All posts in Blog

“To say that things happen for a reason is completely accurate, with the exception that the reason may not be beneficial to us, or originally had anything to do with us. It is not the events of our life that shape us or our life; it is our reaction to those events that shapes us and our life.” Others may believe that that statement, simply makes us feel better for things that occur, simply because they do. i.e. natural disasters.

I frequently ask myself after something occurs “If everything happens for a reason, then what was the reason?”  From some little simple thing, like tripping up a step and ripping your slacks, heading to work which now makes you late, to bigger things like the dryer breaking when you just did the biggest load of laundry, to even the more severe as in a loss, or this recent pandemic.  Of course, being analytical in nature, I explore the numerous possibilities of that question.  (www.Psychologytoday.com)

I for example do not complain about traffic, as I feel its something that can’t be controlled by me getting upset over it.  When I was a nurses aide, I was late for work several times and I explained to my boss, that it “wasn’t my fault, that I kept getting stuck by the train”, to which she stated “then leave earlier.”  A friend of mine, having just received a well-deserved new car a few months back, was involved in a head on collision two weeks ago…the reason?  Again, not beneficial to her, yet we may never know “the reason.”

You as professionals are not letting this pandemic shape your activities programs, but rather you are embracing the challenge, head on, and succeeding in bringing new and innovative ideas into your facilities.  YOU are a great “REASON” to celebrate!

Reason Why Clip Art

I recently saw this picture posted on social media and found it remarkably interesting.  Sure, I have seen several of these types of photos over the years, yet I have only responded to the question “what do I see?”  This time, what caught my eye, was all the different responses that other individuals had posted.  Some saw the bird, others saw the goat, and still others claim to have seen both.  Many questioned whether they saw BOTH, and if they were just claiming to have viewed it as such.  One person even asked, “well which is right?”  It reminded me of a popular motivational story “The Two Shoe Salesman” regarding two individuals from competing shoe manufacturing companies years ago that sent their sales representatives to a third world country to see if there was a demand/opportunity to market shoes.  One representative came back and stated “there is not a market, the natives don’t wear shoes”.  The second representative excitedly shared with his supervisor, “yes there is a market, as the natives do not wear shoes!”  With the unprecedented events occurring throughout our industry, its remarkable to see the different approaches that activity professionals are taking regarding tasks at hand.  The different perspectives being shared.  So much creativity has been expressed that may not have come out had the situation not merited it, yet through all this, the profession continues to grow and prosper as a result of your positive perspective, your drive and your commitment to continued moments of joy for your staff and your residents.

Silence is Golden

Categories: Blog
Comments: 1

Think before you speak –

My devotion for today included “…he that refraineth his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).  In the multitude of words spoken each day it can be best sometimes to let our words be few, or at the very least to think before we speak.  Whether the words are said TO the person or ABOUT the person, words cannot be withdrawn.  Once said, they have been heard, imprinted even on those that heard them or those they were said about.  An activity friend of mine used to sign off each email with “people might not remember what exactly you have said, yet they will remember how your words made them feel.”  That too is a powerful message.  With all the use of social media, or the lack of actual face to face or voice to voice communication, a lot can be lost in translation as well.  In a recent conversation with my father, he shared that now with the use of masks, that it has made it a challenge for him to (of course read their lips), but also to read their expressions.  Often when words are spoken, you can “read” a person by their smirk, smile etc.  So now more than ever its better to weigh our thoughts before we make them spoken words.  A friend gave me these words of wisdom, years ago, that I still practice today… when writing a message (email, text etc.) leave it for a night, reread it, then decide if it is still what you really wish to express. If yes, send it, and if not, edit as necessary. “Silence is Golden”(1831,Thomas Carlyle, poet)

