Need some inspiration?
Here are some links to some of my articles:
Need some inspiration?
Here are some links to some of my articles:
This week I recieved issue 20::SHARE of Taproot Magazine. I have felt privileged to have contributed to this lovely magazine in the past and this current issue I contributed in a different way - not through my printed word, but as a participant in an Alabama Chanin sew blog project that my friend Christine organized and wrote about in her feature article:
The Power of Handmade.
When Christine presented the idea of working together to craft a beautiful garment for someone who needed a touch of joy in their life, I was immediately drawn to the proposition.
“Together we could make beautiful things and spread some handmade joy.” -Christine
I responded to the invitation without hesitation and soon joined an eager group of makers that Christine pulled together from around the world. Christine sought nominations from group members and two courageous women in my life were chosen as recipients of the gifts:
My dear friend Jen, a mother of three children ages 17, 15, 11 had been recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She just had a double mastectomy and was in the initial stages of chemotherapy treatment. I knew Jen would be a perfect recipient because she loves both surprises and handmade gifts. Jen is such a beautiful individual both inside and out and cancer and chemotherapy had taken away some of the beauty she enjoyed sharing with the world.
Jen’s husband Tim was thoughtfully involved behind the scenes at the start of the Alabama Chanin project by discreetly finding Jen’s measurements and giving input of Jen’s style and color preferences to help Christine chose to perfect garment for us to make for her. She received the gift of the Classic Coat in a pallet of rich blues while going through a rough patch of her chemotherapy treatment. She was absolutely delighted and touched by the surprise. When she opened the package and read all of the kind and thoughtful notes that accompanied her beautiful gift, she was moved by the group partnership and sentiments.
“Throughout my journey battling cancer there have been many unpleasant physical feelings along with feelings of fear and sadness, but along with these - joyful, delightful and happy experiences. So many people have reached out to me to offer support. It is this support that makes it almost impossible to have a good attitude. This gift definitely brightened my day! Just looking at and wearing the garment fills me with memories of friendship and joy!” -Jen
I made Jen a bucket hat from the Alabama Chanin DIY as a complementary gift in the same style as her classic coat.
Betty, a brave woman in my family circle, was chosen as a recipient of a beautiful A-line Top to spread some joy, hope and light into her life. Betty is a mother who has been enduring the most excruciating suffering of losing her firstborn child. She experienced a preterm rupture of membranes at twenty-two weeks gestation while pregnant with her son Henry. Henry was born premature on September 22, 2015 at twenty seven weeks with neonatal complications. Henry was loved, cared for and supported by his mom, his dad and medical professionals in the NICU for two full months before he passed away peacefully in the loving arms of his parents. Betty is still grieving and will always have an emptiness in her heart, but being a recipient of this project certainly lifted her spirits.
“I was blown away by the kindness and intent behind this project. I received the package in the mail on a particularly hard day. The timing of this gift was like a smile from God, it was as if it was work from angels. When I received the gift and read all of the thoughtful notes that accompanied the project, I cried happy tears” -Betty
I was a participant in the sewing circle for Betty, sewing on of the four panels in her A-line tunic.
Participating in this act of giving has not only been healing and supportive to these deserving women, but also for myself as a maker and giver. Going into the project I did not anticipate how my involvement in this act of giving would elicit such inspirational happy feelings in my own heart. Participating in fellowship in this genuine act of kindness and creating something of such beauty and purpose to delight another individual has been such a wonderful experience. I know that I have been inspired by Christine’s initiative and the comfort and joy that both Jen and Betty experienced as result of the efforts of our sewing circle. It is my hope that our stories of this experience will have the potential to influence a ripple effect of generosity in the broader community of makers, doers and dreamers.
You will be lucky if you can get your hands on the new issue of Taproot Magazine issue 20::SHARE, read Christine's The Power of Handmade and all of the other great content in the issue as well.
This post might not exactly fit with the homesteading theme of this blog, but it fits with the culture of the north woods environment in which I live, and one of my deep rooted interests from a time period earlier in my life -aviation! I love to keep just a spark of this interest alive by visiting our local airport each Spring when there are large, contracted aircraft stationed and ready to aid in wildland fire suppression.
