Music that inspires our family values

Music and inspiring songs have become one of our key family values. For a while now I’ve been wanting to share songs that I sing to/with my kids that inspire us.

Like most Mamas, I started out singing lullabies, and still do to my two year old. But now that my oldest is almost ten, we listen to uplifting pop music. I love both equally, and it’s amazing to see the comfort and joy that come over my children when they hear a familiar tune.

As a parent, it makes for a great incentive to get my three children to help out on chores or do their homework, and gives us a quick bonding break together.

Imagine Dragon’s I’m On Top of The World is one of our favorites. On top of having great lyrics, the video is brilliant and very kid friendly. I love all the historical references, and it feels like every frame was well thought out. Plus, I can only how much fun it must have been to film it.

Do your kids love this song/video? What songs inspire your family?

Happy Sunday!

Darcy

Being Brave in 2016

Sara Bareilles’ Brave is my theme song for 2016.

No matter how many posts I publish, I’m still afraid of rejection. I may have been blogging (on/off) for the past six years, but I still feel like I barely scrape the surface of the depth of my life. This isn’t because of what I’ve said, but everything that is left unsaid.

Beyond the amazing lyrics of Brave, I am blown away by the video and it’s diverse expressions of humanity. I am excited to finally move past my own deep-seeded fears of rejection. To truly embrace my lovely quirks and eccentric passions. To express my nerdy passion for making the world a better place, simplifying and beautifying my home environment and raising the most authentic children possible. Even as I write this, I can’t help but be a little self-deprecating, but I realize how that doesn’t serve me any longer.

I’m ready to be authentically unapologetic about my deepest desires. I am ready express myself fully and wholely. I am ready to share all of the paradoxical and lovely facets of myself. I know I may not resonate with everyone, and that’s perfectly fine. My light will shine into the hearts of beautiful kindred spirits who are ready to connect on a deeper level. I hope my bravery will ignite a spark of connection for our shared humanity: nerdiness, woo-wooness and all.

Sending you Light and Love,

Darcy

 

Darcy’s 2015 Reflection

I’ve been MIA on this blog and nearly abandoned my coaching in the midst of my family’s recent move to Astoria, Oregon. But it’s still not too late to reflect, especially on the eve of the New Year. I could keep this reflection private, but for me making a post “live” makes my reflection feel real, not just like an inner musing.

Despite my hundreds of “personal” blog posts, I’ve still been reluctant to expose my vulnerabilities, despite being a huge Brene Brown fan. I am ready to finally “reveal all” in 2016, so what better way than to reflect authentically about 2015.

I’m also inspired by a recent Flowdream podcast that I listened to about completing the energies we’ve experienced/created. It especially reminded me that I’m not the only one who has misgivings as the year’s close about what was left undone in 2015.

So, part of this reflection is from questions that Summer poses in the podcast, plus questions from a personal growth group for women that I’ve loved participating in since July (contact me if you’re interested in learning more). Lastly, before I dive into these very personal questions, I would encourage you to “coach yourself” by answering similarly deep questions as we close this calendar year.

Completing & Remembering 2015

What was your biggest triumph in 2015?

My biggest triumph by far has been manifesting our dream home and community. If you would have shown me just last year what my day/life today would have looked like, filled with such amazing beauty, I would have been both giddy and completely incredulous. It wouldn’t have seemed possible, and in this past year I’ve begun to grasp just how truly infinite my/our possibilities truly are each and every day, and year.

I’ve already written a long post about manifesting my dream home on my finance blog, but it really does feel like a triumph. Probably the biggest yet, after birthing my three beautiful children.

What was the best decision you made in 2015?
Without a doubt, the best decision I made in 2015 was moving to Astoria, Oregon. Yet, I know that my desires really determined my life, not my decisions only. Decisions are practical and necessary, but without the initial spark of inspiration or vivid day dream, I would not serve as the true creator of my life.

