“And The Last Child Graduates”

The youngest of my five children graduated high school last week. It was a bittersweet day for both of us yet an exciting one. It was the end of a chapter and the beginning of the next one. Of course his chapter is much different than mine, yet it’s a new beginning for both of us.

This fifth child of mine never ceases to amaze me. At just 17 years old (almost 18) he knows who he is, he’s comfortable in his own skin, and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him, yet the truth is, everyone loves him. He’s smart, he’s kind and compassionate, and he’s funny. His smile lights up the room and he can turn the saddest of my days into my best days.

And they love him because he’s his authentic self. I can’t begin to tell you how many teachers, faculty and parents of his friends tell me what a sweet kid he is: kind, respectful and funny. No mother could ask for anything more!

Yet I think back to when I was that age and wasn’t even close to being sure of myself. I didn’t know what I wanted in life other than the next step after high school: go to college. I cared about what I was wearing and what others thought of me. Comfortable in my own skin? I didn’t even know what my “own skin” was. 

Yes, I’m a proud mother here and one that is in awe of this fifth child of mine, yet I’ll be honest, all five of them are the same way. They are who they are and they’re amazing human beings. I’d like to think I had a hand in that while I was raising them because I allowed them to be their authentic self, without judgment or criticism. And it worked.

We all want to be accepted and loved and I believe that happens when we are our “authentic self,” not someone other people expect us to be. As I told my children, if people don’t like you or respect you for who you are, then they’re not your “people.”

And it’s true.

It’s a lesson I learn more and more as life goes on.

Congratulations to my fifth child, Sam, as he begins the next chapter of his life. I hope it’s a grand adventure. He certainly deserves it!

And here’s to all of us being our authentic self and beginning another chapter in our lives. Enjoy the journey and embrace the adventure.

It’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“We’re Dreamers ‘Til The End”

“A dreamer is a realist with faith.”

Faith in their dreams and faith in themselves.

I was in Virginia a few weeks ago to celebrate my nephew, Gavin’s, high school graduation. It was the first time in years that so much of our family was under the same roof for the night and we all had a good time.

I was in Virginia a few weeks ago to celebrate my nephew, Gavin’s, high school graduation and I got to spend some time alone with him. We had a conversation I’ll remember forever: he shared his “dreams” with me. 

Yes, we spoke of college and his football career, but most of the conversation was about his dreams. 

And he said he must get that “dreamer” thing from me.

And I couldn’t have been more proud.

Gavin told me that he wants to make a difference in the world, even if it’s making a difference to just one person. He told me that he’s not looking to be famous, but if he is he wants to be famous for helping people and changing someone’s life for the better. He told me his “dreams” of a better world and I understood exactly what he was talking about because I dream of the same. Gavin and I aren’t just waiting for our dreams to come true, we’re doing what it takes to turn our dreams into a reality.

I received a “thank you” card from Gavin and this proud auntie shed a tear at the last line of the card: “We’re dreamers together ‘til the end!”

And we will always will be.

I believe in the “dreamers” because I’ve been one for as long as I can remember. When I was much younger I  remember being told that it was okay to have dreams as long as I understood that they were just dreams, not reality. I used to believe that a dreamer was just a person who went through life with their head in the clouds, but that’s not true.

We dreamers have our feet planted firmly on the ground, yet we have enough faith in ourselves to believe that we can turn our dreams into reality; we have an intense passion for our dreams; and we believe in our dreams and in ourselves.

I believe in my nephew, Gavin, I believe in me, and I believe in all of you.

Thank you, Gavin, for letting your aunt know that she made a difference in your life.

After all, that’s what us “dreamers” are all about…

And it’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“Once Upon A Time…”

“Once upon a time there was a little girl who wanted to be a writer. Since the moment she learned to spell she would write stories.

One day she told her mother that she wanted to grow up to be a writer. Her mother said that it was a nice dream to have. The little girl didn’t understand quite what that meant but she kept writing.

Time marched on and the little girl grew older and went to college…and she was still writing.

Then the little girl got married and had children. She loved being a stay at home mom yet she still kept writing. She wrote little stories and poetry for her babies and made up silly songs to sing to them.

She wrote in her journal every day about her secret thoughts and feelings.

