Mother on a Quest: Leslie Ralph

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By day, Leslie goes by Dr. Ralph the psychologist. By early morning and lunch hours and all the spaces in between, she’s a writer and budding artist. And at home, she goes by Mom. Leslie’s the author of the blog A Year of Happy, where she’s showing other mothers how to nurture themselves, be present in body, heart and mind, and bottle up the good stuff for rainy days and bumpy roads with her signature blend of joyful projects, guided journals, and delectable meditations. Her work has been featured on Tiny Buddha, Mind Body Green, Mamalode, Parent.co, and Positively Positive (not to mention The American Psychological Association, the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and a few professional journals).

In addition to writing for grown-ups, Leslie creates picture books for little kids with great, big ideas. Although she’d always drawn and made up stories as a child, Leslie put that part of her aside to pursue more “serious” things as an adult. And then she had kids. She started making up stories and drawing for her children, and it wasn’t long before they all looked forward to their evening ritual of storytime improv. Inspired by her children’s courage and creativity, Leslie began putting these stories into book form, and she couldn’t stop!

Leslie lives with her husband, three children, and even more pets in Tucson, Arizona. When she’s not making up stories and writing, she’s devising kitchen table science experiments and taking magical family photos. Find out more about Leslie’s words and pictures for moms and kids at ayearofhappy.com (for mom) and leslieralphstories.com (for the kids). You can get your year of happy started now with the 2-minute revitalizing meditation on the house athttps://www.ayearofhappy.com/revitalize.

Tell us a little about your childhood and the impact your mother had on shaping you…

I grew up with my mom, dad, and brother in Northern California until about 11, and then we moved all the way to Texas. It was uncharted territory for us, and I’ll admit that I fully expected cowboys to be riding horses down the street. In California, both of my parents worked full-time with long commutes, but in Texas, my mother was able to stay at home. It was in Texas that my two youngest brothers were born. Even though all of the details of our household had changed, the family values and rules of the heart stayed the same.

My mother, Elizabeth, was the kind of mom all my friends could chit chat with about anything, and she genuinely wanted to know each of them. She works hard and loves even harder. She’s quick, compassionate, and fiercely loyal. Even though her Mama Bear moments could embarrass me as a teen, now as a grown-up and mother myself, I have deep gratitude for her brave spirit, bottomless heart, and unwavering commitment to looking out for me.

Even today, my mother always encourages me to give my all to the things that matter and reminds me that it’s totally okay to decide that something’s not my cup of tea. Whether it was figure skating, track, the clarinet, applying to the Ivy Leagues, starting a blog, or writing a children’s book, my mom was behind me 1,000% when others told me,

“Don’t you think you’re aiming a little high?” I truly believe that her support lifted me up and made me the kind of mother that will lift her own children even higher.

What has been a “spark moment” or “moments” that set you on your path?

There was one spark that lit the way for everything that was waiting to come out of hiding. About 4 years ago, sitting in my little office and watching a virtual summit on meditation, I realized that there was nothing stopping me from getting out there and growing into my full self – nothing, that is, but me. I also admitted to myself that no one was going to do it for me. So, I took a deep breath, gathered up my courage, and started a blog, and it has changed everything.

That one spark opened doors that I didn’t even realize were closed. Writing and art have become an important part of my daily life, but they weren’t always. That one spark helped me discover that just because you can live without something doesn’t mean you have to, that healing, restoration, inspiration, and excitement are essential to your health, and that taking care of your SELF helps you take care of your kiddos.

What is your passion and purpose (the “P” in EPIC)?

My passion is happy, mindful, and creative living, and I see that my purpose is helping others define what that means for them. If I had one wish, it would be for everyone, especially moms, to love, nurture, and encourage themselves. This is maybe most essential for mothers. I believe that by nurturing ourselves, we nurture our kids. When we live with joy and purpose, we teach our children what the most important things are. And when we savor the goodness, we teach our children to hold on to the magic.

What are you currently reading or listening to for inspiration?

I devour anything written by Pema Chodron or Thich Nhat Hanh. Lately, I’ve also been addicted to podcasts for writers and creatives. Magic Lessons withElizabeth Gilbert and Naptime Empires with Nikki Elledge Brown are my absolute guilty pleasures right now.

What is one message or affirmation you tell yourself to ground you on your quest?

