It’s hard to believe that it has been four years since I wrote my first blog (as written below) as an empty nester. I still seem to be riding the emotional seesaw, shifting between ups and downs, but always craving that central point that creates the necessary balance. I have, however come to realize that the ups are equated with each of our children’s happiness and the downs are merely moments of reflection of a simpler, carefree time that had its own pair of wings, flying by way too speedily. Let’s face it: our kids blood runs through our veins. When they are happy, we are happy. When they are struggling we struggle right along with them. Welcome to parenthood ~ the best place to live! I am grateful that our children have the courage to flap their wings and challenge themselves knowing that our nest will always be…
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Makayla Lynn said it beautifully, “Don’t Quit Your Daydream.” I am a daydreamer. I relish the moments I drift off aimlessly dreaming, hoping and wishing. I am a wanderer. I love wandering when I am not on anyone’s watch, especially my own, and I am free to explore the outdoors, or the indoors of my mind and heart. I am a wonderer. I wonder about so many things. I ask a lot of questions. Why? Why not? I am a research enthusiast and a student of life (who avoids detention.) I am immeasurably grateful! Writing is my freedom, my catharsis and my intention. It allows me to express freely my creative thoughts and ideas while providing me with pleasure “beyond words.” The cathartic nature of writing allows me to release bottled up concerns and worries in a healthy manner. Teaching children to journal early on has significant benefits. For all, it is a gift to the social, emotional and physical self. It has been medically proven that journaling can help reduce stress and the symptoms associated with several illnesses. My intention throughout my writing is to empower and move readers in a profound way. If my words simply entertain, then this word warrior will be grateful.
There are countless topics I want to write about. Each day I am mesmerized by someone’s story, an observation or an unexpected stranger who becomes an instant friend. I am struck by what is going on around me. Acts of kindness, paying it forward and peaceful rights movements all lighten the load of a world that is seemingly fraught with division and disdain, violence and verbal incivility. I desire to live and act positively. I want us to “be the change we wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi. So when I am struck, that is when my pen strikes the paper, the keys strike the page and the keyboard strikes up enough material to create dialogue.
I’d rather have writer’s cramp over writer’s block any day of the week and twice on Sunday! I’ve been writing since I was seven-years-old so that makes this year my Golden Anniversary as a writer. Freedom, liberation, emancipation. My definition of creating. As a wordsmith and a word warrior, I consider the written word sacred because it is the truest reflection of one’s deepest self. Now as for fiction, children’s stories, made-up characters and frequent surges of idea-producing right brain activity… I’ll admit, I am pleasantly surprised when I come up with some of my most random tales. As for writing humor, my recent dabbling is producing its own laughs. That I’ll save for another blog.
I may be only one person, but I proudly have a marriage license, carry a driver’s license and take advantage of my creative license. I have been known for elaborating and celebrating. I’ve met many wonderful people and never met-a-phor I didn’t like. I didn’t get into writing. Writing “got into me!” I hope you get to do whatever it is that gets into you. Continue to be yourself because everyone else is already taken. Thank you for allowing me to share this platform to indulge you. Share if you care to. By all means, add a comment at the bottom so we can turn my monologue into a dialogue. After all it takes two to tango. Peace, Love and Kindness… Jayne
While “when it rains, it pours” commonly has a negative connotation, the original, high-profile use that popularized the saying was designed to be positive. It dates back to 1911, when the Morton Salt Company developed a new breakthrough in table salt technology. Until then, most table salt was sold in a raw, coarse-grained form that clumped and caked when rainy weather made the air in a house even slightly humid. The Morton food scientists solved this problem by reducing the grain size and adding a small amount of an anti-caking agent. As a result, the salt didn’t cake and clump. It could be poured or shaken out as nicely as dry sand, even when it was humid indoors due to the weather. The Morton execs asked their ad agency – the renowned N.W. Ayer & Son firm – to create a catchy ad slogan for this new and improved salt. Ayer admen eventually came up with a winner: “When it rains, it pours.”
Call me old-fashioned, but I propose we honor the positive meaning that originated back in the day. Is the glass half full? I believe it’s brimming over the top. Why just yesterday, on a beautiful (not a cloud in the sky) afternoon, the last place I wanted to be was anywhere with four walls. But the cupboard was bare and the fridge needed stocking. So off to the grocery store I ventured. My neighborhood Publix, whose slogan is “Where Shopping Is A Pleasure,” was packed as usual. I raced down the aisles like I was on a shopping spree with a grand prize awaiting me at check-out. No such luck. The only thing awaiting me at check-out was a long line with tantalizing impulsive buys on the shelves to my right and left. Headlines on magazines kept my preoccupied while the line moved along. Throwing in the unnecessary pack of gum, grabbing a cold water bottle to go and giving in to my obsession with my favorite magazine, I finally reached the register. “Did you find everything you needed?” the friendly cashier asked. “And more,” I admitted with a hearty chuckle, looking at all the items I didn’t need.
