sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist, an unschooler, and and a spiritual being having a human experience

I woke in a new place this Christmas morning. It has been a long time since I was away from home on Christmas morning.

The sound of running water caught my attention, why is there water running?

The fish tank

All was quiet and everyone was asleep

Until I pulled my computer out to right

Now there are footsteps and voices

And it brings a smile to my face

I am in my daughter’s new home and my husband and youngest are here.

Soon the other two will arrive

And we will have our Christmas morning

Slowly unwrapping each gift

As we have done every year

We are a one gift at a time kind of family

And my kids have started a duct tape war

Wrapping a gift with excessive amounts of duct tape

Excessive!

It can take an hour to open one gift

We declared a truce on the war this year

We don’t the luxury of all day to open gifts

Yet, we are fortunate we can be together

For several hours

In my daughter’s big house that she rents with a friend

My youngest child who usually sleeps until 10 or 11 is awake with me now

It is 8am and I have been awake for an hour

She is anxious for everyone to get here and wishing she was still asleep

I am enjoying her sitting with me as I write

I have been so busy the past 2 weeks

Making Christmas gifts

Working at the nursing home (s)

Growing our Focused Healthy Family business

Recording Podcasts

Baking and food prepping

“Place your bets” she says

As she calculates how much time it will take her brother to arrive

And for his fiancé to arrive

They are in two different places this morning

She went to her parents last night

He was at work

Somehow my grown kids have work schedules like their mom

Working weekends and in a world where holiday time off does not exist

Yet, all is good

We made it work

To be together

And tomorrow

Abby and I will head home

Together

To have time with extended family

The Menzo Gang

At my parents house

No longer on the lake, like years ago

When we gathered for a week

Room enough for all to stay together

Pitter-patter of little feet

Making movies and taking boat rides

We all miss the house on Lake Murray

Glad that my parents live closer to me now

And they are with us at 79 and 80 years

My mind wanders and then I bring it back

To now

Today

In this big wonderful house in Knightdale

Soon we will all be together

The Grothoff 6

Merry Christmas

I took a spontaneous trip back to Raleigh with my daughter last night

She was home for just one night

For a weekend after Thanksgiving

For time with family

It wasn’t enough time

It wasn’t enough time for her to recharge

It wasn’t enough time for me to love on her

To fill her cup

Trying to get on the road to be home by 8pm

Reluctant to leave

Leaving on a Monday around 4:30 pm 

So much traffic…

I sat in her room 

As she packed up to head home

Reluctant to leave

Leaving on a Monday around 4:30 pm 

So much traffic…

I sat in her room 

As she packed up to head home

I listened to her

I was a shoulder to cry on

As she vented and stressed about returning to her place

Hugs

Then, I had an idea…

The train!

In 30 minutes I managed to:

Locate a train for the next day

She could drop me off on her way to work

I could take the 10am train home

“But Mom, I have to leave for work by 8am”

I can hang out at the train station

It’s a beautiful train station with comfortable places to sit

I had taken a train back home several months ago

It was a Friday evening train

It was crowded and my first time ever riding 

An Amtrak Train

Tuesday, mid-morning

That should be easy!

I packed an overnight bag

Last minute trip

No time to worry

Limit my luggage to carryon bag and back pack

I was focused and got it done

My husband got food together for us

We loaded her car and were on the road at 5pm

Half a tank of gas

“I got home on half a tank, it should be enough”

I had a feeling we would need gas

She talked and I drove

Driving my old civic

The car we gave her when her Subaru became unreliable

Lively and engaged in conversation

Much different mood than an hour before in her room

Low gas warning light

She found a station with low price with Gas Buddy

As I filled the car with gas

A woman in a red Camry asked me for help

She was lost and out of gas

She wanted directions

I did not know my way around

My phone!

I used my navigation app 

To enter the address of where she needed to go

I read to her what it said

She looked lost and confused

“Please help me” she repeated

I asked my daughter to write down the directions

She asked for a few dollars for gas

I dug in my wallet knowing I had no cash

Between the two of us, we only had coins

My credit card!

I offered to fill up her car with some gas

“Thank you”

She was so grateful

She was parked too far from the tank 

And parked with the wrong side facing the tank

She struggled to drive between my car and another

To turn her car around to pull up to the tank

I wanted to offer to drive the car for her

I chuckled at the situation

“Are you laughing at me?”

