Saturday, October 30, 2010

November Intention

Walk the walk.
Be the piece.
Be peace.
Together... let's Piece together Peace.

When I think of November, I think of gratitude.  Where we take pride in our bountiful and provide comfort meals to the ones we love. Where we begin the holiday season shopping for the perfect gifts and then come together to express our gratitude to those we hold dear.  It's the month of reflection of another years end; where we remember the good times and release the unpleasant.  'Tis the season of peace all over the world; where we all live in harmony; existing for one another.

The Piece Together Peace project began last month.  It's a 13 month journey to bring more peace into our lives one monthly intention at a time.  I came across this project a little over a week ago and have been reflecting on how I can piece together peace in my life for November.

Within this last week, however, I have made some meaningful decisions that have changed the dynamics of my family life.  Dust still needs to settle, resolutions need to be made and hearts need to mend.  My boys and I have a long road ahead of us, one that is going to bring forth many challenges but we will get through it together.  We will lean on one another, carry one another, hold one another and grow together.  This is what we all need to be whom we were meant to be.

My intention for November is to take that next step forward without looking behind me.  Knowing that this is going to create the best opportunity for my children and I.  With this next step, I am giving my children more opportunity and a life they can be proud of.  This step will provide pillars of strength that will guide my children toward confidence, happiness, joy and love.  I will not worry about the struggles that lay ahead but accept them with the knowledge that in the long run my children will be grateful for the life that I have given them.

This is my contribution.  Piecing together peace.  Together.  One moment at a time.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

This Moment

{this moment} -  A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

(inspired by Soul Mama)

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."  ~ Thornton Wilder

 I have been going through a lot these past few days and although things can seem a bit overwhelming, it doesn't make me stop thinking about all the things I am thankful for. 

This week I am thankful for:

Strength ~ Without strength, I would not have been willing to come to the decisions that I have this week to start fresh with a positive outlook.

Acceptance ~ Sometimes, the hardest person you have to be honest with is yourself and this honesty can be hard to accept.  But, when we find that strength to accept this burning honesty, better things come along.

Understanding ~ I had to back out of a major event for this upcoming weekend and I was really worried about disappointing two people that I care deeply about.  I never imagined that they would be understanding to my situation without a bit of resentment, but not only were they beyond understanding they took a moment out of their hectic deadline to sit and listen.  These are the types of people that true friends are made of.

Friendship ~ I have found that I have a larger support group than I ever would have imagined in the past 7 years.  It's amazing to me in so many ways.  I am blessed that I know so many beautiful souls.

Family ~ As we all know, family is a bond like no other.  I am so blessed to have such a close family that is filled with love. 

Phone Calls ~ It seems so silly, but phone calls I share with those I adore make me feel that much more blessed.

Beautiful Weather ~ The weather here has been beautiful this week.  It has raised my spirits in so many ways.  It was nice to be able to open the windows again this far into October.

What are you thankful for this week? What made you smile when you least expected it?

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Child's Mind Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway for the autographed copy of Child's Mind by Christopher Willard.  Dr. Willard was so pleased with the interest in his book that he asked me to go ahead and pick three winners instead of just one! 

The lucky winners are:

1.) Victoria  (vicdompe)
2.) Kimberly (fiveseeds)
3.) Kelly Thomas

Congratulations to all winners.  Enjoy the book!

Winners:  Please look for an email from Christopher Willard within 24 hours for mailing information.  If there is no response from you by Monday, November 1, 2010 then a new winner will be announced in your place.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

right now, I AM...

....creating a fresh start for my boys and myself.   After much reflection, I have realized that many things need to change in order for us to have a healthy life filled with love and light.  There was only one barrier and with wonderful support, I finally found the courage to make the break through it.   

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Motivation

I love lists.  I always have.  I used to make lists of lists that I needed to make.  Obsessed much?!?  Call it what you will, I will simply justify myself because without the lists my life would be complete chaos. 

So what do I have in the works for this week?

Hubby is on vacation this week so we have a few around the house projects to tend too. A leaky sink, clearing out some closets and removing the boys' artwork off the walls. Here is just one of the many "hieroglyphics" that could be found around my house.  But, they are becoming an eye sore not only to me but to the little artists themselves, so it is time to remove them. 

We are in a wedding this weekend so we need to pack, make appointments, get the kids prepared for an overnight stay at their Mama and Papa's and of course groom ourselves entirely for the event.  I always love big events like this.  Something that gives me an excuse for a  week of pampering.  Just the preparations are enjoyable.  Manicures, pedicures, updo's, makeup, jewelery and a perfect dress.  Not to mention looking forward to a wonderful night with wonderful friends.  The picture shows the lovely couple that we will be celebrating this week.  We even have an extra night of enjoyment, this Wednesday night is the rehearsal dinner.  We are bringing the kids so it will be an enjoyable evening for all.  Plus, they are taking the day off from school the next day so we may take a special trip to the zoo. 

Finally, after our wonderful day of pumpkin picking yesterday, the boys are ready to carve some jack-o'lanterns.  We have never done it before so it should be lots of fun.  The boys are already planning out their designs.  This picture is of the boys with their "Mama" at the pumpkin patch yesterday.

