10
Nov

On his 70th birthday

This morning I was introduced to a poem Charlie Chaplin wrote on his 70th birthday. It's remarkable. It's simple. It's profound. It's moving. It's loving. Sweet loves of mine, there is nothing I could write to you this week that would mean more than this message. It is from a genius who sat back and reflected on his life and all the things he finally learned...when he finally learned how to love himself.

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody as I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it RESPECT.

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it MATURITY.

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment, so I could be calm. Today I call it SELF-CONFIDENCE.

As I began to love myself I quit steeling my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it SIMPLICITY.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything the drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.Today I know it is LOVE OF ONESELF.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is MODESTY.

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it FULFILLMENT.

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection WISDOM OF THE HEART.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS LIFE!

May you always love yourselves and may you find your life and your truth. You mom loves you and sees all you are meant to be.

3
Nov

It's simple to find little things

This week, I read a beautiful post from a wonderful woman who spoke on how it can be so simple to find little things in this world to make you smile. Make you happy. Make you slow down a little, appreciate a little more. She set out a challenge...find what makes you keep going. Write that shit down. Make yourself remember the things that make you feel like you are living, actually living. Things that breathe life back into you, make you so content, comfortable, and at home. So, I made a list. And not my regular "get this done" list but instead, a make yourself remember there are so many things to be happy and appreciative of list. This is my list of love.

  • Rain…the sound, the smell, the clouds, the gray, the dark.
  • Waking up before anyone especially if it’s still dark out.
  • But also, sleeping and napping at all hours, any time of day.
  • The heaviest of blankets.
  • The smell on my hubby’s chest, it smells like home.
  • My kids’ actual belly laugh.
  • My puppers kisses and hugs…because I have a dog that gives actual hugs.
  • Seeing my husband love on our dog.
  • Seeing my husband belly laugh at our kids.
  • Pop-tarts…for real though.
  • Looking through old pics of the kids.
  • My fireplace and how much my puppy loves the fireplace.
  • How much my puppy loves her crate.
  • How much my puppy loves her family and you can physically see it!
  • The glow of soft lights.
  • Coffee, I have such a deep-rooted love for coffee.
  • A lit candle.
  • My bathtub.
  • A good robe.
  • The sound of a bat as it hits a ball, that crack gets me.
  • The look of a grown man’s face when he is so happy you can actually see the little boy in him.
  • Watching basketball, especially college, most especially with my family.
  • Long runs when I have 0 training scheduled, because I'm just running for the love of running.
  • The very end of yoga because laying down is my favorite.
  • Waking up and realizing I have so many more hours of sleep ahead of me but I’m not struggling to fall back to sleep. Because again, I love to sleep!
  • A really good kiss, because you are a really good kisser, even decades after our first. 
  • This fall, I don't know if I was just ready to really watch it all happen this year or if this fall has been especially exceptional but we really do live in an amazing area. I feel like we are living in a movie about a place that has a beautiful fall. There are leaves everywhere, the air is crisp but still warm, the colors are gorgeous…it has been magic.
  • Family bike rides and family walks with the puppy.
  • Playing a game together as a fam, I just love spending time with you guys. 
  • A gray day.
  • A new snowfall.
  • Snowshoeing!
  • Watching the kids sleep.
  • Holding hands.
  • Quiet.

I have so much to love on every single day. I need to remember how lucky I am and how much good I can find in my days. It is not always easy, I focus a lot on what I can be doing, should be doing, could do differently, need to work on and lists that look so different. But this list, this is a list we can all make and all take in. And slow the hell down and remember that life gives you reasons to smile. Life gives you reasons to slow down, you just have to take a breath and remember that your own list is there for you.

1
Nov

Five Minute Friday - last

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on last.

Go.

It's my last two months of a 20-year career. It's my last chance to turn around and take it all back and tell them I just want to stay because I love my job. Because I love my work. Because I love what I do. Because, despite how I feel and how I am being made to feel, I am good at this. I belonged here. This was my home and as much as I sacrificed and did for them, this job made me.

