Category Archives: Sacred Family

Lessons Learned from Pumpkin Carving

Self doubt creeps in and threatens to shut me down. It almost succeeds as I contemplate choosing easy over fulfilling or delegating the most challenging part.

I move forward with my vision as I have done in the past so many times, and this time I end up being rewarded with a pumpkin carved with love, intention, and vision, and a few lessons on the way.

img_20161031_135512Here they are…

It is always easiest to doubt yourself, but in the end it takes more energy than trusting yourself.

If you begin with self doubt and let it grow, you let yourself off the hook. You convince yourself you can’t do it, and so you don’t even try. What you lose is the chance to see the fruits of work done from a place of love, regardless of how it turns out. When you do this, you invite in regret, frustration, and if you’re like many people I know, you get down on yourself which sinks your energy a lot more than a bit of pushing through the feeling would have.

When you release perfection, beauty blooms.

This obsession we seem to have with perfection has got to stop, because it’s based on a false premise – that perfection actually exists. This is one of those times when I like to turn to nature. What would a ‘perfect’ tree look like? One with no knots in the trunk, a perfectly straight trunk? One that dropped it’s leaves with equal timing between each leaf? One that was filled only with flowers that bloomed to perfection? If such a tree existed, it would lack the character that makes a tree and tree. It is our knots, our curves and detours, our unpredictability, that make us who we are. We are so used to seeing polished versions of people’s lives, whether they are deeply so through airbrushed magazine images or just crafted in a certain way through social media. When we let go of that need for perfection, we get to enjoy life as it unfolds, whether in creative endeavors or in the simple moments. Did you see my photo of my yoga practice the other day? Things pushed out of the way, terrible lighting in the photo? I shared it to show you the truth of what life looks like around it, to help shatter this false notion of perfection.

The practice of believing you can bring your vision to fruition is more important than the outcome.

In order to keep moving forward, you have to believe in yourself and in your vision. Believing in your vision does not mean it needs to turn out the way that you see it now. There is always the possibility to shift and grow into the vision, because you are ever changing, as are the circumstances of your life. So many journeys have begun with a specific intention, rooted in deep desire, and have brought us to places we never could have expected and never would have been able to dream up, but they feel inevitable now. Have you had that happen before? If you have, you know you can trust that journey.

Ganesha showed me I could do what I thought could not be done.

Ganesha is the remover of obstacles and has been the deity that I have felt deepest connection to for many years. Ganesha reminds me to let go of what clutters my mind, to break the chains of the negative self talk, and to keep reaching forward instead of holding onto the past. This week, it was quite literally through the carving of the image of Ganesha into a pumpkin that I was reminded to remove the obstacle of the old story that was playing once again, and to just be in the moment and trust.

Allow your vision to arise from your heart.

We can spend our lives settling – for easy, for straight forward, for what we think we’re supposed to do. Or, we can quiet the mind, listen to the heart, and really tune in and discover what we desire. When we do this, we find our way into the flow, releasing obstacles, and making our way closer and closer to that vision that resides deep within us.

What lessons have you learned when self doubt has crept in and you kept going anyway? I’d love it if you’d share in the comments below!

Happy Holidays!

This time of year always seems to get hectic.  No matter how much I plan ahead, I seem to end up with a huge to-do list in the days leading up to the holidays.  Is it the same for you?

Here are 3 simple tips to help you enjoy the holidays and relax instead of feeling stressed and ready for them to be over!

  • Prioritize and let go – This can be a difficult one but it’s really simple and can make a huge difference.  Take a look at what you’re asking yourself to do.  Then cross off anything that doesn’t really need to get done – you don’t need to knit scarves for every single relative! Start with the things that really have to get done (packing to go away for example) and work your way down the list.
  • Make time for yourself – Whether you’re having company or you’re a guest in someone else’s home, make sure that you find time to take care of yourself.   Make the extra effort to get to a yoga class or take a nice walk.  Take a bath or curl up on the coauch with a book you’ve been looking forward to reading. In more of a time crunch?  Have a cup of tea in silence. Keeping yourself calm and happy will ease the stress that may creep up around you.
  • Have fun – Enjoy the company of friends and family and let everything else go for a bit.  Don’t worry  about the things that didn’t get done or what you need to do next.  Once you’re where you’re going to be for the holidays, be there.  Catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while.  Invite in the joy of the season and celebrate with all you’ve got!

Peace, Love, and Wellness,


3 Ways to Preserve Family History

If you don’t already know this, having children makes time move so much faster.  You may plan to journal about all the events and milestones in your child’s life, and then suddenly she’s pushing two and you’ve barely written a thing down because you’ve been so busy experiencing it all! This is what’s happened with me, and I do my best to jot down some of my memories when I have a chance so they’re not lost forever.