I’m a recovering control addict and perfectionist, so I remind myself of my favorite quote from Thich Nhat Hanh any time I feel like things aren’t moving fast enough or aren’t lining up as I expected. “Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” It has changed my life.

In one word, what are you seeking most right now on your Quest?

TRUST. Trust in myself and trust in the whole process of growing kids and growing up.

What challenge or offering would you like to share with the Mother’s Quest Community?

I challenge mothers to give themselves permission to be everything. You are allowed to be nourished and supported, inspired and happy. You are allowed to be a legendary mom and still have your own hopes and dreams that are just for you. In fact, I think that’s a necessary ingredient. You are completely allowed to go slow, be flawed, mess up, and change your mind. Above all, I believe you are allowed to be truly, deeply happy.

THE FEEL AMAZING SELF-CARE CHALLENGE
Carve out a little piece of happiness for yourself (without waiting for that mythical girls’ night you’re always hearing about). Join the challenge here.

How did you learn about Mother’s Quest?

I found Julie and her podcast in the Naptime Empires Facebook group. She mentioned her podcast and I immediately thought, this sounds AMAZING.

What have you appreciated the most about Mother’s Quest?

I have appreciated the courage the mothers on a quest have to tell their whole, honest stories. Truth and trust are my watchwords right now. My very favorite episode has been the unedited solocast on Episode 13: Focus on our Goodness. I nodded my head right along with Julie as she shared her process of sharing her unedited voice, cried along with her as she discussed focusing on our goodness, and cheered her on as she shared her personal goals.

Mother’s Quest Circles
A Signature Experience to Spark Your E.P.I.C. Life:

First Review of Applications starting on September 10th for the MOTHER’S QUEST CIRCLE Pilot happening FALL 2017. Learn about the Power of Reflective Circles and How They’ve Changed Me by reading here. To send your application, click on this link.

What’s New:

Featured In:
Mindful Parenting in a Messy World – What Is Your Mother’s Quest? Digging Into Our Purpose

New on the Podcast:
Ep 27: Courageous Conversations about Race with Nicole Lee

Do you want to share how you are living your truly E.P.I.C. life? Click here to send us your story and be featured on the weekly Mother on a Quest series.

Mother on a Quest: Nicole Lee

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In light of the recent events in Charlottesville, this feature of Mother on a Quest Nicole Lee comes at a critical time. Make sure to read to the end to learn about Nicole’s invitation to us to have challenging but courageous conversation with our children and to find the link to her free upcoming webinar to help us do it.

STRATEGIST – COACH – PUBLIC POLICY LEADER – HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY
I am a strategist, executive coach and public policy advocate through my diversity and inclusion consulting firm, Lee Bayard Group, LLC, and as co-founder of Black Movement Law Project, which provides legal and strategy assistance to Black Lives Matter protestors and organizations. My earliest memories are fulfilled with moments that have committed me to social justice for a lifetime. As a child, I would lobby my friends to put on “We Are the World” concerts for our neighbors. It’s a part of who I am. In my career as an international human rights lawyer, I was the first female President of TransAfrica, an historic foreign policy organization. I led missions documenting human and civil rights violations against brave individuals and families seeking justice often against impossible odds. What I learned from that work is that each of us can be brave, courageous and visionary. Each of us can also give in to our worst fears and settle for the life we have rather than the life we want.

Tell us a little about your childhood and the impact your mother had on shaping you…

Growing up, my mother was serious and accomplished. She was one of the first black women to be ordained in her Christian denomination and she worked long hours out of a deep sense of mission. I spent most of my childhood with my father who grew into the role of parenting me. My mother modeled what it is to be a pioneer and the importance of following your own path. My relationship with her instilled in me the importance of open love and communication with my children.

What has been a “spark moment” or “moments” that set you on your path?

There have been many “spark moments.” I knew I wanted to be a human rights attorney since I was six or seven. Whenever I met a person who career even came close to human rights, I would feel a wave of happiness and excitement. Those moments were so important and affirmed for me that the career I wanted was possible. Experiencing the aftermath of civil unrest or natural disasters in countries like Colombia and Haiti, were pivotal. In moments of despair and confusion, there is always hope and joy. Working with parents, educators and children on issues of social justice, diversity and inclusion is filled with affirming moments. When a client has an “a-ha” moment, I feel reborn. Throughout my career, the magic always lays with the process.

