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mothering with heart podcast #2 (& winner announced)

Today I’m sharing my newest Mothering with heART video podcast.

This episode touches on the topic of slowing down, self-care and knowing when you’re reaching your breaking point.

These videos are simply a glimpse of my personal reflections in the moment. They are unedited, unscripted, unplanned…baby babbling and nature sounds in the background for your added pleasure.

I hope you find this video journal inspiring. Share with me! Subscribe to my new Youtube channel, post a comment or email me privately.

And check my A Free Spirit Life Facebook page to see the winner of one month of e-coaching with me (more details about my monthly life-coaching services coming soon). Thanks to all of you who filled out a survey. If you’d still like to share your ideas, visit the link below.

Mothering with heART Survey 
I appreciate you deeply.
Take care of yourself today…and always.
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Your Personal Reflection:

Do you have a morning ritual that supports your needs? How can you nurture and take good care of yourself to feel more balance in your daily life? Do you know what truly nurtures your soul?

Take some time this week to notice how you feel. Slow down. Find a moment of stillness and check in with your body. Do you feel tension in your head, neck or shoulders? Some nervousness in your stomach? Are you feeling healthy and vibrant or a little run down? Notice those feelings – without judgment. Be kind to yourself. Simply listen to what they are trying to tell you. Journal about it!

celebrating joy in the every day (& two give-aways!)

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I don’t know about you, but cooking three meals a day – every day – can leave me feeling, uh, rather uninspired.

I really do have a passion for healthy eating and cooking.  But doing it day-after-day-after-day in the midst of changing diapers, nursing, schoolwork, piano lessons, cleaning, folding clothes… I know you can relate.

It. gets. old.

So I’m excited to see that my friend, Leah, and creator of the Season’s Eatings e-course, is offering a new session.  I’ve taken Leah’s course in the past and I can honestly say that it’s one of my favorites because not only does she offer fabulous PDF’s full of easy and yummy recipes, but she is in-tune to how to make mealtime more meaningful while connecting more deeply to your children.

Cooking three meals a day doesn’t have to feel like a burden, and Leah, reminds you of that.

Her course will help you get grounded, centered and inspired so you can really enjoy the pleasure that comes from feeding and nourishing your family.

Leah says, “I believe that cooking can be a source of joy, fun, and connection in our lives. I know how good it feels to have a repertoire of delicious dinners you can whip together to feed a few or a crowd. And I believe that one of the secrets to enjoyable family dinners is to include everyone, especially the kids, in the preparations, rituals, and routines of the evening meal.”

Just from re-reading Leah’s course description, I can see that with the addition of our new baby, I’ve fallen into a bit of a rut over the last few months when it comes to mealtime.  I still cook healthy foods and have found ways to simplify my time in the kitchen – like prepping for the week on Sunday, buying similar ingredients for several meals, and making the trusted family favorites that I know everyone will eat.

But…I haven’t necessarily felt as much joy about YET ANOTHER MEAL that has to be prepared. Yes, it’s true, mealtime happens again and again, but rather then dread or lament it, there are ways to make it more fun.  And with Leah’s inspiration, you can bring back a sense of play, laughter, connection and JOY to this daily routine.

Are you ready to be inspired?

To learn more about Leah’s wonderful e-course, visit Season’s Eatings. (If you are ready to sign up for this course, use the discount code: FREESPIRIT.)

The Give-Aways – How to Enter:

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Leah is giving away one spot in her upcoming Season’s Eatings e-course.

AND…

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I’m giving away one spot in my NEW Mothering with heART e-course, that runs April 28th – May 16th. (Registration is NOW open!)

I’m SOOOOO excited to share this journey with mothers who are excited to bring more love, courage and joy into your life with your children while you follow your heart, TRUST your intuition and nurture your creative dreams!

For your chance to win a spot in one of these courses, leave a comment on this blog post and let us know:  Where do you find inspiration in the midst of motherhood?
For an extra chance to win, stop by and “like” A Free Spirit Life Facebook page.

I’ll announce a winner on Monday, April 14th.

