New Year, fresh start, new ideas, new intentions, and a chance to let go of what no longer serves you, right?
Usually, my first instinct is to make a list of everything that I want to do in the new year looking ahead to all the hope and possibility that a sanguine Aquarian would possess. Who doesn't love dreaming? This year, I want to pause and reflect. Lately, I've seen countless posts and heard many comments about how 2017 was awful. As a global community, we have seen great challenges, tragedies and resilience. What are we taking away from this year? What are the qualities in you that have emerged or have diminished? What are the blessings and sweet memories of the year, and what were the tender moments of loss, sadness and grief.
How can we set out the welcome mat for the full spectrum of our human experience without opening the door first?
I'm opening the door. I want to acknowledge all that 2017 has been. A few highlights for our family was becoming foster parents to a beautiful and loving baby girl for 8 months, we feel in love and grew into a family of four. Our son started Kindergarten at a wonderful Waldorf Charter School with the best teachers we could wish for him. Some of our most challenging times were saying goodbye to our foster baby as she reunited with her bio-mom. I'm still stitching my heart back together, and luckily, we still spend time with her and her mama regularly. We also had a terrible fire turn our community upside down and leave many friends without a home. This year brought a BIG expansion of emotions, in both directions, and before dreaming into the new year, I'm going to pause and let 2017 settle into my heart a bit more.
In this newsletter you will find:
- A free printable family reflection activity to reflect on 2017
- Crafts, activities and a song (audio clip included)
- Classes for the new year
- Self-Care invitations, because you deserve it!
Pause. Reflect. Connect.
Click Here to learn how to create a family reflection meeting.
Acknowledgement. We all thrive when we feel acknowledged and seen. Families need acknowledgement too. As my family and I reflect on the past year, we sit over a cup of tea to recall and write down things we loved, things that we feel we learned, fun memories, not-so-fun memories, and share about how we have grown as individuals and as a family over the year. It's so revealing to look back at what we wrote down the previous year and give thanks for our present life. Here's to a very happy new year!
2018 for Mothering Arts
Dreaming into this new year, I feel a deep gratitude for the shining and strong web of support that has been tenderly woven by many women. The vision at the root of Mothering Arts is women supporting women. Women who inspire, women who create space for vulnerability, women who are activists in their community, women who are embodying the magic that emerges in the messiness and imperfections of real life. Women who support each other and value each other's unique gifts and opinions. Women who are brave to create change AND do so in a feminine way which includes and unites rather than the old ways of win-loose, exclusion and divisiveness.
We need each other.
The Mothering Arts model is one that values a collective wisdom from many women. We offer classes both in person and online for you to embrace your unique art of mothering. We acknowledge your wisdom as the one who knows your child best and we open to others who can share their wisdom and differing perspectives. We will inspire you to care for yourself, to create a guiding intention and to make time to do the things that bring you joy. If this sounds true for you, please join our community.
Sign up for our newsletter, be brave and comment, ask questions....the hard ones, take a class, share about your family on our Facebook page. We are co-creating this web of inspiration, appreciation and support of new ideals that will hold us together in these times and only lift us higher.
Crafts, Activities and a Song
Welcome back to the rain here in northern California! The young grasses are popping up on the hillsides, the creeks are filling once again and rain boots are a permanent fixture by the door. When I had a LifeWays playgarden in my little home, things would get messy during rainy season. Boots, rain pants, rain jackets and extra layers could fly pell mell without a known home for them when coming in the house. Luckily, my husband has a great hobby; woodworking. He designed and built a set of gorgeous cubbies complete with jacket hooks, benches and a boot cave. But boots wander, and many of them look the same. One morning, I came downstairs to notice a wee little helper to keep the children's rain boots neat and tidy. Beneath the Rowan Tree offers a free tutorial using a dolly peg clothespin, a bit of felt and some embroidery floss.
Why not invite a little helper to keep your rain boots tidy too.
Here's a rhyme I wrote to accompany the arrival of boot gnome:
Hello (child's name), I'm a wee boot gnome. Up on your boots I feel at home.
So when your boots are nice and neat, I'll hop right up and take my seat.
What do you get when you mix citrus season and hungry birds in the winter? Cute little orange bird feeders! Easy to make with your children and even more fun to hang in the perfect spot near a window, or tucked away in the forest. Move your Christmas tree outdoors and help the animals celebrate the holidays by decorating a tree with these feeders.
Simply cut an orange in half, scoop out the fruit and eat, fill with bird seed and hang.
Speaking of birds, we can always find two little birds on our own hands to use as puppets in a finger play or to accompany a song or verse. Just use your forefinger and thumb to make a little beak.
Once I saw a little bird
Come hop, hop, hop;
So I cried, "Little bird,
Will you stop, stop, stop?"
And was going to the window
To say, "How do you do?
But he shook his little tail,
And far way he flew. ~Mother Goose Rhyme
Winter is a season for resting and relaxing. I know it's easier said than done, trust me...I really know. Try making a conscious effort to make time for more restful and relaxing activities this month.
