November 28, 2007

wise mamas

Garden gnome or baby Ben?, botanical garden, sf, Canon Rebel XTI

I have been excited about books as gifts this holiday. A few in particular have been gifted to me lately and I want you to know about them!

Life Artist by Ali Edwards. If you don't know her blog, hop on over and give it a read. Ali is a scrapbook celebrity, a talented designer and also lives and breathes pure inspiration. I think it has something to do with the fact that she is a life artist.

The book is part scrapbooking how to and partly about living creatively and enjoying the simple beauty in life. My kind of girl.

Her life art principles:
It's about being awake.
It means celebrating everyday things.
It means letting go of your need for perfection.
It means using words and photos to tell your story.
It means sharing yourself.
It's about being real.
It's about documenting, telling, celebrating and experiencing life.
It's about being open and embracing the process of creativity.
It's about cultivating a lifestyle of creativity and beauty-with you as the creative director.

Confession: I fall asleep to most every book I pick up. After about three pages (sometimes three paragraphs) I doze off. I am a slow reader for this reason and often don't finish books at all. (Full permission from superhero headquarters to sell or giveaway any and all unfinished books! Down with book guilt! Sometimes we get what we came for in the first chapter!)

Anyway, this has not been the case with Karen Maezen Miller's fabulous book Momma Zen. I fell in love in the first few pages and have been snuggling up in bed enjoying her every word. This is a wonderful gift for your mama friends (and mamas to be) There is so much permission in here to be imperfect... and how enough that truly is.

An excerpt:
Buddhism teaches that all of life and all existences are perfect as they are. I can easily accept that about a bird or a fish or a rock, but hardly about my fellow human beings and never about me, a lowly bottle-feeding mother. You can substitute the circumstances in your own story (you know it by heart) and the comparisons and recriminations remain. How many of your thoughts are about not being good enough? My guess is nearly all of them. And none of them are the means for getting on with your life. They are the means for avoiding your life-detouring from what is right in front of you to make endless mental laps around the ground long ago covered and gone."

Can I get an amen? I love this book.

Posted on November 28, 2007 07:56 AM

i received this book for xmas and I have to tell you i never put it down the whole week i was off ~ it's perfect and beautiful and so what i needed at this point in motherhood - thank you for finding it for all of us!


Posted by: stef at January 3, 2008 11:55 AM

Well, I just have to say I finished the first chapter of Momma Zen and loved it! I went and bought the book minutes after reading what you wrote about it and I'm so happy I did. I think this is one book that I'll actually ready out of the many I've bought in the past. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: Candice at December 6, 2007 04:31 PM

Well, my book is ready too now, published, available and all. :) "Zho" is an art journal (handwritten and handdrawn) about a year in my life as a legally deafblind woman. Lots of zen too, because I practice that (Zho is my Buddhist name.) :) Unfortunately for you: it's in Dutch. :)

Have a wonderful day.

Posted by: Marloes at December 5, 2007 11:06 PM

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Posted by: edwards psychic medium at December 4, 2007 01:31 PM

Oh, and by the way, I very much appreciate Gabby's entry below! I think I see a few cutsie items from that website that will make excellent Christmas presents for my nieces.....

Posted by: Jennifer at December 3, 2007 02:37 PM

Doesn't the little guy have a birthday coming up soon? Plase share photos with us from that momentous occasion, you wise mama you!

Posted by: Jennifer at December 3, 2007 02:33 PM

Your picture of Ben reminded me of the cutest doll from blablakids!

Posted by: gabby at December 2, 2007 04:46 PM

and . . . your wee Ben is so darned cute!

Posted by: cheeky at December 2, 2007 11:41 AM

Thanks heaps for the Life Artist link and info. I'm really interested in having a peek at that. I'm really craving my creative being but am having difficulty finding my way. I'm continually inspired by all the beautiful woman out there who share and encourage all of us to create.

Posted by: cheeky at December 2, 2007 11:39 AM

Hey there. I used to work for Karen Miller about ten years ago. She's an incredible writer. And an amazing person. Her book is like a breath of fresh air for moms.

Posted by: girl con queso at December 2, 2007 09:17 AM

I need me one of those little garden gnomes, now that I see how CUTE they are. "Sigh..."

Posted by: jill at December 1, 2007 02:16 PM

Wow, Ben looks all grown up, I can't believe it. He's every bit as gorgeous as you love him (I hope this makes sense).

Posted by: ollka at November 30, 2007 03:10 PM

I love that picture, what a cutie he is.

I'm new to your blog, please feel welcomed to come and visit mine.


Posted by: Jillian Curtis at November 29, 2007 10:09 AM

Wow, do I love that last quote (from "Mama Zen") -- it just really rocked home. Thanks!

Posted by: JanHarp at November 29, 2007 09:44 AM

"Down with book guilt! Sometimes we get what we came for in the first chapter!" Perfect!