Amused by the situation and happy

Happy that I could help her

I told her I wouldn’t have helped if she had been a man

And she understood and agreed

Happy to help her out

Knowing her feeling of being lost

And out of gas

I had been in a situation as a 23 year old

At night driving home without my wallet

Turned the wrong way and was so low on gas

It was 1993 and I had no cell phone

I imagined I would need to stop at a gas station and beg for a dollar to fill up my tank…

Wow

I did not have to stop that night

I made it back to my apartment

Here I was almost 30 years later

Helping someone else in a similar situation

My daughter and I were happy that we took the time too help

I heard her ask someone else for directions as I filled her car

She was headed to the hospital

I was even more grateful that I was able to help her

She had found someone who would help her

To let her follow them to get her back on the right road

To get to the hospital

I never asked where she was going and why

My daughter and I enjoyed time together at her house

Watching our favorite TV show

And then off to bed to get up by 6:30 am

She has a spare room in the house she rents with a friend

It has been convenient for us to visit and stay with her

It feels so good to be there for her

When she needs us

To spontaneously pack a bag

And drive her home

Reflecting on my 53 years on this earth and 30 years living in Charlotte

I feel a sense of peace and gratitude thinking about my career as an Occupational Therapist.

I am so grateful for:

My guidance counselor in highschool for one year when my regular counselor was on sabbatical

He asked me if I wanted to be a teacher or a nurse

And then showed me a book with a list of careers

I had an interest in special education and psychology

In that book, I found a description of Occupational Therapy

The practice of occupational therapy means the therapeutic use of everyday life occupations
with persons, groups, or populations (clients) to support occupational performance and
participation. Occupational therapy practice includes clinical reasoning and professional
judgment to evaluate, analyze, and diagnose occupational challenges (e.g., issues with client
factors, performance patterns, and performance skills) and provide occupation-based
interventions to address them. Occupational therapy services include habilitation, rehabilitation,
and the promotion of physical and mental health and wellness for clients with all levels of ability related needs. These services are provided for clients who have or are at risk for developing an
illness, injury, disease, disorder, condition, impairment, disability, activity limitation, or
participation restriction. Through the provision of skilled services and engagement in everyday
activities, occupational therapy promotes physical and mental health and well-being by
supporting occupational performance in people with, or at risk of experiencing, a range of
developmental, physical, and mental health disorders.

American Occupational Therapy Association

The description was simpler than the above definition by AOTA

Recalling things from 36 years ago has its challenges

I remember my amazement as he fed a piece of paper into a machine and it produced a list of colleges

Colleges with a major in Occupational Therapy

I had no idea what a fax machine was

It was 1986

I only guessed, years later, that it was a fax machine

I am so grateful for:

That moment when I read the description of Occupational Therapy and new in that moment

I had found my path

I never intended to have a career

My vision of my adult life was to work as my mother did

And when I got married, I would stay home to raise my kids

College was what you did after high school

You picked a major and found a college to attend

I am grateful for my parents and their focus on my education

I am grateful that my parents always chose a place for us to live that had a reputable school district

I am grateful that we were living in Pennsylvania when I was in high school

And Pennsylvania had two liberal arts colleges with a major in Occupational Therapy

I wanted to go away to college yet didn’t want to travel too far

I was able to visit both of these small schools and spend a night with a current student and visit the Occupational Therapy department

College Misericordia and Elizabethtown College

I am so grateful for the amazing young women I met at Etown

I am so grateful for their friendship

I am so grateful for:

The amazing professors and instructors at Etown

The most amazing four years of my life at Etown from 1988- 1992

Getting accepted to the program as they only took 40 students each year

Discovering adult physical rehabilitation at Good Shepherd Nursing and Rehab

When my previously scheduled clinical in Erie was canceled

I am grateful for all the opportunities in my life

I am grateful for all the opportunities I chose

I am forever grateful for my first job as an OT at Charlotte Rehab

And all the amazing people I met and had the privilege of working alongside

I am so grateful for this path I chose for it has led me to

Right here and right now

I am filled with amazement and joy at my life

Right here and write now

Ode to Nov 8, 1992-2022

November 8,1992

I packed my Corolla and traveled solo

from Whitehall, Pa to Charlotte, NC

I left the day before and made a stop to visit college friends in Town

First move as a grown up, just graduated with my OT degree.

