Springtime Awakening

©Photo Credit: www.lindaleierthomason.com

2021 has gone by so quickly. The first quarter of the year is nearly over already.

So much attention is given to New Year’s Resolutions. A time of optimism and hope. A time to restart-to begin anew.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Personally, I’m not very good with following through on those resolutions. And, I hear I’m not alone. (Wink. Wink.)

I began 2020 calling it my year of “vision and clarity”. Well, it turned out it was more a year of seeing and watching how all of us would cope with and get through the unexpected COVID Pandemic.

We coped. We are strong souls.

For my Spring 2021 I’m calling it my “Plus One” – I still have the Vision and clarity but One Extra Bonus-We don’t have to do it alone!

Springtime Why

My personal favorite time of the year for awakening and recharging is Spring. It’s a beautiful season.

I love it when snow starts melting and the birds start chirping. I do love winter and the snow also; however, the anticipation of NEW fills me with energy, wonderment and excitement.

Each spring I look forward to watching the birds come back and make nests in the same places.

Witnessing new birth is awesome.

I enjoy seeing flowers start to bloom. I marvel at the critters scurrying around.

There is just a certain energy I receive from each of these wonders of seasonal transition.

©Photo Credit: www.lindaleierthomason.com

Remarkable 2021

Spring 2021 is remarkable after 2020’s spring when we were all rightfully fearful of the many COVID unknowns.

Thank goodness we were able to get outdoors during warmer days to social distance. But then cold weather came and we were stuck back inside.

Yet, we made it!

Here in the Midwest, we were rewarded for getting through 2020 and a harsh 2021 winter with such a beautiful first weekend of March.

Brilliant sunshine and warmer than normal temperatures felt like a reward for endurance. Right?

©Photo Credit: www.lindaleierthomason.com

Heartbreak & Hope

Winter 2021 presented us at Craft LifeStyle Management our share of sorrowful client stories and crisis clients – more intense than usual.

We have experienced unbelievable obstacles and nearly insurmountable challenges while finding a healing plan of action for our souls’ futures. Each needed our help more than ever.

Was it the long, cold winter with Covid that caused so much seclusion? Or, was it the pride of our elder clients who were telling their kids “we are fine,” but clearly weren’t?

Was it just coincidental timing when parents/grandparents, taking care of their special needs children, reached their limit and decided they can’t do it any longer?

We don’t know the answers. We never will.

We just know how to come up with solutions to efficiently solve so many safety, dignity and health concerns.

Granted some days are more challenging than others. But the Craft LifeStyle Management team keeps going until a solution for whatever the challenge is has been put in place.

That is who we are!

©Photo Credit: www.lindaleierthomason.com

Happy Springtime Hearts

Our greatest wish is that we could mend broken hearts.

Time always does heal.

It does seem to get easier when the days are longer and we can get outside to enjoy nature.

Some of our clients cannot get outdoors. Instead, we bring the fresh air and sunshine to them. We

  • Open a window
  • Bring a spring flower bouquet
  • Pull back the curtains
  • Place a bird feeder outside a window

Each little effort brings such a happy heart to all of us-givers and receivers.

And we can all see the beauty of this springtime season Mother Nature brings to us!

©Photo Credit: www.lindaleierthomason.com

Forever Spring

The Craft LifeStyle Management team is deeply appreciative of seeing light, hope and healing for each of the souls who came to us in crisis over Winter 2021.

We want it always to feel like “Spring” for them for whatever time they have left here on this earth.

I hope your 2021 spring feels more alive and healing than all of ours from 2020.

Gratitude, Always

As always, thank you for your trust and faith in our services. Please contact us Contact – Craft Lifestyle Management (craftlifestylemgt.com) when we can be of service to you and your loved ones.

Wishing you a springtime season of many good graces and blessings.

©March 2021. All rights reserved.

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Denise Craft @www.Craft LifeStyle Management.

Do You Want to Get Paddled + Other Fascinating Messages

Power of Words

I notice words.

As a reader and a writer, this reveal is not too surprising.

I study how words flow together and often applaud an author’s creative genius.

I ponder the intended meaning and am acutely aware of my reaction to the message.

When I pause to capture great messages, it’s usually because they meet a former marketing boss’s dictate: If it doesn’t fit on a matchbook cover, start over.

He exclaimed and fervently believed “Brevity yields reaction.”  Brevity | Definition of Brevity by Merriam-Webster (merriam-webster.com)

Words can be inspirational. Often, they are humorous. Sometimes they invoke sadness or create awareness.

Traveling adds a localism to words.

Localism in Words

Here are words I captured on our travels. Perhaps these 12 messages reflected in photographs will inspire you, or add humor or meaning to your day.

“Um”, long pause, “Where are we again?” On Wharf Street seated at a restaurant patio.

When in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada do as the locals do. Answer, “yes,” and order a beer flight paddle at the Milestones Grill + Bar. milestones (milestonesrestaurants.com)

This provoking question headlined the menu. At our table, it created much laughter and conversation about the double entendre. Clever marketing.

Messages often capture localism.  This sign was seen on Washington Island in Door County, Wisconsin. Many landowners are frustrated with tourists using their property for beach access. This resident expressed his clearly, though a dictionary might’ve been helpful.

This message greeted us as we landed at LAX-Los Angeles International Airport during a renovation period. A great example of regional language. It made us smile! Acting out not tolerated.

How do you interpret this? “Mind your head” can mean make better choices and decisions.  Or, if you’re a tall person, it can mean stoop so you don’t hit your head on the awning of this Antiguan convenience store.

Small in stature, I took it as the former. My 6’3” husband, the latter. Proving words have many meanings, and are often personalized.

Cottonwood Falls in the Flint Hills of Kansas is home to Emma Chase Friday Night Music. This is an open group of musicians & listeners who gather here for free jam sessions/open mikes.  What to See & Do in Kansas Flint Hills – Linda Leier Thomason

This Pier 39 San Francisco, California street sign captures attention. We lived in the coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina for over two decades without seeing similar signage. The community there apparently didn’t have to, or chose not to, regulate streetwear near the water. San Francisco does, and found a creative way to communicate the message.

The placement of this message is intriguing. It hangs inside the Cancun Mexico airport. Perhaps the airport authority has seen and experienced too many unappreciative young adults and teenagers coming through their airport.

Seems the hidden message is “practice gratitude” at all ages, but especially if you are fortunate enough to be on a family vacation in Mexico.

Hung at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds in North Sound, Antigua.  Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds , North Sound, Antigua news, scores and venue information | West Indies cricket grounds (windiescricket.com)

The International Cricket Council’s message is relevant in other countries, including the USA.

Would you have guessed this is a souvenir shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans? It is. And, it aptly depicts the lingo and culture of this great city.

Seen at a convenience store off I-80 west of Omaha, Nebraska during a recent election season.

Sometimes the simplest message is the most difficult to implement. I promise.

This heartbreaking question was seen at Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii Pearl Harbor National Memorial (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Found in North Omaha, Nebraska. The visual of the two profiles with sign language between them is as striking as the words on the bench.

Words matter in any format: Print. Photo. Voice. Song.

Here’s one of my favorite songs, “Words,” for you to enjoy!

Bee Gees – Words – YouTube

Words that Matter to You

I have a folder of photographs of fascinating word messages from all over the world. These are 12 of my favorite. Which one made you pause, smile, or some other emotion? Share below.

What word messages have you found and captured in a photo?

How did these inspire or otherwise affect you?

