Self-Discovery Beyond Words: Art Journaling with the Pros

I really thought Connie might be crazy when she contacted me to join the 21 Secrets art journaling crew for 2014*. I mean, I’m not exactly well-versed or professional. I don’t know techniques, and I have no artistic tips to share. I’m not even consistent in my own practice.

And thankfully she wasn’t looking for that. 😉

Instead she invited me to be the “wild card”, to share my process, how I use art journaling as part of my Digging Deep, my spiritual inner work, and my processing of Life in general. And I said yes before I could say no, before the intimidation factor of working beside these beautiful women told me to crawl into a creative hole and die.

It was a beautiful step for me, owning that I am in fact an artist; that I do love to express our inner work through color and texture and images. And that is an artist: someone who looks to express [themselves, their perspective, others, the world] through art. Even if it’s only just for themselves.

So yeah, next year, 2014. An Art Journaling workshop. Me and 20 other gifted, talented, and amazing artists, including some of my most inspiring favorites.

21 Secrets Art Journaling Workshop

On Sale Now Collage

With me will be these amazing women:

  • Ardith Goodwin (The Illuminated Mushroom!)
  • DeAnne Olguin Williamson (Soulidarity)
  • Effy Wild (Effy’s Sweet Trash Art Journal)
  • Erin Faith Allen (Art Journaling The High Priestess)
  • Galia Alena (Claiming Our Mythos)
  • Jane Cunningham (Succor: Haven For Your Inner Child)
  • Jeanette House (Outside, Inside)
  • Jes Belkov Gordon (Color It Joyful!)
  • Juliana Coles (Setting the Stage: Internal Monologues With Extreme Visual Journaling)
  • Julie Gibbons (Psyche’s Tattoo Parlour)
  • Katie Kendrick (Signs and Symbols)
  • Lisa Cheney (The Savage Mirror)
  • Lisa Hofmann (Mandala Meditation and Play)
  • Lisa Sonora Beam (A New Chapter: Fearless Writing In Your Journal)
  • Liz Lamoreux (I Am…)
  • Natasha White (Fly Baby Fly!)
  • Petrea Hansen-Adamidis (Inner Art Expedition)
  • Rachel Ellen Andrews (Glorious Goddess)
  • Roxanne Evans Stout (There is a Place)
  • Tara Leaver (A Way With Words)
  • And little ol’ moi

Tara W Collage
I’ll be sharing a workshop called “Self-Discovery Beyond Words”:

“This is what I’ve learned: There comes a time when words fail. When what needs to be sought, discovered, and expressed in your soul is deeper than the mind can comprehend and well beyond the limitations of language. When there is so much needing to be let out but your mouth can’t form a single sentence, let alone the stories that need to be heard (by you as much as anyone else). As a writer and an inner poet, art journaling gave me the tools to continue my own self-discovery an Digging Deep when I ran out of words. Through color, and texture, and images I began to find, process, and understand the deeper experiences my heart needed to express. And as I began to get my hands messy, I began to find growth, healing, and transformation in new and powerful ways. Join me in a process of using art journaling for self-discovery and spiritual revolution, and learn how giving yourself permission to get messy can recreate your world.”

I can’t describe how excited I am to share this process that’s been percolating for months. I can’t explain how perfectly timed this opportunity was. I can’t fathom how incredible this workshop will be.

Please, please, please, go and read the descriptions and see the beautiful work of these incredible women. They are an a serious powerhouse of talent and inspiration. Not only am I honored to be among them, I’m excited to learn from them myself. ♥

*Totes an affiliate for this amazing workshop!

My Retreat Turned Into Retreating

On my way...

I’ve got my feet up, my heart out, my head on. I’m not sure if I’m ready or just resolute, but I’m on my way. Confronting my resistance with 7 days of all day, every day meditation. It might blow my mind to bits. But that might be a good thing.

That was the photo and those were the words rattling around within me Friday. Right before I turned my phone off, handed it to my hubby, and arrived at the ashram.

I’m not sure how to describe the week that followed. People like to ask if I “had a good time”, but “good” is not exactly the word that fits. It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t exactly good either.

Useful. That was the adjective I settled on.

It was a useful week. Enlightening. Challenging. Helpful in many ways. Heart-wrenching in others.