I can still see the ad in my AJOT magazine

Yes, that was how you found a job in 1992

The ad read:

Shouldn’t you be in Charlotte?

Little did I know the truth in that message.

Adopted first kittens from my sister‘s friend, my sweet Lassie and Thumper

Met my soul mate 4 months later in March of 1993

And we got married May 14, 1994.

Three little birds followed…

November 10, 1997: The gift of love

February 6, 2002: Feminine empowerment

January 8, 2009: Bundle of Joy born in our home to make our family complete

Oct 29, 2010: the gift of peace: our family angel, Olive, joined our home

Bookclub in 2006: Peanut climbed in Harrison’s lap

And some years later: Shiloh stole Abby’s heart

Abby begged us to let her fed a stray tuxedo cat, Not

Fall of 2018: Two tine kittens showed up in our yard, Sunshine and Shadow

And then Nox showed up with her kitten and as Abby and Lexi heard noises from the nearby quarry, name her Boom Boom

Our outside cat clan grew to 5 with my sweet Domino, the reincarnation of Thumper, which I confirmed when he crossed the rainbow bridge

So many animals in our life bringing us unconditional love

30 years have passed since I made the leap and moved 600+ miles from home to begin my adult life

November 8, 2022

homeschooling mom of 3, and 2 graduated!

Breastfeeding advocate

Former La Leche League Leader

Adult and geriatric rehab OT

Co-founder of Focused Healthy Family with my amazing soul mate, Don

Writer, blogger

Lover of life and all things parenting

Dog mamma, cat rescue mamma

LGBTQIA ally &advocate

Happy to have my parents living less than an hour away

So HAPPY to be living in Charlotte 30 years later

North Carolina, my beloved state, make me proud and turn us blue today… do it for me as an anniversary gift.

Thank you

I have been blessed with four amazing women in my life and the group of us have been meeting up virtually and weekly since March. We have grown close in that time and have been through a physical health journey with the Restart: sugar detox program which is how we met. And then we embarked on a mental health journey with the Positive Intelligence program.
We started Restart with 6 women and our fearless facilitator and had no idea how connected most of us would become. More than six months later, we support each other daily through the magic of virtual communication via Marco Polo, Zoom, text messages, and even phone calls.

Being part of this group has been a stretch for me. It is outside my safety bubble of my immediate family. I share openly in my writing and that feels easy. Speaking to others and in a group, even on zoom, can be a challenge for me. Sure, I am good at surface conversation and simple chat. That is part of my job as an Occupational Therapist and I have a sense of comfort in that setting. A conversation that goes beyond where you grew up, what you do for a living, how many children or grandchildren you have, etc. requires more effort and energy. I am a great listener, most of the time, and especially with those outside my family. Yet, sharing my own thoughts, feelings and experiences requires vulnerability.

We use this term often, vulnerable. We applaud each other on being vulnerable.

When you read the Merriam Webster Dictionary definition of the word you find this:

Definition of vulnerable

1capable of being physically or emotionally wounded

2open to attack or damage ASSAILABLEvulnerable to criticism

3liable to increased penalties but entitled to increased bonuses after winning a game in contract bridge

I dug further by searching Emotional Vulnerability and found an article entitled, Emotional Vulnerability: What It Is and Why It Matters written by a psychologist who defined it as:

The willingness to acknowledge your emotions, especially painful ones.

In reading this article, I can sum it up with this one sentence taken directly from the end of the article.

Emotional vulnerability is simply the skill that allows you to acknowledge difficult or painful emotions instead of immediately avoiding them or reacting to them.

I invite you to contemplate your own experiences with emotional vulnerability and sharing your inner most thoughts and feelings with important people in your life.

In what settings or with what people have you felt true to yourself?

What people or situations create the desire to withdraw or hide your true self?

My challenge has been building meaningful friendships. I share openly with my husband and my children. I am a mixed bag with my family of origin. I believe my biggest challenge has been in building intimate adult friendships. I do have many amazing friends in my life and many who have been there for me and my family during my husband’s health crises and during other events. My ability to share of myself in these relationships is what I believe has prevented me from feeling more fully connected and supported.

