Intentions / December version

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Eating / Tempeh cooked with purple cabbage, broccoli, kale from the garden – plus a splash of ume vinegar, a sprinkle of salt and some sriracha. Could eat this everyday.

Drinking / New favorite tea for this cold and flu season – Tulsi + ginger.

Practicing / Making a home that is cozy and safe from the crazy world outside the doors.

Learning / It’s not that everyone else thinks everything is ok. It’s that most people are reluctant to speak up when something is wrong.

Trying / To make preserved lemons. Yum!

Playing / Water protectors!

Loving / This Maine Woods candle I found for an awesome friend. Totally want one for my home, too!

Reading, me / Unashamed. How to Party With an Infant.

Reading, kid / Over and Under the Snow. Grandmother Winter.

Anticipating / A quarterly little day trip tradition with another mom and her kid, a holiday lights train ride, the symphony’s production of The Snowman.

Wearing / …out my bamboo steamer basket.

Cooking / We made a vegan pineapple upside-down cake. And it was delicious. Thinking about which cake to bake next…

Working / On remembering that mom guilt is bullshit.

Wanting / A Berkey water filter. Expanding my cooking business and would love to use filtered water in my recipes.

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Intentions / November version

 

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Eating / Cauliflower fried rice

Drinking / Henrietta Stitch hard cider

Practicing / Long walks

Learning / Re-learning how to use my old light-leaky camera. A friend was using and old Polaroid from the 60s  or 70s the other day and captured the most beautiful and haunting image of our kids together between rows of apple trees. It was so nice to be in that orchard on that golden afternoon in the presence of the most generous and casually ultra-talented friend together watching our kids explore and search for apples with good bites left. Trying to relive it a little via my old camera.

Trying / To ask for help more often. I’m so used to doing it all alone.

Playing / With water-colors. Something my kid and I both enjoy!

Loving / Having friends over for dinner. So nice to add others to our dinner conversations. And so nice to get the sweetest taste of what the good parts of having a partner might feel like – when I clean up from dinner while a friend reads my kid a bedtime book. So nice for all of it not to be on me. When I thank my friends for this moment of breathing room though they pretty much all look at me like I’m insane. May they never know what it’s like to do it all alone. Amen.

Reading, me / The New Health Rules. Fates and Furies. Habibi. Sweetbitter.

Reading, kid / March On. Thing Explainer. Zen Shorts.

Anticipating / Many Black Panther 50th Anniversary events around town.

Wearing / Rain-boots again!

Cooking / Lots of soups! Some recent favorites: vegan split pea, chicken soup with red dates and goji berries and my favorite veggie soup (kale, tomato, potato, carrot, bell pepper, onion – which in my brain I swear I will always hear listed in an ex-boyfriend’s voice).

Working / I met someone recently who only has to work one day per week to pay his bills. Working on some ideas of how that could be possible for me.

Wanting / New running shoes.

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Weather watching.

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Single parents are stuck inside the home at night pretty much every night. Unless you can frequently afford a sitter, or are lucky to have an awesome roommate, after your kid is in bed there is no quick run to the store for a loaf of bread, no pint at the neighborhood bar, no evening run, no smuggling your own snacks into the movie theater. After my child was born it took me a while to adjust to this. I was a night owl before and had plans almost every night of the week. I eventually built up a tolerance to this cabin feverish loneliness and I use this time wisely. Yoga, reading through giant stacks of books, bubble baths, starting businesses, achieving inbox-zero, and some good old fashioned staring at the ceiling and thinking through any kind of life problem backward forward and sideways. But almost always conscious that had I a choice – I definitely would not be inside every night after 6pm.

But when it rains? It’s the best. I’m cozy inside, rain is running down the windows and I feel like I’m actually exactly where I want to be. And rain is in the forecast all weekend. So after my kid and I go for a walk in the rain after dinner tonight, here is what I’m looking forward to:

Lighting my salt lamp.

And this cedar/spruce/rosemary candle.

Putting a kettle on for this tea.

Misting my pillows with some Dream Weaver spray.

And alternating between reading Blankets and watching Luke Cage.

Nowhere else I want to be!

Intentions / October version

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A little late on this October version, but sticking with my commitment to do this every month for a year! Just three more months left after this one and I will have done this fun little meditation for a whole year…

Eating / Apples, pears and winter squash.

Drinking / Water, water, water, water, more water. The weather has been extra drying lately.

Practicing / More minimalism. Or as a friend said to me the other day: “You are definitely not a hoarder.”

Thinking / About framing social justice topics for kids of different ages/stages. We just joined up with a group planning a series of Black Lives Matter events for families and the conversations are mind bending.

Learning / Trauma Proofing.

Trying / To write here more often.

Playing / In the garden…it’s such a beautiful season outside.

Loving / My bed at the end of the day.

