Change of Address – Kind Of

January can be a time of fresh starts, to recalibrate, or to rest. I realize that some of the writing I have been doing comes in two forms— the longer essays and work that lend themselves to taking my time and are a bit lengthy for this space. The other writing is much shorter, I can do quickly while it is fresh, and is served in portions that might be easier for me to share and for you to read.

I want to stay in touch, but for a while I will be sharing less from here and more on another platform, Instagram, which is where I am more inclined to post very short reflections and photos. If you are interested, please follow me over on Instagram, where I am @writepausereflect. And I hope to follow you there too.

Sending you blessings and peace,


Choosing What I Need

Tonight, I am thinking about this question – are there times where you give up your ability to choose what you need? I don’t mean those areas where you make a certain decision because you have to, or because someone, perhaps a child or partner, is counting on you. I am thinking about the little decisions we make where if we just stepped back, we might be able to say ‘No” or “Not right now,” or even “Yes, yes, I can make time for that…because I want to, because I need to.”

Now more than ever, with so many of us feeling stretched to the limit, it is important to exercise the ability to consider what is best for you and not automatically doing things the way you always have. I am reevaluating my “shoulds” to make sure they are in alignment with my goals – personal, professional, spiritual, and creative.

It’s been a minute

It’s been a minute – well actually months – since I have posted here. I have been writing a little, but when I’ve had thoughts about what to say in this space, it’s been hard to figure out what I wanted to share. I am doing well, and like many of you, I’ve had to adjust to life in this time where the COVID pandemic seems to influence everything.

A few days ago I was running some errands and decided to go to the cemetery where my mother and other family members were laid to rest. As you can see in the photo, it was a sunny day, and besides that, this cemetery has never seemed like a creepy place to me. I went because I can sit on that rock for a few minutes, gather my thoughts, talk to my mother and God, and pray. Sometimes I speak out loud, although not loudly, and at other times it is enough to be still. If I am patient, I just wait, and try to listen.

This time of year can be hard for me. People talk about the time before COVID as the “before-times” but this season is more the “between-times” for me. It is a few weeks after the day, four years ago, when we found out how sick my mother was and just a few weeks before the date she passed. It is a time when I can feel something in my body shift so slightly, and then I remember, that’s it, Ramona, it’s the same time of year as...

But this day it was not so hard. I had taken care of some important business and was on my way to a conversation that I was just not quite sure how it would play out. So I went to this quiet place, with only the sounds of birds, bugs, and the cars going by outside of the cemetery. I looked around me and was moved by the fact that so many other people had been here to say good bye to a loved one. I thought of how close this place is to the neighborhood we moved to when I was a senior in high school. Even if I just thought of my people here, there were so many good memories – of my mother and her laughter, my grandfather’s annual summer party, my aunt’s lemon meringue pie.

Over the last year and a half there has been so much loss – people, celebrations, gatherings, etc. We thought life was headed back to normal when it fact, maybe there is no longer normal, but just now, and the steps we take to shift to whatever is happening now. I am grateful to still be here, to have my memories and my hopes for a future. I will try to write here more often because there is one thing I have learned over the last year – waiting for perfect means I will surely miss it.

The Year of How

As the month of January comes to an end, I’d like to share an essay I wrote for the University of Notre Dame, where I completed my undergraduate studies. I hope this essay, which is a brief reflection on the challenges of 2020, will help you consider how you want to move forward. You can find it here.

May 2021 be a better year,


Thanksgiving 2020

This Thanksgiving is going to be different, quieter and smaller, which is exactly what I need. It will be at home, just me with my husband, and far fewer sides on the table. I wish more of my family could be with us, but all of us are staying closer to home this year. The COVID pandemic has required that we shift, and shift we will, because we have so much for which we are grateful, and hopes for a calmer future when things settle down after the pandemic.

I am grateful for the fact that although we have had family members come down with COVID, everyone has recovered. Not all families have had that good fortune, and I wish them comfort during what has to be a hard time.

We have our jobs, and with jobs, the chance to help others who have lost theirs. That is another blessing. We also have our hobbies and other delights – some like to fish, others go to their instruments, or read, build furniture, cook, watch sports or movies, write, or play in the teepee that is resident in the living room. A weekly Zoom call is another way we stay connected and has made the distance much easier to bear.

I am grateful because even though I miss my mother—we all do—she taught us the importance of family and made our holidays special. That is a good memory. And my father is with us, still teaching and learning, sharing his insights, and reminding us where we come from. 