At our small airport outside of town there is an U.S. Forest Service Tanker Base. Every Spring some (pretty awesome) aircraft make their way to our neck of the woods and I work to coordinate a kindergarten field trip to tour the airport to check out the airplanes, and to get some hands-on instruction by some wild land fire fighters and Smokey the Bear.
Last Friday was our field trip, and the weather and activity cooperated so we got to see some impressive airplanes and helicopters! To scope things out my daughter and I went out to the airport Thursday after school and we were lucky enough to have a chance to talk to some of the pilots and crew from Neptune Aviation. We even got a chance to go aboard and sit in the cockpit of one of the planes. The Neptune BAe 146 aircraft have been stationed in Ely and have been flying and dropping fire retardant on local fires and fires in Canada.
So I got a little fix of the aviation bug this past week - and got to pass that on a bit to a bunch of young little dreamers and doers in my life.
I was lucky enough to have won a spot in the course through an opportunity on Squam's Facebook page. Participating in this class was such a gift! Harriet was able to convey such clear directions through the course of the online class, I was able to experience success on my first try!
...and my second:
I think I have just enough material to make one more small heart before I need to reorder some supplies, which I will be doing because I want to make more! I am excited to start spreading some love and giving some of these beauties away for others to enjoy!
I was able to witness and experience first hand the magic and inspiration that these gatherings are well known for.
Here are some pictures from my Squam experience September 2013:
...and yes....the heart!
And now I have my very own - and the skills and know-how to spread some love and beauty by giving gifts of the heart made by my own two hands inspired by the amazing creativity of Harriet and the mission and magic of Squam Art Workshops.
Find out more about this wonderful class in the video below:
*note - I reference my experience as my first Squam - because I am feeling the pull to go back again!
A friend recently pointed me in a direction of this quote, which pretty much sums up the way I strive to live.
I am writing this post on a Friday evening. My own children are tucked into bed and I am working to quiet my mind after a full week of both being a mom and kindergarten teacher.
Reflecting upon a couple of moments captured in snapshots that are true reminders of what wonderful gifts that these children I care for are in my life.
I really do have room in my heart for them all.
.:happy weekend friends:.
Note to self:
When you are overwhelmed with the never-ending cycle of laundry, dishes, bills, meal planning, grocery shopping, etc;
:.take a breath
:.soak in some sunshine
:.notice and pay attention
Hit the reset button and come back counting your blessings for the experience of living a rich and full life.
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Thank you Artterro!
Today I am so happy to share with you a guest post by Hunter Clarke-Fields! Hunter has inspired me personally to focus on self-care on mindful living. Today she is contributing in this space and offering a generous giveaway!
This morning my 4-year old balked, fussed, and cried at brushing her teeth for the 100,000th time. Okay, maybe it wasn’t refusal number 100,000, but it felt like that. It’s so frustrating. I know that this kind of situation can trigger my temper.
My mindfulness practice helps me in moments like these.
I know from my stillness practice each day that the way out of these difficult feelings - frustration, anger, anxiety - is not to stuff them down or avoid them, but to go through them.
So this morning, when I started to feel that frustration instead of stuffing it down, I felt it.
I put my awareness into my body and felt the surge of energy that means my fight-or-flight response has been triggered. My mind was going. So I greet it: “Hello frustration.”
I didn’t try to pretend that everything was calm and peaceful, hoping it would be that way.
I told my daughter, “I feel really frustrated when you refuse to brush your teeth in the morning!” I felt the feelings, and I breathed into it.
The cool thing was that it didn’t escalate. I went through the feelings with awareness, and then was able to let them go. Escalation often happens when we try to deny or suppress our feelings. They come back to bite us until we are forced to feel them.
Notice I didn’t mention my daughter too much here?
That’s because mindfulness helps us realize that we can only control ourselves. If I work on taking care of my own feelings, my daughter see that.
In fact, children naturally just feel what they are feeling (sometimes really intensely!), and then move on. She doesn’t linger. Tantrum and tears in the bathroom to smiles on the mini-trampoline. She instinctively knows how to let her sad out.
The work of mindful parenting is work on ourselves.
