Monthly Journal Workshop-Giving

Tonight’s monthly journaling workshop at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library was simply gratifying for all! Half of the participants were brand new and the other half were regulars who have committed to taking time for themselves.

The theme was gratitude, giving back, and being good to ourselves. Sometimes the best way to feel better is to give and remember what is wonderful in our lives. Here are some of the participants’ journal entries!gratitudesarahl

The month of Thanksgiving is the perfect time to start a gratitude journal. Waking up with the intention of striving for happiness changes your attitude and sets up your day for something great. When you take the time to journal on what was positive in your day then you are happier. Your world becomes a better place. You are creating precious and wonderful memories.

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Everyone wrote about their volunteer experiences and other foundations they would like to get involved in. Giving back has a way of creating gratitude. Helping others can have a healing effect. Knowing you are having a positive impact on someone else lifts your spirit.

Giving to yourself is probably the hardest way to make a difference, but it can be the most impactful! When we are kind to ourselves, we can give more to others. But who is the first person we forget about when the holidays or life gets too stressful? Ourselves! Write about what the holidays mean to you and about what kind of holiday you want to have.

Then give the gift of doing something for yourself. You are worth it.

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It can be as simple as being in the moment. Sometimes a pop, clink and fizz is needed to get through that stressful moment!

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Positive and genuine affirmations are huge gifts to ourselves.

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Buy that sweater you have been wanting, take the time to read a book, and treat yourself like the special person you are!

What are you grateful for?

How do you give back?

What will you do to be good to yourself?

Especially during this holiday season, take the time to journal and be kind to yourself. It’ll make a difference in your life and the world around you.

Next month’s journal workshop is December 13th! Take the time and register for you!

www.cphlibrary.org

A Lovely Day–Gratitude Day 20

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This quote was in my journal, and as I sit back thinking about what I did today, I feel full, loved, and happy. It’s hard for me to say that I’m happy. It is often accompanied by a sense of guilt. How can I be happy when I miss Nick so much? How can I be happy when another mom is missing her boy on his 17th birthday? How can I be happy when another mom lost her son today?

In a world that is filled with so much pain and loss, how does gratitude fit in? When I am present to what I am grateful for, it soothes the cuts that life inflicts on me. I do not ask of myself what I am not yet ready to give or do, but being grateful shows me that there is grace in this world. There are positives, and in order to do good and live my life, I need to have hope.

Hope that the world will heal, that those who lost loved ones can find comfort in having loved, that tomorrow will be a better day.

Today I was very present with my husband and son. I was overjoyed to hug Stephen and appreciated spending time with him. We had a great day. And that is enough to be grateful for.

My Dishwasher—Gratitude Day 17

I don’t know how many times I complain about cleaning out my dishwasher. It’s so time consuming! I have a dinner party and have to clear out the dishwasher before we can load up 20 dishes. It’s a joke with me and my sisters.

Or I forget to turn it on and have to pull out the knife I need and wash it.

My dishwasher broke this week full of dishes. No more complaints.

So my dishwasher is now me. You wouldn’t think that two people could use so many dishes, but with both of us working from home, we use a lot of dishes.


I had hoped my hubby could fix it, but it was beyond his magic.


Not having a dishwasher makes me frugal with how many utensils, pots and plates I actually need, so that is positive!

I am grateful that I have a dishwasher and the ability to get it fixed. I also appreciate my husband taking on getting it fixed.

Local Bookstores–Gratitude Day 16

Next to libraries, bookstores are one of my favorite and most sacred places. There is a sense of mystery, intrigue, and suspense about what I’ll find in every bookstore I enter. I like to see what is on the best seller’s list, who are the debut authors, and what displays are the most eye catching.

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Shimmer’s Eggs at Market Block Books in Troy

But the best part are the gems that you find in a local bookstore that you may not necessarily find in the larger bookstores. The local color of artists who put their heart in their works are splashed throughout and displayed in special places.

Then there are the little gifts perfect for book lovers. Journals, bookmarks, statues, pencils and pens, notecards, cozy socks. The only thing that would make a local bookstore even better was a fireplace and some hot tea! I’d cozy right up and read all day. Maybe that’s why they don’t have them!

Independent bookstores are few and far in between. I miss Robin Ringler’s little bookstore right on Route 9. Even though Borders was a big chain, it had a small town feel to in and was directly in the middle of town. It was a place to connect and meet with friends.

Market Block Books in Troy and The Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza are owned by the same people, and they work hard to get an author’s work out to the public. Plus they provide an avenue to print authors’ books and into the public’s hands.

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Nothing like seeing my book on the bookshelves!

Used bookstores are fun to visit and I can find out of print books from my favorite authors.

I am grateful for every business person whose love of books inspires them to open a bookstore. Their personality and joy of the written words shine through. Please support your local bookstores. They are a rare breed that we need to protect.

Baptiste Sisters—Gratitude Day 15

Sometimes we all need a little kick in the butt to get back on our path. Some days we need to be dragged. 

Karen, far right, did that almost three years ago to get me to a yoga class. I wish she had brought me sooner.

I have been struggling with a sinus infection for three weeks and haven’t made it to yoga. Once that happens it’s so hard to get back. 

Cara, pictured in the middle, is our Baptiste sister who trained with us. She came up for the weekend. She and Karen went to a 90 minute class yesterday. I wasn’t up for it and was bummed. 

