Archive | October, 2013

Soul-Fed Mama: 31 Days Done & What’s Next?

What's Next, the final post in the Soul-Fed Mama series on

Well, folks, we did it. We reached the end of 31 days of soul-feeding, and 31 days of blogging.

Thank you so much for hanging out with me for this series, or joining me if you are new!


What’s next

I’m going to take a little blog vacation – just a week – to catch up on some neglected projects away from the screen, dive into a new book, and generally rejuvenate my brain.

After that I’ll return to posting regularly, just not quite AS regularly!

I have some ideas and projects up my sleeve, but I’d really like to hear what you’d like to see around here, too.  See below for more on that.


Reader survey

This little blog is almost a year old. I’m so grateful for each and every one of my readers! But I don’t actually know much about you, and I’d like to.

I’ve set up a short – 10 question – survey for you to tell me a bit more about yourself and what you would like to read here.


Coming soon

In the coming months I’m planning to launch a couple of micro and not-so micro ecourses. If you’d like to hear about those as soon as they are available (and get special subscriber-only pricing), please leave me your email address here. …

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Soul-Fed Mama: Trust Your Gut

Trust Your Gut, part of the Soul-Fed Mama series on


Mama, you know.

You might not know you know, but you do.

You know how to be the best parent you can be. You know what your child needs. You know when something is wrong, when they are ill, sad, or scared. You know when they need your support and when they need some room to experiment or even to fail.

You know what your child needs to help her sleep, and what to do when she wakes in the night.

You know when to stop nursing, when to supplement with formula, and where your baby sleeps best.

You know.

There are so many experts out there telling us to do this thing or that thing. They are strident, they tell you they know best, they contradict each other.

But this is what I believe: If you are really trying, from your heart, to do the right thing, you will. Or you will get really close, and you will keep trying and keep improving your aim.

The experts might give you new ideas, some new tools, or some direction, but if the expert advice doesn’t fit for your family, for you or for your child, you will know it. And you don’t have to follow it just because they are experts.…

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Soul-Fed Mama: Conserve Your Introvert Energy

Conserve Your Introvert Energy, part of the Soul-Fed Mama series on

I’m an introvert. What that means, generally, is that interactions with others take energy. Being in large groups of people takes energy. Extroverts are energized by interacting with others, while introverts are depleted by those interactions and need to recharge by spending time alone or being quiet.

Some introverts, like me, are also sensitive to physical touch, needing larger personal bubbles to feel comfortable.  In addition, the more tired I am generally, the less energy I have for everything, including interacting with others.

I also live with other people, including a 2-year-old with advanced verbal skills who lately has been waking up once a twice a night to check in and make sure I’m still there.

What that means is that much of my being-with-people energy is used up before I even walk out the front door.

As the mother of a toddler, I can’t just say, “Hey, I need a bit of quiet,” and actually get it. I can’t depend on a full night’s sleep, or her being willing to give me physical space. In fact, the  more I pull away, the more needy she becomes.

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Soul-Fed Mama: Be Mindful Of Your Happy

Be Mindful Of Your Happy, a post in the Soul-Fed Mama series on

On Sunday my love and I had a rare argument. He took Bean to the park and gave me some room to cool off. I grumbled around the house, did some cleaning, and then, still mad, I did the most decadent thing I could think of to do for myself in the moment: I took a book out the back yard and sat in the sun.

After reading a chapter, I noticed I had unwound. I closed my eyes for a minute and leaned back in my chair. I listened to the chickens crooning behind me, the music from someone’s radio a few yards over, and the small birds chirping back and forth in the trees. I was more than unwound, I was happy.

At a retreat I attended recently, someone shared a piece of wisdom she had picked up a few years earlier. “Be mindful of your happy,” she said. You don’t need to chase the big things, she explained. The new relationship, the job promotion, the fat savings account. Those things we say, “When I have that, I’ll be happy.” Notice the small moments of happiness, because once you start noticing them, you will find them everywhere. You can be happy now.…

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Soul-Fed Mama: Self-Portrait Sunday: Eyes

Self-Portrait Sunday: Eyes, part of the Soul-Fed Mama series on

Open your eyes and look within.

Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?

– Bob Marley

When I was learning to ride a motorcycle there was one piece of instruction that was both the most important thing I learned about riding and a great metaphor for life: Where you are looking is where you will go.


Where are you looking in your life? Where do you want to go? If you are not satisfied with the life you are living, how can you shift your gaze?

Today, take a picture of your eyes.

Share your self-portrait photo on Instagram, Facebook or your own blog. Tag it with #soulfedmama so we can see each other’s photos.

This post is part of the 31-day Soul-Fed Mama series. Find the rest of this series here.

