Thankful
the village magazine body positive

There is a sculpture by the master Auguste Rodin named "The Old Courtesan", she is striking, it cannot be denied. The weight of her years hangs against her bones. She’s immortalized in cast bronze. This small work of art has also been called "La Belle qui fut heaulmière" - She Who Was The Helmet Maker’s Once-Beautiful Wife. 

I met her on a trip to the museum. I walked ahead of my husband through the exhibit, shuffling through the masses. Everyone whispered of " The Thinking Man", arguably one of the most famous pieces of his career for both it's scale and subject. My own exhausted body slowly fell back behind the crowd, and then I saw her. This courtesan, she was passed over, barely observed by anyone. She stopped me in my tracks and I whispered "I see you", you aren't alone. 

It's easy really, to pass over that which is not immediately perfect in our eyes. It’s easy to be ungrateful for Time itself. We want our homes built quickly, smooth and bright, and without fault, and we want our lives to echo this impractical perfection.


Smooth the cracks in the walls.

Repaint the chipping plaster.

Hide the faults.
We pass over the worn and beloved, even in ourselves. It's easy to say "I used to be beautiful, my skin was once smooth and my eyes were as bright as stars." 

This helmet makers wife, weighed down with her years, even named for what the world saw as what had been, and what no longer was mirrored how I felt in that moment. Hidden under layers, my newly postpartum body was a source of disappointment and fear.

My body had seemingly failed me in so many ways;

failed to keep a babe safe twice,

failed to birth vaginally,

I failed to stay strong during birth, so I hid myself away most days. My consistently shifting weight and ever softening lines, a reminder of my so called shortcomings, and a deep unfamiliar reality.

Our meeting was poignant, I was struck by her raw beauty and then again by a simple thought. 
This woman from the past held forever in that moment, she was me now...and my future. The veins of age and life are inevitable. Even walls begin to bow and crack, but when the bones are strong and loved by the owner, the age becomes it's greatest asset. 
My ever growing resentment for the wrecked state my body felt left in dissipated and in it’s place a thankfulness settled into the lines across my softened belly. 

The crowd around me shifted into the next room and I turned to my husband who was now at my side.
He gently remarks "She is striking" 
I nodded.
"She is, I’m sure, the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. I think I would like to be like her someday."

anna laeroComment
The Perfect & Easy Halloween Treat

I have the perfect spooky treat for you and your kids this Halloween!

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Who doesn’t like a good ole Rise Krispy Treat? No one that’s who, because they’re delicious of course! When my girls asked me for a fun Halloween treat I cringed, I don't have a lot of time this year to spend in the kitchen whipping up a ghostly cheese cake like last year, so instead I made a batch of ooey-gooey Rice Krispy goodness.

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I like to add a hint of vanilla to mine just to give it a little somethin somthin, along with a dash of food coloring in order to give them the perfect inky vibe. For this fun little recipe I also grabbed a few toy spiders that my children had brought home from school and precariously danged around the house, in the hopes of creeping one another out. Then I sprayed them with edible gold glitter, because you know why not, it’s better than finding them in your bathroom 6 months later resulting in almost giving yourself a heart attack.

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The best part is, you can basically make them in 8 minutes flat, it doesn't get much better than that let me tell you! They’re the perfect ghoulish treat my tiny little gremlins.


Ghoulish Rice Krispy Treats Recipe

Need

3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon black food coloring

Fake Spiders

1 can of gold edible spray

1 package (10 oz., about 40) Jet-Puffed Marshmallows

or

4 cups Jet-Puffed Miniature Marshmallows

6 cups Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal



Method

1. In large pot melt butter over low heat. Add food coloring and vanilla, then add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Be carful not to over heat your marshmallows, that’s how you get hard treats

2. Add Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares or use cookie cutters to create fun shapes!

Best if served the same day, though they probably wont last an hour.

xo, Krystal

Also you know what makes the perfect faux vampire blood? Pomegranate Martinelli's !

 
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The Easter Tree

In the northeast spring is typically paralleled with freezing rain and grey skies for weeks at a time. I longed for the rare Easter holidays that were filled with sunshine and weather warm enough to wear our best dresses without the need for winter coats over them.
Traditions were kept strong through our family simply sometimes I think because of the need to keep the mundane days extraordinary. Days were long in our home especially through the cold months. 4 home schooled sisters and our mama in one tiny house. The cold grey skies and wind whipped rain reminded us always that Easter and spring were indeed close and it was time to march in our boots through the woods to find a fallen branch.In a line like ducklings we'd tromp through the soggy trails looking for a branch to symbolize a new beginning.
To find "the" branch was the greatest honor. We would take turns choosing the branch year by year until we were all grown. Carefully we would take it home and cradle it in a basket or in our mama's blue flowered vase so that it stood tall and proud once again. Sometimes it was a pussy willow. Sometimes it was cherry. Sometimes it was crab apple.
Each of us would choose our favorite eggs that had been strung delicately and decorated with love. This branch was being brought back to life the day before Easter. 
"Here you are.." I'd whisper. "Its springtime...wake up friend..you are beautiful"
 

What you will need:
A branch - any kind will do!
Blown out decorated eggs or wooden eggs. (we chose wooden this year because toddlers cannot break them!)
Vase, basket, or crock to place branch in
Twine or ribbon
Hot glue
Stones to place branch in.

Instructions:
Cut down branches to the size that you need if yours is too large.
Wrap ribbon around decorated eggs and keep it on with a spot of hot glue here and there.
Let your littles help you decorate! This simple decoration can be done in so many ways. This year we used wooden eggs dyed simply but growing up we used traditionally German decorated eggs layered with beeswax and deep colors.
It can also be such a great teaching moment for small ones whether you are celebrating Easter or the spring equinox!  New life brought forth from the darkest days of winter.

 



Love,

Anna

anna laeroComment
Spicy Hot Cocoa

Who can say "No", to a delicious cup up Hot Cocoa? Not me that's for sure! We have the perfect recipe to step up your spiced Cocoa game, and we hope you enjoy it. Don't forget to download your free Recipe Card at the bottom of this post!

