Category: Family

Come Hang Out With Me!

Community Creating Creative Small Business Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood

Come Hang Out With Me!

On Saturday, February 25, 2018, I’m excited to be leading the following event:

Accepting our Limitations:

A Discussion & Journaling Experience for Mothers Who Are Makers, Artists & Writers

*EVENT DETAILS*

When:                     Saturday, February 25, 2018, 2:00-3:15pm

Where:                    The Common Room, 1509 N. Front Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122

What to bring:       Business cards & a notebook/pen

Cost:                            $13 (includes handmade, natural lip balm!)

Summary:                   Come hang out with Marjorie Sarah, a local soapmaker & blogger, as she leads a discussion for mothers who are makers, artists and writers. Running a business while running a household can pose some unique challenges while simultaneously offering immense fulfillment. Treat yourself to some reflection time at The Common Room, where you’ll have the chance to ponder your personal challenges & limitations through guided journaling questions and walk away with some new connections and resources to use both in your mother and artist roles.

To register: http://thecommonroomphilly.com/events/ 

Please share with anyone who may be interested. I look forward to the opportunity for connection, discussion and reflection.

xo,
Marjorie Sarah

 

 

 

Photo by Beatriz Pérez Moya on Unsplash

 

View From My Top Bunk of A DC Hostel

Adventures & Travel Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Self-care Simplicity Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

View From My Top Bunk of A DC Hostel

Just over two months ago, I made my way to Washington, D.C. on a train alone.

It always amazes me how life throws you bones. I won passes to a yoga conference in Arlington and I truly don’t even recall entering the raffle. The email appeared on an August day and it was just what I needed once October rolled around.

This fall proved to be one that I bumped up against my edges more times than I felt comfortable with. With two major transitions for my children (to Kindergarten and Preschool) coupled with Sean adding a part-time writing job that involved deadlines to his already full-time workload, I felt crumbly and crackly. Too many transitions for just a few short weeks. But we made it through!

Here’s what I can remember from my adventure…

When I’m out of the house and out of my norm (In this season of my life, I spend most of my time taking care of little children at home and working at home), I marvel at how many people I share this world with. SERIOUSLY how MANY people. I feel like I’m seeing with new eyes when I’m out and alone. A major reframe.

How have I missed all of this activity?

Observing people in motion, in a hurry, in a flurry…on their way.

I remember vividly feeling this way once I started working in the city again after my maternity leave – as if I’d been in the slow lane and somehow was propelled on a highway but I was in a wagon.

Where’s everybody going? I thought.

I live in a bubble of simplicity and all I long for is simplicity yet I don’t even realize that’s my life until I step into the complex web that is the world.

Here’s a note I wrote to sean from the trip:

Dear Sean,
I’m terribly sorry for being so selfish & so dramatic.
I really miss you guys. It’s excruciating to be away & has been all day but I’m sure this is healthy for all of us. I love you!

 

After my SEPTA/Amtrak adventure, I arrived in Washington’s Union Station and hopped the D.C. city bus to Adams Morgan. My dad never drove when we were kids, so it usually feels most natural to hop on a crowded city bus and settle in for the ride. I always think of it as the best tour in a new city – the windows are so BIG on the bus!

I was super nerdy and excited as I entered the High Road hostel with my yoga mat. Everyone was so youthful and hipster. I didn’t care how much I didn’t fit in! I checked in and headed out for dinner and beer with my journal and I adored every second. I love dining out alone and I always thought that was the best part of work travel.

I came back to the hostel to snuggle up alone on my top bunk, read and write. It was 8pm on a bustling street in Adams Morgan and I had a feeling I’d need my earplugs.

High Road Hostel

I was the first one asleep and the first one to leave my 6 person dorm at 6am the next day. I walked to a breakfast spot and jumped over trash and rats from the partying that ended just a few hours prior. I squealed and gagged. It was disgusting. I started to miss home and thought of my treasured early morning ritual in my little piece of the planet.

After coffee and a breakfast I’d rather forget, I checked in with my people who were getting ready to hit the soccer fields for the Saturday morning games. Ping…awww man. I missed them.

