While we are all getting excited about the upcoming year ahead, it’s important to think about gratitude.
Gratitude is one of the most important elements for success. It’s the key to experiencing life at its best.
Many will tell you that hard work and dedication produce success. However, being grateful for your blessings in life is arguably what opens the door to a life of success and prosperity.
Gratitude is a powerful practice that can revolutionize your life forever! Here’s why:
The Importance Of Gratitude
1. Gratitude flows from a heart of “thanksgiving.”
Thanksgiving is not just a date on the calendar. Thanksgiving is a daily discipline that we should all develop in our lives.
Years ago, I made a conscious decision to write down three to five things that I am grateful for every single night. I have done this for almost twenty years, and it changed my life.
I found myself being thankful for the beautiful trees and moments of silence—for adversity and even painful experiences.
This exercise in gratitude empowered me to be thankful in all circumstances. It shifted my outlook about life and opened me up to a level of living that I did not even know was possible.
2. Gratitude shifts the narrative of your life.
So many people in the world today are battling through toxic thoughts and negative words. These thoughts and words create negative cycles in your lifes.
Being grateful changes the sequencing of words and the processing of your thoughts. It seasons your words and focuses your thoughts creating new possibilities for your life.
Your story changes, and therefore, the seasons of your life change. You are able to have the right perspective and understand the value that each cycle of life brings. You go from a life of complaining to a life of compassion and appreciation. Changing your story empowers you to create success in every area of your life.
3. Gratitude changes us for the better.
Humanity is in a constant state of evolution. We are all on a journey to become the highest expression of ourselves.
As a soul coach, I know that becoming your best self begins with cultivating a lifestyle of gratitude.
The moment I made gratitude a daily practice in my life, I noticed remarkable changes. I noticed that my heart was more open, and I found myself being more compassionate in life. I was unshaken when things did not go according to plan. Most of all, I was able to process my experiences differently and find the good in everything.
Gratitude is an advanced practice, but it yields abundant possibilities. The more grateful you are, the more authentic you become. Gratitude will change you into a peaceful, conscious, and sacrificial person. You will be able to be present, and you will be able to live in the flow of life.
4. Gratitude produces a more meaningful life.
When it comes to life meaning, nothing compares to living a life of gratitude. When you are truly grateful, you find yourself living with greater purpose and passion.
Being grateful will give you meaning because it allows you to capture the full essence of every moment. It takes the burden out of life while adding a dimension of beauty, and it allows you to find contentment even in moments of crisis.
Bailey Park is more than a place to live. It’s an exciting community that invites you to try new things, connect with others, and experience real community. Because it’s more than just having fun in the moment – at Bailey Park you have the chance to find deeper happiness in your life, today and every day!
Give us a call at 570-925-2077 to schedule a first-hand tour of Bailey Park!
Staying “Hip” after 55: The Ultimate Guide to Avoid the Mid-Life Crisis
by Rafael Henriquez for After55.com
April 4, 2018
So you reached the point where you’re after 55 and maybe getting the itch to define yourself all over again. But before you go buying the new Audi S5 (fire-engine red, of course) or finally take that Eat-Pray-Love sabbatical, know that you’re in good company. Check out these names who are turning 55 in 2018: Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Moore, Paula Abdul, and James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich of the heavy metal band Metallica just to name a few. Those guys are cool!
By now you’re well aware of your body’s betrayal. Yet you can turn it around. Listen to your doctor, eat healthier, but most importantly, get moving and stay moving. You don’t have to kill yourself with side bends or sit-ups. Go dancing, take a swim class, golf, do yoga or go on a gentle hike at the park. It doesn’t take a whole lot to get your heart and blood pumping. You only need 30 minutes a day, the same amount of time it takes to find the remote control.
Give Yourself a Makeover
What’s fun about today’s fashion is that it’s not really new. Fads are always coming and going and repeating. Was there a style you wanted to try when you were younger but didn’t feel sophisticated enough? Men, it’s a perfect time for a swanky hat like a Po’ Boy cap or a Panama Fedora. And ladies, bigger is better: big scarves; long, flowing open sweaters; 3-piece layers. And be bold; accentuate earth tones with bright accessories. By changing your paradigm alone, you’d be surprised just how “not old” you’ll feel.
