Bright Copper Kettles


Everyone has their THING; their favorite thing that makes them who they are. Looking back on this past week, I was reminded that those favorite things are really what make me ME.  And everyone has one or two.

I am dreading the winter weather. The anticipation of snow and wind, COLD DARK stormy days and nights……(shiver) just makes me queasy. So now more than ever, I revert to all of those things that make me smile inside. For me, it’s not just about being thankful for all that I have (which I am!) or embracing every moment (which I do!), it’s also about knowing who I am and no matter where I am in my life or what season it is, I am happy because of what I surround myself with. My family, my friends, teaching, music, good food, dancing (always dancing!), the beach (even if just memories) and laughter.

Fortunately, my job gave me an opportunity to enjoy one of my most favorite things this past week; the beach. Though I had to work full days, my wonderful friend and colleague and I made time to escape to the beach very early each morning and a few minutes during the day. I realized during those special times that it was just what I was needing to feel rejuvenated and ME. Being near the water, made me feel at home, comforted and happy. I was lucky enough to spend time with a good friend, soak up some sun (and LOTS of rain) and feel the warmth of healing salt water. I guess it had to be some sort of endorphin that kicked in and took over all of the negativity that was floating around inside me.

My friend and I complimented each other well this week as I embraced her favorite thing; hot tubs and she, mine; the beach. Other colleagues and professionals around us had their favorite things too; coffee, talking a lot, working a lot, talking about work, wine, food and running. There is so much I can learn from other people and expanding my horizons. But in truth, I am happiest in my own favorite things.

So even though I am dreading winter and the cold that I know is upon us. I am embracing it by always thinking of my happy place and knowing it’s out there just waiting for me whenever I want it even if just in my thoughts. For now, I stay warm as I write this by having a fire in the back yard at breakfast-time, drinking my weekend coffee with Baileys, listening to my favorite music and WRITING. Pretty awesome, I must say. This week is about being THANKFUL. There is an abundance of gratitude in my heart; for every life lesson, for the opportunity to teach, for my husband and my children, my family and my friends. My soul is comforted by these favorite things too. Setting my week in motion; I vow to do the work I love to do, laugh with my family as much as I possibly can and oh yeah….dance. I hope you remember your favorite thing(s) this week and every week to come too. It’s too important to forget.

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A Walt Quote

Walt Disney knew all too well about commitment. He modeled a behavior we all admire…or at least I do.

I think if we want to accomplish anything in our lives, we need to commit to it. If we want to be in better shape, we have to be committed exercising, eating right and doing all the things that keep us healthy in spirit, mind and body. If we don’t have a commitment to it, then what good is the goal in the first place?

What comes to your mind when you hear the word committed? Some might think straitjacket and padded walls or marriage. Others may think about true dedication, hard work and being loyal to something you believe in.
To me, being committed could be a combination of all three. If I am not committed to what I’m doing or what I believe in, then I might as well be committed as I think I would lose my mind.

Our daily lives are filled with various random commitments. We accept meetings and calendar calendar invites, we tell people we will go somewhere or do something with them.  We do these things all while resolving to actually be good at something.  I don’t know about you, but I wake up every morning telling myself that it’s going to be a good and productive day. That’s a commitment. That is something I am telling myself I am going to be committed to do. I’m going to try my hardest to do what I think is best in order to have a good and productive day. Whether that actually happens or not is another story. When I think about the activities for the day, it not only includes my work projects, but also my job as a Mother of two young boys.

My life responsibilities are all wrapped up in this warped and twisted ball of wax in which I have to decipher between what is normal and regular work, what is required and just what are my expectations and responsibilities of raising children. As I teach my children life lessons, I find that one lesson could conceivably be easier for them to understand than another.  But the true lesson for me as a parent is that some lessons are actually harder to teach than I ever realized.  (Empathy, respect, healthy eating). Sometimes I simply don’t know how to teach the right thing at the right time. Every day I try to prepare myself for what my kids are going to ask me or how they’re going to act or what they’re going to do. But what I realized is that is basically impossible to predict and quite a lesson in itself. A lesson for the parent.

As parents, we seem to think we have it all figured out because we have been through childhood and we know what’s going to happen.  We foolishly go into parenting thinking we will have complete control over our children.  Reality is discovered when our children react differently than we expected and we are caught off guard and are unsure how to process that data!  In the moment, the lack of patience and time cause us to explode because we are faced with having to deal with behavior outside of our expectations and the outcome is yet another lesson. However, this lesson is one we give to our children without even realizing it.  In this situation, we are teaching our children how to react to uncertainty.

