The Art of Gratitude

 

Do you know that feeling you get when you desperately need a new toothbrush? The bristles are worn and rough. Every morning you pick it up and think, I must buy a new toothbrush today!  And every night you want to kick yourself for forgetting to buy one, even though you were in the store. Then, that special day comes where you are both in the store and remember that you need a toothbrush. Hallelujah!  You walk over to the dental aisle and view your options, careful to select the right strength, bristle style and color. That night, you crack open the plastic, place the perfect amount of toothpaste on it, and brush your teeth. The new bristles massage your gums that have been so badly mistreated by your old, crotchety toothbrush. When you are done, you run your tongue over your teeth with the wonderful sensation of cleanliness. You can finally take the perpetrator out of your spot on the holder and sentence it to death by trash. There is a sense of joy that fills you when your new brush is hanging there proudly.

Gratitude can be more than just taking a few minutes to ramble out thoughts of the obvious things that contribute to your life in some way.

For me, I began to practice gratitude when I was at a low point in my life. I treated myself to a beautiful leather bound journal and began writing down things I was grateful for each night. Just as most people, my first couple of months entries were repetitive for the obvious things, health, family, food, a placed to live, employment and a vehicle. Looking back and reading through, I began to notice an evolution of my entries. Gratitude slowly began oozing into the crevices of my life, showing up in minor details. I can tell you the dates I bought a new toothbrush, opened a brand new bar of soap or watched the mail man deliver my mail in the pouring rain. I can tell you when I noticed a bird bathing in a puddle and how it made me feel. Reading through my journal I can tell you when I felt good in an outfit and when my egg omelet was cooked to perfection. I know all the times I was grateful for a good laugh with a friend and each time I hugged my children extra tight, looked into their eyes and told them how much I loved them.

Practicing gratitude has allowed me to observe my life in the moment I am living it. I find myself stopping throughout the day to feel grateful and happy for little details that I might have overlooked in the past, and for that I will always be forever grateful.

positive

 

 

 

What Matters

When my son was in Kindergarten, the teacher would tell me during recess all he does is sit in the field and dig in the dirt using a branch. She wanted him to stop because of the potential danger of having little holes littering the field where other children run.

When I confronted him on his digging, he brought me to his room and pulled an old lunchbox out from under his bed. He explained that he was searching for special rocks to add to his collection, despite the millions of rocks that blanketing the playground area he could have easily chosen. The rocks in his collection didn’t look special at all. As a matter of fact, some weren’t even rocks, but chunks of pavement or concrete. I left it alone and encouraged his digging to take place at home.

From time to time, on a special occasion, I would receive a small gift, wrapped in a paper towel. When I opened it up, I would find a rock that was carefully selected and washed.  I then understood how special those rocks in his collection really were.

As I have recently moved, and have spent a lot of time deciding what to pack and what to get rid of. It made me think about what really matters. I realize that what matters is different for each person but there is a common denominator, how it makes you feel. What mattered to me was the paintings from our travels, some of my favorite photographs of family, my favorite mug that has magical powers to make coffee taste better somehow, and my books. Each of those things make me feel something, sentimental, love or simply joy. They have the ability to affect my mood and remind me of who I am, at my best. I believe that what we have may be very different, but why they matter is because of the same reason. They make us feel something and remind us of who we strive to be at our best. Some of my most valuable things are not valuable at all. For my son those rocks were special and to me, that is what matters.

 

I would just like to note that a follower had emailed me to see if I am still writing.  She said, that I wrote about things that mattered.  Thank you for your concern, as it has inspired me to continue to do what I love.

 

A GROWTH SPURT

Change-is-the-Only-Constant-quote

Experiencing change is a tornado of feelings all swooshed and swirled together to form something that is unrecognizable. I feel flickers of fear, specks of uncertainty, swirls of excitement, dotted with anxiety, all circulating in happiness. The force of change has left me unable to secure my footing. Its fast pace has left me dizzy.

c71571c56829562f9b304f91bfa4458f

Although, this is a much welcomed change, in which I am in no means complaining, it has distracted me from writing, blogging and reading.

seed-crack-growth

My all time favorite quote.

To my WordPress family, I am slowly returning, I am just in a growth spurt right now. 🙂

Is this thing on?

hello-is-this-thing-on

Testing . . .Testing. . .1…2…3…

Can you hear me? That is the real questions here, isn’t it? Do YOU hear me? Are YOU listening? We are all here typing relentlessly at our keyboards, giving our words a once over and then holding our breath as we click the “Publish” button. WordPress uses its magical powers, casting a spell or hums a tune while happily busy at work. “Beep, Bop, Boop.” Presto! Our words are displayed for the reading pleasure of our followers.

I started blogging after winning a writing contest. Yay!! Yes, I was so excited because it was the first time I was recognized for my writing. They announced me as the winner by using my name and a photograph, but I was very disappointed when they didn’t publish or post what I actually wrote. I felt very unsettled about it all. I kept saying, “I want to be heard, not seen.” It was a big let down, to say the least.

