Archive for 'Goodness'

I am a very lucky person in very many ways. I am aware of that and I thank my lucky stars every single day. Not only was I born into a very loving and large and connected family but I have, in my 40+ years on this earth, gathered up a goodly amount of amazing friends. And believe me when I say this network of family and friends is definitely not something I take for granted. Ever.

And the fact that I continuously meet new people on this life’s journey is one of the biggest surprises of my adult experience. And the very thing I tell teens when asked about life’s great surprises. Really? Amazing people just keep showing up? Yup.

This weekend was a great example of that. A couple of hundred women all gathered in one room to listen, learn and share ideas at the bi-annual MomCom Austin event.  I was invited to share the stage with my dear friend Carrie Contey and together we spoke on the subject of Building Your Tribe. We told the story of how our group of 7 women came together to work, share, learn, inspire and support each other through this thing called life. Though we initially came together to find more ways to stay in our creative flow in the midst of early parenting, what we’ve become to each other over the past 8 years has been more than we could ever have imagined. And though we came together intentionally, with our work as our focus, we had no idea we were forming a group that would still be together this many years later. And  we had no idea we were forming a group that has been and continues to be so instrumental to all of us personally and professionally and that we see now will likely last our whole lives long.

Lucky us for sure.

With hindsight as our guide, Carrie and I prepared for our talk by pondering the things that made the group work. The things that continuously bond and inspire us, not only as a connected group, but, individually, the things that bring us to our very best selves.  Everyday. And the things that make us feel lucky. Everyday. And the things that have made it work and last and be the very essence of goodness that we all have come to count on.

So here in 10 easy steps are some ideas for creating your own Goodness. To inspire you and make your life even luckier than it currently is…

10 Ways to Create Your Own Tribe…

  1. Start small and stay small – too many people and you won’t feel obliged to show up because you’ll feel you won’t be missed if you’re not there. Though it feels strange to keep it tight, if you open it too big, it won’t be sustainable.
  2. Find a couple of women you love and ask them to find one more person – this creates an immediate circle of women who will probably get along.
  3. Find a common thread and work from there – maybe you’re all mamas or artists or marathon runners or some such. A common ground is a great starting point
  4. Start with a clear intention – workshop, retreat, etc. Especially if you start off with something that you pay for which will make you more likely to commit fully to it.
  5. Keep it purposeful – the social is fun but the purposeful intention and commitment to a book or exercise or something definitive gives you reason to show up fully and regularly.
  6. Hire someone every now and again to bring you to a new level – when the group needs a bump up, hire out to reignite the commitment.
  7. Make a regular meeting time – rather than having to discuss it each week or each month, make it the same – Tuesday nights or First Thursday or something to give it it’s rightful place.
  8. Find a sustainable time slot – something that won’t be easily pre-empted by some other meeting or family need.
  9. Name it -by naming it you can call it and by calling it you are acknowledging it’s powerful existence.
  10. Ask your family for support. Even your kids. Ask them to joyfully give you the space and ask them to encourage you to meet up regularly. Remind them of all you get from it, which in turn will mean they too will get something from it.

So go on. Make your own Tribe. Your world will be better off for it. That I guarantee.

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Appreciation banner

On Friday night here in Austin TX, I’ll be hosting a mama’s night out/craft night – the second in a monthly series. It’s a chance for  mamas to get together and hang out, all the while working on some crafty goodness to take home. We’ll be making Appreciation Banners – an idea thought up by me and my Future Craft Collective partner Kathie Sever. It’s a long banner with a pocket sewn on for each family member, a pocket for all the world and a pocket for supplies as well. The idea is that you hang it in a visible spot and fill it with appreciations for each other.The supplies pocket holds a pen and slips of paper so that whenever you have the whim, you can pause, jot down the appreciations and the gratitudes, and put them the pocket of the appreciated. Whether it be another family member, yourself or all the world. One night a week, you can empty the pockets at a family dinner and share all the appreciations of the week.

