Distance Learning Ready: Suggestions From an Occupational Therapist on Helping Your Child Stay Engaged

Distance Learning Ready: Suggestions From an Occupational Therapist on Helping Your Child Stay Engaged

Distance Learning Ready: 

Suggestions From an Occupational Therapist on Helping Your Child Stay Engaged

When I reached out to my son Jacob’s Occupational Therapist, Danielle Cesarz, for her recommendations on what might support Jacob with distance learning, I was blown away by her insight and suggestions. I realized this was information that could help all parents, not just those whose children are differently-wired. So, I asked if I could share her perspective on the Mother’s Quest Blog and she said yes! Hope these ideas support your children as you begin this school year. Have some ideas of your own to share? Leave them in the comments or come on over to the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group and share with us there!

The COVID- 19 pandemic has impacted all facets of life: how we go about our daily activities, the way we work, our ability to parent, and our children’s development. Soon, our homes will become classrooms again. Our dining room table will transform back into our child’s desk. Our outdoor space will equate to the playground. As an OT, I have many parents asking me, “How do I set my child up for success with distance learning at home?” “What kinds of OT tools will help my child stay regulated, focused and engaged?

Learning is a social phenomenon. Kids benefit most from in-person learning because of the social emotional and sensory motor affordances it provides. There are silver linings, however, to learning at home. And right now it serves us well to engage in positive thinking.

A true silver lining to learning at home is the flexibility that it allows. Your children can write while standing up at a kitchen counter. They can listen to a ZOOM read aloud with their most favorite stuffie nestled in their lap. They can chew gum while completing their math worksheets. They can keep their most comfortable pajama bottoms that have holes in them on all day. They can squeeze playdough or a squishy ball fidget without distracting their peers. They can crunch on ice while working. They can blast the Hamilton sidetrack to get their creative “writing” ideas flowing.

Taking breaks throughout the day may no longer require special permission. They can take as long as they need to complete their written work without the pressure or comparison to their faster paced peers. They can school outside in the fresh air if they desire. And let the sound of the birds and the feel of the breeze calm their nervous systems. They can lower the lights in their room to calm their minds. They can pet their dog or cat to lower their heart rate while listening to a lecture. They can crunch on chips or sink their teeth into fresh fruit at a moment’s notice. They can re-apply roll-on essential oil to their wrist before a test. Schooling at home allows incredible flexibility to meet your child’s emotional regulation and sensory motor needs.

To my older daughter’s deep disappointment, I am not advocating that your child lie in bed to engage in school. Quite the contrary, as an OT, I am making some of the following recommendations to my families:

  • Offer flexible seating to increase your child’s engagement and focus. Invest, if possible, in a swivel desk chair, wobble stool, inflatable ball, wedge seat cushion, or a portable lap desk. Show your child pictures online. Ask them what their preferences may be.
  • Allow your child to change body positions throughout the day
  • Use oral sensory input such a ice water, chewing gum, crunchy and chewy snacks to optimize arousal level
  • Play preferred music while working.
  • Per the recommendation of my younger daughter I stress the importance of maintaining a calm arousal level yourself. Co-regulation is KEY! As parents we need to provide empathy during stress, try to maintain a stable and safe environment with structured routines and logical consequences and model what it looks like to be calm and regulated.
  • Take breaks as needed
  • Kids need to move to learn. Build in a variety of movement breaks throughout the day. Kids need frequent exercise and movement to support their ability to attend and self-regulate. Ideas include:
    • Do jumping jacks
    • Log Roll
    • Animal Walks
    • Somersault
    • Run outside
    • Go for a walk
    • Take a bike or scooter ride
    • Climb
    • Ball play
    •  Skip
    •  Swing
    • Spin (in both directions)
    • Hippety Hop
    • Skateboard
    •  Go for a hike
    •  Jump
    • Hula hoop
    • Dance
    •  Roll over a therapy ball
    • Spend time in nature
    • Use structured work-outs or apps like Go Noodle, Cosmic Yoga for Kids, ALO GIVES or Swork- it Kids

In all honesty, am I eager to support my child’s learning at home? No!?! Am I freaking out about how I am going to manage work and parenting? ABSOLUTELY. Do I want my children to go back to school? YES!! There’s no denying that we can’t replace the impact in-person learning has on the development of our children however there is no harm in keeping a positive outlook that we are all in this together, keeping our communities safe and supporting our children with tools to thrive.

