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Your Best Year Yet Awaits

Do this one thing…

Because it’s too good NOT to do.

Starting at age 7 I had a paper route in our New Jersey neighborhood. I started with just 10 customers, a small section of my brother’s paper route that had been passed down from brother to brother. I wasn’t really very good at the sales aspect of things and even though I got a few more of his customers every year, somehow my route didn’t really grow.  Since then I have tried selling a variety of different things and I have learned time and time again that sales for sales sake is definitely NOT my forte.
But sales for the sake of something that totally changed my life? My parenting? My relationship with others? My work? My pursuit of happiness? I think I at least owe it to myself and to all of you to give it a try. And really, though I could go on and on about the work of Carrie Contey and the power of her year-long Evolve program and the clarity of her direction and the support of the community and the instruction and tools around the very basic idea that before we can get or create what we want, we have to KNOW what we want, I’ll just send you to the page that will speak for itself.
And having just done a one day workshop by her entitled, Your Best Year Yet, I encourage you to check out the blog post on this page entitled: 2014 IS YOURS!  
So, if you want to really rock the heck out of your 2014, personally and professionally, and if you want to figure out some ways to be a more connected, intentional person, parent, partner, and friend, and if you want to figure out exactly what it is you want to do with this life of yours, check it out. I guarantee you will be glad you did.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me. 

Hands Free Mama

A couple of weeks ago I received an advanced reader’s copy of Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford. The tagline below the title reads: A guide to putting down the phone, burning the to-do list, and letting go of perfection to grasp what really matters. Needless to say I was immediately intrigued!

In the book, which came out January 7th, Rachel starts with the story of her own journey; how she went from being completely pre-occupied and distracted with her family to making a conscious decision to do less in order to connect more. She even wrote a Hands Free Pledge to serve as a reminder of why she was making this decision and to serve also as a tool for staying connected to her goal of slowing down NOW instead of using the ubiquitous “someday.”

Upon further reading what I found were super helpful ideas, reflections, inspirations and musings on slowing down, connecting more and understanding simple ways to do-over when you forget what you really want out of family life. Laid out like a beautiful series of meditations without being the slightest bit pompous, this book serves as a way to contemplate where you’ve been, where you are now and where you want to be. Like my own book, (hear that? Oh? What is it? It’s the sound of me tooting my own horn!) it offers ideas from the super practical to the more contemplative. It offers ideas for setting intentions about how you want things to go, and beautiful metaphors for living the connected family life we all know and want.

This book isn’t suggesting you quit your job and go live on a mountain with your family, but it certainly offers some practical ideas for getting to that very feeling, even when you might be sitting in the middle of traffic.

It’s a feeling. And it’s one we all benefit from.

You can find the book at the usual places, and I highly recommend you do.

 

 

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YOUR Extraordinary Family Life

It was several years ago that Carrie Contey and I came up with the idea for Slow Family Living, after a workshop we did together. Though she handed the Slow Family reins to me a few years back, we still collaborate on many projects and on life in general. It is an inspired/inspiring web of new ideas.

Just recently we worked together on a web conference Carrie has organized with En*theos called YOUR Extraordinary Family Life, in which she has called together 15 amazing folks in the fields of parenting, human development, psychology, neuroscience, holistic nutrition, slow living and personal growth. And I am one of them! When I say amazing I’m  talking about people like Dr. Dan Siegel, Peggy O’Mara, Larry Cohen, Lenore Skenazy, Renee Trudeau and so many more. Needless to say I am HONORED to be counted among these incredible minds. I loved doing the interview with Carrie about Slow Family Living and I can’t wait to tune into to hear what all the others have to say!

The conference runs initially November 4-7th and then will be available online after that. It’s free if you sign up now. So might I recommend that you take a couple of minutes and go do that?

