Welcome to Wiser Now’s weekly email blast which reflects our eclectic interests and, we hope, yours. December is Lighten and Brighten Month, so our focus this week is on everything that does that. Light is an important symbol for all the major December celebrations, including the winter solstice, which is just a few days away for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. And holiday lights always appeal to me, no matter how early they make their appearance. Who cannot be cheered by hundreds of palm trees wrapped in gold and green lights lining a major Sarasota avenue?

The Quote

"There are two ways of spreading light;
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."
~ Edith Wharton

The Quirky Observation

Light permeates our language. Light is an English word with two opposites – heavy (in weight) and dark. Dark means in part “to obscure,” but too-bright-light in the form of glare can also obscure, so light has fascinating properties and many meanings. Light is also a factor in Hanukkah (aka The Festival of Lights), Christmas, Kwanzaa, and in Islam, although Islamic holidays rarely fall in December. On a lighter note (pun intended), December 31, 1879 (a dazzling 140 years ago) was Thomas Edison's first public demonstration of his electric lightbulb in Menlo Park, New Jersey.


The 3 Requests

1. If you’ve received this email forwarded from someone else and like it, please join here

2. If you know one or many others who might enjoy this newsletter, please forward it. Or if you would like to make this newsletter available in another format to your residents/patrons/others, contact me at

3. As noted last week, I provide lots of information on the winter solstice in my December slide show, which I hope you have ordered by now. But since the month is drawing to a close, I urge you now to purchase the Happy New Year slide show. All the slide shows consist of family friendly, highly visual trivia quizzes, word games, and discussion topics that work well one-on-one, in group settings, and anywhere you have access to a TV or tablet while you visit or wait. See excerpts here. For a limited time, I will send the complete slide show “Happy New Year” for free to anyone who will send me honest feedback that I might use on my website. Just ask me:

The Quirky Fact

The winter solstice is a precise moment in time when the earth’s tilt on its axis is farthest away from the sun. In the northern hemisphere, that usually falls on December 21st (this year the 22nd) and in the southern hemisphere usually on June 21st. Although the winter solstice is intended to be celebrated at the time of least daylight, in reality, the earliest sunset occurs as much as two weeks earlier than the 21st, and the latest sunrise occurs after the solstice.

The word “solstice” comes from Latin and means “the sun stands still.” Virtually every culture throughout history has marked the solstices with some sort of ceremony, but the most famous place is England’s Stonehenge. Because human beings are endlessly quirky, that iconic structure has been recreated in the form of English phone booths, discarded cars and refrigerators, foam, Twinkies, candy corn and more. You can see some of them here.

The Quiz
Our “quiz” this week is aimed at self-reflection (pun intended) and connection as you ask others for their answers. Light takes many forms in our lives:

  • Several types of light are associated with romance: moonlight, starlight, candlelight, fireplace light. Share an experience in which one of those forms of light played a role. Or share a fantasy related to one of those light forms!
  • Most of us have special people in our lives. Name at least three people who (now or in the past) light up your life and how they do (did) it.
  • Many of us spend too much time worrying. What things have you learned to take more lightly?
  • Name at least three things that delight you and describe the pleasure they bring.
  • Or alternatively, what people/places/events are guaranteed to make you feel lighthearted? What’s special about them?
  • Share a time when you were enlightened by a person, book, event or some other form of learning. What was an ah-ha (light bulb) moment in your life?

Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
~ G.K. Chesterton (good advice)

The Question
Last month I attended the Chicago Toy and Game Fair and was stimulated by a variety of new products that are prompting me to revive my Brain Game Product Reviews blog which highlights games, books and activities that are appropriate for or can be adapted for older adults, including in some cases, those with dementia. If you have a product along those lines that you enjoy, including those that can be played intergenerationally, please tell me about it.

The Kiosk of Resources

This week’s self-reflection quiz is excerpted from my MindPlay Connections title “The Light Fantastic.” If you are interested in seeing the complete quiz, please just let me know. I am in the process of converting it to a slide show, but am not there yet, so it’s available in print only.

I’ve included a lot of links in the body of this newsletter, and I think that’s enough enlightenment for now.
Our multiple goals are to amuse and inspire you, to share what we and people whom we admire are doing, to stimulate your curiosity and spur you to action. We hope you enjoyed this offering. You can access previous issues here. We welcome your feedback. (
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Copyright (c) 2019 Kathy Laurenhue | All rights reserved.

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