No, I’m not talking about with each other … although, if you’re looking to rekindle that flame or starting anew, go for it! Love is ageless. What I mean here, though, is flirt with your dreams and your desires. Do you have goals you never found time to get accomplished? Is there a hobby you wanted to do but were too nervous to try? It’s never too late. Be fearless again. Having something to work towards and look forward to every morning that brings you joy and fills your heart will keep you feeling young.
Get a “Second” Job
Much like those hobbies you never got around to doing, this is the time to spread your wings, especially if you’re retired. Now is the time to write that great American novel, sell those nature photos, get the band back together and book gigs, or dust off your point shoes and teach a dance class. Everyone is good at something; we all have our talents. Turn your passions into a career. You’ll want the extra pocket change for some of the tips below.
Go Get Lost
Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither. (Tolkien). If you have the means, pull out a map and randomly pick a retirement travel destination to visit within the next 6 months just because. If you’re on a tighter budget, ask yourself: How well do you know the city or town that you live in? There are always hidden gems where you live: new eateries popping up, traveling shows stopping through, or historical sites you may have driven past but never stopped to learn about. Look up your town’s department of tourism, or go on a real-world treasure hunt by geocaching in your very own community.
Peter Pan was able to fly by thinking happy thoughts. He was also a grown man in a young boy’s body. That’s because he stayed away from those who constantly complained about how old they were getting or just had negative energy in general. Never think you’re too old for anything that brings you happiness. If you want to eat cereal for breakfast, do it! If you want to have a house party with music and dancing friends, go for it! Don’t act your age, act your essence.
Do What You Want
Remember when you didn’t have a care in the world? It’s OK to live like that again. Like the 62-years-young Dee Snider or Twisted Sister once said, “I wanna rock!” Don’t feel ashamed to splurge on yourself a little or eat the big piece of 7-layer chocolate cake. Want to remake yourself but don’t know how? Go ahead and do something that shocks or even scares you like getting a Mohawk (my grandmother once accidentally dyed her hair purple … the first time; the second time was to touch up her roots) or buy a round of drinks at a watering hole you’ve never been to. Have fun by simply being spontaneous and extravagant. Even if you only do it once, consider it practice for your retirement bucket list. Rock on!
Ditch the Planner
This goes along with being spontaneous and doing what you want. Sometimes we get so caught up in a routine that we often give ourselves anxiety if we don’t stay on schedule. So what? You spent your whole life making plans; now plan not to. It’s perfectly acceptable to give yourself a break and veer off the beaten path. Take a nap on a Tuesday right before dinner, or even right after you first wake up. Miss a day at the gym if you want. Put on your favorite music, take a walk, and see where you end up instead. There’s a thrill in being disobedient, even if you’re disobeying yourself.
Embrace Your Age
Look around you. Chances are you are in the “sandwich years” where you have children – who, although they are going out into the world, still need your help – along with aging parents who may need you more than your children. Pay attention to how the youth live every day as an adventure and how the older generation takes it easy. Be excited that you have some wisdom but still have years to live freely. Accept who you are and who you can still become. So what if you don’t have a six-pack or are balding, gentlemen. Wear it as a badge; dad bods and a sleek skull are in. And, women, girls’ night out is 18 and up, not 18 and until, so go live it up and take too many selfies! “Old” is a word used for comparison, not a state of being.
When my wife, Ann, 71, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, we charted a course about how we were going to handle things.
Holding hands, we stared at the computer, and it was through AARP’s website that I found a wealth of resources like the local Area Agency on Aging.
I had to learn to use the washing machine and apply her makeup. I help her get dressed.
We resolved that Alzheimer’s was not going to steal our joy. It really tried, and almost beat me several times. One thing that helps is keeping Ann as social as possible. I take her to a local restaurant where she has breakfast with her women’s club.
People still want to participate in activities and know they are valued as human beings.
If I’m playing piano for her, which I do every day, the look on her face is just absolutely amazing.
(written by Bruce Williams for AARP Bulletin, July/August 2019)
‘Just a few hours does wonders’
I was a caregiver for eight years before I discovered respite care. Even before my husband, Matt, received a dementia diagnosis in 2011, he was becoming forgetful and needed my assistance.
I didn’t know how our relationship would eventually change. We couldn’t banter anymore, and he was forgetting the names of family and friends. Because change makes him anxious, we stay home more. It’s been isolating.
