Sunday Serenity

January 31, 2010

My Journal

Today begins a new series that I am excited to share, Sunday Serenity.

Sunday Serenity is a continuation of the We Deserve This series from a few weeks back, and it is just a place to gather for a little peace for the week ahead. There is something about writing on this subject that makes me happy, and I am looking forward to sharing part of each weekend with all of you.

As life gets busier, and the boys get older, I find myself requesting a few hours each weekend to rejuvenate, and find serenity. My husband, who travels an awful lot, is very in tune with the fact that I spend most of my week raising two children on my own, and he is generous enough to give me the time that I need to reconnect with myself before the week starts again. A warm bath, a face mask, or an extra hour to sleep in feels like heaven, and it helps tremendously to get my mind into the right place.

This weekend I was in desperate need of a good face exfoliation, and I recently discovered that you can use a small amount of baking soda to remove dead skin. Now, I have to tell you, I think that there is little else that is better than baking soda. We use it as a deodorant (rub a small amount on the underarm, and you are all set), and it works so well I could never wear anything but. We use it to clean our bathrooms and kitchen, just simply cut a lemon in half, pour baking soda over the surface that you want to clean, and rub the lemon over it. Works like a charm.
I grind oatmeal and baking soda together, and add it to my bath to both soothe the dry itch, and soften my skin.
Now I can add one more use; exfoliation


photo by Joel

After my shower, I wet my face, took about a quarter size of baking soda and rubbed gently in clockwise circles. My face feels so yummy soft, and it feels heavenly to get all that icky winter skin off.


I am one of those silly people who love anything gooey and sticky, so face masks with ingredients from my kitchen are always a lot of fun. The kids will some times jump in and enjoy a little face mask time with me, but for the most part, this is a once a week treat that I just savor

Both plain yogurt and honey are two incredibly hydrating ingredients that soothe my dry skin. Yogurt has a mild bleaching effect to the face, so it can even out skin tone, and honey draws moisture in, and then helps to retain it the longer you keep it on. I was curious to see what happens when you mix the two together, and I liked the results. It is a mess to wear a mask like this, but rather fun to just sit back and relax with a towel covering my hair, and some Tori Amos on my iPod. To make: Mix 1 tbsp. of honey to 1 tsp. of yogurt. Apply and rest 15-20 minutes


My weekend yoga practice is always my longest of the week, and I let my body guide me to the areas that are in need of extra time. I am almost always in need of hip, thigh and groin openers, and I found myself staying for a long period of time in Baddha Konasana (Cobbler’s Pose) over the past few days.

To begin, sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Draw the heels of your feet in towards your pelvis. Sitting straight, grip your feet firmly, and begin to open the feet like a book.


Only to the point of comfort, begin to press your knees towards the floor.


Press your elbows to your thighs, and taking a big exhale, fold forward, sinking into a deep stretch. Never allow yourself to go beyond the point of your comfort.
Take a few minutes here to let the body relax deeply into the pose. When ready, inhale and rise back to a seated position. Stretch your legs out in front of you, and continue with the rest of your practice (or simply lie back and take a few deep breaths before continuing with your day).


One of my favorite parts of my weekend is my alone time with my husband. A few minutes reading a book together, talking about something that is on our minds, or just sitting silently helps us to connect. We have recently rediscovered the joys of a good cup of tea, and we find ourselves refilling the kettle all through the weekend.


Joel’s 35th birthday was this past Wednesday, and this was really the first year of our marriage that we took some very special time together to celebrate. One thing that I gifted him with was this amazing chai concentrate from Amy’s blog. It was funny because on Friday, I was visiting one of my daily reads, and saw that I was not the only wife gifting her husband with this jar of yumminess.

If you are a lover of chai, this recipe is not to be missed.


Before my weekend ends, I try to spend just a few minutes writing in my journal. I sometimes need to give myself small reminders, things that I can look to, about what I need to keep myself grounded. I am determined to keep the joy in each of my days, no matter how trying, and this time in my journal is a way to put down on paper what I need, what I can reach for, in order to do so. This weekend, a reminder of five things that make ME feel nurtured.

What five things do you need to feel nurtured this week?

Nicola has a wonderful list of posts from around our community that served as great reading yesterday morning over my coffee (thank you for including me Nicola!).
Lisa has a few face mask recipes that are really worth trying out for a little more nurturing this week.

Wishing you all a day filled with serenity

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

eliz~ so wabi sabi January 31, 2010 at 12:47 pm

what a beautiful start to such a thoughtful series, Heather! thank you for sharing some of the things that you do to stay grounded, peaceful, and energized.

my five..
sunrises
vegetable soup
a lot of green tea
qigong in the mornings
cuddling with jude and john

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Brooke January 31, 2010 at 3:46 pm

love it! I will be posting my five things very soon! Thank you for the reminder.

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maeghan January 31, 2010 at 4:08 pm

My five:
time to create
a good cup of coffee
alone time with Mr. Miller
Kisses from my little men
time to read

Love this!

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Ivy January 31, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Heather you have such a peaceful and beautiful blog. I feel so calm and centered every time I come here to read your words.