As you ponder these ideas, I will leave you with these beautiful lyrics first sung by Cyndi Lauper:

  • You with the sad eyes
    Don’t be discouraged
    Oh I realize
    It’s hard to take courage
    In a world full of people
    You can lose sight of it all
    And the darkness inside you
    Can make you feel so small
  • But I see your true colors
    Shining through
    I see your true colors
    And that’s why I love you
    So don’t be afraid to let them show
    Your true colors
    True colors are beautiful
    Like a rainbow
  • Show me a smile then
    Don’t be unhappy, can’t remember
    When I last saw you laughing
    If this world makes you crazy
    And you’ve taken all you can bear
    You call me up
    Because you know I’ll be there
  • And I’ll see your true colors
    Shining through
    I see your true colors
    And that’s why I love you
    So don’t be afraid to let it show
    Your true colors
    True colors are beautiful
    Like a rainbow
  • (Can’t remember when I last saw you laughing)
  • If this world makes you crazy
    And you’ve taken all you can bear
    You call me up
    Because you know I’ll be there
  • And I’ll see your true colors
    Shining through
    I see your true colors
    And that’s why I love you
    So don’t be afraid to let it show
  • Your true colors
    True colors
    True colors
    Shining through
  • I see your true colors
    And that’s why I love you
    So don’t be afraid to let them show
    Your true colors
    True colors are beautiful
    Like a rainbow
  • Writer/s: Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly
    Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Last night the five of us were together for game night. Abby joined us via Facetime yet it felt almost as good as her being here in person. Looking at these sweet faces and thinking over the past 13 years since this picture was taken, I realize that this is still how I see them in my heart.

I have two children in their twenties and a teenager. Did I see this 30 years ago when I decided to move to Charlotte? Becoming a mom was always on my mind. I envisioned having at least 4 children. Instead I have 3 birthed children and now have a wonderful almost daughter-in-law, who balances out our act. I have shared my home with two dogs and a total of 5 cats, as well as the three cats who adopted our property as their home base.

My life feels full, overflowing with love. My son has taken our boxes of more than 30 years of pictures and has been scanning them into digital format for us. I helped him sort some of them by date and shared many memories and laughs with him; sweet tender moments, silliness and a few pictures from my teenage years. There were more than 5000 pictures in those boxes that had been sitting on the top shelf of a closet. Now we will be able to organize and categorize them in a google drive easily accessible to all.

Today I stood outside at 6:00 am before the sunrise. I listened to the sounds of nature and looked at the quarter moon in the star speckled sky. I recalled camping trips with my kids and our friends from many years ago. One year, Don joined us for a family camping trip and what I remember most is how it poured rain one afternoon and the 4 of us huddled in the center of our leaking tent listening to the sound of the rain. My youngest never had the experience of camping.

I have options. I can choose to focus on lack and the experiences she didn’t have. I can choose to see missed opportunities and things I wish I had done differently or I can choose love and abundance. I can recall the memories for the experiences they were and see the gifts in my life as well as for all of my children. They have their own individual paths on this journey we call life as do all of us.

The biggest challenge for me is wishing more connection for my youngest. Her siblings spent more time together in our early homeschooling journey being only four years apart. When I look at this picture it reminds me of those precious years when the five of us were all together under one roof. Trips to the park with the four of us when my minivan was full of spare clothes, random books and papers and three beautiful, creative, noisy children. I see the love they have for each other and especially their baby sister. My last birthed baby who was the missing puzzle piece for our family.

This connection that I have created with my children fills me with pride. My husband and I have birthed a family environment of support and connection. Despite the challenges we have been through and those that lie ahead, we know we can count on each other. My son shows up when my daughter moved into her apartment and she felt strongly about being there for him and his move. My youngest looks forward to game night with the six of us and I believe we all share that love of time together.

I see this picture and I know their connection can continue to grow with time as my youngest moves through her. teenage years. This reminds me of when our outside cat, Nox, gave birth to three kittens. As we found homes for them, my then ,20 year old son wanted them to all go to a home together. He didn’t want to see them split up from their siblings. My greatest wish for my children is no matter where life takes them, that the three of them can stay connected and always be there for each other.

March 2022: I joined restart with a group of 6 amazing women and embarked on a sugar detox journy.

