The boy monk: a review of ‘Monastery Mornings’

To be human is to suffer. In the case of third-grader Michael O’Brien, that meant watching the apparent disintegration of his family: a father who left home and divorced his wife, a series of moves that eventually led to making a home in Utah, and the struggles of his mom as she tried to pay her bills and raise her four children, of whom Michael was the youngest. 

Teaching my children the power of mindset

It is no wonder collegiate athletes are required to take a sports psychology course and why higher-level athletes, such as Olympians, focus as much on their mental stat as they do physical training. Further, I’m realizing more and more that the tactics athletes use such as visualization, self talk, goal setting and achieving a state of flow are not only helpful on the field and the court but also in everyday life.

Birthdays, cardinals and roller skating

My older son turned 13 on Jan. 19, and my younger son turned 10 on Jan. 20. They are both officially in the double digits, which is hard for this mama to believe. Since they were babies, we’ve hosted a dual birthday party, as opposed to separate celebrations for each boy. 

When being a mom breaks your heart

Being a mom is always hard, but there is something uniquely challenging about parenting an adolescent. For me, it felt like my 12-year-old morphed into a young man overnight. Within one calendar year, he grew six inches and three shoe sizes. I watched his pants grow shorter each day like he was a superhero molting into a larger, more powerful form. Suddenly his voice was deeper, and I found myself grasping for his little boy octave, the one without the baritone sound and crackly inflection.   

This must be the place: Ode to Mr. P, ode to never sacrificing the gift

It is with an extremely heavy heart that I share the news of the passing last Friday morning of Brian Power (aka: “Mr. P”) after a long, debilitating illness. 

This must be the place: Not where but what you think that really matters

Stepping out of the pickup truck in my little sister’s driveway last Saturday, I was immediately greeted with the sounds of children laughing and splashing around in the backyard. It was my niece’s sixth birthday party in my hometown of Rouses Point, New York, a tiny village on the Canadian and Vermont borders. 

Studies show correlation between PTSD and substance abuse

By Taylor Sexton • Special to SMN | Emma Jordan lives in Hatteras, North Carolina, where she spends her days working hard, soaking in the sun’s rays, and struggling with PTSD and substance abuse.

“My whole deal was to bottle it up, leave it somewhere buried deep down inside,” Jordan said. “Somewhere you can’t think about it.” 

Running through life with PTSD

By Taylor Sexton • Contributing writer | I was 5 years old when I watched my father’s fist fly into the wall next to my mother’s head. I remember how the little bear figurines on the wall crashed to the floor with the shelf that held them. I remember picking up the broken pieces from the white carpet with my mother and staring into her pained, tear-stained face.

It’s one of the earliest memories I have, but I only just recently remembered it. It was locked away deep within my subconscious, so imagine my surprise when the scene popped back up 13 years later in the form of nightmares, haunting me night after night. 

Rethinking school: book offers sage suggestions

If you have school-age children, by now they are two months or more into their routine of classes, books, extracurricular activities, and homework. Perhaps they love their teachers, excel in their academic studies, are popular among their peers, and look forward every morning to whatever new challenges may come their way.

A sweet reminder of fate

My two boys are children of divorce. That’s a phrase I never thought I’d say. But then again, life never really unfolds in the way we intend. And when things go awry, we can only shift and adapt. 

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