Posted by: brenda in toronto at November 29, 2007 09:23 AM

Such a cute photo! I want that sweet little gnome!

Posted by: kristine at November 29, 2007 08:49 AM

Mmm-hmm. Hallelujah. What you share here is beyond material--it's about sharing inspiration.

Posted by: simone at November 29, 2007 12:23 AM

hello andrea, i found you through boho girl's blog one day. i have visited before and always leave just a little bit better for it, thank you :) i love blogs that make me think deeper, appreciate differently, view broader, or just offer whatever is pretty, pleasing, or otherwise properly suited to my needs at that moment. even though i am not a mommy and wont be reading momma zen, i am thankful i stopped by tonite. particularly because of the "material" discussion above. i believe life is for sharing. doesn't mean everything will be received as offered, it just is what it is. i have a material item that i am giving away on my blog at the moment - it is a gift from my heart. some days i will only have words to offer, some days silence, others who knows what. this is sort of my coming out week in terms of blogging - my blog is only days old, and i am also beginning to comment on some of the blogs i read - yeah! what i take away from here tonite is a knowing that, as i enter this new activity of interracting with virtual strangers i vow to stay true to myself and always share from the heart no mtter doing so, i feel certain i can never go wrong. it is apparent you do the same & i am grateful :) ox kelley

Posted by: kelley at November 28, 2007 11:30 PM

I have read your blog for some time now - Momma Zen sounds like a book I should read at this point in my life- Being a mother of two boys- I can SOOO relate to your postings!! thanks for the info and always the inspiration your blog provides.

Posted by: pam at November 28, 2007 08:26 PM

time and again when i come to your blog i find what i need. it is a comfort and inspiration to read here. i know what to ask my husband for this sounds like a wonderful gift that i know i need. thanks, andrea. mr baby ben is looking so sweet as garden gnome...almost a year...hard to believe.

Posted by: mamie at November 28, 2007 08:18 PM

Wow! Your son almost looks like a toddler now. Where did the time go?

Posted by: Norma at November 28, 2007 07:45 PM

Amen, and I am getting that book for one of my favorite women who is expecting her first any day now. We've already shared an exchange about how much it hurt me to see my sister feel like "not enough" when she was unable to breast feed and I never want any woman I love to feel that way again.

And Kate - I am not sure I count books as material things. Actually - I'm not even sure that I count Superhero necklaces as material things, but that's just because I think they are magic... ;-)


Posted by: Frida at November 28, 2007 07:16 PM

Amen, sister.

Posted by: ~moe~ at November 28, 2007 06:15 PM

Of course I understand the point of this post! I am not talking about this post specifically.

I completely understand the need for a person and a blog to evolve, but I guess I don't see material items as being the main source of inspiration in the world.

Just me though, as you pointed out.

Posted by: Kate at November 28, 2007 05:44 PM

Of course I understand the point of this post! I am not talking about this post specifically.

I completely understand the need for a person and a blog to evolve, but I guess I don't see material items as being the main source of inspiration in the world.

Just me though, as you pointed out.

Posted by: Kate at November 28, 2007 05:43 PM

Coming out of lurking today...thank you for this post, Andrea. I sooo needed to read these words today. Cheers!

Posted by: Liza at November 28, 2007 03:01 PM


I just got off the phone to my sister, a very hardworking mum, trying to keep everything together, but finding it a huge struggle at the moment. Then I visit your blog and you talk about Momma Zen - I think I'll go buy it for her as that quote is pretty much what I just tried to tell her, though nowhere near as eloquently. I love that you share stuff like this, things you find inspiring or fun.

Not being one to have a go at someone else, but I think Kate (comment above) has completely missed the point of this post. She also needs to realise that your blog has changed, and will continue to change - you are a mum now, the biggest life-change you are probably going to experience. Your focus and priorities have changed and as a result the things you discuss here will change too.

I personally find your blog just about the most spiritual, uplifting thing on the web. Thank you.

Posted by: Michelle at November 28, 2007 02:22 PM

Are you sure you're not secretly Julia Cameron?
Life lived with awareness, is indeed, art.

Posted by: witchypoo at November 28, 2007 12:59 PM

I love your blog, but I have noticed you spend a lot of time devoted to talking about material objects. I am so sorry to criticise, but I guess I miss the other aspects to your blog.

Posted by: Kate at November 28, 2007 11:37 AM

I too love Ali Edwards and this Mama Zen sounds awesome...I'll have to check it out :)


Posted by: stef at November 28, 2007 11:28 AM

me, too ... boy did i need to hear it today. what a relief to hear that others feel that way, too.

Posted by: Sandra at November 28, 2007 11:16 AM

i needed to hear that quote...thank you.

Posted by: boho girl at November 28, 2007 10:46 AM