A field guide to living an intentional, creative and fun life — with children.

Tag Archives: mindful living

Photo Credit: Mykl Roventine

Spring is here.

Stay awake.

Rise early. With a hot cup of coffee, walk outside. Close your eyes and listen for the birds. They seem to wake happy every day no matter what. Their songs will bring you instant joy if you let them.

Breathe in the smells of the trees and the grass, both dripping with tears from the night sky’s beauty.

Let the crisp, cool air fill your lungs.

Sit quiet and let your mind wander. And wonder. Let it rest before the day begins.

Do this as many mornings as possible.

Photo Credit: Robinrkc

In the middle of your day, walk outside and look up.

Float with the clouds. Smell the flowers. Sway with the trees.

Feel that glorious sunshine pour into your way-too-busy mind.  Stay there and let it pour through you until you’ve recharged and reenergized.

Do this as many afternoons as possible.

Stay up late. Take a cool glass of iced tea onto your front lawn. Listen to the darkness. Listen to the quiet. Honor that neighbor who is rushing to mow before tomorrow’s rain. Honor that dog barking in the distance.

Listen to the rain drip into the earth, quenching the bugs and worms beneath us.

Feel the night air soak into your skin. Watch as the stars twinkle and whisper sweet everythings into your ears.

Do this as many evenings as possible.

Photo Credit: Craig Cloutier

Stay awake. Spring will fly by like a flock of geese. Summer will be here soon.

It’s not too late to fall in love with spring.

Stay awake.

A New Day -- buy on Etsy

When you wake today, May You Notice.

May you Pay attention.

May you see and honor the tiny, yet beautiful details of life unfolding before your very eyes. May you feel how the earth holds you up, grounds you and gives you something to stand on, something to stand for each day. May you smell the coffee as it gradually drifts from room to room. May you Breathe in the morning air, the smells of new beginnings, of starting overs, of delicious conspiracies you can turn into your reality.

May you see your partner. How he or she follows the same routine. How he or she takes time to notice the little things. May You hear what is not only said but meant. May You be open to that love between you.

Poster on Etsy. Click image for more details.

And when the children wake early, long before the sun rises, may you Notice.

May you Pay attention. May you realize this, too, will most definitely pass.

May you laugh as their bed head makes their hair do twisty, weird things. May you feel how their warmth radiates from their hearts, filling yours. Smell their sweetness and innocence before everyone gets too busy to gather close again. Notice what their eyes are drawn to out of curiosity and wonder. May You Notice what inspires them to smile. May you smile with them at the beauty of everything.

May You See Beauty by Lori Portka. Click image for details.

As you go about your day, and your family goes about theirs, May You Pay attention to the birds singing outside your windows. May you notice the way the green stems are peeking up through the ground. May you notice how the clouds are billowing away their time in the sky, traveling, floating. May You Notice the way all the human beings you pass are just human beings, fighting to survive another day themselves. May you notice how they warm your heart even if they are strangers, even if they are not like you.

And when you come back together as a family, May You Pay Attention to what isn’t said at all. May you look into each others eyes and notice how bright they are, or tired they are, or excited they are. May you cook slowly, eat slowly and linger long together, just relishing this meal for what it us — sustenance, soul food, nourishment. May you savor that food and the memories of eating together. May You Notice that this moment is what matters.

May You Pay Attention to the joy that crosses their faces as you say YES, finally, again, once more. May You Notice how that makes you feel, to make people happy because you can, because you wanted to and because you could.

As your day comes to an end, May You Notice how the light fades in each of your rooms. How the energy rises …. rises …. rises and then watch it as it falls, comes to a sleepy end. May You Notice how little bodies shiver and lips turn blue as they dry off from their bath. May You Notice how the knots have gotten more tangled as their hair has grown, as they have grown. May you notice that the line on the bathroom wall where you last measured is now far below where their head would be now.

May You Notice that life is right here, this moment and no other. May You Notice that you just survived a day without tackling your to-do list. May You Notice that you, too, have needs. A bath. A good book. A sweet wine. A massage. A long night’s sleep. To talk to a friend. To write long and full of run-on sentences because you have so much to express, so much to say and there aren’t enough hours to remember it all even though you really wish you could so you just have to write them down before you forget the beauty.

May You Pay Attention to all that matters today. And nothing more.

For more mindful living inspiration, check out Amaze Yourself & Say Yes More, Amaze Yourself & Do Less and Amaze Yourself & Act Silly.

This is my first Awesomely Awake interview and I’m happy to introduce you to Zina Harrington. Anyone who knows Zina knows that she is all about building community on Pinterest and other social media platforms. I have been honored to connect with her on these amazing interwebs. I chose Zina simply because she just is a great example of the Awesomely Awake mindset that this blog promotes: Putting creativity and intentional living first and foremost in life.

Zina was kind enough to interview me in return. You can read my tips on Staying Present HERE.

