Advice (Unsolicited)


Year of the Book


I super excited to announce that I’ve launched a new company: Year of the Book. You can read all about it on my lovely new website.

But what I want to talk about here is passion.

As I’ve written about here, here, and here, last November I took my kids out of daycare and took a three month sabbatical from the company I run with my husband.

One thing I realized during my sabbatical was that I need a work project. I wish I could be one of those moms who puts all her energy into her children. I wish I could say I’ve done half the projects I’ve collected/hoarded on Pinterest. But I’ve finally accepted that I’m a better mom when I have a project I’m working on.

When the idea for my new business started emerging, it was like sucking on a delightful piece of candy throughout the day—a little treat in the back of my head I could daydream about or sketch out on park benches while the kids play.

When I don’t have that, I get itchy. Unsettled. Impatient. Ungrounded.

I created space, and something new emerged…

I am well aware of how blessed I am, how indulgent it was, to be able to take three months off to clear my head. That space is what allowed me to begin dreaming again. It was the best time I ever had not shopping! (Since I felt like spending unnecessarily really wasn’t in our family’s best interest while I wasn’t working.)

And I knew I was on to something when I started listening to podcasts in the kitchen while I was making dinner.

That’s the kind of passion I’m used to having in my work life, and that frankly I’ve lost touch with since I became a mom.

…And slowly came into focus

Earlier this year, I started doing some serious passion hunting.

I worked in small virtual groups of women online through Hannah Marcotti’s wonderful programs.

I joined the Mamacoach circle, which is an online group for holistic coaches. I still remember my introduction, which went something like, “I’m not sure why I’m here since I’m not a health professional or a coach. But I finally signed up because I’m dying to hear all these recorded calls you guys are doing.”

I focused all of  my reading and online time in the words and company of people who are pursuing their passions. (Links to come.)

And I participated in an amazingly powerful exercise by Visionary Mom Lisa Work. Really — I can’t tell you how powerful this recording was for me. By the end of her teleconference, I knew exactly what my business would be. In fact, I listened to the call twice — the first time trying to fit what I thought my passion “should” be into my answers. And the second time with my true passion. It’s amazing how my answers flowed out of me the second time around. **I’ve contacted Lisa to see if I can share access to that recorded call–stay tuned**

UPDATE: Here’s the link:

Create Your Visionary Business — Free Training Call. 

Thanks Lisa for sharing it with us!

So how about you?

I wanted to share all of this with you because doing this passion seeking has changed my life. And if I can help you in any way, by recommending resources or just listening to your dreams and encouraging you, then please comment or send me an email.

I’ve been through the ringer the past few years. I’ve struggled like hell with postpartum depression and anxiety, and trying to figure out how to balance it all, and trying to figure out who I am and what my purpose is besides being a mother to two beautiful boys.

The color is back in my face. And that’s what I wish for you, too.



P.S. If you or someone you know are interested in how working with a book coach helps you reach your goals with clarity, focus, and meaning,  please visit my website.

P.P.S. If you have found amazing resources that helped you find your path, tell us about them in the comments!

It can be so very easy to blow things off, especially when we are over tired, not feeling well, or struggling with something we don’t really want to share with the world, like anxiety or feeling blue.

And yet the things we blow off are the very things we signed up for or said yes to because of their potential to bring us joy. The yoga class. The awesome group of local bloggers. The day at the zoo with a friend.

This morning I was moments away from blowing off the yoga class I love. Then I focused on how I feel after the yoga class–exhilarated, victorious, relaxed and happy. I showed up to class this morning, and now I feel all those things. If I hadn’t shown up, I would’ve maybe made it next week. That is, if I could break through the inertia that gets stronger the longer we blow things off.

Because that’s how it works: The more we blow off, the more miserable we feel, even though our exhuastion/sickness/depression tells us staying home, or staying stuck is what we need most of all. The more miserable we feel, the less likely we are to show up.

This week I will practice showing up.

I will practice not listening to the voice that tells me that staying home is a better alternative.

I will focus on how I feel after I attend the things I love.

(And I won’t let my little homebody 3 year old talk me out of it, either.)

Seeking joy is new for me. I blame it on being a Capricorn–we’re all about accomplishing things, climbing up the mountain, working hard to achieve more. Which is probably why “working” on joy is so what I need.

There are many wonderful books out there about joy and how to uncover it. But in the interest of mini-resolutions and starting small, here are the simple places I’m finding joy.

