4 ways to beat the winter blues

Use these ‘light’ tips to brighten your days.

By Patricia Corrigan for Next Avenue


When the sun wakes up late and slips away before the workday ends, when many a day is dark and gray, when it’s Groundhog Day and even an early spring seems far away, many large, hairy mammals — Punxsutawney Phil, included — choose to hibernate. But not us!

We slog through, knowing that the passage of time will bring brighter days ahead. But we can do more than wait it out. Here are four easy ways to beat the winter blues and create a little sunshine of your own:

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Where to volunteer on the MLK Day of Service

It’s a cinch to locate opportunities to help out

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue


In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service Monday, consider for a moment these two quotes from the esteemed civil rights leader:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” and “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”

With those words in mind, I hope you’ll look for a way to do something for others on MLK Day and volunteer. Be great. (Some nonprofits have Martin Luther King Jr. Day volunteering projects on Tuesday, too.)

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30-day declutter challenge: What I’ve learned

Halfway through, I’ve got a pile of junk and gained some wisdom, too

By Liza Kaufman Hogan for Next Avenue


I used to be able to put all of my belongings in a 1985 Honda Accord and still see out the back.

Now, I can barely see out of some of the windows of our four-bedroom house. What happened?!

Here’s what happened: Marriage, kids, dogs, hobbies, a reluctance to let things go and years of living in progressively larger apartments where I could stash the stuff without having to look at it.

Now that I’m turning 50, it’s time to take stock and get rid of some stock. On Aug. 1, I decided to take the Next Avenue 30-Day Declutter Challenge, getting rid of one item on Day 1, two on Day 2, and so forth for 30 days.

By the end of the month I will have collected 465 items to give away, throw away or sell on eBay. That’s 465 items that I no longer need at midlife — like toys from when my daughters were six and four, books I have read but don’t need to keep in the age of Kindle and clothes that clearly, and embarrassingly, date back to the 1990s.

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The 1 New Year’s resolution to improve your finances 4 ways

Here’s what it is and how to put it into practice

By Jack Fehr for Next Avenue


Credit: Thinkstock

New Year’s resolutions: so easy to make, so hard to keep. But what if you could make just one financial resolution that would improve your life in four ways?

Here’s how: Make a habit of reading between the lines of your financial statements from your bank, mutual funds, credit card issuers, insurers and mortgage company. Many of these companies, sadly, shroud their products in confusing terminology that requires a linguistic scholar — or at least a person with some time — to decipher.

Learning how to sort through and interpret the financial and legal goop that confuses and abuses can help you…

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7 ways to keep your New Year’s resolution

Are you sabotaging yourself? Here’s how you can fulfill your commitments.

By Linda Melone, CSCS for Next Avenue


Credit: Getty Images

It’s that time of year again. A new beginning, a clean slate. But how often do you actually make good on your New Year’s resolutions? If the answer is “not very,”  you’ll want to read the seven ideas below that can help you follow through in 2017.

The start of a new year naturally creates incentive for making changes. Days that seem like transition points motivate people to take advantage of the “fresh-start effect,” research shows. Birthdays, the beginning of a semester, and the start of a new week all fall under this new transition time. Researchers at the Wharton School came to this conclusion after they discovered that visits to the university fitness center spiked during these turning points.

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5 New Year’s resolutions for older adults

How to set your sights on the big picture at New Year’s

By Bruce Rosenstein for Next Avenue


In 2007, British psychologist Richard Wiseman followed more than 3,000 people attempting to achieve New Year’s resolutions including the top three: lose weight, quit smoking and exercise regularly. At the start of the study, most were confident of success. A year later, only 12 percent had achieved their goals.

To make meaningful New Year’s resolutions that you’ll really keep, set long-range resolutions for your second act. This way, you can help reach the goals that matter to you in the context of your entire future, not just a single year.

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Chaplain: Looking forward to a new year

shutterstock_505261855By Wayne Mason, Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice chaplain

At the beginning of 2016, I decided that I was going to start an exercise program, lose some weight, and do a better job of managing the body God has blessed me with. You know how those new year resolutions normally go, but this past year was different for me. I stuck it out. Not only that, but I learned something about how far an older body can go. Who says “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”?

In the process of following an exercise regimen and a healthier diet, I found my energy level rising, my balance improving, and my attitude more positive. I began to look forward to the exercise, because it helped me to manage my stress and look for new life in this old body of mine.

I have never been a person who backed away from my age. Ask me my age, and I will tell you. I figure the older I get, the more experience I have and, hopefully, the more wisdom I have to share. I believe life is getting better the older I get. Sure, I have some pain from arthritis, and I have to do things in a different way than I did when I was younger. But I also appreciate life more than I did when I was younger. I take time to actually look at the sunrises and the sunsets. Hugs and “I love you” are treasured and given a deeper value. Dessert is savored.