Hopped my ride to Arlington where I spent the day with yogis in a university setting and also had my photos taken! Part of the winning the trip was winning a yoga photo shoot! It was too much fun.

All photos from here down are by Mina Habibi.

Willing myself NOT to tip over for this photo!

I remember a loving-kindness focused class that had me in tears as we circled with our hands resting in the center of the next person’s back.

I remember a class on Spiritual Activism that challenged the way equality is defined and measured. I remember being encouraged to think about who we are vs. who we think we are.

I remember having oh so much fun with the amazing photographer Mina!

Corinne, this one’s for you!

But most importantly, I remember the clarity I got just by being away from my normal life for 24 hours.

: )

I spent three uninterrupted hours quietly making my way back to Philadelphia. Thinking about my time away and listening to two of my favorite podcasts. The first one was this one. And the second one was this one.

That second one really made me remember what I was thinking about the night prior – how much  privilege I have had my entire life. Stories like these make me motivated to keep going and when I think it’s too much, to simply remember all of the resources that I have access to, to use them and be grateful for them, but to also be the resource for someone else.

Everything that had worn me down in the weeks leading up to the trip still remained once I’d returned home, but everything inside of me had shifted.

Natural Lip Balm

 

 

My Sister

Family Identity Inspiration Simplicity

My Sister

She is beautiful – inside & out.
I believe we chose each other before we became Jill & Marjorie
We are so alike,
We are so different.

Between us four kids – each boy/girl combos
“So fun to parent one of each,” we say.
Different people on different paths alongside each other
Enjoying the stories and the lessons that the other gathers and collects.

Always my protector when we were little.
“Get in the car, Marge.”
She’d tell me, she’d shield me.
Now both adults, we shift and offer/receive protection as needed.

Our lives always intertwined,
Our growth aligned.

Siblings are interesting as I parent a set
They fight and they play
Always having their partner there
Growing up & being sibling friends
Savoring a treat that life lends.

 

 

In Love

Family Inspiration Simplicity Spiritual Exploration

In Love

As we approach our 9th wedding anniversary this month, I keep feeling pulled to explore what my marriage means to me. Reading Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage had me thinking more on this topic as I enjoy stories of love, partnership and relationships.

“However much we describe and explain love, when we fall in love we are ashamed of our words.”

-Rumi

When I try to put words to why I love Sean, it feels impossible, because it is. I start to say, he’s awesome, he’s funny, I love hanging out with him, he gets me, he puts up with my antics…but that’s not why I love him. I love him because I just love him.

“He’s your lobster!”

– Phoebe from Friends

Sean and I had some kind of magnetic energy since our senior year of high school. Love at first sight, if you will. However, we didn’t know that feeling was love then, having never been in love. I feel somewhat certain that he and I have had past lives together and hopeful that the relationship will continue on and on in future lifetimes.

I feel compelled to share my love story because I believe love changes things. I believe love changes EVERYTHING actually.

“Love is the remedy.”

-Zac Brown Band

This man, I call my husband, became my best friend when we were still kids. We entered adulthood together, found our way together and discovered many layers of ourselves alongside each other.

Sean was deployed with the Air Force and I spent a semester abroad in college, so three separate times our relationship spanned the Atlantic Ocean and when your love is young, as ours was at that time, that is brutal. The few times we said goodbye to each other, knowing it would be months until we got to see each other again, I sobbed uncontrollably at the airports alone.

One particular deployment Sean was stationed near Frankfurt, Germany and I went to visit him for a week. We traveled all over in our rental car, flying down the audobon listening to European music we didn’t know having the time of our lives. We drove through snowstorms, had our car break down and discovered adventures waiting for us in Berlin.

One of the stops on this road trip was in the Medieval town of Rothenburg. Super cute town but the time of year we went it was dead. Nothing to do, nothing going on. Zilch. When you’re 24 and ready to party, that’s a bummer. There was an Italian pizza place across the street and we went there three nights in a row and drank loads of their house wine and ate pizza as if it was the place to be. It was better than the clubs.

On our Honeymoon in St. Lucia, December 2008

I think we’ve had three chances to partner up in this lifetime and I’m happy the 3rd time worked out.