As a parent, I know I need to be committed to every lesson; modeling the good behavior I expect from my children.  As an employee, I need to be committed to doing the best job I can do prioritizing and working through obstacles, change and rude people. For myself, I need to wake up every morning being positive and thankful for all that I have and doing the things that I need to do to take care of ME.  If I am not going to be committed to those things, then I should come to expect fired rolls, explosions, misunderstandings, health issues and ultimately my kids will learn the opposite lesson I was trying to teach.

My thought for today is really about being true to the commitments that we make. If we aspire to be good employee, then we need to say it out loud, believe it and commit to it every day. If we are going to be the best parent we can be, then we need to take that responsibility and commit to teaching our children by modeling the behavior we want to see from them no matter how hard they are to teach or how hard it is to learn. And most importantly, be committed to taking care of yourself!  This has double the benefit as it will also go a long way in modeling good behavior for your kiddos!

I am trying every day to commit to being a good employee, sister, friend, daughter, author, wife and Mother… EVERY DAY. But I still let myself down and I feel like I let others down as well. The task I am charging myself with moving forward is to try my best to make my commitment count, no matter how hard or challenging and out-of-my-expectations it happens to be. Because if I don’t do this and I don’t commit I surely will be committed.

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Signs. Signs. Everywhere are Signs.


You will probably either love it or hate it that I am one of those people who believes everything happens for a reason.  I believe we are where we need to be when we need to be there and if we have any doubt, there are signs around us….EVERYWHERE that help confirm it for us.

There HAS TO be forces above, below and next to me that give me guidance every day.  I just don’t always know it or pay attention and sometimes I think of it as a happy coincidence.  But in the last week or so, there have been more than my fair share of “signs.”  I like to call them “signs” because I have a hard time believing that the strangeness that occurs in my life is just one fluke thing after another.  This week, there was only one incident that really knocked me down literally off my feet.  The rest made me chuckle and ask out into the great wide open “What are you trying to tell me?”  That’s the trouble with these signs I think.  They are not octogon shaped red signs with bolded white letters telling us exactly what to do; S T O P.  They are subtle and quiet.

The thing is, I do not want to be one of those people who look back later on in life saying “Yeah, hindsight is 20/20.”  I want to be present in the now and one with the signage!  Maybe those of you who are reading this little bloggle are more sign-conscience than I.  This week, I have lost many things; my license, my son’s shoes, a kindle charger and my mind.  My phone continues to just shut down suddenly, I got a call the other day from someone who said I would be arrested within two hours of the call, I am on serious work overload leaving me tired, stressed and without time to eat lunch, cats are randomly showing up at our back deck now that we have a new dog, two skunks made an appearance in our front bushes, five blue jays joined the animal party as I drove into the driveway last week and I really think the ’14 Hands’ delivery truck is following me as I see it everywhere!

Believing in signs is comforting in a way, but also confusing.  I am constantly asking out loud “What does THAT mean?”  The problem is, no one answers back and I am left to figure it out.  What if I guess wrong?  And this week, just when I though I was making the right decision in my life, another event came into play which intersected directly with my plan.  Who has time for that!?  My daily routine is a speeding train, therefore if I finally understand a sign, I want to move, act and go with it.  I don’t want to have to question my decision all over again.  This timely challenge has now forced me to stop and take notice, re-evaluate and look in from a different point of view.  So as I reflect now on this recent turn of events, I think of it as a sign.  I don’t need a crossing guard or tour guide to read and interpret the signs.  Maybe I just need to acknowledge that there was a sign at all.  Maybe I just need to trust and see the challenge as a blessing that has forced me to stop in my tracks.  Sometimes all we need to do is stop and take the time to see a different view.  It’s that speeding train that is my enemy; the sign is a friendly reminder…”Hey, uhhh…you might need to think a little more about this one.”  STOP.  YIELD.  BEWARE of DOG.  DEAD END.  DO NOT ENTER.  FALLING ROCK.  WET FLOOR.  Think about how important these signs are.  I wouldn’t want to ignore one of them.  I might even start observing these signs on a deeper level too…they could apply to both the literal and a “message from the universe.”  You never know.

