Thursday, July 24, 2014

Guest Post- How to Balance it all – Three Tips to Balancing Online Time

The Following is a guest blog post from Diahana Barnes, who is the author of Mommy Summer Camp. I was thrilled that she asked me to be part of her blog tour, and when she offered to write a guest blog. Right now I've been juggling a lot between our shop, homeschooling, consulting, workshops and summer fun, so it was great to see a guest post on the subject of finding balance. Online balance is so important and one that I tilt the scales on often. I often say how can I even question whether our kids are having too much screen time, if I can't control my own? Diahana offers some great tips here in the post and I look forward to seeing more of her work, and her book, in the future. Thanks Diahana!

How to Balance it all – Three Tips to Balancing Online Time

As a busy mom with a health coaching business, a corporate job and a new ebook out, finding ways to have balance in my life can be a challenge. One thing I have learned over the years for myself, was that being online and connected all the time, really affected my overall balance and were one of my biggest time drains. Online time wasters for me included social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) and email. I actually have over five email addresses and regularly check at least three of them.

What I’ve found is that these sites can suck you in, consume hours of my time and before I even realized it I was distracted. So how do I handle these online time wasters? Here are a few tips on how I identified what was sucking up my time and the actions I put in place to balance it all.

Tip #1 – Identify Online Time Wasters. The first think I looked at was which online time wasters were taking up most of my time? For me it was Facebook and email. Uncover what it is for you, and write it down.

Tip #2 - Set a Specific Time to Check Online Favorites. The goal for me wasn’t to eliminate the browsing of these sites, the goal was to create balance in my life. Instead of letting these online activities run my day, I set the pace and balance that was best for me by limiting the checking of these sites to a manageable amount that didn’t distract from my day to day activities.

I set a few specific times to check these sites. For example, I started to check my personal email once before work, once at noon and after work. I also started checking Facebook only once a day (during lunch), and at night.

Tip #3: Let Everyone Know. The key for me in finding balance was communicating with my friends and family my decision to take control of these time wasters. I let my co-workers and my Facebook friends know that I would no longer be checking email/Facebook, etc. every hour. Turns out friends and family are great at helping hold you accountable and make sure that you don't waste time on these sites.

What I learned after doing this for awhile was that the world would not end if I wasn’t online 24/7. I have more respect for myself, my time, and my goal of achieving balance, and as a result, those in my life have respect too.

About the Book:

Mommy Summer Camp started in 2011 when as a busy working mom with both a corporate job and a small business. Summer was fast approaching, what could we do?

So, one Saturday as my kids were complaining about something…not wanted to do whatever chore they were supposed to be doing…inspiration hit. I sat down and outlined my idea for a stay at home, Mommy Summer Camp where the kids earned, "mommy bucks" in order to attend camp by doing chores, being nice and various other good deeds.
It became so popular other mom's asked me how I ran it, so here is everything I have. Over the years I've refined the program and created a custom camp that you can use too!

Once you purchase you will receive nine (9) flies, five of which are 100% editable in word format that you can use your own activities, children's names, etc. I really hope you enjoy it. The nine files are:

1. Mommy bucks template
2. Mommy Summer Camp template
3. Mommy Summer Camp Activities for Kids
4. Mommy Summer Camp Journal
5. Mommy Summer Camp Catalog for Kids
6. Mommy Summer Camp Recipes
7. Mommy Summer Camp Sticker template
8. Mommy Summer Camp weekly checklist template
9. Read Me First - How to Run Mommy Summer Camp a step by step guide
10. Mommy Summer Camp eBook - this 142 page book goes into a bit more detail how I started Mommy Summer Camp and how I used the templates. It combines some of the above into one easy to read ebook.

Where to find Mommy Summer Camp:

About the Author
Diahana Barnes
Mom. Health Coach. Corporate Woman. Small Business Owner.

Diahana loves coffee (and a newly found favorite - tea), spending the day at the beach with family, and her iPad Mini! She is energetic and passionate about creating a community that leaves you feeling energized, focused, happy and purposeful. She loves being a coach, a cheerleader, a positive and inspirational influence to everyone around her.