  1. We realized that both of our dads were in the same Roofer’s Union in Philadelphia and we both attended their holiday parties when we were kids. Too soon.
  2. Then when we were in high school, our worlds collided, but quickly divided when we went our separate ways to different colleges. Hit then miss.
  3. Finally, when we crossed paths again once Sean came home from a deployment in Cyprus, the time was then for us to be together. And we basically were ever since. Perfect timing.

I remember the day that my friend called me telling me he was really coming home from overseas. I was crossing Broad street in Philadelphia and I was on my cell phone and stopped in the middle of the street, nearly getting hit by a car. I was so excited and in complete shock.

It was in a driveway in Lawncrest later that night that he told me he’d basically drop whatever he had going on to be with me. Wait, what did he say??? It took more than a couple weeks for me to realize what had been said.

“Explanation by the tongue makes most things clear, but love unexplained is clearer.”

-Rumi

Someone once told me that couples who make it through the years still argue about the same things they always have, they just change the way they argue. It is something that has always touched me as we transitioned into parenthood and now as our family grows.

A note I wrote to Sean for something I was sorry about

So as Sean and I each journey on our own paths of self-awareness and even self-study I see that we have shifted the way in which we argue and it actually makes us stronger – disagreements and all.

“Then your heart changes your mind and it changes you.”

-Zac Brown Band

Gone are the wild days of driving around anywhere at anytime seeking all the adventure we could find. We did it all, I bet you have too. Often it was just us two finding fun at a Phillies game, out in Center City or going to Dorney Park. We’d drink a million beers talking about everything we could think of with Van Morrison in the background. We’d mention that strange feeling of love at first sight, or knowing there was just something different about the other one. We needed to be together.

“We were young and wild
They say nothing good’s
Gonna last forever
We were pedal to the metal
And always together
When I look back I just smile”

-Zac Brown Band

And together we were. I didn’t have a driver’s license for the first 10 years of our relationship – so we went nearly everywhere together. For TEN YEARS! Like everywhere. Then we both got sick of that. Haha.

Moving in together at 20 years old was fun yet challenging. Our friends were living in dorms or at home still and we were figuring out how to split the bills. The upside is that it gave us practice and by the time the wedding came, we had it somewhat figured out.

“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”

-Rumi

Sean has two hands together that hold me up in precisely the areas I need support. And I try to be that same support for him.

One time when I was going through a major transition, he didn’t recognize me but told me that he understood I was like a flower and I needed to grow. I didn’t think I could have loved him more than I did in that moment.

When I was feeling black and blue
I could always count on you
You always made me new
Always made me new

-Zac Brown Band

When we lived in Center City we would often wander the streets and go for long walks and talk for hours. We were bored and broke but we had each other. Those are some of my favorite memories.

Lunch in Playa del Carmen, June 2017

Today walks are for carrying scooters and yelling “Wait at the corner!!!!” to the kids. Our exchanges are checklists of family to do’s and asking the kids to please SHHHSH so we can communicate. Often we only have the chance to talk for real when we are both exhausted and half asleep. Our lives are different now but we still have each other and every once in a while when we do get to spend meaningful time together, it’s just as fun as it’s always been.

An Accurate Family Portrait

I am continuously blown away by the forces and circumstance that united us. I have much gratitude in my heart for this, my most precious friendship and partnership in this lifetime. Nine years of marriage has shown me love,

A Night Out in Mexico

compassion, patience, frustration, compromise and companionship.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our love story. I’d love to hear yours and consider featuring it on my blog. Email me at mslipbalm at gmail dot com.

With Love,

Marjorie Sarah

 

 

I wanna get lost in some corner booth
Cantina Mexico
I wanna dance to the static of an A.M. radio
I wanna wrap the moon around us and lay beside you skin on skin
Make love ’til the sun comes up, ’til the sun goes down again
‘Cause I need you

-Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

 

Difficulty & The Lessons We Aren’t Up For

Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

Difficulty & The Lessons We Aren’t Up For

Oh hello there again, Shit I don’t want to deal with
How’d you find me?
I’ve been hiding from you
Secretly.