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100% Moments


Since elementary school, I learned all about 100%.  It was a a goal to strive for when we took a test and of course there was a level of percentage that was considered not good enough.  Beyond the teacher’s standards, everyone had their own personal “ok mark.”  For some, that magic number was 70, for others it was 90 and for a few, it was great to get a 50!  I remember hearing kids saying things like “Well, at least I got half of it right.” Now, as an adult with the majority of schooling behind me, I am still striving for 100% and if I don’t make it…I wonder… what is my magic number?
Is wanting 100% setting the bar too high?  Is any number below that just not good enough?  I think that’s the way I have been feeling lately; frustrated that I do not get ‘100% moments.’
Here’s my typical moment situation: I am working, I am playing, I am listening, I am laughing, I am talking, I am typing, I am running, I am cooking, I am thinking and at the same time I am forgetting, I am stumbling, I am half-listening, I am not belly-laughing, I am misinterpreting, I am snapping (not my fingers), I am not editing my thoughts before they come out, I am judging and I am exhausted.
I often wish I could measure each one of the above acts.  I wonder which would carry most of the weight in which type of situation.  I wonder when my children can sense that even though I am physically standing in front of them, I am not emotionally connected and present with them in that moment.  I pray they know that I desperately wish I could be fully present with them.  Sometimes, I can snap myself out of it, step out of the “CRAZY”, reach in and grab my heart and pump it back to a normal rhythm.  It is in those situations when I can catch a glimmer of ‘hoping’ in the eye of my seven year old when he asks if I can play catch with him. I am able to quickly and enthusiastically shout “YES I CAN!” before that multi-tasking less than 100% bitch gets a hold of the moment.
I have been recently researching how to better manage or improve my life.  I have been reading articles and have even bought a couple of audio books on line.  A light bulb went on for me tonight at the library as I was perusing books like “How to get the most out of your busy day” and “Finding Your True Calling” and “Getting it all done.”   Seriously?  Why do I need to get the MOST out of my day?  Can’t I just get what is intended for me that day and be happy and satisfied with it?  THAT could be MY 100%….maybe someone else would say “Nope.  That’s only 75%! Not good enough!  ”  And is there really a need to get it ALL done?  There are usually deadlines and timelines to most of what we do.  I suppose it depends on what we consider ALL.  All would be 100%.  But maybe my “all” today is more like 80% and I could just be happy with that.  If I am happy with that, then wouldn’t that be 100%?
I began to feel anxious in that aisle of the library instead of comforted by the thought of someone else having it figured out enough that they could actually write a book about it.  There is too much pressure in this life to “get it all done” and to “shoot for the stars.”  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I want to just get it “half right” but being happy with myself for what I CAN do is really what I am striving for.

So there are some things that I have chosen to work on from my own experiences.  Things I tell myself…no library needed.

Talk to the boys.  Let them in; tell them what you are trying to accomplish and feeling.  This may teach them that communicating makes you feel better and helps others to better understand you.
Be true to myself.

Take a step back before communicating…with the kids, with family, friends and at work.  See the situation for what it is and sate the facts in a way you would want to be spoken to.

Life is like training a puppy.
When you feel totally frustrated, stay emotionless, calm and patient.  Puppies don’t know what you are saying and cannot use words to push your buttons.  Don’t let people do it.  Stay quiet and let the situation play out.

My goal, without help from books or references from the library, is to have more of my own 100% moments.  The pressure of other people’s 100% is too much for me.  I want to hear the whole story, belly laugh, actually sit down, I want to run and play catch with my boys.  Life is good…100%!

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Change Happens

photoEverything in moderation, they say.  That’s fine for potato chips or ice cream.  But what about change?  Should we just take little bites of change?  Is it any better when it doesn’t disrupt a substantial part of our lives?  Is it ok if it just happens in little tiny snippets?  Moderation.

When I was young, I hated change. I wanted everything to stay the same.  I loved being little, I loved being a kid.  I didn’t want to grow up.  I liked my friends, my neighborhood, my house just fine the way it was.  But I will never forget the first time we moved.  I was just about five years old and the vivid memory still haunts me.  I was sitting on the top step of the stairs in our house with my Mother and I cried so hard asking “WHY!?”  I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else, having any other neighbors or riding my bike anywhere but on our fun street.  I loved the sidewalk that led to our back door.  I loved our shaded back yard. I loved our deck that was so high up.  I loved our woods, the paths we made as a family and the little evergreen trees my Father planted.  I loved my room and our little table in our small quaint kitchen.  I loved our finished basement and all the parties we would have down there.  I loved it all and I just couldn’t bear to leave.  After a while, I adjusted and after moving three more times before graduating high school, I realized moving was just a fluid part of life.  Home was wherever my heart was and good memories would always stay with me.