What one word best sums up and describes your 2015 experience?
Intensely beautiful. (Sorry, I need a descriptor).

What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2015?

It feels like I learned many lessons this year. Once again, I’m reminded that my family is my most important job. And

I’ve learned that I’m not always as good of a communicator as I wish I were (learning to communicate what I want, not expecting other to intuit), that I have to be brave to share my story, and my family is my most important job.

What was the most loving service you performed in 2015?

  1. Caring for my children. Being present for them. Showing them empathy.
  2. Serving as a member of Portland Pearl Rotary, Rotary International, and now in Astoria Rotary Club.
  3. Lending in my Kiva Experiment. In the past three years, I’ve an initial $1k into over $7k worth of loans to fellow entrepreneurs in the developing world. Yesterday I lent another two $100 loans with the help of my 9.11 year, Big Guy, and 6.11 year old, Girly.  They were very interested in reviewing the loan repayment terms, and checking to make sure it seems like a worthwhile “investment.” Post to come soon…

What is your biggest piece of “unfinished business” from 2015?

In order to focus all my energy on manifesting my fairy tale home, I essentially put my coaching and blogging on hold. Last year this time I was planning my first Mama Bliss Beach Retreats, leading group coaching sessions, and discovering my niche. Now, a year later, I’m again left wondering how much I really want to coach at this moment. I’m feeling more inspired to share my story.

What are you most happy about completing in 2015?
Manifesting our home really is a dream come true, and then settling in has been it’s own creative endeavor. I feel overjoyed by the beauty that surrounds me, knowing that I’ve created it and will continue to curate my living space. The best part is the amazing view and how much more connected to nature I feel from this vantage. Despite the work of a historic home like ours, it bring me immense joy to live here.

What 3 people had the greatest impact on your life in 2015?

My identical twin sister, Miel, will always have the most impact on my life. We are spiritually interconnected in a way that few know. We inspire each other to dream bigger and bigger.

Lou Radja continues to the most amazing life coach an aspiring  dreamer could ever hope to ask for. Our insightful sessions leave me feeling both grounded and inspired. His authentic and joyful courage is contagious.

I deeply appreciate all the new “Mamas/Sisters” I’ve had the privilege to connect with this year. I’m inspired by our friendship and kindred connection. You know who you are. 😉

Kevin gets his own reflection. 🙂

What is the biggest risk you took in 2015?

Some people might think that moving to Astoria was our biggest risk, but the truth is that my/our biggest risk was actually deciding to put our Portland house on the market months before we ever contemplating moving westward. We couldn’t remotely afford the type of house we were dreaming of, and yet we worked our asses off and went out on a limb to put our place on a sizzling hot market. We even got so close that we bid on a beautiful Irvington home just weeks before Kevin’s job offer, but even that would have been a big financial risk. We were trusting/banking on our future, which takes a big leap of faith.

What was your biggest surprise in 2015?

This is actually both a surprise and a secret that only two people know.*

I felt fleetingly but seriously attracted to someone other than Kevin, enough so to make me rethink and question our relationship. In our fifteen years together I had honestly never had that feeling, and it shook me the core. It feels appalling to have even considered such an idea now, but for a brief time I was in love with the idea of my life with someone else. My feelings were so intense, that I fantasized about our life together. I felt suddenly free to be without the drama and petty bickering. It was surreal and yet, as soon as I came to my senses, I felt very lucid in my desire to create deep shifts in our relationship.

Almost like an answered prayer, Kevin and I were able to honestly share with each our needs/frustrations/desires and hear each other in a way that we hadn’t before.

Thankfully, as I sit here reflecting, our marriage feels more rock solid than ever before.

*I usually don’t share such personal things on a blog post that I haven’t told my husband, Kevin, so this will be an especially big surprise to him, if ever reads this. Just I would never want to hurt him, and I feared that.

What important relationship improved most in 2015?
My relationship with my husband, Kevin, has evolved tremendously this year.

