Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Personal Shrine Collage


I'm participating in a Day of the Dead art swap over at Mother Henna. 

I'm a super type A and it is really hard for me to let go and let the art magic happen. However, I discovered two things. One, I'm becoming obsessed with Day of the Dead. A day to remember and celebrate our loved ones? Bring it on. And, Two, I really love collage. I mean, I love it. I especially like cutting out words from magazines and watch as a message from the universe appears to me.

I made these personal shrines. They are inspired by the tin 'nichos' in Latin American culture where you make a tiny shrine featuring a symbol or item that is special to you. They use mason jar lids since mason jars are all hip and in style right now. Also cheap. And now that I've started I can't stop. I want to make a million of them. My son is getting baptized this weekend (at the age of 8, it's a big deal) and I want to make a little shadowbox shrine to commemorate that. I want to make one with my great grandmother's photo and her broach I have. I want to make one to honor Gabriel with his sandname photo and some shells and a little bottle of sand.

Here are a few photos from the ones I made from the swap- I kept my two favorite. The red one that says, "Dream" and one not pictured that says, "Discover the Path"

Collage. Who knew?

Love You Forever

 Love You Forever

I worked in the children's section at Borders Books for about 15 years and sold many many copies of this book: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. I cringed a little bit every time I did. You either love this book or you hate it. I admit, I was a hater.

Today I found out the story BEHIND this book. From Robert Munsch's website

Love You Forever started as a song.

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.” 

I made that up after my wife and I had two babies born dead. The song was my song to my dead babies. For a long time I had it in my head and I couldn’t even sing it because every time I tried to sing it I cried. It was very strange having a song in my head that I couldn’t sing.

For a long time it was just a song but one day, while telling stories at a big theatre at the University of Guelph, it occurred to me that I might be able to make a story around the song.

Out popped Love You Forever, pretty much the way it is in the book.

Knowing that, now I know I really will never be able to read this book again. But you can bet I will be squeezing my kids extra tight.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

The origins of Mother's Day

I'm repeating my post from last year. I wish you a gentle weekend. ((hugs)) emily

This was written by Kara Jones. Click over to FaveCraftsBlog to read her whole post click here. You can visit Kara's blogs MotherHenna.com and Kota:Knowing Ourselves Through Art

...They were handing out fliers sharing the writing of Julia Ward Howe, first published in 1870 as a protest against the carnage and violence of the Civil War. This was a protest led by women whose sons had died! Bereaved mothers started this tradition of Mothers Day! In the beginning, this was a day of protest, an expression of horrified grief from bereaved mothers who were parted from their sons!! Wow. Okay. That’s a different spin.

So what did Julia have to say back in 1870? You read and see for yourself:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Julia Ward Howe

Mothers Day came as an answer to Julia’s proclamation. It started as a ceremony of bereavement and then as a movement for peace and action to stop the senseless deaths of children everywhere. Our society can commercialize all they want. Because in my heart of hearts I know the real meaning of this day came from pain, loss, and grief — the same things I am prone to feel on any given Mothers Day. And from now on, when people urge me to celebrate the day, I tell them this:

I’ll celebrate with you if you will first mourn with me. It is the combination of the two that lends itself to the true meaning of Mothers Day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


This week I'm surrounding myself with comfort food and comfort friends. I thought it suitable that Gabriel's Giveaway include both. I have met so many amazing people I would never have met if I had not had Gabriel. Three of my favorite ladies have donated items for today's giveaway:

Alicia, from Magnabilities, is donating a custom set for us- insert/pendant/chain. Magnabilities is the 'hottest new trend in jewelry- interchangable magnets!" Thanks so much, Alicia!

Stephanie Cole, from Sweet Pea Project has donated a copy of her book, Still. Click here for more information on Stephanie, her book, and her beautiful Sweet Pea Project in honor of her daughter, Madeline. Thank you, Stephanie!

 Kara Jones, from Mother Henna has donated a Grief: Finding Our Way home workshop. You can get all the details on this fantastic tool HERE.