- knitting or crochet
- napping (I'm jealous if you are napping)
- coloring or painting
- listening to music
- gentle yoga
What are activities that help you relax? Three years ago in our local mama and baby class, Sara, our wise woman of the week lead the group in a yoga nidra. If you can believe it, nine mama and baby pairs were cozied up in a church community room absolutely silent for 20 minutes. Photo evidence below:
Click Here to learn more about the yoga nidra practice of deep relaxation. Even if it's 5 minutes, the benefit is long lasting.
Learn how to lead a class which supports mamas and babies in the postpartum year, click here to read more about our group leader training which begins February 24th 2018.
The postpartum year is a special and unique time in a woman's life. The flood of feelings from overjoyed to overwhelm are in a constant dynamic flux as new mothers are also newly born into their role as parent. Every parent can relate to those feelings of uncertainty, tenderness, sleep deprivation and isolation.
When we listen to a new mother share those vulnerable feelings, we soften and stand in solidarity as we behold the remarkable transformation.
When new mothers feel acknowledged and supported, oxytocin (the feel good hormone) levels rise. When mothers feel nurtured, they can more easily nurture their child. If you feel called to support mothers and babies in your community, why not create a nurturing weekly meet up?
Our week long group leader training will show you how.
We also have neighborhood groups that might be near your home. Click here to find a nurturing circle in your community.
The Mothering Arts Group Leader Online Training is weaving connections for mothers, babies and communities that creates a ripple of change.
Sign Up for our one week online group leader training February 24 2018. Space is limited and we expect to fill up quickly for our winter course, join today and reserve your spot.
The Mothering Arts model feels like a much needed balm for a culture that places undue
value on individualism and consumerism that can leave new mothers feeling
isolated and overwhelmed. Drawing on the wisdom of other women in the community and creating a inter-generational circle for women and children to gather, share, and create feels essential in creating true community. I have so appreciated this training and it’s offerings. I am completely inspired to bring what I have learned here into my own community and now I feel confident that I have the tools to do so successfully! ~ Sonja Barclay, Portland, OR
Print our free calendar for January with a place to capture intentions for home-care, meal ideas and special family days.
Start a binder and collect our free printables each month, be sure you are signed up for our newsletter and move it into your primary inbox.
Every mother is an artist, and life itself is her canvas. Our Heart of the Home onlinelearning community supports mothers to embody her unique art of mothering. Connect with the rhythm of the seasons, create monthly intentions and receive support each month to stay on track in everyday life. A warm and welcoming community of mothers just like you are active and engaged, sharing questions, ideas, victories and challenges in our private forum.
A collective of wise woman contributors offer practical knowledge from herbs for wellness, healthy eating, self-care at home and even a home clearing Konmari consultant. Ursa Wild Design has created a lovely perpetual calendar wheel for the year, bedecked in gorgeous images from nature to accompany your family's special days. It's a place to transcribe birthdays, holidays, festivals as well as planting, harvesting and meaningful traditions. Monthly worksheets and videos will guide you to get clear on HOW you want to feel and WHAT are the things that cultivate that feeling.
Do you sing a lullaby to your child? Did a parent or loved one sing to you at bedtime? You do not have to be Alicia Keys to sing to your child...you just have to sing. To your child, your voice is the most soothing voice she could ever hear. Try making a lullaby part of your bedtime routine to create a moment of connection and love. I promise, you will like it too.
Self-Care Invitations and Conversation Prompts
Ski, snowboard, sled, skate, make a snow angel, a snow fort, a snowman. Catch snowflakes on your tongue. Make an international date night with your family and include food, music and stories from another country. Give yourself a foot bath before bedtime, I like rose petals, lavender or rosemary. Dedicate one night a week to go to bed early. Write a love letter to a friend. Write a love letter to yourself. Try to give at least 20 hugs in one day.
How would your partner or a good friend describe you when you are having a great day?
What activity brings you a sense of stillness and peace?
What quality are you committing to cultivate as a parent in 2018?
Who is feeling out of rhythm after the swirl of the holidays? ME! Maybe you are too and you need a little extra support to get started. Our own Healthy Home Rhythms E-Course has supported over 1,000 parents, start the year fresh and simple with a home rhythm that reflects the needs and flavor of your family.
Learn how to create a healthy family rhythm at your own pace from home. In a culture that seems to thrive on busyness, how can we model peace and presence in our family? Be part of the change that is focusing on nurturing a home life that is simple, connected, and balanced. The secret is establishing a healthy home rhythm. New to the concept of rhythm? This class is for you. In our self-paced e-course, you will receive four seasonal printable rhythm wheels, one meal planner, and step by step journey on how to shift your unique routine from surviving to thriving. $40 for lifetime access!
Thank you to every amazing contributor who shared her valuable wisdom on our website this year. It really does take a village and indeed the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts. Thank you to Lifeways North America whose philosophy and vision has inspired my parenting, my work and path. Thank you to my family who fill me with love and laughter every day, and inspire me to be my best self while still accepting the not-so-best-self. Thank you friends for supporting me so deeply and reflecting so much light and truth in your depths of hearts. Thank you to the parents who have shared your stories, your tears, your photos and attended classes, both in person and online and opened your heart to me and to each other. Thanks for supporting me to get the word out by Liking our Facebook page and using #motheringarts to share a peek of your perfectly imperfect mom moments. Lastly, thank you to all of the babies and children who continue to stream love into the world...we need you <3
with heart, Kerry