Do Share below.

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©March 2021. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved.

This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

10 Unique Churches to See in USA

Churches are often landmarks of fascinating history and awe-inspiring architecture.

Here are 10 such churches in 8 states well worth a visit when in the area.

All photographs were taken by me with one noted exception.


Holy Family, Jerome

LOCATION: 101 County Rd, Jerome, AZ 86331

Holy Family Church, Jerome Az | Facebook

Holy Family is the oldest Catholic structure in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.


Sts. Peter & Paul, West Bend

Location 206 1st Ave. NW West Bend, IA 50597
Click for Directions

Sts. Peter & Paul | Five Saints Community

Next door to the Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption.

Home – The Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption | West Bend, Iowa (westbendgrotto.com)

World’s largest man-made Grotto and often called “eighth wonder of the world.”


St. Michaels, Tarnov

Location: 309 3rd Street Tarnov, NE

:: Historic St. Michaels Catholic Church in Tarnov, Nebraska ::

First Polish Catholic parish still operating in Nebraska. Opened in 1901.
Tour the museum, grotto and cemetery on the property. Call ahead for personal tour.

Holy Family Shrine, Gretna

LOCATION: 23132 Pflug Road, Gretna, NE 68028

Home Page – Holy Family Shrine

A place of respite and reflection for I-80 travelers near Omaha, NE.


Cathedral-Basilica Saint Louis, New Orleans

Cathedral-Basilica Saint Louis is commonly known as St. Louis Cathedral

LOCATION: 615 Pere Antoine Alley New Orleans, LA 70116

St. Louis Cathedral | New Orleans, LA

Photo taken in October 2016.
Built in 1793. Oldest cathedral in continuous use in the USA.

New York

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City

Location: 460 Madison Ave, New York, 10022, NY

St. Patrick’s Cathedral | New York, NY (saintpatrickscathedral.org)

History & Heritage | St. Patrick’s Cathedral | New York, NY (saintpatrickscathedral.org)

North Dakota

Sts. Peter & Paul, Strasburg

LOCATION: 503 N 2nd St Strasburg, ND  58573-0322

emmonscatholics.org – Emmons County, ND

Built in 1910. German Russian community.

Strasburg is home to bandleader Lawrence Welk. Welk Homestead State Historic Site – State Historical Society of North Dakota (nd.gov)

South Carolina

Saint Mary of the Annunciation, Charleston

LOCATION: 95 Hasell Street Charleston, SC 29401

Saint Mary of the Annunciation – Home (sma.church)

Oldest Catholic parish in southeastern USA and where we married.
Charleston is called the “Holy City” and has array of beautiful churches. Credit: Pat Ring (RIP).

Stella Maris, Sullivan’s Island

LOCATION: 1204 Middle Street Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482
 Stella Maris Catholic Church – Charleston, SC (stellamarischurch.org)

Across the street from Fort Moultrie.
Stella Maris: Church History (catholic-doc.org)

South Dakota

St. Joseph Cathedral, Sioux Falls

Location: 521 North Duluth Avenue Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Cathedral of Saint Joseph | Sioux Falls, SD (stjosephcathedral.net)

History of the Cathedral | Cathedral of Saint Joseph | Sioux Falls, SD (stjosephcathedral.net)

Plan a church tour.

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©March 2021. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved.

This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

5 Trusted Professionals You’ll Need as You Age

Independence, individualism and self-sufficiency are encouraged and admired in our country. There’s nothing wrong with any of these traits. Nor is there anything wrong with needing or seeking help at any stage of life.

The challenge arises with aging.

As our bodies and minds change it becomes apparent help is needed in multiple ways. Sometimes the suggestion of help is stubbornly refused. Actual help is rebuffed.

Letting go is not always easy.

Help may seem unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

We may need help in the business of our daily lives and/or with our healthcare. Either way, if you’ve forever been self-reliant, it can be a tough adjustment.

Denise’s Advice

“I can assure you from my 30+ years of experience working with adults making transitions in life that getting a trusted professional in each of the 5 categories below, sooner rather than later, is a very wise idea.”

Make the important decisions regarding your life and your affairs while you can.

Please reach out to us at Contact – Craft Lifestyle Management (craftlifestylemgt.com) if you need a referral in any of these areas.

We work with the best in each category and we never take a referral fee from them.

Here are the top 5 Professionals to have on your side as you age.


A geriatrician is a primary care physician who specializes in the care and treatment of older adults.

Parents visit pediatricians for their specialized training and understanding of babies and young children. On the other end of the spectrum, geriatricians are also specially trained and have an understanding of the most advanced care available for older adults.

One of the best features of being cared for by a geriatrician is that they integrate your care. They are the central point for all of the other physician specialists you may need to see. They make the referrals, set the appointments and follow up with you. They are your primary doctor.

NOTE: There is a difference between a gerontologist and a geriatrician.

A geriatrician is a medical doctor. A gerontologist is a professional who specializes in the issues of aging. They may have a certificate of gerontology.

Make sure you seek the right professional for your needs. We can guide you. Contact – Craft Lifestyle Management (craftlifestylemgt.com)

Elder Law Attorney

An elder law attorney is one who advocates for the elderly and their loved ones.

Please put your affairs in order before it’s too late. It is always better to be prepared.

Not doing so leaves a tremendous burden on those you leave behind.

Here’s a sample of what you and your elder law attorney need to discuss:

  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Advance Directives
  • DNR or Do Not Resuscitate Orders
  • Guardianship or Conservatorship
  • Resource availability: VA Benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc.

More Information:

What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do? – FindLaw

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (naela.org)

Financial Advisor

This professional is helpful throughout your life but especially as you near retirement.

Financial advisors counsel on wealth management and personal money matters. They can assist with putting together a retirement savings plan and also address life insurance, real estate, debt payoff, and estate management.

Most financial advisors also work with your team of other professionals like attorneys and accountants to ensure your money is working in the best way for your needs.

There are many ways to work with a trusted financial advisor. Please reach out to us for trusted referrals. Contact – Craft Lifestyle Management (craftlifestylemgt.com)

In Home Caregiver

As challenging as it is to ask for help with financial planning, medical care and legal advice, admitting you need help managing your life within your own home seems even more difficult for many seniors.

The best thing to do is make a list of tasks that you, or your loved one, seems to be struggling with. Some may include:

  • Personal hygiene like bathing, brushing teeth, toileting, putting on clean clothes, shaving, etc.
  • Mobility like taking neighborhood walks or even getting around inside the home.
  • Meal preparation. Everything from grocery shopping to the actual cooking.
  • Transportation needed for medical appointments and errands
  • Pet care including walking, taking to appointments, clean up, feeding, etc.
  • Housekeeping including laundry
  • Medicine management

Many services are available to assist in meeting all of these needs to help you or your loved one remain safely and easily in the home.

Contact us for assistance and referrals.

Transitional Specialists

This is what we are at Craft LifeStyle Management.

We transition clients into the right place, staying within their financial resources, the first time, all the time.

We advocate on your behalf in a timely and calm manner as we find you the most appropriate ‘home’ and level of care to fit your needs.

Click on this link What We Do – Craft Lifestyle Management (craftlifestylemgt.com) to discover what we’ve been doing for clients for over 30 years at Craft LifeStyle Management.

HINT: Be sure to click on the + sign next to each category to get more information.

Please be prepared in life. “Be in Charge. Not in Crisis.”