f

Positive Energy

Categories: Blog
Comments: No

There has been an abundance of positive vibes being expressed through photos of what activity personnel are doing for their residents during this unprecedented time that the profession is experiencing on an entirely different level from other fields.  While there have been so many positive statements being published on social media, I have also run across some that are struggling with how to program in their facilities with the same number of staff, yet the challenge of increased responsibilities and some say, “with little to no support”.  Questions like “How are you getting the supplies to make the specialty carts”? Or “How are you able to be so creative as they express “receiving no help from other departments” and so forth.  I recently finished reading “The Energy Bus” written by Jon Gordon.  What an inspiring book!  In it he writes “Your positive energy and vision must be greater than anyone’s and everyone’s negativity”.  Such powerful words.  You can do it!  There will always be a surplus of negative people around to tell you that you can’t, the “doubters” if you will, yet you CAN accomplish what you set your mind to, even if it isn’t when or how others think you should.  You are in activities for a reason.  Your caring spirit and desire to care for and about others has led you to this profession.  Surround yourself by those that are positive, that are supportive.  Keep reaching out for advice, for suggestions, for solutions.  You are strong and together we are stronger! 

Inspired

Categories: Blog
Comments: No

So much of what we read, hear, watch or see of late is negative in light of the pandemic, which is more than understandable yet the message of hope, positivity and love is the one being conveyed daily to the residents of the facilities all throughout the country through our fearless, dedicated Activity Professionals.  Messages of “Thank those on the front line”, those that expose themselves each and everyday to those that are systematic or vulnerable to the virus. Activity Professionals ARE these individuals.  Often it seems to take something significant like this to be the catalyst for banding together and sharing those messages, pictures, thoughts, words of encouragement and praise.  Linked Senior and many other organizations have started FaceBook threads (#ACTIVITIESSTRONG) sharing some of what activity staff are doing in light of the recent influx of in room activities.  I am inspired by the creativity that is flowing through the buildings.  Staff are doing everything from line dancing, singing, playing musical instruments even dressing up as different cartoon characters, all to bring moments of joy to their clients. Much gratitude and appreciation for all you are doing.  You truly are Superheroes.

James River Convalescent & Rehab Center

The other day I was taking attendance and I called out “Luke”.  I called a second time, as I was looking around the room for him.  Suddenly, I hear laughter in front of the room, as Luke was setting literally right in front of me and I hadn’t seen him.  Why does that happen do you suppose?  That quite often we do not see what is RIGHT IN FRONT of our eyes?  It is as if our brains are searching for the item, person, place or thing, yet our perspective has limited us to a certain space.  Kind of the needle in a haystack concept… “ impossible search for something relatively tiny, lost or hidden in something that is relatively enormous – the first use of this expression, and its likely origin, is by the writer Miguel de Cervantes, in his story Don Quixote de la Mancha written from 1605-1615 (quora.com).  You know when you search for that lost earring back, and someone else walks right up and finds it immediately?  It’s all about perspective.  We were reading out of a math book the other day, and this student said “wow, Ms. B.  do you see the heart?”  I looked and looked but only saw the colorful cover of the book.  Then he pointed it out to me and said “gee it was right there!”.  He was indeed correct.  As we continued to look, each of the characters on the cover had a “hidden” heart on them.  This simply reminded me that no matter what we are looking for; an answer, love perhaps, an item or whatever, that often it can be right in front of us, and we just didn’t see it. 

The traditions of Valentine’s Day are broad and many. It is a time to exchange cards or small gifts. Chocolates, flowers, jewelry, and romantic dinners are the big hits of this holiday. It is a romantic event for lovers, and a fun event for kids and family. Many couples become engaged or marry on Valentine’s Day. For others, it is a day to fall in love.

The roots of Valentine’s Day go back to ancient times, when people paid honor to the Roman God of Fertility. This was known as the Feast of Lupercalia and was celebrated even then on February 14th. St. Valentine is the patron saint of Valentine’s Day.  In the early days of the Roman empire Christianity was discriminated against. Christian marriages were forbidden at that time. St. Valentine, then the Bishop of Rome, continued to preach Christianity and to perform Christian marriages. He was imprisoned for disobeying the emperor. While in prison, he continued writing letters and even converted convicts in jail to Christianity. He befriended Julia, the daughter of the jailer. When the emperor Claudius discovered that he was still preaching Christianity from his jail cell, he was executed (270A.D.). In his last letter to the jailer’s daughter before his execution, he signed it “From your Valentine”, which is where this holiday then got its name.

