Category: Simplicity

Book Club! Chasing Slow

Books Community Identity Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity

Book Club! Chasing Slow

Three women, three yogis, three friends – that’s how it started, our book club. We are all so different yet so the same and that is the recipe for great conversation, good fun and the most exciting start to our book club!

The “club” consists of Kate, the hiking/cereal/yoga loving beauty who is my husband’s birthday twin. The similarities between these birthday twins are uncanny, and I love to spot them! Kate is a go-getter and bride-to-be with whom I can (and have) talked for hours on end about everything under the sun and moon and it is one of my favorite activities.

Beth is the brunette beauty who the universe called to be my friend. It wasn’t spooky at all the Halloween that she answered the door to a house my little goblins were trick-or-treating at. It was exciting! Mainly because I’d known Beth from my professional days commuting on the train. We had been friendly from seeing each other daily but when I met her again, it was such a pleasant surprise. Her and her husband came over for dinner soon after and the rest is history. Oh and she’s a celebrity on Ireland. I swear!

We are all at different stages in our life – Kate on the brink of marriage, Beth just coming out of the newlywed season and I am knee deep in motherhood. They keep me young and teach me all the trendy things that I don’t even know exist, although I don’t think I’ve admitted just how out of the loop I am to them. hehe.

Onto the book selection. Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner could not have been a better choice. It’s a read about life, identity, insecurities, motherhood and self – topics that are so dear to me and that I think and write about often. I’ve been moved to tears many times throughout the book, because I can relate to her stories and because they are just oh so beautiful.

We talked for 3 glorious hours about our pick, using the “Conversation Starters for Self Discovery, Courage and Truth” that the Chasing Slow team sent us as a thank you to pre-ordering the book! I know, SO COOL! We learned more about each other, and I think even about ourselves, as we thought through our answers and sipped kombucha, wine, beer and snacked on broccoli and cookies. I KNOW!

Erin articulates parts of motherhood that are so universal yet so hard to put words to at times. I can taste the experiences she talks about. I’ve had the same thoughts, visions and realizations. The same struggles of where do the kids end and where do I begin? The same wondering of who am I without a job? The same anxieties. The same journey in search of  so many things to be halted in the middle with tears in my eyes and on my hands wondering where the heck I am going and why.

The same but different. Because this is Erin’s story. Her bravery in telling it so true and raw is so inspirational and refreshing. Her peek into feelings of online life and work are rare. I find it hard to find honesty in the over-staged online world that I love so much and here in these pages, you find it. The most amazing thing to me is that Erin doesn’t throw up her hands and close her online accounts because they are superficial at times or part of the race to perfection. She continues to work and find balance and truth and brings her true self to the game. That is the best part and the hardest part.

How do we show up now that we know the rules? Now that we know you can look perfect in an instagram photo or facebook post…”Look how much fun I’m having!” Now that we know this, how do we balance it with truth in our everyday interactions? For me, I try to post real things – like messes and feelings – along with staged beauty, because sometimes you really do need a filter to make the picture look pretty right? Or do you?

 

 

Frugal Fun With a Little One!

Adventures & Travel Community Family Inspiration Simplicity

Frugal Fun With a Little One!

The possibilities for fun are endless when you’re a stay-at-home-parent. Unless you’re having a bad day, then it feels impossible to plan an adventure (for me, at least). So I keep a list of fun ideas for each season handy for days when we want to go out and about but don’t have much money to spend or for days when we just NEED to get out of the house.

When my oldest was in preschool one morning last week, me and my youngest, Meadow, went over to Be Well Cafe in Bryn Athyn. It’s simply adorable there. They are in a new space, a few doors down from their previous location, and the energy and flow in there are invigorating! I can grab a tea and get a little treat for Meadow for $5 while we sit and enjoy and chat.

be well bakery and cafe
be well bakery and cafe

 

The best thing about the new location is that they have an adorable play space for little ones complete with a wall chalkboard, kitchen, books and action figures. Different toys = happy kids. It gets crowded almost always, but that’s ok. After we had some fun we hopped in the car for a 2 minute drive to the Huntingdon Valley Library where they (obviously) have a beautiful book selection, but OH MY, the toys! Full size wooden kitchen, dollhouse, giant trucks and more. Meadow made me lunch 5 times at the library kitchen and it was delicious. They have all the fun ingredients – wooden jars with removable lids and pretend milk cartons! I sat at the kid table and soaked in the sunshine by the huge window. It made me smile.

The only problem was the not wanting to leave. It was the first time I was late for a preschool pickup! Eeeek.