I knew I’d be confronting my resistance to meditation, but I had no idea what that resistance was. I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea how I was about to crumble. Shit, I’m not even sure where to start, how to explain it, to describe the gamut of internal movement I went through and where it has lead me, and where it might be leading me now.

I mean, I see it. I feel it. I just have so few words for it.

Five meditations a day (I had thought it was only four). The first one at 6:30am, to which I could barely drag myself out of bed for.

That was my experience the first 4 and a half day actually. Bone-fucking-tired and can’t drag myself out of bed (or off the couch).

I’ve never slept so much in my life. I’d be awake just in time for the first meditation (fall asleep during it of course), then wake long enough to eat breakfast and take a shower, head to the second meditation and fall asleep within 15 min after until the third meditaiton, then eat lunch and try to read until I fell back asleep again, wake up just in time for the fourth meditation, have dinner, and then either fall back asleep until the last meditation or fight to keep my eyes open until I did.

Sleep, eat, meditate, punctuated by reading and discussion circles (of which I often fell asleep during).

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I shouldn’t have been surprised actually. My body tends to put me to sleep when I’m moving through deep work. I’m pretty sure it’s my spirit’s way of making sure my head doesn’t get in the way. I just hadn’t planned for it.

I also hadn’t planned for the way in which I retreated into myself.

Or all the crying.

Cracking open is hard work. It’s messy and more than a little embarrassing. There are so many parallels drawn in my heart, so many images my mind showed me if where I was.

I went expecting to confront the things in my world that were challenging me but all those things fell away. Instead what manifested was my own bullshit, but reflected back by my immediate surroundings. Instead what I dealt with was the deep gorges held within me. (Meaning you can’t do work in your world by withdrawing from it. At some point you’ll have to step back into your world to apply what you’ve learned.)

And there were two main things I saw within me:

  1. Exactly who I am in this body, this mind, this personality, this set of needs, these emotions, this heart.
  2. How skillfully I’ve avoid it.

I saw patterns through eyes that have never seen so clearly. I saw my heart behind a brick wall – to protect it from the world, but also from myself. I saw what I’m capable of – both good and bad. I mourned the death of everything I wanted to see. I rejoiced at what I had long insisted wasn’t allowed in my world.

I realized that one of my greatest desires is to know myself, and then I realized with a sudden start that I did know myself, and part of that self was the desire to still search, to still learn, to experience the depths of myself, the parts that can never fully be known – that that is what makes me Tara. Digging into the depths with ease. Finding beauty in what others see as darkness or ugliness or fear. I realized how dangerous those very pieces of myself could be if not handled with care.

I saw a lifetime of my real self reflected in a thousand choices, a hundred styles, all the ever-changing parts of my chameleon skin pulling together to make a whole. How every varied place I’ve been in my life was really all aspects on the same spectrum I play on.

I think I went hoping to transcend myself and my ego, and instead I ended up fitting more snuggling into my own skin.

So much more happened. Things that tore my chest open and toppled me to the floor. But each time I try to write them out, they draw themselves back again.

Right now I’m unraveling what all this unraveling means for me back in the “real world”. I can feel a need to shift, to reclaim, to embrace myself (with a bit of a middle finger to the whispers in my head that I shouldn’t). I’m wanting to unravel how to hold onto this comfortable, settled place I found when I stepped away from the busy and the crazy and the push-pull of the world.

But until I get that figured out, I’ll leave you with this, because it makes me laugh…the cocktail and decadent meal I treated myself to after I left Friday night. Because every week at an ashram should be celebrated with alcohol, baby back ribs, and cheesecake, no? 😉

What? You don't celebrate a week of meditation at an ashram with a cocktail, ribs, and cheesecake?  #yesidid #keepinitreal

P.S. Synchronistically, we’re still talking about Self-Acceptance in the Sisterhood this month. Have you joined us?

TechNomads, Perched to Fly, and Hatch Words


Just a quick little post to direct you to three other places to hear from me!

  1. Ramblings: Tales from Nomads – Chris and Cherie interviewed us waaaaaaay back in 2010 when we had JUST hit the road, right before I had started coaching and when our entire world was transitioning us into Who We Are. This is the updated Where-We-Are-Now video! 
  2. Life, Love, & Source with Hatch Words – This lovely website is truly amazing. Stories from all walks of spirituality and understanding. Joni interviewed me on my journey from Christianity to whatever you would call me now. 😉 I have to say, I’m used to the basic interviews but this one was so much richer and deeper than I normally get to share. It was wonderful for me to just put my experiences and feelings into some sort of (inadequate) words.
  3. Fulfilling Life with Perched to Fly – Connecting with Kelly over Skype was just plain fun in one of those instant-connection-and-laughs kinda way. She’s doing a series on creating fulfilling lives and we talked about what it means to me, how I create it, and how what fulfills me challenges me.

