Easter Memories

Easter is probably my favorite holiday, because it welcomes spring, new beginnings, family gatherings, and egg hunts. Since my mom sold her home in Greenville, we have  hosted Easter. I love packing the plastic Easter eggs with coins, candy, and clues. Oh yes, the scavenger hunt is always one of my favorites.

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Easter 2001 on Cambridge Avenue, Clifton Park

As you can see in the photo, the little ones are all in the back of my SUV around their prize. But they had to work to get there. It might be a puzzle, word finder, word scramble, or hunting for eggs, which held vital clues. They would be age specific, with tougher ones for the older children. It brought them together in excitement and challenge.

Stephen and Nick were five and seven in this photo, Marisa six, Alysia, Justine, and Charlie all four. When I was little, we always dressed up for Easter in our bonnets and bright spring colored dresses. We’d wear our white stockings and don our new patent leather shoes. I smile at this photo as all the children followed that tradition, whether they wanted to or not! The boys looked spiffy in their vests, dress shirts, and pants. Nick loved hats and so the cowboy hat had to be a part of his ensemble. I am intrigued by all that I am reminded of when looking closely at the details.

Nick and his sassy smile. He always had something in his pockets. I’m not sure what was in his back pocket in the top photo. He’s wearing a Pokemon pin on his vest, and I could almost guarantee he had a Pokemon character (probably Pikachu) in his front pocket. Stephen with his top button undone and wearing sneakers. It was a win just to get dress clothes on him, now that’s all he wears. Marisa and Alysia wear their fancy hats and are holding jump ropes in their hands.

Of course the boys were into Legos as shown in the photo with their gifts. Stephen was starting baseball, so was given a new glove. There was some Disney item and more Legos. I’m sure I have photos of their actual gifts and listed them in their journals. Details that I wouldn’t remember, but bring back so many memories.

Some things don’t change and Stephen is being hounded by his uncle to get a smile out of him. Since I probably was taking the picture, Stephen was most likely begging his father to save him. We did manage to get a smile.

Even before the family gathers, the Easter egg coloring happens. Laying out the plastic tablecloth, then newspaper, arranging all the supplies, preparing the colored dyes, always having crayons to write family names. Giving them as gifts Easter morning as everyone arrived.

Justine, Alysia, and Charlie are now 18, but I still have some tricks up my sleeve if they want their basket of candy. Yes, they may outgrow some of the activities, but we never outgrow the love of family and connection we feel when everyone gathers together. Even those you can’t be with us are never far away. These memories are sustaining, precious, and challenge me to find more ways to maintain tradition, joy, love, and celebration.

What is your favorite Easter holiday or spring tradition? Write about the memories or from a photo. Look closely, you never know what you may remember.

Trust the Process

Sometimes it takes a lifetime to learn to trust the process. What does this even mean? Last Saturday in Jess Padula’s yoga class I read from Melody Beattie’s book Journey to the Heart. This is something that is done on the longer Saturday morning gatherings. It was dated May 9 and titled ‘Trust Each Step.’ What she wrote resonated with me, especially about wanting to take a big leap to get to the end of a process, a goal, or a lesson. But if we do that, we miss the experience of each step we would have taken.

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When I think about trusting the process, it reminds me of trusting my intuition. Knowing myself and listening to my feelings helps when making a decision. I know when I’m doing what I’m meant to be, I get that excited and confident feeling. When I’m not, I get that sick sense in my stomach, and my heart rate might pick up from nerves. I’ll even get a headache. Paying attention to how I feel and what drives me helps. When I trust those feelings, I usually make the right decision. But there are many times when I trudge through a process despite the negative concerns. Let’s face it, we all have had to work jobs that we haven’t loved in order to pay bills, gone to events to fulfill obligations, or made a poor decision and needed to follow through on it. That’s a part of life.

Trust the Process

For me at this place in my life, I want to do what sparks passion and brings me joy.

This can also mean creating space for what I know is my path. Jess spoke about pushing back to create space for the next part of your life. This is a tought spot to be in when I’m in a nice cozy place that I really don’t want to leave or I’m too overwhelmed to make a move. We want life to fall into place without obstacles. We don’t want to rock the boat. But what happens when you can’t ignore that feeling anymore? When you have the distinct knowledge that you are on the wrong path? What happens when you are so crowded and consumed by what you don’t want that you HAVE to push back in order to breathe?

