Monday, June 23, 2014

Places to Go For Free---Summer 2014

If you're trying to come up with something to do that's free, check these out:

The Minnesota State Capitol has free tours on the hour. Depending on the weather, you might get to go up to the top and see the gold horses up close.

                                                 This is the 2nd floor rotunda

St Paul Cathedral: free to visit when there are no religious services.

It is free to visit St Paul City Hall.

Get a Museum Pass from your local library and you will get free admission for two, at a number of attractions in the Metro area such as the Walker Art Center; Works: The Technological Discovery Center; the Bakken Museum; and the Minnesota Zoo. You can get another pass every week.

Como Zoo and Conservatory are free (a small donation would be appreciated).

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is free every day but is closed Mondays.
                           The Graffiti Room at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

What about one of the many nature centers located in Minneapolis suburbs? Once there, you can walk for hours and see lots of wildlife and plants you might not ordinarily see. Bring a camera and get some good pictures. Here is the site for Springbrook in Fridley. Notice they also have volunteer opportunities.

Elm Creek Park Reserve in the Maple Grove area covers about 4900 acres:

Or Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield-150 acres:

Do you know of other free activities?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Class of 2014: How You Got Your Super Powers

There are times in your life when people seem particularly interested in giving you advice. Graduation from something or another is one of them, so brace yourself, because here it comes.

There are any number of platitudes or sayings or inspirational quotes about graduating-or accomplishment-or pride. These sayings talk about journeys and paths and how the world is yours; about achieving your dreams. About your future. About life.

The world is yours--it's ours, really--and we inherited it from the people who came before us, those who stepped in and made a difference in our lives.

The truth is, none of us gets where we are completely on our own. How did you get to be who you are right this minute? Who shaped your life?

Who are your parents, or your parent figures? How did they influence you?

Were you lucky? Did you have parents who loved and supported you all along?'

You know: the ones who found a way to get you those shoes you had to have, put food on the table, drove you places before you could drive, fed the pet you swore you would take care of, gave you advice whether you took it or not, tolerated your eye-rolling when you thought they were stupid, made sure you were safe.

Were they always there to pick you up when you fell? Did they--do they--think whatever you do is marvelous?

Would they walk through fire for you?

Because parents, believe it or not, have super powers.

You might have a grandparent or sibling you can depend upon, an aunt or uncle or cousin: family members can be your common sense, your framework, your foundation, your cornerstone.

What about friends? Do you have a friend who always builds you up, doesn't point out your weaknesses, but calls you on it when you mess up?

Are there people in your life, however they got there, that you know you can depend upon for any support you might need?

The ones who will always say: "It's going to be all right."

You see: these people also have super powers.

When we are lucky enough to have those supportive people, we ought to take a minute now and again and thank them, either face-to-face and heart-to-heart, or just reflect on the role they played:

I'm so grateful that I have these people to guide me, and stand behind me, and walk with me.

What about those who had a negative influence on you? The ones who had you convinced that you couldn't go anywhere or be anything? Have you had someone in your life that mistreated you and made you feel small?

What about life events that just weren't fair? Things that happened that made you just about fall apart? People that were taken from you that you needed in your life?

Because believe it or not, we owe some gratitude for those things too, and you know why? They put challenges in front of us that make us try harder and keep trying. Bad stuff makes us stronger.

We can stand up to them and say: All you negative people, all you crummy things that were out of my hands: Look at me now. I made it. I'm fine. You couldn't keep me down.

Talk about super powers.

For a moment, imagine your life without any of these influences. What if you were completely alone, with no one to encourage you, no guidance, no cheering squad? Nobody to say, "I dare you to succeed." Would you be where you are now without their input?

Your backup team has super powers, and no doubt about it: look what they've helped create: You!

Your life is overflowing with possibilities. There is no limit to what you can do, with the same hard work and determination that got you this far-and the help of your support team. And your super powers.

And when you see the opportunity to do so, be a support person for someone who needs it.

Be that person who says: "You can do this. Keep trying. You are worth it."

And remember the power of these four words:

"I believe in you."