Post-deadline Afterglow


Hello, world. I’ve missed you. Okay, so it’s only been two weeks since my last post, but it feels a lot longer.

I had three editing projects all due within a week of each other, so as the deadlines approached I ducked further into my cave, shutting off the world, ignoring phone calls, missing friends. It was a time of buckling down and doing what needed to be done, even if it meant my three-year-old watched a lot of TV while I worked.

Yesterday was the last of the three deadlines and it was glorious. I spent the morning doing back-to-back loads of laundry, cleaning my kitchen, paying bills, completing preschool paperwork. Okay, I realize that may not sound glorious, but it was. I find that when I’ve been in my cave of work, the everyday minutiae of housework is gratifying.

Midday I settled in with a blanket on a sunny couch for a 15-minute nap. Usually that short amount of time wouldn’t be enough for me to fall asleep so it would be frustrating, but yesterday in the post-deadline afterglow I must have gone right out.

In the afternoon I soaked up the warm 70-degree weather (a welcome change from the bitter low 30s we had last week) while my son played in his sandbox.

The mail brought the new Bella Grace magazine and an artsy deck of oracle cards. I’m pretty certain the universe was trying to help me celebrate.

Last night my husband and I went grocery shopping to get our final needs for Thanksgiving (another box checked off), then we worked together on a new soup recipe (which was delicious). We cuddled on the couch and watched a few episodes of Warehouse 13 and after putting my son to bed, I took a bubble bath and read on my new Kindle.

By nighttime, the cold that has been mildly afflicting me for the last two weeks turned into a full-on sore throat and this morning, I definitely feel it coming on with a vengeance. But even that doesn’t bother me too much because at least it remained small while I had to work and gave me a day of catch-up and rest before hitting harder.

The point is this: everyday life is sweet. In the afterglow of deadlines that is extra apparent. And I’m thankful that the universe gave me just the day I needed to reconnect with the sweetness.

Today I’ll settle in with warm drinks, leftover soup, and the exhale of accomplishment.


Flecks #30


As in flecks of reflection from the week: what I’m learning and celebrating.

Things I learned this week:

  • WordPress hates me, I think. After 20 minutes working on a post, it produced an error and lost my work. Grrrr. Lesson: Type the post elsewhere first, then paste it into WordPress.
  • How to clean my washing machine. (I’m not sure how it gets so gross to begin with, but for now it looks almost new.)
  • The motor vehicle building is quick to get through on a rainy day.
  • I can write more than I think I can.

Things I’m celebrating this week:

  • My husband is back safely from his business trip.
  • Starting a new online course called Write Your Freakin’ Heart (+ guts) Out.
  • Writing. I’ve done a fair amount of it this week.
  • So much progress on an editing job.
  • Exploring a neighboring town which I drive through all the time, but never really visit. (The above photograph of chairs is from there.)

Things that are resonating with me:

AnnapurnaLivingI’ve spent a lot of time this week on Annapurna Living, a site launched Monday by Carrie-Ann Moss. (Remember Trinity from Matrix? Yes, that Carrie-Ann Moss.) Her goal with the site is to nourish, uplift, and inspire the fierce, feminine soul.


A bunch of amazing women are contributing, including Alisha Sommer who graced us with an interview earlier this year. Incidentally, one of my goals is to be a contributor.

The Wild Surrender of Motherhood by Carrie-Ann Moss in which she says, “As children, we do not remember so much what we had or did not have, but we will remember the spirit of our mother, we will remember the feeling of her happiness, the feeling of her ability to love us and to be joyful.” This is a good reminder for me on how to live right.

The Secret Life of Vulnerability by Hillary Rain wherein she says, “To be vulnerable is to allow for the possibility of suffering. But it’s also to allow for the possibility of living. We can’t have one without the other.”

Your turn:

What did you learn this week? What are you celebrating? Leave a comment and I’ll share a “Woohoo!”



Interview: Stefanie Modri

Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives. Which is exactly why I love this interview series.

This week, I’d like to introduce you to Stefanie Modri. Stefanie is an obstetrics nurse and founder of The American Garden Tool Co. which, as the name implies, sells all American-made garden tools.

She has taught me a lot about organic gardening and is brilliantly helping Jeff and I dream up plans for our new farm. (Incidentally, our husbands went to high school and college together, so I have them to thank for meeting this fascinating woman. Thanks, guys!)

Meet Stefanie.

StefanieModriWhat have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I asked my husband to help me answer this and he said, “Honey, you are constantly wonderstruck!” He’s right. I am. I guess I’ll choose the most recent wonderstruck event–the process of moving a house down the street, around the corner, wherever, but without it all falling apart. Just the concept of up and moving a whole house has intrigued me for years. 

