Life

Writing a Palanca Letter

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What is a palanca letter I asked myself as a woman from our congregation passed out a flyer asking parishioners to write one. Oh course, I turned to Google for assistance. Palanca is a spanish word that means lever, an instrument that helps lift something up. The palanca letter is a personal note to someone attending a spiritual retreat and as with many things in life, I was coincidentally being asked from two separate corners of my life to write these letters on the same weekend. One for a stranger, an inmate at a nearby prison and one to my aunt who lives in Texas.

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Life

Dreams you don’t know you have

Greece was never on my bucket list and I’m not even sure why. Maybe it’s because I heard about their economy which had imploded. Maybe it’s that the language seemed scary and so foreign. It was nearly half a world away and the flight would be long. But, alas, when my friend mentioned she was going there for a yoga retreat every ounce of my being was aching to be there too. More for the yoga retreat than anything else.

When she asked me to go, I was elated but I never imagined I’d be able to go. I have my family and I’m unemployed – how selfish would it be to ask if I could do this. When I arrived home from the bruch where I heard about the retreat, I casually mentioned it to my husband. My brother-in-law was there and can vouch that I never outright asked to go, but within minutes it was happening. I was texting my friend- I’m in!!!!!! Yes, I’m pretty sure I used all those exclamation points. Greece. Yoga. Meditation. I can remember the joy I felt the moment I realized it was going to happen.

This was in March of this past year and the retreat was slated for the end of July. It seemed like an eternity away. I wanted to lose some stubborn weight that had been sitting and growing in my belly area for a few years. I had stopped going to yoga because our Saturdays were filled with other activities and I needed to get back at it. Life kept chugging along. I got on a nutrition program, upped my workouts and rekindled my love for Saturday yoga.

The day to leave for Greece finally came. All the work to get there was about to pay off. With a suitcase full of new clothes and my longtime friend by my side we started the trip of a lifetime. I didn’t know that it would be more than I ever imagined.

MC

Life

Snakes and bugs, oh my

Snakes scare the crap out of me. They always have. Apparently they thrive in Florida because not a trip goes by without me seeing one. This time, a small red and black creature was waiting at the back door to greet me and my scream was probably exaggerated compared to the size of this little guy. I immediately slammed and locked the back door hoping it would be gone the next morning. A favorite aspect of our home in Florida is the covered patio at the back of the house so I didn’t want this standing between us.

My scream didn’t scare this little guy away – he was waiting in the same spot today – and when I opened the door he somehow managed to slither into the lanai. Oof! I ran for the broom and hastily pushed him back outside and swpt him onto a patio block in the grass. He stayed nearby as I was putting the patio furniture out but by the time I went to grab my phone for a picture, he had disappeared. I think not knowing where he went makes me a bit uncomfortable.

I’ve overcome a lot of fears in my life but bugs and snakes are something I can’t seem to get past. It took a while but I think I’ve come to accept the geckos which are the chipmunks of the south. Somehow they get inside the house and die and shrivel up between our visits here and I find their husks in the corners of the lanai.

Honestly, I could really do without seeing all these creatures even if we somehow have to coexist in the world together. I know we each have our purpose. Do you have any phobias you wish you could overcome?

MC

Life, Uncategorized

Small progress

Later today I’m leaving for a week away. When you’re unemployed, taking a vacation seems redundant but there you have it. At least it will be a change of scenery and better weather (although it’s pretty nice here in upstate New York).

I was so fired up from my last post about decluttering that I did something pretty amazing yesterday. Drumroll, please… I went to the landfill!!!! Yup, I took that old broken television and a monitor that doesn’t work and a laptop that has seen better days AND the huge box the new television came in right to the landfill. I have lived here 17 years without making a single trip to the landfill. It was a revelation!

I also mentioned my plan to my husband and I think the action I took about getting rid of these things that had become the backdrop of our life opened him to the idea of getting rid of more stuff. A lot more stuff. Of course he asked what I was going to do with my hot button items: the juicer I no longer use and the food vacuum sealer thing I bought because I was going to do freezer cooking. These are things I need to think about because I’m not using them and they were pretty expensive.

One thing he didn’t mention was my long forgotten scrapbooking hobby that has been taking up space in our very disorganized loft space. I don’t think you can call it a hobby because I never really did it. I actually went up to our loft yesterday with the intention of throwing out the scrapbooking stuff, but boy do I have a surprise for him. I’ll tell you more about that next week but I’m pretty excited about it.