Pop over and give these beautiful peeps some love! ♥

4 Songs {and other things} I’m Crushing On Right Now

{We interrupt this Christmas Vacation to bring you some random tidbits of inspiration. Why? Because sometimes the holidays require a bit of interruption, and because I’m still too lost in creating my own quiet space to offer you anything…you know, substantial or coach-y. 😉 }

Imagine Dragons – Radioactive: Damn proud to say I loved them before they made it big. {I’m usually way behind the curve to every claim such a thing.}

Mumford & Sons – White Blank Page: This is one of those “behind the curve” artists. Yes, I just found them and I’m working my way through their older stuff. This song = swoon.

Broken Bells – The Ghost Inside: I’m sure what it is about this song that pulls me in, but it IS great for art journaling.

Lindsey Sterling – Crystallize: I love the mix of classic and edge lately.

And some non-music balm to feed the spirit too:

Alanis Morissette On Why America Must Embrace the Feminine: I think I’ve loved Alanis since I was 12. The women seems to speak to exactly where I am, every single time she speaks.

Extreme Parenting Video: The only thing extreme about this is the amount of love, compassion, strength, and courage of these beautiful mothers.

“Why does it hurt you if I don’t hate myself?” – This is an older one I found in my Inspiring Shit folder that I wish everyone could absorb.

The Goddess of Never Not Broken – I’m going back to read this one again; it draws me in like a long, deep breath.

Edited to add a couple more:

10 Ten Survival Tips for Highly Sensitive People – Something I feel I’ve done too much neglecting of lately.

Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead (free download) – Looking forward to digging into this and having my socks rocked clean off.

Happy Solstice and End-of-the-World Weekend, sweet souls. 😉

Art Journaling Addiction: Finding Truth Beneath My Fingernails

I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to blog about this, except maybe that I’m still making sense of it myself.

Making sense of how I could miss something I’ve never experienced.

Making sense of how it brings tears to my eyes to think of myself doing it, to recognize it in myself, to finally have given myself “permission to art”.

Making sense of how it’s drawing me closer to a dead father, a man whose artistic ability I never really knew while he was alive.

Making sense of how it’s bringing words – my ingrained and ever-ready art – to life with colors and lines and images.

There are so many of you out there to whom art or art journaling is already a part of your life. And so many more of you who ache for it in the way I ached for it, hungry for an outlet that maybe feels beyond reach. Many of you will understand why I’m feeling so deeply moved and some of you may think I’m just weirdly pre-menstrual to be attaching so much emotion to this experience.

I would’ve agreed if this experience hadn’t been doing this to me all along.

It was my beautiful friend, Heather, that introduced me to art journaling in October.

We had spent a gorgeous week with her and her family in North Carolina, and it wasn’t until the very last night that I asked to sneak a peek at her journal.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

No idea what it even WAS I was asking to see – I had just overheard a mention of it and was curious.

Looking back I can recognize that was the twanging of inspiration vibrating in my ear. And when she pulled out her altered books, my heart broke open with the resonance of it. I want to cry right now thinking of it. How that one friend on that one night put me on a new course.

So she gave me a book, one that I wouldn’t mind destroying, and she gave me some tips to get started and we plopped down on her living room floor and I began to run my fingers through my heart and soul and smear it across the page. {I won’t even show you those first few pages. They are ugly and personal. They are all breakthrough and permission to fuck it up and space to just allow. Less self-expression and more cutting through the barriers that held me back from dipping my fingers in the paint and wipe it across a page.}

I haven’t stopped since that night.

The longest I’ve gone with my hands in my journal was 4 days – 4 long and uncomfortable days with an ache under my ribcage. The stint ended when I realized why I ached and found my way back to the page.

What has art journaling become to me?

It’s become a part of Digging Deep for me, a way to touch and see the places I’ve been holding, the barriers I’ve been hiding behind. Process, examine, heal…to get the Truth of it under my fingernails or up to my elbows or wiped across my nose by accident. To spend time with the intangible, the ethereal in a way that I can smell, with texture and color.