Her formal bio includes a Master's Degree in Organizational Management & Development, eLearning Certification, and Coaching certifications while currently authoring a book called, "Design Your Bliss in Work & Life".

She has over 20 years of experience working in the technology and insurance industries in training & development, sales strategy, enablement, marketing, and communications. She is an award winning speaker and trainer and has spoken at events hosted by the American Society of Training & Development, Training Magazine, eLearnting Guild and the Learning Consortium.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi

I have to admit when I sit down to review a book I never know exactly where to start. Oh, I know I should be there, highlighter in hand, pointing out the good points, noting the not so good and be able to give a full bodied review, bullet points and all, but it seems it’s just not my style. Rather, I dive in, devour and review a book from my overall impression, my experience with it, my journey through it and what it’s left me. Which is a perfect place to start a review of Brian Leaf’s new book Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi.
I was thrilled to be asked to review this book. The title alone had my interest. The moment the book arrived and I felt it in my hands, admiring its quirky artwork, I was hooked and after reading the introduction, well I was in love with it and ready to buy a copy for every parent I know.
I sometimes feel under-educated in the parenting book field. Unlike Brian Leaf, I haven’t read all of the top seller Parenting gurus work or researched all the philosophies. However, like Brian, my credo is the same: as parents we have to learn to trust ourselves, to be conscious in the moment and listen to our hearts. Therein lies what our children need and what only we can give. Brian’s intermingling of parenting techniques and personal spiritual pursuit are spine tingling. By being a better parent, he becomes a better yogi, by being a better yogi, he’s a better parent. The perfect blend.
Why haven’t I kept up in my reading of parenting bibles? Simply put, I’m a homeschooling mom, who co-runs a family business and tries to still find time to write myself into a soul connection. By the time I get to bed a book is lucky to be read past page one. And yet guess what? I read Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi in about 3 nights. I’d even stop mid-laundry load to grab a couple of chapters (which are laid out conveniently short and to the point I may add.) I think what makes it so easy to read is Brian’s easy going manner and real life humor. Sure friends without children may raise an eyebrow when laughing about getting out of bed with a sleeping baby or the various statements kids make innocently in public places, but I think any parent would feel a lift and a laugh when reading Brian’s antidotes. It all flows so beautifully well as he uses his funny stories to illustrate the philosophies he’s researched and his own personal absorption of them. Thanks to Brian, I now have a reading list of different authors of different parenting methods, also thanks to Brian, I don’t have to feel in a panic to read them all right away, as he provides a general gist of each philosophy, often in easy bullet point form, for my tired brain.
On top of his research on philosophies and techniques to calm a frantic babe, Brian also give sound facts on some of the issues of the day, such as home birth, circumcision, or breastfeeding, without holding any judgement or ruffling any feathers, Brian simply reiterates what him and his wife chose as the most loving choice for them. Parenting yogi couldn’t be a better term.
I want to add another note: Brian Leaf is a follower in ayurvedic medicine and its philosophies have woven themselves into his own personal parenting approach and hence into his book. I am so glad it did! I found the information fascinating, and again, nice and to the point. My husband, myself and our two daughters took his quiz in the appendix and since then all four of us have become aware of certain aspects in ourselves and in each other. Yet another thing I’m eager to read more about... when life slows down a bit.
So my final thoughts on absorbing Brian Leaf’s book: Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi is a must read for any spiritually aware parent, or any parent for that matter. It’s a joy to read, like sitting with a dear friend who has a deep understanding of the information out there, a wonderful sense of humor, great personal antidotes, a love of the journey and a kind heart who in the end will support you by simply saying- trust yourself, you truly know more than you think if you just breathe and listen.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Business of Baby; a review

We live in a time when we have come to question everything. We are careful with what goes into our food, what sort of food we eat and how it was grown. We look for alternative ways to drink water, provide electric, heat to our homes and fuel our cars. We distrust corporations and the spying big brother when it comes to internet security and banking and we rarely believe what we hear from the news, newspapers or websites. On one hand we have become a suspicious society, which isn’t a very nice space to live in, but on the other hand, what has been launched from that is a society of independence, one where we, individually, inspire to educate ourselves, find out what our options are, what feels right, and what, in the long run is best for us and our family.