I learned about respite care from an AARP staffer. The first day I dropped Matt off for four hours at Bethany Village, an adult care facility with a respite program called Day Club. I was so relieved. I went and got a massage with a gift certificate I’d been given. I’d never had time to do that before.
I know Matt is safe at Day Club, because the people there are so incredibly competent and caring. He sits with a bunch of men, fellow veterans in their military caps. They have lunch, socialize.
When Matt is there, I can run errands, come home or have lunch with a friend. It’s wonderful to have four hours to myself to do what I wish, even if it’s mundane things on my own.
Just a few hours does wonders in restoring my energy and perspective. No one likes to ask for help, but getting respite time is critical to surviving as a caregiver.
(written by Joy Perry for AARP Bulletin, July/August 2019)
Did you know that AARP is working to help making countless towns a better place to grow older? Yep, Look around. AARP’s Livable Communities program is sprucing up America. By 2035, the 65-plus population in the USA will outnumber those under age 18—and AARP is working to help everyone adapt.
Already more than 370 communities nationwide and four states have become members of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States & Communities.
Members consider every facet of life for older residents—transportation, access to technology, business and tax incentives, appropriate housing (a big issue), access to health care, living costs & hiring practices. The process is as individual as the needs of each community.
AARP also has funded more than $2 million worth of Community Challenge grants. Within two years, these quick-action grants went to 217 communities.
The results: artistic bike racks in Annapolis, MD, an outdoor storytelling space on Blackfeet Nation tribal land in Montana, and an intergenerational community garden in the Florida Keys.
If it makes life easier, AARP walks the walk—complete with nicer sidewalks.
Supplements to sharpen memory raise concerns
One in four Americans 50 and older take a supplement for brain health. They are likely flushing dollars down the drain, says a new report by the AARP Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH).
The study, “The Real Deal on Brain Health Supplements,” says more than $3 billion was spent on memory supplements in 2016, a number that is expected to nearly double by 2023.
“Despite adults’ widespread use of brain health supplements, there appears to be little reason for it,” the study says. “It’s a massive waste of money.”
The GCBH, an independent body of top scientists, doctors, scholars and policy experts brought together by AARP, reviewed the evidence of brain-health supplement effectiveness to determine the best advice to give those who take the pills.
The council found that “scientific evidence does not support the use of any supplement to prevent, slow, reverse, or stop cognitive decline or dementia or other related neurological disease such as Alzheimer’s.”
Not only could no evidence be found that brain health supplements worked, the council found “significant concerns” about misleading claims from companies selling them, and about the safety and purity under which the supplements were manufactured.
“Unfortunately, supplement ingredients are not generally reviewed for purity and content by government agencies before they are allowed to be sold,” the report says. “Some may contain ingredients that could even harm consumers.”
The best course for those hoping to avoid premature memory loss, according to the report: “The GCBH recommends consumers save their money and adopt healthy lifestyle habits instead.”
(As written in the AARP Bulletin, July/August 2019)
Paul’s Pumpkin Bars
Recipe By : Deb Martin
“These are very moist, and so far I haven’t found anyone who doesn’t love them!”
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Ready in: 45 minutes
- 4 eggs
- 1 2/3 cups white sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Spread the batter evenly into an ungreased 10×15 inch jellyroll pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven. Cool before frosting.
To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars. Cut into squares.
It’s that time of year when the temperature starts to drop, the leaves change color, and change is in the air. Fall is one our favorite seasons here at Bailey Park in Benton PA.
Activities like pumpkin picking, hiking, and decorating are all favorite pastimes of people throughout America.
Another fun and uniquely autumn activity is observing fall foliage throughout the U.S.
During the fall, each state in the U.S. will experience its own special view of the season. While many people associate the Northeast with the best foliage, there are plenty of places throughout the country with beautiful sites.
Changing ash, hickory, maple, and oak trees make for postcard-like views in almost every state.
Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?
Why do leaves change color in the fall? When leaves appear green, it is because they contain an abundance of chlorophyll. There is so much chlorophyll in an active leaf that the green masks other pigment colors. Light regulates chlorophyll production, so as autumn days grow shorter, less chlorophyll is produced. The decomposition rate of chlorophyll remains constant, so the green color starts to fade from leaves.
