Visionary Mom Interviews

My truth: I chose to become a mother late in life and now I am living my dream as a 47 year old artist/mother of a spritely 5 year old son…and all the joy, frustration, exhilaration, exhaustion, beauty and messes that encompasses motherhood. I did not choose to be an artist. Creating is something I have always done as far back as I can remember and I have learned to accept it as a way of life. If I don’t do something creative every day, I feel out of balance, like I can’t breathe. It is not a hobby, it is a physical need. That said, sometimes just the act of making a book for my son is enough to fill me.  (click to see a slide show of the bookbeautiful!)

Still, when I feel compelled to make art for artsake or to take on a larger project, I schedule the time I need to work on it with my family. The biggest shift that took place for me in becoming a mother was the realization that time was no longer my own, but shared with my family to whom I am heartfully committed. In the past I would virtually disappear, unplug the phone and work feverishly until I was finished. I had to find a new way of being which I now liken to a slow simmer.

Before I became a mother, my art was my life, but now it is the other way around…my life is my art. For this I am grateful.

It may sound like a trite altruism, but living artfully is very much like making paintings: it’s messy, invigorating, exhausting, you step back to gain perspective to see what works and what doesn’t, you make mistakes, mend them if possible, try to learn from them or learn to live with them.  It’s soulful work, or call it what you will, devotion, dedication, passion.

As a mother I would like to see art retreats that nurture the whole family. I feel more inspired and joyful with my family present, than I would feel if I were to attend without them. And I believe it’s powerful mojo for our families to experience that side of us and be part of it. The creative process has many layers and can be particularly healing and transformative on levels that we never imagined possible.

Even so, the Arts are taking the biggest hit by school’s counter-intuitive budget constraints. Our society needs more opportunities for creative gatherings. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Imagination opens us to limitless possibilities and it is vital that we nurture this. That said, it is our duty to do what Sabrina Ward Harrison suggests, “create what we most need to find”.

Her words have become one of my many mantras and I have applied it to all aspects of my life.

Mother & Artist, Wendy Cook has been exhibiting her work since 1986. She has been published in the US, Canada and the UK. Her work has been sold at charity events such as the “Postcards From the Edge” benefit for Visual AIDS of NYC; Northern Virginia Family Service; and The Fund for Women Artists.

her life – motherrising.blogspot.com
her art – www.wendycook.com
her mission – mightygirlart.blogspot.com

Want to share your own truth?  You can share a photograph, a poem, an essay, a video.  However YOU would speak your truth.

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Sometimes, I see her spring forth from my own shadow on the wall.  The image of her escapes from my own outer lines of existence, and she is me and I am her.  Her hair is wild, her eyes fierce, and her presence gentle and knowing.
Other times, she whispers to me in the soft breath of my sleeping children.  In and out, in and out, inhaling and exhaling.  It is a deep knowing of gathering close and letting go.
She is there in the complete fullness and orgasmic contentment that comes from smelling the earth after a good rain.  She is the leap in my heart upon hearing thunderous waves meet the shore with intensity and drive.  She is the instinctual knowing and accepting of the water’s retreat back to wholeness.  She is what lures me to cover my warm flesh in the life of the earth’s soil in effort to feel my pulse and keep my senses tingling.
She is the desire in my rotating hips as I dance and make love and birth life into our realm.  She is the opening of my soul, the potency of my dreams, the deepest knowing of self.
She is the unrelenting urge to create and the demonic drive of knowing that I must carve out time for solitude.  She is the lonely road of self work, self realization, and self love.  She is both the calm in a glass of dry red wine and the burning rise in the chest during passionate debate.  She is comfortable holding space for it all, as it is, with no need to turn away from what is seen.
She is the vibration that enables my voice to be heard.

She is the potential of the highest peak and the unrivaled certainty of the valley low.

She is the instinctual wisdom in season, the gravitational pull of the moon, the beauty in discovering and accepting that which shifts and changes.

She is my sight in the dark tunnels of life.
She is the untamed love that keeps me trusting.
She is the reckless abandon from what dreams are made of.
She is ancient stories carrying the wings of the soul.
The heartbeat of humanity runs through her deeply ground roots.
She walks with ease, treading lightly, but brewing storms when the message is not heard.
She is the vehicle which takes me to the heights of integrity.  She insists on living in harmony with my inner knowing.
She is the art of letting go…the wisdom of embracing what is…and the courage to let it all be.