When college was on the horizon, I was petrified of going to a big school, of leaving home by myself, of having to make new friends and essentially starting over.  I was having panic attacks and anxiety just thinking about this monumental change in my life.  For someone who didn’t like change, happiness suddenly became a heavier motivator for me.  I became stronger and more confident as I began to realize who I really was.  I inevitably changed undergrad colleges three times.  I guess I decided somewhere along the line that feeling unsatisfied had a more tremendous effect than giving up a little routine.  During my time at my third and final college, I explored different majors, friends and even where I would hang out on campus.  I commuted back and forth every day, was still very close with my sister, family, best friend and boyfriend at home which I think gave me grounding and a feeling of safety in order to make these other changes in my life.  One day, I was sitting in a new common area on campus and noticed flashing words on a small monitor across the room.  “Interviews for Walt Disney World College Program….”  I think that was really the beginning of the end for my change-anxiety.  I jumped at this opportunity, was accepted into the WDW College Program, off I went and that shy, scared-of-change little girl disappeared.  I met amazing people and had an incredible experience that changed my life forever.

From then on, variety was my middle name.  I had many cars, apartments, jobs, boyfriends and dream career ideas.  I realized I was ok to make changes when I knew my soul was fed.  I was determined to find harmony and clarity in my life and along the way, I found my prince charming, I was very close to my family and I had the best friend a girl could ask for.   And yet, even more amazing changes were on their way; Marriage, a Masters Degree, owning my own house and becoming a parent.  Those became my constants; my reliables; my core.  The things that need to stay stable so I am able to shake things up in other areas of my life.  These days, change can range from small to CRAZY for me.  I rearrange the furniture. I change my clothing style, my hair style, my cars, I even change up the way I drive home just to switch it up a little.  When I pump gas, I don’t like to control where the gallons or dollars land.  How fun it is to let randomness have a say.  When I look at the clock, I see common numbers; 1:11, 2:22, etc.  I like to think a higher being is shouting  “Pay attention Patti!  This moment will be gone in 3, 2,  1….!!!”  And then there is work…but that’s another blog post for another time.

Change for me now is a way for me to have some control.  There is so much of my life that I realize is out of my control; change in which my input just doesn’t matter.  My children are now the ages I was when I was so afraid of change.  I watch them as they struggle with or try to control change.  It makes me smile when they ask me if they can rearrange their rooms, they draw up floor plans of how they would like it to look.  (Of course, my son just asked me today if he could make a baseball field in his room.  I’m thinking…NO.)  They dabble with new hair styles, make different clothing choices and even go to different bus stops just to switch it up a little.  Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t seem so easy for them either at times.  My younger son does not always do so well with change.  He has a hard time with seasons; going from sneakers to Keens, pants to shorts, long sleeve to short sleeve and of course, vice versa with the switch back to colder weather.  My older son likes his hair just the way it is right now and getting him to get a haircut just to neaten it up a little takes a small bit of a miracle.

What I have learned is that change is a given.  Time will still keep ticking and this world will be different this minute than the last; even if the batteries in the clock wear out, change will still occur.  I have learned to never say never because time makes me change, experiences make me think differently and as much as I like to think I have control just because I initiate change in my life does not mean I do.  My children are not babies anymore and the lack of their need to be with me every moment is bittersweet.  I can only hope they get the same opportunities to explore and learn about themselves and life as I was able to do.  I wish them lives filled with love and their own “reliables” so they feel supported and safe when they are ready to try new things and explore.

Tomorrow is their last day of school.  They have learned new skills, new games, new words, new songs and life lessons.  They are different little people than they were when they started this school year.  I challenge their strength every day to embrace change in a positive way just as they do for me.  As this school year comes to an end, they are very excited about summer, about camp, vacation, friends and the prospect of new teachers and events for the next school year.  I am so happy for them and love being a part of their excitement and a new chapter in their lives.  And yet, as I sit here and ponder the thought of how much I encourage change in myself, my children and others in my life, I am still that scared little girl on the top step crying out “WHY!?”  I wonder why can’t I hold on to these precious moments just a bit longer.  I am selfishly wanting to stop time for just a little while.  But instead, I will take a deep breath and appreciate each little change bit by bit and try to enjoy every nugget, because after all….everything in moderation.