At the same time, surging sugar concentrations cause increased production of anthocyanin pigments. Leaves containing primarily anthocyanins will appear red. Carotenoids are another class of pigments found in some leaves. Carotenoid production is not dependent on light, so levels aren’t diminished by shortened days. Carotenoids can be orange, yellow, or red, but most of these pigments found in leaves are yellow. Leaves with good amounts of both anthocyanins and carotenoids will appear orange.
Leaves with carotenoids but little or no anthocyanin will appear yellow. In the absence of these pigments, other plant chemicals also can affect leaf color. An example includes tannins, which are responsible for the brownish color of some oak leaves.
Temperature affects the rate of chemical reactions, including those in leaves, so it plays a part in leaf color. However, it’s mainly light levels that are responsible for fall foliage colors.
Sunny autumn days are needed for the brightest color displays, since anthocyanins require light. Overcast days will lead to more yellows and browns.
(By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. for Thought.co)
Bailey Park in Benton PA has some beautiful foliage in the Fall.
Please try to get out and enjoy.
Dreaming of pumpkin lattes, caramel apples, and turkey and mashed potatoes? So are we! It’s finally Autumn, a favorite season to many who enjoy the fun foods, festivities, and cooler weather.
Many people love Autumn for the changing colors of leaves. Trees that were once green explode into beautiful hues of gold, red, and orange. The colors are especially breathtaking in places like the New England states, the Pocono Mountains & the Great Smoky Mountains!
If you love pumpkins, then you’re in luck! Pumpkin flavors can be found everywhere in Autumn, particularly in traditional favorites like pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, and in more modern treats like pumpkin-spiced teas and coffees. Be sure to get your fill before the season ends!
Autumn is one of the best times of year for sweets. Caramel apples, taffies, and candies can be found in abundance, as well as pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie…basically any kind of pie your heart may desire. If you’re indulging in pumpkin pie this Autumn, don’t forget the whipped cream!
After the intense heat of the summer, it can be a relief when it finally starts to cool down. September is a great month weather-wise, as warm days start to give way to cool, crisp nights. After months of blasting the air conditioning, the beginning of Autumn often ushers in cooler breezes that allow you to finally keep the windows open.
When it’s intensely hot in the summer, fashion can sometimes go by the wayside in favor of coolness and comfort. However, Autumn ushers in new fashions like jackets, sweaters, and boots that tend to be more flattering than shorts and flip flops, and more fun to wear.
If you’re lucky enough to have a firepit on your property, or know someone who does, this is the ideal time of year to use it! There’s nothing like roasting hot dogs, brats, or marshmallows over an open fire. Be sure to take advantage now before winter comes and it’s too cold!
(In the home stretch of your career, each additional year of work
Can make a big difference in your future benefits)
The single most effective way to maintain your standard of living in retirement is—ta da!—not to retire. Or at least, not to retire as soon as you planned. A 2018 study called “The Power of Working Longer,” for instance, found that hanging on just two months longer improves your standard of living more than saving an extra 1 percent of your wages for the last 10 years of your career.
There are several reasons this might be so. If you’re still working, you don’t have to draw on your savings to cover expenses. You can use part of your earnings to add to your savings. And between the ages of 62 and 70, the longer you delay taking Social Security, the greater your monthly benefit. From full retirement age until 70, for example, your benefit grows 8 percentage points for each year you put off claiming.
But few people understand another factor that can improve their finances: how an additional year of work can raise a key number that Social Security uses to set their benefits.
To see how those additional wages help, you need to know how Social Security calculates your benefit. It uses an average of your highest 35 years of earnings covered by Social Security (they need not be consecutive years), starting from age 16. An inflation adjustment is applied to the wages you earned up to age 60 to bring them in line with your current purchasing power. If you put in more than 35 years, your lowest-earning years are dropped, pulling your average earnings up. If you put in fewer than 35 years, you get a zero for each missing year, which pulls your average down. Your 35-year average is then run through a complicated formula to produce your “primary insurance amount.” That number is the starting point for all your benefits, plus spousal and survivors benefits, based on your record. It’s also the number from which your benefits are reduced, if you have a government pension and are subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision or Government Pension Offset.