And then there's me. I'm donating a Ribbon's gift card from my Stepping Stones 2 Health and Healing site. Ribbons is a gift card that allows the recipient to go online and choose their own gift.

Maybe you will choose the Energy Pack, the Artistry Make Up Kit, The Smart Girl's Vitamins, the Legacy of Clean Cleaning Supplies, or some Delicious Nutrilite Snack bars. All useful, all awesome.

I love these products and can not wait for you to try them- you will love them, too. In particular I love the Nutrilite weight loss stuff- I lost 30 pounds last year! Email me if you'd like more info aboutthat  (nick wilberg at hotmail dot com)

OK, here's how it will work.

Do a random act of kindness for someone this weekend. Pay for the person in back of you in the drive thru. Leave a crazy big tip when you go out to dinner. Write a little note and leave it on a windshield. Something unexpected, something fun.

 Then come back and leave a comment below. That's it! I will need to know how to get ahold of you in the event you win, so send me an email with your email and snail mail address. (nick wilberg at hotmail dot com)

One entry per person. You can enter from now through Sunday night (midnight) and winners will be picked and announced on Monday.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Stepping Stones to Awesome

What do I want to do this year? My original 2013 resolutions/bucket list from January 1 looks like this: 1. Hike Seneca Greenway Trail (20 miles) 2. Work on family history 3. Do a juice cleanse 4. Go to a raw restaurant 5. Go on an overnight backpacking trip 6. Brand my business 7. Lose 10 pounds 8. Pay off Credit Cards 9. Daily prayer 10. Order scrapbooks for 2012, 2011 11. Try capsule dressing for 1 month 12. Date night once a month Here is my updated list as of February 8 (and still now, May 7) 1. Pay off debt (make more, spend less, be thrifty with what I have) 2. Be healthy/Be strong (eat healthily, avoid sugar, exercise) 3. Strengthen my relationship with my husband (date night 1/month, smile more!, make the house a place he wants to come home to) 4. Be a better mom (patience, be present with my kids, set up some systems to help maintain house, etc) 5. Live more simply (get rid of clothes I don't wear, finish loose ends that have been bugging me) Several times a day I try to stop and ask myself: Is this activity helping me 1. Be a better me? 2. Be a better wife and mother? 3. Pay off my debt? If not, I'm trying to stop what I'm doing and get back on track. This mostly means I need to: stop re-reading romance novels and go do something (ANYTHING) else turn off the TV step away from the computer Also, the other thing I noticed is when I look at what my NEXT STEP for these original goals is, it is to PUT IT ON MY CALENDAR. If I do not schedule it I will not do it. It is as simple as that.


I had never heard of this before; I do feel Gabriel's death shattered me, and left me broken. As the pieces were put together I waited to be back 'to normal' but after a long while I realized I had a 'new normal.' Not worse than before; different. I like this idea that they do not try to restore the broken pottery to its original condition, nor do they trash it as being worthless. They accept the fact as part of its history and they incorporate it. More beautiful. Yes.

I'm not sure where this graphic came from but if anyone knows let me know so I can give credit.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wowza, what a week! Starting with International Bereaved Mother's Day today, Gabriel's date on Friday, and then Mother's Day as the end cap. This week I give myself permission to do what I need to get through it. And I think that may include a few trips to the frozen yogurt place.

And, I think we need a GIVEAWAY! Don't you?

Will announce the prizes and how to enter to win on WEDNESDAY.

One prize will be a custom insert sponsored by Alicia.Magnabilities.com especially for us!

Other prizes TBA. 