It's my last two months of not having to depend on my business for my living. It's my last chance to say we can't do this after all, I don't know what we were thinking but I was wrong and I'm sorry and I take it all back. Because it's my last two months of being secure and now it's all me.

It's my last two months of holding down both jobs, doing two really big things at the same exact time while still trying to be a decent mom, bride, friend, person...and still hold on to who I am.

It's my last two months to dream and really think and plan out what I want it all to look like now. What I am going to spend my energy on, what I am going to eliminate. What I am going to have to walk away from. What I am going to be able to fully embrace.

It's my last two months and I am having a lot of feelings. I am on this roller-coaster of emotions and there has been a lot of crying, a lot of overthinking, a lot of should haves, a lot of fear, a lot of lasts. My lasts.

Stop.

18
Oct

Five Minute Friday - active

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on active.

Since I can remember, I have been on the run. Going going going under I'm gone. Running from something, from someone, from myself. Never wanting to sit idol...always something to do. Always something else to get to. Always go go go. And recently, the universe has been screaming at me to stop. Just stop. Shut up, sit down, calm yourself and just stop. Being active and busy, put your badge of honor away, no one cares.

So, I'm done. Well, trying to be done. Trying to find my new normal of done but still me. Finding new ways to find joy. So universe, I, once again, am listening. Like when you called a book to me about a crazed family with too much on their plate until the mom gets into a serious car accident and has brain damage and can't be left alone and therefore has to put busy aside. Like the people that I am randomly meeting with that tell me things like, "no one is that busy...everyone just needs to calm down and shut up". Like the woman I met last week who over a cup of coffee and in a matter of minutes said to me "Sabrina, you're a good person...with or without running an incredible agency that does good. You're still a good person. And even if you do not work yourself to the bone, you're still a good person. Even if you find your new normal, you're still a good person. Even if you're not active, all of the damn time...you're a good person. Just find your joy now.

So, I have hung my training shoes and am taking long and gorgeous runs with my puppy. I am not worried about the mileage of next week, having to add on. No longer worried about the time but taking in the beauty of fall in NY. I am swimming to keep myself able to swim, not worried about having to do an open water swim soon, because I won't. I am going to go for walks with my daughter and my son. Walk in the quiet and walk in the cold. I am going to try meditation, because we all know how much I now need my mind to rest too.

I'm listening and finding ways to be me without all the activity.

Stop.

5
Jul

Five Minute Friday - take

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on take.

Go.

As a parent, sometimes it feels that all we do is give give give to little takers. Little faces that say, can I have, can you give me, can you get me, can you do this, can you carry that, can you drive me, can I go to, can I do this, can you bring me, can you make this happen, will be you there, can you read to me, what's for dinner, can I have dessert, can you get carry me?

Can you and will you to little takers. And we give and give and give and teach and teach and teach and at the end of each day, we wonder why our bones are tired. We wonder why we feel so empty. We wonder why our minds can't shut off and we wonder why we are so foggy.

It all starts at birth, however you birthed a person. Whether that was in a hospital, clinic, home, court room, it all starts with giving up of yourself to make room for a new one to enter your soul. You take over our hearts, our bodies, our being. You start on the inside and it pours out into the outer limits of our fingers and toes. You hold on to our hands and take our love, our devotion, or attention, and at times, our actual mind.

You, you're not to blame. You didn't ask to be here, we asked for you to find us. And part of the exhausting task of this exhausting part of parenting is teaching you to do for yourself. It is teaching you to get your own thing, to contribute to the family, to do it on your own little by little, part by part.

But in the meantime, yes, I can help you reach that snack. Yes, I can pour you something to drink. Yes, I can help you make your bed. Yes, I can take you to see your friend. Yes lovies, I can help. You can take and I will give because in the end, although I am empty, there is a fullness to my world, my heart that you give that replenishes my love, my ability and me. You give too.

Stop.


21
Jun

Five Minute Friday - question

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on question.

Go.

We all have them. We start pretty early in life trying to figure things out, or why certain things just have to be a certain way. We get in trouble for asking too many and we sometimes don't move forward because we are stuck in a cycle of them.