Little did I know this journey was about far more than physical health. It was a pathway to friendships and an avenue for delving deeper into my personal path of growth and discovery. Those words do not even adequately describe this experience.

May 2022: This same group of amazing women signed up for Positive Intelligence with our fearless leader. Beyond nutrition, we immersed ourselves in understanding the messages we tell ourselves. The positive and negative messages and how they have served us and a new path towards healing.

July 2022: Four of us chose to continue to work with the woman who first brought us together with Restart which includes weekly zoom meet-ups and daily check-ins using the Marco Polo app and a text thread. Never before have I participated with the same group of people for this length of time on a deep emotional level of connection.

August 2022: I chose to shift my food choices once again to clear myself of sugar and foods that don’t serve me. It felt so much easier this time, in part because I had learned new skills and had continued at least 50% of the time with a new way of eating and looking at food.

It is now September and I am finally seeing the reward for my efforts. I feel better in my clothing and have more energy than I have felt in a long time. I start each day, or most days, more eager to engage in my life. Only one month ago, I had a goal to walk 30 minutes 3 1/2 times per week and I have now walked 7 of the past 9 days, almost an hour and over 5000 steps each time !

I began this blog 12 years ago. My first post was published August 28, 2010. My mind instantly goes to the ages of my children at that time. My greatest role in life is being a mom. Rather than resist the thought, I will embrace it. My son was 12 years old and approaching his 13th birthday. My middle child 8 and my youngest just 19 months old. We were a busy home/unschooling family meeting up weekly with our homeschool group and participating in numerous events and activities. I had returned to work part time that early that year due to my husband’s job loss in the summer of 2008.

I created Child-led Learning with my first blog post in May of 2013 now, further along in our home/unschool journey and with many conferences behind me including multiple times serving as a presenter. My kids now ages 15, 11 and 4. At the age of 43, I began focusing my writing on what had become my biggest passion, learning through living. That title was already taken and so I chose Child-led Learning for my blog as I feel my children have led me in my own journey of personal growth and knowledge. And I have followed their interests to further facilitate their journey of educational growth and enrichment. These concepts along with allowing them freedom of choice including how they spent their time, created a unique learning experience for each of them and for myself. For each of them, day to day life has looked different and also very different from the schedule created by traditional school.

I am a writer.

Writing is my path and my passion. I feel compelled to write and share my thoughts, reflections and experiences. I write for myself and believe that if it helps even one person on their journey then it has been worth sharing. I also share my writing to put myself out there and break out of the negative mindset of feeling invisible. I remember the first time I took that big step out of my comfort zone by selecting, publish.

Stepping further back in time, I launched Charlotte Homeschooling.com 14 years ago. So much has happened in 14 years, in nearly 53 years of life, and also over the past 6 months.

September, the start of autumn. The leaves fall off the trees in the northern hemisphere and as the cycle of plant life winds down, many people begin a new school year.

My personal mental health journey and struggles with bipolar depression have not followed a time rhythm, not in duration of each phase nor in correspondence with the climate seasons. My ups and downs have been created as life challenges have placed themself before me and how I have responded to them. I have often risen to the occasion with a big life challenge and then months later have found myself drained and depleted by the experience. Other times, I have become overwhelmed during a challenge and have fallen further as I felt disappointment in myself for not responding more effectively. I see too how there are times when I have created a more desirable path for myself. When I engage fully in my joy it further elevates my consciousness and allows me to find the positives in any given situation.

On October 15th of 1969, almost 53 years ago, my consciousness emerged into this physical world in a 10 lb, 7 oz package. I believe from a spiritual perspective, that I chose October 15 to emerge into the physical world as a declaration of my intentions and truth. My mother always told me it was world peace day, decided that very year during the Vietnam War. My research lead me to learn about the Moratorium to end the Vietnam War which was a massive demonstration and teach-in across the United States against the US involvement in the Vietnam War. This event took place on October 15, 1969 and was followed a month later by a large Moratorium March in Washington, DC where over a quarter of a million people gathered and then marched down Pennsylvania Avenue bearing candles and led by Coretta Scott King.

As I reflect not only on this world famous momentous occasion, but also the at times mundane yet meaningful experiences of my person life, I feel a divine connection and a calling to continue to speak my truth and to share it with the world.