Danielle Cesarz, MS, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist

OT 4 Kids

 

 

 

Distance Learning Wish List

Kick Balance Board

Swivel Chair for Back Pain, Black

Wedge Cushion

Lap Desk

Junior Wobble Chair

Latex Stretch Chair

Kids’ Swivel & Office Chairs

Mobile Task Chair

Highlighted Line Writing Paper

Have you listented to this?

Back to School Milestone Hike: My Secret to Starting The School Year Well ✨

In this “Bite-Sized Reflection from Living my E.P.I.C. Life” Minisode I Talk About:

  • How/when I learned about the importance of ending well to begin well at the youth development organization Alternatives in Action
  • The transformative Milestone Hike Experience I had on my 40th birthday
  • How I’ve used the same components of that hike to acknowledge milestones with my son Ryan (we even recorded a podcast episode about one on his 13th birthday!) including Back to School Milestone Hikes
  • The ways I have taken that experience to create signature Mother’s Quest opportunities for reflection
  • The Back to School Milestone Hike and Reflection Circle  I’m offering if you’d like support packing up your lessons from the last chapter before starting a new school year

Hope this supports you or a mother preparing for Back to School in your life!

LISTEN HERE

✨ Back to School Virtual Milestone Hike and Reflection Circle ✨

If you’d like to go on a reflective milestone hike (virtually!) with me by your side, I have three spaces left for this Back to School Circle and one-on-one coaching experience. You can sign up here: www.mothersquest.com/backtoschool

This Mother’s Day: Choose Yourself and Reclaim Your E.P.I.C. Life

This Mother’s Day: Choose Yourself and Reclaim Your E.P.I.C. Life

This Mother’s Day: Choose Yourself and Reclaim Your E.P.I.C. Life

As this message reaches your inbox, it’s Mother’s Day… in the midst of a global pandemic. And if you’re anything like the vast majority of the mothers I’ve been talking with, you’ve been feeling disoriented and like you’ve lost yourself, during these last few months. You may even be wondering “how am I ever going to come back home to myself?”

I had been feeling this way too…overwhelmed with fear, moving through all the stages of grief, and juggling demands at home that now included supporting my children’s distance learning, on top of all the other things.

For the first time in the three years since I launched the podcast, I had stopped recording and releasing episodes. And I honestly wondered whether my work even mattered. All around me, life as I knew it was literally shut down while we physically sheltered in place. And inside, I also felt shut down.   

This is not the first time I felt this way or found my way out.

About a decade into motherhood, after navigating developmental delays with my oldest and five years of infertility to get pregnant with my youngest, I realized that in focusing so much on my own children and what they needed, I had lost parts of myself and sidelined my dreams. An experience I had one day, opening the door for two birds that got trapped in my home, and were crashing into the glass to get out, helped me realize that I felt trapped too and needed a door opened for me. 

But I also realized that no one else could help me, unless I opened the door for myself and took the first tentative steps toward what I now call my E.P.I.C. life. That day, in addition to motherhood, I also chose myself. And living my E.P.I.C. life became a manifesto, a simple but enduring framework.

In this special Mother’s Day episode, I share clips from my introductory episode with reflections on the E.P.I.C. Life framework itself and clips from episodes with past guests, whose words of wisdom have been lighting my way right now. I hope these stories and messages may spark a return to yourself if you need it.

Listen in for special clips lighting my way from episodes I’ll be re-releasing this week as part of a special series to light the way in the midst of challenge: 

Along with listening to these episodes, it was actually my son Ryan who really helped me. Telling him one night, while putting dishes in the dishwasher for what felt like the tenth time that day, that I was feeling depressed, he asked me “when was the last time you felt connected to your purpose, Mom? I notice you haven’t talked about Mother’s Quest in weeks.”

That question really sat with me. And then I remembered Graeme’s words from our interview again. Our stories matter. Our manifestos matter. And we need each other.

With that, and a few other sparks along the way, I got back to recording, I released an episode about the families seeking asylum at the border, a minisode about the creation of a “Pandemic Promise” to myself, and this Mother’s Day special episode that you’re listening to right now.