Bring on the joy…

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(REMINDER: Visit THIS POST for your chance to win the Simple Parenting & Play Planner!)

celebrate your life

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The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.

~ Oprah Winfrey

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Well, I certainly don’t have it all together. I’m still working on stuff…daily. Struggling and fumbling along the way.

But I gotta say, I sure scored in the husband department.

These photos are from my recent birthday celebration. The boys were so excited to surprise me. The rule was: under no circumstances could I come down to the basement. While the boys were busy building this birthday cake present masterpiece out of boxes, I took baby Grayson to the grocery store (which is always a treat just going with ONE kid) and then to mommy/baby yoga (which is so comforting and relaxing).

I took a nap in the afternoon (which is always heaven).

And made enchiladas for a small party with my family. All I really wanted this year for my birthday was a quiet evening with my family, eating good food and playing games. It was awesome. The boys could not contain themselves – pure joy and excitement. So they pulled me downstairs first to reveal this amazing gift. Or gifts rather. 39 presents for my 39th year. Isn’t that the sweetest?

And not only were the presents awesome, like a new journal, a smash book, coffee mugs…but each box had a note from the boys and my husband sharing what they love most about me.

I truly felt showered with love!

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It was a birthday I will never forget. One full of love, fun and abundance – for sure.

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my bday collage 2013

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And the birthday celebrations have continued, for my husband and my oldest, who turned 6 today!

This is YOUR one life…celebrate your breath.
Celebrate the ones you love.
Celebrate YOU.

Because YOU and your life are worth celebrating.

xo-shannon-blue

 

 

 

*Photos by my love, Chris Duh.

 

Inside Out Logo

Now that the birthday celebrations are just about over, I’ll be turning my attention to Inside Out.

There’s still plenty of time to join us! My 5-week e-course begins January 27th, 2014.
For more information, visit:
Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery!
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sending you joy

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From my free spirit family to yours…

sending you peace, love and joy.

Happy Holidays!

xo-shannon-blue

let go of “perfect”

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7 ways to reduce clutter this holiday season

To continue my efforts to Reduce Clutter; Make SpaceI have to be more conscious of the decisions I make this holiday season.  For me, reducing physical and mental clutter is about being mindful. I didn’t get rid of so much stuff this year just to acquire more. So I really want to be aware of the things I buy, the things I give, and the things I receive for Christmas.

Many of my family members want to keep the gift giving simple this year, too.  In fact, instead of giving each other big gifts, we adopted a family together.  Although we won’t get to see the kids open their presents, it sure feels good to give without expecting anything in return.

Here are some ideas and small changes you can make to simplify your gift giving while keeping the true meaning of the holiday season in perspective.

1) Bag the Gifts

How about instead of buying gifts for friends and family, you find a local family in need of the necessities.  That way you ensure your gifts won’t go to waste and you’ll be helping those who truly need it.

2) Give Experiences, Not Stuff  

How about giving a zoo membership to that special family in your life, or offer to baby-sit for those new parents, or consider planning a potluck game night with your best friends.  These types of experiences are so much fun and usually way more memorable than the stuff. (What about an e-course? Gift certificates are available for my new session of Inside Out!)

3) Limit the Dollar Amount   

I mentioned that my immediate family decided to adopt a family rather than give big presents. But we still like surprises and opening gifts.  So we’ve decided to draw names and buy one gift each for $25 or less. Limiting the dollar amount will help you to not go overboard and it actually forces you to be more creative in choosing the right gift.

4) Recycle, Reuse and Re-gift!  

What can you make using recycled materials?  Did you see my felted sweater projects?  Check out Crafting a Green World for more ideas.  And I know some of you may think re-gifting is taboo, but think of it this way:  Look around the house for something that is very special to you, yet it has served its purpose and you are now ready to let it go.  I’m not talking about giving a white elephant gift or something you don’t like, but actually consider giving something you love that you are ready to pass on.

Another idea:  How about making your own wrapping paper out of brown paper bags and your tags out of scraps you find around the house?

