Wedding Season

With the leaves descending from the trees with hues of orange, red and yellow, the wedding season has also come into full color. I am fortunate to unite couples from many different perspectives and walks of life who wish to pledge themselves to one another in marriage.

Gorgeous Fall Day

They enjoy working with me to co-create a ceremony that is meaningful to them, thus making their special day as unforgettable as possible. Creating a personal experience in this way has produced many many memorable days over the years.  

Chronogram Magazine did a good job of highlighting the importance of reflecting the personality of the couples in weddings in an article they did February 2014. With a

wonderful fall photograph

by Maggie Heinzel-Neel of another wedding I officiated.

Clear Skies and Sunshine

The weather has been generally fabulous this fall. But there have been days when I remind a couple if disappointed that the sun isnt shining, that indigenous cultures see rain as a blessing, which washes away and purifies the past so that a clear new future can unfold.

Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

SUNY New Paltz Career Fair

I had the pleasure to attend a career fair this week at SUNY New Paltz with the hopes to find interns who wish to find more experience in the publishing world. I got a chance to speak with a number of students with an array of talents from editing to graphic design.

It is always a treat to be on the New Paltz campus as I am able to connect with a variety of different people, in an effort to spread awareness of the importance of health and wellness.

My current intern Altimont and I

Curious students asking questions 

Overall it was a great turnout as many students seemed interested in learning more about the positive influence health and wellness can have on your life. I'm thankful for any opportunity I get to interact with the community of New Paltz and I look forward to contacting students to intern.

Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

NYC People's Climate March

I was lucky enough to attend the People's Climate March held this Sunday in NYC. I was one of 300,000 people in what is being called the largest climate-change demonstration in history. Demonstrators marched with the intent to bring awareness to the effects global warming has had on the planet.

In preparation for the gathering of world leaders at the United Nations for a summit meeting on climate change, this demonstration is bringing widespread attention to climate change. For more information on the rally, you can read these great articles:

NY Times

USA Today

Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

Scottish Referendum: YES vs NO

I was lucky enough to visit my home country of Scotland this summer and something I got to experience was the impact of the controversial referendum vote on Scottish independence. It is only a few days away now on September the 18th and currently it is too close to call. Issues are very complex and will affect the entire British Isles.

As I made my way around Scotland, I noticed the 'YES' campaign as being very outspoken and pushy. There were many loud colorful signs and even a merchandise shop which promoted the idea of Scottish independence.

While the ‘NO Thanks’ campaign seemed much more restrained. I noticed subtle signs across Scotland that were not as aggressive but still made a statement that there were campaigning against voting for independence. 

But, as many Scots consider voting to be a very private personal matter, many are not likely to reveal what they will vote and may vote no.

Written by Altimont Parker, SUNY New Paltz Intern for Roots & Wings

Nurturing Your Passion for Creativity

It's a delight for me to support a young person's aspirations. Here’s what Tracy Tanoff shares about how she discovered her passion for reading and writing, leading to her choice of English and Journalism classes at college and hence her current internship at ROOTS & WINGS:

"When I was a kid, around five or six, my biggest dream was to be a veterinarian—everyone always observed that I was good with animals; I loved animals as much as they seemed to love me. More than that, I was interested in healing those who were hurt. I was strongly affected by negative emotions and any sort of discord, and while I shied away from the idea of healing people, I wanted very much to help animals, who’d brought me plenty of joy and amusement during my childhood.


As I grew older, I found that I wasn’t as cut out for veterinary training as I’d once imagined—I wasn’t very good at science and math, foundations any doctor would need, but fortunately, I did have another strong suit. Another childhood passion of mine was reading and, after fourth grade, writing. As a young girl, I was enthusiastic about and absorbed by fantasy and science fiction stories. I soon began writing some of my own, modeled after the books I loved most, by authors like Bruce Coville and Mary Stanton, and such epic series as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. I was encouraged by the fourth grade teacher who first told me my writing had a real “voice,” and my supportive mother and stepfather.


When I reached my last year of middle school and entered high school, I discovered that my love of language also opened up another door for me—like my mother, I was a good editor. Peer-editing my classmates’ papers in a college-level English class, and being commended by my teacher for the help I was giving students who needed it, I decided on my future career path. I knew as early as eleventh grade that I wanted to be an English major, and my determination certainly surprised adults who were used to students who were undecided!


At SUNY New Paltz, I learned to extend my range as a writer and an editor; I took Journalism classes in addition to my English classes, and my minor in Journalism requires an internship in a communications field, such as publishing. I knew I wanted a position that would help me grow as a writer and an editor, as well as one with a specific geographical component: I wanted to stay local. New Paltz, as a community, has always welcomed me and made me feel safe; I feel much more grounded here than I would have in New York City or on unfamiliar parts of Long Island, my home.


