October Month in Review

October always has been a month of joy, love, and connections. With losing Nick, it’s also mired with sadness and exhaustion. Over the last 10 years, I have struggled to find some type of balance and way to get through the month.

This year I wanted more and even though I had my usual exhaustion, I think I found it.

There was a definite sense of letting go to hold space for opportunities where I could share hope and healing, not only for myself, but for others. I taught writing and shared hope through my books. I spent a lot of time with my tribe, celebrating our October birthdays, our children’s fantastic feats in volleyball, karate, school, jobs, and wedding plans.

Grace’s senior night at volleyball. They won of course!

We have so many family and friend birthdays in October that I basically celebrated my birthday all month!

Birthday fun with some of my tribe!
And the celebrating continues with more of my tribe.

To get all of these women together in one place is short of miraculous in our crazy lives. But if there is one thing that I know–when we need each other, we are always there. That is what grounds me in October.

The October trio–me and my boys.

We recognize Nick’s birthday differently now, but he is always a part of our October month of celebration. And Stephen turned 21 this year. Even with him, we made plans that worked for him, and it was a huge joy¬† to cook for all his friends and be a part of his world.

Girl time was huge for me this month, and I carved a huge chunk out between gatherings, lunch dates, and traveling to Sarasota with Karen and our husbands. I needed to be someplace where I could be with my sadness and then enjoy a new place.

Lido Beach

I could be with Nick without all the distractions of the month, between teaching, writing, celebrating, weddings, traveling over two other weekends. I didn’t have time to be with him. This trip to Sarasota gave me that space, and Nick gave me signs that he was there.

nicksarasotabeach2018

October opened up with letting go to bring in the good, and it ended with a vow to keep that space open, even when the darkness threatens to settle in.

November will bring jewels of gratitude and continued writing.

 

Colleen–Gratitude Day 27

I am grateful that 17 years ago, Nick and Connor brought Colleen and me together. Our boys met on the bus and lived right around the corner from each other. In addition to playing together, Connor joined Nick in karate and our families bonded.

colleenandjanine

Colleen is a powerhouse of vitality, integrity, grit, and perseverance. Whatever she does, she does with intention and full-charged energy.

If you ever need someone in your corner and to cover your back, Colleen is the Charlie’s Angel of our tribe. She has always supported me in any crazy plan I come up with, loves with all her heart, and sees the good in others. She is one of the biggest supporters and volunteers behind Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation. When Nick was ill, Colleen took the initiative and started a fund knowing we would need financial support for his transplant. When we lost him, she came to the funeral home and helped us with all the arrangements. A sister of my heart, she has supported me in some of the hardest tasks in my life. We could not have done it without her. It takes a damn strong woman and friend to take on those tasks.

She stands true to what she believes in and is an inspiring warrior. She isn’t afraid to speak her truth and fight for others. For the past 10 months, Colleen has been battling her own fight against breast cancer. Colleen took this disease with a vengeance and intensity that she brings to every day of her life. She has shown that a positive attitude is one of the biggest healers.

Nick must have known I would need a tribe of amazing women to get me through life. Colleen is certainly one of them. For her 50th birthday, I wish her love, endless joy, and strength in her purpose.

Happy Birthday! Love you!

 

Change in Perspective–Gratitude Day 25

We are all raised with a certain perspective based on our parents’ influences, beliefs, and opinions. When we head out on our own and experience different situations our perspective can change. Sometimes a new way of looking at life is thrust upon us by opportunity, tragedy, loss, separation, relationships, the list is endless. Some are positive and some not so much. And we long for the time before our lives were flipped upside down.

aerialyogaJanine

My life, just like so many others, has been flipped upside down and it’s tough to handle especially this month. Tonight I am grateful I took the opportunity to try something new and literally change my perspective. Whether it’s aerial yoga (I think I grew an inch, but my head felt like it was going to explode) or traveling to a new place or going back to school, doing something different, switching your life upside down on your terms can open your mind to so much.

Tonight I needed something physical to get me out of my head. I needed to shake up my perspective that October is really difficult for me and have do something adventurous.

It was fun, and I’m grateful my sidekick was there with me. I’m not sure if this type of yoga is her thing as there was plenty of swinging through the air, but she was openminded enough to give it a try.

aerialyogaKaren

No matter what I do, I am grateful my perspective on life hinges on the hope that tomorrow will be better, the knowledge that I have a whole tribe who have my back, and I am strong enough to bend, but not break.