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Moments of Clarity

I started preparing my suitcase for the trip.  Though I have traveled quite a bit, this time seemed to weigh more heavily on my heart than other work-related travels.  My husband had been wearily anticipating me having to leave months before.  I, of course didn’t have too much time to think that far ahead.  However, it was now finally time for me to focus on the task at hand; packing my bag, preparing the house and preparing my children for the departing moment.  We also have a new puppy now; Grady and though he is already 10 weeks old, he is ONLY 10 weeks old and only 1 week at our home now before I had to leave him.  I have enjoyed every single moment with Grady as I acclimated him to our home, took him on walks, played with him in the yard, encouraged proper potty training, got up to let him out in the middle of the night and of course, cuddle time.  Now, by leaving I felt I was disrupting not only his routine, but mine and of course my husband’s.

As I packed, I worried about the boys, about Grady and about my husband.  There is so much going on this time of year; events at the school, baseball games, karate, professional workload and of course, the new puppy.  “How could I be leaving?” I kept thinking this to myself and though my husband never said it out loud to me, I knew he was most likely asking the same question.

My three boys brought me to the airport on Sunday afternoon.  I looked back at the car after giving big hugs and kisses and I saw their sweet smiling faces and their hands feverishly waving goodbye to me.  The hustle and bustle to get me to the airport on time was now over and I was there…on time.  I had to walk away now.  And for this moment in time, I could almost hear a piece of paper tearing  in my head as I walked closer to the airport door and farther away from our car.  I looked back again and they were not really looking anymore and the car was starting to move away from the curb.

I went through security and my friend and colleague had just gone through the line as well.  We walked to the gate together and boarded the plane.  I sat in my assigned seat near the rear of the plane.  Suddenly, something dawned on me.  I was alone.  I knew I was obviously sharing close quarters with the individuals in my row and the rest of the plane for that 3 hour flight, but I was alone with responsibility only for myself. I had a few moments to think, to listen to music, to watch a TV show and to read a book!  Throughout these activities, I wondered why I haven’t somehow incorporated some of them into my regular routine.  Then I began to miss my family even more than just a few minutes ago.  I missed the sound of their laughter, I missed the soft cuddle from Grady and I missed sharing all of what I was experiencing with my husband.  I then realized only thirty minutes had passed since the plane took off out of Bradley International.  After reading a book about Cavachons and watching a couple of shows, I decided to continue another book that I had started a few months ago; ‘Magical Journey’ by Katrina Kenison.  She is one of my favorite authors and an inspiration to me as a writer and a Mom.  This alone-ness, this missing, this empty space in time was too overwhelming for me in row 27 of the quiet airplane –  hummmmm.  I read a few pages of Katrina’s book about how much was now missing from her life.  The things she had once taken for granted, the busyness, the craziness, the quick goodbyes, the slamming sound of feet pounding up and down the stairs, making lunches, bed time routines, showers instead of baths, etc.  I could only read a few pages before the tears were running too fast for me to contain in a nonchalant swipe of the cheek.  How clear my thoughts became in this quiet.

The reason for this work trip to Arizona was for myself and my colleague to train another healthcare organization in the areas of Facilitation and Problem Solving.  We trained for two days, two different groups, a total of sixty management professionals.  I always enjoy training and the more I do it, the more I love it.  This experience was no different.  There was a moment as I was standing in front of the room that I felt this overwhelming warmth take over my body from my toes to the top of my head.  And though it was over 100 degrees outside, it was not warm in the room.  After the warmth, I felt chills run over my skin like a wave.  Even the description I just wrote out took longer than the actual experience.  This moment of feeling like I was right where I was supposed to be.  I was in a role that fit me and I was having fun.  I was blessed enough to not only get this opportunity to do something I love, but to also realize during the actual experience how much I truly wish this was my regular job all the time.  A clarity moment in the midst of teaching a class.  How clear my thoughts became right then.

