Turn Back Time on Toxic Aging Parents

Our world is full of regret.


There’s a whole catalog of music focusing on forgiveness, including one of my personal favorite Cher songs-the 1989 hit, “If I Could Turn Back Time.”

What if We Could Turn Back Time?

Think about it for a minute.

What would you do differently?

What actions or choices would you seek to be forgiven for?

Start Today

In a Utopian or dream world, our parents would read this and, oh my goodness, we’d receive a call or a visit and everything would be right with our world. That is not likely to happen. Read this knowing change can happen and often does happen when all parties commit to healing and working on interactions and relationships. The key word is “work”. What are you willing to do?

If you’re a parent, especially an aging parent, with unspoken words in a fractured family with brokenhearted children, time is slipping away.

Or, if you’re the child of a toxic parent who will never find a reason to apologize, what can you start today to break the chain of toxicity?


Every day you wake up you have a choice.

You can choose to clean up your toxicity, seek understanding, ask for forgiveness and begin the healing.

Or, you can remain stubborn and self-righteous, maybe like generations before you, and pass the blame onto others, including your children.

As a parent, consider that today may be the moment for you to find the courage to mend the fractured family. Or, as a child of this type of parent to find the courage to say, “I’m done.”

What if everyone could admit their shortcomings and wrongdoings?

How about we attempt to begin the much-needed, admittedly difficult, conversations.

Why leave this world with so much heartbreak?


Accepting one’s own family dynamics and breaking the chain of heartbreak is the BEST possible example for one’s own children.

Know that you can never change anyone’s emotions, thoughts, behaviors or actions.

Instead, focus on doing your best and accepting and owning up to your own actions and behaviors.

Toxic Parents Defined

No parent is perfect, including me.

Before labeling your parents as “toxic” try to fully understand where they come from. Ask yourself, or better yet, ask them:

  • What was their childhood like?
  • How did their parents show or express love?
  • Did they live through the Great Depression?
  • If so, how did this affect their upbringing?
  • Were they allowed to finish high school or did they have to leave to help on the farm or the family business?
  • Did they ever say they didn’t want to raise their children the way they were raised?
  • Do they believe they did their best as parents?

Those who study human behavior describe toxic parenting behaviors as:

  • Physical, verbal and sex abuse
  • Alcohol and drug addiction(s)
  • Controllers who guilt and manipulate their children’s lives
  • Inadequate and often emotionally immature parents who require their children to be “mini-adults” asked to take on parenting responsibilities
  • Neglectful and unsupportive

No one expects that a parent engaging in decades long toxic parenting is going to somehow remarkably change as (s)he ages.

Their abusive name calling and belittling and/or abandonment may indeed actually worsen, as they age, especially if dementia is involved.

Protect Yourself

There are ways to protect yourself when being asked to step up and care for a parent you don’t like due to their historical toxicity.

You Can

Hire care-temporarily or permanently. This is especially important if a caregiving schedule created by siblings is not being adhered to. Yes, it happens. A sibling commits to a certain shift and then never shows up, especially at the last moment. Figure out what will be best for the parents, your siblings and you.

Place an invisible shield around yourself. Be proud of the fact that you are “doing the right thing” by providing care. Ignore what at any other time would be an unforgiveable or hurtful remark and focus on the caregiving.

Before entering their home, sit in the driveway and tell yourself over and over that you’ve had to deal with difficult personalities before in your life and career and that your parents are just two more of this type of person. Repeat, “I can be kind because they are becoming frail and weak and this is the right way to treat any human being.”

Use humor to stay sane. Many times, it’s the best tool. If your parent is verbally abusive and demeaning, agree with their remark and repeat it back.

At Craft LifeStyle Management, we call it the Mirror Game.

For instance, after being insulted, say, “You’re right! I don’t know what I am doing. Dang it! I wish I had the smarts to get out of a paper bag.”

Your parents may look at you like you are nuts. They are not used to your agreeing with them, especially as they age and their mind is less alert. Surprising them with humor stops the cycle of arguing and causing upset.

Seek emotional support from a loved one. But understand that at some point they may tire of hearing the same thing over and over with no change.

Remember, the change must come from you. Your parents are not realistically going to change much, if at all.

If needed, seek support from a mental health professional. Caregiving is difficult even when not caring for a toxic parent.

One way to avoid feeling resentful while caretaking is to continue to place priority on your own immediate family like adult children and grandchildren. Do not miss anything that is important to you and them, like birthdays or other special occasions.

Assume a support role for a brother or sister who may have a healthier relationship with your parent and is the primary caregiver.

Sibling interactions around parental care can cause tremendous disagreement and even severing of relationships.

If you are not the primary caregiver and you’ve turned over the care to a brother and/or sister, you have NO say in the care they are giving to your parents.

Do not be a seagull or a dictator or say, “What you should do is…”

Avoid ‘flying in to make a big mess and flying back out’ leaving it for your caretaking siblings to clean up.

Give the siblings who are doing the day-to-day care the grace and respect for what they are doing, and have done.

Get another legal guardian appointed for them. This may be an ideal option if you have the resources and know someone who will serve. Craft LifeStyle Management often coaches clients with this matter.

Detach. Choose not to care for them without guilt. This is very freeing. Let your siblings know you will support them in any way you can. You will not tell them what to do. You thank them for everything they are doing and you appreciate them. But you cannot help until, perhaps, the parent is further into their memory loss or health issue: when they are done fighting. Then, you will step back in and help.

Establish boundaries. Know what is and is not emotionally healthy for you. Protect your own physical and mental health.


Always avoid being toxic yourself. It’s hard not to want to retaliate but it’s never right to be abusive, even to an aging toxic parent.

My Observations

I’m amazed when someone is surprised to know not all parents like their children and not all children like their parents.

I’ve been in the family transition business for over three decades.

I see long-standing family dysfunction and toxicity daily. It breaks my heart to see unhealed family trauma and drama.  As painful as it is to witness on an ongoing basis it escalates when parents age and require care from those whom the world believes should love them most-their children.

What happens in reality is that ignored family pain creates a world of hurt and chaos when Mom and Dad now require care.

Trying to heal as a family when this moment ‘suddenly’ happens is quite unrealistic.

Sadly, many families never experience the blessings of healing.

It’s not unusual for the family unit to completely disintegrate after both parents have passed.

Positive Outcomes

Conversely, and our favorite outcome at Craft LifeStyle Management, is when the siblings become closer after the parents have passed and are no longer a wedge between the children.

We see first-hand the friendships being formed between siblings who do their best caring for their toxic parents. We also celebrate when we see these children parenting differently than the way they were parented.

Remember, no one is perfect-parent or child. And no child needs to live up to trying to be perfect in the parents’ eyes.

You do not need to keep going back into the lion’s den for approval. Please know that if you’ve never had their approval or acceptance, you will not likely get it now when they need care.

If you are the child of parents who played one child against another, now is the time to work on creating your own healthier relationship with your brother(s) and/or sister(s).