Thanks for playing along, Zina! Here’s the interview:

AA: I admire your work on your blog, Let’s Lasso the Moon, and on Pinterest. So much of what you write about revolves around family time and being with your daughters in terms of making sure they remain creative and imaginative throughout their entire lives. You work full-time and blog as well. How do you stay awake as a parent?

Zina: There are three main activities that keep me awake as a parent:

  1. Yoga slows my mind down. It helps me let go of work chaos & all the other stressors of the day. I use this wonderful yoga video by Allison Nolan. I tell the girls, “You’re welcome to join me for yoga, if you let mom do it without interruptions for twenty minutes first.” The first half of this particular video is a fairly paced sun series, but the second half is very kid friendly! My ladies both got their own personal yoga mats for Christmas this year. I also highly recommend the book My Daddy’s a Pretzel: Yoga for Parents and Kids. It is a wonderful intro book which integrates postures with a story.
  2. Meditation allows me to be more present at home. I do still need to follow an audio guide to stay on track. My goal is two twenty-minute meditations a day. Ok, I said goal. It is challenging for me to fit in. I’ve come to love this 5 minutes breathing meditation by Diana Winston. It is simple and there is really no excuse for me not fitting it in multiple times in the day. If you are interested in having your children join you in meditation I also recommend the cute book Peaceful Piggy Meditation By Kerry Lee Maclean.
  3. Practicing a Love & Logic parenting style allows me to remain in control of my mood at the end of a long day. The simple approach often keeps my frustrations at bay allowing me to be an empathetic vs completely crabby parent when I have completely run out of energy.


AA: Can you share your experiences with your own family traditions and rituals? And why they are important to you?

Zina: We have a couple of fun family traditions including: Popcorn for Dinner Fridays, Game Night Saturdays, and Sunday Summer Picnics. This consistent schedule allows us to keep our weekends free unless we run into a “Hell Yeah” activity. One daily family ritual is having dinner together, everyday, no matter what. We start out with this interesting Native American prayer and then talk about our favorite and least favorite thing that occurred on that day. It is a lovely chance to catch up & reconnect.  As a child my father worked two jobs, but no matter how busy his schedule became he was always home for dinner at 6pm. This made me realize how important the daily ritual was!

AA: I feel that making parenting fun is my No. 1 job  for many reasons not just in order to maintain sanity and good mind-body-soul connections. Tell us a little about eating popcorn for dinner!?

Zina: We love Popcorn for Dinner Fridays. The idea came from a friend who told me it was a “highlight of her childhood.” I know people think we are crazy, but it is a wonderful weekly tradition. We pick the girls from school and immediately start offering them healthy snacks: apples, carrots, celery with peanut butter, broccoli and ranch. Our girls are veggie lovers. We prep a movie, sit down to snuggle, and enjoy an evening of mindless relaxation. In all honest, by the time we actually get to “dinner” our girls are nearly full. We don’t watch much television during the week so the whole experience is just a blast. Want to know what else we do? Candy for dinner on Halloween. Trust me; it saves us a lot of daily hassle and money at the dentist!

AA: What do you find to be the most valuable way to stay connected and engaged with your children, even after a busy day?

Zina: Reading is priceless. Every night we read with our girls. My husband and I have been working very hard behind the scenes to ensure our girls are book lovers. I even went as far as asking readers if they would pay their child to read. Last month I came across this amazing video. The author, a mother of two teen boys, discusses the importance of recognizing the gift of an ordinary day. She mentioned that slowly she was no longer needed for bedtime reading. This broke my heart.

I intend to read to my girls as long as possible. I have a friend whose daughters (8 & 10) are excellent readers, but they still read together at night. Pages of Little Bear over a long period of time turned into pages of Harry Potter. We recently started reading Stewart Little and are enjoying it!

AA: What has been your favorite activity to do with your girls?

Zina: I love to hike solo with my girls. I highly recommend the book The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson. I found it to be inspiring! There is nothing better than an open afternoon, nice weather, and a beautiful forest. I try to give the girls plenty of space. I vow to let them control the pace and promise myself I won’t say, “Let’s keep moving.” I am lucky to live in an area with a lot of beautiful county and state parks. However, I think a child will explore any natural space. My only suggestion would be to avoid a park with a playground.

AA: What is your family up to in 2012? Any goals, dreams, big things planned?

Zina: Our family has two big goals in 2012. First, it is my intention to complete a Project 366. This allows me to appreciate the gift of an ordinary day and to notice the beauty in every day life. Second, we hope to continue to simplify in 2012. We keep repeating 100 Things Weekends to flush the house of clutter. Third, this summer we are excited to continue our camping adventures and do a bit of traveling.

I am loving this video related to A Year of Wishes shared by Lori Portka, a lovely and amazing artist that inspires me greatly. I have the Year of Wishes calendar on my kitchen wall, to remind me of  life’s greatest gifts we can give ourselves. {the calendar has since sold out!}

This month’s wish is May My Mind be at Peace. Since I juggle a lot, I struggle greatly with keeping my mind peaceful — hence this awake journey I’m on — this calendar reminds me of how important it is to just. let. things. go …

Enjoy this video and May Your Minds be at Peace, too.

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