Provision #814: Family Time

Laser Provision

As I mentioned last week, there’s a special place on this planet called the Chautauqua Institution and my wife and I have just spent a week there, along with many family and friends, enjoying speakers and programs circling around the theme of Our Elegant Universe. If you are as intrigued as I am to find out a little of what I learned, then read on! This Provision holds a few surprises. Our universe is more elegant than I could have imagined even with all those rainbows and stars in the sky.

LifeTrek Provision

It’s great to be feeling better and writing another Provision. It means a lot for me to formulate these messages of hope and sustenance and to receive so many meaningful replies, from at least a few of you, every week. What a special dialogue and sense of community we have created over time. 713 Provisions after publishing the first edition in January of 1999 (the first issue was #101). We are still going strong – and that is quite a gift indeed.

This week I want to celebrate the time I spent together with family and friends at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York State and to share a little of what I learned there. Last week I shared with you the special nature of Chautauqua and what it has meant to my family for several decades. The time was made was all the more special this year because it was soon after we went to Chautauqua last year that I came down with my mysterious brain inflammation. Going back this year was no less a sign of recovery than the rainbow I wrote about in last week’s Provision:Rainbow Wonders.

We really knocked the ball out of the park this year at Chautauqua by pulling together a group of 17 relatives and friends ranging in age from 6 months to almost 91 years. Wow! Talk about inspiration and encouragement! Even without all the programming that comes with Chautauqua, just having 17 of us together for an entire week was a real joy. There’s nothing like family time to serve as music to the soul.

One thing I really enjoy about our family times at Chautauqua are all the sidebar conversations that take place when folks just hang around together on the porch, in the dining room, in the living room, on the lawn, or just about anywhere. There’s no telling when and where they will take place! But however or whenever they happen, they are always a gift. That’s not because everyone always sees eye to eye on everything; it’s rather because everyone always holds a strong sense of love and respect for each other. And it’s hard to get better medicine than that.

How do families, biological or otherwise, develop such strong, life-giving ties? Deep down, it has something to do with not only the recognition that those ties are important but also that the inevitable bumps along the way are all part of the process. We learn a lot from each other as well as from those bumps and bruises. So we have come to view and go through the trek of life as if we were on a treasure hunt, looking for the best and at-times hidden moments of beauty.

Chautauqua enhances our ability to do that through the special programming and events that are so readily and abundantly available. This past week we heard one of my favorite musical groups, Straight No Chaser, and engaged in a theme that was literally out of this world: Our Elegant Universe. Some of my favorite speakers, in the big amphitheater, included:

  • Brian Greene on the hidden, underlying structure of the universe
  • Natalie Batalha on NASA’s Kepler mission
  • Jennifer Wiseman & Story Musgrave on designing and repairing the Hubble telescope
  • Kobie Boykins on the Mars rovers

But those big names, big ideas, and big stories were sidelights, at least for me, to the family ties that were enhanced and that sustained me as the week progressed. Not all of those family ties were biological, but that’s my point. Build up and get connected to those communities of love that can do that for you. Those connections add real richness and depth to life.

Coaching Inquiries: How would you describe your family ties? What would happen if you drew the circle even wider that your biological relatives? How could your family ties become even more life-giving and life-sustaining?  Who and what could help you to get from here to there?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.


Those rainbows are God winks, which are what most of the stories in my book are about. Signs! I hope you and Megan prayed to the full moon that we had last night. Everything is possible with God. Everything!!! Smiles


Your Provision today about the rainbow was so inspirational and hopeful. You and Megan are both such amazing people. Thank you both for your support of son over the years. You have been truly interested in him and his future and been there for big events – like baptizing him in the waves of Costa Rica. We are so grateful to you, and to God’s provision – as you described in your rainbow story. Thanks.


I am so grateful for this rainbow, this gift to you and Megan. Your Provision has given me a goal for the week: to look for signs of the covenant. Thanks for the gift of this beautiful Provision. Sending you both love on your vacation!


You give me courage to face the daily pain I am encountering and to live the best life I can. Thank you.


Thank you for your wonderful updates and reminders about the blessings in our lives. Your faith and optimism are obvious and contagious. God works in mysterious ways. The understatement of all time. I just finished reading a wonderful short, short play by Robert Frost: “A Masque of Reason” in which a somewhat comical conversation ensues between Job, his wife, and God. I encourage you to take a look. [What a beautiful coincidence: the message at church when this Provision went out was titled “Frost Advisory,” and it, too, centered around the life and poems of Robert Frost. Mysterious indeed.]


Reading “Provisions” is something I look forward to on Sunday mornings, and I am very grateful for your gift. I know Megan contributes too, though not directly. May your travels go smoothly and you find you meds easily. Hopefully you are not having many seizures Bob, and if so they are of short duration and mild intensity. I think of you both every day.


Glad to hear you are out of Mayo and back doing other things. I know Chautauqua is your favorite place to be – so I hope you are enjoying that. “Permanent brain damage” does not sound good – but I know you’ll do the best that can be done under the circumstances.


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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