The holidays are a great time to share stories and memories with family, and to gather information so you can share your children’s history with them when they get older.  Preserving family memories can come in many forms including photos (always good to label them with dates and names) and video.  Three other ways to hold onto your family history that I think about a lot this time of year are traditions, recipes, and holiday memories.


  • Traditions — Some traditions are more conscious than others, such as gathering at the same place for Thanksgiving year after year.  Others, such as the subtleties of who prepares the meals, who washes the dishes, and who watches the football game become ingrained in our memories even though we may not think of them as conventional traditions.  What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?  How have they changed over the years?  It can be fun to talk about the experiences with those who share them, and write down what they have meant to all of you.  This can actually turn into a really great holiday gift to share with family as well.  My family traditions have shifted a lot over the years, but for Thanksgiving, my mom’s family always celebrated my grandfather’s birthday as well, and we continue to honor it each year.


  • Recipes – The foods that we eat growing up often define us.  They become our comfort foods as we move through different stages of life.  Recreating the smells of your grandmother’s kitchen in your own decades later can tie you to the past in such a joyful way.  Recipes shared from generation to generation offer a wonderful opportunity to remember family throughout the years.  How incredible to know that the bread you are baking is from the same recipe that your great grandmother used!  Putting together a family recipe book can serve as a reminder of your favorite dishes and can be the starting point for creating new versions of favorite classics.


  • Memories – To me, Thanksgiving will always be about time spent at my grandparents’ house.  I can still see my grandfather standing in the kitchen making mashed potatoes.  I can remember knowing when he dozed off in his chair as he watched football by the sound of his snore.  Wherever Thanksgiving takes me this year, to that house, or my in-laws, or somewhere else, those memories are what formed Thanksgiving for me.  I am so excited to know what Thanksgiving will mean to Chloe as she grows up, and to share my own memories with her.


As we head into the often stressful holiday season, making our rounds and trying to fit as many visits in with friends as family as we possibly can, it can be calming to take a few moments to reflect on what the holidays have meant to us through the years, and to focus on the parts that we enjoy and look forward to.  Knowing that the rest gets us to those moments can be a reminder of the joy that is waiting to be discovered all over again each year.


What are some of your favorite family memories and how do you keep them alive?


Peace, Love, and Wellness,

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Philly Folk Fest with Chloe

We had an incredible time at the Philadelphia Folk Festival this year, our annual home away from home.  As we prepared for the 50th anniversary celebration, we wondered what it would be like with Chloe this year.  Last year, she was 4 months old, and although she did seem to have a good time, she was still doing a lot of sleeping at that stage of life.  Now that she’s figured out how to work her legs, we knew that we’d be in for an entirely different type of vacation.

A typical morning at Fest involves waking up with the sun, and it rapidly turns tents into saunas.  In the past, we’ve been able to slowly move out of our tents, find a chair or a cot, and doze a bit longer until we were ready to be more fully awake.  Not so with a happy babbling Chloe to wake us up (before the sun this year, as many mornings were overcast).  Once we exited the tent, we realized that there was little relaxation to be had as she began to explore the campsite at full speed.

Another big change for us was being on shift (we volunteer at the festival).  Our shift goes from 8PM-2AM and we had Chloe with us.  Once she was tired, she slept on us, which was no big deal (and really one of my favorite things ever).  She loved seeing all of the people (and they loved seeing her), and she began to pick up the words needed for a security volunteer – badge, wristlet, folk fest. By 9:30 we’d been chasing her around nonstop as she ran all over the place.  We got to look up at the clear sky and watch her marvel at one of her favorite things, the moon.  She was having so much fun, which made it less of a chore to run after her as she ran around, but it made me wonder early on how I’d ever make it to 2AM.

Truly her father’s daughter, Chloe is a child filled with a love for music.  She enjoyed playing Jon’s new djembe drum and she loved dancing to the music that we enjoyed at Fest this year. It was really fun to see how this year was different than last year, and it was exciting to watch her enjoyment of Fest begin to grow.

 This folk festival is more than a vacation to us, it is a home that we return to every year, to celebrate and visit with our extended fest family, and we are fully prepared and excited to bring her back year after year.

To Boston and Back

This weekend we had a wedding to attend in Boston.  This was our first big road trip with Chloe.  Her longest car ride before this was about 3 hours, so we knew that a 6 hour trip was an entirely different story! It was, especially with the trip up taking us 8 hours of driving, but Chloe was awesome! So here are a few tips that worked for us.

We got off to a late start as we usually do.  We were aiming to leave around 9 when Chloe woke up, but we didn’t really get on the road until noon.  This ended up working in our favor because Chloe fell asleep almost immediately, which brings me to Tip #1: If you can, start out at nap time!

On the trip up, she slept for the first hour, and she took another nap later.  On the way home, we left around naptime, and she slept for almost 3 hours, which was great!  The trip home took about 6 hours of driving time, so her long nap was perfect.

