Think of this page as a gathering place for Lady Boomers. We encourage you to make comments to blogs we post; submit stories (fiction and non-fiction) which we will publish on this page, as well as images of art you create. We want you to think of this space as a place where you can exercise your creativity. (send your jpegs and stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
One of the Lady Boomer groups facilitated by Jackie Sorensen and Liz Kitchens has embarked on a year long study of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Once a month fifteen to twenty women gather to discuss a chapter and to share their stories as to how they have used their creative abilities and sense of humor to cope with some of life’s challenges. The following are a few of those stories:
Katrina shared this:
Ray (my husband) and I say this mantra to each other every night before we go to sleep.
May we be safe
May we be happy
May we be healthy
May we be content
May we love ourselves and each other completely, and with great kindness, just as we are now, no matter what happens
This mantra can be used in the singular, as May I be safe….
and then for those closest to you, as May we be safe
then for acquaintances (a larger circle), as May you be safe…
then for those you find difficult
and finally for all beings
It was wonderful to be in the company of such accomplished and compassionate women — how many teachers were there! Along with Musicians, artists, writers. Interesting how many of us started sewing at a young age and enjoyed it then , but no longer sew. I think it relates to “home economics” class — remember home ec — and the example of our mothers and grandmothers. We might not see so much of that in younger generations. The importance of family and friends in a woman’s life cannot be overstated. We will indeed go to the ends of the earth to get to our children and grandchildren, not to mention emptying our wallets. I think God’s presence was in that room — the respect and love among us was palatable. We all know that much of what was left unsaid is what makes us who we are. It’s not just the art, the skills, the accomplishments, but it’s the sacrifices, the losses and sometimes the loneliness that makes us treasure what we have.
Grace offered the following entitled, Making It Up As I Go
Writing—fiction, poetry, narrative nonfiction—is the way I make sense out of my experiences and find meaning and faith in the dullness, the beauty, and the heartbreak of life. Writing has helped me survive and grow through tough and tragic times. It has led me to a deeper appreciation of the wonder life has to offer, and it has allowed me to understand myself and others better than I would have without it. I believe in stories—yours, mine, and the truth of them collectively. Writing stories (and its flip side, reading them) is the core and abiding passion of my life.
As soon as I could make meaningful marks on paper I began to write and illustrate my own “books”. I’ve kept some form of diary or journal for over fifty years. I’ve written poetry, novels, stories, and essays. Plenty of what I’ve written is crap; some of it is pretty good. Regardless, it is what I’m called to do and when I neglect my creative calling, well, let’s just say it is NOT a victimless crime. When I’m not writing every day, I’m miserable, bottled-up, and cantankerous as hell.
As a child, playing in my world of imagination included not only making up stories, but creating what my heart desired out of discarded things (“found objects”)–a kitchen set made from cardboard boxes, a mop turned into an imaginary playmate, scraps and odd bits of possibility collected in a bag. When my family called these wonders “junk” and tossed them out, I knew they didn’t “get” me in some fundamental way. (Muggles, all of them!)
Reading and writing helped me navigate the bleak landscape of my childhood. Our sad and silent household was punctuated by explosive anger, which left the lingering residue of the last episode and the anxious odor of the one to come, suspended in the air around us. After my father left, my mother withdrew behind a wall of fear and shame and sorrow. I wrote stories, made up imaginary worlds where heroes solved mysteries, conquered dark forces, and rescued those in need. I created characters who talked about the dangerous and forbidden with bravado. Through the cryptic language and imagery of poetry I extracted the deeply personal and forged it into something different.
I also sought refuge in nature. Long hours spent on the dock of a nearby lake or beneath a canopy of moss-draped oaks gave me space to think, dream, read, or write. In communion with the trees I felt nurtured into a sense of belonging, of being one with them and with all of nature. In their presence I felt connected to earth’s ancient wisdom, which led me to gain confidence that I was part of the goodness of creation, and share in some of that innate wisdom. I began to understand that I needed to trust in and follow my own path and process.
Many times since I’ve mistrusted that wisdom and discounted my own creative path, always to my detriment and to the detriment of those I love. Restlessness, discontent, and isolation start building their homes in my soul. But a walk along the beach at the edge of the Atlantic and I am again captured by unspeakable awe at the vast, ever changing beauty of sea and sky. Or watching the drama of a thunderstorm rolling in, I feel the familiar tug to pour more from my own story cup into the river of collective stories.
With a sense of urgency, I slip out to the porch, notebook and pen in hand, and sit as the rain pounds the ground like a drum. I start writing.
Ann made the following reflections on her Temporary passions vs. Lifelong passions
Thinking back, I realize that I have had different Passions for particular seasons in my life.
Calligraphy – five years of professional invitation and announcement writing. I’m not sure of the difference between a passion and an obsession. Once “over it”, I never went back. A temporary passion, for sure.
Quilting – The passion for quilting lasted a good 20 years and connected me to some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Though I no longer quilt, I am reminded of those good times whenever I drag out one of my quilts.
Knitting – A recent passion. I find it addictive. It competes with my reading time.
Travel – A constant passion. But I feel pressured to get my bucket list checked off before I can’t travel any more.