My cheery disposition was suddenly interrupted by the clap of thunder, sizzle of lightening and pounding of a torrential rain that landed on the store roof like pebbles on steel. With a basket overflowing with groceries, ice-cream threatening to melt and my umbrella snuggled away in the trunk of my car, it looked like Publix had now become “Where Stopping Is A Pleasure.” While people around me moaned and groaned in a chorus of complaints, I took it in my stride that nature was overdue for a good bath, and the ducks would finally be able to swim in the deep end of the lake again. I was considering the list of movies I’d saved for a rainy day. Sometimes we’re forced to slow down. I chose to enjoy this unexpected gift. But what happened next, was the truest of unexpected gifts.
A young employee approached me as I stood by the exit, waiting for the rain to subside. He had on his yellow Publix raincoat and carried a gigantic Publix umbrella. “My name is Daniel. May I escort you and your groceries to your car?” he asked. Before I could respond, Daniel took off his raincoat and insisted I wear it and then handed me his umbrella. This seventeen-year-old was compassionate, thoughtful and understood the true meaning of going “above and beyond,” He was wise for his years and demonstrated a sense of goodness. Daniel is the 1911 definition of “When it rains it pours.” No matter the weather, he poured on the kindness. He is my Morton.
We ventured to my car, me in a Publix raincoat, both of us sharing one robust umbrella. We dodged some of the raindrops as they began to fall softer and softer upon us. I told Daniel to congratulate his parents on raising a fine young man and for teaching him the value of thoughtfulness and manners. By the time we reached my car, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. While we teamed up and placed my groceries in my trunk, one of the bags broke open and an item dropped to the ground. It was Morton Salt. Daniel and I laughed out loud. “When It Rains It Pours!”
When we respond to the rhetorical question “What matters most,” our answers become the declaration of who we are and what we believe to be most important. It blends our past theories and experiences with our current existence and belief systems. I am fascinated with the idea that if you ask a thousand people the same question… you’ll get a thousand different answers. Some responses to “what matters most” may have a familiar ring to them, but each answer will be as individual as each individual.
Recently my husband Rich and I were celebrating with our children in their neck of the woods. Admittedly, I have struggled with Empty Nestor Syndrome (since my children went off to Kindergarten.) So,it is no surprise that our children will always be “our babies” to us. As loving, thoughtful, hard-working independent adults, each living on their own between Brooklyn and Philadelphia, traveling to be together is hands-down “what matters most to me!”
During our get-together’s we always indulge in food frenzies, sporting events, theatre, museums, strolling through the most beautiful parks, football toss and the constant search for the best breakfast venues. Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat on South Street in Philly and Jane in Soho, Greenwich Village are our top picks thus far! We’d planour day around our meals and restaurant reservations. Engaging at one of the many delicious restaurants that are central to our visits, laughter, storytelling, trying to get a word in edgewise and frequent toasts are wedged between eating and drinking. Confession: I am the “toast queen” of the family so it’s a given that I will lay down the first toast.Guilty of giving long-winded, novel-length toasts, my children (kindly) direct me to keep it short and sweet.
We raised our glasses on this one particular evening, I said “here’s to what matters most!” We took a gulp before spring boarding into the meaningful dialogue that ensued; an insightful family. conversation sparking responses as distinct as each one of us. Rich took the helm and reiterated his role (model) position in our family to provide unconditional love and support in every way, shape and form. His fatherly and patriarchal confidence instilled the same in us. I loved listening to each of our kids as they described their individual goals and how they wish to pursue their chosen paths. They were cognizant of what mattered most in their lives. Family, gratitude, health and mindfulness were unanimous in response to what matters most to each of us.
Is “what matters most” a question or a statement? I believe it serves as both. If you ask yourself what matters most in life, it becomes an introspection. When your response is released through words and expressions, it becomes your affirmative personal statement. Being authentic with your response and honest with yourself will allow you to keep your priorities in check. When “what matters most” is aligned with your intentions it will resonate and become your beacon to lead you to fulfillment. “What about you, Mom?” It was my turn to respond. After all I made the toast that became the catalyst to our thought-provoking word exchange. Hmm … “I believe that what matters most is “knowing what matters most.”
“Knowing what matters most” has become my GPS; Guide to My Personal Statement. I have always known what matters most to me. My GPS remains my life compass in the event I get lost. I use it to navigate the course. Knowing what matters most always leads me home. Some days I follow the trajectory of my path. Other days I lose my footing. My favorite days are when I create a brand new path. All days I remind myself that the road to success is always under construction and that “fulfillment, is a planted seed, that must be nurtured not guaranteed.”
I raise my glass to you all. L’chaim!
Jayne Bonilla is a passionate mom and a compassionate person, who is crazy about writing, storytelling, paying it forward and making people laugh.
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