After seven years in an organization that was never truly the right fit for him, he had become embittered. Despite his best efforts to be the best Dad and Coach on the planet (which he is 95% of the time), there were times when our family would get the brunt of his stress and OCD tendencies. He would get upset at things that seemed inconsequential to us, but were obviously big trigger issue to him. It was never anything truly physical, but he’d yell and go on a tirade. I had tried to address his temper many times before, but nothing had ever stuck.

So, after dealing with this on and off again for years, I finally decided that I wasn’t going to tolerate it anymore. Yet, the difference was that I focused on transforming myself instead of trying to “fix” him or our relationship. Almost miraculously (after a very effective breakthrough session), I became faaar less reactive and he became less controlling. Although there is naturally room for both of to grow, I can honestly say that we’ve grown infinitely together this year.

What acknowledgement would you like to have received in 2015?

I have to admit to being one of those types who truly appreciates praise. It used to be that I would live for compliments, to please other people. But at this very moment I’m feeling complete knowing that I’m serving my highest intentions.

What acknowledgement would you like to have given in 2015?

I still have a chance, as I reflect and share through this now immensely long post. 😉

Kevin deserves my endless praise for having faith in our lives together and our family. For caring for our beautiful children, diligently reading with Makenna and playing with Teagan.  For his commitment to coaching youth soccer, and love teaching about life through sports. For folding laundry nearly every night and vacuuming before I ever have to ask. But most of all for sharing your equally brilliant and quirky self with me.

What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2015?

Thank you. Thank you life! I am so wonderously in awe of the life that I’m creating. This year has been nothing short of monumental, and my heart overflows with joy at the fleeting memories that make up my life in 2015.

My only regret is not having taken the time to write more of story and reflect regularly. I’m only human, and hadn’t yet given myself permission to be truly vulnerable. I plan to make up for in spades in 2016, as I share my whole self with the world and truly tap into my highest potential.

Wishing you acceptance, forgiveness and peace in 2015.

Wishing you peace, love and light to you 2016.

Darcy

I’ve felt the Light

Wow. My life feels so surreal right now, but in all the best possible ways.

I began my weekend with an incredible yoga session that included a mini-concert to inspire each breath and every flow. Luke Williams (an adorable rising star…I’m his new deepest fan) made me reflect anew on my overflowing life. It’s pretty incredible, and lately life has been so intense that it’s easy to see why I haven’t managed to write more lately.

Here’s a brief description of what’s been going on our household over just the past week:

  1. Our counters are torn off awaiting a lovely new recycled quartz upgrade exactly like our beach cabins. 🙂
  2. We’ve started to pack our home and are planning to put our place on the market this month.
  3. I’ve had a glorious weekend with grilling, kids’ baseball, gardening/painting, and church with my lovely family.
  4. I reconnected with my dear college friend, Sarah Joy, whose been living in Costa Rica for ten years now working in ecotourism (Plus her adorable parents and our friend, Eli and his expecting wife, Juliana).
  5. We’ve had to hire our handyman Jose so many times that I’ve started to talk religion and relationships.
  6. After fifteen years of marriage, Kevin and I had our first “Come to Jesus” talk. We left feeling a new level of understanding of what we each need at the moment in our relationship.
  7. We’re ready to take our marriage to a higher level. We both deserve the deepest love and respect. It’s time to evolve together, not just support each other.
  8. Makenna lost her second tooth in one week, bought polish for the first time and melted down because she just wanted some snuggie time (after pinching and being darn right mean…aiming for my tender melanoma scar).
  9. Kieran impresses me with his inquisitive nature and deliberate manner. He speaks and appears like someone many years older. He’s somehow both sweetly curious and decisively matter of fact. I think he’ll either be a news broadcaster or politician. (Kevin’s still upset that he got a 1 (of 5) from his teachers…)
  10. Teagan steals my heart with every glance, and makes me glow like no other. Teagan’s emotional intelligence at the age of 20 months surprises most adults. She’s still no doubt a toddler who wants her way, and now.

