Thursday, February 26, 2015

a new start, generosity + a giveaway


I witnessed something amazing this last week. Something that I never asked for or knowingly encouraged. A generosity from the Mama Scout tribe that blew me away and made me realize that I completely underestimated the power WE have (I thought I knew, but I had no idea).

As registrations for Dream Lab were heating up, a few women offered to host giveaways and pay for other women to join the lab. I was so moved by the support and giving of these women. But, apparently I was not the only one.

As the week progressed, I started getting emails and messages from other women who wanted to pay for dream sisters who were not able to afford the lab this year. One after another they came in. They asked specifically to sponsor women who they had come to know online over the last few years. They gifted women who had shared their brave dreams, their BIG leaps of faith and kind support to others. And they all wanted to remain anonymous.

So, I spent time contacting unsuspecting women saying something like, "guess what? you were gifted a spot in Dream Lab by an anonymous woman. Someone who knows the lab will be better because YOU and your voice are in it."

Each recipient was shocked and asked me to pass on to their patron messages of gratefulness and promises to pay it forward. And for many of them, this gift came at just the right time. They might have been struggling with something heavy or feeling world weary.

An act of kindness turns around negativity, yes. But it also enlivens the spirit and encourages the recipient to offer the world something generous. It is exponential and contagious and good. Seeing how this generosity spread like a fire through our group makes me ever determined to figure out how to start sparks of goodness and harness that energy. And to fully stand in the power and support others who seek to do the same.





And on that high note, I am offering a giveaway for a spot in BOTH Dream Lab and Feathering the Nest. Feathering the Nest is one of my favorite online classes (I have done it several times).

Stephanie Perkinson and Leah Kent help participants explore the energy of their space, spruce up with simple makes, and create a home that is a reflection of their values and passions.

It is the perfect companion class to Dream Lab. They work well together and would not compete or overwhelm each other.

To enter this giveaway just leave a comment below telling me what you are dreaming about right now. Make sure that I am able to contact you, which I will do Sunday morning! Good luck!


Monday, February 9, 2015

{monday mission} upcycle bad art (and make it badder)



I have not done a Monday Mission in a while and it seems about time I rectify that. This week, head over to the thrift shop (or your own attic if you are like me), choose a serene or saccharine painting and add something to it. 

This was a little gift for my son's birthday. I added a bigfoot, a burning house and a fleeing figure. You can figure it out - or can you? While my painting is not as skilled as I would like, I think you get the gist. And it was fun and made us laugh. 

Of course, this idea is not unique. For more inspiration, check out the work of Wayne White or David Irvine. This would be a blast to do with kids too!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

{read} Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


"So now do you see what books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people only want wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. Even fireworks, for all their prettiness, come from the chemistry of the earth. Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding on flowers and fireworks, without completing the cycle back to reality."



One of the reasons I love being in a book club its that I am encouraged to read outside my preferences. While not the memoir or nonfiction that I tend to read, this book had me nodding, underlining and exclaiming to those around me, "you can't believe this! this book was written like 60 years ago! it could have been written now!"

A dystopian warning where people are scared of books and talking and thinking, residents spend their free time watching wall sized TVs with programs that they can never quite remember (even though the actors are called their "family"). Constant bombardment of noises, shocks, and fear keep people "happily" isolated in their cocoons of comfort.

Protagonist, Guy Montag, a fire fighter charged with burning books and the homes that try to hide them, meets a girl who pulls back the curtain and makes him question what is really happening around him.

This book is the tale of his unravelling.

Highly recommended and a great book to discuss with a group. I can not wait to share this one with my kids when they are teens.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dream Lab 2015 - registering now





\It is that time of year again!

Dream Lab is gearing up for its 3rd incarnation and I am excited to share with you! 

The lab has been lengthened to 3 weeks and the content is ALL new. That is right. I have rewritten the lab to reflect what I have learned in the last few years about integrating your dreams into your "real" life. We are going to dig into the past a bit, share real life tools, methods, and resources for getting stuff done, investigate  various types of dreams, learn how to "own" your work and embrace failure and so much more. 

You know the power of mama scout groups and the serendipitous creative energy they create. Maybe you have already made some real progress on your dreams and can share your story as you move into your next chapter. 



I have another idea that I wanted to share with you. 


I am beginning to see this work, these labs, as really important. Not just to the individual woman who gains some self reflection and improvement - but to culture in general. I can hardly read the news each day without feeling like I have been punched in the gut. There is so much pain, violence, mental illness, random tragedy, and fear. I feel like strong feminist voices need to ring out in our communities and the public sphere. Each strong, vocal, and nurturing woman can spread a more peaceful vision to those she encounters. Maybe this is bordering on feel-good utopianism - but why not? We each have something to contribute and at this point in my life (as a busy homeschooling parent) these labs are what I got.