The custom of sending Valentines to each other may have come from the thought process of February 14th being thought to be the first day of bird’s mating for the season.

So, amidst all the chocolates and the red ribbon, bows and cards, remember to stop and think about those that came before us, and once again, sacrificed so that we could have the freedoms and the liberties that we have today.  To celebrate how and with whom we wish, without fear of repercussion. 

Me and my Shadow

Categories: Blog
Comments: No

As we all know, the prediction of the next six weeks of weather rests on America’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.  Will he see his shadow which will gives us six more weeks of winter?  Or will he not see his shadow, like this year, which means an early spring?  The roots of Groundhog Day go all the way back to a different celebration, the Christian feast day of Candlemas, a day celebrated exactly half way between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.  On February 2, Christians traditionally bring candles to their local church to be blessed, which in turn bring light and warmth to the home for the remainder of winter. Germany created its own interpretation of Candlemas and incorporated hedgehogs into the lore.  As German immigrants arrived in America and settled in what is now Pennsylvania, Candlemas is one of the customs they brought with them. Because hedgehogs are native to Europe and didn’t exist in the wild in North America, the German settlers searched for another burrowing animal and found the groundhog. (Wikipedia) In thinking about the pros and cons of a longer winter or an earlier spring, it brings to mind a conversation I recently had with a pastor, who mentioned that he “prayed for NO rain as the church had an outdoor picnic planned that particular day.”  I followed it with a question that led into an extensive conversation about perspective of weather.  What if that same day of the outdoor picnic, a farmer may need rain for his crops?  He then would be praying/hoping for rain, so which would be best?  The same goes for Groundhog’s Day.  The children’s book, “Groundhog’s Dilemma” (Remenar) outlines so nicely, the animals that hibernate might like more sleep (six more weeks of winter) and those animals that like the spring air and warmer weather may not.  It’s all about perspective.  For Phil, he simply calls it like he sees it!

Lighting the Way

Categories: Blog
Comments: No

VAAP salutes all the activity professionals out there that indeed are “Lighting the Way”!!! Celebrating “National Activity Professional Week” is a special way to honor and appreciate all of you that dedicate your lives and your vocation to the field of activities and recreation. While there are numerous ways in which your administrator/staff can recognize you, one way that would be so significant is if they supported your attendance at your states annual activity conference. It’s a way of rejuvenating, reconnecting and relaxing with your peers. Those that understand the ins and outs of the profession and the challenges that you might be facing on your day to day journey at your facilities. Please feel free to share how you were honored and recognized at your facility for all your efforts and contributions to the field. VAAP Salutes you.

Time Flies

Categories: Blog
Comments: No

The expression ‘Time flies’ originates in a Latin proverb (which means, literally ‘time flees’) derives from the poetic works of an ancient Roman author called Virgil. This idiom was first recorded about 1800 but Shakespeare used a similar phrase, “the swiftest hours, as they flew,” as did Alexander Pope, “swift fly the years.” (Dictionary.com).  Typically when we stay busy with activities or work, spend time with friends and family or are on vacation/holiday the time seems to go by pretty quickly, yet when we are eager to be done with the day or wanting to get something “over with”, time seems to drag instead.  A person can experience BOTH in the same day.  The morning might fly by and the afternoon may slow down or vice versa.  In a recent conversation the person I was conversing with stated that “the years are flying by however the days are so long.”  This individual lost their spouse 10 years ago, but their day seems to have 48 hours in it rather than 24.  One thing is for certain, we cannot get back time, so we’d be wise to spend it accordingly. One of my favorite books, I came across a few years ago while having coffee at a Starbucks in Florida is entitled “The Traveler” by Daren Simkin.  While a very short story, its message is so immensely meaningful.  It discusses a boy named Charlie who is discontent at home, so he packs his suitcase full of “time” and sets off to find the “perfect” place in which to spend it.  He travels all over the world to several different places until he finds himself back at home, now an elderly man, regretting the fact that he didn’t spend his time wisely, but rather he lost it all along the way.  He was able to share this life lesson with others, which in turn has allowed me to share it with all of you.  Enjoy your time, even if its in small segments or short moments throughout each day.  You will be glad you did!