Although I am not motivated by a why, I am much more motivated by the because this is how "it" is "done", I do question every move I make. I do carry the thought right down to the worst case scenario. I do answer my own why but I still worry and think through, excessively think through, the decisions I make. I question myself more than I question my actions. I sit, I ponder, I think of every possible thing that could go right or wrong, and I reason it all out.

Raising two little faces that I ask to do this or that, or ask not to do this or that, I get asked why a lot. I have tried very hard to not come back with the typical, because I said so now just do it, response. Instead, I try an walk them through it all, I try and be reasonable and compassionate to all of the questions, but that's not always so easy. Patience wears thin, I have already explained it, I have answered and answered and now you're just arguing, and as always, I am tired guys. Gut-wrenching tired, bone tired, hard to stay awake ever tired.

But ask your questions, I will keep trying to answer them all. Ask your questions and dad will tell you how and why things are made. He will tell you where things are and about the history of this and that. I will tell you why I do things a certain way and how to keep yourself sane in an insane world. As you get older, remember it's okay to question yourself and your motives and your motivation and your decisions. Just do not get stuck, do not get trapped in a cycle of questions and talking yourself out of things that make you scared. Jump a little, believe just a little, trust just a little more.

Stop.

2
Jun

The Monks turns seven

Oh, sweet boy, if only you knew how loved you were. Maybe you do know because it's as much as you love others and life. There are so many times I look at you from across the room and this smile spreads to your face. Or you see me when you are on the baseball field and you will blow a kiss, or shout "I love you", or place your hand on your heart and give a warm and loving smile my way, or run over to give hugs. You, Monks, you are the lover of love and the reminder of all there is that is good.

From the second you came into this world, people fought to hold you, to change you, to be around you. You are a magnet for others, you attract good because you send good out there. Yes, all of this comes with every emotion and comes with wearing them all on your sleeve, and it comes with frustration on your part and ours, but damn, you are a lover of love and the kindness that the entire world needs.

And now, you are seven and nothing has changed. You are still the one loving life, living your best days. I will still find you engulfed in all the Legos, imagination running wild. I still find you not being able to decide between wanting to run and play outside or settle into all of your building inside. I still find you moving in your sleep, because you always move. I still find you dancing when you eat, because you always love your food. I still find you hugging like there is no tomorrow, because you give the best hugs. I still find you drowning in curls, because your hair is the only me you carry. I still find your wide blue eyes wild with love and adventure, because you are every other part dad. I still find you loving her, needing her, making sure she is always okay, because you are the best little brother.

But I also find you taller, needing more privacy, wanting more and more time with dad. I find you are reading better, writing better, learning more, asking more. You are getting bigger, it is happening. And I am enjoying, loving, basking, drunk even, in my front seat view of it all. That little face we brought home, the one in the little "I'm brand new" onesie, he is still in there. He is still all hair and chub and already loving to eat and smile. His eyes were huge, his heart even bigger and all that little nugget in my arms wanted was to be close. All of that, is still right there, it has not gone anywhere at all.

This version of you, this is the real you Monks. This loving, caring, kind, emotional magnet of all people, that is who you really are. Never forget it, never let go of it, don't let the world change it about you. You're the best Cole I know so never ever stop being you.

With all my love and light little monkey, I eat you up I love you so!

Mommy's sweet and low!

31
May

Five Minute Friday - name

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on name.

Mine fits me, is important to me, it's one of the things given to me that I am so proud of, in love with even. Dad's too, not only does his fit perfectly, even the spelling is him. Simple, not complex, nothing added as a buffer, just there, the real him. And together, our names now fit like they are supposed to. Not in a blended way, but just balance each other, compliment one another.

So, when it came time, we thought and thought and thought about the perfect names for you both. One, after so many women in our family, the other deeply attached to the family too. One, important to me, the other important to dad, both, fitting you. One meaning grace, the other a short name that embodies a lot of richness and depth. Names that needed to sound right together, apart, with our last name, without it. Names that felt like the right extension, addition to us. Both timeless.