Recently, we were in Cape May, New Jersey. The Angel by the Sea bed and breakfast, I learned, used to be one big house further away from the beach. At one point, the home was moved to be closer to the beach. However, it was so large that it had to be cut into two halves to successfully move it. What looks like two homes joined by a walkway is actually one big home, split and settled further apart than it originally was. I am fascinated that a house doesn’t shift and become an utter wreck by the time it lands in its new destination.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

Since I work night shift, I am thankful when I am able to sleep in my own bed at night. Often times, I want to tell others to be thankful for sleeping in their bed at night, every night. However, it wouldn’t really mean anything to them if they never have to work at night away from their home. I am also thankful to have a husband readily available every morning to help get our children to school on time and safely.

What part of your day is tough? How do you move through it?

I think the only part that is tough is the after school homework and getting dinner ready time. I have come to deal with it better by 1) trying to have a part of the dinner prepared before they come home from school, 2) shutting off technology and not making phone calls or doing business work during the after school time, and 3) sitting next to the kids when they do their work, rather than just hovering over and visiting them while they work. The kids and I can stay on task better this way and we each have less distractions. Plus, I can watch them do their work, which helps to catch mistakes they may make and can help them to improve their learning.

What do you wish your were more conscious of?

The faces I make. I know I make faces. I don’t have a poker face. I would also like to be more conscious of the odd things I say. I am just being me but I may not always realize how my words are being interpreted.

How do you stay focused on what is truly important to you?

Lists, lists and more lists. I balance being a wife, mother of two, commuting nurse, business owner, writer, community member and several other roles by making blocked lists of the different segments of my life. I take a piece of paper, fold it into eight sections and title each section. The lists of goals/what needs to get done for each section help me to stay focused and not get overwhelmed. Otherwise, the list looks like it is 50 items long! I also take long baths and naps, early and often. I don’t indulge in expensive gifts for myself but I do like to vacation. Ultimately, I try to think about what I will be happy about when I die. I am happy to spend time with my whole family and I try to do things that I completely enjoy, even if I am not perfect at doing them.

StefanieModri3cropAbout Stefanie Modri:

I have been an obstetrics nurse for over 16 years, have lived in Hawaii, love to travel to Europe and enjoy running my company, The American Garden Tool Co. I have completed two sprint triathlons: the first one, I came in second to last; the second one, third to last. I had a blast doing each of them, and met my goal to just finish and have fun–even if I only started training a few weeks beforehand.

I am married and have two kids. And I knew I was going to marry him the moment I saw him 17 years ago. 


Collecting Soul Samples


As you may already know from last week’s post, my husband and I recently collected soil samples at our new farm.


A few times during the afternoon, I typed on my phone about it. Every time I did so, the oh-so-helpful spellcheck changed it to “soul sample.”


And while having to fix it repeatedly was frustrating, I was struck by the sentiment. Because when I am at the farm, I feel my soul cup filling.


I feel connection and peace. I am truly collecting soul samples.


How lucky we are to have found this space.


How much luckier we will be to call it home.




Flecks #29


As in flecks of reflection from the week: what I’m learning and celebrating.

Things I learned this week:


Things I’m celebrating this week:

  • Halloween! I experienced my first trunk-or-treat. My friend Laura and I went in on a trunk together. Her husband lent his drawing skills for this Great Pumpkin theme.


Happy Halloween!

Your turn:

What did you learn this week? What are you celebrating? Leave a comment and I’ll share a “Woohoo!”





Colors of Fall

I don’t have a lot to say today. Nothing really. Sometimes being wonderstruck is more about seeing. And when you’re seeing what we’re seeing, how could you feel anything but?

Here is how we are experiencing fall in New Jersey.





Plus, a few from the farm…

IMG_4426 IMG_4382 IMG_4388

Mother Nature is dressed in her finest. And that, my friends, is worth seeing.


Interview: Sonia Marsh

Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives. Which is exactly why I love this interview series.

This week we are visited by Sonia Marsh, author of the award-winning Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island, and the founder and editor of the My Gutsy Story® Anthology series, the latest of which will be released on November 1st. Be sure to check out the details at the end of this post.

Now, please welcome Sonia.

SoniaMarshWhat have you been wonderstruck by recently?

This might come as a shock to those who know me online, but my life has taken a dramatic change since my marriage is ending after 28 years. What has surprised me more than anything, and left me “wonderstruck,” is the amazing support I’ve received from so many people. I had forgotten how kind people truly are, and how willing they are to help. Thanks to not being afraid to ask people, and to all my networking, I’ve found a beautiful room to rent in a peaceful location, with an older lady from Germany, who is energetic, travels, works online, and helps me as a daughter. I am so happy I found her as my life is moving in the direction I have wanted for a long time.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

I love each part of my day for various reasons.