 
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Ingredients 

*This is QUITE strong so it can be adjusted to taste and preference of spice level!


4 Cups Milk

3 Tablespoons Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon Cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili

½ teaspoon star anise

½ teaspoon clove

½ teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon nutmeg

Salt (preferably smoked) to taste

Ground black pepper to taste
 


Pour milk into a pot over medium low heat.  Add ingredients one at a time stirring each until well incorporated. Bring to a simmer and whisk vigorously for one minute.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or some marshmallows sized to your liking. 

Photography by: Anna Laero

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FREE Recipe Card DOWNLOAD

CLICK HERE!

 



 

Gather The Village • Dallas + Honey & Sage Co.
 
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We are so excited to kick off Gather The Village 2018 with our lovely sisters over at Honey & Sage Co. Join us for a night filled with new friends and old, intentional conversations, a decadent dinner & delicious desert.

Come and build your Village!

DETAILS

5:00PM - Set Intentions for the evening + Cocktail Hour: Mix & mingle with new friends and old while sipping the most delectable hand made cocktails.

6:00PM - Dinner + Dessert: Enjoy a delicious farm to table meal while taking part in an intentional conversation lead by Krystal, The Village Founder. Sit and stay a while, chat until your heart is content, and leave with your cup full and maybe with a few friends in tow.

Plus a lovely little gift bag loaded with amazing goodies!

March 24th, 2018

Time:  5:00-8:00PM

Location: Our Birthing Home

804 Centre St Dallas, TX 75208

Hosted By Honey & Sages Co.

The Art of Loving Well

Motherhood is such a beautiful ideal, and an extremely difficult truth.  We have such challenging scales to balance - to nourish adequately, to help our children navigate their way out of their unkempt outpour of emotions.  To teach them to be flexible and to share, to be kind and brave, and to steward their belongings with care.  We feed and nap them, we give deliriously without asking for anything in return, except the hopeful anticipation that our children will be happy and love well in the end.  We manage all of these aspects of their lives while we, ourselves, are exhausted and have our very own emotional gardens that need tending.

In the midst of chaos - the no's and time-outs, the tantrums and upset, the whining and general non-cooperation - I can experience a lot of anxiety, especially when the delirium of sleep-deprivation sets in.  Most days, I deal with the messes as they come.  I can take one incident at a time, isolate it from the rest of the chaos, and move on with relative ease.  But there are some days when my mind is overstimulated from multi-tasking, "exhausted" is an understatement, my fine motor skills are more like a joke, and my nerves are raw and exposed.  I feel the anxiety creep through me like a sickness, and I internally implode over every rebuttal of my authority.

I don't check in with myself, I continue to justify every nuance of frustration until anger is born.  I lose it in front of the very beings I am teaching to have self-control.  I yell and I cry and I feel such an enormous amount of relief from unloading.  I take all of that weight back when I realize the repercussions of what I've done.

I am guilt-ridden and overwrought with the fact that I am giving my kids life-tools.  I am personally handing them mechanisms to deal with conflict and to navigate reconciliation and peace.  I am the one that will set the standard for their lives.  What I say and how I react in one moment, has the power and opportunity to settle into their personalities, and to become their inner dialogue.

So I take my children into my arms.  I humbly ask them for forgiveness, and I vow not to behave so recklessly in the future, and a miracle happens - one that makes me realize that I'm doing alright at this parenting gig, despite my mishaps.  My children embrace me right back, and through teary-eyes, they forgive me.  They forgive me!

We can't be perfect, but we can be sorry.  We need to sit with our children and let them see that humility and forgiveness have power.  I realized in that moment that my children are understanding their role in conflict resolution - their very choice.  Our home will never be completely conflict-free, but we can all make the individual choice to forgive.  We love each other enough that we can make allowances for each other's mistakes because the safest place to practice...is at home.

So we move forward, safeguarding our hearts with practical ways we can diffuse our frustrations before they give birth to destruction.  I promise to keep more careful track of my emotions, to keep better balance of chores and fun, to put down the dish towel or the laundry and to guard our relationships most carefully, especially in those moments when the stress meter seems dangerously overworked.  And above all, to extend a lot of grace.

I was able to teach my children a valuable lesson - albeit the wrong way - and they taught me one too:  that love is messy and imperfect, and ALWAYS a choice. The art of loving well isn’t about loving flawlessly, it’s about showing up, making amends when necessary, and letting our imperfections guide us all into deeper and more meaningful relations.

 

Written by, Rhea Sustar

* To read more from Rhea, head on over to her website www.rheasustar.com

I "only" have one child
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I "only" have one child. I can hold my son's hand in the parking lot and still carry my Starbucks coffee in the other. He gets my undivided attention at all times and I never miss a somersault. I "only" have one child.

...

I "only" have one child. I never thought it would be this way. Everyone asks when another is coming and the truth is? I don't think one will. His only playmate, besides his dad and I, is our dog. There's no one his age to play hide and seek with and no one else in our house fits in his little hiding spots. I wish my family's circumstances allowed us to have more. Part of my heart breaks when I think he will grow up alone. I "only" have one child.

...

I "only" have one child. It sometimes makes me feel like I don't really count as a mother or that my struggles aren't real because it seems everyone else has double, triple, or quadruple the diapers and chaos. I feel bad discussing the difficulties of bedtime because I "only" have one bedtime routine to complete. Everyone says having "only" one was so easy as if having one wasn't still a life altering experience. I'm still tired at the end of the day and I still feel like no matter what I do, I'm not giving enough of myself. I "only" have one child.

...

I "only" have one child. There will only be one 1st birthday celebration in my house. There will only be one 1st tooth lost, one 1st day of school, and one 1st heart break. There will only be one baby, one toddler, and one teenager. There's only one time I will feel the joy of childbirth, the refreshing feeling of a first full night's sleep during the newborn phase, and the utter amazement at the first time my baby calls for "Mommy." I "only" have one child.

...

