“Find The Time To Make The Time”

Isn’t funny how we can “find the time” to “make the time” for a hair appointment or visit to the spa, a trip to the store or a night of mindless television, yet we can’t seem to find the time for the most important things in life that truly matter: the moments we share with the people we love and the moments we need just for us, the kind that soothes our souls.

We say that we have to “find the time,” yet the reality is that we have to “find the time” to “make the time.”

Make the time to take care of yourself.

Make the time to stop what you’re doing and listen to someone who needs to be heard.

Make the time to stop and see the beauty around you.

Make the time to tell someone you love them and how important they are to you.

Make the time to enjoy the holidays, not just prepare for them.

Make the time to still your mind and listen to your intuition.

Make the time to make memories, not just money.

Make the time to let your heart take a picture of those “be still my heart” moments.

Make the time to count your blessings.

And make the time to be grateful for all of them.

It’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“My Family…Together Again”

Two of my five children live at home, so there are moments I feel the pang of the “empty nest” syndrome. I’ve gotten used to my three oldest living across the country, only seeing them every year or two, so I don’t feel that pain of missing them all living home very often. They’ve been living out of my home for years now and I’m used to my two youngest being the only ones living with me.

Yet yesterday things felt like the old days and I was reminded of just how much I miss having a house filled with five children.

My oldest flew in yesterday morning from the West Coast and it must have been close to family2two years since I’ve seen him. He brought home his beautiful girl for all of us to meet and she was amazing! We all fell in love with her instantly and I’d like to believe that she felt the same about us.

I raced to the airport early in the morning to pick them both up and the tears fell as I saw him. They both walked towards me with open arms, hugs, kisses and some amazing West Coast energy! Just what this mom needed!

Yet seeing him was so much more than a hug…it brought back floods of emotions and memories of having them all live at home together. I remembered family dinners at the table every night and weekends filled with a stream of teenagers in and out and hanging around. It was heaven.

And yesterday felt like old times for me. Seeing him with his two youngest brothers, introducing them to his girl, teasing them and laughing I couldn’t help but feel a sense of peace, of happiness…of true joy.

I had forgotten what it was like to have my family together like that. These days even myfamily3 two youngest are working or going to school and I feel as though they’ve already left the nest.

Last night felt like old times, even though two of my kids were missing. It felt like the family I remembered; the family that grew up and moved on to their own adult lives. Yet as I remembered the memories I was also watching them all together and making new ones. Suddenly the babies and teenagers I remembered were sitting at a restaurant out to dinner with me…yet they were grown up! They had become men in what feels like an instant.

And my four boys have grown up into amazing men, and I don’t say that just because I’m their mom.

They are respectful, kind, compassionate and non-judgmental. They are truly the type of people I had hoped and wished that they would grow up to be.

And they are.

I sat in amazement last night, savoring every moment, taking in all that surrounded me. It was a night I’ll remember forever, until the next time we can all be together to make new memories.

I felt so much pride for these boys last night, especially my oldest. I watched how he spoke to and treated his girl…he loves her, she loves him, and the respect they have for one another is the type a mother hopes her child will find in a partner.

familyAnd he found that.

And I couldn’t be happier for him.

It was incredible night of being a family together again.

It was a night of my heart being so filled with love that it could have exploded.

These boys of mine…they are a gift to the world.

And they have been and always will be a gift to me.

And it’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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All photos by Anne Dennish

 

 

“A Flood Of Emotions”

Isn’t it funny how one random moment in your day can bring back a flood of emotions from a moment in your past? I had such a moment yesterday…and for just an hour or so it allowed a literal flood of pain and heartache from my past.

And I want to share it with you because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: when I write from the heart and share my most intimate emotions with you, it’s therapeutic for me. It takes those emotions out of my soul and puts them onto paper…and it’s truly a good thing for me. And I hope it’s a good for those of you going through a similar situation.

Yesterday the Jersey Shore suffered from a tremendous amount of rain, causing massive floods in our surrounding areas. There were those that needed to be taken from their homes and cars by boat. I didn’t go through anything that extreme but what I did go through was painful in its’ own right.

The rains hit hard in the morning and around 11 am my son, Noah, went down into our basement. I heard him say “Mom, you better get down here.”