5) Avoid Plastic  

It takes hundreds of years for plastic to decompose.  Isn’t that horrifying when you think about that stuff filling up our landfills?  Look for natural and organic items when possible. Check out Hip Mountain Mama’s shop for ideas.

6) Buy Local & Support Independent Artists  

If you do plan on spending money, consider doing so in your own area and from independent artists and businesses.  This is a great way to support your local community.

If you don’t know many artists in your area, check out Etsy or online shops.  There are many amazing independent artists who offer beautiful and unique products!

Here are a few of my favorite online shops: ArtsyvilleAmpersand Shop, Blue Tree Art GalleryGypsy Forest, Hand Grown GoodsInfinite Life Learning photographyKreative Notions, Lani Light JewelryMishmish Market, Muses of a DaffodilNicole Warrington Fine Art, and Tenacious Lace.

7) Make Gifts With Meaning  

I’m a sucker for handmade gifts.  I love receiving things made from friends and family and I really enjoy making gifts, too.

Lavender Bath Salts
* glass jar
* 2 cups Epsom salt
* 2 T baking soda
* approximately 20 drops of lavender essential oil
* contents of two chamomile tea bag
(makes one jar)
Mix all of the ingredients together and fill the jar to the top.  Another option: add olive oil to the top of the jar for added moisturizer.  Remember to make an extra one for yourself and treat yourself to a relaxing soak in the tub!  

Check out my Pinterest board Holiday Fun for more ideas.

I’m by no means an expert in this area, but reducing clutter over the last year has been a wonderful learning and life-changing experience for me.  I am fully enjoying the season and don’t have the stress that can be so prevalent this time of year.

Simplifying this year’s gift giving will help you reduce clutter and create space for the quality time we all so desperately need.  Let’s give presence, rather than all the presents, and make our celebrations more mindful, meaningful and memorable!

Your Personal Reflection:  

Are you getting caught up in the frenzy of the holiday season?  What simple changes can you make this year to be more present with your loved ones?  Take a deep breath, slow down and find stillness…doing so will be the greatest gift you can give yourself.

 

Be well and enjoy the season!

xo-shannon-blue

 

 

 

*This post is from my 2010 archives.

 

thirty days of giving thanks

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November is almost here, and with that brings one of my favorite traditions: 

Thirty Days of Giving Thanks!

It’s simple.

Take a moment each day in November and thank someone in your life.

Send a text, make a call, leave a post-it,
write an old fashioned letter…
Make eye contact.
Smile.
And say, “thanks.”
It doesn’t matter how you thank them.  
Simply think of someone in your life – each day – and tell them why you are thankful for them.  
Give them your thanks.

 

Thank thirty people in thirty days.

Can’t think of thirty?

Look more closely at the people you encounter in a day.

The postman.
The barista.
The friendly teller at the bank.
The woman who always stamps your parking ticket.
Your neighbor down the street.
Is there a local store owner who makes you feel welcome every time you shop?
Do you have a favorite sacker at the grocery store?
How about someone you work with that makes you laugh?
Do you have a favorite hair stylist, or massage therapist, or yoga teacher?
Have you told your best friend how much you appreciate their friendship?
Did you ever thank your favorite teacher?
Has anyone helped change the course of your life?
What about someone you are really close to – like your kids or spouse – when’s the last time you thanked them?
Post your stories on my Facebook Page, share your blog links there, too.  
Send out tweets and use #30daysofthanks to mark your posts. 

If you choose to join us, please let me know by contacting me HERE.

And if you have a blog, grab a badge.
A Free Spirit Life

Spread the word.

And give your thanks.

Your Personal Reflection:

Who will you thank today?

(p.s.  Thanks to all of you for your personal emails and well wishes about the birth of my son.  I’ll be posting my birth story very soon!)

xo-shannon-green
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big mothering with heart giveaways!

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Tonight before bedtime I had two naked boys running around the house.

The diaperless 2-year-old was left alone for a few minutes in his room, only to be discovered moments later smearing poop into the carpet.

My bed was covered with unfolded clothes and instead of taking the time to fold them, this tired pregnant mama (of another boy!) threw them on the floor to deal with tomorrow.