1) Going to bed early

For the first time since becoming a parent, I’m getting to bed before midnight. Because there’s no way I can be the parent I want to be when I am exhausted. I have no idea why this didn’t occur to me earlier.

2) Making my bed every morning

Back when I had a newborn and my mom stayed a month to help me, she would make my bed every morning. She makes it PERFECTLY–wrinkles in the sheets don’t stand a chance with her. Back then, taking time to make my bed seemed like a time luxury I couldn’t afford. But this is a new season, and having a beautifully made bed is a wonderful thing.

Hannah Marcotti puts it perfectly in her Making Space Cleanse:

“Making your bed is a gift from your present self to your future self.”

3) Drinking lemon water and tea 

(Especially in place of my nightly glass of wine.) Another little step inspired by Hannah that feels like a gift to myself with every sip.

4) Getting out of the house on Saturday mornings

My husband works out from 10:30–noon every Saturday morning. Which was making Saturdays feel like a “6th workday” for me and the kids–leaving us all resentful and cranky. This month, I’ve started slipping out at 8am for a yoga class and coffee/writing/wandering. Carving out those 2 hours for myself has made a world of difference in how I feel the entire weekend.

5) Letting go of my to-do list and being present with my children

I started noticing that things fell apart just after breakfast every day. I would be in the kitchen dealing with the meal aftermath and yelling “go in the playroom–I’ll be there in a minute” over and over again. Inevitably, I’d finally stop doing dishes (in a huff) once someone started crying over something.

I’m learning to look at those parts of the day that always end up with yelling and crying and trying different strategies. In this case, I’ve learned that if I leave the dishes and just sit with the boys while they do Legos or trains or whatever, no one cries or fights.

The even more amazing part is, once I give them my full attention–even if I’m just sitting with my coffee and observing them–I can usually slip off and finish the dishes or do a quick email check without anyone falling apart.

By giving them attention up front, it changes the result. And it’s teaching me that there is value in just sitting and being.

6) Giving thanks, and teaching my children to do the same

This is the root of joy.


I recently participated in something called the Holiday Joy UP. It was essentially a 10-day online retreat for women interested in tapping in to the joy and magic of the holiday season.

Led by the lovely Hannah Marcotti (whose writing I cannot get enough of), the Joy UP delivered a letter each day which explored a particular aspect of joy, along with a video from Hannah and the day’s assignment.

So for instance, one day we focused on Blessings, and the assignment was to be a blessing fairy–spreading little gifts or acts of kindness everywhere we went. (I’m still trying to practice being a blessing fairy in the high-strung parking lots around town.)

So many years I’ve longed to feel the holiday magic I felt as a kid.

I’d go to the mall just to try to get “in the mood.” This only made me feel worse.

I’d indulge in holiday treats. This only made me feel groggy.

I’d overspend on gifts, panicked that there wasn’t enough under the tree. This made my stomach hurt.

Having children of my own has helped bring back the excitement of the holidays.

We have our holiday channel on Pandora, our Advent activity calendar, our Elf on the Shelf.

But much of that is superficial “busyness”

Making cookies, opening early presents (holiday books or jammies), watching more TV than normal in the name of holiday fun, being more lax about sugary treats.

So while I started the Holiday joy UP thinking I was already full-on in the spirit of Chirstmas, having an opportunity to create a quiet space each day just to think about Joy from different angles actually left me a bit blue at first. As it turns out, pursuing joy can be hard work!

Getting quiet

The best part of the Joy UP was having an hour of focused quiet time each day (I did it during our mandatory 1-hour naptime/quiet time where everyone goes to their own room even if they no longer nap). Each day, I was able to open my Joy UP “letter”, watch Hannah’s video, and think/write about the day’s assignment.

The Holiday Joy UP helped me think about my intention for the holiday season. And it left me with a deeper connection to joy, along with the clarity that there’s a lot more to be explored.

Joy is Unfolding

Joy is Spirit

Joy is Blessings

Joy is Love

Joy is Desire

Joy is Faith

Joy is Magic

Joy is Celebration

Joy is Peace

Joy is our Gratitude

Thanks to Hannahfor this wonderful journey.

If you are interested in doing something similar, here’s where Hannah posts upcoming programs. I’m looking forward to her 2012 Making Space Cleanse.

(By the way, this is not a sponsored post.)