Real Conversations

Start real conversations. Avoid recalling painful historical actions that start with, “You did this or that…” Instead, ask questions on specific situations that have never felt right after your parents said something about a specific sibling. Often, you are clearing up misconceptions and misunderstandings from decades ago.

Healing with your siblings helps heal and/or not feeling guilty about your relationship with your parents.

Our parents make their own life choices.

You do not have to agree with them, or even accept them.

You can truly say and understand that is their choice.

And, if it means stepping back, that is your choice.

Be okay with it.

What Would You Do “If You Could Turn Back Time?”

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

© November 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. 

contact Craft LifeStyle Management for all of your transitional needs.

Win a Visit to Clear Lake, IA

Entry Form at bottom of post. Good Luck!

Stay at the Shore & Explore

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear of Clear Lake, Iowa?

If you’re a certain age, maybe you associate Clear Lake with a plane crash.

In fact, American rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper,” J. P. Richardson, were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, together with pilot Roger Peterson on February 3, 1959.

The tragedy was later known as “The Day the Music Died”, after singer-songwriter Don McLean referred to it this way in his 1971 song “American Pie”. 

While this unfortunate event is associated with Clear Lake and the community continues to pay proper reverence to those who lost their lives in this accident, Clear Lake is a vibrant, progressive lakeside community you should visit.

Plan Your Clear Lake Visit

Order your travel guide in advance at www.clearlakeiowa.com and follow them on Facebook ClearLakeIowa, Twitter @VisitClearLake and Instagram @ClearLakeIowa for the latest updates.

Stop in and visit the Visitor Center at the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce at 205 Main Avenue  or call them at 641.357.2159 or 800.285.5338.

Where is Clear Lake?

Travel Time to Clear Lake by vehicle from

Omaha: 3.5 hours             Des Moines: 2 hours

Minneapolis: 2 hours        Sioux Falls: 3 hours

Chicago: 6 hours              St. Louis: 6.5 hours

We visited in early September 2020-during COVID times. Check all websites for current COVID restrictions, if any.

Top 8 Overall Impressions

1. Cleanliness. Everywhere we went was spotless-from city parks to public restrooms to highways. Litter and graffiti seemed non-existent. Community pride prevails and visitors, like us, notice and appreciate it.

2. Non-Clogged Roadways. Bumper-to-bumper traffic is not appealing to us, especially when doing a leisurely lakeside drive. The roadways, in and around the area, seem to be designed for great traffic flow.

3. Appreciative Merchants. 2020 has been a tough year for restaurants and retailers. Each business we visited expressed heartfelt gratitude for our visit and purchase. Support small, always.

4. Diversity of Lodging Options. Not only is the variety of architecture appealing, so are the many lodging options. Read below.

5. Plenty of Excellent Dining Choices. Plan ahead. There are so many excellent dining options in this community. We can’t wait to return to try more of them.

6. Ease of Access to the water and a very walkable downtown. There is plenty of parking, making it convenient to stop and walk the downtown area and the shoreline.

7. Availability of Amenities to Encourage Tourism, like clean, modern public restrooms in the downtown shopping area and by the Clear Lake City public beach. Enjoy the splash pad and water rainbow for children of all ages near a public restroom. Sit in the shaded city park. Use the well-maintained walking and bicycling pathways along the shoreline. Depart from, or tie up at, the public access docks.

8. Goodwill Offering Attractions. There is plenty to see and do in the community, in addition to water activities like fishing, kayaking, boating, swimming, paddle boarding, etc. See below.

Activities & Attractions

It rained during our entire three-day stay. Yet, we got out and explored the area rich in attractions.

There’s a great mix of indoor/outdoor activities in Clear Lake-perfect for all types of weather conditions during your visit.

Here’s a sample of what we visited.

Visit www.clearlakeiowa.com to personalize your visit.

Plane Crash Memorial Site

A small memorial is located at the place the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, “The Big Bopper” and pilot Roger Peterson crashed. It is on private property between corn fields. If you visit, please be respectful of the land and the crash site.

Directions to Memorial Site

From US Hwy 18 in Clear Lake, go north on N 8th Street for 4.7 miles.

When the paved road curves to the west, take the gravel road to the east (310th Street), then immediately north again on gravel (Gull Avenue).

At the t-intersection of Gull Avenue and 315th Street, you will see a set of large “Buddy Holly” glasses. You may park along the side of the road and walk along the south side of the fence to the west for approximately one quarter mile.

Surf Ballroom & Museum

Photo Credit: Linda Leier Thomason

460 North Shore Drive       641.357.6151 www.Surfballroom.com

Photo Credit: Linda Leier Thomason

Check the website for upcoming events and operating hours.

Goodwill offering/donations encouraged.

Take a self-guided tour or arrange in advance for a guided tour.

Marvel at the ballroom (1933). Stroll the museum. Purchase at the gift shop.

HINT: Notice the pineapple wallpaper in the entrance. See the phone booth where Buddy Holly called his wife and Ritchie Valens his manager the evening of February 2, 1959.

Lady of the Lake

101 North Lakeview Drive       641.357.2243 www.cruiseclearlake.com

Photo Credit: Linda Leier Thomason

Lady of the Lake is an authentic paddle wheel excursion boat offering scenic tours of Clear Lake. Contact them for boarding and departure times.  Times are also posted at the City Seawall.

Cash only. No debit or credit cards accepted.

Central Gardens of North Iowa

200 Block N 8th Street    641.357.0700 ww.centralgardensnorthiowa.com

Visit the website for scheduled activities.

Goodwill donations encouraged.

Wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring a camera to capture the magnificently maintained three acres of themed flower beds, ponds, stream beds and art.

HINT: The restroom here was closed due to COVID during our September 2020 visit.

Nearby State Parks

McIntosh Woods State Park Photo Credit: Linda Leier Thomason

We visited both Clear Lake State Park https://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Iowa-State-Parks/Clear-Lake-State-Park and McIntosh Woods State Park

https://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Iowa-State-Parks/McIntosh-Woods-State-Park during our stay.

Beautiful natural settings offering great outdoor activities. Visit the websites for more information on camping, events and activities.


Choices are abundant. What’s your preference?

  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Cottages
  • Camping
  • Vacation Rentals
  • Bed and Breakfasts
3rd & Surf VRBO Home…Ideal Vacation Stay Photo Credit: Linda Leier Thomason

We thoroughly enjoyed our overnight stay at the vacation rental 3rd and Surf.


It was a perfect location for our desire to explore the downtown area and have easy walking access to the beach and city park.

The property is well furnished in a quiet neighborhood.

The owners have thought of virtually everything a traveler would need for a fantastic get-away to Clear Lake, Iowa. There’s even a screened outdoor gazebo and a fire pit to enjoy on cool fall evenings and bicycles to explore the charming community.

Notable Clear Lake Events

There is always something to do and experience in Clear Lake, Iowa

Confirm event schedules prior to traveling.

COVID restrictions may alter the event and schedule.

