inspiration

guest post & giveaway*

feathering4

Shortly after I moved to Washington, I hired Stephanie as my holistic health coach and we had an immediate kindred connection. She has been such an amazing support to me in my life over the past few years, that I wanted to spread the love and support her latest yummy adventure and share it with all of you. I'm so excited to take this e-course!

************** Hello Lovelies!

I'm Stephanie, a certified holistic health and lifestyle coach and one half of the team Feathering the Nest, a new e-course I developed with the lovely Leah Kent of Skill It. Leah and I both have backgrounds in the arts as well as plenty of hours logged in the kitchen developing recipes for our clients. We were drawn together by our shared passion for making our homes into nuturing soul spaces. We think the things you choose to surround yourself with have a profound affect on your mind and body. We want your home to not only reflect the beauty inside of you, but nourish and give back to you, in a way that will transform how you move into each day.

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Feathering the Nest will be an eclectic two week journey through your home, a sensual path to self discovery. We will be creating beautiful things for our homes with our own hands, getting cozy with really fun and intuitive writing exercises and cooking up some delicious recipes. You'll also receive beautiful printables to use over and over as you explore your nesting style. We are going beyond just aesthetics and finding our own unique path by tapping into feng shui, numerology and chakra wisdom. You'll gain entrance into a sacred online space to share your experience, pictures and inspirations with kindred souls.

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Whether you space is large or small, rented or owned, we think you are going to love learning how to infuse each corner with your essence to create a sanctuary for you and all who inhabit it. To learn even more, visit us over here at the class site!

Today we are excited to announce that we are giving away a chance to win ONE seat in the class to one of you (a $59 value)!

There are three options to enter the GIVE-away:

  • Leave a comment here on Denise's blog, telling us what room needs some loving in your house
  • Tweet about the give-away using hash-tag #featheringthenest and come back here to tell us
  • Post on Facebook about the giveaway and come back here to tell us

You may absolutely do more than one of these options for a second or third chance to win the seat. Winner will be chosen at random the evening of Thursday, March 28th. They will be sent an email with details immediately.

There is more! As a special thank you to each reader of Denise's poetry, we are honored to offer a 15% discount on the class. Please use the code: BOHOGIRL at checkout to receive your discount!!

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Stephanie Perkinson

Instagram: StephPerkinson Twitter: StephPerkinson Facebook: Wellness by Design – with Stephanie Perkinson

Leah (Cherry) Kent

Twitter: Skillitchef Facebook: Skill It

{The winner is Bea...congrats! You will be contacted shortly}

happy love day & podcasts*

Processed with Cameramatic app.

love comes with, taken with my iPhone

I woke a few hours earlier than usual this morning. I'm sitting at my blue picnic table that we brought inside for the winter. It fits in a womb of three windows surrounding me. My coffee is steaming up to my chin. Chickens are clucking a few feet away from me on the other side of the windows.  The upstairs so quiet, spaces filled with the breath of my boys in deep sleep.  I'm listening to a Marion Woodman podcast.

Just now she said...

"Life on this earth is a womb in which we are developing these sensibilities and sensitivities for the world that we are moving into, through the birth canal of death and those sensibilities that we have developed here that really don't seem to have any particular value on this side, on the other side, we will suddenly realize what they are about.  Just like a baby coming out of the womb, it hasn't needed its eyes and ears and senses in the womb but the minute its born, we understand why this development has been going on for nine months."

This brought me comfort this morning.  It gifted me an ease about those parts of my life that I cannot really make sense of in this moment, yet I know there is meaning and purpose I will one day understand fully.  It offers me the courage to not have to know, now, perhaps ever in this life.

**************

I feel like I am behind the times on many things these days, one of them being Podcasts.  I have yet to indulge in them until recently.  I haven't avoided them consciously.  I just have gone throughout my day forgetting that they are out there to gift me wisdom as I move throughout my day.

