I am a creative, sensitive, quiet soul who has never opened a Facebook account and once finding out I could complete this interview anonymously, seriously considered doing so. I love anything embroidered, I save too many tea bag quotes, and I can’t stop myself from dancing to Groove is in the Heart by Deee-Lite.
My husband and I have been married for 12 years. I dream of one day road tripping through Italy with him on a culinary excursion. He is the rock in my roll. I am a blessed and grateful mother of three children. I had my first son 10 years ago. He loves to build and create. His favorite thing to watch on a Saturday morning is Ask This Old House. Our second son is a wonderful mixture of his grandfathers. He has a big personality and imagination. I am sure if he lived in a different time, he’d be a valiant knight. My daughter is a pink and purple wearing little farm girl who just started preschool. As a family, we enjoy working on DIY projects at home, making our Friday night pizza from scratch, watching movies together, dance parties, jumping on the trampoline, and traveling with friends and family.
Amy and her husband on a date!
What is your biggest strength as a mom?
My kids are always watching but not always listening. I’ve learned that I do better nourishing their spirits when I do what nourishes my own. Whether I am learning about medicinal herbs, planting my garden, going for a walk, serving communion at church, shopping at farmer’s market, or carving time out with my husband, I’ve come to recognize that actions do speak louder than words. In fact, I asked my boys this question because I was curious what they thought were my strengths as a mom. My second son said my biggest strength was love. My oldest said I give just to give and then he gave an example of when I gave a homeless woman some money. I don’t usually give homeless people money, but it just goes to show that our kids are watching and remembering our actions.
How do you spend time away from your children?
Time away from my children is usually spent with a girlfriend over a shared meal, an occasional yoga class or jog, shopping with my mom, or on more recent occasions, a date with my husband! I do love a good thrift store find or visit to Happy Day Spa for a foot massage!
What do you do for work?
I work part-time as a pediatric occupational therapist in early intervention. Early Intervention is near and dear to my heart. Thirty-five years ago, my mom started the program I now work for. Now 17 years into my profession, I have focused more of my practice on feeding therapy, helping children become adventurous eaters and helping families to recognize that there is more to a family meal than nutrition.
What is quiet time like for you?
I love peace and quiet. My quiet time happens in my car during my work hours when I am driving between home visits. Often times, I just enjoy the quiet. I love watching the seasons change. Much of the county I live and work in is rural, and I so enjoy driving the country roads and watching for the first signs of spring and fall. Sometimes I listen to NPR (love Radio Lab) and I have recently discovered Audible.
Flow at Forty
You’ve recently had a birthday… How did this feel compared to other birthdays? What did you do to celebrate?
I spent my 40th on the garden isle of Kauai surrounded by the people I love the most. The day included a solo morning walk on the beach, day spa with the one person who makes me laugh the hardest, my sister, happy hour (that lasted more than an hour) with family, and dinner made my hubby on our lanai over looking the ocean. I felt and continue to feel, more grateful than ever.
My favorite peeps!
Hanging loose with my sister
What is something that you have always looked forward to at this particular time in your life?
I think I’ve always looked forward to family life. I think I’m officially there!
Now that you are there what are your thoughts?
It’s hard work! There is a lyric from a Maroon Five song that says, “It’s not always rainbows and butterflies, it’s compromise, it moves us along.” I love that lyric because I do believe compromise is a big part of maintaining a happy family life. We all have to learn to bend but not break.
What is your favorite thing about where you are right now?
I am in the middle place and it feels good. Not too old and not too young. I’ve got the love of my parents on one end and the love of my children on the other end.
Me in the middle
What comes easier to you now at 40 than at 30?
At 40, it is easier for me to not sweat the small stuff, move beyond my self-consciousness, and let go of control. After my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in my early 30s (she is an 8-year survivor), my life was forever changed. Everyday is a gift. We have to cherish the time we have because life is uncertain. I’ve also come to realize that mistakes are ok…even good for me. Learning happens during those times of trial. Growth happens after we’ve made our mistakes and usually for the better. At 30, I think I was still trying to control a lot of things in my life. I still struggle with letting go of control but it is much easier now that I’ve adopted a growth mindset (thanks to my husband). I recently was introduced to the music of Michael Franti. His newest album has been our family’s soundtrack this past summer. There are many lyrics that stick out to me, but I really like following because it reminds me to remember that I am work in progress and that I don’t need to be perfect or get everything right all the time:
“All the things that I be stressing only keep me from the blessings,
I’m falling down and standing up and walking through the lessons.”
What do you feel like your 30’s focused on and how is that different from the next 10?
My 30’s were about having babies and planting our roots as a family. Now the focus is on growing our family…pruning and cutting back on the things that drag us down, and cultivating the things that help us flourish. Earlier in the year I started reading the book, 8 Habits of Love by Ed Bacon. This book has totally inspired me. The first habit in the book is the Habit of Generosity. I’ve really been trying to weave this habit into my daily life. The author describes generosity as, “anything that flows towards others, and is represented by whatever might be at our disposal-whether it is our attention, our material resources, or our care.” It is helpful for me to know that generosity doesn’t just mean the giving of material goods but that my attention, my listening ear, my gentle touch are all habits of generosity. As I read through each habit in the book, I find myself taking time to think more about how I spend my time and energy. If I look toward the next decade, I hope the habits of generosity, stillness, truth, candor, play, forgiveness, compassion, and community begin to find a way into my daily life.
You always have a calm demeanor, do you have any grounding tools or tips? Has this always been a part of your personality or something that has developed?
I think it is just part of the introvert in me. I actually have a pretty fiery temper that is mostly brought on by my lovely children. I’ve come to realize that my energy has a ripple effect. If I am quick to anger, so are my kids. If I am calm, they are calm. Seems straightforward but not always easy to put into practice. The Habit of Stillness has helped a lot with staying calm. I find that as I age, anxiety seems to be creeping into my life more than in earlier years. I worry a lot more at 40 than I did at 30. When I find myself feeling anxious, I try to find stillness. Stillness is likened to prayer or meditation. It might be over my morning coffee, while water my plants, emptying the dishwasher, or taking a shower that I try to dig deep and find stillness. Ed Bacon states in his book,
“When we reach Stillness, we are moving beyond ego into a realm where those daily pressures can be held more lightly. Anxiety we feel about having too much on our plates can be replaced by a quiet confidence that we will meet whatever comes with a resourceful repertoire as we are now connected to a spring of love at our core.”
Tapping into that spring of love at our core is what connects us all. I believe that connection and relationship with others is what life is all about. I want my children to know that spring of love at their core. If I am struggling to stay calm with my children, I always try to envision their core…their spring of love that I have been chosen to grow. If I can look beyond the challenging behaviors to their core, I am usually reminded of my love and this is calming.
While in Kauai on my solo morning birthday walk, I came up with the quip, “Flow at Forty.” Year 40 is flowing for me. Flowing with a lot of love and gratitude for the space I find myself in. I leave you with one final quote from the 8 Habits of Love,
“The human spirit, just like the seas, needs both inflow and outflow in order to foster life and create energy. When love flows out from within us, more flows in. When we open our hearts to love, we not only spread that love to others but also open ourselves to receiving love from others. Our outflow determines our inflow.”
What wise words! Flow at Forty sounds calming, energy giving and restorative.
Beautiful interview, Amy!