Coping Tools for a Busy Season

Coping Tools for Busy ScheduleHoly crisp everything is hitting at once. Did you survive the back to school scramble? Do you have your coping tools ready to go?

Summer is over and fall, while not official until September 23rd, is here. I love the trappings of fall, but dang it’s a busy season. Sports, music, volunteer requests, mountains of paperwork, school projects, and oh yes, your own separate list of goals you hope to accomplish while the kids are in school. AND THEN THERE’S WORK. How do we keep it all together? Let’s talk about the state of our minds in relation to our schedules.

Shifting seasons, particularly from summer into fall then onto winter can alter our brain chemistry. Aside from nutrition and exercise, what are your coping skills? I’m going to list a few of mine to get the ball rolling.

TOOLS (we all need them) Disclaimer: these are from a 2015 post. I noted my updates. Tried and true, many of them still work great. Continue reading

Halloween and Grief

Halloween and GriefI’m re-posting a blog piece from last year because it rings true again this year. My sister-in-law’s sister asked her Facebook friends to be sensitive to those who have lost loved ones by considering how they approach their Halloween decorations. For those of you who don’t know, we lost my sister-in-law to suicide in July. I’ll admit that it has changed the tone of Halloween for us this year. My son is particularly sensitive to anything he perceives as ‘dark.’ I can only imagine how the holiday will affect the families of those who just lost their lives in the recent shooting in Oregon.

Observing Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, has its place. It can allow us to explore our fear of death in a healthy way and honor our departed. For my part, celebrating horror is not on the list of ways to process the loss of those we love.

Here is my original post……………………………………………………………………………….. Continue reading

Unexpected Provisions

Faith in the trenchesYesterday I watched my nine year old son chase a ball of white fluff around our coffee table. Autumn light streamed through the picture window and his antics cast shifting silhouettes against the sunbathed wall. The fluff ball yipped and wriggled, and my son danced and laughed. This boy and this dog are both miracles. Watching them play softens the walls guarding my heart and reminds me of God’s spectacular provision through years of crisis. Continue reading

Behavioral Epigenetics

Penguin If you’re not genetically built to fly, all the flapping in the world won’t lift you off the ground. I’m not saying there isn’t the occasional miracle, but I’d rather see you waddle magnificently than flail in endless frustration trying to soar in a hostile climate.”

– “Clara Loup” in the novel CHASING CURES by April Avey

My first novel, CHASING CURES, is complete and en route to a list of carefully prospected agents and publishers. I had some very encouraging feedback from agents and mentors at the Oregon Christian Writer’s Conference in Portland in August. Cross your fingers, say a prayer, and stay tuned to hear what happens. A prevalent question at this stage seems to be ‘what’s next?’ I’m happy to report I actually have an answer to that question.

Behavioral epigenetics has captured my imagination and will be a theme in my next book, THE BEST OF HER. Did you know trauma can alter your DNA and pass structural changes to future generations? Continue reading

The Way Forward

Flowers for Victoria
Flowers from Victoria’s memorial service.

I’m preparing to attend the Oregon Christian Writer’s Conference in Portland next week and have to admit it’s been a struggle to get my head in the game after what turned out to be a tragic July for my family. My brother’s wife, Victoria, took her own life on the 4th of July. She was 39 years old and we did not see it coming. Those who knew her well understood she battled depression and detachment disorder, but we also witnessed her wonderful capacity to love others and her vigilant approach to self-care. She lived a very healthy lifestyle and was pursuing projects that we thought would bring her joy. In the end, it wasn’t enough. Continue reading

En Pointe

Capezios. First pair.
Capezios. First pair.

My daughter asked to see my point shoes the other day. She’s developed a sudden passion for dance and dreams of dancing en pointe. I enrolled her when she was little, thinking it must be in her genes, but she didn’t take to it and landed on the gymnastics team instead. I started dancing when I was three. She’s eleven, but wants to give it a go. Scanning studio schedules unlocked a surge of memories. I actually put my point shoes on and pulled off a couple of relevés.

They’ve lost their peachy pink sheen and the shanks are broken, but I will never throw them away. They’ve been tucked in a memory box for over twenty five years. The ribbons are stained and their edges frayed, the toes are worn and the seams are split, but they are still beautiful to me. My feet tingle in protest as I examine the old Capezios. At once ethereal and excruciating, they symbolize beauty, grace and pain, like many other disciplines worth sacrificing for. My corns and bunions have been tamed, but my right big toe still pops out of the joint and I have scars from second degree blisters. These shoes are a badge of honor. Continue reading

Shifting My Perspective

I’m reading a fantastic book about artists, in particular writers though it transcends that, and the role of Christianity. It’s incredibly inspiring and I want to share a few tidbits:

Lott BookBret Lott, in Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian, points out that the words angst and epiphany have essentially been misappropriated by the secular world. I’m going to liberally paraphrase in the interest of keeping this short.

Lott’s perspective on the word epiphany: “the ‘shining forth’ or revelation of God to man in the person of Jesus Christ” is now most often defined as “a kind of psychological reckoning of characters (individuals) to themselves and their world.”

He goes on to refer to Soren Kierkegaard’s definition of angst as “the anxiety felt deep in man’s heart when faced with the uncrossable chasm between God and our broken world.” Continue reading

Coping Skills Toolbox

Scroll to the bottom of this post for a list of 15 toolbox tips.

BeFunky_2015 iphone d.jpg
Photo credit: April Avey

I’m researching private schools today. I thought I’d deal with the prickles this task incites by blogging about it instead of diving into my secret stash of chocolate. Ok, I’ve already had one square, but I could very easily sit down and eat the whole bar right now. This post however is not about emotional eating; it is about make hard choices and staying present, aware, and involved with children who require extra handling. Continue reading

Chasing Cures

The manuscript for my first book is finished and in the hands of a brave group of beta readers. The working title is Chasing Cures and more information will be available soon on my book page. Before I tackle revisions based on their wonderfully detailed and encouraging feedback, I’m taking time to move my blog, Pass It On, to this new site.  Stay tuned for old and new posts related to prevalent themes in my book: family legacy, parenting, faith, genetic predispositions, mental illness, harboring secrets, claiming truths, and relationships.

Family Photos
Family Photos

I wrote my book to explore how families can navigate these issues well, with intention, despite the obstacles. Knowing what we’re genetically predisposed to can help us take preventative measures for ourselves and our children.  How do we practice early intervention without projecting the fear of something that might not happen? Walking the fine line between being informed and overreacting can be confusing. As I continue to educate myself, I intend to use my favorite skill, writing, to process what I’ve learned and pass it on. I hope you will too.