I don’t have time for this
It’s early and there’s so much to do
I turn my head and feel a ping of realization
I have it all backwards here

Those things I have to do
Are not my lessons
They are the distraction
From the work

Right here, in the messy fears and tears of those plugged into me
Is the “to do”
The entire freaking list
Is screaming at me
They need me

I breathe and switch gears
How could I have nearly missed this chance again
The chance to show up
The opportunity to change the day

These are the moments I prepare so attentively for
Through mantras and silence and yoga
And they come and then I trip, with disappointment in my heart
But not this time

It wasn’t perfect
But I tried
Grateful for the opportunity
Maybe tomorrow I’ll be a little bit stronger

 

 

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

3 Ways to Support a Breastfeeding Mother & Other Breastfeeding Resources

Family Inspiration Motherhood

3 Ways to Support a Breastfeeding Mother & Other Breastfeeding Resources

Breastfeeding, like parenting, unexpectedly altered everything about me. I found it an avenue to dive into the topics of food, health, well being, parenting and attachment and an opportunity to connect with like-minded people on a topic that has endless opportunities to learn about myself, my growing baby and my body.

My breastfeeding journey with each of my children was unique, but had many similarities. I found much support and direction from a group of smart, supportive women in my community (La Leche League of Montgomery County East). I also pulled from a variety of resources to collect tools and emotional support along a journey that shifted my view and reframed my perspective on mothering through breastfeeding.

My shadow at Wilder Park (outside Chicago), the birthplace of La Leche League. I had to find my way there and it was worth it.

 

Perhaps you are the partner of a breastfeeding mother or the grandparent of a breastfed baby and you find yourself in unusual territory. Here are 3 ways to show your support for the woman you love:

  1. Go get a glass of water and set it in front of a breastfeeding mother.

    Don’t ask if they want it, they NEED it and it will be much appreciated. There were many times when I’d sit down to nurse and the second Brady or Meadow latched on, an overwhelming sense of thirst took over me. A friend once suggested creating “water stations” around the house and just leaving water bottles where you frequently nursed. That is such good advice!

  2. Show interest in hunger cues and encourage feeding.

    There are signs that a newborn gives when they are hungry. Here’s a handy tool to interpret them. Learning to notice them is like having a conversation with the little baby in your life without words.

    I often felt worried that I was feeding my son too often. Once I realized how easily and efficiently breastmilk is digested, I understood that he wasn’t being a bugger when he was hungry just 30 minutes after a feeding, but that his body had efficiently processed his milk and was ready for some more! Our first pediatrician warned me not to be the pacifier and further warned against nursing for comfort. I was perplexed by that because I felt that was my job and the beauty in breastfeeding – I was providing food and drink along with comfort and security. I could not love this essay more – on the beauty of being a human pacifier.

  3. Provide a pillow and reading material. 

    It’s the little things, but these make a HUGE difference!

Because I had so many supportive mothers who had been where I was to help me on my breastfeeding journey, I choose to offer the same support in return serving as a La Leche League Leader for 2+ years. No matter if your goal is one week or 5 years, you may have many questions – from technical to emotional – and hopefully some of these resources at the bottom may offer guidance.

Resources

  • The most helpful book I found was The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. You can buy it through the local LLL group I mentioned above for $10.
  • Infant Risk Center – If you are taking a medication, say getting a cavity filled, or whatever, call them and they will talk to you about the latest research on whether or not to nurse the baby and how soon. I called multiple times and spoke to a real human.
  • United States Breastfeeding Committee – Leadership, advocacy and collaboration resource.
  • Embarrassed: Spoken Word by Holly McNish – a beautiful spoken word piece of her experience breastfeeding in public. It gives me chills every time.

And if you are passionate about supporting breastfeeding mothers – support them! Much of the research states that the community around a nursing mother is one of the most important tools to help her meet her personal goals.

Go to local meetings of whatever group makes sense to you and volunteer or host a gathering. La Leche League has annual local conferences that I attended and even co-led a session and those were very fulfilling and exciting learning opportunities.

