Tuesday, January 28

Winter’s Wakefulness

by Richard S. Kordesh 

Fresh snow covering the ground and fluttering in the air casts a dream-like haze over our garden on this late January afternoon. 

I can barely discern the outlines of raised beds that--only four months ago--teemed with red onions and surged with slender, green beans.   

Terra cotta pots, then brimming with red and yellow peppers, are barely distinguishable under the round, white cloaks that settled over them through the morning.

On the deck, the zipped umbrella base rests under a dense blanket of cold powder. On this frosty day, the umbrella appears more as a gray sail leaning into a frigid, lake wind than a festive, apple-green shelter built to deflect the searing heat from a summer sun.

On the surface, the peaceful, subdued colors and muted shapes that emerged after the storm speak of rest, even slumber.  Yet, the apparent inertia evokes its own tastes, sounds, and feelings.

In the garden after a new-fallen snow, sensations unique to this raw season come alive. 

There is the crunching echo from my boots breaking a fresh trail alongside empty berry bushes. There is the raw freshness in the icy air that chafes my skin and squeezes water from my eyes.  

In this leafless time of year, the chirping of birds and the whistling of wind carry to my ears unimpeded.

Winter’s unique wakefulness heightens my awareness of the garden as it is now.  

It makes me feel alive differently, even as it extends for a time my dreams of summer.

Guest blogger Richard S. Kordesh is the author of Restoring Power to Parents and Places and has worked professionally in the community development field for 35 years. Visit Richard's website for more

Monday, January 20

Threads of Life

by Lisa Freeman 
(with thanks to Ann Luther for the “material” of this blog!)

It is a wonderful thing to be able to create art, whether it is painting, sculpture, glass or fabric. 

Everyone has a concept of what they think art is and everyone has a different opinion while viewing the same piece of artwork. 

Ann Luther uses fabric as the medium to express herself and feels that her quilts should be hung on a wall and enjoyed. 

The three elements that she loves – color, texture and design – are incorporated into every piece of quilt art that she creates.

One of her most oft-asked questions is why many of the quilts use the word “life” in one way or the other. Ann feels that if an artist puts so much effort and creativity into designing and executing a piece of artwork, that by naming the art “Unnamed” is somewhat of a cop-out. 

By using the words life or live, there are endless possibilities of names that can be used as nouns, verbs, adverbs or adjectives. Several examples of her quilt names are Soaring through Life, Night Life and Alive and Dancing.

Years ago, Ann took classes on Amish quilts and learned that Amish quilters purposely make a mistake in each of their quilts as only God is able to create perfection. She found this sad for the Amish that they have to work to create a mistake, as every single quilt Ann has made has at least one mistake and she is able to do this without even trying!

The Threads of Life exhibit may be visited in the JCC’s Art Gallery on the north side of the campus until Fri, February 28. The intricacies and vibrancy of her work will dazzle you and give you a greater appreciation of quilts as art. 

Allow yourself a few moments to stroll and enjoy Ann’s creativity.

More about Lisa Freeman

Thursday, January 16

A smorgasbord of brain food

by Lev Rothenberg

Brain food can mean many things: essential fatty acids or vitamins.

At the JCC Cultural Arts wing, we look to nourish your brain in many different ways. 

We provide stimulating, creative programming that will help develop your creativity, stimulate your sense of curiosity and build connections to your community and your world. 

Now, if that doesn’t come up when you Google “brain food," it is time to expand your search.

Check out JCCIndy.org and follow the link to Adults and Arts. You will discover an absolute banquet of brain food: from social media to book discussions, calligraphy, astronomy, art exhibits, dance and more. Our special events include meaningful community forums, films and a play. 

I believe that you will certainly find thoughtful meaningful ways to invest your time.  And when it comes right down to it, there is no more powerful brain food than using your brain in meaningful and fanciful ways.

"Help me help you," intoned Jerry Maquire. Well, it is kind of like that. Make the commitment in 2014 to support your best self by availing yourself of some of the many Arts and Education offerings at the JCC. They are created to be convenient, affordable and of top quality.

We have laid out the smorgasbord of brain food. 

Come and get it!

More about Lev Rothenberg

Tuesday, January 14

January Exercise of the Month: Hip Thruster

Engaging the glutes improves the calorie-burning benefit of your exercise routine, and many experts agree that few exercises target the glutes better than the hip thruster.

Glutes, hamstrings and erector spinae 

Core stabilization & glute strength

  • Begin seated on the ground with your back against a bench. Feet planted firmly on the ground.
  • Keep knees stable & lift hips off of the ground.
  • Rise until the body forms a straight line from the shoulders to the knees.
  • Hold & slowly return to floor, touching the floor momentarily.
  • Repeat 10-12 times.
*For an advanced option add a bar or plate near your hips.  

  • Start position

    Finish position 

Thursday, January 9

Take 2014 one challenge at a time

by JCC staff

We are just one full week into the New Year, and extreme weather in many parts of the country has potentially derailed some of 2014 resolutions, like hitting the gym or getting to the store to shop for healthier food choices. 

With the weather improving, it's time to refocus on your 2014 goals.

As you look to reboot your New Year's commitments, why not take it one month at a time? 

If getting healthier and losing weight in 2014 is your goal (and it is the most common resolution in our country each year), here are some concrete, and achievable, goals you can set for the month of January. If they work for you this month, we dare you to try them again in February.

January Challenges:  
COOK ONE NEW, HEALTHY MEAL PER WEEK. This will expand your healthy recipe options at home.

TRY ONE NEW FRUIT OR VEGETABLE EACH WEEK. This will encourage greater produce intake. 


Behavior change, including weight loss, takes place when you work on altering teeny-tiny parts of your daily life, not by making lofty promises. Here’s to a fun and challenging 2014, remembering that resolutions are overrated and lifelong change takes patience!