These 5 professionals will help coach you so you can be at peace while aging. Of course, there are other professionals needed. Today, these are my top 5 for you to have on your team.

SHARE this with your family members and friends.

©February 2021. All rights reserved.

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

Denise Craft founded Craft Lifestyle Management in 1988 to ease the burden for families of aging, veterans, special needs adults and those in rehab during times of transition. She understands what’s involved in transitioning any individual from their personal home to their next home and to end of life. Her seasoned knowledge of available placement services, housing options, eligible benefits and payor sources, and community resources is endless. 

contact Craft LifeStyle Management for all of your transitional needs.

10 Coaches I’d Love to Interview & Why

Atypical Questions I’d Ask


I’m drawn to business and sports leaders. Little whets my analytical mind and awakens my curiosity more than observing and studying someone with fantastic leadership skills. Too often in sporting events I find myself observing a coach’s sideline behavior and post-game interview more than the actual game. In business, I read and observe how leaders structure and reward teams, or don’t, and how this affects the organization’s bottom line.

Rarely is it a leader’s aptitude that shines. It’s not the plays or the posturing or the buyouts. Instead, it’s their ability to understand and capitalize on group dynamics. The way they motivate, inspire and teach. It shows in sideline body language, player and employee appreciation, and always in results.

In sport, the team coach is the most heavily weighted variable I use to pick March Madness and Super Bowl teams. And, my longitudinal results with this approach-well, pretty darn good.

Coaches today, for me, are sort of the military generals of years past.

Thankfully our country hasn’t been in a position lately to rely heavily on historically great generals like Eisenhower and Schwarzkopf, and even George Washington.

Instead, we turn, rightly or wrongly, to leaders in business and sport for examples of leadership.

Public Figures

Like generals of year’s past, today’s coaches are often elevated to public figure status. I’m much too old to view any coach as a role model. Instead, I simply enjoy observing and studying the sport and X’s and O’s of their coaching positions. I readily admit; however, I often have unschooled opinions on both of these though I try hard to leave the analysis and critique of play calls and player choices to those with more esteemed credentials.

My Why

I despise having to justify my interest and intentions. But, through the years I have had to. I’ve even been called a lesbian by some ignorant observers as I engaged in basketball, football, tennis and soccer with our young, athletically talented son.

What my Mother’s Days have looked like for many years. Wouldn’t change a thing!

What is wrong with a woman having a keen interest in athletics and sport leaders?

To be clear, the attraction and observation of coaches has nothing to do with a coach’s physical appearance or the appeal of their public personas or bank accounts. I assume each has established relationships that I want nothing to do with. I’ve been married to the same great man for over 25 years.

Truth. My interest in studying coaches and deeply desiring to meet and chat with them is purely as a student of coaching and leadership. I want to soak up their wisdom and apply it to my living.

Here’s my list of coaches who’d I’ve give almost anything to sit down with and learn from. They are in no particular order.  I’ve never met any of them. I’ve only observed and listened to them through my television.

For all I know they collectively, or individually, may be ego maniacs and/or jerks. Somehow, I seriously doubt it. I generally have great radar for character.

I present a brief bio on each coach and a sample of questions I’d ask that they’ve likely never answered before.

If you are a coach reading this and are willing to chat, contact me. I’m ready to listen!

Chris Klieman

I have justifiable reasons to both love and loathe Coach Klieman.

LOVE: I’m a North Dakota native. Klieman coached Fargo’s NDSU Bison from 2011-2018. He was named head coach in 2014 when Coach Bohl left after 10 years (2003-2013) to coach at Wyoming.

NDSU is a storied football program. Kleiman led NDSU to the 2018 Division I FSC Championship-his fourth national championship in five seasons with NDSU.

NDSU fans had total faith in this coach. Well before the playoffs began, many, including family members, booked Frisco, Texas hotel rooms early in the season. They stocked their vehicles and campers and joyfully prepared for the journey south, letting everyone on the route know they were part of the “Thundering Herd.”

Kleiman exudes confidence and produces winning teams.

He left NDSU in 2019 for the Kansas State head coaching job made vacant with the retirement of long-term coach, Bill Snyder.

LOATHE: I’m also a dual Iowa State University graduate. Our schools now compete against one another in the Big 12 Conference. Thankfully, Iowa State has been reformed under Coach Matt Campbell. However, I don’t take recent Cyclone victories over the Wildcats lightly knowing Kleiman’s history. I sit on the edge of my seat until the final whistle blows and I can celebrate a Cyclone win!

When ISU isn’t playing Kansas State, I cheer him on. He deserves greatness. He’s put in his time and he gave North Dakotans much to celebrate.

Coach: You are the son of a Hall of Fame official and and Iowa catholic high school football and golf coach. Seems like your father had an immense impact on your life choices. What’s the one thing your mother did in your childhood that’s had the greatest impact on your professional life? Have you introduced the beloved North Dakota Knoephla soup to your players at a team dinner yet?

Ron Rivera

Photo by: Alex Brandon/AP

The Carolina Panthers were the team many Charleston, South Carolina residents, including us, cheered for in the absence of our own professional football team. When I started paying attention to the Panthers, John Fox, the team’s third and longest-tenured coach was at the helm. (2002-2010)

Rivera was named head coach in 2011. He remained with the Panthers until 2019. Twelve games into the season he was fired when relatively new owner, David Tepper, wanted a culture change.

In January 2020, Coach Rivera was chosen to lead the Washington Football Team (formerly Washington Redskins)-another team I followed while living in the D.C. metropolitan area.

I literally knew nothing of this man’s background. I’d never heard his name or even knew if he was a former player (He was. He played for the Chicago Bears and was a linebacker on the 1985 team many say was the greatest defense in NFL history.), yet was drawn to his quiet on-screen sideline demeanor while both winning and losing.

I hypothesized he was volcanically competitive and deeply intense in the right setting-the practice field and playing field.

Now relocated to Omaha, Nebraska, we seldom saw teams coached by Rivera. However, whenever I did, my curiosity of “what makes the man” only intensified. My desire to have a face-to-face chat with him only deepened in the fall of 2020.

Riverboat, as he is affectionately known, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in a lymph node in August 2020. Five months later he announced he’d “kicked cancer’s ass.” No one ever doubted this’d be the outcome. All celebrated with the man admired for his strength and resilience by legions of fans, including me.

Coach: You win on the field. You win in life. What’s the one characteristic within you that makes you an overall winner? Name the one coach still coaching in the NFL you admire most and explain why. Do you see similarities between your coaching style and Andy Reid’s style? If so, how? If not, why not? What’s the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make regarding a player?

Greg McDermott

Coach McDermott and I have similar journeys-well, at least in terms of locations where we’ve lived and worked.

He was raised in rural Cascade, Iowa and held two coaching jobs in North Dakota. One as an Assistant Coach at the University of North Dakota (1989-1994) and Head Coach for the NDSU Bison from 2000-2001. He coached at my alma mater, Iowa State University, from 2006-2010 and he’s been coaching at Omaha’s Creighton University since then. He’s the current Big East Coach of the Year. Proudly, he coached his son, Doug, at Creighton before Doug joined the NBA (currently with the Indiana Pacers).

I have to support an Iowan who rises to the top of his profession, always. In some ways, Coach McDermott reminds me of the great former professional basketball player and coach, Phil Jackson, from my home state of North Dakota.

I suspect the caring nature exuded through my television screen is likely the same when all the cameras are off. I also suspect McDermott has a tell-it-like-it-is approach while holding his players and staff accountable. It’s just the Midwestern way…and it’s working for Coach McDermott.