Visit https://clearlakeiowa.com/events/ for more events, festivals and information.

Here are just 2 notable annual events.

Winter Dance Party

World renowned Winter Dance Party held annually featuring performers influenced by Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper’s musical era.

3-Day event at the Surf Ballroom. More information at www.surfballroom.com or Surf’s box office 641.357.6151.

Color the Wind


The Color the Wind kite festival features serious kite flyers from multiple states displaying their collections of unique kites, banners and ground displays over the lake in front of the downtown sea wall.

Win 2-Night Stay

What’s Included:

Fine Print

  • Complete and return entry form below.
  • Trip must be completed by May 31, 2021.
  • Entrants must be age 25 or older. USA Citizens only.
  • Winner is responsible for making reservation through provided VRBO website and agrees to all conditions of rental property stated on site.
  • Transportation to & from Clear Lake, IA isn’t provided.
  • Winner agrees to forward three (3) photographs taken during the trip and five (5) sentences about their experience to www.lindaleierthomason within seven (7) days of completing their trip. Images may be used on social media outlets and on this website.
  • Winner Notification: Winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. Winner will be notified via email. Response must be received in 24 hours. If none, another winner will be randomly chosen.
  • Prize is non-transferable. No cash redemption or substitution will be allowed.
  • Winner assumes all responsibility and releases  lindaleierthomason.com and all prize donors and sponsors from all liability.
  • By accepting prize, winner understands and agrees to all contest rules.
  • Immediate family members (spouse/partner, children, grandchildren and parents) of prize sponsors, Clear Lake, Iowa Chamber of Commerce and/or www.lindaleierthomason.com are not eligible to enter.

This contest is done in cooperation with the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce https://clearlakeiowa.com/ whose members and staff welcome you to stay at the shore and explore.

Enter & Win 2-Night Stay

Your information will not be used for any marketing campaigns nor given to any other organization to use.

November 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.

Gallery Flash Sale

Just in Time for Holidays.

Home. Office. Gift Giving.

Buy One. Or a Set.

First Come. First Get.

Originals. No Reproductions.


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Once a tile is sold, it will be removed.

If you experience any payment difficulties. Send a message and we’ll be glad to get in touch with you.

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There’s a sticky strip on the back of the tile. Peel off the protective paper and stick them on the wall. Does not damage walls and easy to re-group and move around.


Linda's Gallery Tiles
Your Mailing Address:

In the message section below, indicate which tiles by tile # and tile name (below each tile) you’d like to proudly display or gift.

Include your shipping information in the message section as well.

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#1 Dainty White
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#19 Fall Sample Grouping 1-You Choose the 4 You Love & Arrange As You Prefer.
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Simplifying the Transition to a New Home for Seniors

Decluttering & Downsizing

Have all of your children left the family home?

Are healthcare issues preventing you from keeping up your house and yard?

Do you want to spend more time relaxing?

Do you require some care as you age?

Has your spouse passed away?

If so, it might be time to downsize from your existing home to your next home.

Here are some tried and true tips to make this process smoother and less painful.

Craft LifeStyle Management has been helping clients transition from one home to another for over 30 years.

Please let us know how we can help you.

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

Where is Your Next Home?

In a perfect world, you know where you are moving to and answers to these questions are a great way to begin downsizing and decluttering:

  • What is the floor plan?
  • How much space will you have?  
  • How many closets? What size?
  • What is the square footage of the living space and the bedroom?
  • Is there a garage? Are there shelves in it?
  • Are there rules for what items you can bring into your next home?
  • Will your furniture fit the living space? Measure everything with a tape measure. Avoid eyeballing and estimating.
  • Does your furniture fit through the doorways?
  • Is the kitchen much smaller? How many cabinets are there and how many drawers?

Sentimental Items

Try to appreciate the sentimental value of items as you sort. For example, fondly recall the memories of your wedding dress and/or your military uniform. Ask yourself if you can release these items now.

Can you take a photo of them as a keepsake memory? If so, upload photos, videos and irreplaceable mementos to a hard drive or cloud storage.

Seriously ask yourself what your children will do with these sentimental items after you are gone? Keep in mind what is sentimental to you may not be to them.

It’s okay to be disappointed if they do not want your “treasures.”  However, try not to let this disappointment affect your relationship with them, adding stress to an already challenging time.

HINT: The more sentimental an item is to you, the higher value you will place on it.


Here’s an idea that makes sorting and downsizing less painful.

Take a video or photo of each room in your home before you start. This way you have a record of everything, especially anything you have a tough time releasing.

Sorting takes time. It can take countless hours to thoughtfully go through items you’ve been accumulating for decades.

Pace yourself.

Start early.

Enlist help, if needed. Keep in mind family will often suggest ‘you don’t need this’ or ‘throw that in the trash.’

HINT: Do not ask the family or friends whom you know will give their thoughts before you have your own moment to decide.

Know what you value and stand your ground. If you truly treasure something, keep it.

By room, place items one-by-one into one of five piles:

1. Keep-take to my next home. A good rule of thumb is one of each item. This rule is especially helpful when sorting a kitchen. For instance, one water pitcher, one cake knife and server, one corkscrew, etc.

HINT: Craft LifeStyle Management places emphasis on the “Keep.” This will be opposite of many helpers, including family.

We believe focusing on the Keep will help you quickly see what’s important to you-what you value.

HINT: Bulk items like laundry detergent and shampoo may no longer be a good fit for your smaller, downsized space.

2. Donate to one of many local charities happy to pick up your items. Or, ask family members if they need an extra bedroom set or kitchen appliance. Again, try not to be upset if they are not interested in your ‘discards.’

Do you have a collection of, for example, musical instruments or books? Find an organization that will make good use of these items. It makes the releasing less painful knowing your items will be deeply appreciated.

HINT: Over time, Craft LifeStyle Management has developed many creative ways to release to organizations. Let us share those with you.

3. Trash. Craft LifeStyle Management can recommend ways to downsize and prepare for a move without the obvious driveway dumpster.

4. Sell. Some items, including vintage clothing, might be worthy of selling online. Also consider selling items at a local consignment or antique shop.

HINT: We suggest “testing the market.” If your children, extended family, friends and neighbors are not interested in the items you are not taking to your next home, then it’s not likely they are worth the time it takes to try to sell them. Instead, donate or discard the items.

5. Maybe. If the “Maybe” pile is almost everything, then it is time to enlist professionals to help you walk through this challenging journey. Finding out “why” you are not releasing items will help you get going again.

Comfortable Peace

Downsizing involves making tough decisions. Each item goes into one of these five piles.

The goal is to touch each item only once as you place it into one of these categories and then release it.

If you can see the things you want right in front of you and feel at peace, then you are on the right track.

Craft LifeStyle Management likes to call it “comfortable peace.”

If, instead, you are anxious or feeling upset, it is time to ask for a little help. Craft LifeStyle Management is glad to work through this process with you.

