“Find Your Funny, Honey!”

Laughter is truly the best medicine and today I felt as though some of you may need a little something to make you laugh.

This is a picture of my son, Danny, from about 23 years ago. This child was always doing something to make you laugh and this is one of my favorite pictures of him when he was younger. 

I’m a believer that no matter what is going on in your life you need to remember to “find your funny” whenever and wherever you can.

Take a moment to forget about your troubles, smile and laugh out loud!

It’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

Find Your Funny

My son, Danny, could always make me laugh…and 22 years later he still does!

 

 

“That’s What Love Does”

We don’t always understand why someone we love and care about is upset or sad, but we can try.

That’s what love does.

Love listens, it tries to understand, it wraps its’ arms around you to make you feel safe, and it allows you to be who you are.

Love doesn’t criticize you but complement’s you.

Love doesn’t judge you but embraces your flaws.

Love helps to heal you but doesn’t try to hurt you.

True, honest, unconditional love can do some amazing things.

And it’s time that we all share that love with the people we love…

“Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel.”

Because that’s what love does.

And 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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“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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“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

“Love Them Enough To Let Them Go”

Two of my children moved across the country, and people always ask me how I manage missing them and not having them home for every holiday. My answer is this: I love themkids1 enough to let them go.

I’ve learned a thing or two raising five kids in the last 28 years and learning to let them go without a struggle, or  too many tears, or guilt is one of the biggest ones.

No one said it was easy, but it does get easier as you learn how to do it and I’ll tell you this, my kids are thankful that I’ve learned how to do it. My one son told me that he couldn’t do “at home” what he could accomplish across the country. He told me that the best thing I did for him was to let him go and do it on his own. And he did, and I’m so proud of him for it.

What I had to learn is that as much as I want to protect them and shelter them from the craziness of the world, I can’t. They’ll never learn what they need to learn; they’ll never make mistakes that will become valuable lessons for them; and most importantly, they’ll never learn how to stand on their own and be strong.

I realized that I had to learn from my own mistakes and I shouldn’t interfere with their free will to do the same. It’s a simple concept, yet hard to do, but if you truly want the best for your child, you have to love them enough to let them go. And trust me, they always come back.

It’s a funny thing: love travels across the miles with them, and their love for me travels back. Love can’t be taken from them, love goes with them.

I didn’t learn this lesson overnight, as my oldest son would tell you, but as the years passed my faith in them increased. I knew I had taught them right from wrong, and one day they’d have to take all I taught them and do it on their own. And I’m proud to say that they’re all doing pretty well!

I see so many parents struggle with letting their kids go, enabling bad behaviors, doing everything for them that these kids grow into adults who don’t know how to do anything for themselves. They don’t know how to cook, clean, do laundry; they don’t know how to battle their own demons because someone does it for them. They don’t know how to grow up because someone won’t let them. They don’t know how to take responsibility for their actions because someone is always making excuses for them.

And that’s the worst thing you could do to your child.

kids2I’ve been a mom for almost 28 years and have loved every minute of it (well, most every minute of it!) It was so much easier when they were younger and thought everything we said was truth; when we could simply kiss a boo-boo and make it go away; that loving them was enough for them.

And then they grow older and challenge what we say; broken hearts replace simple boo-boo’s that we can’t kiss away; and loving them suddenly doesn’t seem like enough. They want our love, yet they also want the freedom to live their life the way they want to, not the way we had hoped.

They want the right to do it on their own, learn their own lessons, and make their own mistakes, and if you can’t love them enough to let them go, they’ll do all those things but come crying back to you to fix it when it goes wrong…and you can’t do that. Why?

Because then you become an enabler, and an enabler does so because they can’t control their own life, and if you really love your child, why would you enable them? Why would you enable their bad behavior? Why would you enable them to stay dependent on you?

I know, it’s a slippery slope, but I know from my own experience as a parent that the best thing I could have ever done for my kids is to “love them enough to let them go;” love them enough to live their life the way they want; love them enough to make their own mistakes and learn from them.

I miss my  three older kids who are scattered throughout the country, but I know they’re happy, living their dreams, and doing well. And isn’t that what any parent wants?

I’d rather take the hurt of missing them than put guilt on them for living far away.

As long as they’re happy, I’m happy.

And they were very happy that I was the kind of mom who could “love them enough to let them go.”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

“Then and Now”

“Dear Children”

If you want to see time pass quickly, become a parent. Nothing speeds up time more than watching your child grow into an adult, and suddenly, you’re left with a profound timeunderstanding of how precious time really is. And if you are a parent, you know exactly what I mean.

In my book, “Waking Up,” I wrote a story called “A Letter To My Children,” and together with Sutton Thomas, we wrote a song called “Dear Children.” Here’s just a small excerpt from the story:

“Life changed from that exact moment that you took your first breath, and with that breath, I held mine. I held my breath out of excitement of a new baby placed in my arms and out of fear as to all the responsibilities that were now a part of my life, from that day forward.

You, my children, were all my dreams come true, yet with each one of you came the nightmare of hoping that you’d always be okay, that you’d never get hurt, that your life would be without any feelings of low self-esteem, or anger, or sadness that I had ever felt. I could teach you how to protect yourselves, but I wouldn’t be able to stop the outside world from coming in.

The love of parent never dies, not with time, not with distance, not with death; the love of a parent grows stronger with each passing day; with each new milestone you reach and each heartache you encounter. Your mistakes and mine becomes lessons for us, and with each mistake, together we become better and stronger for it.

You, my child, are forever and always within and around my heart.”

Time and our children are precious…embrace them both.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“Motherhood”

I wrote a story called “A Letter to My Children,” which can be found in my new book, “Waking Up.” I remember the day I wrote it, and I remember WHY I wrote it.

It was a balmy, summer night and as my kids were floating in and out of the house, and those that didn’t live home had called me, I started to think about all the things they don’t yet know about parenthood…what they don’t know about “motherhood.”

Being a mom has been the greatest role I’ve had in life, and as much I love being a writer, I believe I was born to be a mom. I wasn’t perfect and I know I made some mistakes along the way, yet everything I was as a mother was born out of love.a letter to my children

“And on the day the first of you was born, I was re-born. I was not longer just a married woman; I was born again as a mother. Life changed from that exact moment that you took your first breath, and with that breath, I held mine. I held my breath out of excitement of a new baby placed in my arms, and out of fear to all the responsibilities that were not a part of my life, from that day forward.””

“The love of a mother never dies, not with time, not with distance, not with death; the love of a mother grows stronger with each passing day, with each new milestone you reach and each heartache you encounter. Your mistakes become lessons for us, and with each mistake, together we become stronger and better for it.”

“There is nothing that can or will break or lessen the love a mother has for her children; the heart of a mother is the heart of her child.”

I love my five beautiful children; they’re all unique in their own way, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d like to think I gave them the strength to be who they are and to dream big. I know I made mistakes, yet my children and I learned through both their mistakes and mine. We’re all stronger for it. And isn’t “strength” one of the greatest gift we can give our children?

“There is the proverbial knowing that our children are not here to love us; we are here to love them.”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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