Category Archives: Life Lessons

Friday Photos–An Object Lesson in Persistence

Creek at bridge (where we feed the fish)

Author’s Photo

bare-trees-creek-flowing-over-rocks

Author’s Photo

Creek and railroad bridge

Author’s Photo

A problem I have is my lack of persistence. It’s all too easy for me to give up.

One day as I gazed at a little country creek , I realized God provided an object lesson for me. The creek contends with rocks, fallen trees, the remnant of an old railroad bridge, and other obstacles on its way to its destination, a larger creek. Nothing holds the little creek back. It keeps on going–over, under, around or through the obstacle. It never gives up, never gives in, and eventually reaches the merger with the bigger creek.

What a lesson for me, given anew every time I look at the creek. How well am I learning? Slowly, but I am improving.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  James 1:3,4, King James Version

©P. Booher

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Benefits of Physical Therapy

woman in white cap shirt on stability ball

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

This year my doctor prescribed physical therapy to treat my achy, cranky joints and muscles. Since March I’ve had several visits to the physical therapist’s. In the process I’m learning: a different mindset, to cooperate with and respect my body better, and the ways regulated motion (stretches, using weights) can help me live better and more pain-free.

I’m learning:

  • “No pain, no gain” is not the motto of the physical therapists. The therapists don’t want you to push through pain; your muscles will tire and there is a greater chance of more injury; stop just before the point of pain. You want the point of stretch, but not to the point where it hurts.
  •  When doing exercises and stretches if you have to stop and rest, do so. For example, if you are supposed to do two sets of 10 reps (repetitions), but you have to stop after just 5, that’s OK. Rest, take a break, do them in sets of 5. You can break it down to four sets of 5, instead of two sets of 10.
  • Your attitude towards pain and physical therapy is just as  important as the physical therapy itself. You need to be as confident as possible.
  • Be patient with your body and the process of healing. It takes time, and this varies with each person.
  • You can work for a long time and it seems as though nothing is getting better. Don’t buy into that sneaky voice of discouragement. Get tough and keep on going, anyway. One day when you think nothing has changed, the therapist will say, “Your flexibility is improving”.
  • Strength comes last in an injured part, but it will come.
  • The physical therapy place is a “no judgment zone”; no one is pointing the finger at you and how few reps you managed, how long it took you to do them, or how you had to ask for help on a particular machine, again. Everybody’s in the same boat–focusing on getting stronger. No one in physical therapy can claim to be a super-athlete.
  • Clients encourage one another, and when one client rehabs enough to be released from therapy, this gives a boost to others still working to reach that point.
  • Physical therapy is a hopeful place. Doctors tell you what’s wrong; physical therapists tell you where you are strong, where your flexibility improved, where your range of motion is normal– in other words, what’s right. Yes, they do say things like, “Well, those muscles are a bit on the weak side. But there’s exercises we can do to strengthen them.” The therapists emphasize the positive. Most of the time I walk out of PT feeling more hopeful about my situation. Rather than being in despair about my body, I believe something can be done.
  • One part of the body affects another. If one muscle is weak and can’t do its job, another muscle has to work harder. Eventually the hard-working muscle may develop weakness, and then other muscles and probably joints get involved. Then you wonder why you hurt.
  • Physical therapists are detail-oriented–something I didn’t realize until this time around. They take measurements in their evaluations and plan each person’s therapy course with those measurements, along with the comments the client makes, in mind. Each stretch, each exercise, is selected to address the particular problem the client has. Therapists have to know how the body parts interact,  and what happens when a part is not acting as it should.
  • Physical therapy is a participatory time. Unlike going to the doctor and listening to him or her explain your condition, showing up for physical therapy requires action on your part. To get the most benefit, take time to do recommended stretches at home. (I’ve been known to get some stretches in while waiting for supper.)
  • To me, physical therapy is counter-culture. The world demands, and often gets, speed. Physical therapy allows time for the healing process, however long that takes. Some things can’t be rushed.
  • Physical therapy isn’t a cure and it’s not guaranteed to work for everyone, but for many painful problems it’s worth considering.

 

BTW: That lady on the stability ball is not me. If I was that flexible, I wouldn’t need physical therapy! 🙂

I need to give credit where credit is due: Most of the information used in this article comes from observing and listening to the physical therapists at the office I go to. Along with their specialized knowledge and ability they offer much patience and compassion.