HINT: Plan to take breaks. Downsizing can be emotionally and physically overwhelming. If your ‘helpers’ are planning to show up early and stay late, this may not be the most productive plan for you. Once we are tired, we can’t make clear choices. You don’t want to regret a release because ‘you couldn’t think straight any longer that day.’

Craft LifeStyle Management can help guide you during this process and ensure you aren’t throwing away or donating valuables and that you are at peace with all of your transitioning decisions.

Paper & Storage Units

You may have storage tubs or file cabinets in your home full of paper. Paper like utility bills, bank statements and/or tax filings from decades ago.

You don’t need to move all of this to your next home.

Before you shred everything, reach out to an accountant or financial advisor and ask how long you are required to keep certain documents.

Keep those and shred all others.

HINT: Today most statements can be found online, making the accumulation of paper unnecessary.

If you have “treasures” in a storage unit. Go through these items as you would the possessions in your home. Keep, Donate, Trash or Sell.

How Can We Help You?

Transitioning to your next home requires decluttering and downsizing.

Yes, it can be difficult. It is also exciting.

Let us know how we can help you as you prepare for this transition.

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

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

© October 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. 

Do You Know Your Spouse?

$5 Answers for You

Let’s just say you’ve been married for more than a decade. Maybe 26 years.

You profess your greatest strength as a married couple is “communication.”

You’ve weathered and remained intact through multiple life challenges, including job changes, relocations and medical issues.

Most often you will claim your spouse as your “best friend.”

Then the world abruptly changes in early 2020 and you’re spending 24-hours a day, seven days a week for months on end with this person.

Are your claims and proclamations the same? How well do you really know the person you are living with? Can you stand being around one another all the time?

Do you know how they’d answer questions like this?

  • Who or what challenges you?
  • Would you ever set up a nanny cam to spy on someone watching your kids?
  • What is the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?
  • Who’s someone you’d like to trade places with for a day?
  • How long do you think you’ll live?
  • Has anyone, or anything specific, ever made you feel inferior, if so what?
  • What opportunity do you wish you would have taken?

It’s downright alarming how one can “know” someone for decades and not really know with certainty how they’d answers questions like these.

Priceless Clearance Book

I stopped at a bookstore in early 2020 and without much thought bought this $5 clearance book. I randomly flipped through the pages thinking this could be fun answering some of these questions and headed to the cash register.

Instead, this $5 book has proven priceless to our marriage.

It’s offered me rich, deep insight into a man I’ve known for over 30 years.

Wednesday Nights

When I introduced the book to Ken, I framed it as a COVID Wednesday night activity. Sort of like a “date night”-something we always professed to do but never seemed to get around to actually doing.

Admittedly, we were both a bit tepid when we started this exercise. Each Wednesday, we’d take turns randomly choosing a number between 1-2000 and start asking each other the questions on the two pages, dating the pages and recording our responses in writing.

Some weeks we’d sit on the back porch after work completing this exercise, others on the sofa. As time went on, answers seemed more thoughtful and insightful and the awkwardness lessened. And, I, in particular, looked forward to seeing what questions would be asked and how we’d each respond.


Here’s a few things I’ve discovered.

  • I cheat. Ken takes longer to answer the questions than I do. I give top-of-mind answers knowing that if the same question was asked on another day, my answer could quite likely be different. But, at that moment in time, this is my response. So, while he’s pondering and reflecting, I skip ahead and answer the questions he’s supposed to ask me when I’m done asking him. I need to refrain from turning everything into “cycle time management.” Yup. This exercise isn’t only about partner-discovery but also self-discovery.
  • Ken likes chocolate. One can imagine with 2000 questions that there’d be some repetitive answers throughout the book. However, he answers a lot of questions with “chocolate.” For instance, “What food describes your personality?” Ken’s response is chocolate. Mine is watermelon. Or, “If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?” Ken’s response was chocolate. Mine was a Grammy’s Award Show producer. Ken admittedly and consistently likes chocolate. This is not new learning for me but it’s nice to see he’s consistent.
  • Memories are resurrected. Many of the questions uncover buried childhood activities or memories. Listening to one another share these stories has been enlightening and fun. Stories and answers offer a lot of insight into the way one another responds to events and issues today.  We grew up in very different environments; Ken in Louisville, Kentucky in a family of four and me on a North Dakota diversified farm in a family of 11. Imagine the stories being shared through these questions we may have never thought to ask one another.
  • People have many layers. In the business world peeling back the multiple layers of an onion to get to the core is used as an example of how to understand a problem. This same principle applies, only it’s not a problem, it’s a person. What this exercise has clearly proven is that there is a lot of joy in going beyond the superficial and peeling back the layers and getting to know the core of the person you love, perhaps the longest.
  • Men also like sharing deeply. The stereotype about men being emotionally closed off and too manly to answer questions like those in this book is repeatedly proven wrong. Ken could have very easily stopped this weekly activity. He could have used sarcasm and humor to answer the questions, not giving it serious attention. He didn’t. About the third week in, I got it. He actually enjoyed sharing, recalling and being listened to. It doesn’t make him less of a man. It makes him more of a human and more known to me.

Wednesday nights now are sacred. We purposely avoid scheduling other activities at this time and do our best to avoid distractions like phones, the Internet and TV. The book is an adjunct to the date-one week planned by Ken, the other by me.

It’s taken us quite a while to reach this point in our marriage.

Good Choices & Happiness

But when question #1212 was asked: Do you think happiness is a choice? Ken responded, “Yes” on June 3, 2020 and I, “Certainly. Work at making good choices.”

Buying 2000 Questions About Me was a wonderful choice leading to much discovery and happiness in our marriage in 2020.

September 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.

What Happens to Special Needs Adults When Parents Die?

Do you know a special needs adult living with elderly parents? Is this person your brother or sister? If so, has your family openly and frequently discussed plans for the special needs adult who may outlive Mom and Dad, and maybe you?

 If so, your family is ahead of most.


  • Special needs is a term used to describe those who require extra support because of a medical, emotional, behavioral or learning disability or impairment.
  • The number of adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) is projected to nearly double from 641,860 in 2000 to 1.2 million by 2030 1/
  • As of 2006, more than 716,00 adults with developmental disabilities were living with caregivers over the age of 60 in the United States.
  • Whether it’s medical, financial understanding or living arrangements, Craft LifeStyle Management can help guide families with special needs adults, especially those living with aging parents or those whose parents have deceased. We have years of experience helping families get the resources needed during this transition.

Living with You

You love your sibling with disabilities. In fact, the plan is that he or she will live with you after Mom and Dad die. Have you considered:

  • Has your disabled sibling been to your home many times so that he or she is familiar with the surroundings, or do you live in another geographical location?
  • How your existing family routine will be altered as you fit in the tasks and responsibilities of care for your disabled sibling? Are you fully aware of what Mom and Dad have been doing all these years to care for your brother or sister? What was their routine? Was it completely transparent and now understood by you?
  • What happens to your sibling if you become ill, disabled or lose your life?
  • How will care be provided and paid for?
  • Who will attend medical appointments and manage the financial and legal aspects of care?

