• Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth. @biltmoreestate
  • I had the most profoundly memorable experience today. The cookbook club at Haywood County Library (the county adjacent to mine) hosted me, and by hosted, I mean 12 ladies selected recipes from my book
  • What better way to clear out a case of the Mondays than a giveaway?! See that lovely locally-made wooden bag dryer there on my wall? Want to win one of your own (you do, trust me)? Pop on over to small measure to enter. Link is in my profile.
  • This guy right here? While he might be growing bigger every day, the truth is that becoming a mother has helped me to grow. To be more present. To be more patient. To be more empathic. As I tell all my soon-to-be-mama friends, parenthood is the toughest work you'll ever do, with by far the biggest payoff. The lovin', and the learning, are so, so good. Happy Monday, friends.
  • Today was a good day. This view, from the top of our road, certainly helped make it so.
  • I think the 48-hour flu I've been fighting has finally succumbed to my assault of grapefruit seed extract, osha root, propolis, elderberry syrup, Oscillococinum, apple cider vinegar, rose hips, hibiscus, ginger/lemon/honey/cayenne tea, and neti pot with goldenseal tincture. I don't take getting sick sitting down. And now, a winter storm, possibly. Bring it, I say. Happy weekending, friends!!!
  • This guy.
  • I've been waiting, for a book like this, to come into my life. Whoa. Picked this up a few weeks ago at @screendoorasheville as a New Year's gift to @glennbenglish. Just started reading it myself and it couldn't possibly be more of what I need to see, right now. Completely on point, wholly attuned to what I'm presently sensing and curious about and inspired by, and infinitely humbling.
  • Warm enough today to play soccer down in our lower field, do a bit of weeding in the garden, and push a nearly-too-big 4 year-old in his
  • New year, new moons, new calendars. Right on, right on.
  • @shelterprotectsyou has been posting images of the wedding she and @sheltercollective had here in September all week. They built this altar for the ceremony, and it's still here, just past the house, on the way to the chicken coop. We pass it every day. Some days, I casually note its beauty and the way it feels like an outdoor church here in our forested cove. Other days I barely register it as I scurry about, doing this and that around the property. Today, though, in the stark, grey, drizzly setting, it was quietly regal. Happy to have had her visuals prompt me to stop, look, and listen to this physical testament to love.
  • The chickens told me they much prefer the rain this week to last week's frigid weather, thank you very much. I couldn't agree more.
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Blissful Belly Coloring Journal (+ Giveaway!!!)

Blissful Belly 2Blissful Belly
When I was pregnant with Huxley, like any woman carrying their first child, I felt an intense array of emotions. Ecstatic, anxious, blissful, scared, sometimes all of them within the course of an hour (or, on particularly rough days, less). I questioned my mom and my father’s wife about their birth experiences, asked my mom friends about theirs, and turned to quite a few books (Birthing From Within was just what I needed to hear, the way I needed to hear it).

Now that I’ve had a baby, I know what to expect. Not that each birth isn’t different, should I have another child. It’s just that, well, I’ve been down that path, I know where it goes, and I know where it eventually ends up, even if there are some unforeseen branches or boulders encountered en route. I’ve felt kicking in my stomach for the first time. I’ve experienced what it is like to have your unborn child hiccup inside of you (it’s freaky; that’s just honest). I know now the sensation of my water breaking, what a contraction feels like, and when your body gives you the head’s up that it’s time to push (full disclosure for those not in the know: you feel like you’ve got to “go”, now).

What would’ve been wonderful during the pregnancy, though, was a space that was just for me. A place to chronicle my experiences and chart my journey and convey my fears and hopes without worry about  judgement, admonishment, or correction. A pregnancy diary, of sorts, with images of round mamas-to-be, mamas in labor, and mamas with their new ones, reveling in and recovering from the birth process. Drea of These Little Joys has created exactly what I’m talking about.

Her Blissful Belly Coloring Journal is a wonderful means of positively directing the avalanche of emotions and questioning pregnant women often experience. As she details it, the journal will aid in allowing you to:

*Take time to relax and enjoy being pregnant.
*Put yourself in the same state of mind you will be in during birth (right brain mode).
*Give yourself the gift of presence and peace.
*Coloring is relaxing and fun, let your inner artist out.
*Connect with your baby and let yourself envision a peaceful birth.
*Take the words of encouragement contained on these pages with you into labor.
*Recall the calm you felt while coloring as you are birthing your baby.
*Calm your nerves, allow yourself to focus your intention.
*Decorate your birth alter or nursery with your finished images.