Huntingdon Valley Library
Huntingdon Valley Library

 

Some of our other local frugal favorites in Montgomery County, PA include:

  • Briar Bush Nature Center – Free for Abington residents, very small fee for others. Live turtles! Snakes! Real bugs! Trails to explore and a bird watching house that is creepy in a fun way (at least to me). Clean bathrooms. They offer affordable camp options and fun looking birthday parties (neither of which we have experienced yet). Of note, I did not find the trails to be stroller friendly, so pack or borrow a baby carrier.
  • Meadowbrook Farm – This tiny little gem is one of my FAVORITE places on earth. I love to just visit and explore the grounds and the garden center. This is FREE, parking is easy and once you park you get a little red plant wagon to pull around for fun! We don’t usually buy plants (more on that later)…well ok it’s later, I need a lot of help keeping plants alive. But we LOVE them! A magical path of wonderful greens and flowers leads you to a crossroad, and you decide your fate. Travel right for the garden center and explore the nooks and crannies of the greenhouse full of hanging terrariums, cute gifts and creative pots and plants OR turn left and explore the historical grounds and see fountains and ferns and statues and lily pads! Whichever you choose, you will not be disappointed.
  • Meadowbrook Bird Sanctuary – This is across the street from Meadowbrook Fam. This is a slice of peace. Here you find a small patch of earth full of winding trails and cozy benches. Little birdhouses and a children’s garden. The link is old but the pictures look just like I remember. We usually bring a picnic lunch. The kids love to chase each other with the butterfly nets from the children’s garden.
  • Library Cultural Passes – This simply makes me giddy!!! Many of the libraries in Montgomery County have passes to awesome places (that cost a lot of dollars to get in) for FREE! Yep! We are kinda like library groupies. We are ALWAYS at one of our local branches. Lingering. Jumping around. Occasionally we read there but the kids really like to frolic and we leave with huge stacks of books that we read at home. My mom banned me from the library when I was younger because I’d get a million books and apparently lots of late fines. I still get tons of books today but I’m much more organized about renewing them.

I hope this inspires some frugal fun with your little one! Depending on your interests, these could even be fun for a solo-self-care quiet day alone or a sweet date with someone you love.

xo,

Marjorie

Inspiration Simplicity Yoga/Mindfulness

see the good

I usually begin my morning meditations with the line, “Fill yourself up with love and compassion, you are a worthwhile and compassionate being.” Sometimes it just feels right and sometimes I need the reminder.

I listen to a lot of personal development content and it consistently reminds me to see the good in everything that comes my way. Most of the time this task comes naturally to me, so I enjoy it. Sometimes I’m consumed with anxiety and all I can see is blurry tension, but those occurrences have definitely decreased in the past few years.

When I’m in line at a store and someone comments on “How scary the world is today,” or “How crazy everyone is,” or “How it’s different today than it used to be,” (and by different they mean terrible) … I just say “Hm.” What I want to say is, “When I look for good and beauty, I see it everywhere.” Or, “Statistically speaking, it’s technically safer these days than it was when my parents grew up, crime rates are actually lower.” Thanks for pointing that one out to me Emily!

I always want to choose to see the good. The good in people, the good in someone else’s words and intentions, the good in the difficult lesson that may be so painful for me to understand or come to terms with. Doing this can be effortless at times, or it can be consuming and exhausting and leave me questioning everything. Regardless, I’m always working to see the good. Operative word = working.

Shine and smile,
Marjorie

Creating Creative Small Business Inspiration marjorie sarah's product line Simplicity

Why I love making lip balm, and everything else…

I think I’m addicted to creating things. It’s an outlet for me, like many others. I’ve always loved to scrapbook, read, journal, bake, make just about anything I could get my hands and glue on. Once I start the process, things just flow because I get really excited. I move so fast that I make mistakes but then I laugh at them as evidence that I was in my creative brain and not my critical brain – which is where I really want to be!

I’ve always loved science, labs especially, where you get to mix stuff up. I think that’s part of the reason I’m really enjoying mixing up so many batches of lip balms lately. And bath salts. And lotion. And sugar scrubs. And makeup. And deodorant. Sean couldn’t stop me if he tried! Hehe – well, actually he doesn’t try, he only ever encourages me and supports me and helps me with the recipes when lots of numbers are involved. He’s the best. Remember in high school when you had to convert cm to inches or mL to gallons? NOW I get it! This is why! When I’m converting drops of essential oils in order to perfect the dilution amount, I need to know that stuff so that I can understand the percentages. Ahhh, it’s all coming full circle.

I’m feeling blessed and hugged by life and the energy around me is fluffy. A good fluffy. I’m continuing to search for gratitude and the days when I’m constantly complaining, in my head or with my mouth, I struggle and strive to remember that this life is what I make of it. And sometimes that’s enough to rope me back in. And sometimes I need yoga or a cup of tea to ground my feet and not fall out of the “tree pose” that is my life.

much love this holiday season radiates from me to you!