However, in the actual process of giving birth to our families, we can often feel powerless and left in the hands of others, whom instinctively we want to question. We can independently scan the internet, trying to weigh up the options and tap into what truly feels best to us, yet it always feels slightly ungrounded, like there’s a story lying beneath, that no one ever talks about.
That is why I was anxious to review Jennifer Margulis’ new book, The Business of Baby. I knew that finally, some of the mystery surrounding medical pregnancy and birth practices would be unearthed and I would have facts at my fingertips... for anyone who asked.

I have to say, this is a bit of an unusual book review for me to give. The business of Baby focuses on the physical elements of having a baby and the often harmful malpractices that have become routine. Over the last few years I have tried to keep a distance from stating too much of my opinions regarding the likes of hospital practices or parental preferences as I firmly believe that as parents, as people, we try our best, we do what we feel is best, what fits in with our perspective of the world. We might learn differently and change those beliefs along the road of life, we might feel best doing what our families have done for generations. However, the problem with that is whether we are actually doing what we do because we simply don’t know any other option. We may feel our choices are so slim that we opt for the “lesser evil”, rather than having the encouragement to follow our instincts, get connected and live our dream experience.

My work is also firmly based in the philosophy that we all create our realities and outcomes from a deeper, spiritual level. Things happen, not because we are victims to systems, but because we either need the contrast to find better feeling options, or we create those situations on a deeper level with others involved with them, in the case of birth and pregnancy for instance, our babies. Our children often choose the situations around their pregnancies and births before they even come, to provide them with a launching place to start life with.

However, as you can read in my “pre-review” blog posts, I know I had some shadows of doubt, some lack of information that haunted me through all my pregnancies that having them lifted would have made finding a spiritual connection so much easier. Because Jennifer’s book removes those shadows, I find that it is an incredibly useful tool for a spiritually based pregnancy.
There is so much in this book, so many questions answered, that to list them all here would be impossible. It might also mean people don’t read it themselves, and therefore miss out on the personal, candid and confident voice Jennifer relates her information with. An award winning journalist, whose work I first found in the Mothering Magazine, but who has also written for the NY times, Washington Post and Parenting, Jennifer pacts the book full of antidotes, personal and interviewed stories, hard facts and statistics to drive home the fact that there is a grey area in obstetrics and pediatrics. That no matter what, the bottom line is that doctors have to earn a living and in an age of court cases and the constant threat of being sued as well as the overbearing power of the pharmaceutical companies and how they ply their wares, many doctors find it easier to sacrifice the healthiest solution for their patient and take the most profitable instead (or at least cover their own backs as best as they can).

As Jennifer writes in her introduction; “This book will show you, time and time again corporate profits and private interests trump what is best for moms and babies. The science is consistently ignored and practices proven to be harmful are continued. Doctors- even though most have the best possible intentions- often unwittingly go along with a broken and sometimes dangerous system.”
From the problems of over examinations, which the doctors do to please the insurance companies, but usually lead to interventions, to the lack of nutritional education, to the additives in prenatal vitamins and other pharmaceuticals, the unknown effects of ultrasounds, how they are being widely overused, and the question of their use being a cause of the rise in autism, to the risks of C-sections but the incentives for doctors to use them, Jennifer spends the first half of the book looking at prenatal and birth care in great detail. We live in a world of numbers, and as one nurse points out, that’s what we’re seen as. It seems to me that at a time of one of the greatest miracles of life, one of the most natural things a human can experience, when a body can grow another person, and do everything within itself to support that new life, it seems an insane perspective to boil the experience down to a medical procedure, let alone a human being to a number on a chart.

