Crafty Me

I spent this week being semi-crafty. I finally sewed my little guy his sleep mat for pre-school. I was so excited to find this cute animal print fabric and I used a navy blue quilted fabric to match it! I’m trying my hand at a matching pillow later today – we’ll see how well that goes! My grandmother taught me how to sew on her 301a Singer Sewing Machine a la 1953. I must admit that thing is badass. Heavy, powerful, and beautiful stitching! I recently had it cleaned and tuned up and I am more than thrilled to start working on some new sewing projects!

I’ve always wanted to sew one of those crayon roll/fabric roll things to hold the kids crayons in. They are pretty practical when it comes to travel or for tossing in your pocket-book/purse/diaper bag to have in case of “emergencies.” We all know kids love crayons! And the fabric prints are super cute!

This crayon roll holds 16 crayons.

Rolled up!

Have a wonderful and inspiring holiday weekend! ♥

Cue Cards for Life — a review

This has been a much-needed reading week for me! I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Christina Steinorth’s new book, “Cue Cards for Life – Gentle Reminders for Better Relationships” and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The last few months have exhausted me.  The early mornings and long days with the kids have left me a bit short-tempered, disconnected, and dare I say – moody. With summer drawing to a close and the kiddos heading off to school, I needed some simple reminders for improving my relationships with my husband, my children, my parents, and my friends.

Let’s face it, we have become a nation of non-communicators who ironically enough communicate all day long via text, Twitter, Facebook, and email. Sometimes it seems as though we put more effort into our electronics or what we’re eating for dinner than we do into our real person-to-person relationships. Are we lacking the skills needed to nurture and grow in our own lives?

As a private practice psychotherapist, Christina knows first hand that healthy relationships are imperative for a successful and happy life. She also knows that communication may be the most essential part of developing, building, and maintaining prosperous marriages, friendships, and parent/child relationships. Drawing from her expertise and experiences, Christina developed user-friendly guidelines or ‘cue cards’ which serve to invoke a wakefulness within us. A gentle push to help us begin tackling our unique relationships with others more compassionately and efficiently.

Christina portrays beautifully and simplistically her intent to help us first think through our situations and then react appropriately. She introduces us to the basic building blocks of communication and goes on to divide her book up into easy to navigate sections including: Cue Cards for Love Relationships, Engagements, Weddings, Babies, In-laws & All Things Family, Cue Cards for Parents with Teens, Cue Cards for Mending Bridges, Cue Cards for Interacting with Aging Parents, Cue Cards in the Workplace, and Cue Cards for Friends, Parties & Social Events.

Our lives and our relationships are constantly evolving, changing, growing. It is up to us to bring forth the effort needed to endure these changes. Ultimately, the relationships able to withstand the tests of time are usually the ones we have consciously committed to. The power and potential of acquiring good relationship -building skills relies heavily on our ability to understand our perceived feelings and thoughts. Sometimes we need a little help and guidance along the way. “Cue Cards for Life” helps to point us in the right direction.

To pre-order your copy of “Cue Cards for Life – Gentle Reminders for Better Relationships” – click here. To learn more about a lovely friend and woman on a mission, Christina Steinorth – click here.

 

 

Soul to Soul Parenting — a review


I recently had the opportunity to actually sit down (YES!) and devour a book that has been calling my name for quite some time now.  The book is called, “Soul to Soul Parenting – A Guide to Raising a Spiritually Conscious Family” written by author and soul nurturer Annie Burnside.  In it, Annie takes us down her personal path of self-discovery and transformation in mindfulness which helps to pave the way for us as parents to do the same.  She goes on to explain in detail that through authenticity, self-love, and inner-knowing, we all have the ability to make positive and conscious shifts in our parenting ways.

