autumn days

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Accomplishing Tasks before Breakfast

On a dark winter evening, I had the pleasure of gathering with other moms to share a nourishing meal and words of wisdom.  One energetic mother of five explained how she accomplishes three tasks before breakfast.  (She used the phrase "slay three dragons before breakfast" from one of her favorite articles.)  On the days when she accomplishes three tasks before breakfast, she has more energy and productivity within the day.  I thought, "That sounds nice, though how do I find enough energy within myself to build more energy?"  My answer: baby steps.

What gets me on track and builds my energy?  Solitude, breath-centered meditation, sound meditation, creative outlets, and exercise.  Simply identifying what brings me energy feels empowering.  I thought about this concept of slaying dragons (I prefer befriending dragons) before breakfast for a couple weeks.  After a long road trip, I found myself wanting to listen sound meditation each night.  After an energy boost from a gathering of beloved friends, I added a morning breathing meditation into my daily practice.  As I eagerly anticipated each new day, I began waking up early on my own.  Then I added a morning sound meditation.  Knowing my body needed more care, I talked my charming partner into setting up our treadmill.  It had been gathering dust in its last five lonely years.

Now I do a nightly meditation, two morning meditations, and spend some time on the treadmill most days.  On the days when I accomplish all three of these energy-producing tasks, befriendly these awesome dragons, I am more joyous and productive.  I now routinely accomplish before breakfast what I used to take a week.  After a long winter it is a relief to have enough personal energy to be more of the mom and partner and friend I aim to be.  I have found a key to my personal happiness.  Now when we come upon a more challenging day, I know it will pass and I will be patient, respectful, and kind.  With enough energy for myself, this energy grows as I share it with others.  Into the mix, I have added other energy boosters, such as green shakes, embracing the seasons (dancing in the rain, sledding on the hail, stopping to smell the flowers, etc.), more social time with friends, and more outdoor time.  Blessings abound.

What helps you to maintain your energy throughout the day?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Silver Lining

Silver lining.  Whatever comes our way, there's silver lining.  My family has missed several of our favorite annual traditions in the last two weeks due to persistent stomach flu.  This has provided many bright spots.  On the night of Christmas Eve, we awoke to a flu incident and opened Santa's gifts while doing laundry.  While home isolated from others, we have worked on many projects.  I'm organizing cupboards, closets, and drawers.  My children are playing with favorite toys in new ways and then practicing putting them away afterwards.  They are completing workbooks and craft kits that have been waiting for months.  Our kittens have us around to play with and cuddle.  Where is the silver lining?  Expect to find it and you will.

Note: This was written in January 2015.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Blessed with Biological Family

Over the last year, I've felt a great calling to connect with biological family.  I was raised within my little family of four far away from all other relatives.  For my children, I wanted to share with them more of my biological family to complement my partner's large extended family.

Connecting with my grandmother, I finally attended her family reunion near Salt Lake City, where I met all five of her siblings, ranging in age from 73 to 90.  As an added miracle, I met 40 new relatives on my mother's side while there.

In late summer my daughter and I traveled to Missouri for my cousin's wedding.  While there I met two more of my father's four siblings.  (Only one left to meet!)  I hadn't seen them since I was five years old, so long ago I couldn't recall recall their faces.  We met most of their children and grandchildren.  I fell in love with these 25 new people on my father's side.  Our hearts were so open, joyous, and grateful to be together that happy tears were a large part of our time together.

It feels like this year I began with my little family of four and transitioned into the middle of an immense gathering under a family tree.  My relations have their detailed quirks, as do we all, though they love me.  I feel it, I see it, I openly embrace it.  We fall from the same tree.  We look alike and act alike.  I recognize this huge privilege of connecting with living, loving relatives.  Some of my friends only have a few living relatives or have such disconnection bridges have been burned.  To connect with biological family is a true gift.  It is such a miraculous privilege and blessing for my little family to connect with a larger biological family.  For my family, large and small, I give great thanks.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy Mommy's Focus

Those around me see my happiness and know my life is truly blessed.  Yes, it is.  With a lot of practice, I find it easy to count my blessings.  My life is full of beloved ones, abundance of time with my young children, a devoted partner, a beautiful home, a good education, and even two long-awaited kittens.  This truly is my personal Heaven on Earth.  The happiness, though, comes not in what is in my pocket, schedule, or bank account.  It comes from what is in my heart.

Some may think that I paint my face in some array that isn't felt inside.  That old fake happiness mask has been removed through determination and surrender.  What you see here is what you get.  Yes, I do my share of dancing with the ghosts of my lifetime.  I live a life of duality like everyone else.  Pain and fear are a part of my daily life.  I intentionally choose to focus instead on dancing with angels.  When I find myself judging or feeling cultural pressures, I place my focus again on dancing with angels, or whatever brings me joy in the moment.

Social media has been my big outlet for sharing how much I love my life with my beloved ones.  Life is in the details.  Find the details and love them.  In the moment.  It's simple.  It's revolutionary.  It's a game changer.  This focus on the details we love in the moment are shifting our world, helping us to evolve together.

On social media, I share my blessings a midst the duality.  When I say I am enamored with my children, you also know parenting is part of a delicate balance of self-care vs. serving others.  When I say how much I love writing, you also know it is a challenge to make the time to focus on writing.  When I say I am so appreciative of my supportive community, you know I have relationships to provide contrast.