Underlying those interests, there has been an underlying passion for books. Books have been important to me in every season of my life. From Cherry Ames, Student Nurse, to my Pearl Buck years, to historical romances (awesome covers on those paperbacks). From a book called “Swimmer in the Secret Sea” that helped me deal with the loss of a baby, to a book titled “Grief” that spoke to me when my mother died.
Happy times that led me to my “Maeve Binchy” era, and my James Mitchner years and a 5-year passion to learn everything I could about the German “Mad King” Ludwig. Now I prefer biographies and literary fiction, but, as Gretchen Rubin writes, I feel like I can stop reading a book I don’t like and move on to the next.
I wove my love of books through the times of calligraphy, quilting, and particularly travel. I still struggle with feeling guilty for curling up with a book in the middle of a perfectly gorgeous Florida day. I’m retired. There’s no one to judge me. I often feel “guilty” for not “using” that time on something that has a concrete end result.
But, in the end, all of the fleeting “passions”, combined with my steady passion for reading have introduced me to points of view I hadn’t thought of, worlds I’ll never see (and maybe don’t want to see), and life-long friendships that make me feel happy and most of all, content
Responses to our Be Brave. Lose the Beige newsletter:
“You know, yesterday, I spent about 5 hours ironing — what drudgery, however, I do not like to be wrinkled (I have enough of those cropping up on my face and elsewhere over my lady boomer body — you know, they kinda go with my “graying” hair!!). Anyway, from your ideas below, I’m thinking I need to create a beautiful space for doing this so it doesn’t feel like such drudgery. And can’t you just picture it??? An ironing board cover with the Be Brave. Love the Beige logo on it!! Oh, this is enough creativity for a Monday morning, I need to get back to work!!!!!”- Donna
“You are definitely preaching to the choir with me, but I enjoy reading the blog.My clothes are colorful but I find earth-tones more relaxing to be around in my living space (more brown and taupe than beige)”.-Debbie
“I love color, the more the better. Thanks for reinforcing me!” Susan
Testimonials from our Lady Boomers
Although I came to the Lady Boomers by a circuitous route…as the guest of a friend, rather than as a member of First Congregational Church… I have always felt included in the fellowship and discussions. The Lady Boomers group has given me the opportunity to build new friendships, renew old ones and explore topics that are commonly faced by women of the Boomer Era. The laughter and supportive spirit of our time together allows me to face a rather hectic life of transitions and changes until we meet again!
Margrette Ackert- Lady Boomer and retired school psychologist
Beauty and the Beach was a journal prompt given to a group of Lady Boomers at a Be Brave. Lose the Beige beach retreat. The following are a few of our favorite journal entries written by retreat participants:
My original intention for the day was a bit unknown but “willingness” comes to mind. Willing to embrace a bit of the unknown, not sure who was going to be here, what we were going to do. The willingness to let go of all home and work responsibilities. The willingness to take time for myself.
As I walked on the beach during the meditation and observed what was around me I noticed that there was enough.
Enough blue sky
So thus my intention shifted to “enough”. Sometimes the fear of the future makes me wonder if there will be enough. When I focus on today – the moment – there is enough. Reality is I don’t need a lot. God has provided an awesome abundance.
My husband has always said that as soon as he crosses the South Causeway to New Smyrna Beach, a sense of relaxation and calmness overtakes his mind. That’s how I feel here at the beach, usually with no agenda other than going for long early morning walks on the beach, breathing in the soft air and taking in many a magnificent sunrise that only God can paint across the sky. The thrill of watching dolphins roll in the calm sea and the frenzied run of the sandpipers make me smile. I think of the ocean changing yet never changing. The rarity of discovering a perfect sand dollar is exciting. I try to imagine what it must have been like for the earliest explorers as they came upon this beautiful and wild land and how very fortunate and thankful I am that I have a home here. Being able to enjoy this peaceful place is a gift. The ocean soothes me and renews my soul.”
Carefree, relaxed, playful, relaxed, sharing with friends, relaxed, freeing, and relaxed. Oh — did I mention “relaxed”?!! Just a time to spend in quiet with God and Spirit; to see myself as part of nature and the whole of creation. Knowing that millennia ago all of life began in that big ocean of water; seeing and hearing the waves flowing in and flowing out – always the same, yet always different — just as each of us is always the same, yet always different. Observing the sky and the clouds and knowing the cycle of water that flows up by evaporation to the sky and then comes back to earth again in the rain and snow. The same water that has flowed for millennia, that touched our ancient ancestors and continued on to touch each generation since until now it is touching me and will continue touching generations yet to come. The living water that nourishes us in body, mind and spirit. Just take it in and be renewed.
Animals- snowy egret,
Willet, dove – poor pigeon,
gulls, fish -bait fish not to their mamas
David who taught me the golden slippers, slipped slipped away way too early.
Time to give up my past with the beach. It’s been home now for 25 years. Get over it. Free Mom from her prison.
The ground is solid here as ever if I reach out and rest in.
Master, is your time past or am I missing my teacher. You have to admit I learned well even if I didn’t go back for my degree.
Kindergarten is all I can hope for this time around.