wholehearted parenting

Savouring the Bitter, Sour, and Strong

Each image that I create, no matter the session style or subject matter, has one specific goal in mind; to savour the beautiful, fleeting, and nearly imperceptible details that build the foundation of our lives and our loves. Training my eye to look for these moments and preserve them does not end when I set down the camera, and this is the biggest gift that my photographic journey has given me.

Mindfulness is such a "buzzword" at the moment, that it is sometimes easy to lose sight of what mindfulness can mean in our emotional lives. Finding the word savouring applied to this concept has brought new colour and texture to my understanding of how we can apply mindfulness to our daily practice of living wholeheartedly.

When I think of savouring something, I think of the rich world of food that we have available to enjoy. Some of the foods that we enjoy the most passionately are not obvious choices; they are "acquired tastes." Strong, bitter, pungent, spicy, heavy, sharp... it isn't only the sweet that is worth savouring. Surely we can easily enjoy the sweet as well, but even so, is it more gratifying to devour a tub of Ben & Jerry's or to experience a small gelato with a demitasse spoon, embracing the subtleties of the flavour.

embracing the challenging moments of motherhood

And so I find myself bouncing back and forth with a sleepless, teething baby, fighting to night wean to get a moment of my own body and sanity back, while yearning to comfort him with ease and to get back to bed. And yet, at least occasionally, I find myself reflecting on the beauty of that moment of pure connection. When the two of us are completely without distraction. When he is all need and I am all love. I imagine the details that I would capture in that moment as a photographer... the way his tiny, still-dimpled fingers grasp each other with his arms wrapped tightly around my neck, nuzzling my nose into his soft, sweet skin. All the while praying for this moment to pass, and yet for this memory to stay forever.

tired toddler rubbing eyes

This is how I find myself savouring even the bitter moments. Recognizing what I see and admire in even the sour, pungent, heavy, and sweet moments in the lives of others, and giving myself the gift of savouring and appreciating those moments in my own life. 

beams of light pouring over sleeping baby in crib

This is how I push myself toward unconditional, wholehearted living.

Ready to Join Me?

A head start handling the "Terrible Twos"

Kristin and I met about two years ago, back when she was excitedly awaiting the big change that was about to enter her life. She was on the first step of the journey into motherhood, and also entering a journey of artistic discovery. We continue to inspire each other in our journeys, as she shares many of the inspirational parenting lessons that guide her, and we come together to further her photographic pursuits.

When I arrived for our 20 mothers coffee date I was greeted by the aroma of fresh oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and a well spoken little darling who, at 21 months, is somehow only two months older than my little boy, yet a world of vocabulary apart. I am so amazed by the different ways that children grow and develop, and the range of "normal" for these tiny humans. It seems no wonder that parents find themselves under so much stress of comparison when we get caught up in milestones and measurements. I know that my son is exactly where he needs to be, even if it means a lot of "this" and "that" and tug-and-point; and that his same-age cousin, who prefers to crawl, is perfectly well developed as well. Oddly, it seems to take a lot of self-love to embrace our children where they are, rather than stressing over what we 'should' be doing better to get them 'on-track'. 

With a second babe on the way in only three or so short weeks, Kristin's family is set for another stage of growth and change on their journey. The toddler stage is in full swing in their house, with the discovery of 'no', 'I do it', climbing, and the need for a whole new set of limits. Kristin finds much of her parenting wisdom through Janet Lansbury's Elevating Child Care (http://www.janetlansbury.com/). I was impressed as she smoothly navigated both a diaper-change-refusal and a nap-time-refusal, countering her little one's 'NO' with a small this-or-that choice that respects her autonomy but does not leave room for the option to not get her diaper changed, or to not take a nap. If the little one says no to a diaper change, she can choose to walk over to the change table herself or to be carried. If she refuses her bed, she can have covers on or off, sleep with bear or bunny (or invariably both). I have been using this strategy for a few days with my 3 1/2 year old who still often refuses to use the potty, and it has been so much less of a battle. Kristen, I could nearly kiss you for sharing this!! Read more about it here.

Amazingly, Kristin had just finished confiding to me only a week before that 'NO' was her biggest struggle at the moment. I think it is important to reflect on the fact that feeling challenged does not mean that we are somehow inadequate. Knowing where we struggle, and seeking out the resources and strategies we need are signs of strength and self-awareness that we ought to celebrate!

We chatted about the isolation of rural life as a mother at home with little ones, about artistic growth, and so much more. I value these experiences immensely, and I cannot wait to connect with more mothers through the project. Thanks so much for hanging out Kristin, opening your home to us, and strengthening our little village of mothers.


Hey mommas, want to share a coffee & chat about your journey? The 20 Mothers Project is accepting applications, and your story could be documented and shared with our lovely community. My thank you to you is a complimentary fine art print of your favourite image, and there is no charge to participate. Let's grow in honesty, vulnerability, and wholehearted parenting, and support this amazing village of ours.