Drea sent me the PDF of the coloring journal and it’s truly lovely. Each image she has rendered is full of love and compassion and, well, just kind of a sense of “understanding.” As a mother of three, she’s definitely travelled down this road before. Lucky for us all, she’s offered to give away a copy of the journal to one small measure reader. Yay! Whether you’re pregnant or have a sister/friend/daughter/niece/aunt/loved one who is, Drea’s journal will be most welcome.

The journal comes in an electronic file format, a PDF, that is then printed out by you. That’s why having an email address attached to your entry is very important. Drea will use the winning email to send you the file. To be entered in the giveaway, simply leave a comment here. It can be about anything related to pregnancy, or just “pick me!” I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Thursday, July 3rd, midnight EST. Since the giveaway comes in an electric format, international entries are most welcome!

I wish you all the best, and thank you Drea for both your small measure sponsorship and for your generosity with the giveaway!

20 Responses to Blissful Belly Coloring Journal (+ Giveaway!!!)

  • Barbara Bretherick says:

    My best friend is about to have her first grandchild–her daughter is expecting in November 2014. I would love nothing more than to present her with this precious, creative, resourceful gift! As a side note–we didn’t own a TV while I was pregnant for our two (now-grown) girls, so my husband and I colored each evening–a passing-the-time, bonding-with-one-another, totally-calming activity that we still remember fondly after 34 years!

  • My sister and her wife just found out YESTERDAY they’re pregnant with their first child, this would be such a lovely way to start their pregnancy journey together! so….pick me!!

  • Ashley Thompson says:

    I would LOVE this, it would send positive vibes as we are currently trying to conceive!

  • Amber Leonard says:

    I am 7 months pregnant with my second child and trying to stay sane with all the pregnancy emotions and the recent passing of my father. These images are beautiful and would be a wonderful gift for anyone.

  • Hey Miz Ashley! Wow! Time has flown since I first started following your blog 5 or 6 years ago and I love watching your evolution both personally and professionally! As for me, I’ve recently remarried and with this great man comes plans to try for a little one of our own. So, long story short, the writer and artist in me would totally dig something like this :) Either way though, keep doin’ your thang and long distance cheers from Oregon! – Aimee/EcoGrrl

  • Kris says:

    I would love to gift this to a dear friend who just asked me these same questions Drea includes in her beautiful book. Pick me please! What a great giveaway!

  • Jen says:

    I *love* this! I’m pregnant with our first child right now and how you describe your first pregnancy is exactly how I’ve been feeling. What a lovely giveaway.

  • Alysha says:

    Pick me!! I’m pregnant with my first child due the beginning of December. This would be a lovey keepsake of this pregnancy!

  • This sounds like such a lovely resource to have!

  • Becky says:

    Pick me! Despite good preparation my delivery and first week went far a field. As we begin to think about another child I really feel the need to process and prepare mentally and emotionally

  • Amanda says:

    I totally get where you’re coming from! My first pregnancy was amazing, with every new twist and turn an eye-opening marvel. I’m halfway through my second pregnancy now, and while it’s still a marvel, time is surely flying by! This book is beautiful. What a lovely way to help one slow down and take it all in!!

  • kels says:

    Wow! This looks like the perfect journal for me. I’m four months in with my first and I love artsy opportunities for expression. Thanks for offering this book!

  • Anja says:

    I would love this, especially as we are trying to conceive at the moment

  • Kasey says:

    This lovely book is a gift, and one that I would enjoy giving to the next friend or family member that is pregnant!

  • Cat K. says:

    This is so beautiful! Would love to have this in my stash for someday down the road. Just gorgeous, and so empowering!

  • Becky says:

    Expecting my first September 27!

  • Amy says:

    I need this for my best pregnancy!!! (#6 !)
    What a perfect meditative practice <3

  • Megan says:

    This would be such a perfect thing for us to record this time and memories before our little girl comes in November!

  • The images are so beautiful and I think this is a wonderful idea. Thanks so much for the giveaway.

  • beth says:

    goodness, this is so perfect. i’m 11 weeks with my fourth! and freaked out, and way too busy (others are 20 mos, 3 yrs, 5 yrs!), and in very much need of something to slow this pregnancy down! thank you.