I love baking soda for cleaning, but never thought to use it for self-care, I cannot wait to try it. I'm also going to try that chai recipe — yum!!!

My list would definitely include time to myself, a chance to read and write, alone time with my honey, snuggle time with my kiddos, and a good conversation with a friend. I asked my Hubby and his only criteria was support from people he knows will always have his back — like us. :-)

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Francesca January 31, 2010 at 4:43 pm

What a wonderful new series, Heather! I thought I used baking soda in just every possible way, but I had no idea it could work as deodorant. My five? I've had them in one go by taking a trip to see an art exhibition!

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5orangepotatoes January 31, 2010 at 4:51 pm

baking soda and oatmeal, I bet it's great. I will try this today.
my 5 for this week:
1. quiet time with coffee in hand
2. watching masterpiece classics tonight- Emma
3. create everyday
4. long phone chats with my sisters
5. cuddles with my little ladies

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heather January 31, 2010 at 5:22 pm

heather, this is so wonderful. i am trying the baking soda scrub tonight! your capture (and sharing) of your yoga practice is sweet and generous… i have those pants in three different colors. they are the BEST! 😉 this series will be a bright spot to my sundays, thank you.

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Andrea January 31, 2010 at 5:28 pm

I truly love coming here. You always inspire me to become my best! My five this week? Snuggling with my dog, wrapping myself in a thick, cozy blanket while reading, hot tea, group yoga class, meditation (on my new fluffy cushion).

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April January 31, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Heather- I think we are on the same wave-length this weekend… I spent some time yesterday steaming my face and trying a yogurt mask. The cold yogurt on my face after the hot steam felt so good. It was lovely. Next time I'll try adding some honey. (It will be hard not to eat the yogurt and honey :) I spent a lot of time yesterday making googly eyes with the baby. I crawled in bed early with the baby, my journal, a book and knitting. I woke up and did a little yoga. I'm going to make a big green smoothie for myself. Later I'm trying a new recipe: baking a ricotta cheesecake.

I use baking soda for deodorant, too. I mix a little with Burt Bees baby powder and cornstarch and apply it to my armpits with a little powder puff. I'll never go back! I use it for cleaning, too, and will now try it on my face – a great idea!

Wishing you a nurturing Sunday-

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samthehamsmom January 31, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Love the ideas for the baking soda…going to have to try that mask out too! Thanks for the tips~as george on Seinfeld says "SERENITY NOW!" Laura

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Ginny January 31, 2010 at 7:23 pm

You know, I think it's been five or more years since I put a mask on my face. I think I am going to try this tonight-after I do a baking soda exfoliation of course!
So, old Tori or new Tori????

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jessica January 31, 2010 at 7:52 pm

My friends and I are starting the tradition of a week night dinner together. We always add another component-like restorative yoga or a reiki session. I think next dinner will be face masks and chai tea. I am so looking forward to these weekend posts-you inspire me each and every day!

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Kelly January 31, 2010 at 8:05 pm

This is fantastic. I can feel your sense of calm and peace through the post.

My five:

tea – also the chai or any tea, so good
hot baths
time to craft/create/work with my hands
good food
my family

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Marie January 31, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Hi from New Zealand, I will try that baking soda, your life sounds cool, I too have a good peaceful life, cheers Marie

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kristen January 31, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Thank you for such a lovely post. Just last night I was staring into my bathroom cupboard wondering what I could use to exfoliate. Voila! I'll do it tonight. : )

Have a restful Sunday.

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denise January 31, 2010 at 2:15 pm

this is wonderful. I am loving your blog more each time I visit.

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AdirondackMama January 31, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I am in serious need of a scrubbing. This is on my to-do list for tomorrow while the boys are in school.

Happy belated birthday to Joel. It sounds like you were the model wife. Good girl.

This is going to be a great series…I can feel it.

Five things that I need for my weekend…
Coffee
Skiing
Nap
snuggles
reading

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rose January 31, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Heather, I so appreciate your presence here and the gifts that you offer with each new post. Your blog has the feeling of a yoga studio to me: peaceful and serene with a foundation of discipline and conscious effort. You inspire me to have the courage to start sharing my gifts with the world. Thank you!

My five:

NIA
time to think
hot, hot tea
reading
authentic connection with friends and family

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Emmalina January 31, 2010 at 11:07 pm

I can't take this time right now as the boys are too young but I'm looking forward to it in the future! Just reading your post gave me a few moments of serenity and the gorgeous photo's bathed my eyes in beauty as your blog does every day. I will be stopping in for my dose of serenity next week. Thank you, as always.

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cathleen January 31, 2010 at 5:07 pm

You're beautiful! You're blog is beautiful. Your SOUL is beautiful!

What I needed to nurture myself this particular week? layers…lots of layers of clothing to feel warm, copious amounts of cocoa, tea and hot coffee. Hot showers. Snuggling and being cozy with my granddaughters. Time at my sewing machine to create.

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Jennifer Tan February 1, 2010 at 1:38 am

Wonderful post and pictures! My five:
1. Chai tea latte with soy milk each day
2. Yoga and meditation each morning before homeschooling
3. Crochet something just for me (not only for customers)
4. Read a book for pleasure
5. Sing, sing and sing!