This Thanksgiving will be quieter and smaller, but no less rich because of the huge changes many of us have had to make because of the pandemic. I hope you are able to celebrate the day in a way that has meaning for you. And if it is not quite what you had hoped for, I hope you will experience some measure of peace that helps you get through until the world gets better.

Have a peaceful and safe Thanksgiving,


Heading Back to the Familiar

Sometimes when I have been away from what once was a regular practice, I have to ease back into it, like when you add vegetables to a food a child already likes and hope that you can sneak them in without her noticing. For me, the two practices that have been languishing are Pilates and writing. I have been so busy lately that some of the things I need to do to feel balanced have been squeezed out. For a while, that even applied to reading, because by this time last year I had already read nearly 45 books, and this year I am at about half of that number. 

I have adjusted to this new pace in life, with its restrictions on where I go and who is around me. I realize that more than ever, I need those practices that help me process what is going on in the world so I can tend to my physical and emotional wellbeing. I am back into Pilates, maybe not at the skill level I was at before, but I am practicing more frequently. And I have found that sitting for longer periods each day (aren’t we all?) means I need the movement that Pilates gives me. I worry less about how intense it is, or even how long I practice. I focus on just showing up.

And so, it is with my writing. This time last year I was immersed in my writing, heading off to a college library many mornings to write, and making progress on a book. For a while I switched to research because I had written quite a bit but wanted to go back and get more background material. The daily treks to the library slowed when cold weather came, but even at home, I wrote often. The busyness of life has crowded out my regular writing practice, or at least the part of my writing that I have not yet shared with the world. 

Sometimes it is about shifting expectations I have of myself. Just because I may not have as many hours to write doesn’t mean that 15- 30 minutes isn’t worth it. Or instead of daily writing, I can shift to longer sessions over the weekend. These days, I plan for the future, but I take it one day at a time. I remind myself that these are strange times, and while the familiar routines from my past ground me, I cannot expect that things will return to normal just by doing what once was normal and routine. I sneak in enough of the familiar so that when the unfamiliar jolts me from my path I know how to find my way back home.  

The Wind is Just Wind

The following is an excerpt from Educated by Tara Westover, one of my favorite books from 2019. This passage made me consider the source of fear and if fear serves me.

Finally, the staircase opened onto the roof, which was heavily slanted, an inverted V enclosed by stone parapets. The wind was gusting, rolling clouds across the sky; the view was spectacular, the city miniaturized, utterly dwarfed by the chapel. I forgot myself and climbed the slope, then walked along the ridge, letting the wind take me as I stared out at the expanse of crooked streets and stone courtyards.

 “You’re not afraid of falling,” a voice said. I turned. It was Dr. Kerry. He had followed me, but he seemed unsteady on his feet, nearly pitching with every rush of wind.

 “We can go down,” I said. I ran down the ridge to the flat walkway near the buttress. Again Dr. Kerry followed but his steps were strange. Rather than walk facing forward, he rotated his body and moved sideways, like a crab. The wind continued its attack. I offered him an arm for the last few steps, so unsteady did he seem, and he took it.

 “I meant it as an observation,” he said when we’d made it down. “Here you stand, upright, hands in your pockets.” He gestured toward the other students. “See how they hunch? How they cling to the wall?”

 He was right. A few were venturing onto the ridge but they did so cautiously, taking the same ungainly side steps Dr. Kerry had, tipping and swaying in the wind; everyone else was holding tightly to the stone parapet, knees bent, backs arched, as if unsure whether to walk or crawl.

 “I’ve roofed my share of hay sheds,” I said finally.

 “So your legs are stronger? Is that why you can stand in this wind?”

 I had to think before I could answer. “I can stand in this wind, because I’m not trying to stand in it,” I said. “The wind is just wind. You could withstand these gusts on the ground, so you can withstand them in the air. There is no difference. Except the difference you make in your head.”

 He stared at me blankly. He hadn’t understood.

 “I’m just standing,” I said. “You are all trying to compensate, to get your bodies lower because the height scares you. But the crouching and the sidestepping are not natural. You’ve made yourselves vulnerable. If you could just control your panic, this wind would be nothing.”

 “The way it is nothing to you,” he said.

Two lines in this passage stand out for me – “The wind is just wind,” and  “There is no difference. Except the difference you make in your head.” When I read this a year ago, I stopped to read it over a few times. These words caused me to consider the ways in which I work myself up or let fear and doubt creep in, over things that are either not in my control or smaller than I have let them appear in my mind. I consider a situation to be a stumbling block, when if I would look at it for what it is I would see it as more of distraction than any real obstacle.

It is easy to get so caught up in the swirl of perceived problems that I can miss the solution. There is usually a way through, but first I need to settle myself. Sometimes the wind is just wind.