I am now very grateful for this disappointment because it led me here! I can clearly connect the dots of my journey this far in my pursuit and it feels right. I am skipping down the yellow brick road with no evil witch in sight. I set out to be heard and in three in a half months have gained over 350 followers!! I am grateful for each and every person that has committed to following me and most of all for listening!

WizardOfOz_214Pyxurz

This is us! Our arms are interlocked as we skip down the yellow brick road to ask the Almighty Oz for something, only to discover we had the power all along.

il_340x270.596885178_cert

How did you get here?

Happy Blogging!!

Today I will write . . .

Write-Your-Book-Today

Today I will write because I want to be a writer.

Today I will write because the ache of not writing has become intolerable.

Today I will write to calm the noise in my head, as each thought is fighting for attention. Letting the thoughts drain from my fingers will give me clarity and peace.

Today I will write because my imagination and creativity is clawing at the door and gripping tight to the bars, desperate to break free from the space it is held captive. Only I have the power to set them free.

Today I will write because it is the only thing I can do in my pj’s, sitting on my couch, that makes me feel absolute exhilaration.

Today I will write because the story that I have begun to tell is crying for help. It needs to be tended to and worked on and I am the only one who can fix it.

Today I will write so when I lay my head down at night, I can fall right to sleep, knowing that I consciously took a step towards my passion.

Today I will write because I AM a writer.

Today I will write . . .

will you?

Now What?

960c36c81ae2c94ae1452f59a12852ad

I find I am clutching my mug of steaming hot coffee a bit tighter lately, grabbing for the throw blanket to burrito myself in more often than usual, and procrastinating a little longer before rolling out of bed or stepping out of the scorching shower. Winter has officially set in for Long Island. BRRR!

The garbage is filled with empty cardboard hearts, yes plural, and a new blemish has erupted on my chin (which for me, is unusual). We have gone through several sketch pads, glue sticks and packages of construction paper in this house. The DVR is empty, every book has been read, the toys have been played with and Logos have been built. We have beaded necklaces and bracelets, molded Play-Doh into mini animal shapes and even practiced some school work.

Its only Monday! SIX MORE DAYS! Six more days the kids are home from school and the snacks are depleting at an astounding rate! Its too cold to go outside and after an unexpected vet bill, my budget is a bit tight.  (Doggie is doing fine now 🙂  )

Its only Monday! Now what?

If it was up to me, I’d remain a burrito all week long reading, writing and editing. Sigh . . but that will not satisfy four energetic children. So does anyone have any great suggestions?


image

WHY? – So Much More Than A Crooked Letter

5-jpg

Through hardship and difficult times, pieces of your identity come forth in unexpected ways. I had been unaware of the tremendous pride, which I was carrying within me, until I needed to set it free. There was my enormous ego, which fled, leaving me deserted, feeling empty, mourning its departure. We will all experience hardship and loss throughout our lifetime; it’s how we allow these experiences to shape our identity, influence our choices, and test our bonds with one another.

“Why?” I kept asking, “Why? Why is this happening to me? Why wasn’t I better prepared? Why isn’t there anyone to help?” The many “why’s” which I continued to ask, felt like a whisper at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Despite the absent response, the quiet sense of being ignored in the solitude of my despair, I relentlessly questioned, asking only, “Why?”

An excerpt from my novel.

Photo Credit: http://www.boomsbeat.com

TRUTH: I AM AFRAID TO TRUST THE DREAM

5-Ways-to-Stop-Self-Doubt-in-its-Tracks

I have narrowed it down, I am afraid to trust the dream.

Today, when I swung my feet on the carpet and forced myself into standing position, I immediately noticed it there, pulling up a chair and taking a seat in the forefront of my brain, my self doubt.

Have I tricked myself into believing in a world, so far from my actual reality? I wonder if I will wake up, rocking myself in an insane asylum and face the terrorizing thought, “That life never actually happened.”  I spend countless hours writing, editing, reading and most of all, thinking which words I can string along to tell my story. Which words will clearly explain the circulating thoughts. Why? Why do I do this? Is it just a vice to get me through the mundane chores and actions of a day?

When I further investigate my desire to write, I find it sprouting from a small seed, whispering out only a single phrase, “There is more.”  I instinctively take a step back, as those powerful words have caused my heart to flutter incessantly like the wings of a hummingbird. “There is more.”

My desperate desire for more haunts me, keeping me up at night. I can taste it in every bite, it is there. I feel it pressed under my nails and it cools my mouth with each sip of water that passes my lips. A sense of being underutilized and unfulfilled has formed as my shadow, always lagging behind.

I want more. Is that wrong? I feel so blessed to be surrounded by health and family. That part of me is inflated with love and gratitude, nearly bursting at the seams. I have had four children, just to ensure that piece would be filled to capacity. What about the rest? What about me? Why am I not content with this being it? No, instead I lie in bed at night, just short of drifting off into a peaceful slumber, when an urge to swiftly jump up, grab a pen and paper, just to write down three little words. . .