I "only" have one child. I still get tired of the constant touching. I still struggle to get the laundry done or the dishes unloaded. I still am woken up in the middle of the night and get up before dawn. I am still in a state of constant worry about his well being. It is still my responsibility to help him grow into a kind, peace-seeking, and loving man. I still matter because he needs me. I may "only" have one child, but every child "only" has one mommy, and he chose me.

...

I "only" have one child. I never miss a smile, giggle, or cry. There is no fighting over toys, no sharing of clothes, and no jealous tantrums. Our house can still be quiet. We can still easily and inexpensively go out for dinner, take a quick trip to Target with minimal struggle, and comfortably fit our whole family into a sedan. There's only one college tuition to worry about, one extra mouth to feed, and one booty to potty train. I "only" have one child.

...

I "only" have one child. My heart is still bursting at the seams. My child is my life. He is my joy, my creation, my pain, my inspiration.

...
I "only" have one child.

Written by, Alyson Halberstadt

Head on over to her website www.therewillbelove.org to read more!

Gather The Village + Ergobaby - Utah
 
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You are invited to an exclusive event hosted by Ergobaby and The Village Magazine at The Baby Cubby in Utah. This is an opportunity for local parents to gather together and learn about babywearing while finding community. Join us for a special dinner, deserts, and chats with some giveaways and gifts too! Come together, right now, over parenting.

We have very limited space, RSVP today

Krystal DonovanComment
You Put the Lime in the Coconut...
 

Got the Monday blues? Well it's 5 o'clock somewhere and we've got a delicious cure.

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I don't know about you, but sometimes I put on a fur coat, head to my kitchen, and shake up a quick cocktail, while channeling my best 40's star, usually Audrey Hepburns 'Sabrina.' No? You don't do that? Well I highly recommend it.

Anywhoooo, here is a yummy little cocktail you can whip up in less than 5 minutes to help get you through those pesky Monday blues!

Let's call this...

Fur & a Cocktail

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You'll Need

1 1/2 Shot of Vodka

Simple Syrup

Raw sugar

1/2 Shot St.Germain

1/4 Cup Grapefruit Juice

Method:

Sugar the rim, I like to use simple syrup instead of water. (Who doesn't like things a lil sticky + Sweet?)

Fill your shaker full of ice

Add vodka & St. Germain

A splash of simple syrup (to taste)

1/2 Cup of Grapefruit Juice

Shake Shake Shake!!!!

Pour, without the ice

*Add a lemon twist, optional.

and Voilà! A fresh and delicious drink that's able to cure any Monday blues, ENJOY.

Krystal DonovanComment
Fave Five Friday

It's Friday ya'll! Do you guys have anything fun planned for the weekend? I'm dying to get out for a little adventure with the kiddos!

Over the last month or so I've fallen in love with some new products, and I want to share them with you.

Skin care - I live in an unbearably hot part of California and my skin is seriously in need of all the help it can get right now. Also, I turned 32 this month, and I swear grey hairs and fine lines just popped up out of nowhere, YAY AGING. I needed to start some kind of facial ritual besides randomly washing my face and moisturizing once a month, like when I was 20 (sigh). So I created my own facial mask blend, using Honey & Sage Co.'s Cleansing Grains. I even mixed up a batch for my good friend whose has been complaining of the same ailments and she's been seeing amazing results too, spread the love I say! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for getting older, but I don't have to feel like the guy from Tales from The Crypt Keeper while doing it. 

Recipe:

1 tbl Cleansing Grains

Witch Hazel - A few squirts, just enough to make a thick paste.

2 drops lavender essential oil (by young living)

Pick Me Up -  I haven't been able to drink caffeine since having kids without inducing a panic attack, I even have to be careful of certain green teas. Seriously though!? I needed some Haaalp, I have three kids under 4, aka I basically wake up tired. I found that the Holy Wellness Tea by Honey & Sage CO. gives me the perfect pick me up without the nasty side effects.

Bandaid Schmandaid - I can't keep bandaids stocked in this house, I swear my kids think that they are stickers, and I find them everywhere, until of course one of us gets a scrape and we actually need one. The Solution? Wound Powder by Fat & The Moon. It clots the blood and serves as an antiseptic to boot,  I'd say that's winning!

Style - It's no secret that I'm obsessed with the brand Weestructed, and she just re-did her 'Motherhood Winging It' Tee, which is basically my parenting style... winging it. It's cute and comfortable, and the owner is as sweet as pie, can you ask for anything more?!

Vajayjay - This might be TMI... but like any good girlfriend I have GOT to share! After popping out three kids in roughly 3 years mine can get a tad pissed every once in a while. Fun new changes include Yeast infections and sweat (what is with the sweaty vagina?! Hasn't it been through enough?). Well, the Yoni Duster from Fat and The Moon has saved my life, a few sprinkles and boom, happy vagina. You're welcome.

xo,

Krystal

Shop The List

1. 'Nourish' hand blended organic tea by Honey & Sage Co.

2. 'Motherhood Winging It' Tee by Weestructed

3. 'Wound Powder' by Fat and The Moon

4. 'Cleansing Grains' by Honey & Sage Co.

5. 'Yoni Duster' by Fat and The Moon

All New

We have a few new goodies up in the shop! Have you seen them?

 

 
 

We have been working night and day in order to bring you some lovely new staple items: A uber comfortable racerback, a softer than butter tan locally embroidered T-shirt, and a 100% cotton scoop neck.

 

I mean how cute is this onesie!?

 
 
 
 

Each with our signature 'It Takes a Village®' slogan. Which one is your favorite? We can't choose, we love all three.

Click your favorite piece above and snag yours today!

xo,

The Village

Our Hours go to Motherhood
 
 

At what point does exhaustion become the norm? I only ask because here I sit at 4 a.m. (again), claiming to be a morning person, but yet wonder why I am not in bed. Because it's Saturday morning. And my eyes are heavy. I suppose part of it lies in the fact that a restless 2 month old could stir in a half hour so why bother. Or a 4 year old could call for me and ask for a drink of water. I suppose another part is to satisfy some scientific theory that early risers get more done, are more content and blah, blah blah. I often wonder if those theories apply to motherhood.