Sometimes the places within us don’t come with words and in those times I use to bang my head against the desk and growl at the sky wanting to know why I couldn’t access that thing that was just beyond the use of my tongue and the scribble of my pen.

But now I know. I get it, in ways I thought I understood about you “arty folk” before but really grasp within my own self now.

There are things that even us word junkies have no words for.

And that’s when the colors get to speak.

Art journaling has also been my permission slip.

Permission to try, permission to mess up, to scribble, to be imperfect, to play around…Permission to fail. Permission to express. Permission to discover more of myself. Permission to be an “artist” in the more traditional sense of the word.

All the things I logically knew have always been there but never really embraced for myself.

I never even realized I too had fallen victim to the public school art teacher and the rules and should’s and fear of messing it up so often unknowingly taught. I never realized I was keeping art out of my Realm of Possibilities, in the same way traveling was once outside that Realm, in the same way dreads or a shaved head or being in love was outside that Realm.

I was “a writer, not an artist”.

But now I know that’s bullshit.

I know it’s bullshit by the ache in my chest that I would ignore whenever I said those words.

I know it’s bullshit by the smudges of paint across my dining room table.

I know it’s bullshit by the tears in my eyes as I write.

I know it’s bullshit by the way my heart skipped a beat when a beautiful woman at the restaurant saw my doodling and asked if I was an artist, and the way my breath caught in my throat when I tried to answer through my smile and we ended up talking for 20 minutes about art journals and techniques and deep-in-your-bones joy.

And there’s one other thing I know.

This is mine.

Only mine. Not something I feel drawn to share. Not something I feel drawn to turn into a business or even use within my work now. {In fact that idea makes my skin crawl. Like a dirty betrayal to what my spirit is telling me she’s here for now. I’m not the beautiful artist who shares her work with the world. I’m the beautiful artist who shares her soul with the page.}

I feel at peace with it being only for me, a whispered secret I pull out of my cabinet and curl up on the couch with and hold my very heart within. A spiritual practice of Connection and stillness and depth and healing. A prayer to the Universe, the one that lies within me and around me.

Fucking. Breathtaking. this practice I’m discovering.

Heart-wrenching and tear-inducing in the very best of ways.

Like a long lost twin I unconsciously always knew was out there, finally come home to squeeze me.

Or an entire segment of myself that had been missing, had left a gaping hole – I could feel the wind whistling through it but hadn’t a clue it didn’t have to be that way.

Okay, Okay, The Practical Bits To Answer Your Qs

I’ve had a lot of questions lately about how to get started. What to use. How to use it.

The short answer: I haven’t a clue. Just dive in and figure it out. That’s part of the joy.

But I know how answers like that get received. Flatly and with that voice that says “I can’t” drowning out the permission slip.

So I’ll tell you what I did and what you might do too:

  • Get “permission” from a friend: It’s always easier to step into something new with a sister to guide us the first few steps. Call your girl, invite her over, make plans to be messy. There is a special place in my heart forever to Heather for showing me how to open this door.
  • Grab a hardcover book: One that you don’t hate – you won’t want to look at those words every time you crack it open…or maybe the healing will be in destroying them? – but one you don’t mind upgrading. {My little cousin just about shit a brick when she saw I had “destroyed a book”. But I take pride in breaking silly rules.}
  • You’ll want gesso: If there is one thing I’ve found it’s that gesso is on the Most Used Supplies of every art journaler out there. It preps your page and covers those words if you don’t want them showing through.
  • Stop overthinking it: Just get your hands in there. No way to make a mistake; if you really don’t like it you can pull the page out or cover it up or call it an expression of frustration. Permission to art, people.
  • Learn to forgive yourself: This is one the journal has taught me. I will mess it up. It won’t turn out like my head envisions. I have no idea any techniques and even if I did, my mind is on a whole ‘nother plane than my hands. That’s okay. I can forgive myself the outcome and still love up on the attempt.

Things I’ve found I love:

  • I usually do some regular journaling or Digging Deep first. I get to the core of what’s happening with words still; that’s Who I Am and how I work. But I work through that core now with the art journal. So the Digging Deep is my examination and my journal prompt, and the art is my release, my affirmation, my breakthrough, and my healing.
  • I love acrylic and watercolor and doodles the most so far. I’m drawn by the complexity and frustration of mixed media. I have no idea what I’m doing in any of those but I keep trying anyway.
  • I like dark and rich colors that contrast. I like simple designs. {Maybe that’ll change as I learn more complex techniques.} I like trying to put images to my words.