My heart sank because I knew it wasn’t going to be good and it wasn’t: my basement was flooded. I went down the stairs and looked around. There was water everywhere and all I could focus on was the cardboard boxes filled with their favorite childhood books and memories soaked in water. I knew right then and there that we had lost all of those things we felt “important.” Water was everywhere and I was overwhelmed with where to even start.

Yet I knew in my heart where to start and it was to start throwing things out.

And through the hours that my youngest, Sam, and I filled one garbage bag after another with their childhood memories I began to think of a time in my life over 7 years ago when I was going through another time of throwing my “memories” in the trash.

It was over 7 years ago that I was getting out of a second marriage that never should have happened. At that time I had lost the house I designed, built and lived in for over 20 years. I lost my home, my car, and all the money the kids and I had saved up over the years. That second marriage cost me more than I could say. I remember two dumpsters in my driveway for two weeks as the kids and I threw out as much as we could, knowing that we were moving to a much smaller house.

I can remember the heartache of throwing out things that had meant so much to me and to them but we didn’t have much choice. The home we lived in was so much larger than the home we were moving to and still live in. I had to keep telling myself that it was just “stuff” and that I could take the memories with me.

It was a painful time to lose literally everything I had…that we had…yet we did it. And we moved into our “Cozy Cottage.”

And we were fine. We were happy.

I moved in here with nothing. No car, no money and no job, yet we had each other and within a few weeks I had a job and another car. And we survived.

And I’ve been rebuilding my life ever since.

Yet today brought all those emotions back again and I’ll admit that I shed a few tears as I filled garbage bag after garbage bag with yet more memories. It was tough and I felt overwhelmed. I kept filling bags of their favorite children’s books to stuffed animals, one right after another, and Sam just kept bringing them up the stairs and out the door to the trash. It wasn’t the exact “Mother/Son” day I would have planned.

But we did it and there’s still another couple of days to finish up the task.

Yet after my tears spilled of another time of throwing out things that meant something to me, I began to pull myself together and remind myself that they are just the possessions, just the “stuff” that we had compiled for many years. Throwing the stuff out didn’t erase the memories…it just got rid of the physical stuff, but it will never erase the emotional stuff we gained from the years we had it.

Life is a funny thing sometimes. There comes a moment in all our lives that brings back a moment from the past, and oftentimes it’s a painful memory. Yet we seemed to have learned from the past that when those sad memories come back we know better…we feel the pain, the sadness, and the heartache and let it go much sooner than we had in the past. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the things that we had tried to forget because we shouldn’t forget anything…we should learn from it, accept it and move forward.

Because, after all, we don’t ever lose the precious moments we have of our children or loved ones; they are embedded in our minds and hearts forever. The physical possession is a wonderful thing to have but losing it doesn’t erase what our heart holds deep inside.

Our hearts take pictures of those moments in life that mean the most and no flood, no fire, and no one person can ever take that away.

And it’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“A Perfect Christmas”

Christmas is fast approaching and the countdown is on. Final decorations are being done on and around the house and wish lists of gifts are being bought. It’s another year of making the “perfect Christmas” happen for your family and friends.

Yet is all this preparation what makes it perfect? Will you and yours remember the decorations and gifts? Will you remember the table and the meal?

Or will you remember the “imperfections?”

Will you remember the year that mom’s arm got caught inside the turkey as she was taking the giblets out? Will you remember the year you broke your arm on Christmas Eve only to wake up to a new skateboard the next day? Will you remember the year the entire family had the stomach virus and all camped out in the living room? Will you remember your sister running down the stairs on Christmas morning only to miss the bottom step?

You see, it’s the “imperfections” that make it perfect. It’s not the matching Christmas pajamas and the family Christmas cards, it’s the family. It’s not the beautifully set Christmas table with a delicious dinner, it’s the people who sit around it.

While “perfection” can be captured in a picture, it’s the “imperfections” which are captured in your heart. They become the stories shared and passed down to other generations. They become the tradition of storytelling and the legacy for our children.

As years pass, so does the idea of the “perfect” Christmas, and as we grow older, we begin to realize that what means the most is the memory of the “imperfections” and the loved ones who were part of them. Life changes, children move away, and sometimes the many faces that once sat around our table are no longer with us.

But their memories are…their stories are…and their love always surrounds us.