Self-care with Pen and Paper

I like to listen to our recorded podcasts because I believe it helps me improve my speaking skills. It also gives me an opportunity to objectively look at not only what I say but how I say it. 

I finished listening to podcast # 9 entitled, Self-care with Pen and Paper from our Self-care Series.

Beyond my first thoughts of critiquing myself and thinking about ways to not only improve my communication and speaking skills, but also to improve our podcast, I gleaned some insight into my own advice. 

Writing or journaling into self-care

When I create the time and space to write, I have a powerful opportunity to step into my true self and to heal past wounds. Writing serves as a form of reflection for me. As I am writing my thoughts, I am seeing the experience in a new light and find truth, understanding and growth in the process. 

Self-care is more than having a spa day or being by yourself for a few hours. Taking a few minutes each morning to step outside, to breath, to focus on one sense like the sounds you hear, can create the opportunity to step into your day with a new perspective. Finding what brings you joy is part of the process. Even if you don’t identify as a writer, you can find introspection with pen and paper. 

Evening brain dump:

Have a notebook by your bed and unload all the thoughts you have swirling in your head before going to sleep. This is also an opportunity for end of day gratitude or writing your intentions for the next day. 

Morning journal:

First thing in the morning, spend 5 or 15 minutes writing. It doesn’t matter what you put on that paper. You can start with, I have no idea what to write but I am going to try this writing first thing in the morning. Do this for several days or weeks and you might be surprised at what shows up on the paper. 

Gratitude/ Intentions for the Day:

I like to journal after I have showered and use what I have called my Gratitude, Yea Gina! Journal. I write both things that have happened that I am grateful for and things I intend to create for my day ahead. I started this journal after I found myself ruminating at the end of the day with everything I wish I had done differently. Since that time, I shifted to an intention mindset before going off to work as an Occupational Therapist. I was amazed that the days I struggled at work were the days when I did not take the time to write. Overtime, it became a mindset shift and even on the days that I don’t take the 5 minutes to write in my journal, I find myself either looking at the journal and speaking the intention or thinking about it. The practice of regular morning writing to start my day has carried over to a new attitude as I approach my day. I am now learning the importance of continuing this habit on days when I do not head out to work. 

Monday June 6, 2022

I AM grateful for :

Sleep

Diving healing love is flowing through me now and for this I AM grateful. Divine healing love is flowing through me and surrounding my family in a bubble of light. Thank you God. I AM grateful for cooler weather. Days at home. Going to visit Abby.

Seeing the dogs. Abby;s awesome house. Home Peace Serenity

Calm, confidence, courageous curious confident

Diving healing love is flowing through me now and for this I AM grateful.

Cooler weather

One step at a time

Calm, courageous confidence

Center and connected.

Smooth, calm confidence at work and home.

Doodle:

Have a pen and paper when you are on the phone or at any time of the day and just scribble

You don’t even have to use words. You can make pictures or just different lines and marks. In the days of taking notes while talking on the phone, I would find myself making geometric shapes or simple flowers on the paper along with the message or even when I did not need to write down a message. 

Variety of Media:

Write with chalk on the driveway.

Finger paint, by yourself!

Color with crayons.

Create a word from things found outside like sticks, leaves and grass. 

Pick anything and try it for even a week. It might lead you to a new practice you enjoy or maybe to another activity that has nothing to do with writing yet was inspired by writing. You never know what you will discover and where it will lead you. 

Fantabulous Friday

Friday feels like a Sunday to me because I know I am going to work for at least the next 2 days.

Today I celebrate where I am on this sunny Friday, August day.

Bees buzz around and I spot a blue swallowtail butterfly on the pink flowers of the bush in front of me.

My youngest is walking around with our camera with zoom lens looking for birds to photograph. A love of birding, inspired by my brother.

White puffy clouds swirl into shapes over my head. I try to identify an animal or other object in the clouds. the clouds appear to be coming at me as they slowly transform. It felt very humid when I took my walk earlier, yet right now in the sade of the trees as I sit on my front porch, the temperature is comfortable. An occasional breeze crosses my face and I am content sitting here.

I close my eyes and first hear the sound of saws from across the road where they are building new houses. Cicadas, birds and a then the sound of a car coming down the road. I hear the sounds of the tires on the gravel as the truck turns before reaching my house.