Then the children started growing up and leaving the nest.

And she thought about her “once upon a time” so many years ago.

And she thought about all the people along her life journey that told her that wanting to be a writer was a nice dream and a fairy tale, that real life wasn’t about doing what you love all the time, and that most times dreams don’t come true.

And for many, many years she believed them.

Until one day when she stopped believing them and began believing in herself.

She started to believe in fairy tales and dreams; she started to believe in magic; and she started to believe that everything and anything is possible.

And on that day she wrote her first book and had it published.

And she knew then that her “once upon a time” was a fairy tale that came true.

There was a happy ending and a beautiful beginning for her.

Once upon a time there was a little girl who wanted to be a writer….

And the little girl grew up…

And became a writer.

And that is not the end.”

What was your “once upon a time” story? What was your dream or fairy tale?

It’s time to remember that…

It’s time to believe in that again.

After all, “once upon a time” does come true.

It’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“Maybe It’s Not Your Door”

Life is filled with doors: doors to close and to open; doors that are right for us and those that are no; and doors from the past and doors to the future.

So often I hear people complain that the things they wanted in life weren’t going as planned; the job wasn’t working out, the relationship didn’t progress or that every dream they’re trying to catch ends up in rejection or less of what they had hoped.

Maybe you’re opening the wrong doors. Maybe the door you want to OPEN isn’t your door. And maybe you haven’t closed the doors to your past and made peace with it so that the doors to your future can open.

Don’t worry if a door you want to open doesn’t. It just means it’s “not your door.”

And trust me, the right door, YOUR door, is waiting for you…

After all, as I always say, “when one door closes, let the French doors open!”

It’s a good thing… 

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“Control and Submission”

*On a personal note: I’m not an expert on this subject, but I’ve been in this situation before and know the signs of it happening, which is why I’m writing about it now. Every so often I see someone I care about being controlled by the wrong person and I watch as they become submissive to them. I can only share my personal experience with them to try and help them see the unhealthy situation they’ve allowed themselves to be in, yet as always, it’s a life lesson for them. I can’t fix them, save them, or change their situation…only they can do that. It’s a lesson they need to learn, just as I had many years ago, and all I can do is offer my support and share my experience with them. ~Anne Dennish~

“Submission” is a state in which people can no longer do what they want to do because they have been brought under the control of someone else.

Has this happened to you? Have you lost control of your life because someone else is controlling you?

And why did you allow it to happen?

Maybe you have an underlying need for the controller to love and accept you; maybe you want their attention and time; maybe you idolize them and want to feel as important to them as they are to you.

But it will never happen. They will never give you what you want as long as you’re giving them what they want.

Most times we never see it coming. We wake up one morning and realize that our life is not our own; we find ourselves doing things we don’t’ want to do; we see that our relationships are suffering; we’ve allowed someone to control us without realizing they were doing that; we say “no” to them but we’re beaten into “submission” until we say “yes.”

And that cycle continues until the controller get’s what they want.

And they will always get what they want until you stop allowing them to; until you say “no” and mean it; until you set up boundaries with them which you don’t allow to be crossed.

And until you open your eyes and realize that someone you trusted has been controlling submission 3you.

Why does someone to this?

It’s simple: people who can’t control their own lives will control someone else’s. It’s not because they love you or care for you; it’s not because you think they’re you’re friend; it’s because it builds up their own insecurities and low self-esteem to know that they have the power and control over someone else.

And before long, the people who truly do love and care for you will see what you can’t: that you’re being submissive to a certain someone; that you’re submission affects your relationships with the right people; that you allow someone to control you when the right people wouldn’t do that to you.

There will come a point where the right people will bring it to your attention. They love you and want you to see what they see: that you’ve put all your time and attention into the wrong person rather than the right ones, which are them. They are the ones who will ask you why you allow it; why the controlling person means more to you than the ones who don’t control you; why you allow the controlling person to affect you and your healthy relationships with your significant other, family and true friends. The “right people” will begin to feel unimportant to you because they see what lengths you’re willing to go to for the controller instead of them.