Life is not about what we have to be thankful for.  It is about what we choose to give energy to, on what we choose to focus, to share with others, the stories we tell ourselves and others.  Find your blessings and you attract more of the same into your life.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Family Support

My needs in my marriage are small, or so they seem to me.  Each day I'd like from my partner eye contact, a hello after a long day apart, a couple hugs, a two-way five minute conversation without technology, and to be asked about my day.  It is incredible how difficult this is to accomplish some days, some weeks.  With the distraction of tasks, schedules, and technology, it can be a challenge to connect with one another.

Without these details in my marriage, with limited contact with other adults as a full-time parent of young children, I begin to feel alone, isolated, and sad.  I create ways to maintain my energy for patient, graceful homeschooling days, though connection with adults is what sustains me.  As an extra boost, to have a dinner date with my partner while my children laugh with a beloved nanny is a gift for us all.  I give the greatest of thanks for knowing what keeps me on my loving path with my family and as together we take steps to stay creatively connected.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Sisters.  What a gift.  My only biological sibling has chosen to be apart from my family for the last 14 years.  My life is full of sisters-in-law, cousins-in-law, friends who are like sisters to my hungry heart.  Learned from my mother, I've had a lifelong yearning for dear friends who choose to love me and all my details.  While balancing the needs of my children, I also choose to make time for time with my loving soul sisters.  I treasure the nourishing connections I share with these women.  What a blessing to have them in my life and in my children's lives.  To deeply know their love and support helps me to find my own light more easily in my darker moments.  I give great thanks for my sisters each day of this blessed life.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Lately, I have grown uncomfortable with my own silence.  Silence can be a useful tool when listening to others, when finding quiet space alone to listen to ourselves.  Silence can be a part of self-care, comforting and nourishing.  Silence makes things appear healthy and calm from the outside, though on the inside a new story may take form.  When used too often, the quality of silence may begin to shift and deplete and distance ourselves from others.  After a long silence, we may even begin to lose sight of ourselves.  In my vocal family, I step into my listening role so deeply that I forget to listen to myself.  As a child, silence protected me somewhat from my father's anger.  I was a survival expert when it came to invisibility and silence.  These useful childhood skills no longer benefit me, so now is the time to recognize them, thank them, and let them go.

In their place, I choose to take the risks in connecting with others, sharing the ways in which I am learning and growing, following my path.  It is not easy to talk about my personal pains, though talking with a trusted loved one is a way for me to set those lower emotions free.  This fresh freedom makes space for the infinite possibilities that lay in wait.

So with this new lightness of breath, I slowly begin to vocalize what has been building up within my heart.  I share with several beloved ones, so as not to overwhelm any individual with weight I've grown to carry.  In the simple acts of talking about my thoughts with others, I hear the whisper of a song returning to my heart.  I know "this too shall pass" and a new day is dawning.  And I give the greatest of thanks for this renewed connection with myself as I sing my way back into the lightness of our beautiful world.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Within my Heart

Within my heart lay many things unspoken.  In my attempt to homeschool my two children, to be with them almost every hour of every day to remain calm and patient, I intentionally focus upon the positives in my life.

There are so many blessings in my life.  I live a life of luxury in a beautiful home with a beautiful car, a hard working husband, two healthy happy children, and the resources to educate them outside of public school.  When I'm with trusted friends or a trusted journal, I am then safe to open up about was has been quiet within myself.

There are some things of which I do not speak easily.  Sitting with five dear friends tonight for our book club, I mentioned trying to avoid a particular friendship.  Within this other relationship, I see the love we share, though I deeply know the distance and pain between us.  Thinking of time with this friend leaves me anxious and physically ill.  I wonder aloud of the ways I may shift this relationship so it feels safe and nourishing.

Friendship is such a beautiful gift.  Why would I want to end a long friendship?  At this time in my life, as I transition from taking two monthly classes within my loving community to zero, as my dear friend talks of moving out of the country, as we move into an altogether new homeschool circle, as we have new neighbors all around us, I search for heartfelt friends with whom to connect.  Making new friends is often difficult, especially as adults with multiple children and few social circles.

I held many white elephants in our book club conversation.  I am not quite ready to discuss the health and size of my family, the distance grown between us, nor my daily loneliness.  So much was left untouched.  Regardless, it was so nice to be among a group of trusted friends to share some of what I've been holding to myself.  Now as I sit here writing, I feel the words release their hold on my heart.

Before long, I will again have a dinner date with my husband, rekindling the connections we share.  And I will be able to share with loved ones those things left unspoken for so long.  From there, we will all feel an influx of relief and joy.  Sharing our hearts with others is a beautiful gift we give ourselves.  I look forward to unwrapping this gift with others.

Monday, March 2, 2015

"Motherhood is my art."

I am an artist, a creator, a writer, a dreamer, a seeker, a lover, a student, a teacher, and so much more. We all embody so many facets simultaneously.  Right now, I am mostly a mom.  Within me there is a need to create, to explore, to travel, to produce functional crafts, to heal the world, to start a professional practice, to earn an income, to meditate alone, and to sit in an isolated cabin for a week.

Knowing my own desire to grow and also my desire to provide for my children, I spin my view on motherhood to see it from a new angle.  I see my role as being here to love my children, to teach them how to follow their own paths while being a part of our family and culture.

Motherhood is indeed an art.  Being present with my children is my art.  Practicing this art form is a way for me to care for myself and my children.  With four simple words, I find more balance in my world.  "Motherhood is my art."  For this moment, that is enough.