I see her when I stare at my naked reflection in the mirror and open my eyes to understanding and love.

I hear her in the crackle of fire, the softness of a breeze blowing through my hair and the emptiness of a desert night.

I smell her in coiled dreads, in the scent of fresh picked herbs and in the afterbirth of my children.

I taste her in the divinity of chocolate, in the orchestration of a lover’s kiss, in the wild tang of a summer berry.

I know her when I know me.

My truth is simple.  My truth is whatever brings me closer to her breath.

Jessamyn Turgesen is a truth seeker living in the mystical desert of the SW.  She feeds her life energy through imperfect photography, writing, conscious parenting, and exploring the extraordinary in the every day.

You can find Jessamyn on her blog~ woman wander, or her photography website.

Want to share YOUR truth in this space?  We would love to hear from you.. .details right here. xo

I must admit that when asked by Lisa to share my “truth”, I was a bit intimidated! I’m not exactly June Cleaver! *smile* What I’ve discovered recently is that as mothers we try our hardest and when we try our hardest, it is enough. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be “the best”, when all our children really care about is having some fun and lots of love in their lives.

I’ve learned that the kids don’t care if the house is clean or the laundry is put away (obviously). Those are not the things they’re going to remember when they’re adults living away from home and doing their own thing. They’re going to remember that you stopped what you were doing in the kitchen to have an impromptu dance party or that you stopped working or watching that reality show on tv to play a game with them. Those are the moments that I want to treasure and that I want to be treasured by my children.

I’ve learned that waking up 5 times a night or hearing “Mom!!! Can you come wipe my butt???” every day is definitely not my favorite thing. But it makes up for it when you get that tight hug and the “I love you, Mommy!” or when you hear your children telling their friends about something fun that you all did together.

I’ve learned that when the day is done, the things that truly matter are my children, my husband, my family. It’s the little, everyday things that make life sweet. Laughter truly is the best medicine, especially laughing together.

I’m sure I could go on but those are my most recent truths and the things that I’m remembering during this day-to-day journey called life.

Jamie is a 30-something wife to Brian and mom to 3 boys, ages 5, 10 & 11. She spends her days working in a law office and her nights with all her guys. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in January, 2009 and spends every day raising MS awareness, creating adventure and living inspired. You can follow along with her life journey at inspiredmess.blogspot.com.

I am really loving these truth stories from all of you!!  Keep ’em coming!  Click here for details on how to share YOUR truth.

This is part of our new series ~ Share YOUR Truth. Giving all of you a chance to share your truth, celebrate it, embrace it and proudly be who you really are…

Here is a lovely video from Erin, sharing her truth….

Erin Barrette Goodman is a writer, yoga teacher, community organizer and mother of two. She is the founder of the Rhode Island Birth Network, which promotes empowered decision-making during the childbearing years. She is a regular contributor at kidoinfo.com and her essays have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms and on mothering.com. A long time advocate of local and sustainable agriculture, she currently works as the Marketing Director for Pat’s Pastured, a pasture-based, sustainable farm in Southern Rhode Island. Erin blogs about her days and life with her family at exhale. return to center.

We would love to hear YOUR truth!!  Details can be found here.

This is part of our new series ~ Share YOUR Truth. Giving all of you a chance to share your truth, celebrate it, embrace it and proudly be who you really are…

The journey to motherhood has stripped me bare, left me in my darkest… and given me the chance to find light, to let go, and to really look into the eyes of who stares back at me from the mirror.

The infertility journey. While not alone, still a path that feels so…very much alone. Teeth baring, ready for the fights- with doctors, with self…

My body was my source of distrust and disgust. An already low self-image, torn apart and ballooning in front of my critical eyes. My body was my source of hatred. Not only did I find it absolutely appalling, but now it was failing me, failing my dreams, failing my future…  my young body, a barren waste land.

so harsh, but I had worse things to say about it. I was the biggest bully to the weakest woman, myself.

Part of my self-therapy during my fertility journey was finding ways to accept my  body, accept where I was on the journey, accept who I was- and any emotions that came with it. I began taking nude and semi-nude self portraits of myself. Sometimes the fog would lift from my vision and I’d see this curvy, beautiful goddess… but if I stared too long- the image warped.

It was a start.

Sometimes I wrote beautiful things about that body, and other times I wrote ugly things about it.

That positive test…

I prepared myself for the worst, prepared myself to fight, prepared myself that this too would be a struggle. That I was not meant for things to be handed easily.