Happy Breastfeeding!

xo,

Marjorie Sarah

 

Top Photo Credit: Pixabay 

 

A September Like No Other

Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity

A September Like No Other

Holy smokes, what an emotional roller coaster.
Just left Meadow’s preschool meeting – she starts tomorrow.
Don’t be alarmed if she doesn’t speak to you, I say.
Last week my little man marched off to kindergarten.
The excitement, the fears, the new world opens; it suddenly appears.

Time has switched all up on me.
No morning quiet, where is my meditation?
Packing lunch, walking to the bus, breakfast chats.
Days are choppy, different, busy, slow, busy, slow.
I hurry then wait, then hurry, then I wait.

I love preparing the lunch containers, the meals.
I love after school chats and getting the scoop on all that went down that day.
There’s so much joy to be found in the small things like these.

I see the road next to school and as I drive along I realize this: for the next eight years I will be parking, waiting and looping around there for the elementary school pickup.
And I love it. This job of being the mom, the container to both hold it all and serve as a launch pad is again a paradox.
The beauty and the letting go all tangled up.
They are ours but not to keep, just to snuggle & let soar.

Happy September,

xo, Marjorie Sarah

 

 

Photo by Marko Blažević on Unsplash

Creating Clean Beauty Care

Family Inspiration Self-care Simplicity

Creating Clean Beauty Care

It feels unavoidable, everywhere I see stories about the dangers of using beauty products that are full of known toxins and hormone disruptors. Perhaps that’s because I have an interest in that topic and seek it out – who knows? Regardless, I thought it might be worth sharing some good resources in this area in case you have it on your list of things to research. It’s actively been on my list for years and that’s essentially why I began making my own lip balm and soap. If I’m already doing the homework, might as well share my notes.

I choose not to use fragrances in my lip balm, soap and bath salts because I started making these products to avoid those very things. I prefer plant based scents that essential oils provide and clay for natural colorants.

Mother's Day Gift Set
Peace Gift Set

I enjoy making a lot of personal care and cleaning products for my family, some of them don’t work well but many of them are exactly what I needed and all I did was scrounge up a bunch of ingredients around my house that I already had. *Special note, I do not enjoy the actual cleaning part.     : )-

It helps if I remind myself that I don’t need the perfect mason jar bottle with a cute label to get the job done. An old spray bottle or random jar has more often than not been the trusty container. And it doesn’t need to be instagram worthy, it just needs to make my family healthier. (I save the mason jars for my bath salt orders!)

Some good resources on this topic include:

If you’re more of a listenerThe Living Experiment

This episode goes into good detail on parabens, phalates and SLS and why to avoid them.

If you’re more of an online researcherThe Environmental Working Group

This website has been a go-to for me for years. They have a feature in the app where you can scan a barcode of the product and, if they’ve researched it, the score and details come up. They also produce a worthwhile sunscreen guide that I use every summer for my family.

If you’re a book in hand typeThe Honest Life, The Natural Beauty Solution, and Pure Soapmaking, and Kinder Homes: 50 Ideas for Creative Living are on my bookshelf.

I hope some of the resources shared above are helpful to you. Please share your favorite resources on the topic if you have any goodies!

xo,
Marjorie

 

A Game Changer

Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity

A Game Changer

Every once in a while, you meet someone or read something that touches you so deeply that it literally changes your life.

In the summer of 2012, when I was only a mother for about 6 months, I was walking through Suburban Station in Philadelphia as I had every day for years. Breastpump and work bag in hand, I hurried to my platform but out of the corner of my eye a magazine cover pulled me immediately towards it. The cover is the one you see above. You may have seen it, read it or read about it. It started a large conversation.

Written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, a top woman in government at that time, this op-ed article shook me to the core – in a good way. Her main message was that the infrastructure of “work” in America is incompatible at times with a woman’s need/desire/want to be available to her family while still maintaining a serious and escalating career.

Anne-Marie found that by the time her sons were in their teen years, she needed to be with them more and stepped down from a major career role to switch gears back to academia to be more available and closer to home. She lived in Princeton, but only on the weekends. At that time, Slaughter was commuting to Washington, D.C. Monday through Friday and was with her family on the weekends only.