And once settled, we felt so good, so right about our decisions. You didn't grow into them, you were them. You were born feeling like them and you continue to live right up to them. You embody them. I love calling you by your names, I love that this is what we picked for you. I love knowing that you too love your name. I love that you too realize it makes you special, to us, to you. I love knowing you are in love with all the nicknames that come with them, I just love you.

Until this reminder, I had almost forgotten how important naming you was to me. I had almost forgotten how much thought and emphasis I put on it. I had forgotten how much I loved mine, how much I wanted you to feel that way about yours. I almost forgot that I really wanted to get this right and I love that we did.


10
May

Five Minute Friday - practice

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on practice.

Go.

It doesn't make perfect, it just makes you better. Little faces, this is one of the adult secrets that I have learned time and time and time again. No matter how hard I work at something, it will not make me the best, just the best that I can do. And sometimes, even that isn't true. Something I could do so well yesterday, I my body won't feel the same and I can't today. Something that felt so right and I felt so strong in, will all of a sudden give out. Either exhaustion, or a tweak, or it all not aligning will impact it all.

So, there is no such thing as perfect, that is obvious, but the fact that practice doesn't necessarily always yield the exact results you are looking for is the hardest pill to swallow. A run that felt so strong could in the next week feel tiresome. A piece you have practiced over and over on the piano could be easily messed up just by one note. A line you were rehearsing for a play could leave you feeling too nervous to get it out when you are on that stage.

But, that doesn't mean we don't practice because, over time, it does make us our better selves. And it teaches us discipline and commitment. It teaches us to get stronger, more confident and it teaches us that even if the stars don't align and on the day it counts we aren't our best selves, we tried our hardest dammit and that effort is what really matters. It tells us that we gave it our all, we tried our hardest and if it was in the cards or not, that's all we can give, our best try.

So, I will never win a race. Sometimes, I don't even come close to what I wanted to do. There were two times I came in last place. There are times the work I pour myself into doesn't make sense to me anymore for weeks at a time. And no matter how hard I try, I will never look good running or doing yoga, my body will always look wrong. But I am showing up everyday, I am giving it my all and even though there are times I feel so defeated and deflated, I can always look in the mirror and say, I tried. I practiced and I left myself out there.

You will too. You'll see. It doesn't always feel amazing but when you sit back, when you can rest your head at night knowing you did the best you could, well, that's the feeling you want in life.

Stop.

3
May

Five Minute Friday - opportunity

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on opportunity.

Go.

Your dad worries about this one more than I do, at least in different ways than I do. He worries more about offering enough choices, activities, chances at doing better. He sees what you will become, he already sees all of the potential and he strongly feels it is up to us to nourish that, push you, have you be your best you. I worry about it in the sense of different choices. Do you have the opportunity to voice your concerns, do you have the opportunity to feel really heard, the opportunity to have us available to you, when you need and want us around?

Do you have the opportunity to feel what it means to be a part of a team, not just out there, but a team at home. Are we giving you an opportunity to see what that means, how much we rely on each other, how much we need each other? How we don't work without each other? Do you have the opportunity to see us fight and make up? Do you have the opportunity to see us hug and smooch and the opportunity to see what healthy relationships are, not perfect, there is no such thing, but loving. Do you have enough responsibilities, and the opportunity to grow beyond what you have done?

Do you have the opportunity to see how privileged you are? How privileged we all are? Do you have the opportunity to see that when you want something, you go get it, but that of course means sacrifice. That of course means something taking priority and something else not. Do we give you the opportunity to experience joy enough? Childhood enough? Are you living the childhood you want to be living? The opportunity to have enough down time, enough play time, enough time to just be and be you.

Those are the opportunities I want to present. One isn't more important or more precious. I get and understand where you dad is coming from. But, I do know that you will be your best you, I know you will turn out just great. I worry more that if you don't look back and see this time, this little window of just us, this very small stretch of cozy and family and little as simple childhood, I will feel as though an opportunity was lost.

Stop.

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