International Bereaved Mother's Day

Monday, February 4, 2013

Word of the Year 2013: Valiant

Well, it took me a month to choose my word of the year. I choose VALIANT. From Merriam Webster: 1.possessing or acting with bravery or boldness : courageous 2.marked by, exhibiting, or carried out with courage or determination : heroic Origin of VALIANT Middle English vailant, valiant, from Anglo-French vaillant worthy, strong, courageous, from present participle of valer to be of worth, That's it- that's what I want to be "Worthy, Strong, Courageous" It is acting boldly when it is easier to do nothing. It is doing things you don't necessarily want to do but doing them anyway because it is the RIGHT thing to do It is overcoming fear It is acting purposefully That's what I want for this year. I have recently come across 3 things the last few days that have impacted me. One of them is the "Pep Talk by Kid President" If you haven't yet seen it, maybe take a minute to do so. Be awesome! What will be your 'Space Jam?' and, talking about the Road Less Traveled, 'Not cool, Robert Frost!' the road less traveled is NOT EASY. The second thing I read is a quote that says "If you do not step forward you will always be in the same place." I've thought a lot about that. I don't think it is true. I think you need to step forward to even remain in the same place. If I am staying in the same place and everyone and everything around me is moving forward, progressing, that means I'm really going backwards! By not moving. Now, I don't think it is important to move QUICKLY or take giant steps. Any steps are useful. So long as they are in the right direction. The third thing I read is called Drops of Awesome (click over and read it if you want but it has a religious bent, be warned) She is talking about how you do something awesome (cooked a healthy dinner for my family! yes! play Candy Land with my kid! yes!) and you give yourself a pat on the back, "Hey, way to go! Good job!" and then the negative self talk starts in "Yes, you did this good thing but what about the fact that your kids had cereal for dinner last night and they have no clean underwear in their drawer so they are wearing their swimsuits under their school clothes?" Why do we do that? Tear ourselves down? We need to recognize that we just need to be a little bit awesome. Do that a lot of times and it starts to add up! So, here is my goal for myself, for the year. It is going on my fridge. Be Valiant! Drops of Awesome! Lots of little steps in the right direction get me where I want to be. Stop the mean self talk. It is hard to be happy when someone is being mean to me all the time. Especially when it is me. Choose the struggle. Choose to do what I need to do. Choose to be a little bit awesome today. hope today is great for you! emily

Friday, January 4, 2013

Wishing you a peaceful 2013: January Newsletter

"If you are going through hell, keep going." Winston Churchill "Whatever you are, be a good one." Abraham Lincoln "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." Albert Einstein I feel like I've been in a funk. My life is changing, evolving. So many good things happened last year for me- and yet, I've been bogged down these last few months. I had every intention of sending you a message to help you through the holidays. Instead, it was me who needed to shut down. I'm sorry I left you to your own devices. I hope the holidays were peaceful and gentle for you. With the flip of the calendar I feel re-energized. I love the new year- it feels like a clean slate, a chance to start over. A do- over. One of my resolutions is to clear my mind, my body, and my life of clutter. To get rid of things that are weighing me down. No more pinterest and comparing myself to all those moms out there who are making their kids healthy lunches that are shaped like cartoon characters. Switching over to digital scrapbooking to clean out my basement of all the paper and ribbon that taunt me. No more closet full of clothes I don't wear and don't even like that much.No junk food. No soda and sugar. Clean. Healthy, Strong, Focused. I've tried to figure out where my website fits into all of this. Every time someone orders my bracelets and scrapbooking quotes it means that another one of our children is gone. It's horrible. But... I feel grateful to be able to help even one person navigate their loss a little more smoothly. Could I be doing more? I need to post on my blog more- it is at the top of my to-do list every single week: STEPPING STONES. And yet... what to say? What do I have that anyone wants to hear? I'm working on refocusing and, well, reorganizing my brain, to be honest. What I have to share is this: a glimpse into the life of someone who may be a little further down the road. I'm not perfect. I have down days (or weeks). But overall, I'm moving forward to be better and stronger than I was the day before. I've decided to re-vamp my site a little bit. I am still "Stepping Stones, a path to healing after the loss of a child" but I'd like to add "a path TO HEALTH and healing after the loss of a child" Give me a week or two to gather my thoughts and focus my ideas and I will send another newsletter. For now, let me just say I want to wish you a very gentle day. emily