Sometimes it just feels right to be with someone who understands your current life circumstances.  Sometimes, you wouldn’t be able to get through without the right person with the right words at the right time.  Then sometimes those friendships dissolve; maybe not completely, because there’s always Facebook.  But even Facebook doesn’t keep friends together if there are no other common elements between you anymore.  Tonight, I was blessed enough to meet up with a friend I have not laid eyes on in 19 years.  We were extremely close after meeting at the Walt Disney World College Program many years ago.  We kept in touch for a while until life circumstances pulled us apart.  Thanks to Facebook, we found each other again 19 years later.  And though so much has happened to us in our lives including marriage and children, my heart melted the moment I saw her smiling face.  I hugged her like I was never going to let go.  We have done plenty of virtual updating since last year, but once our arms were wrapped around each other, I felt our connection bond even stronger than before.  We talked as if not a moment had passed.  I watched her children play and giggle just like my own would do.  I laughed with her and her husband about life and silly events that have taken place over the years.  The time zipped by us like a speeding train and it was time to go before we knew it.  And after hugging her husband and her children, I hugged her a million times more and I walked to my car with a heavy heart.  Driving back to my hotel, I felt overjoyed and blissful thinking about how I had this wonderful friend from a long time ago whom I missed and thought of so often and the universe must have figured we needed each other again.  The moon was bright, lighting my way back safely along the highway and a song I had never heard before came on the radio; ‘Hold You Up’ by Shane Harper.  How thankful I felt for reuniting with such a dear friend and for the time in the car to reflect on just how amazing this was.

The excitement is tickling my heart tonight as I prepare for my return home tomorrow.  I can hardly wait to reach out my hand and feel little fingers and palms grabbing it right back, my husband’s sweet kiss and cute little Grady licks on my cheek.  <3  I look forward to getting back to our routine at home; but trying to make sure those goodbyes are not as quick and rushed before the boys run off to the bus stop, soaking in every story and trying my very best to be present.   And that will be my ultimate clarity.

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A Mac & Cheese Moment in Time

Now the thing about time is that time
Isn’t really real
It’s just your point of view
How does it feel for you
Einstein said he could never understand it all
Planets spinning through space
The smile upon your face
Welcome to the human race

“The Secret of Life” – James Taylor

Oak Island, NC - Brendan and Colin walking the beach

As I hover over the steam from a semi-boiled pot of water, I think to myself “How many boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese have I made in my lifetime?”  It has to be a lot because I have always LOVED Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  I now have a child who just cannot live one week without the orange curly piped noodles.  With each box I have made, there must be some memory that goes along with it.  If I think of each craving for that creamy goodness and what else I might have been doing at the time; there is a story that goes along with it.  Now maybe it’s a “story about nothing,” but a story none the less.  A snapshot of a time in my life, a time I might have been studying…”studying for what?” I wonder.  It’s a flavor that I don’t think I have ever gotten sick of and it brings me happiness when I take that first bite, even if I didn’t stir well enough and I feel the crunch of orange powder between my teeth.

There are so many things I do every day that I take for granted.  So it may not be making macaroni and cheese, but there are tasks and events that take place in my day that make me feel happy.  I want to always remember the little things as well as the big ones.  So I try to take photos of the “every day” and what I consider the norm for me right now.  Because someday, that same norm will be just a very faint memory, if a memory at all.

So my message to you tonight and to my present and future self is to document the every-day, the happy, the regular fun….leave your breadcrumbs not only for yourself, but for your family that will someday take pleasure in getting to know you and who you were even if you are no longer walking this earth.


-Patti Feeney



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If someone were to ask me what I would want the most of in this world, aside from health for my family and I, I believe my answer would be time.  Time surrounds us in every way.  There never seems to be enough of it.  So as I begin this new business venture; Breadcrumb Diaries, my goal is to actually spend all of my “work time” doing something I love rather than feeling like I am spending my time fulfilling other people’s passions.

Lack of time can truly make anyone crazy. Most times I feel there are simply not enough hours in one day.  While my children would like to sleep late each school morning, they also wish they had more time to play with their toys before school.  Instead, I sound like a crazy chicken in the morning clucking about the house “Get out of bed.”  “Get dressed.”  “Brush your teeth.”  “Put your shoes on.”  “You’re going to be late!”  And the time just slips right through our fingers once again as we scurry around rushing to get ready and out of the house on time.

Time also forces me to make decisions like which errands to run or which project I should be working on first.  Time takes me to new levels of urgency now that I never imagined when I was in my twenties.  I am time managing every hour of the day, juggling our schedules around Karate three times a week, religious education class, swimming lessons, baseball practices and games, homework, reading books, birthday parties, field trips and oh yes, let’s try schedule in some unstructured play time too!