Puja’s listing in the job fair catalogue called my name right away—not only was it in the New Paltz area, it was seeking someone with the skills I had and wanted to hone. It seemed like a dream, but I was still nervous; I’d been disappointed by seeming “dream jobs” before, overlooked in favor of other candidates. I tried to pour my nervousness into something other than needless stress: the hunt for the right black pants to wear to the fair, the right résumé paper to print my qualifications on.


The day of the job fair wasn’t nearly as stress-free as I’d been hoping—the humidity was awful and I lugged my six-pound Shakespeare anthology to class only to find out my professor had unexpectedly cancelled. By the time I got to the job fair, I was hot, upset, and slightly panicked, and I was sure that whatever chances I’d had at being hired had surely slipped down the drain!


I remember being so relieved after my interview—I liked Puja and she seemed to like me, and even the unfamiliar subject area I’d be working in didn’t seem quite so daunting after our talk. I waited nervously to hear whether I’d gotten the position or not, and was relieved and excited when I opened my inbox one Saturday morning to an email from Puja informing me that I’d be working at Roots & Wings along with another intern.


Since January, I’ve been greatly enjoying my work at Roots & Wings. I’ve been opened to so many new experiences—I’ve been editing manuscripts and seeing how layouts are formatted (and reformatted), and learning about how to write book proposals. I’ve even found that working with writing on health and well-being resonates with why I wanted to be a vet as a child—it’s all about cutting down on pain and negativity. The idea of “roots and wings” even applies to why I wanted this internship in the first place: I wanted to allow my New Paltz roots to flourish, and the knowledge and connections I gain here will hopefully allow me to spread my wings and take off into the professional world!"

By Roots & Wings Intern Tracy Tanoff

Learning at any age!

I’m teaching a SUNY Lifetime Learning class for seniors,

Use Your Energy to Welcome Change

, One way I keep my own energy moving is to connect with younger people at other points of the age spectrum. I love to mentor SUNY student interns through the publishing aspect of Roots & Wings. It can be a reciprocal win-win for us all: interns have a hands-on learning business experience, practicing essential skills, while their perspective can be very helpful to me.

Here’s what Lauren Boudreau wrote about becoming one of my two current interns at ROOTS & WINGS:

“Take a moment and close your eyes; picture yourself at age ten stepping into an amusement park for the first time. You are overwhelmed by the lights, the music, the rides seeming to break all laws of physics. You are excited yet scared at the same time, but not to worry, your parents are right there holding your hands.

This scenario is pretty much exactly what I felt the first time (and many times after) I stepped into a career and internship fair. The chills that ran through my body were only numbed by the fact that I knew I was not alone. There were hundreds of other students just like me waiting to start their lives.

This year’s fair included companies in my field (publishing) and when I saw Puja sitting at her small table labeled

Roots & Wings

I knew this could finally be my big break.

It did not take long after the Fair for her to ask me for an interview. As I sat in my car across the street from the Bakery where we were to meet, my hands were shaking and my teeth were chattering in the cold December weather. However, when I started actually speaking with Puja my nerves calmed down. Thankfully, I got the job! Since January I have been an intern for

Roots & Wings!

At first I was a little worried at what I could possibly do to improve this one-woman company. I quickly found out that even though Puja is the sole proprietor, there is so much work to do! I am never bored.

What I really like about this internship is that I can do it on my free time. Puja will send me pieces to edit via email and I can do it at 3 AM if I want to (I don’t). At times when I go to Puja’s home office, I feel relaxed—I am even

distracted by the sheer beauty of the surroundings, looking up to the ‘Gunks.’ (Roots & Wings also serves as a getaway for BnB guests.)

The most fun assignments are when I get to edit her material. I remember being so completely satisfied with myself when after I sent her some edits, she ended up going with most of my suggestions! It’s truly the best feeling ever, feeling that you did something worthwhile.

I’m learning a lot also. I’m more aware of writing clear and concise sentences than I was before, especially for the type of self-help books Puja is writing and publishing. You must use colloquial language and organize it in a way that easy for readers to understand. Editing is truly an art form and must be done with a careful eye. As I have learned, good editing is what truly makes a good book.

Words cannot express how grateful I am that I get to do this. One day I can only hope that I turn these valuable skills into a full-time job!”

Roots & Wings Interns Spring 2013 - Lauren on left; Tracy on right.

Puja's current writing and contributions to previous Chronogram blogs

Past entries of Puja's blog for the Chronogram magazine can be found here. She is no longer writing a blog for Chronogram, but some of the entries may be of interest.

There have been some changes in the management of this blog. Puja would like to thank Cynthia Stewart for her contributions to the entries in 2012.

Puja is busy expanding her My Hope & Focus Cancer Organizer, which is near to completion.

Also in the works is an organizer for any health challenge. Its guidelines will help you manage and coordinate everything you need, from emergency contact information to health history, questions to ask your doctors, treatment decisions, tests, medication, billing, insurance and much more...

Look out for other posts to come!