In early motherhood, friends, families and even strangers ask about sleep. How are you sleeping? How is the baby sleeping? If the baby sleeps more than 4 hours at a time, the collective assume you've adopted a similar routine in a blink of an eye and conclude that you are sleeping well. Yes, I'm sleeping well. My head hits the pillow, and I'm instantly knocked out for a period of time until I'm called to duty once more. In an instant, I can be up, changing a diaper, nursing, rocking a babe and quietly singing a lullaby.

The next question wonders if you're ultimately tired. If another momma asks this question, I know where in her heart this question comes from. Oh, do I ever. I'll give a knowing look, a tiny smile and shrug those shoulders. I don't even need to share a word with another momma. I don't want to admit it. I don't want to say it out loud. Outwardly admitting exhaustion isn't defeat. Admitting it actually forces us to come to terms with the fact we are sleep deprived ... but then we start to adopt the collective way of thinking - "I'm getting those four hours of sleep, so I am sleeping. I'm not tired." I get it momma. You're a fierce warrior that will do anything for that little one. Even if that means sitting up at 4 a.m. trying to justify the reasons why we don't get more sleep. We give ourselves. Every single inch. And every single hour. If you ask me, I don't consider it a sacrifice but just a way of life. Our hours go to motherhood.

As time marches on, the pendulum swings and the questions about sleep or exhaustion are no longer asked. Baby turns to toddler, and before you know it, a four year old sleeps 10+ hours a night ... if you're lucky. Your former self does a high-kick and expects to get a few more hours of shuteye, but there's that school project, tomorrow's meal prep, another load of laundry ... and on and on. Priorities shift. Nighttime cuddles swap with picking up stuffed animals. We still feel it. Our hours go to motherhood.

Perhaps we don't admit the tiredness because everything else feels heavier. The satisfaction. The unconditional love. The calling. All the things they never told you about motherhood. It's heavy. It weighs on a heart more than a few missed hours of sleep. And although I will be remiss if I didn't encourage my fellow mommas to actually get a few hours of sleep (or steal a nap every once in awhile), I understand why the question about being tired is trivial. No one needs to ask. Our hours go to motherhood.

 

Written by- Ann Ehnert

 

 

Guiding My Son to Know His Words Matter
 
 

“Mom, what I go to therapy for?” I wasn't expecting this question so soon. For weeks, he has been asking if he is almost done, if today is his last day. It's been over a year of therapy two days a week with no end in sight. I tell him he still has a long road ahead of him, that I am so sorry but today is not the last day. I know he is tired of coming to this building two days a week, of working so hard and having to be so patient. I'm tired too. I'm tired of the long car rides and the stares I get from people when they hear him talk, when they think his words are less important because they are harder to understand. Part of me was hoping he wouldn't ask this question. I know I could give him the simple answer- that he has a speech disorder and therapy helps him communicate better. But this question feels loaded and I don't want to give him just any run of the mill answer. We pull into the parking lot before I can respond and secretly I am relieved, I don't know what to say.

I never do.

Words are hard for him, they are a struggle for me too.

The snow is falling outside, he's days away from two. I’m sitting on the floor playing with my son. He brings me a baseball. Grunts replace words as he shows me what it is he wants me to do- pitch so he can hit the ball. I hold the ball in the air. “Say ball,” I beg. He used to be able to say it, but he doesn’t anymore.

This is one of the fleeting moments in my memory when I realized he wasn’t developing the way he was supposed to. He had dozens of words by 18 months, but slowly he lost them. By his second birthday, he was barely speaking at all. He wasn’t putting sentences together. I knew, deep in my gut, something wasn’t right. When he did speak, it was nearly impossible to discern what he was saying.

As a first time mom, I don't know what to do. I cling to the hope that I carry within that this will pass.

...

My womb swells with new life as the flowers bloom and the grass turns green. With spring arriving, hope begins to flourish in my heart. My son has a few new words, a couple sentences. I begin to think we are turning a corner, making progress. “Listen to what he can say,” I beam proudly. “I think you're hearing things,” I hear in return. No one else can hear what he is saying, no one else understands.

 

I made every excuse to hide the doubt and fear looming in the back of my mind. He’s just a late talker. I know he has the words. Some kids don’t talk until they’re 3. One day he is going to take off and never stop talking. Excuse after excuse, I tried to make myself feel better. I talked to him incessantly and did everything I could to get him to talk, to say the words I knew he had. I researched how to help late talkers, I read to him, talked his tiny ear off, and had him around children his age multiple days a week. I had music on, tried to keep the television off, in case that was hurting his speech. Nothing was working.

 

...

It's July and we're in Michigan meeting my son’s extended family, including cousins only a few months older. I'm suffocating under the hot sun, the humidity, the words that his cousins have that my son does not.

“Do you want to come build a campfire in my backyard?” his cousin, four months older, asked.

It took everything in me to not cry when I heard him say that sentence. I hung onto every word he said after that, shocked at the clarity and variation of his sentences. With each word and sentence his cousin said, a piece of my heart shattered. I found myself guilt-ridden, embarrassed, and bitter. My son was asked his name and age by family members meeting him for the first time. He couldn’t answer. When he did speak they looked at me dumbfounded until I translated.

...

It's fall. The fear burning inside of me is as red as the leaves on the tree. As the leaves fall, so does the hope I once held onto that he would be able to tell me his name.

I call a therapy center and schedule an evaluation, but it’ll be a few months before we can get him seen. It will be months after that before we have a diagnosis, before he can receive services. I sit in the unknown watching kids his age thrive, hold conversations, tell jokes, sing songs, and I wonder if he will ever be able to do those things.

...

The winter has arrived again. This time it brings a baby sister and answers along with the snow.