Oh, and top of all of this very full cup called my life, I’ve felt like the light. The source of life, and recognize my place in this vast universe as my own creator and vessel of God/Light/Love. It’s a beautiful feeling. I can’t help but want to share my radiance in a whole new way.

I realize that I’ve been energetically blocked and am finally ready to not just transform, but transcend. My journey has felt like a roller coaster at times, with setbacks and stagnation at times.  Yet, my life lessons have helped me evolve and grow, and push past my comfort zone. Part of my new found awareness was the feeling of an all encompassing trust that everything is meant to happen as it does/has/will.

I’m ready to reveal my whole self through my writing. One day and post at a time. One talk, one conversation at a time. One breath in each moment. Inspiring one person at a time. As well as a renewing my spirit with each new sunrise by practicing meditation and yoga.

I developed “my passion and purpose” statement in graduate school (Antioch University Seattle), but have never shared it publicly. It suddenly feels like it’s high time:

My purpose is to inspire others by sharing my passion for creating meaningful family values that will make this world a better place. (I.e. foster sustainability and social change)

While it’s already been ten years since I wrote this statement, the only thing I would add is that living like “heaven’s here on Earth” is the surest way to make for a beautiful life. As your own creator, personal transcendence is like the extra cherry on top.

My family fills me great light and deep joy, but only I can create my own bliss. And, if that weren’t enough, I’m the leader I’ve been waiting for, and it’s time to live as the shining star I was created from.

Double wow. I know that’s A LOT to spit out in one blog post, nonetheless digest, but I’m feeling so exhilarated to have articulated what I’ve been feeling under the surface all along. Simply that life is what you make it.

This is enough of an aha for today.

Sweet dreams,

Darcy

Our Most Anti-Climactic Date Night Ever

Over the weekend we had our most anti-climactic date night ever, but instead enjoyed a cozy night.

My Dad was in town to pick up my mom from a trip, so we felt like we needed to take advantage of the opportunity. So, we enjoyed an early BBQ dinner, got Teagan to sleep by seven, slipped the Jungle Book on for the kiddos, and ducked out the door in time to catch a movie. We had thirty minutes to get across town to the Academy Theater, and we didn’t feel rushed. But a just a couple blocks from our house we got stuck in traffic with a malfunctioning traffic light. It took twenty minutes to get through the intersection and by the time we were through, we felt like turning around and going home. Instead we drove on continuing to discuss our back up options. Since we had just eaten, food didn’t sound appealing. We almost always game to check out a new brewery, but since we had enjoyed an early happy hour on Friday (which was in fact a great date night…just from 3:30 to 5). I suddenly realized that my lips were chapped from too much sun and I still had on my capris yoga pants. Then exhaustion hit, as it often does just after the kids go to bed, and all I wanted was to be at home.

In the end, we did turn around and head home to watch an episode of Mad Men. The only difference than a typical Saturday evening was that I had busted out a box of Reese’s Pieces from my Christmas stocking that I had been planning to sneak it into the theater. After watching Don and Peggy slow dance, we turned off the lights by 8:30.

So, I guess the moral of the story is that I’m done with putting “date night” on a pedestal. We used to only go out every six months or so. Now we take every chance we can, trading with my sister, having the neighbor come over for a few hours, meeting during the day for lunch, whatever it takes to get out together. Getting out more often takes the pressure off of making it a perfect night…so what if our night didn’t match our expectations?

Here are a few “date night” ideas that might not even require a sitter:

  • Binge watch Mad Men on Netflix (or House of Cards)
  • Build a fire in the back yard
  • Play Scrabble at breakfast
  • Do a “double date” and invite another family over something easy like take out
  • Befriend a neighbor who is happy to “watch” your kids sleep
  • Do a babysitting trade once the kids are asleep…the only trick is staying up past 8 yourself

What non-date night strategies do you use?