And then this incredible love harvested… already, my baby my most beautiful creation… the thought that my baby- who would one day be a person with their own thoughts and opinions might not see the beauty and love in them- that I already have, killed me… and then I realised that that must be the same way my mom sees me…

It hurts so much to think of the person you most love, who you find the most beautiful- to not see that beauty in themselves… to not realise how wonderful they are, inside and out.

My body blossoms. It isn’t perfect… but it’s so perfect. It’s beautiful. My body shifts and gives way… my hips spread, my thighs rub, my body carries life*. My body carries the love shared with my husband.

How could I not begin to love myself then too?

I give myself permission to love this body. this body before pregnancy, during, and after.

I think that sometimes, our society of women feel like we aren’t allowed to love who we are, who we see in the mirror… constantly surrounded by self-criticism. Self- doubt.

And I’m tired of wasting my time feeling anything but love for myself.

Sure, I have things about my body that I’d love to change… like any woman.

But I’m choosing to not let those things hold me back from loving this body… from loving myself.

My truth is; I love my imperfect… perfectly perfect body.

My truth is; I give myself permission to love myself as much as I love others.

My truth is; I’ve never been happier since giving up that ugly worry and thought about my image in the mirror…

My truth: I love myself. (why does that feel like such a confession?)

*I don’t want anyone going through their own (in)fertility journey to feel like they have to get pregnant to be able to heal themselves. The entire journey has been a major healing process, finding my strength, learning to love myself. Make the vow right now to give yourself permission… regardless of how your baby finds you.


About Erin, in her own words:

i am inspired to inspire.

nothing pleases me more than knowing that i have inspired someone to pick up and do what it is that they love, but forgot how to enjoy it…
to try something new, to explore new worlds.

i consider myself an artist, but i am merely the vessel – a Creative flows through me when and how she wishes… i am at her beck.

i aspire to embrace my journey. live in the moment and love with all of my heart.

i was raised in the united states and found my soulmate in ireland. he pushed me to begin with the lens and is my greatest advocate and teacher. he is my best friend, and without him i’d still be searching for myself.

together, we live among my mess of paint and brushes in a little town in Co. Galway, Ireland.

You can find more of Erin on her blog ~ Starving Artist Ink and lovely etsy shop ~ edarcydesign.etsy.com.

Want to share your truth here on Visionary Mom?  We would SO LOVE to hear from you.  Details can be found here.

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This week we get the opportunity to hear from Melisa Nielsen from A Little Garden Flower & Waldorf Essentials.  I have known Melisa for a while now and one of the things I love about her is her clarity of vision.  She has something she wants to contribute to people, she has things she has to say and she says those things in a way that matters and makes a difference.  Whether or not you are into homeschooling or the Waldorf philosophy, there is a lot to learn from Melisa about who she is about the things she believes in.

Ready?

First off, why don’t you tell us a little about you and your family.

I am wife to Erik, a mom of 4 – awesome, rowdy kids, boy, boy, girl, boy.  We live in south east Idaho in the shadow of the Teton mountains.  Erik is my second husband, we are a blended family.  More than blended… our tree is mended.  We run our business from home and all six of us are together all day, everyday.  We love it.

What would you say your big dream is?

To help families reach their greatest potential – being whole, being on the same page, being happy.

I am amazed by how you juggle being a mom, homeschooling, and running your business. How do you do it all?

There is no way I could do what I do without the support of my family.  My children are great, they often help pack and ship orders – we live in a very small town of 1200 people so our post office is within biking distance, they run errands for us.  Also, I couldn’t do my end of the business without Erik.  I rise each morning between 4 and 6am and that means I have to get in bed on time and stay healthy.  Erik is a huge supporter of those things.  We each have a strong commitment to our family – neither of us could imagine it any other way.

What do you do to nurture yourself?

Meditate…shop for yarn or fabric… eat cheesecake… bake… handwork.  So many things.  I think that is the key really – have many things that make you happy then squeeze them in where you can.  For each mom those things will be different.

You are a really inspiring speaker and writer, have you always wanted to guide and help people?

LOL!  Thank you.  My mom used to tell me all the time that I talked far too much – I do, lol.  In fact I am constantly working on being silent more. But yes, I have always wanted to help.  I was a lactation consultant for a long time, worked in the midwifery field a bit and when my children were on their way in homeschooling, I realized there was a need for more moms to understand Steiner.  My consulting really started there.  Our Beacon program was born from seeing a need to have realistic, workable, meditative practices that moms can put into practice each day.