The art room was left with scraps of paper and markers thrown about.

Not all evenings are like this.  But, tonight just happened to be one of them.

And that’s just part of being a mom.

Being a mom is a lot of work.  I never knew what to expect before becoming one.  Does anyone really?  But once you do discover what’s on the other side of birthing a child, you find you have a common bond with all the mothers before you – a camaraderie of sorts – a secret knowing what this job is really like.  You become part of the mama club.

When you are a member of the mama club, you don’t have to explain the rewards of being a mom.  You don’t have to explain the joys.  You don’t have to explain the challenges.  We moms are fully aware of them all.

And sometimes we get super busy.  We get caught up in “keeping up” – trying to be like others or just trying to make it through the day.  We put on that face.  You know…the one that tells the world,  Everything is just fine. But sometimes…it just isn’t.  And no matter what…we need each other.  We need to know we’re not alone.  We need to slow down. We need to rest.  We need time with friends. We need wine or dark chocolate.  We need reality TV.  We need a good book, a good laugh, a good bubble bath or a retreat away from it all.

Sometimes we need to shed our doubts.  Sometimes we need to cry.  Sometimes we need to laugh our asses off.

Sometimes we need to reconnect to our intuition, express our creativity, get messy, and live out our hidden dreams.
Sometimes we just need to mother our OWN hearts.

And that’s what Mothering with heART is about – taking time for ourselves and learning how to integrate the need for creativity, downtime, play and FUN into our daily lives while raising children.  And when we learn to nourish our own souls each day, we are nourishing our children’s souls, too.  Because that’s the cool thing about being a mom.  We’re bonded to these little people.  And they sense when we are happy.  They learn from our example.  So the more we return to our true selves and our authentic way of being in the world, we end up passing that on to our kids.  And that means more inner peace, love, joy and happiness for us all!

I’m incredibly honored and excited to share with you a group of AMAZING moms, business women, writers, artists, life coaches and much more who are sharing parts and pieces of their mothering journey with us in my newest online experience, Mothering with heART. Check out the link below to meet them!

 

 

Mothering with heART Contributors

 

 

And the best part is, many of these contributors have a SPECIAL giveaway just for YOU!  Check out these incredible gifts below.  All you have to do for your chance to win one is:

1)  take a moment to leave a comment on this blog post by Monday, May 20th, 2013.

2) for another entry, stop by and like A Free Spirit Life Facebook page. Already a fan or don’t use Facebook?  That’s ok…simply share the link about Mothering with heART with your friends and let me know about it.  I’ll enter you in the drawing a second time!

 

 The giveaways include:

 

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Win a spot in the upcoming e-course, Sexy, Raw & Radiant – from Mothering with heART contributors Stephanie Perkinson and Leah Kent.

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Win a spot in the upcoming e-course, Dream Lab – from Mothering with heART contributor, Amy Bowers.

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Win a copy of the book, Sacred Pregnancy (AND the magazine!) – from Mothering with heART contributor, Anni Daulter.

PicWin a FREE ebook, “How to Navigate your Biz While Staying True to You” (to be released in June) – from Mothering with heART contributor, Megan Monique.

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 Win a $25 gift certificate for the natural online store, Hip Mountain Mama – from Mothering with heART contributor, Suzy Hawbaker.

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Win a FREE ebook, Lemonade & Fireflies: Inspiration for a Magical Summer – from Mothering with heART contributor, Shawn Ledington Fink.

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Win a FREE copy of the new WishstudioPress zine, Glitter & Grunge - from Mothering with heART contributor, Mindy Tsonas.

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Win 4 100% cotton naturally dyed handkerchiefs – from Mothering with heART contributor, Jennifer Schmitz.

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Win a spot in the first ever, Mothering with heART e-course – from me.

Leave your comment NOW for your chance to win!  I’ll announce a winner on Monday, May 2oth.

AND…from now through May 20th, you can register for Mothering with heART at the discounted price of $59!
To register visit:  Mothering with heART Special Discount.

 

Your Personal Reflection:

What does “mothering with heart” or “mothering YOUR heart” mean to you?