The second half of the book is dedicated to the first year after birth, right from the possibility of the Hep. Vaccine within the first day and the risks of circumcision soon after (Jennifer witnessed and reported a circumcision while interviewing the performing doctor. It was one of the times that I squirmed in my chair with her vivid and honest detailed description.) A deeper look at the pharmaceutical companies and diaper companies such as Pampers and Huggies follows, as she looks at the manipulative ways they discourage parents from breastfeeding or early toilet training. The physical damage that Jennifer discovered caused by formula or extended diaper wearing was appalling, and the fact that children are now often not toilet trained by the time they reach kindergarten shows that the advertising campaigns of these companies are still incredibly successful.

The book is a captivating read, especially considering that I read neither investigative reports nor medical nonfiction on a regular base. Jennifer had me at the introduction. The only downside, in my opinion, is that it is about the American system of pregnancy and baby care, and as a Canadian the book had me questioning how much applied to my country’s situation. Ironically, the audio versions of the book have been produced by a Canadian publishing company and read by the talented, Canadian, actress Rebecca Jenkins. Jennifer is also being interviewed soon on a CBC talk show, which may shed some light on Canadian practices. It would have been impossible to cover all of North America, and Canadians, as well as anyone, can still benefit from the book for simply the reason that the lid has been blown off and the shadows cast away forever. Now, thanks to Jennifer, we know the right questions to ask, we can see things a little clearer and the overwhelming sense of mystery regarding the care we receive when pregnant and the questions we face after is well on its way of being solved.

The Business of Baby is available through Amazon and other book retailers. Also, please visit Jennifer's Facebook page for some great tidbits and articles.

Friday, April 12, 2013

My darling girl's traumatic entrance and my son's blissful one.