Bernadette + Carrie summer, 2013

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I’ve been reading “Free to Be You and Me” these past few weeks with my 6 year old. I found it on the shelves of my childhood home. It’s a great book originally published in 1974 by Marlo Thomas and friends. It’s got stories, artwork, songs, poetry and theatrical pieces all about life and the pursuit of happiness and being one’s most complete self.

In the back there is an afterword by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.  It’s great information for kids and adults alike and especially for families who are trying to find ways to live the life they really want to live.

“I’ve often thought there ought to be a manual to hand to little kids, telling them what kind of plante they’re on, why they don’t fall off it, how mcuh time they’ve probably got here, how to avoid poison ivy, and so on. I tried to write one once. It was called Welcome to Earth. But I got stuck on explaining why we don’t fall off the planet. Gravity is just a word. It doesn’t explain anything. If I could get past gravity, I’d tell them how we reproduce, how long we’ve beenhere, apparently, and a little bit about evolution. And one thing I would really like to tell them about is cultural relativity. I didn’t learn until I was in college about all the other cultures, and I should have leanred that in the first grade. A first grader should understand that his or her culture isn’t a rational invention; that there are thousands of other cultures and they all work pretty well; that all cultures function on faith rather than truth; that there are lots of alternatives to our own society. Cultural relativity is defensible and attractive. It’s also a source of hope. It means we don’t have to continue this way if we don’t like it.” Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 

As I read it I realized that what he’s saying is one of the tenets of Slow Family Living; that we don’t have to do it just one way. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr is right when he says, we don’t have to continue this way if it’s not working. There are so many ways that family life can work. Find the way that works for you. The way that brings you the most joy and lifelong connection possible.

 

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Slow Family on the Radio!

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Let the Book Tour begin!

Check out  this beautiful review from Suz Lipman author of Fed Up With Frenzy and creator of Slow Family Online

You will get a lot of ideas from Slow Family Living, both big-picture and everyday, that will make you pause and reflect, and will help you lead a more connected and joyful family life…read more

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If you follow me at all on any social media, you’ve most likely heard by now, my book is coming out soon! (!!!!!!) And I’m pretty darn excited. Longer than the gestation of a human being, this book has been in the works for many months.  And now, with less than one month to go, the countdown has officially begun.

So, for the next 3 weeks, from today until the release date on March 5th, Slow Family Living has paired up with Brain,Child Magazine and we are offering some fabulous prizes. If you pre-order a copy of my book, Slow Family Living; 75 ways to slow down, connect and create more joy,  from any source at all, (or if you’ve already pre-ordered it) be it Austin’s own BookPeople, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Powell’s or the bookstore of your liking, you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive one of five  free one-year subscription to Brain, Child Magazine.

Simply send me an email to Slowfamilybook at G Mail with the subject: I PRE-ORDERED and I’ll put your name in for a chance to win.

Okay?

Either way you win with a great read!

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Keep Calm and Carrie Contey

It was in 2007 that I joined forces with Carrie Contey, PhD to form Slow Family Living. It came out of our work together – writing, dreaming, doing classes and workshops, scheming and dreaming some more. Since then Carrie and I have worked together on different projects together sharing ideas and stages, and also worked on our own individual projects – books, classes, workshops, and more.

In the past 2 years I’ve been writing and readying my book, Slow Family Living; 75 ways to slow down, connect and create more joy. In those same 2 years, Carrie’s work has been the creation of a year long project called Evolve. It is about parenting, partnering, personhood and prosperity. It is about making the life and connection you have with yourself, your kids and your partner the very best life it can be. It is babysteps delivered all year long, which are super easy to take, towards more joy and more connection and more understanding of why you are you.

I have been lucky to be involved in her program for the past two years and to see it from the inside out. It is the perfect blend of science and emotion and practical information and it is amazing. I’m not usually a salesperson but truly, it has changed my life.

So if you want to be a calmer parent and have a better understanding of yourself giving you more emotional resilience, if you want to feel better, communicate easier, have more connection with your kids, more intimacy with your partner, more abundance in your life and in general find more joy, balance and be the best you you can possibly be, you should click here.