And sometimes we forget that. I see so many people writing about their sadness in missing the “old days,” yet I think that is such a waste of energy. I know that there are those I’m missing, yet I choose to embrace the memories as stories to share with my children. I choose to embrace this time, these loved ones, who are in my life now, and who will be around my table this year.

Memories aren’t meant to bring sadness, they’re meant to bring joy! And for those feeling an ache in their heart, please try and remember the love, the joy, and the memories of those not present this year. They gifted you with all those things and more.

Remember the “imperfections” that make every Christmas the “perfect one!”

Because in the end, the perfect Christmas is found within your heart.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“The Godfather”

I lost someone very special to me two years ago today. He was an amazing man and while I wasn’t in his life for very long, he made an impact on mine to last a lifetime. Tom Contreras was “the godfather” to me and always wanted me to write about him…and I not only wrote about him, I published his story in my last book. This is my story about “The Godfather!”

It’s not very often in this lifetime that you meet someone who makes an impact on your life, yet I met such a man who left this world too soon on a Saturday night late in December after a night spent with family and friends.  He’s my love’s cousin, Tommy Contreras, and he became one of my closest friends ever since I was introduced to him. I touched base with him by phone daily, and my love and I would “conference” call him together a few nights a week, and believe me, those calls were nothing short of belly laughs, off color jokes, and love!

I didn’t know him as long as his family, yet with Tommy you felt like you knew him a lifetime. He had a way of making you feel like you were his family and I am forever grateful to him for making me feel that way. I used to call him “the Godfather” because I could call him for advice, or even better, his opinion! He loved that title, especially belonging to a big Italian family!

He had a smile that lit up the room, and a laugh that made you laugh right along. He had an amazing singing voice and an incredible sense of humor with just the right amount of sarcasm. He had the ability to make fun of himself just to make you laugh, and he was famous for opening up a conversation with “you won’t believe what happened to me!” And then he’d proceed to tell you about the craziest things that I truly believe could only happen to him!

He was a “gentle giant” with a heart as big as the ocean and enough love to go around the world.

Tommy left too soon, yet it was an honor, privilege and a blessing to have known him, and to have been with him, surrounding him with love, as he closed his eyes and left this world.

He was my “words with friends” partner and I was finally winning! He was the “go to” guy when I needed advice about his cousin and he was my friend. I’ve been missing him, but as his family and friends all gathered together at one of his favorite restaurants in Point Pleasant, Frankie’s, two days after he passed, his presence was felt. I felt the emptiness of him not being with us, as did his family, yet the night belonged to him, filled with stories told through laughter and tears. And truth be told, his body may not have been there but his spirit and soul was. It still is.

He left a legacy to his family and to anyone lucky enough to know him and not everyone is able to do that. I don’t think he ever realized the important place he had in the lives of those who knew him; I don’t think he truly knew how much he was loved; I don’t think he understood just how much he meant to the people he met.

But I know that where he is now, he does know. And he’s smiling, he’s not in pain, he’s happy and he’s watching over all of us…even me.

I hope he knows now how much he’s missed, but more importantly, that he’s remembered with love and laughter, stories and memories. I’m absolutely sure that the immense amount of love we all have for him followed him straight up to Heaven!

I miss this man and think of him often, yet I know he’s around. I feel his presence during a family party and hear his laughter when someone tells a good old-fashioned, off color, funny joke!

He always got on my case about being in one of my books, always saying to me “I’m in the next book, right?” I always answered the same way: “yes, you will be, just waiting for the spirit to move me to writing it!”

And his spirit moved me.

I will forever be grateful to this man for allowing me the blessing of being part of his life; it was both an honor and a privilege, and I’m grateful to be part of some of those great family stories and memories now….

There are moments now that I want to call him and say “Hey, you won’t believe what happened to me!”

But I can’t.

What I can do is close my eyes, think about him and hear his voice.

Yet every so often, my heart feels a bit selfish and I can’t help but think that he should be here; he should be here to be a part of our lives, of our dreams, of our laughter and tears; he should be here with hugs at family parties and to celebrate our successes. He should be here…

But then again, I have to remind myself that he is here and always will be…in all of our hearts and all of our minds.