You know, being older isn’t so bad when you consider how much we appreciate the common, everyday events of life that we used to take for granted. I see what surrounds me now, I hear the music, and I like the touch of a hand in mine. Why did I wait until I was older to appreciate these things so much? To tell you the truth, I don’t want to be younger if it means giving up the value I now see in the people, places and things of life.

I am looking forward to 2017. I have no idea what I am going to learn or experience, but God has life lined up for me and I am going to step forward to embrace it. How about you? Are you ready for the challenges and the treasures of a new year?

Luke 5:39 – “And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”

Prayer: “LORD, help me to appreciate all the special gifts you have bestowed upon me. May I no longer take for granted each day I wake up, the conversations I have with others, and the relationships which deepen my life. May I awaken each day singing your praises and loving your people. Help me to see the value you continue to place in me. Amen.”

Art is Ageless® call for entries

Basic RGB Residents and friends of Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America’s Art is Ageless program are proving that art, in any form, is an ageless ambition, whether you picked up a brush for the first time before reaching 20 or completed your first drawing after turning 80.

Parsons Presbyterian Manor is accepting entries for its Art is Ageless competition until March 3. Entries will be on display March 13-16. People can vote for People’s Choice award beginning on March 13 and ending at 4:30 p.m. on March 16. The display will close for viewing between 4:30-5:30 to assign ribbons to the winning pieces. The reception will begin at 6 p.m.

We will also have writing pieces on exhibit from Parsons Middle School students (Hope Smith’s sixth-grade English class) and Garfield Elementary students (Sami Pontious’ third-grade class). Both classes will be describing self-portraits, i.e. “colorful selfies,” created by students in the Labette Community College Watercolor course, instructed by Joan Allen.

Parsons High School honors veterans in big way

shutterstock_250524325According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 World War II veterans die each day. Many leave this earth without the opportunity to see the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C., and students at Parsons High School are determined to make a difference. They’re raising funds to take local veterans on an Honor Flight, an outreach program of the national non-profit whose mission is to “transport America’s Veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends.”

Matt Rogers, principal at Parsons High School, reflects on this inspiring project:

“This is the first Honor Flight we have ever done, scheduled for March 2017. School board member Mike Kastle was an Honor Flight coordinator at a previous school district and approached me about hosting one here. It sounded like an excellent way to honor our heroes, so we approached the board, and Parsons High School Honor Flight was born. There are nine Honor Flight hubs in Kansas.”

While raising funds to sponsor an Honor Flight is a noble cause, it’s not an easy task. It requires a lot of money to charter a private flight for veterans and their caregivers.

“Currently we have $1,100 raised and we need around $27,000. If an individual or business donates $1,000 we will designate them as an official sponsor and add their name to all of our literature and flyers. We also have two corporate sponsor positions that if an individual or company donates $10,000 they will have a spot on the trip and travel with us to D.C.”

If you or anyone you know is interested in sponsoring the flight or participating in the flight as a veteran, please contact Matt Rogers at 620-421-3660 or mrogers@vikingnet.net.

“We believe that our students will have the opportunity to form relationships with local heroes and learn what unconditional respect is and just exactly what it looks like,” said Matt. “Our students will have a chance to step out of the history books and learn from someone who actually lived the historical events we read about here at school. That is a wonderful learning opportunity.”

Parsons Presbyterian Manor honored with Emerald Award certificate

Bill Taylor, PMMA chief operating officer, Maegen Pegues, Parsons executive director, and Bruce Shogren, PMMA president and chief executive officer.

Bill Taylor, PMMA chief operating officer, Maegen Pegues, Parsons executive director, and Bruce Shogren, PMMA president and chief executive officer.

Parsons Presbyterian Manor received a certificate of recognition from Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America for reaching goals in fiscal year 2016, July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.

The recognition came through PMMA’s new Emerald Awards Program, designed to encourage its 17 locations to achieve high levels of resident and employee satisfaction, meet financial goals, build philanthropic support for the organization’s mission and meet marketing goals. There are 11 areas measured for the Emerald Awards.

To receive an emerald, a community has to meet its goals in all 11 areas. Certificates of recognition were given out to communities that reached their goals in one or more category.

Parsons was recognized for achieving a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“This recognition is a visible sign of Parsons Presbyterian Manor’s commitment to the mission of PMMA of providing quality senior services guided by Christian values,” said Bruce Shogren, chief executive officer for PMMA.

Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America has been providing quality senior services guided by Christian values in Kansas and Missouri for more than 65 years.

For more information, contact Marketing Director Sharla Hopper at shopper@pmma.org or 620-421-1450.