This morning we planned to go. I woke up and told myself all the reasons of why I couldn’t go. But I knew since my sisters would be there, I needed to go. For the support, Community, and get me back on my path. 

They have been where I am, understand the hesitation, and know how to push me past my barriers. 

So thank you Cara and Karen. I am grateful to have you both in my life on and off the mat!

My Big Sister—Gratitude Day 13

My sister, Stephanie, is two years older than me. She mothered me as much as she messed with me. 

In Long Island, she always walked me home and fought off the kids who wanted to beat me up. On the first day of second grade, Stephanie brought me to my homeroom. I cried and clung to her like I was being kidnapped. I was not a very outgoing child. She gave me a hug and led me into the room. Knowing that she would be there after was comfort. 

When she entered high school, she didn’t really want her kid sister around, but I remember sitting outside her bedroom door listening to her practice the flute. 

It wasn’t until I was in high school that we started to hang out more, and I had a hand in connecting her with Ray, her high school sweetheart! 

Stephanie has a quick and sharp sense of humor. She can come back with a funny line before I even take in what was said. She is a source of laughter in our family. 

Today I am grateful for my big sister. I don’t think I tell her enough. 

Recognizing what I am grateful for definitely makes me think about how much I let people know what they mean to me. 

I’ll make sure she knows. 

Momma–Gratitude Day 10

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Happy Birthday, Mom! Today I am grateful for my momma. She has spent a lifetime taking care of others and being there for us.
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She is a yes for going to plays and movies.

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My partner for book signings.

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The matriarch of the family.

I visited her this morning for her special day, brought her favorite Panera soup, and gave her a copy of my new book. She is very excited to read it and probably will have it done in an hour. She inspired me to start reading and my love of books took off from there.

She mentioned that her kids give and do so much for her. She tends to feel like she doesn’t do enough back.

Well, sometimes we forget what we have done in the past and need to be reminded!

My mom stayed home with us until she went to nursing school at age 40. She was the reason I stayed home with my boys.

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Mom and her 8th grandchild, Stephen

Even working outside of the home, she was always there for us. Here are some ways:

  1. Protecting our home with a butcher knife from a crazy invader.
  2. Defending me as I sprinted down the sidewalk in Long Island from bullies.
  3. Carrying me out of the nurse’s office (after a few choice words to the nurse) when she said I was faking and didn’t break my leg. I did in fact.
  4. Being an advocate when we couldn’t do so for ourselves.

She taught by example:

  1. Teaching us the power of a meal prepared with love and that you can never have too much food.
  2. The importance of a strong and high quality work ethic and that you can do a good job and be a compassionate person.
  3. Giving your all as a caregiver and being brave when your heart is breaking.
  4. Fighting for our dreams takes grit and tenacity.
  5. How to make meatballs and a mean sauce.
  6. The strength of family.

Growing Family–Gratitude Day 9

cousinsI am grateful for our growing family. I often wonder what my son’s wife (if he plans to marry) will be like and get excited about how our family will build and change. When Kyle, (wearing suspenders) married my niece, Samantha (next to him), he became an instant member of the family. He is a wonderful person and brings laughter and his great personality to our crazy group. He gets and I hope appreciates the craziness.

This past weekend, my nephew, Sal, married his college sweetheart, Mishelle. Besides the fact that it was a wonderful and special day, I now have another niece!

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Mishelle is joyful, has a beautiful singing voice, and it’s like she was always a part of us. I love big family gatherings, loud get togethers, every flat area filled with food, kids running around, and everyone reluctant to leave. Now that all the ‘kids’ are older (the youngest three are 18), everyone is doing their thing, living their lives, and that’s damn good. But how I love when we get together and you have to go outside to give your eardrums a break from the high voltage of conversation.

We need more happiness and joyful tidings to celebrate. So I am especially grateful that on my Nick’s birthday, we added a new member to our family. Nick voiced his approval by shining his light on us.

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Home—Gratitude Day 8


Home. I have learned that home is literally wherever my heart and family are. I can be at home when I’m with my siblings, my friends, or on vacation. 

I enjoy the warmth and love that these places give me. But there is nothing like my home where my family and I have grown memories and roots. 

During this hard time when so many have lost their homes to hurricanes and tropical storms, I am extremely grateful that I not only have a roof over my head, but a place to decompress and feel joy. 

When we built our house, the goal was to have big gatherings and family get togethers. We have done that. It’s a place where both my husband and I work from and a relaxing haven for Stephen when he comes home. 

My home brings me peace and a sense of tranquility. I especially notice this when I’m away and come back. 

My home fills me with gratitude even as I fill it with the people I love and our wonderful memories. 

My Dogs—Gratitude Day 5

Ever since I can remember our family had a dog. My first dog as an adult was Brutus the Barber Beefcake. 


He joined me in my first apartment and then became our baby when Luke and I got married. He clung to me during my pregnancies and was wonderful with the boys. 


I found Zoey in my worst moment in life, and as I have said before was my tear catcher. We have a bond that is humanlike. She reads my moods and is simply loving. 


Dakota represents the innocent and fun loving part of life that we often forget about. He simply enjoys being with us. 


Every day I walk my dogs. As soon as I put shoes on, they are jumping over one another to get to the back door. You would think I never walked them! Walking them is my quiet time (mostly), and it’s like a walking meditation. I am so grateful to have them. I am also blessed to be able to work from home and spend a lot of time with them. 

They make me smile and appreciate the simple moments in life.