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Stop and smell the roses!

Every once in a while we all need a break from our typical routine.  When I was a young mom, a wise man told me that “A change was as good as a rest.”  We all look forward to our scheduled vacation time.  However, if we are overwhelmed, anticipating our future vacation might not be enough.  Our strong feelings might be a sign indicating we need to create an experience that is a respite for ourselves.

For me, respite can take on different forms.  Depending on time available, the break can range from a few minutes to days in duration.   I create reminders of my intention that show up during my day.  For example, to experience the wonder of nature., I am trying to sit outside for a few minutes a day.  To get more movement and exercise, I have a repeating message that pops up on my computer every 30 minutes reminding me to take a short stretch break.

Last week I was running a few minutes late to an appointment when I noticed a beautiful rose bush just outside the building.  The thought crossed my mind, that is so beautiful, I wish I could remember it always.  I felt a little sad, because roses fade and my memory of the color would fade also.  Then I thought, I can take a picture.

I put this beautiful picture as the wall paper on my phone.  Now every time I pick up my phone, I am reminded of that beautiful rose.  I am able to stop and figuratively smell the roses as I am transported back to that lovely warm August day when I saw the rose.  It has become a short break that recreates a wonderful memory.

Sometimes we need breaks that are longer than the momentary respite achieved by looking at a photograph or sitting outside.  This weekend, I am in Kentucky for four days visiting my son and his family.  Arden is back at home caring for Nick, so that I can have this opportunity to be a granny.  We have gone out to eat, shopped, had a birthday party and done other activities that youth and children love to do.  It has been glorious as well as relaxing.  This level of respite is not always possible when we have heavy responsibilities or limited finances.

I try to act on the reminders I have put in my life, so that I do have some physical respite from the stresses of my everyday life.  Discovering the things that feel like a break to me has been an interesting journey.  In addition, the things that relax me may not have the same affect on you.  For me, watching a movie and knitting a sweater are incredibly relaxing.  Nick might be in the same room as me, or in my line of sight in his room, but the whole experience can still feel like a short vacation, even though I am still caring for Nick.

In the past, I have used food as a short break from my reality.  That was not helpful to me, in fact it was destructive to my physical self.  I have learned that when I feel a strong desire to eat after I have had plenty of food, I need to find an activity that will generate a feeling that I have had a short break.

What works for you?  Start a short list of possibilities, and start doing some of them.  You will be amazed how much this can reduce your stress level and feelings of overwhelm.

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Announcing that I have finished a book with the working title of “The Fairy Fort.” I am currently pitching it to publishers. Keep checking back to watch the progress of my newest novel.

Here is a quick glimpse of the story.

Sarah Doherty is an 18-year-old living in rural Ireland at the tail end of the Great War. Plagued by severe epilepsy, she is protected by her parents and lives a sheltered, secluded, lonely life. The Fae, local Irish fairies, interfere with her life. She falls forward a century in time through the local fairy fort of standing stones. She had a seizure in 1918 and woke up in 2020. The 21st century world includes life-saving prescriptions, physical comforts and the independence and freedom she seeks. The locals are welcoming and Andy Mclaughlin, a handsome young historian, is intriguing. She doesn’t want to return home.

Then a letter arrives from Boston divulging the story of Sarah and Andy’s lives that are deeply entwined in the previous century. They are not yet in love but as they seek to verify the letter through online resources, they feel a growing obligation to their unborn family and to each other. What would happen to their posterity living in Boston if they don’t return to 1918? Even if they do make it back, her parents can never know what happened to her or that would change everything.

This Young Adult time-travel romance explores the question: Do we have the freedom to make choices or is free will an elaborate illusion?

This is my third book. I love reading time travel romances. I am an advocate for epilepsy awareness because my 43-year-old son has intractable epilepsy. As a genealogist specializing in Irish research, I live part of the year in the village where the story is based. I wrote the book to help young adults understand that difficult situations can change your life. Sometimes miraculously.