We are the ones who were taught by our parents and culture to suppress our feelings (“Don’t cry. It’s not that bad. Buck up.”), not to pay attention to our bodies (“You have to eat everything on your plate.”), and not to trust ourselves (“Parents and teachers are always right.”).
These voices of our parents and culture still ring in our heads: “She shouldn’t disrespect me like that.” “You deserve this for what you did.” “Just do what you are told.”
Of course they do. That’s how most of us were raised. It’s natural that we should default to that place - we were trained in it.
That’s not to say it’s how we want to live and parent. We shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves when we have those thoughts. When our parents words sometimes come out of our mouths. Compassion begins with ourselves.
And this is where mindfulness practice really helps.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present. To be aware of where we are and what we’re doing. Not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us
Mindfulness practice gives us the space to objectively look at our thoughts. Then we can choose what we want to believe. It gives us the grounding to be able to feel our feelings. We don’t get pushed and pulled by the emotional winds as much.
That’s why my coaching clients report more patience, more self-awareness and generally greater ease when they start their mindfulness practices. It’s not that the frustrations of the world have gone away. They can handle them with greater equanimity.
You can try it right now.
Sit up tall wherever you are. Close your eyes and take a minute to feel your breath coming in and out. Let your belly be soft. Focus on your breathing.
When thoughts come, notice them. Then come back to your breath. When you are ready, continue reading.
This is very simple, right? Hard to stay focused on your breath, right? Our thoughts drag us away from present at a dizzying speed.
This is how we practice separating ourselves from our thoughts. And the benefits it can bring are many - from physical to mental health and more.
Support for you.
I want you to have the support you need to develop a mindfulness practice. I know that as each of us creates more peace in ourselves, it makes for more peaceful families and ripples out into the world.
That’s why I’m hosting a Free 14-day Virtual Mindfulness Retreat starting this November 10th. Please go check it out and join us in creating more peace.
Mindful self-care incorporates all of you - body-mind and spirit. That’s why I’m offering two of my Yoga Mama Home Practice video packages as a giveaway too!
Now it’s your turn.
Do you incorporate mindfulness practices at home? Would you like to? Please share in the comments below!
Thank you so much for reading! It’s really a treat to meet some new folks, so please come over and say hello on my Facebook page. I always respond and love hearing your stories.
With warmth & lovingkindness,
Hunter Clarke-Fields, MSAE, RYT, helps mamas let go of stress and overwhelm and bring more peace and joy to life using the traditions of yoga & mindfulness. Hunter has over 18 years of experience in yoga & mindfulness practices. She has the dharma name, "Calm breath of the heart." Find out more about Hunter at Hunteryoga.com as well as free resources and how you can work with her here.
Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.
It is easy to get overcome autumn's grey. But, when I look closely enough and pay attention, a colorful pallete of color can unfold before my eyes.
When I look at the world aware and mindful, ordinary moments in my daily experiences become full and rich,
abundant with joy.
Approching each day with attention and wonder is the way I want to live my life.
My daughter and I recently spent some time together making collage jewelry from an Artterro Eco Art Kit.
The kit was absolutely WONDERFUL!
When it came in the mail, we could not wait to open it up. The materials are beautiful and very fun to work with.
In the collage jewelry kit we found a wooden bangle bracelet, beads & pendants, glass beads, seed beads, tissue papers, cotton cord, jewelry pieces, brushes, glaze and instructions.
We were invited to imagine, explore and compose projects inspired by the materials and techniques described in the kit.
We added some words that we cut out from magazines to embellish our designs.
When the glaze dried, we assembled our jewelry. We ended up making two pairs of earrings, two zipper pulls, one bangle bracelet, and two pendant necklaces from the kit-and we still have some tissue, beads, and glaze leftover for additional projects!
I love how process-oriented and open-ended the kit was, absolutely perfect for a creative nine year old child and her mama. I am also inspired by the creators and ideas that formed Artterro.
I definitely recommend this kit and I am very excited to partner with Artterro to giveaway an Artterro Collage Jewelry Kit!
Arttero is also giving all Kids and Eggs readers a 20% discount any order at artterro.com by entering the code KE20 at checkout.
For a chance to win please use the Rafflecopter below:
*Note - We recieved the kit for free and opinions expressed in this post are my own.