I got pregnant again when our first born was just 2 months. I know, I know... so many people came up when they saw me pregnant and smiled saying “breastfeeding isn’t effective birth control.” She was a surprise, she was spontaneous and when I look at her today I think “how could you ever be anything but, my delightful, energetic girl?”
Learning what I had from my first I refused more tests then before, but I still had a few bloodtests. On one appointment I was told I needed further tests to make sure I wasn’t getting gestational diabetes. The inner warning bells went off as I heard about the sugary mixture I would be asked to drink and the idea of challenging my body to get results seemed crazy. I reviewed what I had eaten before my appointment and realized that I’d been to starbucks and had a coffee cake and a iced mocha which had been my cravings and pleasure for awhile. I had also had grapefruit juice in the morning. To my doctor’s fury I skipped the test and told her to do the bloodwork again instead. I ate with caution before going to her office, and my tests came out normal. I then changed my diet for the rest of my pregnancy, cutting down on refined flours and eating lots of potatoes and natural foods instead.
A month before I was due I got horrible backpain. I thought it was from lifting my daughter up, but it got increasingly worse. My doctor came over, (did I mention she was also our next door neighbor) and said it was simply Braxton hicks, there was nothing to worry about, and she left to go to the beach with her family. An hour after she was gone, our second daughter was born on our bed.
It was probably one of the most incredible births as I wasn’t expecting it. My water broke the second she was going to be born, I felt my body push without my thinking about it. From being within she was suddenly without and she was breastfeeding right away.
But the sudden panic of it all had the ambulance being called and as I lay there in awe and wonder, 10 firefighters dashed into our bedroom. They come first, before any medics, did you know that? They didn’t know what to do and suddenly medics came in too. Our daughter was taken from my arms to be checked up on, I was given Picotin AGAIN for the afterbirth, even though I said I was breastfeeding. They thought all was fine and then suddenly decided our girl’s lungs sounds a little rough. So we were bundled up, I was stretchered down three flights of stairs and we were all in the ambulance.
So began a two week nightmare. Our daughter was pricked, poked and injected. When we said we didn’t want it done, we were told we were crazy, we were thought of as religious fanatics even though that had nothing to do with our motivations. One woman even argued that “St. Luke was a doctor!” as if that pronouncement would redirect my instincts and my daughter being objected to everything my heart told me she shouldn’t be would suddenly seem alright.
Because I was aware of the vitamin K shot I had eaten enormous amounts of kale and other leafy green vegetables when pregnant. Of course, when they whisked my angel off they gave her the vitamin K anyway, not listening to my logic. Because of the high amount of vitamin K in her little body, our daughter’s blood clotted incredibly quickly, so everytime the doctors wanted blood, they had to test numerous times. She looked like she was pin cushion. Not only that, but it caused her to get high jaundice so she was stuck under bili-lights and in the ICU for a week.
I jumped into action, even as my family thought I was over-reacting and I got lectures on how I “should just trust the doctors as they knew what they were doing.” I got a breast pump and started pumping all the time. My husband and I drove the doctors crazy as we performed energy healing under the lights calming her heart down and letting her know we were there. Finally a doctor cornered me saying the jaundice was taking too long and they were going to give her something to bring it down. Our objections, and suggestions of getting her to a window for some sun, we threatened with child services.
They agreed to not administering anything that day. They gave their word. But the next day, when looking at her frail body we saw a hole in her arm and no one would say what it was from. The mark was so large one doctor said it looked like it had been given from the inside. Our daughter still has a scar from the needle no one admitted to giving. No one said anything had been administered, no one admitted to giving the injection that they believed would take the jaundice down. Instead, everytime we protested or pushed it, the room would get strangely silent. We felt like our daughter had been kidnapped and we were forced to shut up and play the game to get her out of her cell as fast as possible.