My inspiration:

  • Pinterest is king and queen of inspiration for me. It’s like Art Journal Foreplay for me. All I do is meander through, pin what grabs me and then set off to create something similar or completely different. Almost 400 pins in 7 weeks. Boom.
  • Instagram is also great, although I can’t easily save the inspiration for later. But it is where I share my images (the ones I care to share publicly). And anytime I see an image that inspires me, I just pick the Instagrammers brain on how they did it. 😉
  • Some inspiration I’ve enjoyed: One Minute Muse // Balzer Designs {especially here, here, here, and this recent one} // Art Journaling on Ning // Doodle Diem // @EmilyLagore // But mostly it’s Pinterest and a healthy dose of putting on blinders to anything but my own page and my own messy, unpredictable process.

Seriously though? If this is something that piques yours interest?

Be all like Nike and just do that shit.

Use cardboard and bind your own book. Use the children’s book your toddler has already taken upon themselves to liberate with crayon. Break out the old scrapbooking kit and go to town. Try paint-by-numbers, for goodness sakes. Just do it.

There’s a reason you’re aching for it. A reason you’re mildly interested. A reason why you think you can’t that deserves to be shown otherwise.

Stop judging yourself. Stop limiting yourself.

You make the rules.

You don’t get permission from anyone but yourself. Just grab an old book (or pick one up for .50 at the library) and give yourself authority to scribble out a page. To give your school librarian hives, and your old art teacher who always told you what you were doing wrong the middle finger.

To give yourself the space to play and the means to touch and smell and see what you don’t have words for.

“A Transformation of the Way We Raise Our Children”

My name is Tara and I love quotes.

So much so that I started putting some of my favorites together with images I either took or found and began sharing them on the Facebook page. (You can click each one to share on FB, or pin them with the button below.)

“There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children.” (Marianne Williamson)

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” (C. S. Lewis)

“I like nonsense – it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” (Dr. Seuss)

“Lock up your libraries if you like, but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” (Virginia Woolf)

“Even after all this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.” (Hafiz)

“Put a grain of boldness into everything you do.” (Baltasar Gracián)

15 Songs I Can’t Help Moving To, Getting Lit Up About and Making My Day Better With

Most people don’t know this about me, because I can’t play an instrument to safe my life (unless practically screaming into a harmonica to the loud song playing in my ears counts), but music is my lifeblood. I can never understand how a person can sit still or not belt out the lyrics to (or at least hum along to) a good song.

Razzle Dazzle
Let’s Make Music!

I can’t help myself:

  • I’ve been known to rock out at red lights to Metallica for the entertainment of the car to my right.
  • I’ve been seen dancing down the aisles of the grocery store to Fleetwood Mac, as if my life were a musical (please! let me live my life as a musical!).
  • I can’t help but sing loudly in indoor pools – the acoustics smooth out my voice. 😉
  • I’ve been found next to the window seat of a flight out of somewhere singing Leaving on a Jet Plane without realizing it was out loud.
  • I constantly assign songs to different experiences of my life (and play them over and over).

I’m pretty sure Zeb, being almost 13, either hides his embarrassment or he just assumes every mom does this sort of thing. (My husband isn’t phased.)

It’s cool. I’ll own it. Because I’ve found every emotion I have is better expressed with earplugs in, music drowning out the world, my body moving and my voice preferably louder than I realize.

There’s a thread over on the Sisterhood forums about songs that move us, or that we move to, that’s been on my mind.

So these are the top 15 songs (current and past) that get me moving, get me happy, help me burn off emotions or stress and generally light up my days. In no particular order. 🙂

1. On Top of the World – by Imagine Dragons

IG is a band we were introduced to in Las Vegas. They were small and local, just going regional two years ago and they gave the BEST show EVER. Justin and I both fell in love with them together (which is rare for us). They are energetic, enigmatic and FUN.

Case in point, this song:

2. Sleepyhead – by Passion Pit

I know I’ve linked them before. I’m not a big techno fan (or whatever genre they’d be considered, I don’t even know), but I cannot help but swing around a little with this one. This song is my go-to when my body needs to just let it all go and move and shake loose the day or the overwhelm or the funk.

3. Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

This song will forever and always remind me of the one magical weekend with Tiffani as we played, laughed and shaved my head. We listened to this damn song on repeat for three days straight. That weekend was all about fun, empowerment, courage, self-discovery, color, vibrancy and freedom for me and this song captures it all.

4. Faith by George Michael

I don’t know what it is about this song. It’s had me dancing for two decades and NEVER gets old. It’s a standby when I need to get up the energy to clean the house. Go fig. But I love it.

5. Let’s Get It Started – by The Black Eyed Peas

Anytime I’ve got those vomit-y kind of nerves over doing something Big, this is the song I hoop or dance or bounce or jump around to in order to remind me to put on my Big Girl Panties and gather up my courage and get some good stuff started. Yeah baby.

6. I’ve Just Seen a Face – by The Beatles, performed by Jim Sturgess

I love everything about the movie Across the Universe, this song being one of my favorites. Plus I really want to live in a musical and slide down the bowling lanes. Pleeeeeeease, can I??

7. Zombie – by The Cranberries

Ever have a lot of anger building in your chest? This is the same song I used to sing and stomp my feet to in order release all my anger when I was 14 too. Some songs have a lifelong impact, yo.

8. Footloose – by Kenny Loggins

Okay, seriously…WHO can hold still when this song comes on? And who doesn’t try to look like Kevin Bacon when they dance to it?

9. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers

This song reminds me of huddling around my godmother’s TV with the whole family, watching Benny and Joon and all belting all the lyrics to this song. And it’s just fun to bounce to! Especially as you’re driving down the road.

10. Exactly – by Amy Steinberg

Just listen to the lyrics. Nuff said.

11. Just the Way You Are – by Bruno Mars

Not only does every women need to sing this song to herself, she also needs to bounce around to the bassline and twirl to the chorus. Trust me.

12. Fuckin’ Perfect – by P!nk

When I’m having one of those days where I’m just hurting and loathing my own self, this song is a rescue. Another one every woman needs to sing to herself (and her younger self and her aging self and her scared self).

13. What I Wouldn’t Do – A Fine Frenzy

Oh, this song. This is just a happy-day song. A climb-a-tree song. A smile-at-a-stranger song. A skip-and-clap song.

14. Blessed – Brett Dennen

Just like A Fine Frenzy, this song is just a happy-day song…it’s a reason to wallow in gratitude and celebration (as if we need a reason).

15. Somebody That I Used To Know – by Gotye (feat. Kimbra)

This may not seem like a seriously upbeat or even positive song to dance to. But to me it speaks of the depths and complexity of our silly human experiences with love and heartache and craziness and the rhythm is perfect to lose yourself in.

Well, I didn’t mean for it to be perfectly rounded out at 15 (I actually planned on sharing four but couldn’t stop myself once I started skipping through my iTunes and dancing to them all!) but it works. 😉

May :: Newness, Highlights and Linky Love

I’m really still trying to wrap my head around the fact that it’s June. I’ve been way too busy over these past two months to properly savor each of them and I’m mindfully working at slowing things down over here.

Being busy sucks, and it’s toxic if it’s not a good busy. Our busy has been both good and bad, full of stress and overflowing with goodness. Ah, contrast…

May’s Newness ::

♥ I’ve tweaked a few things on my site and am loving my new header and the new layout for my tools. I’ve also fixed the annoyng issue of the font not working in Chrome. Since my new design launched in March it’s been nonstop tweaking and fixing. Let me know what you think or if anything isn’t working properly for you!

The Organic Business Mastermind is running again for the third time. We start on Monday!! (There are still last minute spots open if you’re ready to jump in now!) I’m really excited for these groups. Thriving to me means doing what we love and are called to do. Making that happen for myself, helping other women make that happen…it lights me up like no other.

The Conscious Caravan is officially launching for the summer! We are traveling with a tribe of families to inspire, connect and educate families in communities around the country. These families fill my heart so much, I can’t even put it into words yet. (Hop over here to contribute to our outreach and get goodies from me and the rest of the Caravan!)

May’s Highlights

Here are some of the popular posts from this month:

Yes, You Survived – Have you ever had someone reply to you that they “survived being spanked” as a child and so will their children? Send them this post.

Connecting With Children Doesn’t Have To Be Awkward – It used to be awkward for me to connect with children. But then I started meeting children who insisted I get over that.

The Mother’s Day Meditation – If you haven’t grabbed it yet, you still can download it for free here.