Coach: What is the one thing you consistently pray for unrelated to basketball? Identify three things from your youth that contribute to your success, as you define it, today. What elements make a great basketball player a great coach? Complete this sentence. The one player I wish I would’ve spent more off-the-court time with is, and why.

Raul Mendoza

Photo Credit: The Arizona Republic

I was unfamiliar with revered Coach Mendoza until recently binging Netflix’s Basketball or Nothing. The series, which was released in August of 2019, follows the 2018 basketball team at Chinle High School located in Arizona’s Navajo Nation.

Mendoza, a certified high school counselor, has coached Native American teams for more than 30 years. He has been honored as a two-time Arizona Coaches Coach of the Year and the 2011 Arizona Republic Small Schools Coach of the Year.

Watching the series, one can readily see Coach Mendoza’s mission is far greater than winning basketball games, though he possesses intensity and an obvious will to win. He’s charged with developing and leading talented young men, who along with their families, face real hardships.

His players call him “old school” but his love for the game and for his players is ever-present.

One theme that comes through loud and clear is that Mendoza believes “offense sells tickets and defense wins games.”

Do yourself a favor and watch this Netflix award-winning series. It was recently named the 2021 Non-Fiction Sports Documentary Winner at the Realscreen Awards.

Doing so may put the life obstacles you believe you need to overcome in perspective.

Coach:  You’ve obviously witnessed tremendous changes in youth during your nearly four decades of coaching. What is the one thing that has remained consistent in these young men you’ve had the privilege of coaching? At the end of each season, how do you measure success? Finally, when a banner for you is hung in the high school, what sentence do you want inscribed under your name?

Becky Hammon

Coach Hammon was hired by the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs as a full-time assistant coach in August of 2014 when we were South Dakota residents. It was a big deal to the citizens of South Dakota and to women athletes everywhere. Why? Hammon is a Rapid City, South Dakota native. She played collegiately for Colorado State Rams (1995-1999) and then for the San Antonio Stars and New York Liberty of the Women’s Basketball Association (WNBA). Hammon was also a six-time All-Star in the WNBA in her 16 seasons with these teams.

She represented the Russian national team as a naturalized Russian citizen in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics before becoming the first full-time female assistant coach in any of the four major professional sports in North America.

On December 30, 2020 Hammon became the first female acting head coach in NBA history when head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Many see her as a pioneer. Hammon sees herself as a coach of basketball players. Coach Hammon is highly qualified. She has the skills, the aptitude and the experience to lead a team on her own, one day soon. Fingers crossed.

Coach: I know you’d like to lessen the references to trail-blazer and pioneer; however, since you were the first, and there’s still few women on NBA coaching staffs throughout the league, what three things must female coaches, who aspire to lead an NBA team, do now to achieve this goal? Also, what one person do you credit most with your career success, and why? Identify three personality traits within yourself that are uniquely South Dakotan.

Robert (Bob) Huggins

Photo Credit: ESPN

What is not to love about a guy nicknamed “Huggy Bear?” Every time I watch Coach Huggins frantically pace the sidelines, exclaiming his silent thoughts with grand hand gestures and then plopping his rear end on a wooden sideline stool, I smile. He just makes me happy. That is unless his Mountaineers are beating my Iowa State Cyclones. We are Big 12 Conference foes.

He’s been coaching his alma mater (1977) since 2007 and is under contract to continue coaching there until 2027, when he’ll be 74. Huggins coached in multiple locations including Kansas State (2006-07) and for 16 years in Cincinnati-where I first started watching this guy as the leader of the Bearcats.

Wherever he’s been, Huggins has achieved success as a recruiter, game strategist and program builder. His teams regularly play in the NCAA March Madness tournament. The Mountaineers, in fact, were in the 2010 NCAA Final Four. He’s rightfully the proud collegiate coach of multiple NBA players, including Jevon Carter-point guard currently with the Phoenix Suns.

Coach: Do you ever fear falling off that wooden sideline stool much like Georgia State’s Ron Hunter did during the 2015 NCAA tournament? Does that stool travel with the team, or does each location provide a stool for you? When you’re recruiting young men to your program what is the only guarantee you can offer them and their parents? What is something unique to your program that you’d like to see implemented throughout NCAA basketball? May I hug you?

Ryan Day

Photo Credit: WKBN

I have family living in Columbus, Ohio who are understandably rabid Buckeye fans. Occasionally I make the time to watch their teams in support of them, but not always, especially if we’re competing. For instance, my ISU Cyclones faced the Buckeyes in the first round of the 2019 NCAA March Madness tournament. We had a wager on the game, which the Cyclones were expected to win. They didn’t. We lost 62-59.

 A box of Nebraska made products was promptly, but begrudgingly, mailed to their Ohio home. Graceful winners, they mailed me buckeye chocolates as a consolation prize. The chocolates were fantastic. The loss still stung.

Ever since I’ve been paying more attention to their teams and coaches. One Buckeye coach who continually impresses me is head football coach, Ryan Day. He was named acting football coach in August 2018, winning all three games during his tenure, and then was named head coach in 2019, succeeding Coach Urban Meyer.

Like most coaches, his resume spans multiple positions, teams and locations. For example, Day coached quarterbacks for the Eagles in 2015 and the 49ers in 2016.

Day hails from Manchester, New Hampshire and played quarterback and linebacker for the University of New Hampshire after being named the state’s High School Gatorade Player of the Year.

He was awarded the 2019 Big Ten Coach of the Year. In 2020, the Buckeyes had an enviable 6-0 perfect regular season (We live in Omaha, Nebraska. The Nebraska Huskers play OSU in the Big 10.). Day’s Buckeyes went on to beat my beloved Clemson Tigers (We lived in SC for 20 years.) in the 2021 Sugar Bowl but lost in the National Championship game to Alabama 55-24. Despite these losses, that I could take somewhat personally, I have uber respect for Day.

I have no doubt Coach Day will have his team positioned to repeat success, time and time again.

Coach: Are you the most popular man hailing from New Hampshire, or do Adam Sandler and Seth Meyers still trump you? Which is most important for a great quarterback-skill or attitude, and why? I’m specifically asking as a North Dakotan following Carson Wentz’s volatile career. Buckeye fans are historically loyal and loud. What’s the craziest thing you’ve received from a Buckeye fan?

Luigi “Geno” Auriemma

Photo Credit: Jersey Man Magazine

Anyone who follows collegiate sports, particularly basketball, has heard of Coach Geno. The man is a legend in women’s basketball. He’s been the head coach of the University of Connecticut Huskies since 1985. Yes, nearly 40 years!

He’s led the Huskies to 11 NCAA Division I national championships, the most in women’s college basketball history. He’s also coached the United States women’s national basketball team earning gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.

The coach and the man Auriemma are today likely spawned from his early days. He emigrated in 1961 with his family from Italy to Norristown, Pennsylvania when he was only seven years old. He played varsity high school basketball for one of the most significant influencers in his life-Buddy Gardler. Today, Coach Geno admits he’s modeled his coaching style after his mentor. Both are considered old school and believed in toughness and grit. “Know the rules and follow them.”

This approach has served him well as he holds the record for the best winning percentage in the history of the sport: 955-134. He’s also an eight-time AP College Basketball Coach of the Year, seven-time Naismith Coach of the Year, six-time WBCA National Coach of the Year, 10-time Big East Coach of the Year and three-time American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

He’s coached some outstanding basketball players, including Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles who each went on to play in the WNBA.