At first, I did not think motherhood would be “easy” for me or would fit my life goals. Well, I was right about it not being easy but it is definitely my most important vocation. My children have made me a better friend, colleague, and ally. I consistently marvel at their discoveries. While I am a passionate person, the level of investment they invoke in me is unmatched. Every day holds a “spark moment”. Parenting has in many way become a deep spiritual practice as much as it is a physical and emotional one.

What is your passion and purpose (the “P” in EPIC)?

My passion is working with families and communities to promote equity and understanding. Much of what I do with my clients is engaging with the tough stuff. It’s hard to talk about racism, sexism or homophobia. But then you add in talking with your children about these issues! I love to challenge my adult clients to dig deep. For most of us, our parents didn’t have deep conversations with us. Instead of the “isms” (eg., racism, sexism, homo/transphobia) being about what is external to us, our relationship to dealing with them in society is an internal process first and foremost. Successful parenting and educating in 2017 requires a lot self- actualization. I’m sort of a midwife for that.

What are you currently reading or listening to for inspiration?

The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde, Everything Brene Brown, Body of Work (Pamela Slim)

What is one message or affirmation you tell yourself to ground you on your quest?

It’s a little bizarre. It’s from the show Battlestar Galactica: “All this has happened before. All this will happen again.”

In one word, what are you seeking most right now on your Quest?

Right now, I am in eager anticipation of the social transformation so many of us are seeking.

What challenge or offering would you like to share with the Mother’s Quest Community?

I offer the opportunity to fully communicate our values to our children, not fearlessly but courageously. The world is complicated and we are not always equipped to even make sense of it ourselves, let alone to our children. I offer tools to be able to navigate these conversations so we raise emphatic, confident powerful adults. If you want support to have these conversations, I invite you to a free webinar coming up this Friday, August 18th, Courageous Conversation with Children in Difficult Times.

How did you learn about Mother’s Quest?

From Julie! 🙂

What have you appreciated the most about Mother’s Quest?

Julie reached out to me to get input on her initiative, Women Podcasters in Solidarity. We spoke today and are planning a special episode where I, and other mothers working on these issues, will be guests on the Mother’s Quest Podcast.

Do you want to share how you are living your truly E.P.I.C. life? Click here to send us your story and be featured on the weekly Mother on a Quest series.

Mother on a Quest: Lesley Yadon

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Lesley is a wife, mother and entrepreneur who’s passionate about integrating spirituality into her life and business. Currently Lesley specializes in coaching new moms who are struggling with worry, guilt and overwhelm. With 16 years working with women and families in the non-profit world and a Masters in Counseling, Lesley brings both education and life experience to helping mothers create a more confident, joyful motherhood. She believes that every mother already has all the wisdom she needs to mother her baby. Her advice has been featured in Thrive Global, the Modern Mommy Prepschool, Parent Co, Bustle, Fit Pregnancy, and Mamapedia. Most recently Lesley delivered a Tedx talk about her experience as a new mother and how she transformed herself through some “dark nights of the soul.”

Learn more at www.lesleyyadon.com and/or join her Facebook page fb.me/LesleyYadonCoaching.

Tell us a little about your childhood and the impact your mother had on shaping you…

My mother was the first among her siblings to earn her Masters degree. But in her heart of hearts what she most longed for was a family. She deeply desired to be a stay at home mom. So when she had her first baby, me, she did just that. She quit her job as a Speech and Language Pathologist. In the first three years of my life she created a cozy home life. She and my dad were really into outdoor activities and they introduced me to skiing, backpacking and sailing when I was just a baby. My mother had her second daughter when I was three & a half and our family began to disintegrate at that time. My parents divorced when I was about four years old. She became a single , working mom- everything opposite of what she wanted to be.

That divorce rocked my mothers world. It deeply wounded her. Throughout my growing up years my mother placed an emphasis on education. She spoke about how important it was that her daughters get an education so that no matter what happened, we would always be able to take care of ourselves. I knew, without her saying so, that she wanted us to be as independent of a mans income as we could. My mother homeschooled me first through third grade and after that helped me every single day with homework and tests. Her steadfast voice and value of education encouraged me to go to college. I earned two bachelors and a Masters! My mother has two daughters with a Masters and a son with a Bachelors. Her influence has shaped our ability to have a voice and get employed.

My mom is a woman of conviction and faith. She raised me in a Christian home, teaching me that God’s love will eventually redeem each and every one of us. While I no longer identify as Christian, her deep seated faith influenced my life and values profoundly. Without that, I would not be the loving , compassionate, spiritual woman I am today.