I breath in the air trying to identify smells, yet all that comes to mind is that it smells like summer.

There are currently four houses being built in our neighborhood and two other lots have been cleared for future homes. I have enjoyed watching the progress of their construction even though I find it sad that so many trees have been cut down.

I am distracted by a text message from my co-worker. She is asking if I can cover her for a few days in December! It’s August. Who knows what I will be doing in December?

This brings to mind the fact that my middle child now lives 3 hours away from home and will be working the week of Christmas. I have thought about this before and already started brainstorming some ideas of how the six of us can gather to celebrate. Even though my oldest moved out 3 years ago, we still have had Christmas morning together. I feel an emptiness when I think about this.

I look up at the bees buzzing around again and the sun peeks from the clouds and is now reached the height where it shines past the tree cover. Ed Sheeran sings, Castle on the Hill, and I close my eyes hearing the music and the buzzing of the bees and the saws.

Some birds begin to chirp and I feel the wrought iron seat of my glider and a random thought pops into my mind,

I am a grown-up.

I find this thought funny coming from a nearly 53 year old woman with three children, two of them in their twenties.

The thought continues to permeate my existence.

I am a grown-up!

I have my own family now and we own our home. I have three amazing children and a wonderful husband. My son is engaged to an wonderful person and whose presence brings extra light and love into our home. We have cared for two dogs who now keep my middle child company on her adventure living on her own. Many cats have come into and out of our lives. We have made friends near and far and traveled to the beaches of North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida as well as vacation time spent in the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. I have been working as an Occupational Therapist for almost 30 years and have an outlet for my writing. My husband and I have been together for 29 years and married for 28.

I get to decide what kind of day I am going to have.

I am choosing my path.

I am creating a fearless, fresh, fanciful, fantastic and fantabulous Friday!

Manic or Magical Monday ?

Magical, marvelous, mystical, mighty Monday

Terrific, tremendous Tuesday

Wild, wonderful, wistful, wacky Wednesday

Thoughtful, thankful, thriving Thursday

Fantastic, fabulous, funky Friday

Spontaneous, special, satisfying Saturday

Superb, soulful, super shiny Sunday

How do you begin your day?

What are the first thoughts you have as you wake up each day of the week

I love when the song Manic Monday comes on the radio because I change the lyrics to

“It’s just another wonderful Monday. Glad it is Monday, because that’s my fun day.”

Working weekends, I look forward to Monday. I work sporadically during the week as well and so this week, Tuesday was my funday.

For me, the challenge is to avoid the dread of Saturday. It is so easy to get trapped in the mindset of begrudging our work days.

Everybody’s working for the weekend
Everybody wants a new romance
Everybody’s goin’ off the deep end
Everybody needs a second chance,

How would our experience change if we started each day with a new mantra?

If we relabeled our days with possibility and released expectation would it change the outcome?

One way to do this is to change up your routine and begin your day in a new way. It could be as simple as walking a different path on your morning walk or making breakfast the night before to have something tasty and nourishing ready for you as you wake. Prepping things the night before can give you time for the next day or allow you to sleep a little longer. Get up 15 minutes earlier and have a journal on your nightstand to release your running stream of thoughts as you awake or use the writing time to set your intentions for the day.

After my shower, I pick up my “Gratitude, Thank you God!” Journal where I declare my intentions for the day and write gratitude for things that have transpired as well as things not yet completed.

  • Journal Entry: Saturday May 21

I am so grateful for now

for PQ reps to start my day

Diving healing love, focus, smooth easy work day.

Divine healing love is flowing through me now

Calm, confident, comfortable, connected, smooth and efficient work day

Smooth flow

Divine healing love is flowing through me and

And for this I AM grateful

Diving healing LOVE is flowing through me and surrounding my family Thank you God!

You can live each day in the dread of the expectations of what is yet to come

You can choose a new thought or even if you can’t shift your mind, you can shift your actions.

Step outside and:

  • breathe the air
  • watch the sunrise or the clouds or the rain drops
  • stand barefoot on the ground
  • focus on birds or the trees
  • close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the earth

You can choose to a new beginning at any time of the day

You have a million moments in 24 hours to step into a new direction.

What will be your next step?

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