Darcy

Gathering My Tribe

Cape Camping Perpetua Wildflower Bouquet August 2013 Makenna CroninI’m finally ready to start “gathering my tribe.”

I realized that I’ve isolated myself lately. It started with getting dreadfully sick, but even once I was feeling better, it was easier to stay disconnected. It’s all too easy to do in our modern society. You can opt in or out of social media, or maybe lurk on the fringe. You can let friends’ emails get buried and dinner plans go unmade. You can focus more on playdates for your kiddos than on making sacred time for yourself.

I recognize that I’ve feared judgement for marketing myself, even when the services I’m offering my mama community are truly transformational. Since I’m still in the process of learning, I don’t want to over-promise or disappoint. I haven’t want to be pushy. I want to make sure that “I’m ready.”

I feel like a hermit crab who has grown too big for it’s shell. I’m finally ready to jettison my cramped quarters for the life that I’ve been envisioning all along. I’m ready to come into full bloom.

But privately budding out no longer appeals to me. I want to invite a riotous circle of creative mamas to join me on this journey toward discovering our utopia and living our bliss.

So, I’ve created a new Facebook Group dubbed Creative Career Mamas Unite. The name is a meant to be tongue in cheek, but my sincerity is wholehearted. I hope that like the bouquet I posted, it will be an organic expression that brings joy to all who want to seek sisterhood.

We shouldn’t have to go it alone. My plan is to post coaching style questions for you to ponder and share your honest reflections on. I will do everything I can to keep this a fun and civil forum. Since I personally know everyone I’ve invited at this point, I’m confident that it’s already a high caliber bunch of mamas/women.

Thanks for joining my tribe!

Darcy

 

Moving Past Perfectionism

Mindy Gledhill and family

The Gledhill family experiences happy chaos with Mindy’s career. “Our life does not look perfect — neither my husband nor I have done this before and our situation presents challenges,” she says. Mindy’s husband is self-employed, and her extended family also includes entreprenerial sisters such as an art therapist, massage therapist, psychiatrist and photographer. (Photo vyJustin Hackworth)

I’ve just fallen in love the song Whole Wide World, by a beautiful artist named Mindy Gledhill.

To give you some context, I’ve literally been in bed with a severe sinus infection for the past four days. I drug myself to the doctor yesterday (actually my Twin Sis graciously chauffeured me). After a third dreadful night of fevers, the pain is blessedly subsiding and the sun streams in through my bedroom window.

Yet, now that I’m over the hump, I’m feeling vulnerable in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time. Like I can feel my heart opening wider. I’ve been doing some amazing chakra clearing sessions (I’ll share more about this soon), and the last one was about being a perfectionist.

I remember labeling myself as a perfectionist sometime in junior high and thinking it was a good thing. I’ve been working to break this insane habit since first job out of college, focusing on doing my very best and forgiving myself when I fall short. I try to remind myself that my own standard is sometimes unattainable and that I’m only ever doing my best (keeping faith that everything happens in it’s right time). Yet, that’s easier said than done.

Going through the tapping, I realized that perfectionism is still limiting me in my business growth. I stop myself from blogging because I’ve haven’t managed to write the last five…ok twenty-five…ideas that I’ve thought of but haven’t had the focus/stamina to post. Each post ends up taking way longer than I thought it would…as I over-edit every word. Every time I don’t meet my own expectations I end up reading myself a silent riot act. Then I feel ashamed and unworthy deep down, even if I’m consciously feeling just fine. I’m learning that it’s the subtle acts of sabotage that keep us stuck, and I’m finally ready to break through these ridiculous energy blocks.