What has been a “spark moment” or “moments” that set you on your path?

My pregnancy and Arthur’s birth were definitely spark moments. His first year of life was filled with these moments: both gloriously hopeful and excrutiatingly painful. My pregnancy was a bit of a surprise and my husband and I were in a relatively rocky place in our relationship. I couldn’t imagine being a mother and felt like my life was essentially over because it had to now be superseded by a baby’s life. All around me I saw mothers completely crucifying their own lives- their desires, their hopes, their gifts- on the cross of motherhood. Maybe that’s a harsh metaphor, but that’s what it looks like to me. I thought that’s what I needed to do. But as I moved through my pregnancy, I made a CHOICE. I chose the pregnancy and motherhood. I chose to see who I would become and how I could grow through this experience. That was the first spark.

Another was taking Marie Forleo’s B-school and a third was quitting my full time job!

What is your passion and purpose (the “P” in EPIC)?

My passion is supporting new moms who are struggling with worry, overwhelm and guilt to create more peaceful and joyful lives. My purpose in the world is to become the best version of myself possible so that I can make my largest contribution toward the growth and healing of our world, beginning with mothers. The mission behind Lesley Yadon, LLC is to inspire, promote and protect mothers worldwide.

What are you currently reading or listening to for inspiration?

I love the podcast Soul Work for Moms and LOA Recon. I also listen to Brook Castillo for amazing mindset work and Tara Brach for mindfulness. I’m really digging into the book, Chakras, Beyond Beginners.

What is one message or affirmation you tell yourself to ground you on your quest?

The Universe supports me. Source and I are co-creating this life.

In one word, what are you seeking most right now on your Quest?

My vision for this year is Generosity.

What challenge or offering would you like to share with the Mother’s Quest Community?

I would like to share a guide I created, “How to have a happier, stress free morning.”

How did you learn about Mother’s Quest?

I met Julie in B-school

What have you appreciated the most about Mother’s Quest?

I admire the breadth of women Julie interviews and I love her open-hearted honesty and generosity that shines through in everything she does . My favorite episode is her interview with Ryan! It was delightful and silly and touching all at once.

 


 

It’s not too late to join the 30-Day Mother’s Quest Miracle Morning Challenge! Click here to join other mothers who are having miracle mornings.

 


 

Do you want to share how you are living your truly E.P.I.C. life? Click here to send us your story and be featured on the weekly Mother on a Quest series.

Mother on a Quest: Kari Azuma

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Join us live for a guided meditation and Q&A on awareness, mindfulness, and meditation with this week’s featured Mother on a Quest, Kari Azuma! Click here to join the community and get the invite to this event.

Kari Azuma is committed to leaving a legacy of empowered mothers to lead the next 7 generations. She’s a certified coach in Linguistic and Somatic Distinctions and has studied under luminaries such as Scott Coady, Brian Whetten, Julio Olilla and others. Since 2010, has been blessed to coach board members of influential companies, poets, entrepreneurs, coaches, and leaders in the health and wellness sectors, and for that, she is forever grateful.

It wasn’t until 2015 that her true mission was illuminated when she gave birth to her first born, Sitka. After suffering a full year from Post-partum depression and anxiety, and experiencing a full-blown identity crisis for a year, it became clear to her that cultural expectations of motherhood were unrealistic. And, that there was no real leadership model for mothers to step into the next level of leading their own lives while suddenly being responsible for another.

Since then, she’s dedicated her life’s work to coaching mothers on leadership development and overcoming stress and overwhelm through social media, private sessions and her elite group coaching model, Empowered Mothers Alliance, and her Private Facebook Community, Conscious Mothers Coalition. She also coaches side-by-side with author, speaker, and coach Preston Smiles in his popular program, Stretch 22, and will be supporting the Bridge Experience with Preston and Alexi Panos this summer.

Join Kari’s mission for empowered mothers EVERYWHERE:
Insta: @kariazuma 
FB: Kari Azuma 
FB Group: Conscious Mothers Coalition (mothers only)

Tell us a little about your childhood and the impact your mother had on shaping you…

My childhood was generally full of love, incredibly supportive and I hold a lot of warm happiness in my heart around it. I was blessed with parents who were pretty conscious and wanted to up the ‘parenting game’ based on what they did not receive in their own childhood, and I am so grateful to them for changing cycles with how they raised me and my sister.