“He is so smart. He understands so much, and he wants to communicate. He knows what he is trying to say, but he just can’t do it,” his therapist tells me. He was diagnosed with a neurological speech disorder, Apraxia of Speech, a few months after his third birthday. So much of that time is tainted with postpartum depression, it’s hard for me to recall everything that was explained. All I remember is crying. A lot. His diagnosis took me months to accept. I couldn’t comprehend what it all meant. Once the fog of postpartum depression lifted, I could see clearly what was in front of us, what my son’s future would look like, and what I needed to do to help him thrive.

...

Now I worry about him every time we go out in public, especially when he will be around other kids. I am in the background observing him and how he interacts with his peers. He loves to play and will join any group he sees. As much as I love to see him socialize, laugh, and be a kid, I am terrified for him. I can’t help but wonder when the bullying is going to begin. When are kids going to make fun of him, point out how weird he sounds, say he is stupid? When are they going to mock him behind his back and talk about him when he can’t hear them? When will they start ignoring him altogether because they don’t understand? Will he have the words to stand up for himself? Will he use silence as his protection?

With everything that I know, and everything that is still too far into the future to see, this is what I want to tell him: We come to therapy so that you can work on your words- make them more understandable and more fluid. I know you are going to struggle and I want to make it easier for you. I want you to have a team to help you when it seems to be too much, for when the words are hard.

I bring you to therapy because I don't want you to grow up hating words. We don't know the struggles you will face during your school years with literacy. You will receive even more therapy to aid with these potential struggles, but I don't want you to see words as a punishment; I want you to love reading, writing, to find yourself in stories, to discover different worlds, to learn that our differences have the potential to make our world better. When the words that you read, write, or speak are too hard, I want you to know that they still matter.

Words are powerful- they can break us just as easily as they can heal us; this is something I fear you will learn firsthand, just how much words can hurt. I don't want those words to define you. I don't want the hurtful words to silence you. I don't want you to lose your words, to think that they can't be powerful because they come out a little different.

Even those imperfect sentences that leave your perfect little mouth matter. When no one can understand you, when people ignore you, when you feel silenced and alone, your words matter. All of the words in your head, your heart, words that spill off your fingertips, that transport you to different worlds, that come out a little wrong, they all matter.

Because of therapy, you have hundreds of words now that you didn't have a year ago. Every single one matters. And you matter.

Written by- Jacey Rogel

 

 

Krystal DonovanComment
Torn In Two
 
 

Every moment, I’m torn in two…

One side of me is loving every minute of motherhood. I love the smiles, the toddler finger pats, the tears my hugs can fix, the daily requests for bubbles, and the music making.

I hold my daughter in my arms and squeeze, willing the moment to sink into my bones. The embrace is my spirit’s desperate attempt to make the memory, the size of her, the smell of her, a part of me. How can I hold on to these moments in a way that keeps them unique and special, not simply merged into one season and phase of motherhood?

But, there’s also this other side of me. This part of me wakes up ready to go back to bed. It’s the side of me that browses social media on my phone as my daughter sits in my lap watching PBS. It’s the part of me that prays for nap time, bedtime, and any time I can sit down without a tiny human calling my name, wanting to play, or needing a snack. A very real part of me simply wants to be able to do what I want to do whenever I can.

This tension in myself has been one of the hardest spaces I have had to live in. How do I acknowledge the places in myself that long for when life felt easier and more about me, while paying attention to and growing the places that crave for more of my girl than one day’s worth of minutes can hold?

Thankfully, one thing motherhood has taught me is that I am not alone. I am part of a legacy of women who have felt this mixture of honor and weight attached to motherhood. I am not the first, nor will I be the last to wish time would simultaneously slow down and speed up.

Each day, we have a chance to try to hold the line between our needs and the needs of our children. Both matter deeply, even on the days that both can’t seem to coexist. So, we breathe. We give ourselves oodles of grace and second chances. We choose Netflix over laundry when it feels right. We talk to other mamas, our tribe, and our family when we need help righting ourselves. We breathe until nightfall. We rest, and then we try again.

I’m being slowly convinced that most of life and motherhood, at least the good juicy parts, are in the trying.

JOURNALIST: Brooke Bohinc

My Body Knows Just What To Do
 
 

When I was pregnant with my son, I repeated these words each week with eight other expectant mothers and their partners at the end of our childbirth preparation classes. We changed the emphasis to a different word each time we repeated the phrase, working through all of the words in the sentence.

My body knows just what to do.

My body knows just what to do.

My body knows just what to do.

At the end of the session, I declared with equal parts hope and skepticism, “My body knows just what to do.” Does it? I wondered. Labor and childbirth were such a mystery to me, covered over with almost mythic stories of unendurable pain, as well as lyric rhapsodies of birth as the work women are designed to do.

I wasn’t ready to commit to either side just yet.

When it was time for my baby to arrive, my body took over in a way I had never experienced. I labored for days, walking the stairs of my midwife’s old Victorian house, where my husband and I had chosen for our baby to be born. I clambered into the shower, where the hot water massaged my taut lower back.

Even when I tried to rest, my body kept on with its faithful work. The night before I met my son I straddled the toilet facing backwards, my head resting on the toilet tank, the only place I could find relief.

“How is this baby going to be born?” I whispered to Gina, our doula. “Your body knows what to do,” she reassured me.

She was right. On a Tuesday afternoon, my son and I worked together as he entered this world, surrounded by my husband, Adam, our midwives, and Gina. They held sacred space for my body to labor with the pain as I did some of the best work of my life, delivering my son Julian safely into this world.

That was sixteen months ago, and in the time since then, I have developed a whole new appreciation for my body’s work. I see my whole body and spirit giving birth to my precious son, my breasts swelling and leaking in the early days as Julian and I struggled to learn the rhythm of nursing, my hands smoothing Johnson’s baby lotion on his strong legs, my ears straining to hear the tiny noises of his sleep, and my arms carrying him across the room so he can climb up the stairs on his own. Daily, Julian becomes more aware of the power and mystery of his body, and so do I.