Reading, me / Soooo many books at once! But Pond and The Gardener and the Carpenter seem to be making it to the top of the stack. And did you ever read the graphic novel Blankets back when it came out? For some reason it popped into my mind and I really want to read it again.

Reading, toddler / Time for The Cozy Book!

Anticipating / Halloween! I’ve got a little Spider-Man on my hands. He claims Miles Morales, not Peter Parker.🙂

Wearing / A lot of active wear for a lot of being active.

Cooking / Finally saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and now I want to make this clementine cake.

Working / On a couple of new business ideas. I wonder how many businesses I will start in my life…

Traveling / We started the month with a trip up north to stay in a beautiful house in the woods with a few other single parent families. It was amazing. We might make a little trip to Apple Hill this month but after that I’m glad to say we are staying put after so much traveling the past few months. It will be good to cozy up at home and take a break.

Wanting / A copy of this movie. I could watch it a hundred times.

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Autumn Ready: links to look at.

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Do your soul a favor and read through these affirmations.

This will make you want to slide around on your socks.

One of the parents I trade carpooling with was wearing this shirt the other day. My child is in good hands.

How good would it feel if you stopped everything and did this right now?

I love trying out these different Mudras.

Words of wisdom.

Our preschool is having all the parents read this book.

I’m excited to curl up and alternate between Pond, Where Do We Go From Here and Mama, Bare.

 

 

 

Bring it on.

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My horoscope this week: “It isn’t normal to know what we want,” said psychologist Abraham Maslow. “It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.” He wasn’t referring to the question of what you want for dinner or the new shoes you plan to buy. He was talking about big, long-term yearnings: what you hope to be when you grow up, the qualities you look for in your best allies, the feelings you’d love to feel in abundance every day of your life. Now here’s the good news, Libra: The next ten months should bring you the best chance ever to figure out exactly what you want the most. And it all starts now. – Freewill Astrology

I don’t put much faith in astrology – though I do love reading Freewill Astrology every week. But I have definitely felt that something has been brewing recently. After some hard years, I’ve had a bunch of wins in a row. And I appreciate every moment of them. I scrambled like hell to get here and now that things have smoothed out – I’m not doing a single inch of backsliding. And I’m celebrating the sh*t out of all of it. This winning streak will not last forever but I will enjoy every moment of it.

 

Intentions / September version

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Eating / So much fruit. It is cheap and plentiful and beautiful.

Drinking / Red wine lately. It’s been those kind of days – both celebratory and revelatory.

Practicing / Six punches. Getting more and more into boxing.

Thinking / Only as far as tomorrow. We are currently on a two week road trip – our third big road-trip in our family’s history. One per year! Pretty proud of that.

Learning / Kind people are out there.

Trying / These dishwasher tablets. So far so good. (p.s. I could write poems about my dishwasher I love it so much).

Playing / Animal friends who help each other. I love my kid’s sweet imagination.

Loving / How funny my friends are.

Reading, me / Your 3-Year-Old, Friend or Enemy. And, Ramblers.

Reading, toddler / We will never get enough of this Richard Scarry book. This book has been looked at over and over again for at least 100 hours. It’s amazing.

Remembering / Nothing. I’m dropping emails, texts and plans like it’s my job. My brain is overloaded.

Anticipating / A first date. Yep, I said it.

Cooking / Up new business ideas.

Working / In a quaint little town near my city. Feels like a mini-getaway when I go there.

A Piece of Sky…and a #giveaway

51kSchCDAJL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_-1I just read a phenomenal book, A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice, a memoir written by a single mom about her experience of parenting, being parented and navigating all of the above relationships and more…while using meditation as a tool to put all the pieces in place. Not only is her writing incredibly poetic but I don’t think many single parents would walk away from this book without some new insight about their own lives. The very close relationship the author, Christine Hale, has with her two children is nothing short of inspirational. I’m a little starstruck when I say Ms. Hale was so kind to answer a couple of questions from me (see below)! This is a special book that gets a permanent spot on my shelf. I’m excited to say it is going to cross paths with two of my readers as well because I’m able to give away two copies! See below for details…

Beck: Most of what I write about on my blog is how to keep single parenting as simple, beautiful and happy as possible. Can you share some thoughts on how different you think your single parenthood would have looked if it weren’t for your spirituality or meditation practice?

Christine Hale: That’s a great thing to offer your readers. The intention to do good and be kind–the choice we can make no matter our circumstances–is the basis of Buddhism, which is, as you know, the type of spiritual practice I’ve been involved in for about 20 years. I worked really diligently at “intention,” as described above. Whenever my children’s (or other people’s) behaviors or attitudes toward me upset or disappointed me, or I faced an emotional or psychological parenting issue where I felt I simply didn’t know what to do, I tried to examine my motivations. Was I being defensive? Controlling? Too sensitive? Or so concerned with having my children like me that I couldn’t enforce a boundary or correction that would ultimately benefit their development?