My mother and I have a pretty unique interplay with each other. We are INCREDIBLY similar and both very empathic, so I always had this propensity to ‘care’ for my mom. I feel like from a young age I could see her wounds and of course the empathic side of me always wanted to ‘save’ her from them. On the other hand she was also a POWERHOUSE business woman, but she was driven mostly by scarcity, which had a bit of a cost on our relationship because she wasn’t always able to be incredibly present for me and sister because work usually landed as her top priority.

I had some resentment around that growing up, and, now that I am a mother, I so get where she was coming from. Some of the things my mom accomplished by the age of 30 were pretty amazing when it came to being a business owner. She ran her own consulting operation and made 6-figures (which I didn’t even know until I was in my 20’s because she was always so worried about money, I assumed she made much less). At that time, 6 figures was a pretty big deal, as was being a female business consultant in the male-run insurance world. She was very strong and inspiring.

Her incredible devotion to spirit also taught me so much about surrender, and that there are forces bigger than us that are willing to step in and take the reigns when being human feel like ‘a little too much. Her mama bear spirit is also VERY strong. And the fierce love I have for my son is definitely a reflection of her commitment to us and being the best mom she possibly could be. She always did her best, I saw that. She also taught me so much about being of service to others, especially those who don’t have the tools to get out of a difficult place.

I really honor my mom and see so much of myself in her. It’s fun these days, because now I coach HER on business and get to model what living in abundance looks like and I see that my path now inspires her, it’s incredibly humbling.

What has been a “spark moment” or “moments” that set you on your path?

The biggest turning point in my life was when I did a Vision Quest in 2009. It’s a Native American Rites of Passage ritual where you fast for 3 days and 3 nights on a mountain, in solitude, and explore a vision for your life and how to bring that back to your people. That was the first time I had a fully ’embodied’ experience, something I wouldn’t know about until I entered the somatic coaching world. I entered into a deep conversation with myself without the everyday distractions of relationships, food, media, devices, time, and all the other things that get in the way of hearing myself. It was just me, nature and water. It was intense, and intensely beautiful and it forever changed, not only how I saw myself, but how I treated the most Epic mother of all – mother earth.

Everything came alive and that included me – I came alive and saw myself through everything that happened in those three days. The two biggest things I danced with were my inner wisdom and my spiritual life, and my vision was to live in my authentic truth and bring that same gift to others. From there my purpose and life path continued to unfold.

The next moment was the birth of my son. It was a HUGE lesson that I called in around what can happen when I attach to a certain outcome and how much I judge myself when I can’t ‘perform’ in the way I want to. When I got pregnant and had my baby, I had already been coaching for about 5 years in somatic and linguistic leadership development, but it wasn’t until I went through a traumatic birth, postpartum depression and anxiety and a total identity breakdown that I had the call to who I am actually supposed to serve. I realized that there is sparse leadership training for moms outside the context of parenting. During that dark time, I made a promise that no mother would ever have to go through something like this without the resources she needs to be a leader of her life, while holding the role of motherhood in a beautiful way. That changed the entire course of my life, work, and purpose and for that I will always be grateful for that crazy year.

What is your passion and purpose (the “P” in EPIC)?

Empowering mothers to be expressed in their gifts and be the leaders they were born to be, while letting the role of motherhood be a reflection of their power (vs. something that holds them back.). My vision is leaving a legacy of empowered mothers to lead the next 7 generations. I truly believe that by coaching mothers to fulfill their missions, I am supporting the shift of bringing a more feminine/ village/ collaborative environment into the workforce, and the world at large. This is not a ‘job’ for me, I am on a MISSION.

What are you currently reading or listening to for inspiration?

I have been reading the book “Bringing up Bebe” by Pamela Druckerman. It is incredibly inspiring to read because it’s a reflection of how hard we are on ourselves as American Women to respond to our child’s every whim, and compares it to French society who tend to raise children in accordance to the parent’s keeping a balanced life. I recommend it to ANYONE who is expecting a child.

What is one message or affirmation you tell yourself to ground you on your quest?

“I am grateful for the wealth and abundance in my life.” This is the one I use a lot right now because being totally aligned with my path has been bringing in a lot of incredible opportunities, and I have stories around needing to ‘deflect’ the abundance because of the belief that somehow it will make me ‘greedy’ or ‘bad.’ I am so not committed to that story anymore. I teach mothers that to give, you have to have your cups FULL and overflowing, and so I am walking my talk there a LOT more now. Gratitude helps me receive, while also appreciating what is here now.