Of course we will still be taking time to enjoy the good ole' outdoors.  Mother Nature has blessed us with a warm week so we will be taking time to enjoy watching the leaves turn as well as quality time outdoors. It doesn't get any better than this.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Autumn Delights Me...

"Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."  ~George Eliot

I could not agree more with George Eliot's quote.  To me, there is no season lovelier than Autumn.  This morning when I stepped outside, I found myself thinking about all the things I love about this wonderful season.  So, I came up with the following list.  It's a silly little tribute to Autumn, but it was fun to make.  I hope you enjoy. 

A is for... Apple Picking
B is for... Baking Goodness
C is for... Comfort Foods
D is for... Dancing Leaves
E is for... Equinox Blessings
F is for... Fall Foliage
G is for... Golden Hues
H is for...Harvesting Crops
I is for... Indian Summer
J is for... Jacket Weather
K is for... Kaleidoscope of Colors
L is for... Leaf Piles
M is for... Memory Making
N is for... Nature Walks
O is for... Opened Windows
P is for... Picture Perfect
Q is for... Quilts and Blankets
R is for... Rustling Steps
S is for... Sweatshirts and Hoodies
T is for... Thanks and Reflection
U is for... Umbrella's and Rainboots
V is for... Vacant Trees
W is for... Weather Bliss
X is for... Xtra layers
Y is for... Yellows and Oranges
Z is for... Zippered Jackets

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Friday, October 22, 2010

This Moment

{this moment} -  A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

(inspired by Soul Mama)

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Book Giveaway - Child's Mind by Christopher Willard

Child's Mind aims to teach parents and child professionals how to integrate mindfulness into their work with children and teach both young children and adolescents the basics of mindfulness and meditation. The book is a great resource for anyone who work with young people, including family coordinators at retreat centers, religious instructors in a range of traditions, teachers, therapists, and medical professionals. Child's Mind aims to teach children the power that comes with the comfort of just being, as well as the capacity to be, be aware, and be comfortable with oneself.
Christopher Willard has offered my readers a chance to win a signed copy.  This giveaway is open to everyone World Wide. Deadline to enter is midnight on October 26, 2010.  
HOW TO ENTER:  Simply comment on this post including your email address so we can contact you if you are chosen as the winner.  (We will not use your email for any other purpose) 

Want a Better Chance to Win? 
**Post with email address is mandatory, these are additional entries**
(please post each additional entry separately, otherwise they will be counted as one entry)   
  • Follow with google friend connect or subscribe to the rss feed. (1 entry each, please notify in an additional post) 
  • Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (1 entry – please provide a link to the tweet) 
  • Follow on Network Blogs and share this contest on Facebook (1 entry - please provide a link)

Winner(s) will be announced on the blog October 27, 2010.  Christopher Willard will contact the winner(s) by the email address provided in the comment section.  Winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be selected.  Thank you.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mindfulness Practices for ADD/ADHD

(Guest Post by Child's Mind author Dr. Christopher Willard)

One of the more common questions I’m asked by parents and teachers is whether meditation and mindfulness can help kids with ADD/ADHD. The answer, according to scientific research and according to parents, teachers, and kids is a resounding yes!

So what exactly is ADD? It is an inability to continually maintain and direct mental focus. Often people describe ADD/ADHD as an inability to focus, but it can be more helpful to think of it as a brain type that focuses on too much- rather than just paying attention to the teacher, an ADD child focuses on the teacher, on the kid next to him, on the window outside, and in his or her itchy leg and reacting to all of these, seemingly all at once. This is not actually such a bad thing in certain circumstances, but it’s a not always the easiest brain type to have for our education system.

One place it get hard for kids with ADD/ADHD is settling down to start their schoolwork or homework. Starting up, switching tasks and getting into gear is often more difficult for kids with ADD and other “executive functioning” issues than other kids. This is a time where some mindful grounding exercises can really help. They works as mental grease that makes getting into gear and changing gears a lot smoother than without. I recommend these for transition times, (recess to classroom, dinnertime to study time, outdoor time to indoor time), as well as a bridge to starting up with homework or chores. I call this practice “Counting to Your Senses” and it is inspired by Jon Kabat-Zinn and other teachers. This is a simple mindfulness practice that you can adapt to what you and your kids enjoy most. It also is not just for kids- I have a lot of friends who do these exercises before they start writing, or when they walk into an unfamiliar or anxious situation.

Counting to Your Senses:

This is a much more interesting version of counting to five or ten to calm and settle down. The idea is to become more aware of our surroundings and our bodies, calm our busy and scattered minds and settle into the task or setting. Kids can do this on their own, but its a lot more fun to do together as a family, classroom or group.