©P. Booher

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–How to be an Imperfectionist

divers-underwater-ocean-swim-68767.jpeg

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

How to be an Imperfectionist by Stephen Guise goes much deeper into perfectionism than I thought it would. Mr. Guise refers to studies by researchers about what perfectionism is vs. what it is not. The trait is hard for even scientists to pin down, which is probably why some believe not all perfectionism is bad, while others believe it’s all bad–that what’s called “healthy” perfectionism isn’t perfectionism, but rather striving to do the best a person can.

Mr. Guise writes as one who had a tendency towards perfectionism–and found it stifling for the growth of the mind and spirit. In How to be an Imperfectionist he gives ways to free yourself from that mindset, live with more joy and peace, less anxiety, and gain improved physical health as well.

Although the author writes about various studies, this book doesn’t come off as a “textbook”, which is a big plus for me. Mr. Guise gives examples from his own life, as to what worked for him and what didn’t. His tone is as a friend giving a heads-up to another friend.

Comment: This book is a keeper for me. Before I was a teenager, I decided I would avoid mistakes, and so made one of the biggest of my life in going down an unhealthy perfectionist road that only leads to more and more problems. How to be an Imperfectionist opens up a better, much healthier way of thinking.

©P. Booher

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The Lure of Worry, the Futility of Worry

 

lightning in sky at night

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beautiful environment field flora

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“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Jesus, Matthew 6:27 (NIV)

I have a problem with worry. In two seconds flat I can worry about something that hadn’t crossed my mind before then. Less than two seconds later I have a tidal wave of worry in my mind. “What do I do if that happens, or if that happens?” or “What if I do this and then that happens? Then what do I do?”

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A Gift for Myself

blue gift box with blue ribbon

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A few years ago a co-worker and I got on each other’s nerves in a big way, so much so that I wanted to walk out the door and not come back. I carried a grudge against her for some time, even after she left that workplace.

Finally I decided life truly is too short to carry a grudge. I contacted her, we started e-mailing each other, sometimes three or four times a day. We became friends and confidantes, exchanging our joys, sorrows, trials and tribulations. I heard her excitement with her new place of employment, and, later, her frustrations with it; and her decision to leave that place when family obligations and health concerns made it hard to continue working. She heard my frustrations as well with the things of life. Every now and then we got together at a local restaurant to celebrate good things in our lives–things to look forward to, as well as books, cats, and our mutual love of the outdoors.

While she didn’t write much, except as a catharsis, she enthusiastically supported my writing efforts. She commented on blog pieces, and gave me feedback for short stories. Before submitting one particular short story to a publisher, I emailed the story to her, asking for feedback. I asked if there were any troublesome places in the story–phrases or sentences she had to reread to understand. She replied the only problem was that she didn’t want the story to end. Any writer wants to hear that! With that encouragement, I submitted the story to the publisher.

I am so glad I overcame my anger with the help of God and gave myself the gift of a friend. I am enriched by her friendship.

©P. Booher

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–The Horse and His Boy

divers-underwater-ocean-swim-68767.jpeg

Photo Credit: Pexels. com

As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

The Horse and His Boy, by C. S. Lewis, is Book Three in The Chronicles of Narnia, the fantasy series in which animals talk, Aslan the lion is present even when not physically around, and a human is as likely to meet a dwarf, faun, giant, or centaur as another human.

I don’t take vacations, or travel; I “travel” mentally by reading. Since The Horse and His Boy involves a long journey full of hazards and challenges, surprises, a battle over a cause worth fighting for, and a good ending in which everything is wrapped up, this is a book for me.

Because The Horse and His Boy is a fantasy, readers need to read it with an open mind, as though the creatures and events pictured really are real. With that in the back of my head, I came across some lessons embedded in the plot of the story–lessons about good and evil, the importance of keeping on when the journey gets hard, tedious, and you feel sorry for yourself, finding friends in people you wouldn’t ordinarily associate with, and for me–a spiritual parallel–in the hard places, God is a lot closer than you think He is.

Comment: As I mentioned, The Horse and His Boy is a book I pick up when I want a get-away to another world without leaving the chair. If that is what you are looking for, you may want to give The Horse and His Boy a try.