Again, Craft LifeStyle Management can assist you in fully understanding the complexities of what’s involved in caring for your loved one with special needs.

In the meantime, set up a time as soon as possible to talk to your parents so that you are not left without critical information after a crisis.

The smallest details matter while caring for those with special needs.

This link http://www.talk-early-talk-often.com/special-needs-adult.html provides an excellent list of questions and conversations so that you and your family are prepared for the well-being of your sister or brother. Record these conversations on paper or a computer file. Let other loved ones know where this information is since you may not be the only one that needs to access it.

Loving Choice

Everyone needs to be realistic about caring for your loved one with special needs. As parents age, they may have ongoing health challenges making it difficult to consistently care for your special needs brother or sister.

Perhaps, now, the most loving thing your family can do is find a group, assisted living or nursing home for your brother or sister.

If this is the decision, please consider transitioning your special needs sibling to this home before a parent dies. It will help ease the transition to a new home environment, which makes for one less loss after death.

Legal Protections & Financial Implications

Craft LifeStyle Management ensures you have formal legal documents and protection in place for caring for your brother or sister. We help you understand the financial implications of this care.

We surround ourselves with highly qualified and trained professionals who specialize in special needs life-care planning.

We will sit side-by-side with you while subjects like this are discussed with you:

  • Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trusts
  • Pour-Over Will
  • Last-to-Die Life Insurance Policies
  • Powers of Attorney for Healthcare and Property
  • Power of Attorney for Advocacy
  • Medicaid Gifting Powers
  • Guardianship Documents
  • Letter of Intent or Direction

Please contact Craft LifeStyle Management for assistance with making informed decisions regarding the special needs adults in your life. http://craftlifestylemgt.com/contact/

1. Heller T. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities growing old: an overview. Impact. 2010;23(1).

More Information


Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

© September 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 the end of life. Her seasoned knowledge of available placement services, housing options, eligible benefits and payor sources, and community resources is endless. 

Home Modifications to Age in Place

More seniors are choosing to age in place than ever before. This is partly due to long-term care costs. In addition, the Baby Boomer generation has been privileged to have a more active lifestyle than generations before them, allowing greater health in older years.

Technology and availability of more services, like home care, are also making it easier for older adults to independently remain in their own homes.


Home modification means materially changing a senior’s home to make it easier for them to safely move around. It also involves removing potential hazards to support independent living.

Falls, often resulting in broken bones, are the #1 reason seniors lose their mobility, thus their independence.

To avoid this, home modifications, supporting aging in place, typically address three areas.

• Safety

• Accessibility

• Convenience

Help is Available

Craft Lifestyle Management and Craft Homes http://craftlifestylemgt.com/craft-homes/, supported by a team of professionals like occupational therapists, have years of experience with home modifications.

We can assist you, or a family member, in creating a safe space for those choosing to age in place.

We will walk through the home with you and make suggested modifications.

We’ll also introduce you to products and services that will make you and your loved ones feel safer in the home while aging in place.

Our Craft Homes team can make the physical upgrades on your schedule and within your budget.

BONUS: Peace of Mind-Family members who cannot be with their aging loved ones all the time can have peace of mind knowing these modifications will create a safer place for their aging family member.

Basic Modifications

You Can Do

Clear Excess In Rooms

Remember, falling is the #1 reason seniors lose their independence.

Ensure each room, including the front door entryway, has plenty of space to maneuver around, especially if your loved one relies on a mobility aid like a cane, walker or wheelchair.

Remove unnecessary furniture. Clear pathways and hallways. Leave plenty of space to move around without bumping into anything.

Remove or Fix Trip Hazards

Rugs beautify space; however, they often are trip hazards. Remove area and other floor rugs or secure them to the floor to avoid slips and falls.

Are there extension cords running across floors? Find another way. Cords are definite trip hazards.

Level uneven areas of flooring throughout the home. Minimize height differences between flooring types to avoid tripping hazards. NOTE:1/8” or more is a trip hazard.

Assess Lighting

Not enough light can increase tripping, thus falls. Too much light creates glare. Make sure the home is well lit, always.

By age 75, most people require twice as much light as the normal recommended standard, and nearly four times as much as a 20-year-old, to see satisfactorily (Dementia Services Development Center – The Importance of Lighting).

Consider putting nightlights in hallways and in bathrooms. Use table or floor lamps in sitting areas and put adhesive countertop lights under cabinets.

NOTE: Changing light bulbs is often risky for seniors. To avoid having to change lights frequently, switch all lights to LED bulbs. Most are rated up to 50,000 hours.  

Raise the Toilet Seat

Low toilet seats are a major hazard for falls. Install a raised toilet seat with handles and/or grab bars next to the toilet.

Change the Shower Head

Install a handheld shower head. These are easier to use while seated or while holding on to a grab bar.

NOTE: Craft Homes can help you install grab bars and other safety equipment and tools to avoid slips and falls.  If someone in your family does the installation, for your safety, make sure the grab bar holds up to 250 pounds or more and that it is installed by screwing it into wall studs, not just the sheetrock.

Replace Door Knobs

Arthritis or other conditions that limit motion make using round doorknobs challenging. Replace these with lever-style ones, which are much easier to grip since they don’t require a twisting motion.

More Involved Modifications

Contact Craft LifeStyle Management for an In-Home Assessment

Remember any modification that ensures safety and helps you or your loved one live independently for as long as possible is well worth considering.

Craft LifeStyle Management will work with your time schedule and budget. We will schedule a convenient in-home assessment and begin any modification work when you are ready.

Contact Us. http://craftlifestylemgt.com/contact/

Widen Doorways

Doorways must be at least 32” wide for a wheelchair to move easily through it but 36” wide to accommodate a turn, like from a hallway into a room.

In addition to the actual widening construction, sometimes light switches and electric wires must be moved.

Pocket doors may be recommended instead. Using pocket doors has two advantages: doors are no longer in the way when open and wheelchairs don’t get caught on hinges.

NOTE: Sometimes just flipping a door to open to the other side is all that’s needed. Every option to create accessibility and contain cost will be explored with you.

Adjust Kitchen Countertops

Regular countertops stand about 34 inches off the floor. Adjusting countertops to 30 inches makes it easier for someone in a wheelchair or scooter to enjoy daily activities like cooking.

Cabinetry with pull out drawers is a real bonus for those wanting to enjoy working in their kitchen longer.

NOTE: Simply lowering a microwave makes a huge difference for independence.

Install Slip-Resistant Flooring

Choose flooring that is soft so bones are less likely to be broken if a fall happens. Also consider installing flooring that is easy to clean and stays clean.

While hard surfaces like wood and stone floors are easier to clean and more sanitary, they have less traction and are just that-hard. Carpet is softer and warmer and provides more cushion if there’s a fall. Yet carpet is more challenging for mobility aids like walkers and wheelchairs.