We have one in our house and admittedly it does flow in and out of use, but when we are using it, everyone sees and feels the difference. To live in a state in which we seek out appreciation for each other, and  take the time to not only notice it but share it with that person, feels way better than the opposite and way better too than just not doing anything at all. It raises the level of appreciation without a doubt and it makes us seek out what we appreciate as opposed to picking on what we don’t. It feels good on both the giving and the receiving end.

And when it’s not in use for a while, and we feel ourselves starting to go to the dark darkness, we reactivate it to get that level of appreciation going once again. And though it sounds kind of corny, or made up, the arguing and neediness really does wane when the appreciation banner is in use.

So if you’re in Austin on Friday, October 3rd and you want to join us, please do. And if you can’t, you can go to our Future Craft Collective tutorial and read more about how to make your own Appreciation banner for your family.

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Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland Ohio

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

  1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone…
  4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
  5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
  6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
  8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
  9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.
  10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
  11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
  12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
  13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
  15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
  16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
  17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
  19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
  20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
  21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion, Today is special.
  22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
  23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
  24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
  25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
  26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
  27. Always choose life.
  28. Forgive everyone and everything.
  29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  30. Time heals almost everything. Give it time.
  31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  33. Believe in miracles.
  34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
  35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
  36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
  37. Your children get only one childhood.
  38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
  39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
  40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
  41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  42. The best is yet to come.
  43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  44. Yield.
  45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”
  46. Blood isn’t thicker than water.  Some of the BEST families aren’t blood related. Surround yourself with people that LOVE you.
Thanks to our mutual friend Shannon Lowry who sent this lovely list to Bern and me.
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…this seven year old person is full of goodness.

Nuggets of Goodness

One year ago Bernadette and I were in Bastrop with our amazing women’s group which has come to be lovingly known as Goodness. Before I go on, if you don’t have a group of your own, start one. It has truly changed my life to belong to a collective of such amazing, brilliant, loving and kind women.

Anyway, back to where I started, while we were on retreat Bernadette and I started talking about family life and relationships and self-care and life in general and a few little Truths started popping out. We decided to see what would happen if we tossed out these gems to the people on our email lists. And in that moment our ‘Nuggets of Goodness’ were born. Over the past year we’ve sent out 35 nuggets. At first we thought they should be weekly but then realized that was too much pressure and pressure is very ‘un-nugget of goodness-like’ so we let it flow more naturally.

Here is the nugget that went out this week:

If you want to change what happens on the outside,
start by changing the belief on the inside.

Figure out what you really believe.
Figure out what you really want.

Like it?
Leave it.

Loathe it?
Change it.

After reading it, a friend and nugget recipient emailed this question:

“I’m dying to know what I ‘really believe’ where do I start?”

And here’s my reply:

“What you really believe? It’s what unconsciously drives all of your thoughts, behaviors, actions and results. Do you expect things to work out or are you often planning for the worst? Do you feel OK in who you are and what you do or do you feel, like many if not most of us, that you are ‘not enough’ – not good enough, not doing enough, not giving enough…? If you tend to lean more towards the latter, is it true? How do you know? Do you want to keep believing that? How does it serve you to believe that? It’s a bit more complex than that, but not really. Once you get underneath the surface and down to the bottom of what’s really running the show — old, old, old paradigms that are probably not relevant any more, life changes. The things that happen, the people who show up, the way things flow, it all just starts to change.”

If you would like to received your very own Nugget of Goodness please join our mailing list. Here’s to slowing down, connecting and enjoying your day.

Total Goodness

Here’s Bernadette and I with six of our dearest friends. This picture was taken last weekend on our camping trip.  All of these beautiful women are slow family mamas and brilliant creatives as well. If you have a few minutes, grab a cup of tea, kick back and peruse their fabulous websites and blogs. From left to right: Kathie Sever, Bernadette Noll, me, Barbara Frisbie, Shannon Lowry,  Liz Garton Scanlon, Lynn Hoare, Sarah Bork Hamilton

I sure do love these lovelies.
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