Oh yes, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, people may not be happy. They may be used to you handling a large part or all of a project, job, family, etc. If I trust I’m going where I need to go or doing what I need to do, and pushing back is the only way to get it, then I’m gonna push. In doing so, I might just create enough space for someone else to also get back on their path.

I do not come lightly to any decisions that rock the boat or change the course of my comfort zone. It would be easy to live each day the same over and over again, but that’s not how I operate. That’s why when I know I have to make a difficult decision, it weighs heavily on me.

One of the reasons I love practicing yoga is because of the challenges and the messages I receive in class. I rely on my community, but as was brought up in class, no one can carry someone or the work all the time and no one can be carried all the time. A community holds one another up when we fall and gives us space when we rise. That’s the same with trusting the process. Get out of the way and let it flourish.

Sometimes when I stray from the process it can take a long time to get back to where I’m meant to be. But maybe I didn’t really stray. Perhaps I was taken on a winding road that may not have made sense, but then when I connect back to my path, I have that ‘aha’ moment.

Trusting the process, fulfilling my passion, learning and growing never end. It’s up to me to create the space, breathe through the turmoil, push back or bring in. Trusting it, doing what you are called to do is the greatest gift you can give yourself and this world. Trust yourself, and you will be given what you need.

Be Here Now

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There is a soothing space in this moment. Right now. As I bring my pen to journal, the scratching of the ink along the page is like a mantra, calming my system, focusing my mind on what is right in front of me. As I connect with my words, nothing else matters. Any stress, anticipation of my day, worry about the world or those I love all melt away. All I am is in this single moment. A writing meditation.

It’s quiet. My dogs rest around me secure in their safe place. I am aware of my self, my emotional and physical state. Being here now makes it easy to accept where I am, because there is no other place to be. As the thought to add something to my list urges me to turn the page to my calendar, I keep writing, push those thoughts away and remain here. In this place.

Be Here Now. There is no other time that will give me what I need. I soak it in and appreciate now.

How can you be in your moment, where you are, right now?

Month in Review–February

I can either say that I needed a few more days in February or I have to continue my quest for time efficiency. Of course I can be the most efficient person, but if I take on too much, I’m not going to get everything done.

That was the theme of February for me. There were fun times, happy moments, first birthday party for my nephew, Liam. Here’s a photo in case you need some cuteness in your day.

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Valentine’s Day date with my hubby, outings with friends, my sister, and sunny days to walk my dogs.

But there were a lot of days where I didn’t get the work done that I needed or scheduled. I have become better organized using my journal as my calendar. I did start prioritizing by listing my monthly goals, but they aren’t translating into my daily business.

As I review my journal entries, I see a shift toward growing my writing and teaching business, plus lots of ideas that tend to distract me. There are entries like: “I’m not getting my work done.” Or “I bought mechanical pencils and I have no idea what happened to them! I frustrate myself!” The dogs didn’t eat them. In my frenzy of activities, I probably threw them out.¬†Another entry, “I’m still saying yes too much.”

Seeing how much I had in my schedule did make a decision for me not to take on a mentorship, even though it would have been wonderful. If I can’t put 100% into it, I shouldn’t do it.

There was at least a week of not journaling. Not straight in a row, but a couple days here and there. I’m out more nights than I’m in and that is plain exhausting.

Where I thrived and hummed with happiness was when I was writing and teaching my Writer’s Journal program to fourth and fifth graders at Karigon. I know this is where I should be spending my time. Writing and sharing how to write is a huge part of my journey. I only need to clear the path.

One of the best parts of February was getting outside more, being on my yoga mat, and putting my health in the forefront of my day. I feel the benefits.

March

My goals for March? Stay home as much as I can. Get a solid 2nd draft of Saving Atlantis done to share with my beta readers in April. Plan more school writing workshops and write, write, write! Writing my goals down and what I want to happen is the first step. The second is scheduling it into my calendar and sticking to it.

How was your February? What are your goals for March? What is important enough to spend your time on?

Keeping track on how you feel about what you are doing gives you an idea of what is nourishing, dragging you down, or revving your engine! Pay attention and put it into action!