Last night Julian woke at midnight, with sharp, inconsolable cries. Adam changed his diaper and handed him to me. I was sitting in our gray armchair, ready to comfort him. But Julian refused to be comforted. His body stiffened as tears streaked down his small face. He did not want to nurse, did not relax when I sang him lullabies.

I did not know what to do, but I kept going. A tiny part of me softened, in the midst of concern for my boy. My brain slowed down, just a bit, as I let my body take over. My hands brushed the hair out of his eyes, stroked his back. My voice sang the love song that we made up for him as a newborn. My heart spoke to his. “Mama is here. I love you. I’ve got you.” The rhythm of our breathing filled the room.

Over time, Julian’s sobs quieted. I offered to nurse him again, and this time, he accepted. I shifted in the chair, and cradled my little boy in my arms as his body relaxed. Mine did, too.

Julian drifted back to sleep, and I gently placed him in the crib. As I crept back to my own bed, a well-loved refrain drummed out its rhythm.

My body knows just what to do.

My body knows just what to do.

My body knows just what to do.

JOURNALIST: Jordan Miller-Stubbendick

Photo: Anna L.

Cherry, Coconut, and Rose Ice Pops
 
 

Homemade ice pops during my childhood generally speaking meant orange juice with a cap-full of vanilla extract (if we got lucky) poured into the cold pack blue ice cube trays. Likely one of us four sisters fighting for the right of being assigned the delicate task of expertly poking the toothpicks through the carefully pressed tinfoil over the trays without tearing it which would indefinitely result in a dreaded crooked Popsicle stick.

During the summer months since having a toddler (or two) in the house I attempt to keep a stock of easily made ice pops on hand in our freezer because....honestly how much more summery can you get? A cold snack for mama and babes? absolutely. Thanks to the usual over abundance of seasonal fruit that we manage to have in our house thanks to neighbors, family, and farmers market purchases our cold treats are generally themed around whatever we've got on hand.

After my husband brought home over two pounds of cherries and promptly sat the bags in my lap after admittedly devouring at least half of them between the four of us I thought what better way to use the little sweet tarts than making a grown up version of my favorite childhood summer treat.
The smell of the warm cherries combined with the near overwhelmingly perfumed foraged drying rose petals from my mother in laws property sitting in the basket on my counter smelled like heaven itself.
Thus, this icy treat that I share with you that not only myself and my husband loved but also both of our boys surprisingly loved as well came about.


and of course my eldest wanted to poke the Popsicle sticks through the tinfoil ever so gingerly to not ruin the foil because...after all...crooked Popsicle sticks are the worst aren't they?

 

      

 What you will need: 

1 can of coconut milk

approximately 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

1 heaping Tbsp dried rose petals (you can find these at most tea shops or online)

4 tbsp almond milk

a dash of vanilla

1-2 tsp honey (this is really to personal taste as some like it sweeter, some like it not)

Blender

Popsicle mold


Instructions:
This recipe makes approximately 6 smaller ice pops but can be easily adjusted for whatever amount you might want to make and also the strength of the flavors if you aren't fond of strongly floral flavored things you can cut back slightly on the amount of rose petals used! If your final mixture is too strong for your personal taste you can also add a bit more of either milk.
 

In a small saucepan pour almost the whole can of coconut milk and add almond milk

Turn burner onto low-med heat and warm milk until its just simmering

Add rose petals and stir slowly on low heat until petals lose most of their color and milk becomes fragrant

Strain petals and place milk back into saucepan

Add chopped cherries to milk and cook until cherries become a bit soft

Take off of heat and allow milk and cherries to cool a bit

Add vanilla and honey to taste.

Pour mixture into a blender and blend until all pieces of cherries are gone

Pour mixture into your molds and freeze until firm

Enjoy your "you cant get more summery than this" treat!


Recipe, words, and Photos by Anna Laero

 

A look at; Honey & Sage Co.
 
 

Why did you start Honey & Sage Co.?

Sarah: Nova started this company in 2015, and I’ll let her expound  on the origins. I joined her in the spring of 2016, after the birth of my second daughter. I dove in knowing that being a part of this team would enrich my life and my soul in ways no other job could. This is more than making products and selling them. This is an exchange of energy, a continuous exploration of what it is to be a woman in this society and this earth, and how to be the best version of ourselves so we can help women all over remember that if they put themselves first, if they love themselves and care for themselves as much as they do the rest of the people in their lives, that this planet can only improve.

Nova: I was a midwifery apprentice and came to a point in my experience where I felt extreme burnout and stress. I also had been seeing the same thing in the clients I was serving in clinic and I realized that I needed to shift my intentions, at least momentarily, to allow me more space and time to be with my boys instead of always running out of the house to be with someone else's family. I basically started midwifery in my first postpartum period, had my second son, and then continued through another year of postpartum before a tight, pinch in my chest area was starting to concern me. I needed to mother myself. 

Who is it meant for?

Sarah: It’s funny - just the other day we were talking about our target demographic, and Nova said to me, “It’s you.” So I think going from that I can say that to me, our target buyer is a woman who is in a constant state of self discovery and understanding. It’s the mom who has like three things in her whole world that are just for her, who crashes into her couch at the end of each day and realizes this is the first moment of stillness she’s had that day. It’s the woman who never really learned self-care, who is beginning to understand that being a martyr to her family does nobody any good, that if her cup is empty she’s got nothing to give and she can’t be her best self for anyone. It’s the woman whose spirituality is fluid and expansive, who intends to seek to fill her soul until her last breath. It’s also for the woman who likes pretty things and doing her own thing - the woman who enjoys loving on herself and receiving gifts and supporting her sisters. It’s for the woman who wants to support a small business, one she knows gives back, so she can feel good about her purchase while being well with herself. 

Nova: It's meant for all women doing their good, earnest work, but really it was born as a way to honor and remind mothers that martyrdom just doesn't cut it. We have to acknowledge our own divinity, too, the way we do when we take care of our children, family and friends. 

Why is self care so important?