When you’re working, each year of higher earnings replaces one of your lower-earning years, so your average earnings rise. People who aren’t working can eliminate zeros on their record by getting a job. (To see your year-by-year earnings record, register for a “my Social Security” account at ssa.gov)
Social Security reviews workers’ records every year. If last year’s earnings knocked out a lower earnings year, your benefit will be recalculated. If you’re currently receiving benefits, the higher payment will show up in next year’s checks.
Adding to a work record can be especially valuable for people who spent part of their lives out of the workforce—for example, women caring for children, laid-off workers who couldn’t find new jobs right away and people who got a late start. This strategy also works wonders for those who held low-wage jobs when they were younger but are making much more money now.
What if your current wage is less than you used to get? No matter. Social Security will still compute your benefit based on your highest 35 years. You may not love working longer, but financially it’s all balloons.
(by Jane Bryant Quinn for AARP Bulletin, July/August 2019)
(Tips to help you increase your safety during a thunderstorm)
Whether you’re playing on a golf course, fishing off a boat, sitting on a beach or strolling through a park, it’s not only inconvenient but also downright dangerous to get caught outside in a thunderstorm. And considering that all thunderstorms produce lightning, which can reach temperatures of about 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s no wonder that thunder and lightning rank high among people’s most common fears.
While the odds of getting struck and killed by lightning are relatively slim, with several dozen fatalities occurring in the U.S. annually, hundreds of people are struck and severely injured by lightning every year in our country, reports the National Weather Service (NWS). To help you increase your safety during a thunderstorm, take cover with these precautions from the experts at the NWS.
SEEK SAFE SHELTER. At the first rumble of thunder, lightning is present in the area—even if no rain is falling and there are blue skies overhead (there’s reason for the familiar phrase “a bolt from the blue”). So, seek immediate shelter such as a sturdy building or an enclosed metal-topped vehicle (it’s not the vehicle’s rubber tires that protect you but the metal frame through which the lightning travels and goes into the ground). Heed the mantra “When thunder roars, go indoors.” Remain indoors for at least a half-hour after you hear the last echo of thunder.
AVOID CONTACT WITH OBJECTS THAT ARE ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS. When indoors, avoid plumbing (sinks, faucets, showers, etc.), and don’t use electrical equipment and appliances such as computers, stoves and corded phones. Stay away from windows and doors, too, and remember that it’s not safe to watch a thunderstorm from a porch.
KEEP AWAY FROM HAZARDOUS AREAS. If you’re stuck outside, reduce your risk by staying off elevated areas (hills, ridges, etc.) and steering clear of bodies of water. Also, don’t take refuge under a rocky overhang or an isolated tree; in fact, being under a tree during a thunderstorm is a leading cause of lightning casualties.
DON’T BE LULLED INTO A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY. The NWS no longer recommends merely crouching or squatting if you’re caught outdoors during a thunderstorm because the position doesn’t provide significant protection and gives people a false sense of security. Also, don’t lie flat on the ground since lying flat will increase your risk of being injured by ground current. Height, pointy shape and isolation are the major factors impacting where lightning will strike. Instead of staying put, seek safe shelter.
Of course, the best way to stay safe is to avoid getting caught in a thunderstorm in the first place. So, monitor weather forecasts, have a plan for reaching a safe shelter, and take action when a thunderstorm looms.
(written by Stacy Tillilie for AAA World, July/August 2019)
Recipe By: PUSHKEMAA
Prep: 50 minutes / Cook: 25 minutes / ready in: 1 hour 30 minutes
“A German dish, these sweet dinner rolls are stuffed with ground beef, onion, and cabbage. A great alternative to the Finnish pasty!”
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup margarine, softened
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 7 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 6 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- Prepare dough: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Mix in sugar, margarine, egg, salt and 1/2 of the flour. Beat until smooth; add remaining flour until dough pulls together. Place in oiled bowl. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, OR let it rise for 1 hour.
- In a large heavy skillet, brown meat. Add onion, cabbage, salt and simmer 30 minutes. Cool until lukewarm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) Coat a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
- Punch down dough and divide into 20 pieces. Spread each piece of dough out on an un-floured surface and fill with approximately 2 tablespoons filling. fold dough over and seal edges. Place on prepared cookie sheet and let rise for 1 hour.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with butter and serve.