Making Time Together :: Yoga in the Woods – I’m sharing this one just so everyone can see my rockstar partner do the wheel. 😉

Inspiration from May

♥ Best. proposal. ever.

This video doesn’t even need an intro:

♥ Okay so this may not be real but it’s a damn good story about how Lincoln thought up Facebook first anyway.

♥ We missed the solar eclipse being on the East Coast but I’m hoping we get to see the transit of Venus next week!

♥ I love personal growth. Bit of a junkie actually. I’m also a bit of an organizational junkie (which you wouldn’t know if you saw my RV right now). Which is why I like this article on developing your own personal curriculum.

♥ I work with so many women (every one of them and myself included actually) on the messages we picked up on as children and how they are still influencing us. Here are three of the most popular we are inadvertently teaching our kids.

♥ Okay, this is just plain cool. You really have to take a moment for your eyes to compute these are NOT real fish! Be sure to read how he creates them – one layer at a time!!

♥ How fascinating is this idea, to find a whole sea of creatures on a moon?

April :: Inspiration, Newness + Highlights

I haven’t done a post like this since October, which should be an indication of either how much fun we’ve been having or how poor of a memory I have. I’ll let you determine which.

April’s Highlights

Oh man, April both rocked my face off and threatened to overwhelm me.

♥ I started a new weekly series where I take some of the quotes I place on Facebook and expand on them on the blog every Friday. You can find more here.

♥ The Great Blog Comment Debate Everyone has an opinion that really only fits themselves. This one is mine.

Anxiety, Overwhelm, Sorrow :: And All I Heard Was Love It was one intense, exhausting, heartbreaking, beautiful and wonderful weekend.

Feeling Too Drained to Take Care of You? Yeah, I got there this month. Below is the video that got me back.

April’s Newness

I can add headline speaker to my resume. Just sayin. It was scary and intimidating and I loved almost every minute of it (except those moments where I wanted to turn and flee).

♥ Justin and I have fallen in love with essential oils for the incredible things they’ve done for our health lately and have begin to promote the uses of essential oils on Sustainable Baby Steps.

♥ I’m working on several new projects right now for the coming months and am not sure which to focus on first. I’d love to hear from you on what you’d most love to see. Can you let me know here?

April’s Inspiration

♥ Unschooling on A great article on unschooling. And it was a funny little surprise that I got quoted in it!

♥ Your Child Does NOT Thrive on Routine One of my clients, Patti, is totally inspiring me with her words on parenting this month. Must read.

♥ I’ve Gotta Be Me This just makes me smile. 🙂

♥ And the song below is already a fave but this version is just so good.

♥ And this one below by Passion Pit, I can’t even explain how much I love it.

♥ Your 5 Customers For my entrepreneur sistahs out there, I love Naomi’s insights like whoa.

♥ Confidence Coin Necklace Love! In fact, I love just about everything they offer.

♥ Behind the Blog Doh! I think I forgot to share this with you. Or I forgot to delete it from my Must Share list. Either way make sure you check out Erin’s podcast here.

♥ Releasing Relationships A sweet mama friend, Kate, just released her very first ebook and it’s gorgeous and powerful.

♥ Are you a hot woman? Mm, this was just yummy.

♥ Metta in Mantras* And I’m still loving all over this meditation from Jenn. So much so that that’s an affiliate link. Oh yes it is.

What’s Been Inspiring You This Month?

I have a whole new LOOK!

I do! I do! And I couldn’t be more excited….see —>

It’s been months in the brainstorming and almost months in the making, but it’s heeeeeere!

New colors, new photos, new pages, new organization…almost new EVERYTHING!

If you’re reading this in an RSS feed, click here to see my gorgeous thriving tree on the homepage.

If you’re on the blog, click that same link to see the new homepage!

Please poke around…and let me know what you think on Facebook or Twitter!

(I still have tweaks to make and a few banners and badges I’m waiting on, so some things might seem bare or mismatched – because they are. ;))

Meet My Designer

Big, giant THANK YOU to the wonderful Courtney Kirkland who did this design.

I had NO IDEA what I wanted when I found her, other than a handful of words to match my brand (me being a word nerd and all), she helped me start from scratch in fleshing out an idea and a framework that she then created.

The first time I saw what she created I literally GASPED. And I still smile each time I see it. ♥ Thankyouthankyouthankyou, Courtney!