A dear friend of mine has been sending me a few that have been moving her deeply. I loved the idea of her going about her day, with a voice of wisdom filling up her home as she wets her hands cleaning dishes or plays on the floor with her son.  I am not sure why it has taken me until this moment to realize how convenient this is for my current lifestyle but I accept that the timing is as it needed to be. Not only can I be filled up with the words filling my home but Cedar or my husband too, even if not consciously.  Reading doesn't come easy to me these days, but this, this I can do.

So I wanted to ask you what some of your favorite Podcasts are.  The ones that shifted everything.  The ones that changed your lives and hearts and if inspired, share a bit about what you learned.

Oh, and...Happy Love Day.  ; )

a fun question*

the coffee she made for me.  she always designs just what i need on the foam.

I was at a local coffee shop that I frequent often. I stood at the register, my eyes moving up and down the menu, feeling a little overwhelmed by the choices and not at all sure what I wanted.

"Do you need help?" the beautiful blue doe-eyed Barista asked.  She's there every time I come in.

"Yes! Yes, I would actually love some help." I responded, blushing. "Today, you look like a lavender white mocha". She said.

I smiled because that drink does feel a bit like something I would choose had I seen it on the menu and I wondered how she knew that about me.

We exchanged a few bright eyed glances and smiles and then she asked while foaming the milk...

"If you could be any role in a movie, what would it be?"

I giggled, surprised by the question and then found my mind drifting to The Princess Bride. That film holds such good memories for me at a time when my life felt so simple and innocent and less complicated.

"Princess Buttercup". I answered.

Her whole face lit up.  "Good one."

Me, the hopeless romantic and lover of long curly hair and beautiful renaissance dresses and believing in someone's word...and in "true love". ; )  I am sure if I had enough time and mindfulness in that moment (without anyone waiting behind me in line), I could have come up with something deeper and perhaps indie but I love my knee-jerk answer, for that moment and how it made me feel.

So now I'd like to turn it over to those that are reading this. If you could play a role/character in a movie, who would it be and why?

{Boho Boy answered "Han Solo"...which is so him!}

the body stories*

When I was asked by the lovely Sas to be part of this project, it felt so so good in my bones. I have been trying to be really conscious about how much I can give right now in my life based on the reserves I have left after being present with what is in front of me. As I have shared here before, saying no in order to take care of myself and my family has been something I have had to learn. But this project gave me that burning in the belly and I knew my voice had a place here. I said yes and I am so glad I did. I am moved by Sas and her desire to help women who want to heal their body relationship. My relationship to my body has been a spiritual journey all on its own...as it continues to be.

These collection of stories about women and their relationship to their bodies is so deeply real and moving and from various perspectives. I was reading through them in the middle of the night in bed, taking deep breaths, wiping my tears, sighing big sighs and feeling so not alone and validated. I found my own ache and celebration and freedom in each of their stories. What we all need, yes?

You can download the free PDF The Body Stories here.

advent bags*

While at my sister's farm last week, my marmie brought me a copy of the latest Better Homes & Garden magazine. She had dog-eared an article about Maria Carr (writer of the blog Dreamy Whites) and her family's french farmhouse in Northern California. She knew I would be attracted to the way Maria expressed herself in her home.

One of the images in the article showed advent bags hung from two birch branches. I was so inspired by the idea! I knew it would suit my home and that our wee gnome would be delighted to climb a ladder and pull out a Wei Chocolate each day until Christmas. ; )

My husband found these birch branches in our back yard. I used two different types of muslin bags that I ordered online, as well as picked up at a craft store. I used dutch butcher twine to tie the branches together and number stamps with brick red ink for the dates.

My marmie also surprised me with a bowl au lait from Maria's shop:

{freshly washed duck and hen eggs from my neighbor}

woman of strength*

Yesterday was an emotional day for me. So much of how I am moving through things these days is very quietly, very inner. So, for my friend to send this to me yesterday morning, having no idea what is transpiring in my world, in that moment, felt like a true-ly divine gift. A whisper of comfort, a song of validation, a nod of grace.

I think this poem is moving around the ether, so perhaps many of you have read it already but it is one of those poems you could read over and over and it would reach you right where you are every single time. I shared it with my sister yesterday, who shared it with my niece and each of us needing it deeply. This is my way of keeping it moving...