By making the time to do that kind of spiritual self-examination, I could often stop myself from over-reacting. The practice also gave me the mental space to consider the other person’s motivations and needs. For instance, a nine-year-old’s absolute refusal to tidy his bedroom, no matter what reward or consequence I set up, was that insubordination–disrespect for me–or individuation–a need to have his space his way?  Seeing a range of possibilities let me (sometimes!) feel less embattled and more patient. Of course there are many techniques and faiths that help people be good parents. In my case, from my childhood on, I’d always wanted to be a good person and then a good parent, but discovering the Buddhist concept of “intention” gave me a method that made sense to me.

Beck: Do you have any words of wisdom for single parents going through the more difficult moments of the job?

Christine Hale: First, recognize that parenting is a difficult job, at least part of the time, and that you will fail to be perfect at it. There will be times that you feel miserable, or that your child says or does something that hurts you deeply, or that you find yourself helpless to prevent your child from having to endure a painful experience. Just because a given moment of parenting doesn’t feel good doesn’t mean you’re necessarily doing the wrong thing. All you can do is the best you can–have good intentions and act on them repeatedly–and accept that the outcome, over the years, will be a mix of the bitter and the sweet.

Second, for single parents, it’s so important to cultivate something in your life that feeds you. That builds a life for you outside your child or children, who will, after all, grow up and move on eventually. Recruit help with the parenting in whatever way you can–friends, relatives, babysitters–but since you are still probably going to be alone on the front line of parenting much of the time, you need to keep your strength up. So, identify at least one activity that is just for you, that leaves you feeling refreshed and balanced, and make time for it regularly. That’s not selfishness, it’s self-care, and it will enable you to be a better parent.

 

Good advice, right?! If you want to read more wisdom from Christine Hale, please comment below to be entered in a raffle for a free copy of A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice: A Memoir in Four Meditations.

5 things I love about being the single parent of a 3.5 year old.

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  1. The mind changing. SUCH an important skill. And it’s comic relief at the same time. For example…3.5yo: Please may I have a glass of milk mama? me: Sure. (Hands over a glass of milk) 3.5yo: I DON’T WANT MILK MAMA!!!!!! me: (raises eyebrows) Can’t help but laugh inside. I hope he stays flexible about his opinions and desires as he learns more about the world. (Not going to lie, this drives me nuts sometimes, too. But a good milestone overall).
  2. All the positive feedback. I’m getting a lot of positive feedback from others about my child. In particular I keep hearing about his level of gratitude toward everyone. It is off the hook these days – it’s almost an SNL skit about gratitude! It is very reassuring as we weather the more difficult parts of this age.
  3. More mentors / fewer books. I’m so glad to have gotten to a stage in my parenting journey where I’m feeling less like I need to deeply research every parenting topic  and more like I can get comfort from looking to a few friends who have been through the age or stage. And knowing that this too shall pass (the bad and the good – sob!)
  4. Incredibly accurate memory. I’m regularly blown away by my child’s capacity to remember things. His spatial memory and memory for people and events is kind of shocking. He reminds me of such great memories that I would have completely forgotten about. Little brain trust over here!
  5. The conversations. I think this makes the list every time but I can’t help it. Lately it’s more obscure body parts and how they work, how babies are made, why guns are not toys, how different families do things differently, death/”passing away,” and clearer versions of his own origin story. Good times. I thoroughly enjoy this.

Intentions / August version

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Eating / It’s zucchini season and we have been gifted a few baseball bat sized zucchini over the past couple weeks. So…zucchini muffins, zucchini soup, and the most simple but addictive sauteed zucchini…it is!

Drinking / Tea all day. Nettle, dandelion, raspberry leaf, lemon balm, tulsi. Getting me through the day.

Practicing / Jumping rope. Surprisingly challenging.

Thinking / About upcoming travels. A camping trip here…a cabin trip there…repeat. Good things are ahead.

Learning / And loving, boxing.

Trying / New tactics for clean-up time. I’m so over stepping on toys, ouch.

Playing / Kitties, babies, carpenters, superheros, dinosaurs.

Loving / My usually jolly sometimes tantrum-y, industrious little child who has a shockingly incredible and impressive memory.

Reading, me / Well, more like reading and re-reading this book. Because difficult things just keep on happening don’t they?

Reading, toddler / Loving this one. Such a conversation starter.

Remembering / It’s all going to fly by just like the last 3.5 years have flown by.

Wearing / A very stylish friend told me about her favorite thrift shop. I’ve scored a few cheap but great items already.

Cooking / Hmmm…besides zucchini? As little as possible.

Working / Getting ready to close out with one of my first clients from this adventure in self-employment. Learned a lot from this one. Will be a bittersweet last day.