There are relatively few game changers we experience in our life. For me, Evolve has definitely been one of them.

Oh! And if you sign up for her program before midnight on Sunday night (1/20/13), you’ll get a free copy of my book delivered to your door immediately upon its release on March 5th! Making you possibly the very first person on your block to have a copy in your hands.

 

 

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Gretchen Rubin started a year-long  Happiness Project a few years back based solely on the idea of being happier everyday. As simple as that. She wanted to be happier and express more happiness and she wanted to share what she learned along the way.  She wrote a book about it called of course, The Happiness Project,  that is changing the world one simple happy act at a time.

As she conducted the year-long project that became The Happiness Project, Gretchen realized that her home, in all its aspects, was the most crucial element influencing her happiness.This year her new book came out, Happier at Home, about creating more happiness in the home and finding ways to make it all feel better; from the mundane to the major. Her idea being that we’re in it, we have to do it, why not do it happily?

On October 24th Gretchen will be speaking at the Texas Conference for Women, an all day conference of ideas, inspirations, networking, motivation and moving forward as women, in the home and business world. Our own Carrie Contey, PhD will be speaking with Gretchen in a breakout session and I look forward to the amazing ideas that will come out of those two brilliant minds sharing the same stage! Along with the host of other incredible discussions which will be had that day.

Next week Gretchen will be hosting a free teleclass around the ideas shared in her new book. Sign up is easy and if you’ve never done a teleclass before I am here to tell you they are a great way to go! Just dial in and listen as you move about your life doing whatever needs doing. Or, if you’re lucky, you can even listen while curled up somewhere still and quiet with just your headphones as company.

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As a kid one of my favorite things to do was to pour over various Make and Do books which were so prevalent in those days. They were full of crafts and recipes and games and ideas for filling up the days with fun and creativity.

As an adult, those books are still some of my favorites and I have a wide collection of various tomes from the 50s, 60s and 70s that I have picked up over the years at thrift stores and book sales. I pick them off the shelves at various times of year and leave them scattered about the house just waiting for some passerby (read: one of my four children or me) to pick one up, peruse its pages and get inspired. In these books there is truly something for everyone.

I have often wondered why there wasn’t a modern day equivalent to these books. Books that are timeless in their content and ageless in their target market.

And then Suz Lipman of Slow Family Online sent me a copy of her new book; Fed Up With Frenzy; Slow Down. Reconnect. It’s easier than you think.

It is a beautiful Make and Do book for families with a focus on slowing down and finding family connection within the tasks and activities.

It is full of thoughtful suggestions for living family life, games and crafts and garden activities. It has ideas for rituals and kitchen projects and family celebrations. And if you leave it out on the table in your house I guarantee someone will get inspired to create something magical that will surely spur your family onto feeling more joy and more connection.

I received my copy shortly before our big family road trip and tucked it in my travel bag. A few hundred miles in I pulled it out and went right to the Travel Games section. It is full of games to play in the car – some I remembered from my own youth, and others that were new to me or offered a twist I never thought of. For the rest of the trip, each time we needed inspiration we pulled out the book in search of what to do next. We took turns flipping through the pages finding ideas for things to do or just reading along for future plans and projects.

Now home I’m excited to dive into some of the kitchen projects with my kids – crafts and fun science projects. We’ll leave this one out on the table for months I’m sure and turn to it each time we need simple inspiration or ideas for things to do together or just a good read on a lazy afternoon.

This is the book of Make and Do but it is so much more than that. It will give you ideas for things to do with your kids. Ways to add more beauty to your home and your yard and the community at large. It will remind you that the road to connection is paved with simple things – things all within our grasp. You should totally get  a copy and display it prominently so that each time your seeking ways to reconnect, you’ll find it here in these pages.

Thanks to the author I’ve got one copy to giveaway which I’ll be doing next Wednesday on my site. Leave a comment here and tell me what was the last project or activity your family did together or what one you’ve got planned for the near future.

 

 

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