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.

What you Manifest

 

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Photo by Alysia Thomas

I told the adults in my journal writing workshop last week that one of my favorite books is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I actually listened to the book and loved the dog, Enzo’s voice. I always say that books can purely entertain, but when they are most needed, they can transform.

I found this book the year after I lost Nick. The main character, Denny, suffers loss and is drowning in his grief. I had adopted my dog, Zoey, who found and saved me, so I could relate to Enzo trying to save Denny.

But what transformed me was Enzo’s mantra: “That which you manifest is before you.”

If I wanted to live a full life in the midst of my grief, I had to create it. I had to do the work. “It’s not easy being green,” my dad used to say. And it sure ain’t easy being sad, lost, heartbroken, devastated, and uncertain about life. This path I have been placed on has been treacherous, rocky, happy, crazy, and life-changing, but I have followed it.

This year I am manifesting my passion–writing and bring the art of writing to anyone who wants to manifest it. I was worried about having enough experiences to write about in my daily prompts and bringing all sorts of journaling workshops into the community. I didn’t need to worry, because I have come from a place of joy, wonder, and selflessness. I want to manifest hope, and I do that through writing and teaching.

My other creation for 2017 is publishing my middle grade novel called The Puzzle Quests: Shimmer’s Eggs in October. During 2016, I tweaked it, but it wasn’t until I committed to publishing it through my company that it became real. By focusing on that goal, that dream, the people I needed to help me accomplish this have crossed my path. I see my vision. I see good people who need hope to get them through the hard times, so they can bloom and manifest their dreams.

What do you want to manifest? What is your focus this year, the next six months, a month from now, or tomorrow?

Write the details, see it as a manifestation, not a wish. Create an action plan and stick to it. It’s all before you if you do the work.

Light my Fire!

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Photo by Alysia Thomas

Now if you know me well, a couple thoughts may be going through your head. One, what novel is she writing at this moment, and two, she doesn’t like The Doors, so why is she quoting them?!

Right now I’m focusing on my middle grade novel, so sorry ladies, and I’ll give The Doors the credit due for this song.

What really struck me this morning is how excited I am about my personal journal writing  (I’ll write about this tomorrow) and teaching my journal writing classes. The adult workshop begins tomorrow night and is full. My middle grade has three more sessions and the kids are open-minded about expressing themselves.

I’m excited because I’m doing what I love, and I see firsthand the benefits it has for me as well as for others. My inner fire, that light that makes me shine, is literally burning like the flames in this photo. That’s how I know I’m on my path, I’m expressing my truth, and living life as I want. I woke up this morning and couldn’t wait to see what words would flow out of me. It’s a completely organic process, and that is when I have to trust that I’m doing what my soul craves. I feel alive, and I just want to feel, express, and write.

That is your inner fire. That is your calling. That is your life purpose. I know that mine is writing, and teaching makes that fire crackle into the sky and explode!

That is my wish for all of you. What causes your belly to heat in excitement, your heart to quicken, your mouth to break open in song, and your soul to burst with energy? Yes, it’s much like being in love–with yourself, your path, your journey! That is what we are meant to be doing!

What lights your fire?!

What do you like to do that can be a part of your daily path? Maybe it’s career related or maybe it’s volunteering for a cause that ignites you. Perhaps it can be both, which will really create an inferno! Maybe it’s time for a new beginning! Write about it, how you feel emotionally and physically when you think about bringing this into your life. Then make a plan to put it into action. Even tiny steps will stoke your fire. Journaling about it will keep the flames burning.

Feel free to share what you learn!

Step Back Saturday

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Photo by Alysia Thomas

The weekend is finally here. There is so much to get done and that to do list may feel like it is only getting larger. Many of last week’s themes were about love and being positive. They focused on embracing goodness, being with people who make you happy, and being aware of anything or anyone who is usurping your life, your energy, or your joy.

Take today to get caught up if needed. However, don’t forget to step back and take in all the good you did in the past week. Be with people who make all the hard work worthwhile. And be honest with yourself: if you fell short of telling people how you feel, spreading good in the world, or fulfilling your life mission, give yourself a break and start over. Soak in the positive and release the negative.

New Beginning

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Photo by Alysia Thomas

Each day is a new beginning. I have the choice to let the sun shine its light and beauty on me. Or I can turn away and keep living my life in a way that doesn’t serve me.

Each day is a gift that I honor. I choose to soak in the goodness of the world and share my light with others.

Each day is a chance to spread hope through my words, my actions, and my kindness. I revel in the warmth that flows through me knowing that I make a difference.

Each day begins with you. How will you show up today? What gift will you give yourself?