WOMAN OF STRENGTH

A strong woman works each and everyday to keep her and her family going But a woman of strength looks deep inside and to Great Spirit to keep her soul growing

A strong woman isn't afraid of anything or anyone But a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear and the unknown

A strong woman won't let anything or anyone get the best of her But a woman of strength gives the best of her to everything and everyone

A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future But a woman of strength realizes life's mistakes are life's blessings and soars because of them

A strong woman walks sure footed and independently But a woman of strength knows when it is best to ask for help

A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face But a woman of strength wears grace

A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey But a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong

~ Rhonda Redbird © 2011

follow your dreams, my love.

When we moved here, Boho Boy arrived first. I was staying with my family for a few days while he drove the big moving truck to Washington. So, he was the first to arrive in our seaside neighborhood, which up until that point, we had never seen. We rented our house via a realtor, the internet and my dear local friend peeking into the windows snapping photos for us. So when Cedar and I arrived in town a few days after Boho Boy, it was SO delightful to drive down our lane for the first time together. He drove really slow, so that we could soak in each of the darling homes tucked into trees on our new street. Before he got to our new home, he stopped at this sweet charming yellow house with purple shutters and white trim and gables at the top. The old crooked white picket fence and its arbor were draped in flowers of all kinds. At that moment, my heart swelled because I had always dreamed of a house that looked like the one in Anne of Green Gables. The essence of this one reminded me of it so. We approached our house and all of my energy, love and attention went into our new abode, although the other home stayed tucked in my heart. Each time we walked by I would say hello to it, allow my eyes to linger on its beauty. When we walk up the stairs to our bedrooms, the window at the middle of the stairs shows a view of the side of the yellow house. Cedar and I always say "hello yellow house!" or "goodnight yellow house!" Down deep in my subconscious, I was considering it a bit of a manifestation. I was so very happy here in our old blue home. Living and loving in the present moment inside of these four walls. But there was something, something drawing me to this other home. I literally felt my heart moving towards the home when I was near.

Well, it just so happens in a few months, we will be moving into the sweet yellow house. It all unfolded a bit magically. As much as I am so in love with the home we are in now, we need an extra room downstairs for guests that are unable to climb up and down stairs. It is important to us that our family and friends visiting are comfortable...especially the elderly ones. So that was our main motivation but truly, its a dream come true. I suppose I am sharing this because I believe so deep that when we visualize what it is we are wanting, it will be realized. It may not come the way we first imagine or in the timing we hope but our dreams are there for a reason. Just like my dream to be a mama was SO different than I imagined or thought I wanted it to be but man, Cedar and how he came into our lives was perfect for us.

One of the first steps is speaking them out loud, yes? I would love to hear some of your dreams. Allow this safe cushy loving space to hold them for you.

warm wind*

Have you ever been standing there in the cold and the clouds begin to part a bit, letting a few sun rays stretch down and all of a sudden a warm wind swooshes in and around you? This happened to me the moment I shot the photo above. I put my phone down and took a deep breath and gazed around at the trees breathing it in, leaning into its warmth, its gentleness. I saw Cedar stand up from his squat over a pile of mud and look down towards the water. The dancing ripples always awe him. We both stood there until it passed through us. I've always believed moments like that are so deeply connected to the Divine. There are messages in those winds for each of us at just the right time and if we remain aware and open to them, we can hear, feel, touch and taste them.

The last few weeks have been full of the kind of depth and beauty and divinity that those rare warm winds bring.