Every day, I thank God for the wonderful people in my life that allow me to function as a human being even though I am rushed.  Like the bus driver who will stop right in front of our house on her way by if she sees my son rushing out of the house to get to the bus stop.  The awesome preschool teachers who, with their laid back nature help me take it down a notch when I am rushing the goodbye kisses/hugs at drop off.  And my son’s amazing first grade teacher who emailed me one day to let me know I had given my dairy-allergic child my other son’s cheese sandwich for lunch, that she would get him a hot lunch for that day and not to worry one bit.  My son, not worried a bit calmly told his teacher before he even opened the lunch “I know I won’t be able to eat any of what’s in here.  This is my brother’s lunch box.”

In our household, we have different temperaments about the time factor.  One child has learned how to “manage” my freak-outs about running late.  As I am rushing, dropping things along the way and scooting little bottoms out the door to karate on time, my son will calmly recite to me “Mommy, it’s not a big deal if we are late.  I will just need to ask permission to enter the dojo when I get there.  That is the worse that will happen.  It’s ok.”  Same situation, different day, different event we are rushing to, my other son will whine and shout out “You’re rushing me!  I can’t THINK when you’re rushing me!”  And he drops to the floor in tears.  In either situation, I am stopped in my tracks thinking about how our “RUSH and CRAZY” lifestyle as well as how I handle it really affects my children and I slooooow down.

Time can also help us focus better.  When we are running at mock speed, we forget the simple things like respect, manners and just smiling at each other.  Time-outs have such a negative connotation for little kids.  In our house, if my children hit or have any disrespectful contact with one another, they immediately have to sit in a time out for the amount of minutes equaling their age.  I wish someone would give me a time-out once in a while.  I would have 40 minutes to reflect on what I am not doing well and how I could improve it.  I could take a few deep breaths and realize how important staying in the now really is.  But of course, if I started making the time-out spot more spa-like, would this really be a punishment?  Should it be?  Maybe they just need that down time away from the situation.  Hmmmm….something to think about….when I have time.

I would truly like to stop time most days.  I would like to just sit and watch my children play and laugh.  I would like to play WITH them and laugh WITH them too.  I would like to play in the front yard AND the back yard just because we have enough time for both!  Someday, my children will not have enough time for me so I want to keep reminding myself that these times are so precious to embrace right now!

And so there ARE some things that I absolutely make time for every single day….I make time to hug my children and my husband every chance I get.  I make time to give them an extra kiss at night after they are already asleep.  I make time to read to them.  I make time to listen to them and look them in the eyes and tell them how much I love them.

MY passion is truly making it seem like I CAN hold on tighter to time, that I can put it in a bottle and open it whenever I want it back.  I want to share this passion and feeling of control with others.  What I hear from many people is that there is a vicious cycle that takes over and the universe shouts out loud “You don’t have time to sort all those pictures you took and create something special to remember those times.”   In most cases, it can be overwhelming to even think about where all of the pictures are; many computer folders, email, smart phone, camera, ipad, etc.   This is where I come in…to help people feel more in control of their memories and their photo time, creating photo books, calendars, video montages and so much more.

And of course, I make time for leaving our own breadcrumbs by writing, making our photo books and videos and other fun little trails.

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Feeling the Rush

So many exciting events have unfolded just within the last few days here on the ol’ crazy-ranch.  And though I have not graced the world wide web with my written compositions for quite some time, I have a strong desire to communicate tonight and at this stage of my little journey.

While my older son is counting down the days until his first grade year is complete and summer camp begins, my younger son is feeling a little unsure about what lies ahead in his scholastic future.  Preschool graduation was this afternoon.  My son played in an act of Humpty Dumpty as one of the King’s men.  He sang nursery rhymes and had some fun dancing around with this pals that he may not see anymore come Monday.  He has a very shy but yet clown-like personality which makes it hard to really predict his mood or actions….and yet sometimes, I can simply see right through to his soul.  Through the whining, I can hear if he is truly scared or nervous, in the midst of laughter and rebellion, I can feel his anxiousness or sleepiness.  So now as the school year comes to a close leaving just the normal summer activities and day-care-like school days, I can hear it in his voice when he asks “Am I starting kindergarten tomorrow?”  He is not so excited.  He is not so scared.  He is unsure.  Even though his older brother went through this two years ago and even though we went to visit his kindergarten classroom last month, he knows he will not see some friends and he knows that there will be more structure to his day and that is all he really is sure of.  I am so proud of my little guy.  He is doing far better than I thought he would and taking it in stride.

