The Year of “Hands-On” Living

Confession time—I am a “Hands-On” Nana. I am not a grandmother that sits by the pool with her drink in her hand wearing a big hat and waving (ta da) at her grandchildren. Instead, I am in the pool with them and they are swimming under my legs or they are splashing me with pool noodles.

I was blessed to have two “Hands-On” Nana Days last week. They included breakfast at Krispy Kreme where we wore Krispy Kreme hats; we made two batches of “snow”–one using baking soda and hand lotion and the other using cornstarch and shaving cream; we performed science experiments; played card games—they were truly “Hands-On” Nana Days.

And this year—I want to be a “Hands-On” Janet.

“Hands-On”. What does that mean? I am not sure exactly…..but I think it means being truly involved with life… not just sitting back and watching …..being willing to take chances and make a few messes….. and maybe, in the process, being willing to share my heart with those around me.

As readers know, last month I had hip replacement surgery. In 2017, due to chronic pain and difficulties walking, I put my life on hold. I would think “once I get through my hip surgery, I will be able to ________”.

But I have discovered something….. if you live your life on hold it becomes a habit…. You become less willing to take risks and more willing to settle for the status quo and let life slip by.

I don’t want life to merely slip by—I want to have a life where I am active and trying new things…. I want to be able to amaze myself from time to time—to do something outside my comfort zone so I can say “wow, I did that!”

But I also think “Hands On” means learning how to value the ordinary moments in your life ….. because when you cherish the boring ordinary moments of day to day life you elevate them…. the making of dinner…. bedtime routines with children….. walking from the parking deck to your office…..When you learn to savor these small moments you will see them in a different light ….. and you will feel more alive.

Let me assure you—cornstarch and shaving cream are very ordinary items. Yet, the “Hands On” mindset encouraged me to see these items with my heart, not my mind, and therefore, I found joy as my grandchildren made their “snow” sculptures.

The truth is we have only today—and it is up to us to make it as “Hands On” as possible—to be engaged—and to open our eyes and our hearts to what is around us.

So—my personal challenge for 2018 is….. to try new things….. to open my heart and take some chances….. to be willing to make a few mistakes or messes….. and last but not least….. to treasure the precious ordinary moments in my life.

“Hands-On” Living—I am finally ready for it.

Are You?


“Hands-On” Nana

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9 thoughts on “The Year of “Hands-On” Living

  1. Great lesson learned in Spiritual Direction to treat the ordinary with a sense of wonder… so simple and yet we don’t do it often enough! Every moment of life is a blessing! As always, thank you for your beautiful words!!

    • Yes–I thought about our recent lesson as I put this together! Being focused on the ordinary makes us truly aware of all the hidden blessings in our lives. Thank you!

  2. Love the picture – What a fun looking messy kitchen. My mother was that way (and lol she still is), she didn’t care if flour was scattered all over the kitchen or house rearranged to make chair tents. My brother and I were often cooking (what we thought was cooking) together before he died. We were encouraged to use our imaginations and I hold those memories dearly and very close to my heart because we never know what curve balls life will throw at us and I truly feel so blessed to have such a hands on great mom (My Rock). Your grandchildren will also hold these wonderful memories forever!
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for sharing such personal memories. I can tell they are dear to your heart. My mother was a Hands On Gramma and I learned from her. She played games and once made my son carnival games in the basement of their mountain cabin as we were visiting them on the weekend of his school carnival and he was going to miss going to it. So she made one for him. I am merely following her example. Thank you, jfh

  3. This reminds me of my recently adapted mantra, “Live Life on Purpose”. Don’t just exist, DO something, do everything with purpose and full intent. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but make it all matter. Even if you take a nap, make it a good one. Get rested so you can get up and tackle the next thing. Like making “snow” in the kitchen with the grands. A “Hands-On”, purposeful, full intended life. I love it!

  4. Pingback: Why I Entered a Dragon Boat Race | Faith and Courage: The Joys of an Ordinary Life

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