This one’s for you, Tom Contreras

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

tommy-memorial

Tom Contreras – The Godfather

 

 

“Gratitude For The Memories”

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One of the things I’m grateful for are the memories I hold deep within my heart: the memories of the birth of each of my five children; the memories of birthday parties and Christmas mornings; and the gratitude for the memories of the emotions that I felt.

Fits Like A GloveI’m grateful for the memory of the feelings of a first date and how it felt the moment I fell in love; for the memory of the excitement of a first kiss; of the feelings to be held in the arms of the one you love for the first time.

I’m grateful for the memories of my kid’s tiny hands in mine; for how wonderful it feltRuthless People that I could fix a boo-boo; for the moments of watching them sleep when they were younger; for the memories of their laughter when they were little and the laughter as they grew older.

I’m grateful for the memories of family parties filled with aunts, uncles and more cousins than you could count. I’m grateful for the memories of my school days and for the nights I spent with my best friends.

tommy-memorialI’m grateful for the memories of my loved ones that have passed on; for the love that I still feel for them and for the love they felt for me; and I’m grateful for all the memories of time spent with them and the difference they made in my life.

I’m grateful for the memories of my first book being published; for the memories of howbnwindow1 it felt the day I submitted my manuscripts to the publisher; and for the memories of the moment that I first held my new book in my hands.

I’m grateful for the good memories that are embedded deep within my heart and soul. No one can take that away from me and on the days I feel a bit sad it’s those memories that can wash that away.

Good memories are stronger than any bad ones.

Today I sit remembering all those wonderful memories and for that I’m grateful.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

open minded book signing

“The Home In My Heart”

 

home-is-where

A beating heart is a most precious gift, yet the heart is so much more. Our heart is our home.

I lived in a house for over twenty years with my five children. I moved five years ago and the worst part of it all was that I was saddened by the loss of all that we had in that house, the good times and the bad. It was filled with memories and pencil marks on the wall marking the kid’s height as they grew. It held the sounds of babies crying that grew into the sounds of teenagers laughing. It held everything that was important to me. It held one of the biggest parts of my life.

Yet then I realized that all that I believed  had been living in that house was actually living in my heart and that “my heart is my home.”

The heart is the keeper of our dreams and accomplishments; the guardian of our precious memories; it’s the lens to all those pictures in our minds and the teacher of all that we’ve learned. It holds our deepest secrets and our biggest truths. It holds all that is and all that will be.

My house was a just a building made up of walls, windows and doors, yet it was my heart that filled it with all that it needed to become a “home.”

And  that home lives in my heart.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

“The Perfect Christmas”

Christmas is fast approaching and the countdown is on. Final decorations are being done on and around the house and wish lists of gifts are being bought. It’s another year of making the “perfect Christmas” happen for your family and friends.

Yet is all this preparation what makes it perfect? Will you and yours remember the decorations and gifts? Will you remember the table and the meal?

Or will you remember the “imperfections?”

Will you remember the year that mom’s arm got caught inside the turkey as she was taking the giblets out? Will you remember the year you broke your arm on Christmas Eve only to wake up to a new skateboard the next day? Will you remember the year the entire family had the stomach virus and all camped out in the living room? Will you remember your sister running down the stairs on Christmas morning only to miss the bottom step?

You see, it’s the “imperfections” that make it perfect. It’s not the matching Christmas pajamas and the family Christmas cards, it’s the family. It’s not the beautifully set Christmas table with a delicious dinner, it’s the people who sit around it.

While “perfection” can be captured in a picture, it’s the “imperfections” which are captured in your heart. They become the stories shared and passed down to other generations. They become the tradition of storytelling and the legacy for our children.

As years pass, so does the idea of the “perfect” Christmas, and as we grow older, we begin to realize that what means the most is the memory of the “imperfections” and the loved ones who were part of them. Life changes, children move away, and sometimes the many faces that once sat around our table are no longer with us.

But their memories are; their stories are; and their love always surrounds us.

And sometimes we forget that. I see so many people writing about their sadness in missing the “old days,” yet I think that is such a waste of energy. I know that there are those I’m missing, yet I choose to embrace the memories as stories to share with my children. I choose to embrace this time, these loved ones who are in my life now, and who will be around my table this year.

Memories aren’t meant to bring sadness, they’re meant to bring joy! And for those feeling an ache in their heart, please try and remember the love, the joy, and the memories of those not present this year. They gifted you with all those things and more.