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winners and a discount just for you…

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 (Photo provided by Leah Cherry.)

It’s time to announce the winners of the totally random drawings for Feathering the Nest and Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery e-courses!

 

Winner of Feathering the Nest:  Angie P.
Winner of Inside Out: Kerry

 

Thanks to ALL of you who left your fabulous, thoughtful comments on the last post.  For those of you interested in signing up for Leah and Stephanie’s e-course, Feathering the Nest, they are offering YOU a 15% off discount!  Simply register with the code:  “FREESPIRIT” and you’ll get this soulful class for $50!

Visit:  Feathering the Nest to register.

(And do it now, because class starts April 1st!)

I’ll be sharing all the scoop with you about Inside Out registration details on Monday (as well as an AMAZING deal).

Be well and as always, thanks for sharing your light and love.  Happy weekend!

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Welcome Home!

Photo by Chris Duh.

I am beyond thrilled to share with you my new online space – A Free Spirit Life!  It does feel a lot like moving into a new home.  The foundation is built, the rooms have been created and the walls have been freshly painted.  And just like moving into a new house, I usually have to sit in the space for a while – you know – to get used to it.  To see what windows the sun comes in.  To notice how I feel in each room before deciding where the furniture will go and where the pictures will hang.

I’m so ready to move into this new space after writing on my old blog for nearly 3 years.  But I’ve felt a little nervous.  I’ve been stalling.  It’s partly because I’m figuring out new blogging software.  Like learning where all the light switches and outlets are in a new house, I’m just going to feel a little lost until I get used to it.  Maybe my hesitation stems from past perfectionist tendencies – the old me – who would have waited to invite you over until the furniture was in place.  Or maybe until the art was hanging just right.  Or at least before the boxes were unpacked.  But the new me, the one who is practicing letting go of perfect, is ready for visitors!

In my old blog home, I shared my challenges, my contemplations and my celebrations.  And here will be no different.  I may feel vulnerable at times, but the more I share my most authentic way of being in the world, the more I can’t turn back.  And I would love that as I share and grow it might inspire you, too.

Along with my website and business name changes, I launched the 6th session of Inside Out e-course this week to a huge group of life-explorers from all over the world.  Lots of big changes happening. Call it the new year, the new moon or the year of the dragon – whatever the reason – I sense more changes lurking.  So until these new changes take hold, I feel like I need to embrace being ok with uncertainty.  ‘Cause sometimes being in the transition of the transition is a scary place to be.  It makes me feel uneasy.  It makes my tummy flutter.  It tricks my ego into thinking it needs to take charge, and control, and do what it can to make it go the right way.

So here I am, in my new home, transitioning through the fear.  The fear that makes me wonder, Will they like it?  Will anyone read?  Will they join A Free Spirit Life community to share, learn and grow together? Or was this move…for nothing?  Now I know that’s all just silly talk.  Fear makes us think, say and do funny things, doesn’t it?

I feel myself unwinding.  My nerves are settling.  My heart is opening wider, fuller and bolder than before.  And my arms are reaching out inviting you – oh beautiful YOU – into my home.

A Free Spirit Life is more than a blog.  It’s more than self-discovery e-courses.  It’s more than mothering with heART.  And it’s more than an online community of life-explorers.  A Free Spirit Life is a lifestyle. It’s a way of living, breathing, and being in the world that is in full color.  It’s for those wanting more out of life.  It’s for those who believe dreams matter.  It’s for those who want to create a life they truly love each and every day, while practicing contentment with how things are in this moment.

A Free Spirit Life is about cultivating new beginnings, awakening creativity, and celebrating your unique brilliance in small – or BIG – steps along the way.  It’s a place to connect, to share and to grow.  It’s a place to be inspired – to laugh, to play, to cry, to celebrate, to LIVE, to breath, to be – as you are – authentically, beautifully YOU.

A Free Spirit Life is more than just my new home.

It’s your new home, too.

Welcome home, free spirit family.  Welcome home.

 

Your Personal Reflection: What new beginnings are you ready to cultivate?