Reusing Your Kid’s Drawings

Valentine's cards I don’t know about you, but I’ve been at war with my son’s art. It was becoming an insurmountable pile of daily school drawings. Hating to discard it, I’ve come up with one creative way to reuse it.

In three words-homemade greeting cards.

Since Valentine’s was around the corner, I thought it was a simple way to incorporate my son’s drawings. Also, it would prevent me from having to buy cards that would end up in the trash.

I just happened to have the free (sort of since I had to pay for shipping) personalized notecards I got from Shutterfly. Then, I cut hearts from the paper and glued them on. Stamps and some washi tape finished it off.

Each card was slightly different and all were imperfect. I think in the end they made great cards for 3-year-olds.

 

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A Gift With Multiple Benefits

Crafts for good causesIt’s been a month since Christmas, but hiding under my bed is a gift I’ve been anticipating since before the holidays.

I first heard about Little Loving Hands from author Glennon Doyle Melton’s Momastery newsletter. It was one of her picks for “Good Gifts.”

This week, I finally gave my son and I the gift of doing something together for someone else. Inside the box, was two crafts: 1) wooden hearts for painting into memory cards 2) felt for creating a “Love” pillow After they are completed, the handmade gifts go to Enchanted Makeovers for children and families in homeless shelters.

It was the perfect craft for my three year old. It gave us something to do together. It helped teach him the importance of compassion. And after it’s done, you send it off so you don’t have to worry about more crafts filling up your home.

He says our next big project should be building a house for the families.

There’s a lot not working well in the world. This will not solve everything. But teaching my child empathy and spending quality time together makes me feel like I’m cultivating hope in the world. And I am grateful for that.

Little Loving Hands

*I was not paid to write this post. I just really love it. 

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From Monday Mom Blues to Monday Blooms

Motherhood MondaysA mom friend told me as a stay at home mom you have oodles of time to think, but do little else.

To be honest, it’s made me dread a whole fresh week of nothingness. When I first started as a full-time stay at home, I watched hours of mindless TV. But recently, all this unusable time has given me pockets of spirituality. It’s cultivated within me something that I never had before and didn’t know I needed. Time to sit, rest and be.

I no longer fear Mondays. In fact, I recently discovered 5 simple ways to transform every day from drudgery to delight, which is no small feat when you’re wiping butts, making meals, washing dishes, rinse and then repeat. There are still ways you can carve out time for yourself and look toward the week like a spiritual retreat. This will minimize your own mommy tantrums when you’re dealing with your kids all day. Add your own but start with these and see my other ideas in Meaning Making Mom.

  1. Listen to podcasts.

TGFP otherwise known as Thank Goodness for Podcasts! I love listening to Young House Love has a podcast, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast, and podcasts from SoundsTrue. I do it while I’m putting away the dishes, picking up my son from school and walking the other son in the morning. Doing this makes me feel like I’m a human being not just a janitor, babysitter, and housecleaner. I get to learn something new, laugh, and discover my inner creativity. It’s like taking a class on life and makes me feel alive. I’d recommend a dose of podcast to anyone who’s stuck in the doldrums.

2.Write down everything you wish for yourself.

We often get caught up with hyperfocus on our children. It’s a worthy cause so why not? Well, our kids need us to have a life of our own or else we depend too much on them. Spending a few minutes writing down your bucket list, your dreams for yourself on both superficial and deep levels can be reinvigorating. You might not have time to not achieve all of them, but it will remind you that you and what you want matter too.

3. Look at something shiny and pretty.

Whether it’s a glass vase of fresh flowers, or your recently polished nails having something around that makes you feel good even when you haven’t brushed your hair or teeth yet, is soul nourishing and necessary.

4. Stop holding back.

I think the problem we have as mothers is a fear of being who we are. We don’t have a great career to broadcast to the world so sometimes we confuse our own accomplishments with that of our children. Because of that we hold back sharing how vulnerable we really feel, how we’re afraid of messing up, or how we’re struggling. Yet what we really yearn for is connection. I love what Immediate Fiction author Jerry Cleaver says about writing, “Push things to the limit, to the extreme…Creating more trouble forces your characters to use more of themselves. In using more, they reveal more. When they reveal more, you, the author, and the reader have a deeper experience of the character-identification.” When I read this passage I thought about how often we as mothers hold back our true selves. Not that we’re supposed to rob banks and murder for love, but that if we take more risks by saying what we really feel or taking a class we’re afraid of failing, we will achieve connection with others and ourselves.

5. Do one thing a day (minimum) for you.

Massages, manicures, all those would be great. But on a daily basis, you don’t have to do the big expensive things to feel good about you. Writing this blog, reading Immediate Fiction, and doing 10-minute exercises are enough to make me feel like I’m taking care of myself, which is like breathing air when you have two young kids.

This is just a small sampling, but I hope you will try it. We’re in this together dear friends. Motherhood is a battlefield, won with lots of love for our kids, but most importantly for each other.

 

 

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The Call That Beckons You to Answer

FreedomThe truth doesn’t show itself in niceties.

It doesn’t come from pushing down, holding back, staying polite, but angry.

Honesty doesn’t derive from hiding away, pretending everything is all right.

It is a force that won’t be ignored

that will rattle, ruin and rot your insides

if not answered to be released.

The call is not to mold yourself into the other

The answer is to embrace the fear and stand in it courageously.

The real battle isn’t with the skeletons out there

The real fight is in you.

“Will you listen?” it asks.

Will you confront the real issue that makes you erupt in jealousy, resentment and fear?

Underneath all the Dolce & Gabbana, the Kate Spade and the LV,

do you love me?

will you see me?

do you know that you are enough?