In addition to coaching, enterprising Coach Geno owns several Connecticut restaurants. 

Coach: Will you take me on in a game of Horse or a free throw shooting challenge? Even at my age I’m still fond of doing both. A competitive spirit never dies, right? What would be the biggest shift you’d have to make in your coaching style, if tomorrow you decided to coach a men’s team? What do you see yourself doing on a daily basis after you retire from coaching? Is that day eminent? If you could wave a magic wand and place the next coach into your seat, who would it be, and why? What’s your favorite entrée of any on the menus at your restaurants, and why?

Andy Reid

Photo Credit: NBC 10 Philadelphia

If there ever was a coach for me who projects lovability and a need to be loved, it’s Andy Reid. In fact, he may require that now more than ever with the recent pre-Super Bowl accident in Kansas City where his son, Britt Reid, outside linebackers coach, was involved in a three-car crash injuring two children.

Coach Reid has experienced loss in his life. Yet, he paces the sidelines with an enviable calmness and confidence that must only come from decades of experience and deep faith.

He and his wife, Tammy, practicing Mormons, have five children. Part of what makes Coach Reid so appealing is that he doesn’t pretend to be something other than he is. Nor does he try to cover up his family’s struggles. He’s non-judgmental.

Two of his sons have fought drug and alcohol addiction. Garrett, his oldest son, died from an accidental heroin overdose in 2012. He’d also served time in prison for various crimes. Britt has also been arrested for drug possession and firearms charges. He was sentenced to eight to 23 months in prison and five years’ probation.

Prior to coaching the Kansas City Chiefs, Reid, one of the NFL’s winningest coaches, was the head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999 to 2012. What he was unable to achieve there, he did with the Chiefs-a Super Bowl win in 2020-the first in 50 years for the Chief’s, and his first as a head coach.

He’s known as a trainer of coaches. Eleven of his assistants have become head coaches and two have won the Super Bowl. Most will cite Reid’s intelligence, discipline and attention to detail for his success. Throughout the league, he’s known for giving second chances, having an even-keeled vision for the game and being somewhat of a teddy bear gentleman who treats others like he’d like to be treated.

Kansas City is the nearest city with an NFL team to Omaha, where we live today. Until Coach Reid joined the team, I didn’t bother to pay attention. One game in, I was hooked, not so much on the team, but the coach. Of course, it helps that he has a superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but Reid’s legacy drew me in and keeps me watching and cheering for the Chiefs.

I know I’m not the only fan wondering what Coach is thinking as tight camera shots focus on his half smile and half wink. I never doubt his strong outward presence has an inner softness.

He’s beloved, winning or not.

Coach: What is the most valuable lesson you want all coaches to glean from Bill Walsh’s Finding the Winning Edge book-a favorite of yours? If you got one do-over in life what would you do-over, and why? Do you have any plans to shave your mustache anytime soon? If you could choose only one assistant coach from the legions of many you’ve worked with over time to be on a deserted island with, whom would it be, and why? How do art and science merge in your play calling? What is your all-time favorite bedtime story to read to your grandchildren, and why?

Eric Spoelstra

Photo Credit: The Maui News

We lived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for a few years after leaving South Carolina. Imagine our delight in discovering the Miami Heat had a developmental team there-the Skyforce. We enjoyed attending many games during G League seasons as South Dakota residents. 

It was during our Sioux Falls tenure that our sports-obsessed son relentlessly urged me to start paying attention to the Miami Heat coach, Eric Spoelstra. I did, and I’m thankful for the nudge. I’ve been studying him ever since.

A lot of attention is given to Coach Spoelstra’s ethnic background: The first Asian-American head coach in the history of the four major North American sports leagues, thus the first Asian-American head coach to win an NBA Championship. 

While his ethnicity is notable, Spoelstra’s winning methods, player development technique, work ethic and record are remarkable. The Miami Heat made four consecutive NBA final appearances under his leadership (2011-2014), winning the championship in 2012 and 2013. He also took his team to the NBA Finals in 2020. There, the Heat lost to the Los Angeles Lakes in the best of seven-game series, 4-2.

In a somewhat old-fashioned manner, Spoelstra is an NBA coach who worked his way up to the top of the Heat’s organization during a 25-year span. He started as a video coordinator in 1995. Two years later he was an assistant coach and video coordinator. In 1999 he was promoted to advance scout and assistant coach. In 2001, he was again promoted. This time to assistant coach/director of scouting-a position he held until 2008 when legendary coach, Pat Riley, resigned to become the Heat’s President and Spoelstra was appointed head coach at age 37.

Spoelstra was raised in a basketball family. He was a point guard for his hometown University of Portland Pilots. His father, Jon Spoelstra, is a former NBA executive who’s worked for several NBA teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, New Jersey Nets, Buffalo Braves and Denver Nuggets.  His grandfather was a sportswriter for the Detroit News.

Though he’s never identified juggling as a skill, I can only imagine what’s required trying to sooth egos of NBA superstars the likes of former and current players LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Ray Allen, etc. while managing coaching duties with the pressure to consistently produce winning teams for the organization and its fans.

Not easy, but impressively well done, Coach Spoelstra.

Coach: Seems you’re a fan of not only inserting G League players into your team but also coaches who’ve lived and worked in Sioux Falls for the Skyforce. Explain why this is important to you. What is the one business lesson about the NBA your Dad taught you that no longer is true? When is the last time you’ve made Lumpia-the traditional Filipino recipe? Do you ever play Frisbee on Miami beach? If you hadn’t chosen basketball as a career, what would you be doing today? What is the one thing about Coach Pat Riley no one else knows?

Game Over, for Now

This was truly one of my favorite articles to research and write.

I’m a sports fan. I’m a coach observer. I certainly did not know the depth of each coach’s professional experience or personal background until I began this piece.

I was merely a silent observer of their great work and achievements.

Now, I long to know more about the person who became the coach and leader I admire.


Another plea to all coaches. Let’s connect!

I suspect I may have a part two to this post because at my desk I have a list of other coaches I’d like to know more about and speak to. These include: Fred Hoiberg, Bob McKillop, Rick Pitino, Chris Beard, John Cook, Ed Orgeron,  Doc Rivers, Todd Golden, Tony Bennett, Matt Campbell, Kyle Kempt, and Tony Dungy.


If you learned something from this article, become a fan.

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Who would you like to interview & what would you ask them? Comment below.

©February 2021. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved.

This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

New Love after 60-It’s Possible

Everyone deserves LOVE.

Most folks desire a deep connection, including seniors who may still long for companionship and someone to fall in love with.

How to Find a New Love

How does one go about finding love again if (s)he hasn’t dated in decades?