So, I’ve finally come up with two simple strategies (which have to do with my calendar and a stop watch), but I’m not going to share the specifics until I’ve tried it out for at least a month…

In the mean time, expect to share hearing much more from me. Hears some inspiration to get us started:

Mindy Gledhill – Whole Wide World (Official Video)

Lastly, I found this song on the website of Shannon Mae a photographer we’re planning to hire out at the beach. We actually had a session scheduled for tomorrow (in the glorious winter sunshine!), but alas my family is out at the beach without me. And yes, I am grateful for this time to heal, reflect and grow.

How does perfection limit your whole wide world?

Darcy

PS My less than perfect website is actually what’s been plaguing me since I launched in a rush to meet my own unrealistic deadline, thankfully my social media/web buddy Eli Madrone has been helping me tweak it toward pseudo-perfection. 😉

My Bliss Categories

Hey Sweet Mamas,

As many of you know, I launched this site/blog just over a year ago when my youngest daughter was just barely six weeks. At times I’ve felt disappointed that I haven’t been able to focus more energy here, sometimes feeling scattered and not yet ready to articulate all my ideas and stories. Although I have been legitimately busy…going through coaching school…writing for my Sustainable Family Finances blog…managing our cabins…oh, and three kids, has me busier than ever before.

The good news is that while I haven’t been able to express myself fully, I’ve continued to experience so much inner growth in the past year that I now feel like I’m about to bust at the seems. I’ve gained a ton of clarity on my passion and purpose in life, loving my daily rhythms, and feeling a heightened awareness of my personal evolution. Becoming a life coach has been truly transformational. I am sooo ready to start sharing my full story, connecting with the many mamas that I’m meant to serve, and guiding you toward your own bliss.

Starting in January, get ready to start hearing from me way more often. I’ve finally honed in on my top five categories that I am so excited to explore:

  1. Following My Bliss – my journey toward creative self expression and joy

  2. Creating Your Bliss – ideas for how to tap into your own Mama Bliss through practical and joyful practices

  3. Simplicity Parenting – ways to simplify the chaos and bring more peace to your life

  4. Designing Family Bliss – examples of how my kids/parenting works (at least for us!)

  5. Living Wholeheartedly – sharing what inspires me to make this world a better place

Let me know if there are things you’d love to hear about within these five categories.

Happy Holidays…I’ll see you in 2015!

Darcy

“Proof” that Simplicity Parenting works

My Elsa (Makenna), Flower Fairy (Teagan), and Harry Potter (Kieran) at Halloween.

My Elsa (Makenna), Flower Fairy (Teagan), and Harry Potter (Kieran) at Halloween.

I’ve had a much harder time writing about my kids on this blog than I thought I would, partly because its more personal. But also because I don’t want this be seen a “brag blog” and I certainly don’t want to perpetuate the vicious cycle of us moms comparing ourselves to other moms. Heaven knows that comparing doesn’t help anyone.

And, yet, I feel in my heart that in my attempt to parent wholeheartedly and institute simplicity into our lives that my family has brought many “successes” along the way. Sometimes the incremental progress can feel like two steps forward and one step back, but it’s still progress. I can feel it in myself and see it in my kids, and this last year has been one of profound growth for us (although, we are naturally still learning…with Kieran dropping the F-Bomb in class just last week…Makenna stealing Kieran’s cash…Teagan biting my nipple and signing “pain”…and me often wanting more self-care than I have left to give myself…there’s always room for growth).

Even with our progress, I’ve felt challenged in my attempt to “position myself as a parenting expert,” mostly because I don’t believe there’s such a thing. But my Mama Bliss Teacher/Coach, Ms Kathy, helped me put it in perspective, “Darcy, as my Grandmother always said ‘the proof is in the pudding’ and your kids are proof plenty!” And I feel graced by people often noticing and complimenting me on my kids’ behavior (although my trick is training them to be angels in public…alas, they’re never quite so poised at home…)

With that said, I’m finally ready to get past my own self-consciousness (and fear of nasty comments) to share my well-earned bragging rights. I want to share my family’s experiences in the hope that our mini-successes can help you on your parenting journey. I don’t expect that all of my “tips” will work for your family, but hopefully they’ll at least get you thinking more consciously about what approach could work for you.