In one word, what are you seeking most right now on your Quest?

Pace (slowing down to speed up and provide the most of myself)

What challenge or offering would you like to share with the Mother’s Quest Community?

I would say the number one lesson I have learned in my motherhood journey is that I’m usually the main person holding myself back- not motherhood, and it usually shows up in self-judgement. Judgement in my choices, my pace, my capacity, my success. The best way that I choose to be with that (because I believe it never will ‘go away’), is to surrender to being a learner and to name my pace, and to truly honor myself for doing my best. Through postpartum depression, one of the biggest gifts that came to me in that time was to slow down and make a HUGE celebration out of the small wins.

I am on this journey to learn. It’s why I originally became a coach, because It challenges me to stay in the beginner seat over and over again and to sit and be with the miraculous person is in front of me. To hold that space, I must always surrender to slowing down, celebrating the small miracles, and through that- create an EPIC life. And it always starts with me. <3

How did you learn about Mother’s Quest?

Knowing the fabulous Julie Neale and supporting her vision

What have you appreciated the most about Mother’s Quest?

The podcast with Jenjii was so beautiful. I really appreciated her deep wisdom, particularly about who SHE is in the scope of her roles. I also really appreciate the MQ Facebook community, I can feel the heart and the sweetness of who shows up and, of course, the commitment Julie has to the EPIC lives of the mothers.

Join us live for a guided meditation and Q&A on awareness, mindfulness, and meditation with this week’s featured Mother on a Quest, Kari Azuma! Click here to join the community and get the invite to this event.

Do you want to share how you are living your truly E.P.I.C. life? Click here to send us your story and be featured on the weekly Mother on a Quest series.

Mother on a Quest: Chandra Brooks

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Chandra Brooks, also known as The SocialPrenuer, is a wife and mother of four, born and raised in San Jose, CA. Passionate about community, civil rights, social justice, improving voter outcomes, and civic engagement within communities of color, she empowers women to live to their fullest potential.

Chandra is the former Vice President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Executive Director of Building Peaceful Families, Co-Founder of Women Get it Done Silicon Valley and graduate of Emerge California, a political training program for Democratic Women. She is also Vice Chair of Santa Clara County’s Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

In 2016, Chandra Brooks launched The SocialPrenuer, an online coaching business, as a Leadership Specialist coaching women in Community and Political Influence, How to Activate their Activism and How to Rise to the Top. Within this, Chandra also launched the Future is Female Podcast that highlights Women in Activism, Business, and Politics.

Chandra was named one of the Most Influential Women in Silicon Valley from the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Women of the Year in Advocacy from 100 Black Women of Silicon Valley, received The Latina with Vision Award from New York Life and in 2017, The Leadership Award from The League of United Latin American Citizens.

You can learn more at her website www.social-prenuer.com and Facebook Page at The SocialPrenuer.

Tell us a little about your childhood and the impact your mother had on shaping you…

I had a great childhood. Growing up, I thought we were middle class but later found out we were poor. Goes to show how my parents created an environment where we were rich in love. Instead of focusing on what we didn’t have, we focused on what we did have and that was love and family.

What has been a “spark moment” or “moments” that set you on your path?

I was a teen mom. When I had to tell my family I was pregnant, my uncle told me “Your life is over, you might as well prepare to be on welfare.” I was determined to prove him wrong. In 2015, I was inducted into The East Side High School District Hall of Fame, the same district that counted me out over 20 years ago.

What is your passion and purpose (the “P” in EPIC)?

My passion is to Ignite that Socially Conscious Human Inside and my purpose is to do this by spreading the message throughout the world.

What are you currently reading or listening to for inspiration?

48 Laws of Power. I also lead a private group called Fearlessly Ambitious Women and belong to two strong women groups that inspire me.

What is one message or affirmation you tell yourself to ground you on your quest?

There are no gatekeepers to your journey.

In one word, what are you seeking most right now on your Quest?

Clarity

What challenge or offering would you like to share with the Mother’s Quest Community?

I’d like to challenge them to find what they are most passionate about and do very well…mesh those together and find a way to make money doing it.

What have you appreciated the most about Mother’s Quest?

Just learned about the podcast.

Do you want to share how you are living your truly E.P.I.C. life? Click here to send us your story and be featured on the weekly Mother on a Quest series.

