Tuesday, July 30, 2013

august wellness challenge :: gratitude


I am easing back into normal life and this space. Slowly, slowly.

To get back in the swing of things, I am hosting a powerful wellness challenge. Join me, every day in August, sharing one thing, big or small, that you are thankful for.

I think of August in the south as people up north must think of February. It is my least favorite month. Hot and humid, summer is winding down but all of our fun classes and co-ops have not started back up. It is the sticky liminal space between seasons for me.

So, my best antidote is to focus on the good and to be thankful for what is.

This is simple and free and can be life changing.

You can join the group right here. I hope you will.


Amy

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Paris :: Berthillon Glace {best ice cream in the world}

more bits from my time in paris. 

this is the place to get your ice cream. it is world renowned and right behind notre dame. i have been eating ice cream there for nearly 20 years and love the fact that i was able to share it with my children. 

you can sit by the river or on the bridge and watch jazz bands and dogs. just writing about it makes me want to cry and immediately hop back on a plane. 

i can not even muster the energy to capitalize, i am so sad. 

it is magic.





Monday, July 22, 2013

{self care} start a mail tribe



I am so excited to share this idea with you - it is one of the coolest things I have done in a while.

Inspired after sending letters from Paris this summer, I asked a group of women I knew only online if they wanted to start a MAIL TRIBE! Buoyed by our interest in slowing down and communicating in new/old ways, we decided to send monthly, long, handwritten letters to each other. We started this month and each week I am thrilled to get real mail for me!

We write one letter to the group, and make copies to send to each member. Sometimes, we might add special notes or items for individuals - but the idea is one great letter out to a group of great women.

If you need a reason to write, to slow down and feel community with women from all over the world - you can start one too!

Your group will serve the needs of the participants, of course, but here are a few tips:

- Decide who to invite and how many participants is a manageable number. We did not want to go over ten letter writers. That number allowed the postage, especially for the internationals, to be manageable.

- Think about the people you regularly bump into on FB or other social media, start a "group" and invite them. Be sure to tell them that if they are not interested or able to participate now, that is OK and there are no hard feelings. You only want members who can enthusiastically participate.

- Decide how long the project will last. We have all agreed to participate for 6 months and will then reevaluate the project.

- Be honest upfront and set any "rules." We specifically did not want this to be a competitive endeavor, with each letter trying to outdo the previous (have you ever experienced this with a mama group). However, if one of us has extra time one month, or wants to try something new - we say, "go for it!" But the basic requirement is a letter. That is it.

- This is a personal reflection. I do not hold strong expectations. If for any reason someone in the group is unable to finish with their letters, it is fine. I will still send my letters for the session and wish the mama well. Life is unpredictable and I care about the women in the group, this project is about spreading love and writing for yourself. The mail you receive back is just icing on the cake.

If you have done this or plan to, let me know your ideas!

If you are interested in writing your story back to yourself, join me in my next lab, A Book About Me. It is much more than a journalling class. You can read more here.

Monday, July 15, 2013

why i love to paint





it makes me look at objects and light so closely

it is slow

mixing colors is meditative

my kids come join me

it preserves a moment

the tactile, messiness of it

it reminds me that we all see things through a different lens

it is relaxing and productive

it allows me to set goals for more complicated pieces

being an amateur is such a sweet place to be

my expectations are so low it is easy to surpass them

there is no reason to do it other than choice


what is your guilty pleasure? what do you love to do for no other reason other than you love to do it? leave a message in the comments...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

writing lab :: letters from Revolution



We always pay a visit to colonial and revolutionary America in June and July. This year the kids all picked a persona and wrote letters that they exchanged with their friends. What a fun project! We had explanations of early small pox inoculations, tales of women led relief efforts and sharp shooter tales.

What made this project successful was the promise of trading with other kids (this had a real purpose), the freedom to write about whatever was interesting about the period, and the hands-on aspect. We painted and burned the paper and then used wax seals.

I think this approach would be fun with any time period and a group of kids. Even better would be to actually send the letters (and maybe even packages) through the postal service.

I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July filled with food, explosives and gratitude for the liberties we enjoy.




Tuesday, July 2, 2013

in which we pickled a shark




One of the only things I really missed about Florida while in France was beach evenings. Right now, the water in the gulf is hotter than a bathtub. The gentle, sloppy waves combined with the company of dolphins and sting rays makes it other worldly. We all float around in the soup until the last possible moment.

Then we beach comb. On this sojourn, we found a baby shark that had recently died (it had a small puncture wound on its head - maybe a bird?). It was too perfect a specimen to leave, so we did what we do. A little iPhone research and call for help on social media helped us decided that we would try to preserve the shark in isopropyl alcohol. (We need to have formalin on hand in the future!).

At 10 pm we pulled back into our center-of-the-state town and I flip flopped my sandy self into a Walgreens, loaded up my cart with alcohol and then asked the pharmacist for a syringe. "Any size will do," I casually said. "As long as I can use it to inject."


When we got home, we emptied and cleaned out our gallon popcorn jar and filled it up. We looked at the shark some more and then each kid took turns giving it shots. We were fascinated and saddened at the same time. But we thanked the shark for his life and hope he will live in our cabinet of curiosities for a long time. 


And of course this sparked all sorts of conversations. Most interesting was the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916; what an amazing story!


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