There          Is          More

Photo Credit: Doubt and Fear Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Storm Clouds and Sky.via Shutterstock

Following Mother Nature’s Orders

Snowy-Night

It’s a whirlwind outside, the specs of freezing white snow, aggressively thrusting against one another, swirling in mid-air. The bare branches crack and whine when the harsh wind barrels down its force upon the trees. The streets are desolate, no pedestrians in sight. The dense snow collecting on the ground is glowing in contrast to the saturated night sky. For a few hours the earth seems still. Perhaps, nature’s way of demanding us to pause a moment, and slow things down. We all seem to have obliged. Although, not without first frantically rushing through the sliding glass doors of the store to stock up on various ingredients for a home style meal or two, and some sweet treats. Similar in our preparations for a holiday, the children will surely rush to their windows in the morning, hoping to be amazed.

The anticipation of what to expect has been buzzing through every radio and television station, every social media news feed page and every person in line at your local gas station and grocery store. Words like, “Record Breaking,” “Historic,” and “Accumulations” have warned us to gather with loved ones and hunker down for shelter.

While sitting in the silence of the vicious snowy downfall, the occasional yellow siren flickers through the windows, a reminder of the people who are there for us, always prepared to dig us out. Through our community and within our families we unite to bear the frost and bitter cold of Mother Nature on this winter’s night, just as she intended.

Photo Credit : http://piktiva.com/snowy-night-cieszyn-poland/

What the Library Means To Me – Book Nerds Where Are You?

I wrote this some time ago for a library writing contest and won! I really couldn’t believe it. I ❤ the library! Here’s to my inner nerd!!

Why I Love my Library

Throughout my life, I have always been drawn to the library.  The large brick structure stands strong, protecting the authors and valued pages of literature that it houses.  As a child, during summer, I would walk through the automatic sliding doors, letting the icy cool air engulf me, leaving the hazy sun behind. I would browse the endless spines of eye-catching titles, printed in fancy calligraphy or block font. The choices were limitless, leaving me dizzy and indecisive.  The library was a good friend to me then, as I thumbed through the pages of my R.L. Stine, “Goosebumps” series, quietly sitting in the adult section, feeling mature at age 10.  The library provided me with one autobiography after another, as I obsessively read through volumes, on every person I recognized.  The library was calm, sensible, and willing to keep me company, until my curfew beckoned me home.

​Eventually, the library would become a tutor for me, as I researched information in the reference section, for countless hours, to prepare for a school report.  It was where I would seek help for my next Regents exam, or SAT test.  Sifting through books on biology and mathematics, the library supported me through my education, aided me, in reaching for a higher test score.

​The library is a second hand thrift store, where I could sit and browse through a respectable selection of books, and have the joy of walking out with ownership of a piece of literature, for only a dime. A small present for myself, purchased with the change rolling around on the bottom of my purse.

​The library is a knowledgeable mother, guiding me through parenthood.  Providing suggestions on ways to soothe a sleepless baby, tips on discipline, and holding my hand, when it came time for the ever-so-dreaded, potty training.    The library saw me through my challenges as a new mother.

​The library is a teacher, allowing me to learn about any topic, from filing taxes, to writing novels, along with the best ways one can explore Disney World.  I can sit and learn for countless hours, from the wisdom that the library embodies.

​The library is my office, where I went to inquire about civil service employment opportunities. It is where I go when my computer is down, or I need to make copies.  The reference desk awaits me, if my documents need to be notarized, or they simply require a staple.

​The library is both a coach and cheerleader, encouraging reading for all age groups, with rewards and prizes.  Ringing my phone and delivering good news, I can collect my winnings!  Generously providing my children with a weekly prize, and allowing them to be exciting about reading.  Graduating them through reading clubs, as they excel and develop their reading-skills.

​The library is a Mommy-and-Me, where I went to sing songs, and listen to fairy tales in the community room. My tiny tots would sit in my lap, clapping their chubby, little hands to the cheerful melodies.  As toddlers, my children engaged in the singing and dancing, playing with puppets, and a simple musical instrument or two.

​The library is an art class, where my children and I can walk in and decorate a treasure box, or color a wooden snake.  They can create a picture frame, or a present for Dad, for Fathers’ Day. The library is inventive and creative, allowing us to leave with a parting gift of some sort.

The library is an app on my tablet. Access to a new and interesting read is just a few clicks away, anytime, anywhere.

​The library is a media super-center, generously providing the latest DVD releases, as well as the classics.  It’s where my family goes to plan an epic movie night.  The library provides music for an upcoming party, or just for my daughters, to sing and dance along to, in the living room.

​The library is a hideaway, for my four children, and I. It is where we go when the snow is piled high to our knees, and when the rain leaves the playground soggy. It is a place to escape to, as I did so long ago, when the summer sun beat down relentlessly.  My affection for the library is a trait, which I have proudly passed down to my children.  The library has provided countless bedtime stories, for their heavy eyes, and early-reader books, as they struggled to sound out each letter.

The library is a place that is expansive in wisdom, and an infinite source of creativity. The library is not just a building, but it’s a thriving part of our community.  The staff is warm and inviting, helpful and educated. The library is a haven for my family, where we are known by name. The knowledge, memories, and friends that we have gained, at the library, has made an indelible impression on the life of my family.