Instead we wait for the questions to be answered from the outside

in promotions, accolades, Facebook fame, and relationships

But none can soothe the soul like the person staring back at us.

The only way then—

is the way-

Courageously walk through the tangled mess of shadows that represent our insecurities, doubt and ugliness-our dramatic personalities, our imperfect gait, our artistic insights, our sensitivities, our quirkiness.

They may not have loved it about you.

They may have tried to quell it in you.

But it is the ticket to your freedom so LET IT SCREAM, DANCE, AND FLY!

Release it.

Let it go.

Join us.

Be the one who is brave enough to fully live who you were born to be.

You deserve nothing less.

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A Quick Way to Discover What You Desire

{photo by MaxStraeten via Morguefile}

{photo by MaxStraeten via Morguefile}

Quick! Answer this.

In heaven, there would be unlimited __________________.

In a Q&A book about relationships, my husband and I individually answered the question.

My response?

Ice cream and hugs. Of course. Sweets and love.

His response?

Sleep.

Never mind trying to figure out what you most want. This one will get you to the heart of what really matters. Plus, it’s fun.

If you answered connection and relaxation, you might benefit from my next workshop for moms. Find out more about it here.

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5 Reasons You’re Still Stuck

Cat starting out the window

It’s been several years since your last big idea. But you’re still reading or watching about other people’s dreams while yours fades in the distance.

If you’ve wondered why you haven’t “made it” yet. Scroll through the following list to see if you’re guilty of the following obstacles that are keeping you stuck.

1) You’re playing safe.

People who risk big are often the most successful and the happiest. Taking a risk means different things to different people. For some, joining toastmasters or a choir is huge in the department of facing their fears. For others, starting their own business is a risk worth taking. If you’re still stuck in the same place you were last year, you may be too comfortable where you are. True enjoyment comes from taking risks. Find out what would make your heart race and take the leap.

2) You’re on the wrong path.

Maybe you dream of great things. But the things you’re dreaming of has nothing to do with what truly matters to you. If you’re fantasizing about financial wealth, but your real goal is to help others, you’ll stay stuck in a false facade of what can really make you happy. The sooner you realize you’re on the wrong path and return to the one that will lead you to your true purpose, the faster you’ll be on the road to happiness.

3) You expecting something or someone to change.

Life doesn’t happen because you’re lucky. Life happens because you take the necessary action to fulfill your dreams. If you’re waiting for the circumstances to be right before you venture into your life, you will be waiting a very long time.

4) You’re burnt out.

Perhaps you’ve run out of steam and inspiration on the path towards the life you want. The key is to mix things up, take a break, reimagine your vision. Change won’t happen while you’re emotionally or physically drained. Things will happen when you take care of yourself and feel refreshed enough to go after your dreams.

5) You haven’t taken any baby steps.

Big dreams do require big steps. But they also require small ones too. Skipping steps won’t get you there faster. Hard work, patience and continually chipping away at the small tasks (from paperwork to research) to get to the larger ones will eventually lead you to your dreams. Sometimes we need to face the small fears in order to give us courage for the really scary ones. If you haven’t made any changes in years, it’s time to reflect on whether you’ve taken all the necessary steps to get there.

Need help finding your purpose? I’d love to help! I offer phone and in-person dream coaching for those who need direction in following their dreams.

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What Oprah Taught Me

Oprah's The Life You Want Weekend San Jose

No I didn’t come home with a car. I didn’t leave with a photo, a “favorite thing,” or a dream fulfilled.

But when I left Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend, I was inspired, invigorated and hopeful that I would not only aspire to the dreams I had for myself, but that it was possible I could exceed my own humble desires. That’s pretty big and better than a new car if you ask me.

So I wanted to share what I’ve learned with you here. You my loyal readers. You who look just like me to get inspired, to turn the rut of ordinary day to day into a magical, meaningful party. I hope these insights will take you through the rest of the year and inspire you to fulfill all of your dreams in (can you believe it’s almost the end of the year?) 2015!

1. “There is no life without a spiritual life.”

We’re all searching for meaning and connection. Whether you use the word, “spiritual” or not, the older you get the more likely you are to question whether there’s anything more than a Starbucks coffee drinking life. There is! Oprah says that “there is no life without a spiritual life.”

Spirituality, the belief in something greater than yourself, is all about meaning and connection. The more problems we experience, the more fear and uncertainty we have, the greater the calling toward love and spirituality.

2. You are responsible for your energy.

What is your intention behind your question, your action, your decisions? That is what you are responsible for because whatever you bring to these situations is what will come back to you.

3. Stay out of other people’s energy fields.

At the same time, realize that you’re not responsible for anyone else. You can’t control your partner, the grocery clerk, your friend, your family member. All that effort will drain the life out of you and pull you away from your own dreams and desires.

4. “Your life is always speaking to you.”

A lot of people have questions about why they’re here. But surprisingly they’re looking for the answers in all the wrong places (and people). The key is to spend time in silence and seek the answers within.

5. “The single best way to change your vibration is to be grateful.”

Want more happiness, joy and love in your life? The secret isn’t to catch these things externally. Oprah says it’s all about finding these things in your own life. If you’re breathing, she says, you have something to be grateful for. And the more energy you spend feeling grateful, the more things you will have to be grateful for.

6. Surrender.

When you’ve done everything you can possibly do to fulfill your dreams, let go and surrender. It’s only when we release control that life has the freedom to gift us with dreams much greater than the ones we made for ourselves.

In future posts, I’ll also share insights from the other amazing speakers like Rob Bell and Elizabeth Gilbert.

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