Finally, she was home. She woke up every night with a hacking cough that made a chain smoker pale in comparison. They’d filled her lungs with something to make them burble. She still is susceptible to bronchitis or bad coughs if its damp out. And so we started to heal her. My diet became my focus and I breastfed with a daring glare at anyone who suggested otherwise. We started carrot juicing and she was getting teaspoons of it by 4 months to help with her lungs, and we fled the country, back to the UK, to escape the eyes of the system, which was feeling proud of another “success.”
Recalling our second daughter’s birth still makes my tummy turn. It still brings up anger, frustration and anxiety within me. But, I also know that the work I’ve been doing for the past two years in Spiritually Aware Parenting is because of that experience. Our second daughter has taught me that we do chose where and how we come when we are born. She still does things in a huge entrance. She’s full of life and vitality and probably drama. She demands for life to be clear and decisions to be made fast. As I think of her, under those lights, with shades on her eyes and her bottom in the air, I remember thinking she looked so matter of fact, so “alright life, if this is what you’re offering, I’m going to see the best of it.” Her spirit shone though and although I would do things oh, so differently now, if I could go back, I know that again, she came at a certain part of my journey and it set things in motion. We are such co-creators.
Five years later we got pregnant again. We knew the instant he was conceived and I also knew this time it would be different. I was determined to have a spiritually aware pregnancy and if you’ve read my first book, you know that’s where it started... with our little man. We connected together at around two months. We checked in with each other and no doctors. The idea of a doctor’s office frightened me. But having moved to a different province, there was no other choice. A small town, with one hospital, no midwives or birthing centres, it looked like a maternity ward was the only way to go. I got on the phone and called every naturopath in the book. I’d waited until I was six months. Finally, someone referred me to an OB at the hospital so I went to meet him. He was frantically busy with so many other expectant mothers. He was nice, but overworked and his only objection on my birth plan was the good ol’ Picotin which now I knew I didn’t want. “I don’t leave my patients in pain if I can fix it and end it fast.” He said.
We were given a tour of the ward and a list of pain relief options. When I said I’d had two girls without anything the nurse looked horrified. I was out of there.
Suddenly, home birth became the only option. I didn’t know other women did it all the time. I didn’t know what ramifications would be. The back up plan, as my husband said, was to run me down our long drive way in the wheelbarrow to get to the car to go to the hospital if things looked rough. With H1N1 in the hospital, I was only going there in an emergency.
I ran overdue by a few days according to my own calculations, but bang on target for the OB’s (darn). I was nervous, scared, anxious and yet when I tuned in to my body and baby, I knew all was well.
I did some yoga the night he was born and soon I woke up with my water breaking. Not fully trusting in everything I teeter tottered all night between tapping into the best birth experience, a holy sacred time, to wondering if I should holler for that wheel barrow. Out of the skylight window I gazed at the moon during contractions. I knew, no matter what, this is how it felt right to be.
My husband swears we’ll never do another unassisted and I think our daughters are turned off having babies from hearing me wail, but I look back at our son’s birth with a smile on my face. It seemed the closest to listening to my instincts and trusting in the wellbeing I’ve always known was there.
I might as well say here and now, and probably there and later, that although this book, Business of Baby is so enlightening and supportive of my instinctual beliefs, it is my truest beliefs that on this journey of life we all do our best and with the knowledge we’ve gained up to the point of each experience. Life is about growing and learning. It is so easy to fall into the trap of defending everything that happened before, but in truth it what has been only gets us to know and we can always grow and change our opinions. Like I say in my book, I feel the trick is to be educated, to research and hunt around for the best feeling options. If you read something and it feels good, do it, if it feels off, don’t take an author’s, or a doctor’s word for it.
Well, I was worried the review would be long winded! Let’s get on with it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A history of my pregnancies as a Pre-review for The Business of Baby