Engineered vinyl planks may be an ideal option for those wanting a hard surface. They are both easy to clean and hold up well to liquid spills. This flooring looks and feels like hardwood floors. They also have texture so they’re less slippery than real hardwood floors.

NOTE: If you don’t want to replace bathroom tile that’s in great shape, buy ADA approved anti-slip coating and roll it on with a paint roller.

Build a Wheelchair Ramp

If the home is not zero entry, meaning it has zero steps and a minimal threshold, you may need to have a wheelchair ramp built and installed.

The most obvious use of the ramp is for wheelchair accessibility but ramps also eliminate the need to navigate steps, which is often difficult for those with balance issues.

If the home is zero entry, ensure there is a covered entryway to protect you from snow and rain. Regularly have your drainage systems checked. Don’t allow rain to puddle or ice to form by the entryway.

Change Faucets

Replace twist faucet handles with levers. Or, install touchless faucets on the kitchen and bathroom sinks for those with arthritis or other grip issues.

Install anti-scald faucets in the bathtub or shower. These prevent sudden bursts of hot water when cold water is diverted due to a toilet being flushed or the washing machine being filled.

NOTE: A simpler way to avoid scalding is to lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees or less. 

Replace the Bathtub

A walk-in shower provides much easier and a safer entry than a bathtub. It makes showering independently possible.

If space or budget don’t allow for a walk-in shower, definitely have a safety bar added to the tub and install safety strips.

You can also purchase a bathtub transfer bench. https://makedisabilityeasier.com/how-to-use-a-transfer-bench-for-the-bathtub-and-shower or use a bathtub chair. Transfer benches are safe and affordable and highly recommended.

A walk-in or siting tub option is also available, though much more costly. These serve as a stand-up or sit-down shower as well as a deep soaking tub.

Move the Bedroom

The bedroom should be on the main floor of the house.

Craft Homes can definitely help you redesign your space to make this happen.

Contact Us. http://craftlifestylemgt.com/craft-homes/

NOTE: Alternatively, you may want to install a chair lift or elevator.

More Information

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

© August 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 the end of life. Her seasoned knowledge of available placement services, housing options, eligible benefits and payor sources, and community resources is endless. 

Please contact Craft LifeStyle Management for all of your transitional needs.

Greg Craft founded Craft Homes in 1980. Since then, he’s been involved in home building, redesign and modification.

Contact Craft Homes at PHONE: 402.578.5911 or Crafthomes.greg@gmail.com or denise@craftlifestylemgt.com

Mary Kay Superstar-Rhonda’s Journey to the Top

How did a self-proclaimed shy girl from rural North Dakota come to lead a team of nearly 300 consultants, earn $500,000 in sales and get herself featured in New York’s Time Square?

She became a Mary Kay Consultant in 1996 and has never looked back.

Meet Rhonda

Rhonda’s entrepreneurial parents owned Schmitt Locker in Napoleon, North Dakota. https://www.facebook.com/Schmitt-Locker-1721202918133954/  There, she worked side-by-side with them after school and in the summer, observing their work ethic and customer service skills, which she now mirrors in her professional life.

She and her husband Joe of 31 years raised three adult children who’ve richly blessed them with three young grandchildren. “The most important thing to me is spending quality time with my family. I want to share as many experiences and fun memories with them as possible.”

Rhonda attended beauty school, worked for the Bank of ND, was a stay-at-home Mom and now has been self-employed with Mary Kay for 23 years. “I’ve always loved helping women look and feel better.”

Faith, Family & Career

Rhonda started selling Mary Kay because she always enjoyed skin care and makeup. Initially her earnings were tagged for fun, little family extras like taking her children to Chuck E. Cheese. “I took it one day at a time, day in and day out and as my customer base grew, I looked back and realized I’d created a mountain.”

She’d found something she loved doing. “It has never felt like work.”

Rhonda’s been an Independent Senior Sales Director for 20 years.

Business Model

Mary Kay’s business model and principles align with Rhonda’s.

  • Faith First
  • Family Second
  • Career Third

According to Rhonda, Mary Kay is a company with a heart, always encouraging consultants to treat every person as if they have a sign around their neck saying “make me feel important” and treating others the way we would want to be treated.

The true heart of Mary Kay is Enriching Women’s Lives.

At Mary Kay, success is defined as “simply ordinary women with extraordinary determination.” She boasts the “organization attracts the kindest women with huge hearts. If you live your life in this order: faith, family and career, you can’t help but be successful.”

Achieving Success

Rhonda’s been splendidly rewarded for her Mary Kay success. She’s

  • Earned the use of 14 career cars, including 9 Cadillacs
  • Achieved a half million in sales and was featured in New York’s Time Square
  • Named a Director-Top 2% in the company
  • Received diamond rings and diamond bar pins
  • And, earned the Director Miss Go-Give Award, voted on by one’s peers for giving enthusiastically, willingly and beyond what is expected of them

She’s striving to become a National Sales Director. “To achieve that I need to help more women have the life they want and deserve, using Mary Kay as their vehicle.”

Building a Successful Sales Team

Regardless of one’s chosen career, Rhonda strongly believes a commitment to never quit-determination-is essential.

As a leader she makes it her mission to figure out what matters to her consultants. “What is their ‘WHY’? She pours her belief in her team members and leads by example.

She’s had many consultants who’ve stayed on her team throughout her 20 years because they love the brand and the company. “It truly is a sisterhood.”

Her consultants must

  • Have a genuine love for helping others
  • Love skin care and beauty
  • Know they deserve more and be willing to work for it

She seeks 5 key work habits in her Consultant team members

          1. Determination

          2. Self-motivation

          3. Strong, independent work ethic

          4. Self-discipline

          5. Never give up attitude

Rhonda’s disappointed when consultants quit but understands that’s part of the process.

Those that quit often don’t believe in themselves or have had someone crush their dreams by telling them they can’t do it or they know someone who’s tried and failed.

“Our business is simple, but not always easy. Sometimes it’s easier or more comfortable to quit after a few disappointments.”

When it comes to fear of selling, she wants everyone to know that we all sell every day. “When we find a good movie or restaurant, we “sell” it to others. We “sell” our children on why having lunch now and snack later, is best.”

Selling is simply finding a need and filling it. There is no reason to fear it.

Measuring Success

Rhonda knows there is nothing more rewarding than setting a goal, working toward it each day, realizing the fruits of one’s labor and feeling a sense of accomplishment.

She believes all women have within them the power to control their life and future.

“I measure success when a woman in my organization realizes how great she truly is and uses my belief in her, and her God given talent, to achieve her personal and financial goals until she has belief in herself.”

Rhonda & some ND team members at Dallas, TX annual convention

Overcoming Barriers to Success

No one rises to the top of any organization without establishing good work habits and overcoming some barriers along the way.

Rhonda’s journey to the top is no different.

“Because Mary Kay has no time commitments or sales quotas, it’s very easy to put Mary Kay on the back burner and say yes to everything else.”