Many will quickly advise using the Internet. In addition to safely using Internet dating sites, you may also like to try

  • Friends and Family Referrals-The often-dreaded blind dates.  Your friends and family know you best. Don’t automatically refuse. Try it. Take the stress off yourself by starting small. Meet for coffee or a stroll in a public park-an hour or less. You each decide afterwards if you want to spend more time together.
  • Neighborhood Socials-Don’t be a wallflower. Mix, smile and connect. Maybe you aren’t fond of groups. Ask a friend to join you but don’t hide behind him/her. Commit to talking with others. It’s quite possible you have a lot in common with your neighbors. HINT: During COVID many have been isolated. Perhaps you can start a driveway gathering where neighbors bring their own beverages and a lawn chair. Everyone social distances while being social. Connecting is always good for one’s soul, but especially during the Pandemic.
  • Church or Synagogue Activities-Join a small group and attend events.
  • Out and About at the dog park, coffee shop, museum, wine tastings, bookstore, theatre, gym, public park, etc. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. HINT: Today it’s okay for women to make the first move. Learn to flirt again. Remember, no one will come and ring your doorbell. You have to put some effort into making and keeping friends. Think about what your interests and hobbies are and then do them. Engage with your community. Read to children at the library. Volunteer in city parks. Build birdhouses for state parks. Just do something.
  • Past Connections-Social Media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook help make this so much easier today. Is there someone from your high school class who may have lost a spouse that you’d like to re-connect with? How about a former work colleague or a cousin? Find them online and start chatting. Or, pick up your telephone and call. They are likely to appreciate the reconnection as much as you do.
  • Internet Dating (Avoid the Sweetheart Scam) NCEA: Sweatheart Scam Fact Sheet (acl.gov)


If you’re new to dating, here’s an article to read on what to expect when dating as a senior: What to Expect When Dating – Single Seniors, First Date Advice, Tips (aarp.org)

Receive Love

Remember, LOVE is not only received from another adult.

Children, grandchildren and friends are also sources of companionship, deep love and meaningful connection.

HINT: Don’t always expect your children and grandchildren to call first. Make the effort to reach out and stay connected. You are happy to hear from them when they call. It’s the same the other way around too.

Pets also make great companions if you have the ability and time to care for them. HINT: If you have a dog, it’s a great reason to go to the dog park and meet other owners.

And, remember, being in love and having companionship may result in a happier and healthier life.

Can love help you live longer? – CBS News

You are worthy of LOVE regardless of age.

LOVE Yourself. LOVE others.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Craft LifeStyle Management Team.

©February 2021. All rights reserved.

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

Denise Craft founded Craft Lifestyle Management in 1988 to ease the burden for families of aging, veterans, special needs adults and those in rehab during times of transition. She understands what’s involved in transitioning any individual from their personal home to their next home and to end of life. Her seasoned knowledge of available placement services, housing options, eligible benefits and payor sources, and community resources is endless. 

contact Craft LifeStyle Management for all of your transitional needs.

New Ways to Think about Death & Dying

Death is a Universal Human Experience

Yet, talk of it is nearly removed from everyday life.

Death is difficult to think about, more less talk about.

We are afraid of it.

Discussing death reminds us of our own mortality.

It feels quite uncertain.

Many parts of dying are not beautiful.

Death is medicalized.

Older people are often placed in nursing homes and sick people in hospitals.

The subject is completely avoided.

Even doctors are trained to save lives not discuss death.

Talking about death and dying often causes anxiety and discomfort.

We don’t know what to say, or what to do.

Silently Wonder

Still, if we are facing an expected death, we silently question and wonder

  • Are prepared for leaving-spiritually, financially, and emotionally?
  • What is dying like?
  • How we will cope while dying?
  • Have we accomplished all we’d like before dying? 
  • Will those we leave behind be okay?
  • How loved ones will react to the way we’d like to die and be memorialized.
  • What kind of legacy are we leaving?
  • Will we be missed?

So many thoughts and questions left unaddressed.

Why stay so emotionally isolated?

Why not reframe death from being scary, desolate and bleak to being noble, brave and honest?

It was Benjamin Franklin, who in 1789, prophetically stated “…In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Life Review

The reality of life is that death is our constant companion. It is part of living.

Understanding this brings death and dying back into its natural place in the cycle of life. It also may abruptly affect how you wish to continue living. That’s okay. We each have limited time and resources. We should use them wisely.

The first step is to do a bit of self-discovery and reflection.

In other words, do a life review. Start recording significant events or moments from your life.

Are there consistent themes?

Note your greatest accomplishments, and failures, and what you remember or learned from each. These notes can become part of your legacy.

Are there life lessons you’d like to pass on, especially to your children? Record these by writing them down or creating a video.

Do you need to seek forgiveness from anyone or forgive someone? Is now the time?

End of Life Plan

Being brave enough to do a life review and have difficult, but meaningful, conversations will allow you to leave your way and on your terms, while creating the experience you wish to have.

You are also providing peace of mind for loved ones who now fully know your wishes and plan.

NOTE: Be sure your plan is well documented. Share the plan aloud with loved ones and let someone know where you are safely keeping the written document. Be sure to periodically review and update it, if needed.

Ask Yourself: If you could design your own death, what would the experience be like and how would you feel?

  • How do you want to leave?
  • Describe your last months and days.
  • What kind of sensory experience do you desire? Do you want music playing? If so, what type? Do you prefer silence? Should someone read to you? If so, what and whom? Do you want to be touched? By whom and how?
  • Who do you want present, or not present, when you die?
  • Do you want to be anointed?
  • At the time of death, do you want your body immediately removed or do you want it to lay still for a certain time period?
  • Do you want to be cremated or buried?
  • How do you wish to be remembered?
  • Do you want a published obituary? Have you written it?
  • Do you want a funeral service or a celebration of life?

NOTE: You may find while answering these questions that the way you want to die is really about how you also want to live.

Gather, Listen & Share

Once you’ve finished your life review and drafted a plan for your ending, bravely gather your loved ones and share your thoughts, feelings and fears with them in a meaningful way.

Present your exit plan created by answering questions like those above.

Acknowledge the discomfort up front.

Understand that some loved ones may opt out of the gathering.

Talking about your dying and death is just too much for them right now.

That’s okay.

Make sure they can tell you in private about their fears and their inability to attend. Offer to meet with them separately when they are ready, if ever.

Ask those gathered

  • How will you remember me?
  • What scares you most about my dying?
  • Do you have concerns about my not being here?
  • What questions do you want to ask me that you haven’t asked before?
  • Is there a role you’d like to play in my dying and then at my funeral and/or celebration of life?
  • What can I do to relieve any anxiety or fear you may have about my dying?
  • Is there anything you’d like to do together in my last days here?

Hospice & End-of-Life Doulas

Those with terminal illness and their loved ones often become familiar with hospice. There’s an emerging field to offer additional support near the end of one’s life: End-of-Life Doulas.

Here’s a brief description of each with links for more information.

Hospice Care

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization NHPCO, modern hospice began around 1948 in London as a place where people could go to be comforted while dying from an illness.

The first modern hospice in the US was founded in 1974, and the Medicare Hospice Benefit was introduced in the 1980s.

Hospice care is

  • Approved by Medicare, thus free to anyone aged 65+
  • Designated care for anyone with a terminal illness
  • Ordered by two physicians who certify the patient is terminally ill
  • Focused on reducing pain and suffering without removing the cause of it
  • Prioritizes comfort and quality of end of life
  • More Information Home | NHPCO

End-of-Life Doula

End-of-Life Doula is a relatively new service. Many know doulas to be a woman who helps another woman through the birthing process.

An End-of-Life Doula brings someone to the end of life. She puts them at peace and comfort by providing personal companionship. She provides emotional, personal and practical support to the patient, family and caregivers.

The Doula will ensure a patient does not die alone. She will journey with them in their 11th hour and be a witness to the dying and death, especially if a hospice program does not have an 11th Hour volunteer program or the patient has no one beside them.