It happens to all of us at one point or more in our lives; it certainly has happened to me, which is why I’m able to see it happening to the people I surround myself with, and it breaks my heart to see the ones I love being controlled by someone and they can’t. I can clearly see the signs of submission and know the exact type of person who will control someone else. It’s never an easy thing to break free from someone like that, but it can be done; you need to accept what they’re doing and begin to do what needs to be done to take back your power.

The first step is realizing it’s happening to you, and if you don’t, accept someone who loves you telling you what they see. Believe the people who love and respect you, the ones who don’t control you, because they have your best interest at heart.

Secondly, break the cycle and that begins with the next time you tell them “no.” Say “no” once, not several times, with no explanation. Don’t let them badger you into submission until you say “yes” and do what they want. Shut them down and stay strong because until they understand that you’re no longer allowing yourself to be controlled by them, they’ll keep trying until they’ve beaten you back into submission again and again and again.

And lastly, walk away from them; let them go; avoid contact with them if you can and always remember what they had done to you. It’s a lesson to learn but one that you’ll have more insight into if it should ever happen to you again.

I wish I could tell you how and why someone feels they have the right to control another human being, or why we become submissive to another. It’s different for all of us, but once you can honestly see what you allowed to happen to you, you’ll become to understand “why.”

Was the controller someone you looked up to or idolized? Was it someone you were in love with and didn’t want to disappoint? Were they more important to you than the people who truly love you? Maybe you have an underlying need for the controller to love and accept you; maybe you want their attention and time; maybe you want to feel as important to them as they are to you. Or maybe you want them to accept you, yet you need to understand that YOU have lost control on giving them more time, attention and power than they deserve.

But what you want from them will never happen. They will never give you what you want as long as you’re giving them what they want. And sadly, that’s the truth, because while you’re becoming submissive to the controller, you’re losing sight of the people in your life who love and respect you, two things the controller will never give you. The moment you allow someone to control you is the moment their respect for you and your own self-respect, fly out the window. Respect no longer exists with control.

The controller plays on our weakness, and because of their own insecurities, low self-esteem and lack of control in their own life, they find their strength in controlling you.  They don’t really care about you; they care about their control over you. They don’t want you to be in a healthy relationship because they’re not in one of their own. They don’t care if their control affects your relationships or your life; they only care about what they gain from it, because once they see you with the right people and loving your life, they will control you even more to make sure you hurt the people you shouldn’t.

Please be aware of your surroundings and the people you allow into them. Control isn’t love and love isn’t control. And if you’re wondering how you know if you’re being submissive to a controlling person, ask yourself this one important question: “Why can’t I say no to them, and when I do say it, why do I let them beat me into submission until I say “yes” and do what they want?”

Don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t respect you enough to allow you to be yourself; stop giving in to someone who doesn’t give you anything back in return; stop defending the controller and making excuses for their behavior because when push comes to shove, they’ll have their own back before they have yours.

Take a look at the place in your life that this “controlling person” has and then take a look at the people in your life that don’t control you. How much of your life do you waste on trying to please them rather than them pleasing you? How much of your precious time is given to them rather than given to the people who love you?

And one more thing: how does your being submissive to this person hurt the people that love you? How often has their control of your time prevented you from spending time with the people you love? And honestly, they don’t care what their control does to you at all, just what their control over you does for them.

Does that make your choice to take back your control from someone else easier now?

Don’t hurt the ones you love and more importantly, don’t hurt yourself because of someone who wants you to and who doesn’t care if you do.

“No” is a full sentence.

Say it.

Mean it.

Be done with it…and them.

And never allow yourself to ever be “beaten into submission” again.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“The Thanksgiving Table”

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’m getting ready to bake pies, chop vegetables and make cranberry sauce. There will be seven people around my table tomorrow and I can’t help but think of the “Thanksgiving Tables” of all the years gone by.

I remember a time when there were more than 15 people around the table, and all the many others that filled the house after dinner for dessert. It was filled with my aunts and uncles, cousins, parents, my grandmother and children. It was a time of sitting together and watching old home movies, of listening to the older ones’ stories and lessons and of running around the house with the cousins.

Children grow up and move out on their own and loved ones get older and pass away. Each year there seems to be one more person missing from the table.