My older son has gone from a mere white belt and white karate gee to a purple belt with star and leadership uniform.  He is proud and confident and strong and knowledgeable…. except when he isn’t.  He has come such a long way from those first days of karate.  When he is that class, he stays pretty focused and has a lot of fun.  That is THE most important thing.  He is really dedicated and determined and I am so proud of him.  He is now working towards his blue belt and takes a very serious approach to his learning of the sport.  Along with Karate, Kyle also plays baseball (as well as Charlie) and piano.  When is tired or spent, I look at him and ask those questions “Are you sure you want to do this?  You don’t have to…”  The answer is always “Yes, I want to keep doing this.  I can’t stop now!  I like it!”  All the power to him….and me for that matter; on those days when even though he does not want to quit, I have to drag him.

So tonight, I take a minute to reflect on accomplishments of my children, my husband and even myself… and feel proud and thrilled as we take on new adventures, new paths, new challenges and push ourselves to the limit sometimes just to feel satisfied or to simply continue doing something because we really like it.  As I begin this new adventure of truly following through on a dream of mine, I stay positive, I stay focused, I am determined and dedicated.  And I will have fun.  I am very excited.  I am a little scared.  I am unsure.

Thanks for reading…

*Names changed for privacy

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Life Lessons

It’s like learning to ride a bike, you never forget how.  I have to believe this is true.  For my child who is actually currently learning how to ride a two-wheeler and for myself, as I struggle to get back to my writing stride.

Recently, my Grandmother passed away.  I have felt a strong surge of writers block for a long time now and when this event occurred, it seemed to push me back even further.  But just like most times in my life, I can appreciate a challenge.  So here I sit in my bedroom with words jumbled in my head and on the page in front of me.

I have so many thoughts and memories about my dear Grandmother that I would like to write about but have been unsure how.  I think it would mean she really is gone.  I believe denial is a good thing sometimes.  I have thought about writing a book about her or possibly about all of the strong women in my life and what I have learned from them.  Sometimes I stop and tell myself I am crazy and sometimes I stop and tell myself it’s the crazy that keeps me motivated.  There are moments I have overwhelming emotional attacks and cannot seem to grasp the reality that this woman, this family staple in my life is really not on this earth anymore.  It’s so difficult for me to imagine such simple things disappearing from my world; the sound of her sweetness on the other end of the phone each week, her soft kisses, her hands on my face, her strong advice, the light of her smile, her positive outlook and happy attitude….  And so we go on with life without her here with us in person.  We move forward and boil our corn on the cob for seven minutes, add a dash of sugar to our tomato sauce and smile as much as we can.  And most of all, we laugh and enjoy life while we can because that is what she tried to do and would want us to do now.  We can carry on her memory and keep her spirit alive by carrying on all she has taught us.

So as I help my child to ride a two-wheeler bike, I am reminded of how I am teaching him something that he will have forever.  I taught him how to steer and pedal and now it’s all about balance and momentum.  He is not so sure of himself yet but I am there for him, holding on, not letting go unless I let him know I am.  His trust in me is strong and we have had so much fun together.  I am excited and honored to be a part of this monumental stage of his life.

After helping my children speak, crawl and walk, I realized there are so many more exciting milestones ahead.  Teaching my children about real life and being allowed into their inquisitive minds is pretty amazing.  Answering their well thought-out questions and listening to the gears in their minds work when they ask things like:

“I don’t understand why my friends say they don’t like to kiss girls, but then I see them kiss their Mommy.” and “What happens if we all get old and then everyone in Connecticut dies?”

Mind you, I am not a life expert or child psychologist able to provide my children with the most appropriate and kid friendly responses.  But I am humbled by the chance God has given me as a Mother to try.

My Grandmother once told me that kids will always mimic their parents.  “You can’t help it.  It’s in you, it’s got to come out somewhere.”  So I can only hope that my children will absorb my determination and will remember all that I have tried to teach them.

And so, I take a moment to recall some of the lessons I have learned from my own parents along the way and reach deep to remember some of the answers they once told me.  It is through some of those life lessons I was taught that I am able to empathize with my children as they experience feelings of sadness and disappointment and celebrate with them when they are excited and happy.

As I continue to steer and pedal my way through my life, I still try to balance the happy, the sad, the stress and the fun and not lose my momentum.  And even though we are now minus the matriarch of our larger family, we can lean on each other if we lose our balance.  I guess I should not give up so easily when the words do not just flow right onto the white space.  I should just put my helmet back on and try again.

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