I need to find my own word for ‘onward’.

MC

Life

Sunday afternoon at the trampoline park

It’s not lost on me that it is a gorgeous, sunny afternoon and I’m with two twelve year old boys who want to do inside things. Don’t they know winter is coming?! The naïveté of youth.

I spent the early part of the afternoon outside with a book which I could barely stay awake to read. I’m certainly not complaining because napping in the sunshine is my favorite. The rays beating down, almost caressing you to sleep, the book splayed on your lap, a forgotten companion.

The boys were inside, shooting each other up on Fortnite (or whatever it is they do on that game). They couldn’t care less about blue skies and sunshine in their zombie-like state. Eventually I pulled the plug and after moaning a bit, they thought a trip to the trampoline park would be fun. Why not?

The place is nearly empty. Most parents have better sense than to let their kids stay inside all day, but this parent is too tired to come up with alternatives so here we are. Sunday afternoon at the trampoline park, 80’s music instead of sunshine beating from above. Mom gets an hour to write and read.

Hope you are enjoying Sunday, wherever you are.

MC

Life

Days Like This

I have been on a mission to blog every day in September. It went pretty well until today which was a long day of activities for my son. I started a few different posts and was going to talk about how parenting can be very boring at times or the pitfalls of over parenting (cue Felicity Huffman’s jail sentence) or how certain activities can help with parenting like my son’s involvement in Taekwondo. I titled that one Tough Love Taekwondo.

But my brain is tired and I couldn’t really pull together what I wanted to say about any of those topics in a meaningful post. So here I am at the end of the day unable to think of much more than putting my head on the pillow. My momma said there’d be days like this. Days where tired is good even if you didn’t get to tick much off your to-do list.

MC

Life

Simple morning routine and prayer

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With routines, I’ve learned that simple is best. Wake, 6-Minute Diary, then meditation followed by a short prayer. It is simple and quick, nearly idiot proof. The whole thing takes less than 20 minutes which makes it easy to accomplish. I’ve tried making more complicated routines but they were never managable for me. They included drinking a glass of lemon water (oh, the lemons I’ve had to throw out!), writing morning pages, gym time and creating a to do list for the day. I’ve learned that it takes time to build morning routines and to take it baby steps at a time, to give myself small successes first.

Although I have been a lifelong Catholic, fitting prayer into my day has not always been a priority. My prayers were always selfish, coming fast and furious when things got rough. Please get me out of this. Please make this better. If you help me with this, I’ll be a better person. Selfish. Don’t get me wrong, I’d pray for others too. If I knew of someone hurting or sick or in need of general support, I’d definitely send a quick prayer their way.

My prayers for today, though, are thankful, asking for help to stay in today, to keep myself free of fear, self-pity and self-seeking motives.  I ask to be shown times where I can help others instead of worrying about myself. When I pray during times of hardship, I’m praying more for grace to face something in a more accepting manner instead of making a situation go away. Without our trials and darkness, I’m pretty sure the sun wouldn’t shine so bright on easier days.

I also wanted to make my daily prayer more personal so I wrote my own. I used words that were in my heart, words that feel authentic when I say them. Am I more peaceful today because of prayer? I don’t know. But I do know I am more peaceful, accepting and resilient than I used to be.

Have a wonderful Friday and weekend!

MC

 

 

 

Life

An ordinary day

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The days that become big and important in our mind, when solemn and life-changing things happen, don’t they all start out as ordinary days? Weren’t you rushing out the door, hoping not to be late to work again, fighting with all the other commuters for your place on the road? The radio on in the background catching you up on the news of yesterday but you’re thinking of other things. I forgot my lunch. What’s for dinner? Will I see my newish boyfriend tonight?

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Life

Baking bread and revisiting Pinterest

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The other day I was determined to make a loaf of bread. When I visited my sister several weeks ago, to be with her for her friends wake and funeral, another one of her friends popped in for dinner with a couple of homemade loaves of bread in hand. She’d only been invited a couple hours prior and I was astounded that she came by with a beautiful lemon meringue pie and two loaves of bread warm out of the oven. I want to be like her when I grow up! I have been thinking about homemade bread ever since.

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