Mother on a Quest: Amy Landers

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Amy is a mom, nature nerd, writer, and educator. She and her husband, Colby, founded GardensThatMatter.com because they believe many of the world’s problems can be solved in our gardens and backyards. With her husband and three young sons, she shares tutorials, tips, and lessons learned from successes (and messes) in her own garden. Amy loves to help other families grow beautiful, bountiful gardens together.

Tell us a little about your childhood and the impact your mother had on shaping you…

I grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina as the oldest of three kids. My mom and dad were both teachers, so we spent summers playing and exploring together. Mom taught science and always pointed out the names of trees and flowers as we explored the woods around our house. She was very involved in the community as a volunteer and a leader–she still is today! She and Dad both inspired me to be generous with my time and talents, knowing that I’m creating a stronger community for our kids.

What has been a “spark moment” or “moments” that set you on your path?

Life has been full of little delightful moments that signaled the path ahead, but I’ll tell you about the recent one that shaped our path in a very real way. I worked at a zoo, aquarium, and botanic garden as the marketing manager. I loved my job, sharing awesome stories and images about animals, plants, and conservation….walking the gardens during my lunch break…and working with amazing professionals who were literally saving endangered species (and caring for lots of other species, too!). But that changed when I found out the department was consolidating all the marketing roles to work from City Hall. I remember being angry and upset. Looking back, I think I was heartbroken.

It was time for a change, and with two young sons, I longed to move closer to family. I also missed the mountains and forests of North Carolina where I’d grown up. My husband, Colby, was up for the change. So with help from Mom and Dad and lots of friends, we made the cross-country move. Since we were starting fresh, we decided to start our own business. I could combine my love of nature and gardening with my experience in marketing and communication. Thus, Gardens That Matter was born!

Colby and I are both still working as freelancers while we build the business. (He’s a designer and craftsman; I create website and marketing materials for eco-entreprenuers). Gardens That Matter is growing steadily, we’re getting lots of families excited about gardening, and it’s exciting to think about what’s more and more possible each day.

What is your passion and purpose (the “P” in EPIC)?

My passion is to help families connect with each other and connect with nature in their own backyards and neighborhoods!

What are you currently reading or listening to for inspiration?

I’ve been listening to Essentialism (third time through!) and The One Thing. My focus lately has been on creating more simplicity…figuring out what’s trivial and letting it go, so I can focus on the vital!

What is one message or affirmation you tell yourself to ground you on your quest?

This may sound a little funny, but I always use an affirmation as my password phrase. I pick letters, numbers or symbols to represent each word, and then I say the phrase mentally whenever I login to my password manager. So I’m saying it several times a day! A recent one that I loved was based on a poem from Rebecca Parker – the phrase was “What will you do with your gifts? Choose to bless the world!” It’s a good reminder that I have gifts (we all do!) and the choice to share them. (Full poem here: http://www.uucava.org/page/choose-to-bless-the-world-by)

In one word, what are you seeking most right now on your Quest?

Calm (I realize as a mom of three boys now that “calm” isn’t actually possible…but I choose the word because it feels like what I want – clarity and contentedness amid the chaos. 🙂

What challenge or offering would you like to share with the Mother’s Quest Community?

I would challenge and encourage moms to include nature in the times they are engaging with their kids. Going outside to dig or plant or just explore is a wonderful way to unplug and get present.

Since gardening can feel intimidating at first, I often talk about how gardens are safe places to practice trying and failing and trying again. Experimenting and learning are integral parts of the process, so gardening can be a great way to teach your kids (and self!) that kind of resilience. You can also access a free workshop on how to create a garden bustling with butterflies, bees and hummingbirds at https://www.gardensthatmatter.com/workshop.

How did you learn about Mother’s Quest?

Julie and I are connected on Facebook. Not sure how we originally connected, but I’ve enjoyed watching (and listening) as MQ has grown.

What have you appreciated the most about Mother’s Quest?

As you might guess, my favorite episode was Cultivating a Healthy Family with Michelle Ratcliffe–she’s doing inspiring work! In general, I love Julie’s focus on positive, inspiring stories and genuine interest in and connection with the people she interviews.

Do you want to share how you are living your truly E.P.I.C. life? Be featured on the weekly Mother on a Quest series by sending in your story here – http://mothersquest.com/mother-on-a-quest-application/