Tag: grandfather

7/22/12 “Simple Pleasures”

Good day, team.

I must admit, I am a nester. I enjoy creating a snug home, a retreat. I’m lucky that I have two nests — one in the country and one in the city — and I enjoy both of them for very different reasons. They each provide me with simple pleasures, which is the theme of this week’s challenge.

This morning, as I was hanging laundry out in the back yard, I realized how much pleasure I find in this activity. I enjoy hanging the clothes just right, so they get maximum sun and breeze. Once dry, I like taking the clothes down, folding them and putting them away. And I love the fresh smell and feel of the sheets as I make the bed. There is nothing more pleasurable than getting into a bed with freshly cleaned sheets that have dried on a clothes line. It is one of my favorite simple pleasures.

I also enjoy cooking. The process of planning a meal, shopping for the ingredients, and creating something healthy, nourishing and good-tasting is another one of my favorite simple pleasures. It’s a daily ritual that makes me happy — and my husband appreciates it, too! This morning, I’m making zucchini bread, a wonderful bi-product of our abundant zucchini crop this year.

Each evening, when we get home from work, my husband and I sit for a while with a glass of wine or other drink and review the day’s events. It’s a simple thing, just a daily check in to talk about work, our family and friends. In the winter, we sit in the living room by the fireplace. In the spring and summer, we sit out on the porch or patio. It’s a tradition that gives us a chance to connect and share simple moments of partnership and support.

I used to have a cat. I enjoyed how he would jump up onto my lap when I was reading and make a few circles to the right and then to the left to find the best spot for a nap. Once he’d found it, he would nestle in, knead me a few times with his paws and settle into a deep sleep. It was a simple pleasure that I miss — that warm, soft feline purring softly on my lap.

Yesterday, in a coaching session, my client and I spoke about the pleasure that comes from staring into space. We each acknowledged what a privilege it is to have the time to just sit and stare in silence. No texting, no talking, no thinking — just sitting and looking at whatever is in front of us. It’s a simple pleasure that soothes me in a way nothing else does.

As I write this, a fresh summer breeze wafts through the screen door and passes over my forehead. The chime outside makes a small tinkling sound. The delicious smell of zucchini bread cooking fills the room. I’m grateful to be here right now, experiencing these simple pleasures.

There is a direct connection between simple pleasures and being grateful. Each time I experience these simple things, I realize that I have more than I need to be happy. My grandfather used to say, “I have a good day when I remember to take pleasure in simple things.”

This week, take time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Perhaps it’s that first sip of refreshing, cold white wine or lemonade on a hot summer evening. Maybe you’re watching your children run through the sprinkler on your front lawn. You may find yourself sitting with a colleague having a simple exchange about the weekend’s activities. I often see my neighbor out walking her collie and love witnessing the enjoyment she experiences each time she reaches down to give him an affectionate pat on the head. Whatever it is, revel in these moments that give you pleasure in their simplicity.

As the writer Jerome K. Jerome expressed, “Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need — a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.”

Have a good week!


Kathleen Doyle-White
(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2012 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search Inc., all rights reserved.

6/21/10 “Hobbies”

Good day, team,

This week, it’s become increasingly clear to me that I need a hobby.
Frankly, the idea has never appealed to me. Maybe it’s just the word hobby.
My only association with it is hobby horse, which also did not sound very
desirable. Maybe it’s because no one in my immediate family had a hobby.
Or maybe it’s because activities like quilting or airplane model-making
didn’t light my fire.

This morning, I consulted a dictionary to try to change my attitude.
A hobby is “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation
and not as a main occupation.” Then I realized why I need a hobby. It
would be good for me to engage in an activity that provides pleasure
and/or relaxation that’s not work-related.

Yesterday, I worked on a photo album to give our kids who are moving
from Oregon to Ohio. I started on it and when I next looked at the
clock, three hours had gone by and I hadn’t even noticed. I got so involved
with choosing the right photographs, sorting them, trimming the corners
to fit into the album, etc., that I wasn’t at all aware of the time going
by. I realized when my husband walked into the room that I was thirsty
and hungry, but I hadn’t even noticed. I looked around me and discovered
little bits of paper and photos all over the place and I hadn’t noticed
them either. It suddenly dawned on me that this little project had given
me energy. I had enjoyed working on it to such a degree that I totally lost
track of time and place.

This is part of what hobbies are all about: Doing something with our leisure
time that gives us energy. Finding a hobby we can do on our own, that gives
us enjoyment, satisfaction and a sense of renewal, seems to be essential
to achieving better balance in life.

My grandfather loved caring for his roses in the spring and summer. Each
day he would go out to the backyard and study the beautiful bushes that
lined the back of the house. I can still see him sitting in his canvas
garden chair, dressed in his work clothes and weather-beaten straw hat,
admiring his roses, their color and shape, checking how much sun they
were getting or whether he had pruned them right a few weeks back. Then,
he would take his clippers and his watering can and approach them with great
care. He put on his gloves, carefully snipped here and there, and gathered the faded
blossoms in a basket. Then he removed his gloves and got on his hands and
knees to feel how moist the soil was or to spread it where it had become uneven.

He did these things with surgical precision. Sometimes he would spray for bugs
or add extra fertilizer to the soil. Then he would sit again, sipping on iced
tea my grandmother had brought him, and admire his roses. Before he was finished for the
day, he would cut the flowers that he wanted to bring into the house. He created a small
bouquet in his gloved hand, eventually putting them into a basket to deliver to my
grandmother. It brought him great satisfaction.

In the winter months, he continued his research about roses, looking
through the many catalogs that came in the mail and choosing just the right
specimens to replace or add to his collection.

I often wondered why this retired attorney had turned to growing roses
as a hobby. When I asked my father about it, he replied, “Well, he
loved the finished product. Nothing made him happier than to see a
bouquet of fresh roses on the dining room table that he had picked for
your grandmother that day. He felt as though he had accomplished something
special for both of them.”

This week, your challenge is to choose a hobby or put more time and
attention toward the hobby you already have. Perhaps you decide to
learn to draw or to knit. Perhaps you’re interested in learning how to
make beer or to build small wooden toys for your kids or grandkids.
My husband’s hobby is playing keyboard on Wednesday nights with other musicians.
My sister lives in Hawaii and creates gorgeous pastels of the surrounding
landscape and ocean. My friend Kate rides her horse Indigo for pleasure and

So what will mine be? I’m not sure yet, but this week I’m going to concentrate
on finding it.

As Dale Carnegie advised, “Today is life–the only life you are sure of.
Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself
awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you.
Live today with gusto.”

Have a good week,


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2010 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.