I’ve got several stories/experiences in mind already, like how to make pool trips fun for everyone, why snuggie time is worth getting up early, and the joy of playing with each other.

Leave a comment if you want “proof” in a particular parenting realm.

Darcy

Secrets of Happy Families: What’s Working & Not Working

Secrets-of-happy-familiesI’ve wanted to share about the Secrets of Happy Families, by Bruce Feiler, ever since I read it during my final trimester with Teagan. I had high hopes that it’s secrets would ease our family expansion, and I’m happy to report that it’s working! 

Feiler’s ingenious book is a series of case studies that matches common family dilemmas with case studies from real world experts. For example, he talks with sex therapists about how to give “The Talk” (or rather a lifelong series of conversations…). He also suggests a modern spin to some family traditions, like having your family meal be breakfast instead of dinner (since the point is spending time together). I wholeheartedly agree with his notion that resilient kids know about their family history, and have a role in creating their current family culture.

While there were plenty of valid approaches, some of which I already use, the one that really resonated with me at the time was the idea of having a weekly family meeting. As a busy working mama, I found that some weeks simply slipped by too fast and that many “teachable moments” got lost in the flurry of family life. Plus, I simply wanted to be intentional about our parenting and create more peace in our family.

The idea is simple, set up a consistent time when all family members are given the chance to present and discuss issues. The basic structure is that everyone shares two things: What’s Working and What’s NOT Working. Plus asking how can we work together to resolve issues (or keep the good stuff coming!)?

When I first presented the idea, I honestly got the same push back that Bruce Feiler got with his own family. Kevin laughed about being required to attend yet another meeting (since half of his work is spent attending meetings). Kieran laughed off the idea together with Dad, and then four year old Makenna probably said something like “What’s working is snuggie time and what’s not working is brother kicking me.”

Yet, despite the initial resistance, I continued to bring up the discussion points each Sunday at the end of dinner. After about a month, it became something we all expected and a year later I have little doubt that we will continue this tradition until we have an empty nest, and perhaps beyond. For me the crux of these conversations is about creating a space for democratic dialogue.

As parents there’s a lot of pressure on us to figure everything out, but our kids ought to take ownership as well. We’ve seen a ton of growth in our kids over the past year, and it feels like we’ve given them space to step up their responsibility. We can also share our gratitude, and I find myself sharing both positive and negative feelings that I didn’t seem to have the same space to share previously.

Our meetings have also become an opportunity for Kevin and I to acknowledge that we’re learning along with our kids and that we make mistakes too. Now if we’ve argued about something earlier in the week, we have a chance to debrief as a family and talk about the situation in a defused setting. The kids clearly appreciate this, as well as the kuddos we dole out for the things that are “working.”

Sometimes the highlights may be pretty superficial, but even the silly ones give us insight into what each value and how we impact each other. Occasionally we’ve had a family member take a pass (mostly because they were in agreement with others), but one of the best times was one week when I couldn’t think of anything that “wasn’t working.” This past week we all agreed that the older kids haven’t been fighting barely at all (maybe because is so tired from Kindergarten…), even as we experienced our first toddler bites from Teagan.

Even major frustrations now feel different since we have a system in place for our family to work through our issues together. We all trust that we’ll at least have a chance to say our peace. And that has brought us all more peace. The last part of the meeting is discussing “What will we agree to work on in the week ahead?” For us we do this more organically based on how we can learn from and change the situation.

After a year of family meetings, they’ve also shown us how much our family is evolving. Nothing is static. Everything can change in a week.  Yet, by consistently having family meetings, we’re able to grow more efficiently together. We are each unique people, but we are one family. I can only imagine what our family meetings will be like once Teagan starts talking…

Do you hold family meetings?

What insights/secrets have you discovered?

Darcy