I have been blessed with moments curled up with visiting friends and friends I visited, sharing our hearts, our dreams, our hurts, our process, our rising up out of the ashes and spreading of wings. And with it all there was a moment when I became more aware that I had flown to the other side of it all. Oh, that moment! I remember sitting there feeling a calm, a peace, as I allowed myself to be fully present with my friends, listening to their stories of truly coming into themselves and their art and unearthing online businesses. I didn't feel an urge to be where they were. I didn't feel less than or not enough because I am choosing this year as self care, pulling away from giving of myself in many different areas so my family and I can heal. I felt whole. I felt able to be there for them...fully. It felt easy to support and celebrate without attaching my own story. It felt inspiring to offer wisdom and insight and just a listening ear.  There was this moment when one of them joked with me because I didn't know much of what they were talking about in regards to this famous photographer or that artist or this website and said "You really are living in the woods!" and I laughed and said "Yes, I really am!" and I thought to myself...yes, that is exactly what I wanted for so long. What I am needing. This time of cocooning.  Yet I am also loving how I am able to let that world beyond the woods enter in now and then and not be shaken by it. That is when I know I am in a good, good place. I am where I should be. When I can feel a peace to not be anywhere, anyone or anything else but me...here.  right. now. And that is enough.

Its such a perspective shift. Just like this past weekend while in Vancouver with a few dear soul sisters, we heard someone say "live close to tears" and we all looked at one another with a knowing. Each of us deeply empathic and sensitive people and often misunderstood for such things, yet we always knew those ways of feeling and being were our strength. We knew THAT is what we do:  Live close to tears.   And suddenly it all made sense.

Like those moments when the warm wind blows and your mind goes quiet and you just know. Yes, just like that.

the power of our words*

My husband had a wonderful idea. Every Sunday, we sit together as a family and watch or read something together that moves us. Whether its a paragraph from a book or a video of some sort, it is something considered spiritual to our souls. A message that shifts our way of being, opens our minds, widens our hearts to love deeper. Our plan is to find something during the week and save it for Sunday to share with one another.

My husband found this video (above) and as we cuddled on our couch to watch, I wept. Oh, the power of our words. Something for all of us to meditate on this week. I will share more of our Sunday inspirations with you.

nurturing my tangible world*

taproot magazine

I received a copy of Taproot from my friend Amanda (editor of magazine) in the mail the other day and it couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time. I cherish those serendipitous moments when a loved one in your life connects to you in a cosmic way without conscious intention. Like this morning when I was looking out my upstairs bedroom window, watching the ripples of the water in the bay and imagining they were reaching my friend Jessamyn whom I miss achy so. And in that moment I heard my phone buzz with the words "Just have you on my mind..." and it was her.  Sweet Synchronicity.

Taproot magazine embodies the intention I am putting towards my life right now: "Living Fully, Digging Deeper".  Let me share an excerpt from the publisher Jason Miller that says so much of what I am wanting to cultivate in my life:

"People are taking stock of what's really important in life.  They're reviving skills of their grandparents like gardening and canning, sewing and knitting.  They're meeting neighbors and creating community.  These are real skills, both personal and interpersonal and they happen offline, in the tangible world.  They happen in a place.  People are saying the time for rootlessness is over; I'm ready to plant myself here, come what may."

Oh yes, that is it.  "Tangible World".  That is where I have been.  Reconnecting with a tangible world or moreso, retraining my brain and heart to pour my focus into what surrounds me with less time online.  I have no idea how to garden or can or knit but I am opening up space and time in my life to begin learning.  And when I put that intention out there, I was blessed with the possibility.  My dear friend Julia, who was my next door neighbor when we first moved here, is a farmer and I have asked her if she could come over and teach me how to plant vegetables this Spring.  My other friend Annie, who also used to be my next door neighbor, has asked me to come and knit with her on Wednesdays.  I have only picked up knitting needles once in my life 15 years ago and I gave up after a few tries.  I am more patient in my life now.  And I have more of a yearning.  And I am creating time to be more still.  I am ready.

I am drinking in this magazine like a thirsty woman needing to hydrate.  It feels like every page, every article, photo, quote, recipe...just the whole of it speaks to what I am wanting to create in my life.

Kale has been a huge part of our diet lately and I love it raw but I know not everyone does.  There is an article by Cynthia Lair about massaging kale with sea salt to help take the bitterness out.  I had not yet heard of this trick!  So for 2 minutes I massaged my freshly chopped curly kale with some sea salt and it worked.  My kale salad was AMAZING.

