Reflections on Day of Peace

Peace Kits for Paradise: When Giving Is Receiving It Lights the Spark in All of Us

It was a bluebird day: clear skies, faint hint of fading clouds, brilliant sun. Green blanketed fields, gardens and any spare ground thanks to the recent rain. You could say it was just another beautiful day in Durham, California at Ponderosa Elementary, the new site for the hundreds of students who lost their school – and many their homes – in the Paradise Camp Fire last November. And it was – but side-by-side with the ordinary was the extraordinary. 

Continue reading “Peace Kits for Paradise: When Giving Is Receiving It Lights the Spark in All of Us”

Mindful Family Spotlight: A Mother & Daughter Story of Resilience and Gratitude

It is almost impossible to imagine going through what the Brown family has endured in the past four years — two family members battling cancer, daughter Finley and mom A.J. Not only have they survived, but Finley’s fighting spirit and A.J.’s unwavering gratefulness are nothing short of astounding.

Continue reading “Mindful Family Spotlight: A Mother & Daughter Story of Resilience and Gratitude”

Grateful For Our Knuckles

I realized the other day that in my 40 years of living on this earth, I don’t think I have ever stopped to thank my knuckles — yup, my knuckles. 

We often forget this mundane part of our body that does so much for us each and everyday. I wanted to share this simple insight with my girls so we played a little game.

Round 1: Place a marker (or any object) on the floor or table and pick up it up with your hands. Turn the object over in your hands and really feel what it’s like it hold it. Ask your kids to notice how their hands work to hold the object.

Round 2: Make your hands as stiff as possible with absolutely no bending allowed (the kids loved this no bending challenge). Now try to pick up the marker with your hands.

In Round 2, the task becomes pretty tricky. In fact, it’s almost impossible to pick up any sort of object without the help of the other stiff hand.  

Gratitude Share: After we played both rounds, we discussed that Round 2 was much harder.  I asked the girls if they’d ever stopped to thank their knuckles and how hard they work for us. I mean it took me 40+ years to say thanks to mine!

We then talked about the other little things we don’t notice on or about our bodies or in our homes that help us all the time, like doorknobs and eyelashes. It’s amazing what you realize when you pay attention to small details and kids are expert observers once they get started! 

As a child, I recall looking at cars and thinking that we are in such awe of the end-product and yet the nuts and bolts get almost no love. Our knuckles might not be the most interesting or exciting parts of our bodies, but without them, we’d have a hard time using our hands. Noticing our own nuts and bolts is a great way to appreciate often overlooked necessities we don’t always notice in our everyday lives. 

Gratitude is simply perspective. When we’re mindfully aware of the most ordinary details of our lives, like our knuckles, we don’t have to search far or dig deeply to feel gratitude. We do, however, have to commit to a practice of shifting our perspective, of tuning into a different way of looking at our life. It’s then that we realize that it’s the most ordinary that’s providing us with the most extraordinary abilities as humans.

Mindful Parenting Round-Up: Gratitude & Thanksgiving

It is mid-November, therefore we must begin preparing for 1) a sumptuous feast to end all feasts and 2) extended time spent with family, friends and neighbors and 3) all the high and low feelings that come with embracing the season. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, though. What if we carved out a portion of that preparation energy and diverted a bit to fully embrace (in ourselves) and encourage (in our littles) feelings of gratitude both leading up to and on Thanksgiving Day? Continue reading “Mindful Parenting Round-Up: Gratitude & Thanksgiving”

Honoring the Changing Seasons: Fall

The autumn equinox recently occurred, officially heralding the return of the fall season. Can you feel fall in the air yet? The changing of the seasons is exciting. Perhaps we’re looking forward to pumpkin spice flavors, falling leaves and upcoming holidays. For many of us, however, life goes on as usual. We don’t always notice the days are getting shorter and the nights longer, and simply continue on with our activities and priorities. Continue reading “Honoring the Changing Seasons: Fall”