Sitting comfortably but upright in the workspace, whether its at the kitchen table or classroom desk, take just a moment to bring your attention to your breath, bringing it down to your toes and feeling it in your belly. Now take a moment to bring your attention to your ears, and just start counting whatever sounds start to enter your awareness through your hearing. Try either five or ten depending on how much practice you have... airplanes overhead, cars outside, breathing next to you, birds chirping, water rushing through a pipe, footsteps or voices outside... it is amazing how many things are there when we start to pay attention. But the hard part is not getting caught up in the story of whats happening with the sound- noticing the airplane, but staying out of it, being aware of the footsteps, but not wondering who they belong to or where they are going, just bringing our minds back to the next sound. With practice, start listening to the sounds and the spaces between the sounds- is there ever really any quiet? You can do this practice for seconds, minutes or hours, and it will help you settle and focus, but even just five or ten sounds can make a big difference.

A second part you can add on or do instead is focusing in your body and what sensations you feel, again counting to five or ten. Noticing the sensation of your socks on your feet, an itch on your arm, the air on your face, and deeper down the pulse of your heart, the vibrations of your stomach. Without getting carried away by the stories that tempt you, just counting to five or ten sensations, or practicing for a minute or two.

Notice your level of focus now, and start in on your work. If you feel distracted or frustrated, pull your mind back to the sounds or sensations, and from there back into your work.

Dr. Christopher Willard, Psy. D
Dr. Willard is a licensed psychologist and educational consultant. He is most recently the author of "Child's Mind," a book about teaching meditation to children and teens. He lives and works in Cambridge, MA.

Friday, October 15, 2010

This Moment

{this moment} -  A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

(inspired by Soul Mama)

Monday, October 11, 2010

To My Darling Max on Your Fifth Birthday

My Dearest Max,

I don't  know where the past 5 years have gone.  You have grown into such a darling little boy.  You brighten my days like the sun breaks the darkness at sunrise and the stars brighten the nights.  I love you more and more with every passing day.  You are my sunshine. 

You are filled with questions on everything that we encounter and this growing curiosity just shows me what kind of man you will one day become.  Don't stop questioning, follow your heart and remember that for every mistake there is a lesson learned.

I loved you yesterday, I love you today and I will love you tomorrow, forever and always.

Keep smiling, baby,




Friday, October 8, 2010

This Moment

{this moment} -  A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

(inspired by Soul Mama)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

My oldest son suffers from ADHD.  It took me 5 years to accept the diagnosis and treat my son because I didn't believe it truly existed.  I would suffer for hours in the bathroom crying while my son tore the house upside down destructing everything in its path, treated his brothers cruelly and became more defiant to my husband and myself. 

The thing was, I didn't believe in this diagnosis.  I believed that all children had different outlets and levels of energy.  I believed that it was a stage and the tempers, tantrums and trashing would eventually stop.  I made excuses, "he's a free spirit", "a new soul", "he is just a boy", whatever would work at that moment.  It wasn't until I was called into a routine IEP meeting at the end of his kindergarten year that I woke up and realized that there was more to this behavior.  When the teachers and staff sat across from me and explained that they thought it was in my son's best interest to stay in kindergarten another year.  That's when I learned that the behaviors were being acted upon at school as well.  That's when I learned that my son and the principal were very close.  That's also when I learned that changing diets and exploring other options was not enough for my son.  I turned to medication.

It was the hardest thing I have ever done.  I did not want my child to rely on medication but I didn't want him  to stay back because of behavior and not grades.  I took him to his pediatrician who referred us to a neurologist, went through a lot of tests and his diagnosis was made.  I know many who would debate my decision to put my son on medication, that is not what this blog is about.  This is my starting point to help my son overcome or at least stand up to a lifetime disease.

Why did I wait so long to treat this disease?  Would I have waited if it was diabetes?  What caused me to think that this was any different and why did I allow his behaviors for those years to help mold who he is today?  Two years later, he is doing great in school.  He is still struggling in certain subjects but he also has a few other disabilities that stand in his way.  The thing is, that now he is maturing, he is focusing on what is important and although he still has his tantrums they are far and few in between.  He is finding his true personality, and is starting to find interests, something he struggled with beforehand.  The new problem...he thinks his medication makes him good.  When he goes a day or two without it, he reverts right back to the old and blames the fact that he didn't take his medication.  My new struggle is dependency.

I have been trying different methods with him lately to help with his focus, keep him more mindful.  I hope that as he matures the medication can be dropped and he can find other outlets to control himself.  So far we have tried, yoga, meditation, breathe control and focusing on colors.  Sometimes, something random helps that I would have never thought of trying, others I have found through the internet, books and other resources.  No matter what, we will work through this together with an open mind.

Dr. Christopher Willard, Psy. D., and author of the new book, Child's Mind: Mindfulness Practices to Help Our Children Be More Focused, Calm, and Relaxed, has graciously offered to guest blog next weekend,  here at Mindful Moments about the topic of ADHD and Mindfulness Practices for children.  A psychotherapist at Tufts University, he has a doctorate in clinical psychology and his research focuses on the psychological applications of meditation and mindfulness practice.  I am very thankful that he found my little corner of the internet and has offered his expertise in this topic to my readers and myself.


**update 10/20/10**

Here is the link to Christopher Willard's guest post on ADD/ADHD.

Friday, October 1, 2010

This Moment

{this moment} -  A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

(inspired by Soul Mama)
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