I’m getting ready to write a review of Jennifer Margulis’ new book The Business of Baby, to be part of her book tour on April 18th. I thrilled to be part of her book blog tour and quite honestly even more thrilled to be able to review her incredible book. However, as I’ve been mulling over the review in my head for the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt like it’s one of those books that pulls out personal experience stories. You know, like when you are in a group of parents and everyone starts talking about their birth experiences and you have to hold your tongue until you find a space in the conversation so you can talk about yours? Well, it would never be my intention to start talking about me and my experiences when I actually want to be talking about this incredible book. I know I’ll keep mentioning how I wish I had had it ten years ago, but it seems unfair to start talking about why and for what in an actual review.
Therefore, this is the pre-review. This is my background story. This is my background to explain how in my next post I’ll be saying how Business of Baby is written proof of what my instincts were telling me all that time ago.
The Business of Baby is about pregnancy, birth and the first year. So, as my precursor to the review I simply want to relay to you my birth stories, which I haven’t often relayed in my work. But, like I said, while reviewing Jennifer’s book I don’t want to keep going on a tangent with a “like when I gave birth and the....” It could turn out to be a very long winded review indeed.
I got pregnant for the first time when I was 24. We were over the moon and although we hadn’t been a couple for very long that’s not to say it was by accident either. We’d sent out the invite and left it up to whoever wanted to snatch up first place. But, for financial reasons, we decided it was best we spent some time in the UK where we could pick up some work as musical therapists as my husband use to do there and we could become a little more secure. So, I did what I thought I “should” do, checked in with my GP, did my blood work, my urine tests, I was the ideal patient for the first couple of months before we left for the UK. However, what my GP didn’t know was that my husband had been studying natural health for years. Also, although I didn’t know it at the time, I was beginning to get a sense of trusting my instincts over a doctor’s. I really had no framework of knowledge to fall back on, only instincts, but still deep down I knew I didn’t want to be tested for everything and I wanted to trust in the process my body was going through. So, off we went to the UK, much to my doctor’s displeasure. Two things happened within the first couple of weeks. First, I developed severe nausea and began throwing up ALL THE TIME! And second, my doctor contacted my mom and told her that I was Rh negative so I would need to get the SHOT! I was in a panic. My husband was under the impression that he was o positive, but still we thought he should be tested, just to be sure. So I visited a midwife over in the UK, then a doctor. I had an ultrasound and found myself again in the system, but still no one was testing my husband. Finally, we met with someone who jotted it down when we suggested that the whole issue might be null and void if my husband was Rh negative too. Although he gave a look of disbelief, implying we were in denial, he booked my husband in for a blood test.
It is one of our favorite memories as a couple, the moment we got a phone call saying that my husband was indeed rh negative. It was like all our instincts were justified and we as a couple made sense again.
A few weeks later I read in a pamphlet I had kept in my purse but never read before, that morning sickness was the sign of a healthy pregnancy. None of the doctors or midwives had told me this when I had asked them. Rather, it was one of those things that made me have a guard up against the system.
Our daughter was born healthy and happy in the hospital. I had had a birth plan and it was respected. There were only two points when I was distracted from anything to do with giving birth and was overcome with distrust with the medical group looking after me. First, when they shouted “time to break the bed” and my husband and I looked at each other in confusion, not knowing that the bed did indeed break in order for delivery. Second, when the doctor came in with some sharp looking tools and I stopped to ask what he thought he was doing. They calmed me, they cajoled me, and they pandered me. They also broke my waters and administered Picotin for the afterbirth, reassuring me that it was what made sense and made it easier for me. I was not in my most lucid state so I said alright.
We had objected the vit K and the antibiotics for our daughter’s eyes, which they rolled their own eyes at but agreed. They insisted on the heel prick, which they did to our daughter in her cot. She’d been happy to lie in there before the shot, but didn’t leave my arms after.
It was my plan to breastfeed our daughter. But without much support, a mother buying me formula and bottles, a nurse coming and saying it wasn’t working, and a baby who was awake all night and I had no knowledge of co-sleeping only stories of “walking the floor” and references to trying to get a baby to sleep in their bed from the get go. I gave in and started giving her formula at 3 months. I regret it still, as my eldest is the only one who has intense earaches and sinus issues.
All this being said, my first daughter, my darling girl, survived and she taught me so much. It was because of her that I started to listen a little bit more to my instincts and I gained confidence in my own inner knowledge. In spite of everything, we had a blast throughout her babydom and still do 10 years later. I know that everything is perfect. She chose to come at the time she did. She knew I wouldn’t have any knowledge about certain things. She knew we would learn together. We still are as we face teen years and so many changes.
My other daughter teaches me so much as well. My darling girl, who’s beginning was so rocky and emotional I still have problems reiterating it... Look for it in another post coming soon!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