{chopped and massaged kale, diced honey crisp apples, diced red cabbage, roasted pumpkin & sunflower seeds, dried cranberries tossed with a small dollop of poppy seed dressing}

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to participate in this amazing ecourse with a tribe of SOUL~full, POWER~full women.  It was going to be a big commitment and I knew it was going to require much of my energy and time.  It spoke to so many parts of me.  Especially the need to share my gifts with the world and to touch people's lives in a healing way.  It spoke to the Creatrix in me.  It spoke to the power I know I have within me to launch something extraordinary and life altering.  But there was this deep resistance that had nothing to do whether or not I believed I was capable of this.  I knew I  was.  We all are.  But it was more about timing and the simplicity I have been craving.  It was about my family that needed me to be more present.  It was about me knowing I am changing and still in the process of relearning who I am and what I am passionate about now.

Most importantly it was about my health and the health of my boys.  Since living with toxicity in our walls in Southern California, our immune systems have been a bit off.  This winter we have been sick with flu's and colds non-stop as one person gets it, heals and gives it to another and the cycle continues.  At first it was disheartening because I feel I feed my family well and we live in a seaside village with fresh air to fill our lungs.  I had a week or so of feeling depressed about it.  We had come from a home that contributed to illness and I wondered if we had entered into another one.  I really took it on and felt I wasn't doing enough.  When the opportunity to do this ecourse came into my life and I needed to decide where my energy would go, it was then that it became clear to me.  If I have the power to create a legacy with my passions and creativity, then I have the power to help heal my family and in order to fully dive into all the parts of me that make me ME, I need to be well and so do my boys.  The shift from feeling dis-empowered to empowered felt invigorating!

So, I dedicated this year to the year of WELLNESS for my family.  Sort of a continuation of the path I have already set before me but just more of a confirmation that I am going in the right direction.  Just the idea that I am able to focus on nothing else but wellness, released a weight on my shoulders of trying to be ALL things.  I can fill my days with self care and care for my boys and that is enough right now.  And when my body feels healed and my energy returns ten fold, I know opportunities will open up for me, as so will more energy.

Self care to me right now is being really mindful while preparing and eating nourishing foods.  Making time to move my body more (yoga, long walks, dancing).  Creating a beautiful, simple and stress free environment in my home.  Learning to garden both veggies and flowers.  Meditation and prayer.  Setting aside time to connect with souls that see me and nourish my spirit.  Being present for my boys and my family.  Opening myself up to my tangible community.  My energy needs to be nowhere else for now and the permission I gave myself to do this allowed me to feel UNSTUCK from any pressure to do more.  My ecourse, my book and all else that is on the horizon for me is not going away and doing those things, while feeling WELLNESS in my bones will help me to stay more in an authentic space surrounding it all.

Its not easy to go back to the ways of living more simply and quietly when most of the people in my life are rocking their creative passions and building inspiring businesses online (and offline).  The urge to compare can at times bring on not enoughness or loneliness or even a sense of being forgotten.  But those are the moments I have to breathe and remember what is in front of me, what is tangible and what is in alignment with what I am needing right now in my life.  I can honor, celebrate and support my friends but I don't have to be doing what they are doing to be fulfilled.  I have always needed and wanted to follow my own heart and stay authentic to who I am and what I need.

And I am hoping this guy will learn from all of this the importance of listening to your heart and carving out your own path regardless of what is going on around you...

something you learned about yourself*

I tried to post today about our trip to Victoria during Cedar's afternoon nap.  I have some awesome stories and images to share about our time there.  I was all comfy and set up with my veggie frittata (see photo above) and our local plant book and even Cedar's favorite lion near to cuddle me.  But I ended up catching up on email.  I am so behind.  Crazily behind.  My loved ones are the most patient souls on this earth when it comes to me not responding on email or being able to pick up the phone.

Anyways, all this to say that I still wanted to show up but rather than write a post today, I would like to hear from you.  Because the folks that come over to this space are just so awe inspiring and I always learn from your insights and sharings and so do those that read the comments.