Only three of my five children will be at the table tomorrow. My two oldest are across the country and spending it with their significant others families. I’ll miss them terribly but I am forever grateful knowing that my other three babies will be with me.

Yet when I sit down at my “Thanksgiving Table” tomorrow I will remember those days of holidays past and I will remember the loved ones that I lost.  I will remember the laughter and the stories they told, their faces and the warmth of their embrace. I will remember their colorful personalities and their presence and importance in the family. I will remember sitting at the “kid’s table” until we reached the important age of sitting at the “big table.” It was a rite of passage to graduate to that table.

My brother used to say “I wonder who will be missing from the table next year.” I always thought that was a terrible thing to say, but he was right and it taught me to embrace each holiday and each day with the people in my life because life truly is short. I’m learning that lesson more and more as I get older. I don’t look at the table and wonder which chair will be empty next year but look at the table filled with the blessings of family, of love, and of laughter. It’s a day of making memories and we carry those memories in our hearts forever. We may lose a loved one, but we can never lose the memories of them.

There may be only seven people at my table tomorrow but I will be seeing much more than that. I’ll be seeing all the “Thanksgiving Tables” of my past and the people that once surrounded it. And for that, I will be grateful.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“Love Your Life”

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I’ve learned many things in my life and one of the most important things is to love my life through the joys and sorrows, ups and downs, good times and bad. Life isn’t meant to be all sunshine and roses everyday, and those stormy days teach us to hang on, stay strong and know that this too shall pass. There’s a lesson in all those “down” times and they teach us to be grateful for all the good times.

And the good always wins over the bad…every single time.

Love your life and I can promise you this: it will love you right back.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

“Within Arm’s Reach”

Sometimes the most beautiful pieces of life are right in our own backyard. Sometimes the love we crave the most is found within arm’s reach. And sometimes the dreams we pursue to become a reality already are, we just go searching further than we need to.

Love, life, dreams and beauty are within our arm’s reach, yet we always make things more complicated than they are.

Reach your arms out in front of you; feel the energy of the sunrise at your finger tips; take the hand of someone you love and feel the love you have for one another; slip your arms around another and find the feeling of safety in their embrace; and understand that your dream is within you and always within your arm’s reach.

Don’t go searching for the things you want in life because more often than not, they’re right in front of you, within your arm’s reach.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“Stop What You’re Doing And Look Around”

Stop what you’re doing for a moment and look around. Take a look at the beauty that surrounds you, of the family and friends that love you, and at the wonder of nature. It doesn’t matter where you live, there’s beauty to be found everywhere if you just allow your eyes to see it.

Enjoy this new day. Take some time for yourself. Breathe in, still your mind, and find some time to “stop and smell the roses.”

It’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“Turning The Ugly Into The Beautiful”

life is a journey

It’s been an enlightening week in more ways than one for me. I’ve been on the receiving end of some ugly comments about me that weren’t true and handled some truths in my personal life that I hadn’t seen before.

I’ve been on a mission to spread kindness more than ever, yet as I sat outside with my coffee this morning I thought about the past week and realized something: I took something ugly and turned it into something beautiful, and all of you helped me to do that.

Sharing my stories with all of you abouts my experience from this last week was therapeutic for me; it helped me to release my emotions about it and get it all out. Every day I shared another story I received a positive comment, post or private message from all over the world. People from across the globe were reaching out to me. A fellow classmate from years ago messaged me with words of encouragement and support. People I don’t even know left comments to me that helped to heal my wounds of having been hurt.

I realized during the week that all of your support was turning the “ugly” into something “beautiful.” Maybe, just maybe, this past week brought my mantra to life: “It’s time to make a difference and we can make that difference together.” All of you had a hand in taking my bad experience and turning it into something positive. Your kind words were acts of “kindness” and that warmed my heart and meant the world to me.

You see, I believe that we are in this journey of life together. Just look at what we did this week: together we took ugly and turned it into beautiful. Together we showed the world that we are kind people; that we don’t hate or hurt; and that we are stronger together than alone.

Thank you to all of you who supported me throughout this week. Let’s keep it going and turn the “ugly” in this world into something “beautiful” and let’s do it TOGETHER!

After all, “we’re on this journey of life together, so let’s be kind to one another while we’re travelling it.”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~