©P. Booher

 

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There Is Life After High School

man in black and white polo shirt beside writing board

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I don’t have fond memories of my school years. I was picked on from about second grade through eleventh grade. I never knew what would bring the teasing on–perhaps being the only person in second grade to have to wear glasses? (This was long before contact lenses.) Or maybe it was my shyness–often I couldn’t think of anything to say in peer-to-peer conversation, so I was quiet. (When you are in school, any little difference from what is considered “normal” makes a person ripe for picking on.) Maybe the teasing of the moment revolved around my non-existent athletic ability (if a team had to pick me, the kids groaned and I wished for the ground to swallow me). Continue reading

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A Conversation Between My Mind and My Body

Here’s some humor to start out the work-week:

Now that I am a certain age, I “overhear” conversations between my mind and my body frequently. Years ago, things were quiet.

My mind says that I should be able to do a specific thing–for example, work twelve-hour shifts standing on a hard floor–and do it consistently. My body, on the other hand, says, “Yeah, right!! Are you ever dreaming!!” My mind thinks I should be able to do what I used to do with no more effort than I used to do it with, and work as long as I used to work without sitting down. My body says, “Get a reality check! You really are dreaming!!”

My mind thinks I should not need to do stretches and other exercises to be as flexible as possible. My body sighs in exasperation. “You just don’t get it, do you? This body is OLDER. You are NOT twenty years old anymore. You need to be more flexible, get with the program and accept some limitations.”

Eventually my mind and body will come to some kind of an understanding. They better–I have to live with them!  🙂

Note: Those around my age will have no difficulty agreeing with me on this one. Those younger: be thankful you have the energy you’ve got, and can move with ease. Try not to take that ability for granted, (but if you’re like me, you will anyway). Practice good health habits; treat your body with respect; it’s the only one you get.

©P. Booher

 

 

 

 

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Friday Photos–Babe, A Memorable Purrsonality

babe-on-table-by-swing

Babe

Babe came into the world on my bed. (Talk about a soft life! ) She was Spotty’s one and only kitten. At first we called the kitten “Spotty Jr.” Then we decided the kitten needed  a more dignified name. As my mother said, the kitten was Spotty’s babe, so the kitten was christened “Babe”.

Babe remained small in stature throughout her life, which lasted a long time. (Had she lived another week she would have been twenty years old.) People seeing her thought she was a kitten, but no, she was built small.

Babe made up for her small size by being large in determination and persistence. Because we lived then, as we do now, near a busy road, when Babe went outdoors she did so on a leash. She accepted this fact without much ado. She  expressed her desire to go outside by putting her paw on the door knob and meowing, “Me-out, me-out”. (At least, that’s what it sounded like). So I put the leash on her and took her out, either to tie her up or to go for a walk with her.

Babe’s greatest feat while tied was jumping up and catching a hummingbird. I saw the last part of that incident, too late to help the unfortunate bird. To this day I wonder how Babe was able to get a hummingbird, as fast as it darts back and forth.

Babe and I spent many hours walking on the property. Together we explored the area. She poked her paw in a hole, felt around in the hole, and when nothing came out, moved on. She sharpened her claws on any available tree or bush; she stared at a bird, mouth open, tail swishing; she jumped at a butterfly. We could walk over the same space for days in a row and she was never bored. Everyday she saw something of interest.  She taught me that  you can find joy and excitement in little, everyday adventures without ever leaving home.

Babe lived life to the fullest, despite the restraints of being confined to a house or a leash. Since she couldn’t do anything about those restraints, she adjusted to them and enjoyed life anyway–which is another lesson I can use.

I lived with other cats before Babe came along. But she was the first one to teach me lessons about life.

©P. Booher

 

 

 

 

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Advice I Don’t Need to Hear–or Give

Sometimes I encounter people who throw out advice to me, but the comment given is definitely not helpful. Ever run into that?

For example, after one job at a store ended, I got a job in another store. A man walked in, recognized me, and said, “I thought you’d do better than this.” I was so embarrassed.

Much later I realized I shouldn’t have let that man’s comment bother me. He didn’t know my particular situation,  was not in any position to advise me about job-hunting strategies, didn’t suggest anyone who could help me,  nor did he really care about me. I didn’t need to take his comment to heart. His comment was what I call throw-away advice:  advice which doesn’t suggest any positive steps to improve the situation, so it’s not worth taking into consideration.

After further reflection, I wondered: Do I give other people that kind of advice–throwaway comments that are neither kind nor advice? To be truly helpful, I need to consider if I am close enough to the person to know some details about the situation. If I am not, the operative principle is “zip my lips”. Second, I should ask the person if he or she wants to hear what I have to say, or not. I have to earn the right to speak.

I want to make more of an effort to practice these principles. When I do, life is smoother all the way around.

©P. Booher

 

 

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