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Soul-Fed Mama: Music For Soulful Mamas

Music For Soulful Mamas, part of the Soul-Fed Mama series on


Putting on an album I love is one of the ways I use to shift my mood or settle myself down when I’m spinning out. I love to listen to music in the car, when I can really hear the lyrics, while I cook, and when I’m working on my computer (as long as I’m not writing!).

Here are five albums that I’m loving right now. Two are old friends, another is becoming so, and two are recent finds that I’m sure are going to be sticking around. You should know that my taste in music runs toward melancholy songwriters. I love songs about heartbreak and relationships, when they are well-written and lyrical. These all fit that bill. You won’t find much danceable pop in my collection, so if that’s your thing you may not like these. But I hope you do!


The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars

The iTunes Editor’s Notes describes this album as “run through with riveting tension, enigmatic beauty, and smoldering emotion.” It is a recent release, the second from this duo. The songs are about complex relationships and heartbreak. They are what my Bean would describe as “A little bit sad.” This album has been my soundtrack while cooking dinner since I bought it a couple of weeks ago.…

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Soul-Fed Mama: Say No To Busy – How To Declutter The Calendar

Say No To Busy: How To Declutter Your Calendar, part of the Soul-Fed Mama series on

I have a very seasonal personality. I have a lot more energy in the spring and summer than I do in the fall and winter. As the cooler months of the year approach, I find myself simplifying. I clear out cupboards, wrap up or toss unfinished projects, and start canceling things off my calendar. I need more sleep, more time alone, and fewer commitments because it takes me longer to do everything in the winter months.

It is the calendar clutter that is the hardest to deal with. No one cares if I get rid of the four sweaters I haven’t worn in two years, but someone might feel hurt or think badly of me if I drop out of a volunteering position or choose not to go to their party.

But it is also the calendar clutter that can overwhelm you, make you resentful and exhausted. Is that party really going to be fun if you would actually rather be at home on the couch in your jammies with a book? I’d rather be at the two parties I really want to attend this holiday season than at two every weekend from now until Christmas. To make that happen I have to declutter the calendar of the rest of it.…

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Soul-Fed Mama: 3 Easy Soups for Autumn

3 Easy Soups for Autumn, part of the Soul-Fed Mama series on

This week in one of my Facebook groups, someone wrote about processing her harvest of pears into sauce, butter and jelly and how that work leaves her feeling deeply nourished.

Her comment reminded me again that self care can look like so many different things. So often we think of self care as taking a nap, or getting a pedicure or calling your best girl friend for a long chat. And that might be the exact self care you need.

But you might also need an hour standing at the stove stirring a big pan of pears. You might need to be getting dirt under your fingernails in the still-warm twilight. You might need a blank page and a fast-flowing pen. You might need to snuggle under a blanket with your child to read a book together. You might need your camera pointed at the stunning red leaves as they circle down around you.

Right now, as the weather suddenly shifts to chilly in my town this week, I have been needing to cook. Preferably soups that simmer away for a while, scenting the house wonderfully and warming me to my bones when we sit down to the meal.

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Soul-Fed Mama: There Will Be Hard Days

My monthly post on Modern Alternative Pregnancy is live this week. I’m sharing a story there that I haven’t yet talked about in this space. Read it here.

There Will Be Hard Days, part of the Soul-Fed Mama series on

Last week was a full on-onslaught of toddler tantrums in this house.  I was away for a solo trip for the preceding weekend, so we started with an expected level of neediness and slid downhill from there.

She also gave up naps this month. This transition has been hard for both of us.

I don’t know what to do with her all afternoon without down time, and she doesn’t know how to deal with life when she is tired, but not tired enough to sleep. She was afraid I was going to leave again, and I was wishing I could.

The crescendo was on Wednesday. I picked her up from daycare and she melted down before we even left the property. I was planning to take her to a tumbling class, but I had an hour to kill. I thought we could pick up her glasses that had been repaired, because the shop was near her class, but the 2-block walk triggered another meltdown when she refused to hold my hand crossing a busy street and I had to scoop her up and carry her.…

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Soul-Fed Mama: Simplify One Thing

Simplify One Thing, part of the Soul-Fed Mama series at

I love the Simplify 101 Weekly Quick Tip email I get from Aby Garvey. In last week’s email she talked about one simple change she made in her kitchen – moving her toaster off the counter and into her pantry – that made a huge difference in how she uses and enjoys her small kitchen.

That got me thinking about other small – but profound – ways we can simplify our lives.

As I look over this list I see things that I’ve done in the past but have let go. I’m feeling the need for some simplification in my life right now, so I’m going to be re-implementing several things this week!…

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