To reach the top Rhonda had to set a schedule for herself and commit to working in and building her business. She never felt like she had to make sacrifices to be successful. “I haven’t attended every game or school activity for my children, but I never missed any of the big ones.”

She accepts that life isn’t always going to be balanced. Instead, she believes it’s all about harmony. Sometimes you work 12-to-15-hour days, many days in a row. Sometimes you have days of relaxation.

Her motto is “Work Hard. Play Hard.”

She readily reveals the barriers she’s had to overcome to become successful.

1. Shyness. “I’m probably one of the least likely to succeed at owning a people business because, by nature, I’m shy.” Now she understands that shyness is sometimes a selfish trait-focusing on oneself. “Turning my focus on others makes everything work better.”

2. Limited Belief in Self. My National Sales Director always believed in me. I used that belief until I had it in myself.

3. Limited Faith. “If I couldn’t see how the goal could happen, I didn’t believe it could happen.” Today she keeps her mind in the right place by constantly reading and listening to motivational and self-improvement books, podcasts, etc.

4. Comparing Myself to Others. “I realize that when we do that, we always compare our worst traits to someone’s best traits. God made each of us perfectly, and he doesn’t make mistakes.”

5. Wanting to stay “comfortable.” Every success takes stepping out of one’s comfort zone. Rhonda has kept a magnet on her kitchen refrigerator since her early Mary Kay days. It reads, “Do one thing every day that makes you uncomfortable.”

About Beauty

Rhonda shares 4 insights about beauty.

1. Beauty comes from within. Skin care and makeup can enhance beauty. When we look good on the outside, we generally feel good on the inside.

2. Self-love, care and pampering are important. No one can be good to others if they are not good to themselves too.

3. Skin care is the #1 secret to a great, finished makeup look. If one doesn’t like how her skin looks and feels without makeup, she won’t like it with makeup. However, if you like how your skin looks and feels without makeup, you will love it with makeup.

4. Good skin care regimens, used consistently, help slow down the aging clock.

You & Mary Kay

If you’re inspired by Rhonda’s Mary Kay journey and would like to explore becoming a Consultant, reach out to her

Text or Call: 701.226.4545

Email: rkambeitz@bis.midoc.net

Website: www.marykay.com/rkambeitz

“It’s the best decision I have ever made. Endless possibilities and earning potential.”

And, as founder, Mary Kay Ash always said, “If just one more woman realized how great she truly is, it’s going to be a great day.”

Click here for other great Mary Kay Ash quotes https://succeedfeed.com/mary-kay-ash-quotes/

Who Could Use This Inspiration?

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© August 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?

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Explore Columbus, Nebraska Area

The COVID-19 Pandemic cancelled our family’s summer getaways. Therefore, we’ve taken mini Nebraska stay-cations.

For each adventure we choose locations that

  • We have not previously visited.
  • Are considered a day trip from our home base of Omaha, Nebraska.
  • Have a good mix of art, history, dining and parks and recreation.
  • Are surrounded by a nearby cluster of other interesting sites and locations

Recently we chose Columbus, Nebraska.

After reviewing their wonderful Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website http://www.visitcolumbusne.com/, we decided to add two surrounding small towns, Newman Grove and Humphrey, Nebraska and the village of Tarnov to our itinerary that ended in Columbus, Nebraska before returning to Omaha.

For those interested in driving to the locations we’ve visited, here’s an estimated mileage chart.


Omaha to Newman Grove, Nebraska: 2 hours 2 minutes

Omaha to Humphrey, Nebraska: 1 hour 47 minutes

Omaha to Tarnov, Nebraska: 1 hour 48 minutes

To Columbus, Nebraska from

… Omaha: 1 hours 30 minutes

…Sioux Falls, South Dakota: 3 hours 5 minutes

…Sioux City, Iowa: 2 hours 5 minutes

…Des Moines, Iowa:  3 hours 11 minutes

Stop #1

Newman Grove, Nebraska

City Café https://www.facebook.com/ngcitycafe/

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511 Hale Avenue Newman Grove, Nebraska 68758 402.447.6446     
     Adam and Dawn Witchell, Owners

We’d seen this café and their pies widely touted on Twitter and Facebook. Droves of Omaha citizens were pre-ordering pies driven back and distributed in a local parking lot. We were curious not only about the pies but about the community and the café owners.

After driving through town, we had omelet breakfasts at the City Café around 9:30 AM and finished up our visit with a piece of their famous pie.

If you like pie and road trips, add the City Café to your bucket list.

Here’s the other thing. Your tourist dollar is deeply appreciated in communities such as Newman Grove. And, the service is what you’d expect: top notch.

There are always plenty of freshly baked pies to enjoy at City Café.

Stop #2

Humphrey, Nebraska

Veterans Park https://www.humphreyveteranspark.com/

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Near Humphrey Public School (405 S. 7th Street)

Contact Information: humphreyveteranspark@gmail.com

The purpose of the Veteran’s Park in Humphrey, Nebraska is to recognize servicemen and women across all branches of the United States military for their service and sacrifice to our great nation during times of war and peace.

We’ve visited many veterans’ parks. This park is quite impressive, especially for the size of the community. Add it to your places to visit when in the Columbus, Nebraska area.

A local veteran was there the day we visited making our visit even more meaningful. He provided a lot of insight into the Park and the surrounding communities.

Stop #3

Tarnov, Nebraska

St. Michael’s Catholic Church http://www.tarnov.org/

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Contact Information: stmichaelstarnov@gmail.com Contact ahead of time for scheduled tour. Free Admission. Good Will Offering Encouraged.

St. Michael’s is the first Polish Catholic parish still operating in Nebraska. Established in 1900. Now listed on National Register of Historic Places.

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http://www.tarnov.org/complex.html 309 3rd Street Tarnov, Nebraska

To date, it’s the most surprising place we have visited in Nebraska.

Not only is the church spectacular but also the museum next door is plump full of pieces that will help you recall days gone by. Each item is well maintained and appropriately displayed in a historical building.

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Museum is housed in former Saint Michael Boarding School Built 1910-1911.

HINT: We contacted the church via email before leaving Omaha asking if the church would be open during our visit. Since it was not, we received a gracious reply that someone could come over and open it and give us a tour of both the church and the museum, if we had time and interest. [We texted an assigned number when leaving Humphrey, NE so the guide could meet us at the church.]

Make time. Judy, our guide, was phenomenal. She’s from the area and a member of the Church. Her heart for her community and for the preservation and maintenance of both the church and the museum shone through during the entire 2-hour visit.

RESEARCH: Fascinating Fact: http://www.nebraskaaircrash.com/events/tarnov.html

NOTE: There are stairs in the museum but a stair chair lift is available on each floor.

Groups can make arrangements to tour the complex and eat lunch and/or dessert on site.

The former rectory now serves as a rental property for short-term guest/visitor stays. http://www.tarnov.org/house.html

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Contact the church office if you’re interested in arranging a group tour with dessert or lunch and/or overnight lodging. stmichaelstarnov@gmail.com
Be sure to visit the grotto and the cemetery on the grounds before leaving the complex.