New adventures and an unsettled boy

It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted on this site. I’ve missed it. It’s been a crazy six months with us returning to Canada from Wales, UK, returning to our homestead, off grid farm house and trying to reclaim it from the damage we found upon our return. We did well. As a family, we did well. Our little man found the transition hard, still missing some of the things we had to leave behind, but still, we did well. By Christmas all was returned to its former glory, better in fact. We closed the year in a happy, warm home, in front of a lit candle blown out at midnight. We promised ourselves, as a family, that this year would be one of new adventures, new horizons, and happy living.
Two weeks later, we’d taken a leap of faith.
I’ve been really busy with my work on Spiritually Aware Parenting. I released a new book before Christmas, I’ve started an online advice column, I’ve written some articles and some guest blog posts and have been in touch with some fantastic people. I love my SAP work, it grounds me, it connects me, it makes me the parent I want to be, the person I want to be. It’s important to me. But as a family we decided to add something to the mix. So we rented a small shop space in our hometown and we’re currently getting it ready to be a healthy take away food/juice bar joint. My husband trained as a natural health practitioner years ago and ontop of that he’s an amazing cook, so we’re starting off small and we’re doing what we’ve talked about doing for years: As a family.
The girls are so excited. They will have their jobs divided up, they’ll have a couple of hours of schoolwork to do in the backspace, they will help serve and pack up, clean and sweep as well as take care of their brother, our little man.
Ah yes, the little man. I’ve been getting a little wary about him the past couple of weeks. He started crying when he didn’t get what he wanted, he’s demanding a lot from his sisters, he’s frustrated and upset, suddenly being at our new shop a lot rather than the farm he now loves. Snow came heavily this year and he feels restless, not liking the cold that bites his fingers and toes and then, there’s his family, his parents and sisters who are all hyped up about an idea he barely understands. Life has gotten messy, again, but often it has to in order to get to the new space.
Most people don’t talk about spirituality to their three year olds. I do. I know he has a lot to deal with, a lot of emotions that are confusing him. I know that often we’re running around, rushing him here and there and things just aren’t going the way he wants. I also know that no matter how young he is the Law of Attraction will still be in action. If he’s feeling off, he’ll get more to feel off about. I have to start building awareness and helping him feel better.
But first, I play. There is no better therapy for a stressed out momma than sitting and playing with our darlings. I sit on our bed and we make it a “blender car”, which he invented, it’s a car that makes food for his toys or we play in our shop’s basement with water or his tractor. Last night we walked down to our corner store while his sisters were at a friend’s, I talked to him, connected with him, answered his questions and even took his advice as we walked through the store. Suddenly, he was back, he was himself, eager, curious and happy. I had my clue, as connection and play always leads us to them. No more wandering aimlessly, wondering how to help him, thinking of storytimes or even pondering whether he would like a playgroup or something while life got hectic. In my connection with him, I was connected to myself again and him to himself. We were back to being the spiritual team that looked out for his wellbeing.
So, we talked. When he was feeling good, playing away, I mentioned how great it was to have a good game going. We talked about how great it was when everyone played together, listening together and helping each other, rather than one person trying to be the boss. As we played, we talked about treating people the way we want to be treated. As we laughed, I mentioned that sometimes life surprises us with new games (or brands of bubbles which is his new passion) and if he tries to force everyone to do his game then he’ll miss out on a new one.
By the end of the day he’d played well with each member of the family, but when we all got busy I reminded him that it’s best to play alone: If we can play alone then we will never be lonely or feel left out. So, happily, secure in his connection with all of us, he went to play alone and make his own discoveries. He called us in, as we scurried about looking at shop renovations and discussing details, we’d stop and see his new focus, and then off he was again. Connected, happy and adjusted to his new changes.
Or sure, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of Off moments along this new journey, for all of us, not just our little man. But no matter what, I’ll state it here and now, our darlings are first and foremost, if the scale is tipping to stress and disconnected, we’ll play, we’ll stop, we’ll breathe and we’ll laugh. I’m thrilled to say we’re doing it together. I love seeing our children discussing each detail and making suggestions. I love being on an adventure with them. If they trip, I’ll help pick them up, if things get rough, we’ll refocus, close the door and play together, and no matter what, I will listen, take their advice, answer their questions and value their opinions. Each of my darlings are an important instrument in making this family play a beautiful song. Occasionally, for the group to work I might need to conduct, but mostly, I’ll play along, enjoying the musical experience.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New book, Inspirations for the Spiritually Aware Parent

I'm so excited to announce the release of my next book, Inspirations for the Spiritually Aware Parent. Here's the blurb from the publisher.
“Spiritually aware parenting understands that within our parenting lies the key that can transform the world as we know it. The passages within this book give helpful insight and clear perceptions on why our children are the way they are and what we as parents can do to maintain a connection and strong emotional foundation in the child.” Hayley Fleming, the Sound Inside

Spiritually Aware Parenting views our children as the true spirits they really are, seeing them as their own individual selves beginning this journey of life. It also encourages parents to tap into their own spiritual core, parenting from a place of connection, wellbeing, and joy.
This is Christina Fletcher’s second book of inspirational passages for the busy parent. “Within these pages you will find moments of relief, reminders of how to go within, to trust your inner voice. There are passages to tap into our children as who they are at their core, perspective shifters to see them anew, there are pointers on understanding negative emotion in ourselves and in our children, and shout outs to remember to play and have fun.” Originally published for her ever growing Facebook page, which is now followed by thousands, they are written as a way to find peace in a rushing world.

Check it out by following the link on the side panel, or by visiting my website The book, along with my others, are also available on Amazon.

No kindle edition as of yet, that should be coming in the new year.
Be well, happy and thrive!