The morning, for my cup of coffee and the gym where I love to work out and chat with friends.
I enjoy what I do as far as coaching writers on how to promote their books, helping doctors with their blogs and social media, house-sitting, and always thinking of what can I create next as a job for me, or write about.

I enjoy networking events and attending workshops and learning more and meeting new people.

What part of your day is tough? How do you move through it?

The middle of the night is the toughest for me. When I wake up and think about all the things I have to do the next day, and wonder if I can get them all done.

What do you wish your were more conscious of?

I am always thinking of global events rather than simply on what’s going on in my own life. I want to make a difference internationally.

How do you stay focused on what is truly important to you?

I follow who I am, and I am who I am. Of course I have faults, but I only focus on my tasks and where I hope to be in the future. I love people and learning from different cultures, so my daily routine is geared towards reaching my goals, but not in an organized and rigid way, just in a “natural” way for me.

About Sonia Marsh:

SoniaMarshBookCoverBesides being an award-winning author as aforementioned, Sonia is the “Gutsy” book coach for authors who are not celebrities with a disposable six-figure budget to publish and market their books.

Her new book–the second My Gutsy Story® Anthology: Inspirational Short Stories About Taking Chances and Changing Your Life–launches on November 1st. Sign up to join the launch where there will be a PBS-SoCal TV moderator, a panel of interesting authors, wine, appetizers and raffle prizes.​

Find Sonia here:

Facebook Page:
Join My Facebook Group: Gutsy Indie Publishers


Soil Testing and Learning What I Don’t Know


The scariest thing about going from hobby gardener to farm owner is that I feel like I need to know things now. Things that I don’t know. In fact, I don’t even know what I don’t know.

Right now if my tomatoes don’t come up, I say, “that sucks,” and move on with my day. Last year when a groundhog ate my entire garden, I was upset. It was wasted work, but at least I could go to the grocery store.

At the farm, things will be different. Because we are hoping to grow and preserve more food for ourselves and also sell our harvests, the trial and error approach I’m used to taking is less practical.


So right now I’m learning everything I can. I’m talking to organic certification specialists, conservation specialists, and I’m looking for experienced farmers willing to answer dumb questions.

I’ve signed up for a two-day bionutrient workshop. It’s probably important to mention that last week is the first time I heard the term bionutrient. This course is supposed to teach me how to analyze soil samples, naturally enrich the earth, and have a productive growing season.

This means, of course, that I need to get the soil tested. Which means I needed to collect soil samples. Which means I needed to learn how to collect soil samples.


After a call to my local Agway, some online searching, and watching a helpful video from Rutgers Cooperative Extension, I loaded up the truck and Jeff and I headed to the farm.


We spent the afternoon going from field to field. We moved top soil, dug down six inches, and collected samples in a bucket. After collecting multiple scoops from a single field, we mixed the soil in the bucket to get a representative sample, filled a sandwich baggie, and labeled it. Then we repeated this process in each of five fields.


Then we played a little dirtball baseball. Because we could.


My next step is to fill out some paperwork and ship the samples off to a testing facility. When the bionutrient workshop rolls around, I’ll learn how to read the reports and how to act on the results. I hope.


I almost let not knowing how to test my soil keep me from signing up for this workshop. Thankfully I ignored that fear voice and realized the point of going to the workshop is because I don’t know. I need to learn.

And I will. I will keep going, keep trying, keep asking. I will learn how to farm.



Flecks #28


As in flecks of reflection from the week: what I’m learning and celebrating.

Things I learned this week:

  • How to make my own guidance cards. I’m learning from Mindy Tsonas and a bunch of other women about this creative, intuitive practice.
  • How to use Asana to keep track of all the millions of things my husband and I have to do to build our new house and grow the farm. The project management skills from my full-time working days will come in handy.
  • How to measure vegetable oil. My son was helping me make brownies and I asked him not to pour the oil yet because we had to measure it. I came back to find him like this…


Things I’m celebrating this week:

  • Lots of work coming in. This is a good thing, especially because we have a lot to do to build the farm and it will take money. But phew! It’s a lot and I’m not going to lie- it’s a little daunting.
  • Fall colors. Trees have been showing off in golds, reds, and oranges- so lovely. The leaves are beginning to fall so I’m soaking in the view while I still can.
  • Being featured in Sonia Marsh’s Gutsy Living series: My Journey from Suburbanite to Farm Girl. (Okay, this one is from last week, but I didn’t get a Flecks post up last week.)

Things that are resonating with me:

Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt by Glennon Doyle Melton at Momastery. Because Glennon uses the word “perspectacles” and delivers the best kitchen makeover ever.

Raising my Kid on 6 Hours of TV a Day on Scary Mommy. Because I worry that Jonas is watching too much TV. But I have to balance time with him and also get work done.

Your turn:

What did you learn this week? What are you celebrating? Leave a comment and I’ll share a “Woohoo!”