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Nina - Tabiboo January 31, 2010 at 7:45 pm

My top three cleaning products are vinegar, lemons and baking soda though I never thought of using baking soda as a face scub before – thank you for all the tips and even more perfect as they are all natural ingredients.

take care,

Nina xxxxx

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Michelle February 1, 2010 at 2:45 am

I am so glad that I stumbled upon your beautiful blog. My five:

~my yoga practice
~snuggles from my little one
~talking with my adult daughter every morning on the phone, with coffee on hand
~cooking our sunday meal
~reconnecting with my busy travelling husband

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shannon February 1, 2010 at 3:43 am

what a very yummy, nurturing post. 5 things i need this week to be nurtured:
1) your blog post
2) present, quality time playing with my son
3) laying under my quilt with good earth tea and my new art journaling magazine
4) a long needed skype call with my best friend, jennie.
5) restorative poses on my mat

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Adrie February 1, 2010 at 4:19 am

Heather, So great to see you continuing your nurturing thoughts, and sharing more yoga! I've been practicing for years, but don't think I've done this pose yet. Tonight! Also, btw, I tried your washcloth with herb water idea, and love it! Thank you. Hope you had a wonderful weekend.

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nicola February 1, 2010 at 5:43 am

i am SO glad to see you taking some time outs just for yourself, heather, and in the nicest possible way. sometimes, when allotted a break, i don't know what to do with myself! and i am nodding here…the baking soda, yogurt and honey, oatmeal baths, tea, tori? yep yep yep. ditto ditto ditto.
and thank you for the link love!
this week? my list is easy and longer than 5 things. my birthday is this week and friends and family already have much spoiling planned. and you know what? i am one of those people a bit uneasy at the passing of time (slow down slow down) and i have been running on empty lately, so i am ready for a little extra attention this week. i hope i can return the care and some energy back to my husband, who is also functioning on fumes this week.
warmly,
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

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lucy January 31, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Heather, this is delicious and luxurious post because 1) as women and primary caretakers of family, we tend to ignore our own need to relax and recharge; 2) Appreciating our spouses when they pitch in more over the weekends to let us have a few moments to ourself – such a nice treat.
My 5 this weekend have been
drinking lots of tea
taking a nap
cooking a fancy sunday dinner
taking my girl shopping and seeing light up
and lastly, tonight we are also watching Emma on PBS.

Also, thank you for visiting my blog recently.

xxx

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AG Ambroult February 1, 2010 at 2:06 pm

serentiy now! thanks for the face mask recipe and for linking to my blog. I have a love/don't-love-so-much relationship with cobbler's pose. I think I just need to relax my mind about it a little more. For some reason I find myself getting frustrated. WIth your insight, I'll try it again, with a new point of view.

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Julia B February 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm

lets see five things I need to feel nurtured this week, on the spot…

not being on an airplane
five hours of uninterupted sleep
time to create order in chaos
but most importantly…..
just being with my girls in our home
crafting, baking, creating

I too had the baking soda aha moment during the holidays when I ran out of my favorite lavender face wash and my complexion was a little crazy…it certainly does the trick…and I have yet to replace my normal cleanser! I also had this same moment with Cornstarch recently but for different purposes, of course!
Another things about baking soda is that it is great as a fabric softener in the wash!

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tasha February 1, 2010 at 6:15 pm

wow! i felt relaxed just reading this! i wish i was better at incorporating things like this into my day. i really need to! thanks for the inspiration. i love your list of things that make you feel nurtured. wonderful post! i'll be back to your blog! :)

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erin February 1, 2010 at 7:10 pm

this is just beautiful heather.

i'm working on finding a daily/weekly rhythm that works for me and the rest of our family.

we've been looking for the overlap in what we need to feel nourished and finding ways to work these activities into our week.

one thing i know i need more of is joyful physical movement (a.k.a. exercise). it's tough for me to get movitated to get outside and move my body during these cold winter days but i feel SO much better when i do.

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rose February 1, 2010 at 11:51 pm

for joyful physical movement please see if there is a NIA class near you. http://nianow.com/

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Valarie February 2, 2010 at 2:26 am

Your new series is so serene and tranquil. My list of five is: Coffee latte, playing piano, taking a walk, having a sauna, and spending time with my husband.

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Gerri February 2, 2010 at 3:05 am

Wow, reading about your process and experiences was nurturing for me. :)
My five:
Spending time in worship/relationship with God
Nurturing and being nurtured by my husband
Loving on my son
A warm cup of delicious tea
Quiet moments of reflection
peace

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briar February 2, 2010 at 9:08 am

you have inspired me to think abou this! I confess I haven't really given it a lot of thought….running around after 4+ kids has blinded me to the fact that nuture of oneself is realy quite vital….and am determined to do something about thinking it thru this week
Thanks x

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Julie Alvarez February 3, 2010 at 2:29 am

I use baking soda for everything too!
Now, I am using it as a shampoo (a tbsp in a cup of water), and soap (I just spray myself with that solution when taking a shower).

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Shivayamama February 3, 2010 at 1:19 am

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