new twist to presents as we have added new people to the mix. This year we are doing a present swap. Each person is bringing a wrapped gift with a maximum cost of $25 and we will choose a gift and maybe swipe from each other. Just for kicks, we are doing a second gift with a maximum value of $1.

 

What are your traditions?

How have they evolved?

What do they mean to you?

Where is your frame set on narrow when there is more in the wider picture?


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Hoarding and Trust

I have emerged from the boxes and dust that seem to have no end to share some of what I am working on. Well, the truth is that my skill in gathering *stuff* has made this move really challenging. There were of course good reasons to keep things: old school yearbooks, furniture from dead relatives, product samples from when I freelanced in marketing… I also have a lot of interests which require equipment or supplies (paper making forms, stamps, clay, renovation tools, snowboard, camping, 9′ 6″ long board – and then there is the yarn. Hey, I run a knitting group!).

I watched an episode of Hoarders – have you seen that show? There are people who are buried in their own homes by their stuff. Or who don’t live in their homes because there isn’t room for them there. My home isn’t falling in on me but it definitely could use some streamlining. I have adopted the “love it or lose it” approach to clearing clutter and that has helped significantly as I sort through things.

I read a really interesting quote that I will paraphrase since I determined not to get get side tracked to find it. The jist of it was that attachment comes when we do not trust. Hmmm. What am I not trusting by holding on to these things?

The memory items (photos, furniture, paintings, gifts) have something about honoring the person that they were from. Throwing the item away feels disrespectful to the person that it was from. -> I will trust that honoring people from my past doesn’t require that I hang on to physical items.

Past portfolio (marcomm, products, paper/print samples) give a sense of accomplishment for the last 10 years of freelancing. What if someone asks to see printed examples of my work? Funny enough, no one ever has. And for custom work, I’ve always gone out and found specific print or paper samples for individual projects. -> I will trust my resourcefulness to find what I need if and when I need it. I also know that my experience & wisdom aren’t contained in my portfolio…

Extra furniture. O this is a good one. A large factor in this move was merging lives and moving in with my partner. The question is whether to keep the extra bed, dining table, couch, etc. in a storage locker just in case… -> As I learn to lean into interdependence, I trust that we will not need a backup plan and I know that if we do need to re-establish our own places, we will figure out the best way to do it.

What are you attached to? What would be different if you trusted in that area?

I choose to have a home that I love living in and that is a warm place for our friends and family to visit. As I build my new home in partnership, I will lean into trust and let go of the stuff.

Peace of mind and joy in heart,
anne