This book is not religious in its affiliation, but rather spiritual in the sense that it proves to invoke calm, peace, and over-flowing love in our daily lives.  Annie portrays beautifully the ‘dig deep inside yourself’ awareness that is so badly needed to build strong foundations in our relationships with our children.  I have read numerous books (and I’ve written many blog posts!) on the inner disconnect between parents and children, society and reality in general, and the negative outlook held by so many.  “Soul to Soul Parenting” gives real and workable solutions every family needs to create lives of purpose for ourselves and our children.  It’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to parenting, but rather a take what works for our family and leave what doesn’t.

Annie stresses continually the fact that we are all different.  She emphasizes that raising a spiritually conscious family takes work and commitment, but that we all have our own way of ultimately getting there.  What may be the best way to integrate spirituality into our lives may not be what’s best for another family.  Spiritually conscious parenting has nothing to do with conforming to a certain technique, but has everything to do with stretching our minds and bodies into new perspectives, ideas, and potentials.

Here are Annie’s 5 Tips for Raising a Spiritually Conscious Family:

1. Utilize everyday life (friendships, nature, mealtimes, music, movies) as the perfect curriculum and forum to teach your children powerful, universal principles such as connectedness, self-love, presence, and forgiveness.

2. Teach children to allow multiple perspectives in all life situations and relationships by flipping challenges into positive opportunities.

3. Train children to be more conscious of thoughts, words, and deeds so they can assume greater responsibility for the creation of their own reality.

4. Encourage compassion and empathy in your children on a daily basis by making them the most-used words at home.

5. Turn the joy in family life up by singing, dancing, smiling, humming, laughing, and relaxing rigid perspectives as often as possible through openness and gratitude.

This guide has solidified my own outlook on the importance of mindful parenting.  It will surely be a bookshelf staple in my home. I know I will draw renewed inspiration from Annie as my children grow older and our lives continue to blossom in all directions.

Learn more about ways to positively impact your children and the world through Soul to Soul Parenting here. Read more about Annie and her mission to invoke wakefulness into the minds of parents and children here.


The Life of a Mother

Oil painting: “Mother and Child”
By artist: Gustav Klimt

There is a mother who stands tall like a tree in a garden.

She is a mother of tolerance.

She happily tolerates all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of resilience.

She happily bends and twists and turns to accommodate all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of strength.

She happily lifts and embraces all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of enlightenment.

She happily teaches and tests all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of grace.

She happily gives of her spirit to all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of fortitude.

She happily faces the challenges of all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of life.

She happily nurtures all the children who whimsically dance around her.

There is a mother who stands tall like a tree in a garden–

She is a mother of piercing love.

She is you.

fear and loving in motherhood

 

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
John Lennon

We want to know how we should live. We look for guidance from our elders, signs from the world around us. We find comfort in the familiar and challenge in the unknown. We mindlessly tramp through life almost as if robotic. We tend to forget to focus our teachings inwards. There’s a lot we can take away from the inside out.  We can find our fears, anxieties, visions, and happiness by reflecting on our true selves from within.

As day dips into night, I am sitting at the table sipping tea with a friend. She is telling me about her busy life and the stress that accompanies it. She is mumbled and jumbled and even seems a bit sad. Her mind is running rampant with thoughts. Her face is distraught with the weight of the world lying solely upon her. She shifts uncomfortably on the wooden chair as her bulging belly overpowers her body. She is hunched over and exhausted. She is afraid of the morning. For in the morning her floating ship begins to sink, again. Her husband will leave for work and her two-year-old will triumphantly rule her day. Every minute. Every second. She will wonder what she is doing wrong. How she can possibly handle all of the things being thoughtlessly thrown at her. She is drowning in her own life. Is there a way to make it easier?

I tell her to take a deep breath. I inhale and exhale with her. We do it together, again. And again and again. I ask her if she would have it any other way.

I see a smile suddenly take hold of her. Her eyes brighten and her body perks up. She gently embraces her belly and twitches in delight as she runs her hands over the blossoming life growing inside her. She glimpses down in reflection for a moment and returns with resilient honesty.

Thank you, she says. Maybe this sounds sort of crazy, but my answer is no.