  • Non-medical support role—a companion
  • Does not replace hospice care; adjunct to hospice team
  • Reinforces a hospice plan of care
  • Loving companionship with end-of-life knowledge
  • Generally, do not do personal care
  • Do not do medication administration
  • Most are not chaplains, social workers, or therapists. They are companions-people who will journey with you.
  • More information NATIONAL END-OF-LIFE DOULA ALLIANCE (NEDA) – Home (nedalliance.org)

Be at peace when you die.

Be unafraid.

Talk about death and dying.

Allow loved ones to accompany you to the door of death.

Let go together with comfort knowing you left your way

with your wishes being met.


You don’t need to start from scratch to begin the process of talking about death and dying. There are plenty of tools available to encourage and guide these discussion and actions.

  • Churches and funeral homes offer free booklets to complete indicating your wishes and consolidating your vital information. This pre-planning allows you to make informed decisions while you still can and reduces stress for your loved ones upon your death. These booklets include everything from desired scripture readings to cemetery arrangements to loved one’s contact information to insurance and financial information, etc. Examples include: Home – Family Love Letter   Planning Guide – Catholic Cemeteries Omaha
  • A simple online search yields multiple planning tools. Here’s just one example. All Ready to Go.pdf (endoflifeguidetraining.com)
  • Your financial planner, banker and attorney are also great sources for such tools.
  • Visit Death Over Dinner. It’s an outstanding website with many tools to use in having your end of life wishes met.
  • Read about Home – Death With Dignity
  • End of Life Initiatives  End of life | RoundGlass

©January 2021. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved.

This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Do you have a story idea or interesting person who’d be a great feature?

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Guilt vs. Gratitude

Which is Winning in Your Life?

Happy 2021!

Never before has “Happy New Year” meant more.

2020 will go down in my lifetime as one of the most challenging years ever. I don’t need to list the reasons. We all know why.

Regardless of what we are bringing into 2021, we get to start anew.

Let’s approach 2021 with a renewed spirit-one of gratitude.

Let’s leave the guilt and grief behind.

You With Me?


Guilt is a harsh and powerful emotion.

We see it almost daily on the faces of clients, family members and the caretakers. We often hear it in the stories they share, many filled with regret.

Among other ways, guilt shows up as anxiety, frustration, humiliation, anger, depression and low self-esteem and self-worth. 

It has consequences on our bodies and our minds.

Ask Yourself

  • Are you beating yourself up?
  • Do you expect too much from yourself and others?
  • Are you afraid to say, “No”?
  • Do you feel regretful about how you’ve used your time, especially “family time?”
  • Have you caused divisiveness in the family?
  • Have you allowed your family to become fractured?
  • Are you struggling to shake off ‘mistakes’ or unpopular decisions from younger years?
  • Did you plan special events and intentionally omit certain family members? Have you explained yourself, or apologized?
  • Are you still allowing others to shame you for yesterday’s choices?
  • Do you do things today simply because you still feel guilty?
  • Are you guilt ridden?

Now is the time to honestly answer these questions and own up to the responses.

Acknowledge any wrongdoing.

Make amends, if possible, and move on from one G word-GUILT- to living a life in 2021 of another G word- GRATITUDE.


Simply put, gratitude means being thankful or grateful.

Gratitude is a much healthier approach to your life and your interaction with others, including your family.

Choosing to live a life of daily gratitude also affects our minds and bodies, but in positive ways.

Researchers have found living a life of gratitude improves our physical and mental health. It even allows us to get a better night’s sleep. Who doesn’t want this?

7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude | Psychology Today

In 2021, I encourage you to think about gratitude and its place in your daily life.

Here are 5 simple ways to start practicing gratitude in your life

  • Awaken each day acknowledging one thing you are thankful for. Write it down in a journal. If you’re not a writer, doodle or draw it. Let the journal be a source of comfort on tough days as you reread your entries.
  • Write notes of appreciation to those who’ve made a real positive impact on your life.
  • Volunteer. Making time to help others is a wonderful thing. NOTE: Keep in mind that sometimes we need to help ourselves too without feeling guilty. Self-care is okay.
  • Make a list of people who really matter in your life. Renew friendships. Commit to spending time with them. NOTE: This is truly one of my favorite things. An hour with friends you haven’t seen in a long time is a wonderful recharge. Sharing what life has given us, helps. Humor also helps. There’s no guilt in laughter!
  • Go outdoors. Appreciate the beauty of nature. Awaken your senses. Live in the moment and take it all in! Maybe even capture a few photographs to remember the awesomeness of your outdoor adventure.

Denise’s Insight

My career at Craft LifeStyle Management has allowed me to work with untold numbers of clients and their families as they transition from one stage of life to the other.

If we’ve done our jobs right, we are sort of extended family when our role is completed.

We hear the stories. See the interactions. We feel the sorrow and the joy, and always, the loss.

Those who thrive through transition approach it with a deep sense of gratitude for reaching this milestone. They acknowledge and appreciate their support system, be that family members or others.

They awaken daily recognizing what a gift it is to be present and to share in the joys of the day.

This is what I wish for you in 2021-a year of living with gratitude, peace and joy.

If Craft LifeStyle Management can assist you or a family member with a life transition, contact them. Contact – Craft Lifestyle Management (craftlifestylemgt.com)

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

© January 2021. Craft LifeStyle Management. All Rights Reserved.

2020: A Year End Review Like None Other

5 Lessons Learned in a Pandemic Year

I was hesitant to commit my annual year end review in writing because, well, it’s just been a year like none other that I recall. But as I was recently walking in the December crisp air, I easily clipped off a list of really great things that happened in 2020 despite, or maybe because of, the pandemic.

Most of them are lessons.

Here they are:

1. Real Heroes Celebrated

Even before the pandemic hit I was becoming restless with our nation’s worship of professional athletes and Hollywood actors. It’s true. Most individuals in these groups are immensely talented. Some even significantly give back to their communities with time and money. But, are they heroes? Not often in my way of thinking.

The real heroes in our country were finally, rightfully, spotlighted as the pandemic exploded. You know, the people who silently and routinely make daily life-changing impacts on our lives without recognition. Heroes like teachers, nurses, researchers, doctors, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, etc.

I’m forever grateful for their tireless, ongoing efforts. I hope and pray they will remain in their heroic status long after the pandemic is an afterthought.

2. Eyes Spoke

Much has been said about eyes being the window to one’s soul. This has probably never been truer than in 2020. Masks covered faces most of the year, often distorting or muting words. However, if one really wanted to know what the speaker was saying, (h)she only had to observe the eyes above the mask.

Fear and uncertainty. That is what the eyes often communicated in early 2020. As time wore on, a hint of optimism and even joy could be heard from eyes.

Let’s be honest. On certain days, exhaustion and impatience, and even frustration, shone brightly in our eyes.

Mask or no mask. Pandemic or none. Listen to the eyes of the person near you. Their silence is often screaming.

3. Goodness of Neighbors Shone Through

I’ve said it before. Most people are genuinely good and want to do well. All communities and neighborhoods have bad eggs, including ours. However, I will always remember in early pandemic days the neighbors who texted asking for our grocery list to combine with theirs-saving us a trip to the store that week. Or, the doorbell ringing and neighbors sneaking away after leaving baked treats and other goodies on our front porch. And, the socially distanced chats while each party was out enjoying fresh air on daily walks.

All over our community, state and nation people showed kindness for one another.

It’s a pandemic outcome I wish to be everlasting.

4. Priorities & Values in Order

I’d long ago given up the corporate rat race. Our child is a married working adult. We no longer juggle an action-packed schedule. In other words, we were already conditioned for often being at home together before the pandemic.