Nova: Because life is relentless and developing a practice of self-compassion through self-care is very counter to what many of us grew up with...I don't believe in the "because it's always been this way" thought process. I'd like to think, generally speaking, that we can evolve as humans, women, mothers to take care of ourselves whilst taking care of others. Actions are mirrored, right? So instead of emitting stress and adrenal fatigue, I'd prefer to practice grace. It's an incredibly easy concept that is incredibly difficult to practice in our current culture.

Sarah: Self care is an act perseverance, the only way to get ahead. In a generation that glorifies ‘the hustle,’ in a time where being a good human means putting so much of your energy into your work and those you love, and speaking for the voiceless, it becomes terrifyingly easy to run on empty. So many of us find ourselves going through the motions, perhaps even becoming resentful of the things we love, those we fight for, because we pour and pour and pour and at the end of the day we feel theres not being a drop poured into ourselves. If every woman was taught from childhood that she is a goddess, that her body is a temple, that her soul is worthy of care and respect, can you imagine the world we would live in? So many of us have to go through hell and back to find our truth and our worth, when it should’ve been inside us all along. Self care is important because when we care for our own temple, when we honor ourselves as is due, we become the goddess we were meant to be and we can work our magic on the world. 

How do you guys come up with new products?

Sarah: It started, I think, with creating products for our subscription box, and Nova would develop recipes based on her work as an apprentice midwife and aspiring naturopath. As we’ve developed our apothecary line, we continue to go with the themes of each month’s box and find the missing pieces. Lately, too, we’ve listened to our buyers. We’ve been doing markets over the last few months, and the women (and men, honestly) who come by our table always seem intrigued. They ask for oils that help with anxiety, or a spray for nausea, or a mala bracelet for anger management. We are meeting our people where they’re in need, and we want to fill their cup by filling their needs. We do research on herbs, on crystals, on the healing properties and nourishing abilities of the products we use, and we apply them to best fit into what self care might look like.

Nova: We take feedback and requests into consideration, but mostly products are created based on what I like and use in my own home. I decided from the beginning that I curate the Sage Woman Care Package for myself...and now I'm doing the same for our Honey & Sage Apothecary.

Which product is your favorite?

Nova: I have two right now. I really love the Nourish-Mint tea and our Cleansing Grains which leave my face feeling really soft.

Sarah: My favorite to MAKE is the mala bracelets - I’ve only just gotten into crystals and stones and their properties, and piecing together things that could help someone’s spirit find peace, or help create confidence, or instill patience - it’s powerful to know you can put someone’s spirit in their own hands simply by choosing some pieces of stone from the earth and putting them in their hand.

My favorite to USE so far have been the Cleansing Grains. I’d never really done masks before this year, and I’ve really begun to find a deep love for slathering mud on my face and letting it get crusty and scrubbing it off and seeing my skin bright and glowing. It’s like instant gratification self care. 

Where do you see Honey & Sage Co. in the future?

Nova: I see our Apothecary really expanding and having a presence in retail locations. I also envision more community events, that's really been a fundamental part of our growth. The Sage Woman community is beautiful. 

Sarah: The big picture, right now - we want Honey & Sage to represent self-care in as many incarnations as possible. That means putting our product in shops all over, products women can feel good about using and which make them feel good in turn. There’s also the pursuit of the spiritual component - empowering women has always been front and center.

Where can we buy it?

Nova: You can find our goods on our website: www.honeyandsageco.com. We are ALMOST done with a new website which will feature our new Honey & Sage Apothecary. You can also find us on some weekends at the Dallas Farmer's Market or at the Boho Market events. 

Any fun and exciting news you'd like to share?

Nova: We've got a really great collaboration with T&C Floral Company for Mother's Day this year and we'll be featuring this beautiful preserved rose in a vase to be included in our Sage Woman Care Packages and for individual sale. I think women will really be delighted with their care packages.

 


Be sure to ENTER our Giveaway where Honey & Sage Co. will be sending one lucky winner a Monthly Wellness Package! 

'Slow Living' with Leney Breeden
 
 

WHAT IS SLOW LIVING? 

In its essence it's introducing the idea of a different mindset. Of being more intentional. More mindful. More present in your every day, with wherever you are and in whatever you’re doing. Often there are times that my life and circumstances are fast paced, but I can still practice a slow living mindset amidst those times.Because slow living isn't always about pace, it's about an intentionality. Essentially, it's taking the time to enjoy life's gifts in the various, often over looked, forms they take. Even when they require extra steps. Even when they require more time. Even when there's a to do list hanging over my head. Maybe even especially when. Because it's a healthier way of living.

I try to embody this idea and this practice in everything I do. I’m not always good at it, and often people don’t understand it, but I feel called to live a life that’s counter, other and different and I’ve found these ideas align with that calling. Slow living also holds within it the idea of self-care, which I think is a topic in and of itself that’s also of great importance. When we love and take care of ourselves, we can do the same for others in our lives. From our family and friends, to that stranger you meet while standing in line, to your varying social circles, to the communities you live in. I want to be able to serve and love others with my best self and this lifestyle has led me to be able to do that more proactively and fully. But truthfully we can all use a reminder to slow down in this fast paced culture of ours, don’t you agree? To be prompted to hold, within ourselves and our lives, the things that are truly meaningful and add value instead of take it away.

WHY DID YOU MAKE THE CHOICE TO LIVE SLOW? 

A few years ago, I had come to the end of my rope. In every area of my life possible. I was burned out, overworked, unhealthy, unhappy and unsatisfied with where my life was headed. I didn’t want to be so stressed and overwhelmed all the time. I’d achieved all of these so-called successes and goals and, from the outside, looked like I had it all together. Yet somehow they all echoed hollow and insignificant in the wake of the chaotic tornado that was my life. I didn’t have the capacity to be there for those I loved. I didn’t have the time to take on anything new, because I was overloaded with all I was already juggling. I wasn’t sleeping well at best, and not sleeping at all at worst. I was slowly losing myself and who I truly was amidst the constant fast paced lifestyle I was leading. A year or so into the mending and healing of myself and my well being I came across the phrase: Slow living. I don’t fully remember where I first heard it or how it came about, but the more I learned about it, the more it resonated with that centermost part of my soul. It was like a soothing touch to the worn out, broken and battered state of my psyche and I knew that it was the change that I needed to start living the kind of lifestyle that I wanted to lead.