Tell us more about your Beacon Program.

Well if you are a mom then the Beacon is YOU!  The Beacon program is a targeted inner work and self healing program designed just for moms of all ages, all faiths and all places on their journey.

This program was a long time in the making.  For the last twenty years, I was on a spiritual quest, I changed religions, changed who and what my vision of Source or God was and along the way, what I realized is that there were some wonderful healing programs and powerful spiritual mentors, but no one that talked to me in my unique position as MOM.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A lawyer.  I started out in the political science program at the University of Utah a million years ago.  Pre-law frustrated me.  I saw a legal system that was broken and I wanted a family, lol… I worried I would not have the energy to grow a strong family AND fix the legal system.  I chose to make a difference at home first.

How does that compare with your real life now?

It actually compares really well – my instinct in law was to help people – I get to enjoy that now.  Paychecks of the heart far outweigh the money.  I really enjoy what I do – I love my family and I love our business.

Are there things that you let yourself neglect to make sure you are spending time doing things that you love and that nurture you.

LOL yes.  The dusting.  My house is clean but don’t run your fingers along all the surfaces, lol… dusting is my least favorite chore.

When you are really in the zone, being productive, writing and doing all the things you want to be doing, what does a typical day look like?

Well it changes as the children have gotten older.  Right now, Mondays are my all day work day.  I start before 5am with a cup of tea and then head down to my office.  My office is a small room off our laundry room that has space for our inventory right there so I can keep an eye on things.  I start each day with a prayer of thanksgiving.  When I get settled in the office, I look at my to do list and then begin my meditation.  For me that can mean, reading something inspirational, guided visualization, deep prayful meditation – it really depends on what I am needing that day.  After about 30 minutes (sometimes longer) I get started.  Monday tends to be really productive and I don’t leave the office until dinner.  On Mondays Daddy is in charge of children and food prep, they all work together.  The rest of my week tends to be more relaxed – one long day takes care of a lot.  The other days, I get up at 4 or 5am, work until 8am then get everyone else up for school.  I work in the office a couple afternoons a week, depending on need.  Kids jump in and help and that is a lot of fun.

Do you feel like parts of yourself have been neglected since becoming a mom, or like things have moved to the backburner?

No.  I actually think becoming a mother helped me to realize dreams that I didn’t know I had.  If I want to do something, I always find a way.  That is just me.

What do you wish you had more time for?

Handwork.  I love handwork.  knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery… you name it, lol.  Reading… I do a TON of reading for our work or for inner work and for that I am really thankful… getting through a novel would be nice now and then.

How do you squeeze in time for yourself, when you have other obligations?

Erik helps me.  We help each other.  I am committed to his inner work and he is to mine.  We just make it work.

How do you connect with your own creativity and passions in those times when you feel tired and worn out from your mama duties?

After I get a good sleep (this is key!) I will often take a day off… find ways for the kids to be happy in what they are doing and just let them play around me.  Some of my favorite days are when we play hooky and I take a handwork project to the park. Erik takes a book.  We can sit with a picnic lunch and enjoy nature while the kids run around us and play.  I try to always keep ahead of where I need to be – I don’t remember the last time I was too worn out to do what I wanted – I just don’t let myself get that down. When I need a down day, I take it.  We have to.  We have to show our children that life is going to take us if we are not in charge. I have to be willing to make life happen -otherwise… why am I here?

Do you ever feel guilty for wanting time away from your family?

I think when the older ones were younger I may have more… as I have matured as a mother, I have realized that time away rejuvenates me – it gives me extra energy for them.  It is a good thing.

What would you say is the single most important thing that helps you balance who you are as a mom and who you are as a woman?

Prayer.  I would be nothing without my connection to God.

What gives you hope and inspiration?

Again, prayer.  When I am low, I pray. When I am high, I pray.  When I need help, I pray.  When I am thankful, I pray.  My best inspiration always come through prayer and meditation.

What do you see for yourself in this next year with regards to your business and being a mom?

Good question!  Business… growing!  I am so excited at where we are going.  We have so many wonderful things to share – I could write everyday for the next 6 months and not get it all out! But that is ok, one step at a time.  In a time when many other businesses are getting smaller, we are growing.  We grew 300% in 2009.  My bet is we will be close to that in 2010.