But nothing makes one assess priorities and values more than the real threat of a life-ending virus and stay at home orders-lockdown.

Ken, my husband, a Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor, has been working downstairs for over half of the year. Never before did I think our experience of owning and working in multiple businesses together for over two decades would serve a purpose later in our lives. After selling the businesses, we thought that chapter was closed. Wrong.

I’m grateful we didn’t have to learn how to work and live together like so many couples and families did, and are still doing. We seemed to ease right into familiar routines, allowing both of us to be productive professionals and compatible mates.

We did put the business part of our lives in order. Our wills and other legal papers were updated. Over and over news stories reported families devastated by not only the loss of a loved one but the stress and strife of managing legal issues post death.

Supporting small businesses and craftsmen remained a top priority for us. Our dining out dollars and other funds were devoted to businesses we knew needed our money most.

I’ve always believed small businesses are the engines that run the community.

Keeping them afloat is always a priority, more so now than ever.

5. Not all Screen Time is Bad

I’m guilty. Raising our son, I preached, “Watching too much TV will pollute your mind,” or “TV dumbs you down.” I encouraged reading, creating and getting outdoors. You know, the old-fashioned way of raising a child.

However, I will admit, during this pandemic, I’ve engaged in a fair amount of screen time.

Today, the choices are endless.

Yes, I obliged my husband and binge watched “The Sopranos”. I can’t believe I hadn’t watched this outstanding series before. The writing, acting and production were each remarkable and deserving of every accolade ever received.

I also watched a ton of documentaries, biographies and other educational programming.

Okay, according to Ken, I’ve overwatched Hallmark movies near the end of this year. But, again, the choices are endless.

I’ve had a mind shift. I no longer think TV dumbs one down or pollutes one’s mind. It can, if done in excess, I guess. Like anything, choosing well matters and so does balancing screen time with other activities like actual conversation, outdoor activities, and yes, book reading too.

So, while 2020 was sadly a remarkable year for loss and fear, it also taught some tremendous lessons.

I trust as I continue to reflect on this year, other lessons will come to me.

Share Your Learning from This Year

What has 2020 taught you? Share in the comment section below.


Ken and I wish you a hopeful 2021 filled with wonder, joy and peace.

©December 2020. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved.

This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Do you have a story idea or interesting person who’d be a great feature?

Share below.

Creating Holiday Joy for Family Members with Dementia

2020 has been difficult for everyone.

COVID Pandemic. Isolation. Quarantines. Presidential Election. Job Loss. Business Closures. The list of challenges continues, for many.

Maybe your tradition has always been to celebrate with family and friends. This year it’s strongly suggested you limit those interactions due to COVID.

So, are you feeling the excitement of the upcoming Christmas season or are you more of a Ba Humbug personality? 

Whichever way you lean, when it comes to the Christmas holiday, putting others before yourself most often results in good for everyone-the giver and the receiver.

This is especially important if your loved family member has Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Here are some suggestions to create holiday joy for those you love suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Show Up as Your Best. Be Forgiving & Patient. Avoid Correcting.

As simple as it sounds, sometimes just showing up with your best behavior is the finest gift you can give anyone, especially an aging relative with dementia.

Have realistic expectations. Don’t expect to carry on an in-depth conversation. Certainly, don’t bring up past wrongdoings. Let those go during your visit, if not forever.

The person you’re visiting is not whom he or she once was. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that destroys the memory.

Instead, patiently listen to them. They likely will mess up historical facts and maybe even refer to many by the wrong name. Don’t push them to remember. Avoid correcting them. It only frustrates and upsets them, and you.

Try to solicit memories that seem like reality to them. Listen to the time in their life they seem to be living in at the moment.

What a tremendous gift you will give by allowing your loved one with dementia to recall favorable past memories and speak aloud about them, factual or not.

Be Inclusive

Depending on the stage of dementia your loved one has, include them in activities, especially safe annual traditions.

Did your family always attend the annual town Christmas tree lighting or have breakfast with Santa Claus? Continue these traditions and take your loved one along. Again, only if it is safe to do so. Watch your loved one. Wandering is common for those with Alzheimer’s.

NOTE: Never force your loved one to leave comfortable surroundings. Once their memory is to the point of being unable to follow conversations or if they can’t comprehend what is going on around them, changing their environment can be very upsetting. Your intention of creating a joint memory is commendable but they are unlikely to recall it. Always error on the side of staying inside and being safe and content rather than experiencing outside noises they are no longer used to.

Instead of rolling out the cookie dough or putting the cookie pans in the oven, maybe your loved one with dementia can help ice or sprinkle colored sugar on the baked cookies. Or, pack cookies in tins and boxes or help wipe the countertops and sweep the floor.

NOTE: For those loved ones with more advanced dementia, give them one tin and a bunch of cookies. When it is full, empty the tin and restack the cookies. We have to have humor! Watch how many times they lick their fingers, touch everything else around them, etc. Note their merriment and joy. This one can be their tin of cookies to take with them.

Find ways to include them based on safety and their level of dementia.

Maybe create new traditions like watching holiday movies snuggled together on the sofa or driving the neighborhood to see holiday yard decorations.

Don’t overdo activities. Try to stick to their normal routines as much as possible to avoid confusion and stress. Quality time trumps quantity.

And, always include them in conversation even if your patience is tested.

Allow them to reminisce about the holiday traditions. You may hear the same story repeatedly. Listen anyway.

Gift Giving by Stage of Dementia

The Alzheimer’s Association https://www.alz.org/nebraska recommends you gift by stage of dementia.

Early Stage

  • Activity books like crossword puzzles, word searches, Jumble words or Sudoku.
  • Coloring books or color by number books with larger crayons that are easier to grasp
  • Homemade photo books including happy memory images
    • HINT: Choose a 4×6 book so it fits onto a lap easily
    • Wall hanging picture board with large images and names under each photo
    • HINT: Labeling photos also helps caregivers initiate conversation with your loved one
    • HINT: Include pet and animal photographs. A dementia client once “found herself back on the family farm” whenever she looked out her room window.  The family helped created a photo book with images of her parents, farm animals and the family pet. She had this book with her at all times.
  • Music and movies from your loved one’s era to stimulate past memories
  • Hair brush
  • Gift certificate to hair salon in facility, if that is their home.

Middle Stage

  • Large clock that shows time and date
  • Automatic medicine dispenser
  • Automatic night lights set on a timer
  • Simple crafts they once enjoyed
  • Identification bracelet
  • Membership in wandering response service
  • Location tracking device
  • Service gift cards like lawn, handyman, restaurant, food delivery, etc.
  • Easy to remove clothing

Later Stage

HINT: Focus on sensory stimulating gifts like

  • Soft, fluffy bathrobe in a favorite color
  • Cozy lap blanket
  • Stuffed Animal
  • Hand lotion in favorite scent
  • Favorite food treats
  • Comfortable clothing and shoes with Velcro straps

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!

Contact Us Link from CLM page. http://craftlifestylemgt.com/contact/ 

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

© December 2020. Craft LifeStyle Management. All Rights Reserved.
Denise Craft founded Craft Lifestyle Management in 1988 to ease the burden for families of aging, veterans, special needs adults and those in rehab during times of transition. She understands what’s involved in transitioning any individual from their personal home to their next home and to end of life. Her seasoned knowledge of available placement services, housing options, eligible benefits and payor sources, and community resources is endless.