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Taking Control of Her Mental Health in a Pandemic

Taking Control of Her Mental Health in a Pandemic

Something about the quarantine life unleashed a darkness in Helene Skantzikas. It insidiously snatched joy and plunged her into the depths of hopelessness. Nothing and everything has changed in her life in the last three months: she lives at home with her mother and her son. Same as before, but everything is different.  Read more

faith in a pandemic

Faith in a Pandemic

On the second week of March, Tara Hurley and her family did something that now seems strange to our sequestered world: she walked into a restaurant, sat down, and ordered food to celebrate her birthday.

The restaurant was The Cheesecake Factory, a natural choice for a family with little kids. The chain restaurant is heavy with options — “Glamburgers” live alongside a kid’s grilled salmon in a spiral notebook-like menu. 

Tara turned 34 on the last day in the free world before her suburban Los Angeles neighborhood shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Pasta Da Vinci arrived, but the birthday girl’s attention floated past her family to the quiet restaurant and the edgy waitstaff. Uncertainty clung to the air in the days before city officials issued stay-at-home orders, but on that day there was cake and a bowl of pasta swimming in wine sauce.

“That would probably taste so good right now,” said Tara, pronounced Tar-ah, like her Irish parents, Emer and Niall O’Mahony, do.

It’s been almost two months now of staying at home, right? Who can keep track? The days blur into each other like an endless ballad on repeat. Read more

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

As we talk about forgiving others and asking someone to forgive us, we must pause to think about what forgiveness is as well as what forgiveness is not. Let’s begin with a definition of forgiveness:  to stop requiring payment, either financial or emotional.   To say to another: I am no longer holding these things against you.  Forgiveness is an act of the will.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that your feelings have changed. Read more

working mom shame

Working Mom Shame

A few weeks ago I was walking the halls of my dance studio.  I love getting a chance to watch the little ones glow with confidence as they leap and groove, but I also love watching proud parents light up while watching their kids   I had the opportunity to introduce myself to a mom who is new to the studio and we began chatting. Inevitably the conversation meandered to my own 4 year old son and pre-school. I lamented the shortage of schools that offer year-round and full time care in our community.  The response: “Yeah… I made the choice to stay home and raise my children, so I never had to worry about that.”

THUNK… There it was… working mom shame.   Read more

Thoughtful Charity

I want my daughters to be generous adults. But I want them to be purposeful in their giving rather than giving mindlessly or out of guilt.

Please allow me to tell you the story of what I attempted when they were in their teens. It was just after Christmas and my husband and I wanted to give a sizeable (for us) donation to a charity.  We invited them to select the charity to which we sent the money. Fortunately, they took us seriously and put thought and effort into the decision. Read more

superpowers

Superpowers

‘Tis the season of superheroes in my household.  We’ve seen the new “Incredibles 2” movie a handful of times this summer, and my kids love to watch YouTube videos of hypothetical matchups between superheroes that wouldn’t otherwise run into each other.  Did you ever wonder if the Hulk could take down Wonder Woman? Me neither, but plenty of people have their arguments for each side. Read more

Guac with peppers

Monique’s Voice: Raw Vegan Lifestyle

Different people choose to live different lifestyles and one of the ways they express it is through their food choices. I’m pretty sure many of you are familiar with the vegan lifestyle which means to abstain from eating any animal protein or animal by-products, like dairy, butter, and eggs, but a lifestyle referred to as “raw vegan” isn’t as popular. Raw vegans believe that cooking food can destroy its micronutrients and that the cooking process exposes foods to harmful chemicals – which resonated with me. When I began my journey as a raw vegan earlier this year, I really had no idea where to start. This lifestyle means eating uncooked and unprocessed foods – so pasta, rice, bread are all out (noooooooo). So I needed resources and recipe ideas, but I didn’t want to overwhelm myself. I chose to listen to Fully Raw Kristina – I absolutely love her energy and she makes everything look and sound incredible. And Yuri Elkaim – although he’s not 100% raw, I love his realistic down-to-earth approach on intermittent fasting, and he has some pretty bomb recipes too. Through this journey, I’ve really discovered that this is a great way to enjoy what you eat in its most natural form while maximizing its health benefits. Read more