Browsing Tag

lessons from children

Guest Posts, parenting

The Last First Day

September 13, 2016

By Bernadette Murphy

The alarm goes off at 6 am.  It’s a sweltering Monday in August, the first day back to school for my daughter, Hope, and the last time I’ll ever oversee this annual routine.  Hope will start her senior year of high school today.  This time next year we’ll be leaving her at a dorm on a university campus yet to be determined.

For the past 21 years, I have been overseeing these back-to-school mornings, taking pictures of my three kids as they hoist on new backpacks filled with freshly sharped pencils that smell like sawdust, packed alongside clean binders and pristine notebooks, as they lace overly bright fresh-out-of-the-box tennis shoes, adjust new school uniforms and comb fresh haircuts.  My oldest, Jarrod, finished his Bachelor’s degree a year ago and is now in his first real job.  My middle son Neil is about to start his junior year in college and has been living away from home since we dropped him at his dorm three years ago.   And now, Hope’s a senior.

My job as a mother – a job that has consumed and thrilled and exhausted and tried and awed me for more than 23 years — is coming to an end. Continue Reading…

Delight, Guest Posts, Inspiration

Lessons From Elves. Guest Post By The Flying Yogini.

November 2, 2011

The following is a guest post by the amazing Flying Yogini.


I am seeing life from the brighter side today.  I am seeing the sweet, the small and the simple as magic in a way I have not in a while.

You see I live in Connecticut which is in the midst of its third major weather-related disaster of the year.  We started in January with epic amounts of snow, while wonderful to me, were positively paralyzing for the state.  No one went to school, no one could go anywhere and the damage was wide-spread.  Then came Hurricane Irene which sent 500 thousand of us into the dark.  Many of us were out for days (almost four at Chez Nancy) and many also did not have water or plumbing because of our wells and septic systems.  Then on Sunday we got hit with the giant Winter Storm Albert which dumped 12″ on my yard and more on other parts of the state.  This storm broke October snowfall records going back to the Civil War.  Not surprisingly, over 24 hours later close to 700 thousand people still do not have power!

This weekend was full of Halloween events which got cancelled.  School got cancelled.  Halloween parties at school got cancelled and in many towns, Halloween got cancelled period.  There was no trick or treating, there was no power, no costumes and frankly no sweetness.  There was a darkness hovering over our area that was more massive than the power outage that appears to be staying for a while.  Mother Nature apparently had other ideas for how we should all be spending October 31.

My amazing elves, a.k.a. my kids, had resigned themselves to not having Halloween.

We were among the immensely fortunate ones this time who did not lose power so we invited friends who were in the dark over to stay warm.  The elves got to play in the snow with their pals, they had special play dates with best friends and used our Halloween pumpkins for snowmen heads.  Most towns around us banned trick or treating because it was too dangerous and so the elves knew that the chances we would get to go were slim to none.  When  I said “looks like trick or treating is off the table this year,” they just shrugged and accepted this as the reality.  Life had gotten in the way of candy and surprisingly they were okay with it.

Then at the last-minute some streets got cleared, some friends got power and we got a plan.  The elves costumed-up and we raced over to hit a few houses.  It was cold, dark and there were utility workers checking wires around us,  but it was fun! We got home from our short jaunt and my eldest elf counted his candy. He told me:  “Mom, I only got 25 pieces this year which is less than half what I normally get.  But the truth is I do not care.  I really just had a great time dressing up in my costume and going with my friends.”

This elf with the sweetest of teeth saw the little bright sparkle that came from the opportunity that had opened for him.  It no longer was about his candy but rather about those who were with him and the fun of doing it in the first place.  He looked on the shiny side of the Halloween coin and saw that his richness came from bliss of the moment rather than the numbers of wrappers in his bag.

I share this story because it so beautifully demonstrates how magical life can be if you allow the little things to outshine the big ones.  The adventure becomes the reward and the end a bonus on top of it all.  My elves did not care if their bags of candy were full or if they were empty.  They got to go with their friends to a few doors, dress up like Smurfette and a Patriots football player and feel like kids.  They got to see the little bright side of life and felt its shimmer even in the very dark October night.

So my elves and I remind you to reach deep into your inner bag of goodies and pick the smallest thing you can find and give it a little polishing rub.  Notice how it sparkles and allows the otherwise dull items near it to shine.

And next time you feel you cannot find even  a fleck of light inside, step into the shoes of my elves on Halloween.  Remember that the true sweetness lies not in the biggest candy stash but in the journey to get them in your collecting pumpkin.  Find the joy in the little and suddenly everything around you will be big with brightness.


You can find Nancy Alder aka The Flying Yogini anywhere her magic mat takes her but I suggest Facebook and Twitter first. Her website is But of course. All yoginis fly, don’t we?