Stop #4

Columbus, Nebraska


Lake North Park-Loup

Before driving into Columbus, we drove through the Lake North Park-Loup. Our intent was to walk the trail; however, the rain storm prevented that.

Contact Information: Two Lakes Trail, Columbus, NE 68601, USA

402.564.3171 / 402.562.5709

Location: 4 miles north of Columbus at US Highway 30 on 18th Avenue. The park is 14 acres with two beaches and two boat ramps adjoining a 200-acre lake. It is popular for boating, water skiing, and fishing. Camping is allowed. Electrical hook-ups and primitive camping are available during the summer. Primitive restrooms are on-site.

Glur’s Tavern


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Location: 2301 11th Street Columbus, Nebraska 68601 402.564.8615

This tavern is a National Historic Site (July 30, 1975). It is the oldest continuously operated tavern west of the Missouri River. Circa 1876.

It is believed that it was patronized by “Buffalo Bill ” Cody during a visit to Columbus, Nebraska.

Hamburgers are the menu item of choice here.

Columbus, Nebraska Historical Mural

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Location: 2524 13th Street Downtown Columbus, Nebraska

Walk across the street to read the placard on the meaning of the mural.

Sit awhile in the park square. Lovely, clean downtown area.

Pawnee Park


Pawnee Park is known as the “Picnic Capital of Nebraska.” It contains almost 153 acres adjoining the Loup River and Van Berg Golf Course.

Location: 2001 Higgins Drive Columbus, Nebraska 68601 Southwest of Columbus. South of the viaduct on either side of Highways 81 and 30.

Contact Information: 402.562.4240

Visit in walking shoes. There is a lot to see and do in Pawnee Park. 

Pawnee Park also contains:

  • 1904 Union Pacific Steam Locomotive
  • Quincentenary Belltower
  • Oregon Trail Monument
  • Horseshoe Pits
  • All Weather Running Track
  • Playground
  • Sand Volleyball Courts
  • Tennis Courts Lit Until Midnight
  • Disc Golf
  • Living Tree Museum
  • Rose Garden
  • Skate Park
  • Water Park

Andrew Jackson Higgins National Memorial

LOCATION: In West Pawnee Park.

This sculpture was built from pieces of World Trade Center steel. The large bronzed freedom eagle on top has an 8-foot wing span. The pieces do not touch symbolizing that terrorists cannot destroy freedom.

 The soldiers in front honor the National Guard and Reserves.

1904 Union Pacific Steam Locomotive


Plan your weekend Getaway.

Visit Columbus, Nebraska and the surrounding area.

Share this story and start exploring.

© August 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.

Senior Housing Options Defined & Explained

What is Senior Housing?

Senior housing is housing that is suitable for the needs of an aging population. It ranges from independent living to 24-hour care. In senior housing there is an emphasis on safety, accessibility, adaptability and longevity that many conventional housing options may lack.

When to Think about Senior Housing

If your elderly loved ones are experiencing increasing medical or mental health challenges and are no longer safe in their home, it’s time to consider senior housing options.

Think about what type of help they are starting to need and what funds are available for this help.

Choose one of the following options to meet their care needs and budget.

Who Can Help?

Remember, Craft LifeStyle Management is always available to talk with you about each of these options and to assist in any way possible in creating a smooth transition for you and your loved ones.

Contact them today. http://craftlifestylemgt.com/

Housing Options to Consider

Aging in Place

Many older adults wish to remain in their homes forever. For some this wish can come true, especially if the home has a bedroom and bathroom on the main floor and the hallways and doorways do not create problems for those with limited mobility.

Depending on the level of care needed, homes can often be modified, allowing seniors to age in place. Modifications are made to prevent falls, eliminate barriers, increase accessibility, and accommodate wheelchair use.

Sometimes these modifications include adding wheelchair ramps, eliminating entry steps, installing grab bars, lowering countertops and improving lighting.

Craft LifeStyle Management http://craftlifestylemgt.com/craft-homes/ works with families to make in-home modifications, allowing seniors and those with special needs to remain in their home if this is the best care solution for the aging or disabled loved ones.

Community services like cleaning, meal delivery and even some medical services can be provided to seniors wishing to age in place in their own home.

Family, neighbors and friends must check-in with older adults aging in place regularly to ensure their well-being and to verify that living in their own home is still in the best interest of their aging loved one

Independent Living

Independent Living is defined as a senior living community where residents require minimal or no assistance with daily activities.

This housing choice is ideal for seniors who wish to remain active and social with others in their age group, generally 55+, without the burden of home and yard maintenance.

These communities can be separate stand-alone properties or part of a continuing care retirement community.

The services and amenities offered within independent living communities vary greatly by property.

Assisted Living Community

Assisted living is a lifestyle that offers a combination of housing, personalized support services and health care designed to meet the unique needs of seniors.

These communities offer individual apartments in one setting. Here, seniors live somewhat independently while having services available for Activities of Daily living (ADLs) when needed. These services may vary by community but usually include: 24-hour on-site staff availability for bathing, grooming, eating, toileting and dressing.

Housekeeping assistance, along with medication management and transportation are generally offered.

Meals are provided and available usually in a community dining room to encourage interaction.

Activity programming for social and recreational needs is also offered for this same purpose.

Continuing Care Retirement Community

These properties provide multiple levels of care all on one campus. They often include independent living, assisted living and a skilled nursing facility.

This housing concept is relatively popular today, especially for seniors who want to live in one location for the remainder of their years. As their care requirements change, residents can easily move from one housing type to another.

It’s also ideal for couples who may have two different levels of care requirements upon admission to the community. Each can have their needs met while both reside in the same community.

Skilled Nursing Facility

Nursing homes are licensed facilities for those needing 24-hour supervised nursing care. They are one step below an acute care hospitalization.

Those with chronic or long-term care mental and physical illnesses, who can no longer care for themselves, are offered care by doctors and nurses in these homes.

Residents here are provided meals, activities, and health management, including rehabilitation services like physical, occupation, and speech therapies right on site.

Some nursing homes even have dedicated sections for Alzheimer’s or memory care.  

What’s Next?

  • Speak to your aging loved ones. Listen. Be patient yet realistic and practical. Decide if aging in place is an option. If so, contact Craft LifeStyle Management http://craftlifestylemgt.com/ to tour your home and discuss any modifications that may be necessary.
  • Join your loved one on an upcoming medical appointment. What does the doctor think is the best housing option for your loved one based on current medical and mental health conditions?
  • Contact Craft LifeStyle Management http://craftlifestylemgt.com/ to discuss transitional needs. They will listen to your concerns and suggest the next best transition for your loved one. They will even join you on property tours and help you find the best place for both the care needs and budget.

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

© July 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 the end of life. Her seasoned knowledge of available placement services, housing options, eligible benefits and payor sources, and community resources is endless. 

Please contact Craft LifeStyle Management for all of your transitional needs.