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Category: General / Topics: Contentment, Satsifaction Humor Lifestyle, General Memories Optimal Aging Recreation Weather

Lighten Up!

by Stu Johnson

Posted: January 23, 2018

Memories of winter fun, injecting laughter and humor in your life…

No. 8 in the Thursday Morning Guy’s group series (see list)

Once again, I report from the Thursday Morning Guys group I’ve been attending at a local church. Each week one of the guys suggests a topic for discussion. The blogs that result are not minutes from the session, but an attempt to glean useful themes, to which I may add my own insights. The topic at the January 18 session focused on laughter and memories of winter fun..


Topic suggested by one of the guys, shared in an email the night before

So much of news and information is negative and shows incivility, what do you do to add humor and laughter to your everyday living?  Have we covered this before? Well then what are the most enjoyable winter events you have had? Do you remember embracing the cold and snow to have a good time? Sleds, skis, toboggans, ice skates and runny noses and all?


This topic was a break from most that are more serious, so the hour was spent reminiscing—and laughing.

Winter Fun

Not only is it obvious the group is made up of men, but most grew up where winter was cold and snow common.  Some of the activities recalled:

  • Tobogganing – on toboggan slides, but more often on roads, hills, golf courses, whatever was available. This often resulted in mishaps and narrow escapes—tobogganing through a golf course gazebo;  ending with a slide across a lake; navigating a road with drop-offs on either side; even using a canoe as a toboggan (with unfortunate results for one crew member when the craft crashed into a tree!).
  • Sledding, again with variations, such as “traying”—grabbing trays from the college dining hall and heading for a nearby hill.
  • Cross country skiing
  • Ice skating, or “ice falling,” depending on your skill level
  • Tubing with a senior high group; one recalled how it was common to form a “train” of five or six tubes. One time, one of the girls was walking right in the path of such a train, which slammed into her, but the softness of the tubes and padding of winter clothes ended in laughter and not a trip to the emergency room.
  • An emergency room visit was the case with one remembered Boy Scout outing, where one of the group who always seemed to get in trouble did something stupid that required a trip to the hospital.
  • In an area too flat for toboggans, sleds and inner tubes, one of the guys recalled spending winter days ice skating, then building a fire to roast potatoes and cook hot dogs on sticks.
  • Before “skitching” became popular among skateboarders and roller skaters, it was a winter activity. Usually it involved grabbing the bumper of a passing car on a snowy road, but one of the guys told of riding on old car hoods tied to a car, until swinging wide around a corner and crashing into a telephone pole.

Adventures in other seasons

  • A toboggan slide in summer was too tempting, as one of the guys recalled. He never knew a bicycle could go that fast, or stop so fast when he hit bottom and broke through the boards, stopping the bike, but not him! 
  • Another of the guys grew up where new bikes were rare, so he rode one pieced together by a friend. Going down a hill, he could not get the brakes to work right, barely missed a bus, before hitting the curb. More humiliated than anything, he said that years later he was reminded of that incident (and others) as joints began to signal changes in the weather.
  • Several had experiences with motorcycles, which had such a reputation for danger than one of the guys said his father told him he would give him a motorcycle on his last birthday.
  • Growing up in the heart of urban Chicago, with street cars, railroads and all sorts of opportunities for adventure, my own father never told me and my brother about his adventures—not wanting us to repeat the things he did.  We did not hear those stories until he could tell them to his grandchildren, who were now living in the relative safety of the suburbs.


Several quotes reveal both the masculine makeup of the group, and the way life was before the era of “helicopter” parenting:

  • “Most of the time, it was fun.”
  • “If you could make it home, you must be ok.”
  • “How did you live to be here?”
  • “I don’t remember that moment.”
  • “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”


While the hour went by with much laughter and storytelling, I caught several threads that could be identified as principles to embrace:

Look for joy and laughter

  • Several mentioned that having a dog brings joy and makes them laugh because, as one said, they are “totally uninhibited.” (Sorry cat lovers, but dogs won the day in this discussion)
  • Become involved with groups that laugh . . . but be careful where you meet! One of the guys talked about being in a group that met in a local restaurant, but their laughter got so loud, they were asked to move (probably easier than asking them to drop the volume!)
  • Much laughter surrounds storytelling, which keeps memories alive and inspires interaction (even when the stories evolve into tall tales!)

Get out and keep moving

  • Don’t let winter trap you.  One of the guys said that he and his wife purposely try to do something every week, varying their routine and doing things they might not do in the summer.
  • Check other articles on the SeniorLifestyle website.  Here are a few:

What principles can you add from what you have learned, observed, and applied to your life?

GUIDANCE FROM SCRIPTURE (God’s written Word, the Holy Bible)

In addition to the passages already mentioned, here are some additional references among hundreds that touch on this week’s topic:

The Bible has a lot to say about this week’s topic; here are a few samples:

Laughter and Joy

  • [Even creation expresses joy:] Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! (1 Chronicles 16:32)
  • [In the midst of his suffering Job is told:] He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.  (Job 8:21)
  • The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. (Psalm 19:8)
  • The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. (Psalm 28:7)
  • For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5)
  • You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy. (Psalm 30:11)
  • Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! (Psalm 34:8)
  • Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble. (Psalm 41:1)
  • You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. (Psalm 63:5)
  • Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy. (Psalm 65:8)
  • Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy! (Psalm 98:4)
  • There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right. (Psalm 106:3)
  • We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” (Psalm 126:2)
  • Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness. (Psalm 145:7)
  • Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. (Proverbs 3:13)
  • The life of the godly is full of light and joy . . . (Proverbs 13:9)
  • A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health. (Proverbs 15:30)
  • The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise. (Proverbs 23:24)
  • With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation! (Isaiah 12:3)
  • You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! (Isaiah 55:12)
  • [After lamenting their present condition, the prophet says:] yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! (Habakkuk 3:18)
  • The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. (Matthew 13:20 – similar to Mark 4:16 and Luke 8:13)
  • [In the story of Jesus’ resurrection, with the tomb empty:] The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. (Matthew 28:8)
  • In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! (Luke 15:7>)
  • I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! (John 15:11)
  • [Describing the early church:] They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—(Acts 2:46)
  • The church sent the delegates to Jerusalem, and they stopped along the way in Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers. They told them—much to everyone’s joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted. (Acts 15:3)
  • For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
  • I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
  • [Paul shows that joy is much deeper than a happy feeling:] Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. (2 Corinthians 6:10)
  • They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. (2 Corinthians 8:2)
  • [The “fruits of the Spirit”:] But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!  (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. (James 1:2)
  • Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. (2 Timothy 2:22)

About the Scripture references: unless indicated otherwise, these are taken from the New Living Translation (NLT).  Links connect to, where you can see other translations, view the broader context, listen to an audio version and find other Bible resources.  Also check the resources available in the Enrich/Faith section of this site.

Stu Johnson is principal of Stuart Johnson & Associates, a communications consultancy in Wheaton, Illinois. He is publisher and editor of SeniorLifestyle, writes the InfoMatters blog on his own website and contributes articles for SeniorLifestyle.

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Posted: January 23, 2018   Accessed 142 times

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