Okay, so that is completely unlike most of our lives, I know. Her message wasn’t even to leave the workforce altogether and be with you children, but somehow that planted the seed for me that it was OK for me to do so. And that has become one of the most OK moves I’ve ever made.

Shocked by the desire to be a stay at home parent, I literally didn’t recognize the emotion at first. The incessant pull to move away from a career that I had been working towards and in the direction of my life at home felt alien to me. A life of singing and dancing, pajamas and walks in the park. Literally. Let’s remember this was a day when I had one child and I was so elated to be home that every single day felt like vacation. Like all honeymoons, that wore off, and I write about that love its evolution here and here. Nonetheless, I still love my life at home parenting with all the new challenges it presents to me each season.

So when I saw this smart, career driven woman identify a flaw in the system and see that it is literally at odds (yet possible) to have a career and a growing family, I felt connected to her. Even though our lives could not be more different, even though she was not telling me to go and be with my family and throw my career to the wind. I saw a deeper message in her story which was one I’ve chosen to live by – you have to follow your heart and do what feels right for your family and your inner compass.

I’d like to clarify that I see having a career and a growing family as an amazing choice for many women, just that it was not for me when my children were babies. I could not handle the mental challenge, the constant switching of roles between work and home. I felt constantly interrupted and that broke me down. I literally fell apart inside. I was physically ill all the time. I also still feel like a piece of me is a failure because of this. Why couldn’t I just make it work like so many others? Why couldn’t I hold it together?

I admire the women that can handle the juggle and I know that is a weakness of mine. But I’ve chosen to turn it into a strength by making my life at home as rich and fulfilling as I choose. And now that my kids are growing and they are both older than 3, I’m starting to feel the pull to be away a bit more. So I’m turning towards developing a work life that makes me feel alive and lets me create. Creative small business is where I’ve found a new home in the work world and although it’s light years different than a political career in Washington, D.C., the work makes me come alive.

Were it not for Slaughter and this piece, I’m not sure I’d have come to the realization that it was time for me to leave the paid workforce for some years, find my center at home, refuel and move on in the new direction I find myself.

Treasure Hunting

Adventures & Travel Community Family Inspiration Simplicity

Treasure Hunting

I wrote this a few months ago and forgot about it. My memory lost all these details already, so happy I saved them here. Enjoy and let me know what treasures you find if you go hunting!

 

“Now I know why you said this would be a treasure hunt,” said my five year old son, Brady, as we made our way through the Bryn Athyn Thrift Store on a Thursday afternoon.

We went for pajamas and left with treasures (and one pair of pajama pants for the little man). A win all around. For some reason, Meadow insisted on taking her shoes off multiple times while we were shopping in the big old barn. I’ll never know why. There are feasts for the eyes everywhere you turn. The decor was so fun to look at with old tools hanging on the walls and historic photos of the area and barn nearly everywhere. The kid/toys area was the most fun.

The Barn Thrift Shop
The Barn Thrift Shop

Anyone who knows me, most likely knows that Brady is quite arguably the most dedicated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan. Our neighbor across the street kindly gave Brady some old TMNT action figures that were her son’s when she was cleaning out the basement. These are the best kind of toys! They hold stories and memories and he still plays with them more than a year later.

Whoa!

Recently he expressed that he wanted to complete his “old school classic” turtle collection. I talked about how they don’t make those guys anymore but perhaps we could go on a treasure hunt to different thrift stores and see what we might find. He was intrigued. But I could tell he didn’t really know what I was alluding to.

So today at the thrift shop we found the toy area and there was a full bin of action figures (!). Although we did not find the “old school classic” Leonardo that was first on his list, we did find some more recent happy meal TMNT toys and his face LIT UP! For $.50 each, he got Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael happy meal toys without the meal! It was so exciting!

TMNT Treasure: FOUND

Meadow found two new babies for $1 each and I got a new shirt! Walking through all the dishes and books and replacement coffee pots was so much fun. The craziest thing is that I never even saw or heard of the happy meal toys Brady scored today but when we got home he told me, “You know mommy it’s a funny thing. I thought of those happy meal turtles this morning and was hoping I would get them.”

The Barn Thrift Shop
Outside the thrift shop, how pretty