So tell me, if inspired to share, what is something you learned about yourself this month?  A message or a moment that helped shift things to a more peaceful space within yourself?  Cedar just woke up, so I must run upstairs and snuggle him good but I will be commenting as well soon.

{for the roasted veggie frittata recipe linked in my post, i replaced cheese with Daiya vegan cheddar cheese and rice milk in place of the light cream and i also added a layer of cooked wild rice at the bottom for texture! it is sooo good. i made it twice and both my boys LOVE it.  see image here.}

awesome news*

elizabeth maccrellish, canon 50d

I am SO excited that The Journal: Volume One has won the 2010 AWARD of EXCELLENCE in the category of ART BOOKS! You can read more about it here.  When I think of this collaboration, so many warm emotions fill up inside my heart.  Elizabeth had a vision years ago of a place for people to gather and create and connect and release and rest and let go and discover more of themselves in a safe, healing and inspiring environment.  It has been thrilling to witness how her vision has interwoven with so much more than what she began with.  She is a rockstar revolution starter and someone very dear to my heart.

On another note, here is another mini list of thoughts on my heart today:

  • My favorite snack these days are seaweed snacks from Trader Joes.
  • I am amazed that Cedar loves them too.
  • I agree with Gemma and her beautiful comment in my previous post.  The connection Cedar had with that duck was definitely soul to soul.  We've gone to the pond a few more times and he was more intrigued and thrilled about being in nature than connecting with the ducks.   I think I felt it with the duck too.  I miss him deeply when we go the pond and send out hope that he is happy with his new family.
  • I am so grateful that my husband let me sleep when Cedar got up at 4:30am...even though he had to leave for work a few hours later.  I love that he understands that being with Cedar all day requires just as much energy as he needs for his day job and that sleep is precious to me in order to be present with our son.
  • He's getting a massage after work because he deserves it.
  • I'm making vegan tacos tonight.
  • I decided to not label my way of eating (vegan, vegetarian, or not, etc.).
  • Labels make me want to break the rules.  I resist being put in a box.  Always have.
  • I am being gentle with myself and my journey with food.
  • I am learning what foods make me feel crappy and which ones make me feel awesome.
  • Sometimes I still eat the foods that make me feel crappy because they taste so good.
  • Does that make me a pleasure junkie?  ; )
  • I love that most of my girlfriends are pleasure junkies.
  • Perhaps that is why they are my girlfriends.

what a gift she is...

shells
grace's hand, canon 50d

I just can't stop thinking about Stephanie.

I discovered her blog from my friend Tara shortly after Stephanie and her husband Christian were in a near fatal plane accident last August. Both of them were burned badly but Stephanie endured the most...over 80% of her body.

I have since followed her story...read back through her archives to get to know her a bit more. I don't have time to read all of the blogs I love right now. But hers is the one I carve out time for. My 10 minutes per day of soaking up someone I deeply admire because she deserves my attention. She is a survivor in every sense of the word and always puts my heart into a healthier, gentler perspective.

I have been enamored with her journey; the way she parents, the way she loves her husband and he loves her, how romance is within every morsel of their relationship to one another and their loved ones, how charming of a life they lived and still live. Enamored with her extended family. Amazed at how her sisters swept up the children post accident and helped parent them while Stephanie and Christian healed in the burn center for 9 months. In awe of how people all over the globe came together to donate and support their need for the best care. So much more. So much more. I just feel my words couldn't express the wide-ness of this family's love and how they all circled together during this time. Her sister Jane's blog is pretty damn amazing as well. She's a great writer, that one. For months she was the communicator of all things Stephanie and Christian during those crucial months at the burn center and now, she's back to sharing her own stuff...with a twist of wit.

You must read Nie's story for yourselves. Her archives are on her right sidebar.

And yesterday she posted a photo of herself for the first time since the accident. She's just shiningly beautiful, isn't she? I am crushing on her and her spirit and am constantly inspired by her bravery, her patience, endurance, selflessness and her unwavering faith (okay and her cute, cute style!).