Living Well in the Gorge December 20th 2016

Tis the Christmas Season: a time for memories that stir our senses: cookies baking in the oven, houses sparkling with Christmas lights, and bells ringing at local grocery stores. It’s also a time to remember how we have been blessed at our chronologically advantaged age.

But sometimes it is hard, particularly this time of the year when we would give everything to share again memories of Christmas’s pasts with friends and loved ones who are no longer with us. It’s not always easy to stay upbeat and positive, but Shawn Achor, who researches and teaches positive psychology, describes three steps that can help us recognize the positive instead of mindlessly absorbing the negative.

First, for twenty-one days in a row, take two minutes a day and write down three things you are grateful for.

Second, start a journal and each day write about one positive experience you encountered.

Third, do one positive random act of kindness each day – whether it’s complimenting the salesperson during a hectic Christmas shopping day or buying a bottle of Martinelli’s sparkling juice for your local senior center director (and he prefers a red grape to a white apple cider!)

But I would also suggest two more steps.

Fourth, each day give at least one person a big hug – the human touch is an essential nutritional requirement for the spirit.

And last, if there has been something you have been meaning to tell someone, tell them. Don’t wait and regret missing the opportunity.

Whether your glasses are rose colored, broken or you can’t find them, during this season of hope, love and possibilities, consider these five steps to better appreciate all that is good and right – and the bountiful banquet spread before us.

The Christmas season often brings snow and frigid weather – and we saw both these over last two weeks. With the inclement weather, it is often a tough call whether to keep the Center open or to close. I guess I’m just a little more cautious since I broke my hip several years ago. (Although the cause wasn’t snow or ice, but not being bright enough to find the bottom step.).

Consequently, last weekend we played it safe instead of sorry, and postponed the Holiday Breakfast – even though Mary Davis was bringing the Mistletoe! We’ll try again in March when there’s less chance for snowflakes and Santa shouldn’t be as busy.

Also, Saturday night bingo was cancelled, but will return on New Year’s Eve when we’ll welcome in the New Year (east coast time) and there will be a $1000 payout for a blackout in 58 numbers or less on the last game.

If you are making your end-of-the-year donations, and are donating to any of the twenty-two qualifying cultural non-profits in Wasco County, don’t forget to also donate the same amount to the Oregon Cultural Trust for which you’ll receive a 100% state tax credit and help the cultural arts in Wasco County and the state. You can find more information and a list of the cultural non-profits at

Tuesday night music is back at the Center on December 27th with Country Road performing. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 6:30 and donations are appreciated to feed the band and keep the lights on.

Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”. # 10 – Grandchildren are great. And great grandchildren are a bonus.

The Christmas classic, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, was first sung by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis. (This week’s winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Betsy Ayers, Sandy Haechrel and Jerry Phillips.)

This season you may see ads for VR (virtual reality) glasses, which I have tried and admit are pretty cool. But in 1939 there was a Portland company that introduced another cutting-edge technology consisting of stereoscopic 3-D pictures on a circular disk which could be inserted into a plastic device and viewed.

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this classic toy? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the latest virtual reality edition of this viewer.

Well, it’s been another week, waiting for Santa to poke his beard around the corner. Until we meet again, let the spirit of Christmas light up the new year.

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” Norman Vincent Peale

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