xo, marjorie sarah

Books Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Self-care Simplicity

Gift From the Sea – my personal takeaway

A close friend recommended I read Gift From The Sea. I realized why it sounded so familiar, it was a book I’d seen for years on my mom’s bookshelf, completely unaware of what treasures filled its pages. I asked my mom if I could borrow it. We arrived on vacation and my mom brought me my own copy – one that she had purchased for her mom years ago. The bookmark still remained. It is one of those bookmarks with your name and the meaning. Being that I was named after my mom’s mom, it’s extra special that the bookmark says “Marjorie.”
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I started the little book on vacation and finished it soon after my return home. It seems appropriate to share my thoughts with other mothers at a similar stage in motherhood where I find myself and where I understand Anne Morrow Lindbergh found herself when she authored it.
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Written in 1955, 60 years ago, I was struck by her take on the world all those years ago. Much of it speaks to me as if it were written this morning. Modern amenities and endless distractions that make life busier and more challenging at times…I can relate! How we are fortunate enough to have the option to choose how complex or simple our lives are. That made me think about my choices and what do they say about me? How solitude and space are necessary for a woman to grow and be and think. How it felt as if she was losing an appendage when she said goodbye to her family for some time away but once she was gone, she knew it would all be ok.
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Morrow Lindbergh beautifully provided insights to the ebbs and flows of relationships – relationships between romantic partners, sisters, mother and child – using her treasured seashells as metaphors. Many of you may find yourself in what the author described as the “Oyster Bed.” Here is how she describes it:

“It is an oyster, with small shells clinging to its humped back…Sprawling and uneven…It looks rather like the house of a big family, pushing out one addition…to hold its teeming life…It is untidy, spread out in all directions, heavily encrusted with accumulations.” (80, Morrow Lindbergh)

I know that sounds much like my oyster bed of a house. Amazingly awesome and full of life yet chaotic and almost crazy making at times when everyone including the dog beckons me for breakfast simultaneously. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t like it. These are the days of my life.

She reminds us how therapeutic work can be when we are not rushed and how simple pleasures of earth and conversation are fulfilling. When she talks of “purposeful giving” she perfectly explains it as:

“Is not as apt to deplete one’s resources; it belongs to the natural order of giving that seems to renew itself even in the act of depletion. The more one gives, the more one has to give – like milk in the breast.”

And she further explains,

“Even purposeful giving must have some source that refills it. The milk in the breast must be replenished by food taken into the body. If it is the woman’s function to give, she must be replenished too. But how?” (47-48, Morrow Lindbergh)

 

I’m so grateful for the personal essays Anne shared with me and so many for the past 60 years. Her reflections answer her question of how to replenish and what those moments of solitude and intention did to refuel her soul.

Creating Family Identity Inspiration Motherhood Simplicity

Packing up the “Professional attire” …for now

I’ve officially been a stay at home mom for two months now and we just got around to packing up the “professional attire.” Felt kinda good, strange, cool and neat. I was remembering all the times I wore each fancy garment and wondered what it will be like the next time I unpack the box. Until then, me and the little man are living the good life, pajama filled mornings and afternoon dance parties all the way.

Creating Identity Inspiration Simplicity Spiritual Exploration Yoga/Mindfulness

My Primary Interests

On December 11, 2012, a date that I was feeling a little lost in the Universe, I made a list and named it My Primary Interests. They are in no particular order. At a time when I was feeling pretty detached from these primary interests, mainly because I was in a career that was in no way a good fit for me after leaving my kinda-good-fit-career-that-just-wasn’t-working-at-the-time, it felt good to have them in writing and I’d read them every so often to remind me of the things I like to entertain my brain with.

I’m happy to report that I’ve never felt more at home in my career as a stay and home mom/wife and I’m elated, shocked and surprised at how much I’ve settled into the role in such a short period. It’s kinda amazing to me how unstressful and simple some household activities can be when that is what you are mainly focusing on. I still struggle with a lot of the same issues I’ve always had in the anxiety department, however, my life overall has a much more peaceful, simple tone and it feels really, really nice. I can go out of my way to do extra things for people or be extra attentive to people that I love, when before, I didn’t have it in me at times. It’s also interesting to observe that the same behaviors and anxiety triggers exist when you change some major things in your life (like my career 3 times in less than 1 year). It proves that you need to be settled within to be happy and those external things just contribute. I’m still working on settling within, but the evidence is interesting to see and the changes, step by step, were each in the right direction for me. Thank you, Universe, for nudging me along. Sorry it took me a while to catch on that my own home was where I belong on a daily basis, with my baby boy right by my side. It’s actually all I ever wanted, it just took some time to get there.

Without further ado, here are my primary interests (regarding research, reading, potential employment down the road, discussion etc.; some of these things I have very little knowledge of and want to know more, others, I’m an expert.):

  • attachment theory
  • attachment parenting
  • breastfeeding
  • mindfulness
  • mindfulness based cognitive therapy
  • noetic sciences
  • meditation
  • mind-body connection
  • quantum physics
  • management
  • compassion
  • peace
  • neuroscience
  • love
  • arts & crafts
  • anthropology
  • evolution
  • cultural differences
  • motivation
  • Buddhism
  • organic lifestyle
  • sustainability
  • healthy eating
  • consciousness
  • earth
  • time
  • sociology