So, can you help me spread this vision to other women who you think would be interested in caravanning with us?


I want to offer a referral program. If you refer 3 people to the lab (they can just put your name in the notes when they sign up) I will enroll you in the Summer Journal Jam. SJJ started last year and was 3 months (close to 90 prompts!) of creative prompts to start and sustain a family journaling practice. It is worth $99!

Use social media or direct messages to share your story of how you benefited in the lab and expand our tribe of kick ass women. Right now we are tiny - but mighty!

And as always, please email me with any questions or concerns. 

xxoo, amy


You can sign up here.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

{read aloud} The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg




Our last book club selection was a Civil War era tale that wove together history, adventure, laugh out loud humor and the horrors of war. The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg is a quick read, packed with the unbelievable shenanigans the protagonists find himself in as he searches for his illegally conscripted brother - from helping a Quaker abolitionist, working in a medicine show, flying an untethered silk surveillance balloon to actually participating on the battle field. The battle scenes are not sugar coated and reveal the brutality and cruelty of warfare, but there is a tidy, happy ending. We recommend this book, especially if you are studying the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's end this year. 




Saturday, January 3, 2015

{read} The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath


There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them. Whenever I'm sad I'm going to die, or so nervous I can't sleep, or in love with somebody I won't be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say, "I'll go take a hot bath"

I meditate in the bath. The water needs to be very hot, so hot that you can barely stand putting your foot in it. Then you lower yourself, inch by inch, till the water's up to your neck. 

I remember the ceiling over every bathtub I've stretched out in. I remember the texture of the ceilings and the cracks and the colors and the damp spots and the light fixtures. I remember the tubs, too: the antique griffen-legged tubs, and the modern coffin-shaped tubs, and the fancy pink marble tubs overlooking indoor lily ponds, and I remember the shapers and sizes of the water taps and the different sorts of soap holders. 

I never feel so much myself as when I am in a hot bath. 

...I guess I feel about a hot bath the way those religious people feel about holy water. 


I recently revisited The Bell Jar 20 years after I first read it when it was mentioned in my reader's tribe. Not only does it retain its power, but it was even more poignant the second time with the benefit of age and experience.

To read Esther Greenwood's story of one year in her life - from her highs of success, to her mental breakdown and the barbaric treatments available in the mid 20th century to her final rebirth - is to read (ash experience) the story of what it means to be an educated woman in America. Her story is recognizable in the women I know and talk to today.

The tragedy of Plath's life as experienced in this semi-autobiographical novel is right at the surface and as tangible and electric as it was 45 years ago. I was moved and highly recommend a rereading if it has been while for you too.






Monday, November 10, 2014

{review} Heidi





“Not long after, and while it was still twilight, the grandfather also went to bed, for he was up every morning at sunrise, and the sun came climbing up over the mountains at a very early hour during these summer months. The wind grew so tempestuous during the night, and blew in such gusts against the walls, that the hut trembled and the old beams groaned and creaked. It came howling and wailing down the chimney like voices of those in pain, and it raged with such fury among the old fir trees that here and there a branch was snapped and fell. In the middle of the night the old man got up. "The child will be frightened," he murmured half aloud. He mounted the ladder and went and stood by the child's bed.

Outside the moon was struggling with the dark, fast-driving clouds, which at one moment left it clear and shining, and the next swept over it, and all again was dark. Just now the moonlight was falling through the round window straight on to Heidi's bed. She lay under the heavy coverlid, her cheeks rosy with sleep, her head peacefully resting on her little round arm, and with a happy expression on her baby face as if dreaming of something pleasant. The old man stood looking down on the sleeping child until the moon again disappeared behind the clouds and he could see no more, then he went back to bed.” 




This is such a sweet book. It is one that I think you might read to yourself and think, "well, that was nice," but read aloud, it becomes something else altogether. I do not think I can finish any read aloud with out crying at least once and this classic was no different.

Heidi's childhood is marked by drastic and sometimes cruel upheavals. She is always able to look at the positive side of most situations and her friendliness, generosity and kindness are pretty saccharine compared to today's protagonists. But, I think we need a good dose of this every so often and this time of year is perfect.

Pick a week where your evenings are free, stock up on the hot drinks your family loves and settle in for a cozy family story.

We have this edition and I think it would make the best gift for anyone on your list this year. 

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