 

fifteen seconds

gotta love it!

My kids this morning:

Mom?  Mom?  Mom?  Mom?  Mommy!  Mommy!  Ma!

Where are you?  

Where’s my puzzle pieces?  Mom!  Help me find them!

What comes after the ‘A’ for astronaut?  Mom?

Ella keeps eating my grapes!  Stop!  Ma….I need more grapes!

Where are you?

I want my hair in piggies!  

Mooooooommmmmmyyyy!  I can’t find my flip-flops!

MOM!  It’s good morning time.  Can we go outside now?  

Mom?

MOM!  MOM!  

Where are you?

flush.

Fifteen seconds in the bathroom and you would have thought I packed up, traveled to the ends of the earth, and the world (as seen through the eyes of my three year-old and my six year-old) was coming to an end.  I can see the headlines now:

Puzzle Pieces Gone Missing!  Grapes Stolen!  Flip Flops Vanished!  Hair Gone Wild!

One Mom Sets off the Butterfly Effect 

Is the Universe Telling Us Something?

The funniest (and most obvious) part is the fact that I told them exactly where I was going (at least two or three times), I left the bathroom door wide open, and I kept yelling out “Hold on guys, one sec!” the entire time.  Is it possible that I miss the days yesterday when we all were holed up in the potty party room together?  Privacy is kinda stressful.

 

be happy

Smile.

A friend recently asked me what I ultimately wanted out of my life.  She was probing at my goals, hopes and dreams, and aspirations.  I could have gone into detail after detail about how I wanted to be this and that and oh that other thing too.  How I’ve dreamed of creating and healing and traveling.  Spending time with my children and my family, taking vacations, and building a beautiful home.  How I wanted it all!  But my answer turned out to be one simple word – happiness.  Of all the things in the entire world, happiness to me is the number one thing I want out of  life.

I don’t mean the materialistic “more, more, more” happiness.  The kind that is pushed upon us daily.  This sort of pop culture, money-mongering, consumer-obsessed world that I can never keep up with, nor would I want to.  I mean the mind and gut wrenching, dig deep inside myself, pure happiness.  The kind that flows through our bodies and hearts, and transcends blissfully onto others.  A happiness that centers upon connecting and giving.

Maintaining a happy life means different things to different people.  I try to maintain happiness in my own life by being consciously aware of my presence, actions, and impacts.

Below are six tips I’ve compiled to help create happiness in my life:

1. Understand that you can be happy, you deserve to be happy, and you should be happy.  It’s so much easier to appreciate the world around you with a smile on your face.  (Your kids will certainly appreciate it too.)

2. Actively set and pursue your goals. If something goes awry (and it will), don’t give up.  Use that energy to push forward and not to wallow in self-pity.  Nothing worth fighting for is ever easy.

3. Surround yourself with positive people and positive influences.  Your circle of friends, co-workers, and fellow moms have an exceedingly great influence in your life.  Leave the negativity behind.

4. Take the time to turn inward and learn more about yourself as a woman, a mother, a friend.  Recognize and focus on what fulfills and inspires you.

5. Mainstream your health.  Actively participate in supporting your body’s health and your family’s health through proper nutrition, exercise, and meditation.

6. Be thankful for all you have been given.  Blessings come in all different shapes and sizes.  (This includes over-flowing laundry baskets, work deadlines, and messy bedrooms.)

Happiness may not be easy to define into words, but it’s easy to find.  It surrounds us every single day.  It is the bright yellow sun in a big blue sky.  It is a thunderstorm in a sea of clouds.  It is counting your newborn’s ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes.  It is kissing boo-boos and playing hide and seek.  It is making jelly sandwiches and doing cartwheels on the front lawn.  It is holding hands and counting to ten.  It is taking a deep breath and jumping in.

Happiness is giving others around you the gifts you have found within yourself.

Happiness is being a mother, a wife, a friend.

Happiness is me.