Take a moment during this busy holiday time to remember the “imperfections” of Christmas’ past, and look forward to the “imperfections” to come!

After all, the “perfect Christmas” lives in your heart.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

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“Bulk Day”

 

I spent all day yesterday cleaning out my garage…not an easy task. My love moved in over a year ago, and the containers of tools and Rubbermaid containers of his stuff was still riddled all over, along with remnants of my babies childhood…and with too many memories of the past. I started the job at 8 in the morning, and was still at it by 3! And still there’s more to do!

My two boys spent over an hour hauling stuff to the curb for “bulk day” today, yet as I sat on my front porch with my coffee this morning, I was looking at the pile.

And the memories came flooding back…

And I wondered if I should bring some of it back in…

The one item I keep looking at is my yard swing. It’s over 15 years old, survived two marriages and their divorces, and had a happy life at my prior house that overlooked “my lake.” The kids and I lovingly called it “the sleeping swing” because anyone that sat on it eventually fell asleep, even the animals!

And so the memories of “the sleeping swing” are overtaking my thoughts, and I’m remembering bottle feeding our cat on it when the kids first brought him home, rocking my two youngest to sleep on it, and envisioning all those I love piled onto it.

I remember my kids and my nieces and nephews all piled on it for a group picture for the sleepinggrandparents; I remember my son and his friends hanging out on it in high school, sharing all their stories with me; I remember that swing being my serenity spot at night when everyone went to sleep; and I remember it always being a source of comfort for my kids and I, and anyone else who needed to be outside and find peace.

Yet sadly, the swing didn’t do as well at this house. It lost its’ protection of a roof from my old house, and as much as we tried to keep it covered during a rainstorm, the waters still leaked in, and soon enough, my beige swing was turning green with mold. No matter the effort we put into it to wash it and clean it, nothing seemed to work.

So yesterday we made the decision to say good-bye and put it at the curb. And here I sit, wondering if I should bring it back in.

I keep reminding myself that the memories stay with us much longer than an item does; and that the past is the past, and there’s such a time to let it go and say good-bye.

And I know, this is one of those times. It was so easy to toss it out yesterday, and much more difficult this morning seeing it out at the curb. My love told me he’ll go get it and bring it in, if that’s what I want, or we can get a new one next year.

As hard as it is to see it go, getting a new one to fit with this new life is how it should be. The “sleeping swing” holds memories that I share with my children and a life I had prior to this relationship, and I’m a big believer in letting the past go so that I can move forward.

So, good-bye to our “sleeping swing,” and much love and gratitude to you for over 15 years of peace and serenity…and now to look forward to next summer when we buy our new one.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

“The Power of Words”

Words are very powerful, and you don’t need to be a writer to know that. Yes, writer’s can write a story which allows the reader to feel certain emotions, be it the suspense and fear from a thriller or happiness and joy from an inspirational story. It’s a blessing to be a writer…

It’s also a blessing to be a decent human being. Writers may write words that make you feel something, but as human beings every word we speak to someone else is as powerful as putting it on paper.

Sure, you write a book and it becomes immortal, yet so do the words you speak everyday. They just don’t happen to be on paper… they embed themselves into someone’s mind.

Speak harshly and negatively to someone and they will remember it for the rest of their life, even after they’ve forgiven the person who said it. The wrong words hurt the soul of the recipient, bruises their heart, and takes up residence in their mind.

I always told my children that once they said something nasty or negative to anyone, those words would be out there for eternity. Gone, but never forgotten.

You remember that old saying: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” Well, it’s true. Even at my age, I can still remember negative things that were said to me throughout my life…I’ve forgiven who said them, I’ve gotten strong enough to ignore them and not let them directly influence my life, but I’ve never forgotten what they said or who said it.

Be kind, with your words and your actions. If you’re having a bad day or aren’t happy with your life, don’t put that on someone else. Look inside yourself and know that you are in control of YOU, not anyone else. If you’re unhappy, change it. Don’t take out your fears and unhappiness on someone else, because that person may actually be someone that can be of help to you.

Choose your words carefully today and everyday. Don’t think about negative things, because you’ll only attract that into your life. Think positive, live positive, and positive people, places and things will come into your life. I’m living proof that this is true.

Wishing you love, light and beautiful words,

~Anne Dennish~

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