This was a quick trip, up on Friday, back on Sunday, so we packed pretty light but I packed A LOT of toys!  I packed two bags of toys, one for each leg of the trip, including a couple of new toys and some old ones she hadn’t seen for a while.  Having a lot of toys, and a couple of bags turned into a great game, so here’s Tip #2: Pack a bag full of as many toys will fit (the smaller the better because you can fit more), and give your child the bag. Chloe was entertained for a while by unpacking the bag over and over again.  I actually had two bags that I was using at once, so when she emptied the first bag, I had another one ready for her. Occasionally she would take the time to play with some of the toys in the bag too, which elongated the game. This worked well in the hotel room too, because we kept the bag of toys handy and she would unpack (and sometimes repack) the bag.

6 hours is a long time to be sitting in a car for anyone, especially a little one who is just getting used to using her feet and moving around a lot.  So if you’re able to, follow Tip #3: Break up the trip! Our original plan involved stopping halfway through the trip up for a couple of hours and going to a playground for a while to get out of the car and let Chloe have some fun.  As it turned out, we only stopped once each way, for a bite to eat.  We were out of the car for about an hour but the break was well timed at the halfway point of the trip, and it was enough for all of us to get some fresh air and some food.

Once we were in Boston, Chloe had a great time.  We spent some time sitting in the park, she tried some of our food wherever we went (I think her favorite and mine was the veggie burger that I got Saturday night), and she had some nice naps too.  The last piece of advice I have is Tip #4: Go with the Flow.  I was really stressed out when we got a late start, but it worked out fine in the end.  It is nearly impossible to make solid plans when you have a young child, and it will be better if you can just relax and have fun with it from the start.  Taking a family trip can be a lot of fun, and a change of scenery can be nice for everyone.  So buckle up, sit back, and enjoy the ride!

Eating Locally

It’s starting to feel like an overabundance of greens around here but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Greens are such an important part of our diet that we often overlook, so I’m grateful that I’m getting lots of them, nice and fresh.

Wednesday is the pick up day for the CSA, and also the day of one of my favorite area farmer’s markets – The Oakmont Farmer’s Market in Havertown PA.  We pick up our bag of CSA produce and then head over to the market to get some extras.

So how did yesterday go, despite the overwhelming heat?  Wonderfully!

My mom and I have been enjoying preparing dinners together and last night was no exception.  I planned and she cooked while I played with Chloe and watched her devour some local organic strawberries.

We had a delicious salad with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  We also used up the last of the broccoli from last week and some sweet potatoes in a Thai noodle stir-fry.

We found out yesterday that next week will probably be the last week for strawberries from the farmers that we get them from, so we bought some extras to freeze, which is so easy.  We cut off the tops, and popped them in the freezer!  A couple of tips for freezing strawberries – The ones that we got are organic and not sprayed with anything, so the farmer recommended not rinsing them unless they had visible dirt on them.  That way they won’t get icy in the freezer.  We first froze them on baking sheets so that when we bagged them they didn’t all freeze together.

Teething, Naturally

Chloe’s up to 12 teeth, almost 13 once this 4th molar pushes it’s way through.  Early on, we relied on a lot of baby Tylenol, and I have to admit that although it helped, I always felt weird about giving her medication.  Now that she’s been eating solid foods and that I’ve had some time to learn more about her teething, I’m able to say that we haven’t needed to give her any medication for her molars – and those are supposed to be the difficult ones.

Of course, there are times when the pain is bad enough to warrant medicine, but I’ve noticed something interesting about her when she teethes.  Usually, the pain seems to come in bursts, and sometimes it only lasts for a few minutes.  If we rushed to give her medicine right away, the pain may have subsided by the time the medicine kicked in anyway.

Here are some things to try if you’re looking to use medication as a last resort.


–       Frozen washcloths: These worked nicely when she was younger, though pretty wet once they started to melt.  Her hands would get cold, but she never seemed to mind.  Maybe the cold hands helped to distract her from the tooth pain.

–       Frozen fruit in mesh food holders (Munchkin and Nuby both make them): Once we introduced food to Chloe, this became our favorite teething remedy! Frozen bananas helped get those molars through for sure.  It combined a food she loves with comfort and that worked wonders.  Messy to be sure, but effective.

–       Frozen waffles: This works well now that she can hold food and eat it, though they do warm up pretty quickly.  They do seem to provide her some teething comfort so we make sure to have some on hand.

–       A wide variety of teething toys: Sometimes she wants something cloth, sometimes she wants texture, sometimes a hard surface she can really gnaw on – it helps to have a lot of options because if it’s not exactly what she wants it ends up on the floor.

–       Breastfeeding: You might be thinking, ouch, really?! She doesn’t bite very often anymore, and I think the comfort is sometimes even more soothing than a teething toy would be.  Sometimes holding her close and letting her nurse is exactly what she’s looking for.