 

 

 

WHAT HAS CHANGED MOST IN YOUR LIFE BY LIVING THIS WAY? 

The way I relate to and care for myself and others. I’ve learned that comparison is the very subtle and stealthy thief of joy. Constantly holding my life up to the reflection of others was one of the first things that put me in that unhealthy and unhappy state I mentioned before. I also came to realize that practices, habits and routines that work for others might not always work well for me. We each have an individual make-up with varying strengths and weaknesses. We each need to learn and know what it is that brings those pieces of us out into the open and either protect and build or or extract and eliminate them accordingly. The opposite of comparison, for me, is contentment.

To me, contentment holds within it the ideas of: 

1. Enough: That you are enough and have enough within and around you already, and no measure of striving or struggle will change that.

And

2. Gratitude: For the enough that is in you and in your life here and now.I have to work really hard to create space and time for myself, but it is so essential to my well being. But it’s less so about me, and more so about others.I now feel so much more capable of being fully present for people in my life as a result of living slower.

Additionally, the incredible deep, heartfelt, and open conversations this lifestyle and mindset has brought about with friends, family and strangers alike has truthfully been one of the most rewarding things. 

Just like this one we’re having now!

LETS TALK ABOUT KNITTING! WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT IT? 

Oh my goodness where do I start? 

Well, I’ve been knitting for 17 years and I’ve always been an artist in some form or another, but the artistry I’ve found through working with fiber is one that is constantly changing and unfolding for me in such beautiful ways. I hold sustainable and ethical practices within the idea of Slow Living and this seeps into my knitwear as well. I’m very passionate about being a part of the process of creation from the very beginning. From taking a newly shorn fleece, processing it, spinning it into yarn and then designing and knitting a garment from it. It feels incredibly rewarding to be able to not only make a garment with my own two hands that tells a story and will last for generations, but one that has been made with so much responsibility, intention and respect for the steps and work that it took to do so. And though I’m a pretty fast knitter at this point and can do it anywhere and everywhere (from walking down the street, to movie theaters…) it still is an activity that at it’s core requires me to slow down.

IF YOU GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I ferociously want others to recognize, embrace and act on the dreams and passions that are inside of them. Because I believe we were each given a unique and beautiful set that speaks to the beauty of our creator and to not acknowledge that is a disservice to not only ourselves and our God-given purpose, but to those around us who are waiting for the very thing that we hold in us that we are meant to serve and love them with.

So whatever it is you need to do to start doing it, if you’ve never done it, or to re-learn how to do it, if you forgot, or to keep doing it, if you’re in that process: do that.

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE US TO KNOW?

As I mentioned with my knitwear, I’m passionate about sustainable and ethical practices. Especially in the wake of fast fashion (if you’re unsure what that is, go watch The True Cost documentary). As a result I started a venture called Folkling where I curate and sell handmade and vintage clothing and homewares. It’s only a few months old but it’s been such a wonderful addition to my lifestyle and a fun outlet for this message in regards to slow living and the values and beliefs that I hold. You can check it out on Instagram at: @folkling and read more on my website at: www.agirlnamedleney.com/folkling

HOW CAN PEOPLE CONTACT YOU? ORDER A KNIT PIECE? READ YOUR WRITING? ETC.

I am most active on Instagram (@agirlnamedleney) and I regularly update my online journal which you can read on my website: www.agirlnamedleney.com

I also have Facebook (www.facebook.com/agirlnamedleney) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/agirlnamedleney

Connecting with others through good conversation and heartfelt ideas is one of my favorite things so please do say hello on any of those platforms or shoot me an email: agirlnamedleney@gmail.com


Join us at our next Gather the Village event!


She is You

I love a woman who loves herself. A woman who knows she's not perfect and embraces that. A woman that not only loves herself, but FALLS in love with herself every single day. She knows that she doesn't always say the correct thing, but she is kind, humble, and oh so selfless. She understands that the world isn't always beautiful, but she does her best to add her own beauty to her life and to the ones closest to her heart. She hesitates when making decisions for her family, because she fears not making the right ones. There is fear in her heart, but you’d never know, because she is peace — the binding factor of why her world holds together, even if it’s not even close to perfect.

She has insecurities, like every other human being. But she isn't like everyone else. She makes a difference — even more than she could ever imagine. To her children especially — when they grow up and think of the person they want to be most like in their lives, it will always be her. The way she can whip up a dessert and have it taste like heaven, the way she drops everything without a blink to help someone in need, the way she seems to have all the answers when you don’t know where to turn. When she looks in the mirror, she only sees the wrinkles and the creases of her eyes and her mouth, and the growing grey intertwined in her blonde hair. But the world sees her contagious smile, her laughter and silliness that brightens up the darkest room, the joy they wish to see in every aspect of their own hearts and lives, and the patience she has for values not like her own. How is it that she helps others see who they truly are, more than their own souls do? She sees the curves of her body, more weight than she had years ago, and stripes on her tummy from when she once carried her own babies.

She doesn’t see herself as beautiful because society doesn’t deem her as so — she isn’t young or olive colored skin, or perfectly perky breasts, and her house isn’t clean and doesn’t look like an article right out of the magazines she loves to read. She doesn’t yet realize that beauty isn’t everything. She doesn’t see the power she possesses, because if she did, she would know that she can literally move mountains to create the life she dreams of. She is real in an increasingly false world. She flourishes in her existence, like a flower pushing through concrete. Her real self shows in every breath she takes. Her strength isn't always stronger than her softness, as much as she tries to make this so.


My sweet friend, she is you. Your greatest gift is the power you hold inside yourself, and being the truest soul you can ever imagine. Don’t you dare even deny it — the Earth thrives with you in it. Let us create beauty and love, my love.

JOURNALIST: Bethany Bourgoin