My family… well… hard to tell.  Not sure if that will do any growing, lol… we keep saying we are done but I am always open to promptings from the Spirit.  I know the rest of 2010 will bring fun family trips and exciting lazy summer days.  And yarn shopping.  Lots of yarn shopping.

What are your biggest hopes and dreams for your family?

My biggest hopes are that our children grow up happy.  I already know they are healthy, lol… but happy is what is really important to me.  We work a lot on being strong together – standing firm in who we are and loving one another.   We would also love to see the world together.  We have explored much of our nation, now we are ready for the world.

How does you writing and running your own business help make those dreams come true?

Well we dream big!  We hope to see our business grow enough to allow us to travel more.

Thank you so much, Melisa!  Your passion and deep commitment to what you do is always a real inspiration.  Thanks for taking a little time to share with us about your life and who you are.

The Nielsens are a crazy, fun bunch.  Nearly three years ago, Erik left his job as a newspaper reporter to work with me.  We write Waldorf curriculum and we work with homeschooling families.  I also work with women through our inner work program, Be A Beacon, helping women to see their full potential and be all they can for themselves and their families.  We love what we do.

Oh boy!  This week we get to hear from Danielle LaPorte of White Hot Truth.  If you do not know who this amazing woman is, you need to know her! Seriously.  I visit her blog every day for some of the most insightful, magical, kick butt inspiration.  I asked her if she would answer a few questions for us and when she said yes, I about fell out of my chair.  Read on.. you are in for a treat!

Hi Danielle.  Please, tell us about you, your family, your dreams, and your passions:

My son is 6, mystical, tender, mighty. He likes to snuggle, collect bugs, draw birds, and make fart jokes. When he was born I decided that I better really up my game, and I committed to living my life more artistically and boldly because of him. I thought, “If I’m going to teach this kid to live in integrity, I need to go after my passions with abandon.” My passion?: Evoking the truth. Broadcasting my love as far and wide as possible.

What is the best advice you have for us moms who also have big dreams?

  1. Balance is a myth. Fuhgetaboutit. Go for passion and proportion.
  2. Get an advisory board:  coaches, smart girlfriends, a spiritual counselor, astrologer…whoever it takes to keep you thinking higher and deeper and staying true to your ambitions.
  3. Starting is way more fun than not starting, Just start.

What does a super productive, fully living your dreams + taking care of your family day look like?

Walk three blocks to school. Race home with the dog. Write. Write. Write. Tweet. Strategize. Stress about what to cook. Decide it’s a good night for pizza. Squeeze in another chapter or jam with one more client. If the man is home, I keep writing. (see a pattern here?) or I race to the monkey’s school. Home + kid time = lot’s of drawing, kitchen disco and cuddling to movies. After bedtime, it’s like starting another day. And I…yep…write some more.

All of this is interspersed with beaches, parks, and impromtu getaways. And bubble baths.

What is the hardest thing you deal with about being a mom and being someone who is living life is such a powerful way?

It just occurred to me when I read this question that I’m not the only one in the house living in a powerful way! The Monkey Boy is a force of nature and he finds ways to get his needs met even if I’m distracted.

My kid watches more movies than I thought I would allow for. “Mama needs to get my book to the graphic designer, so how about some Monster’s Inc.?” But, all in all, I think my son is a great match for me, and I for him. He gets his wonder, esoteric, fantasy quotient filled. We have lots of little adventures. My time is packed, but it’s all mine and that means I have the freedom for surprise escapes and meandering. And those moments make all the difference.

Any thoughts you can share about the importance of us moms going after our dreams?

Mothers are amazing, aren’t we? Even if you think you’re sucking at the motherhood thing–you’re probably pretty amazing. Advice? Be full. Let the dishes pile up. Socks don’t need to match. Listen to your heart and then you’ll be able to listen to your child. Share your dreams with your kid. They need to hear us dreaming and feeling our way into our own potential. They need to know that we’re Goddesses and mavericks and works in progress. Just like they know we are.

WOW!!  These words are gold.  Pure, amazing truth.  Thank you so much Danielle for sharing a little glimpse into your life and how it is you make your magic happen.

Danielle LaPorte is the creator of WhiteHotTruth.com, which has been called “the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality.” An inspirational speaker and business strategist, and former think tank exec, Danielle’s new digital book, THE FIRE STARTER SESSIONS helps entrepreneurs rock their career with integrity, audacity and their truest strengths.

You can find her on Twitter @daniellelaporte