I also set in motion some epic plans for our third annual Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge, the one Graeme and I had created together. Taking place in the free Mother’s Quest Facebook Group, it’s  a 7-day journey, beginning tomorrow, May 11th, to reclaiming ourselves, a chance to reflect together, along a new process I’m naming “CHOOSE,” and to create or refine our own manifestos for living our lives the way that matters, yes even in the midst of a pandemic. 

As for me, I’ve learned on Mother’s Day, that in addition to spending time with my children, I need some time to myself. So, today I’ll be going on my favorite milestone hike, and when I reach the summit, I’ll sit down and listen to my favorite meditation, one called “Teshuvah” or “Return” in Hebrew, that brings new meaning to the idea of setting out on a journey and returning home. Of losing our center and finding it again. 

So, this Mother’s Day, I invite you to do something that may help you find your center again, in whatever way could be possible given the real constraints in your life. And to consider exploring some questions: In what ways have you been feeling trapped? When was the last time you felt connected to your purpose? And how might you open a door for yourself…to choose yourself…and to take even just one tentative step closer to your version of an E.P.I.C. life?

Give Yourself a Gift this Mother’s Day!
Join us for the Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge

The Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge is a 7-day experience that will move you through a series of reflective prompts to support you in creating or refining a “manifesto” of your own to become an anchor in your life in these years that you are raising your children.

In addition to reflective prompts that I’ll share live in the group each morning, I’ve invited a different mother to also go live, to share their journey and manifestos and also to offer a tool or practice that would support the prompt we’re reflecting on. 

This year, I’ll be exploring a new acronym mnemonic and framework “CHOOSE” that captures the process I went through when I claimed my manifesto…a process I realized has been with me in all the other times of my life when I shifted a perspective and moved myself forward in a powerful way. 

Here is what’s in store for you in the next 7 days.

5/10 Mother’s Day with Graeme Seabrook – Both Graeme and I will be live in the group at some point to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day, welcome new members, share about why we co-created the challenge two years ago, and set the frame for the week. 

5/11 Day 1: C with Lindsay Pera  – “Claim” the experience or opportunity in front of you that calls you to something different; sometimes these are even painful moments you would not choose for yourself. Sometimes these feel like a “sign” that calls to you in mysterious ways. What is the “spark” for you?

5/12 Day 2: H with Jadah Sellner – “Hold space for reflection” give yourself an opportunity to pause and make meaning of what is happening so you can learn from it and consciously move forward in a different way

5/13 Day 3: O with Nic Strack – “Own the perspective” that is NOT serving you. What story are you telling yourself that feels outdated? Or what way of looking at something is feeling out of alignment or holding you back? Before you can move forward, it’s important to really look at where you are now. 

5/14 Day 4: O with Jamie Greenwood –  “Own a more empowering perspective” explore a new way of looking at something that resonates for you and that returns a sense of power to you

5/15 Day 5: S with Amy Walsh and Elsie Escobar – “Stake in the ground” put your stake in the ground and claim this new perspective by expressing it clearly (and sharing when/if you feel comfortable). This is the day when the manifesto itself comes into form. I’ve invited several key guests this day who will each offer a different creation method that you can utilize to help express yourself. 

5/16 Day 6: E with Jessica Stong – “Explore one next step” begin to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be by taking setting intention for one action. 

5/17 Day 7: Reflection and Celebration Circle An opportunity to come together via zoom after the challenge is over to reflect on the process, lessons learned and to share our manifestos with one another.

Sign up here to get daily reminders and to download the FREE Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge Reflection Journal.

If you’d rather listen than read, you can also go straight to the episode post here.

A Pandemic Promise

A Pandemic Promise

A Pandemic Promise

After a podcast pause, I’m back with a bite-sized reflection from living my own E.P.I.C. life, that I hope may support you right where you are right now.

If in the midst of this global pandemic, you’re someone who has the privilege of sheltering in place like I do, and find yourself swinging from gratitude and inspiration to exasperation…I want you to know you are not alone.

By night, I’ll find myself writing a poem

And the next morning I’m tearing my hair out at Google Classroom and yelling at my children.

Many afternoons, when I’ve given up on any hope of providing “education” or “enrichment” to my 7-year-old, I’ll pass him the Ipad, and sink into reading posts and essays and listening to live videos or past episodes from my own podcast, that are slowly helping me to make meaning of this time.

I thought I’d offer some of these things I’ve been absorbing, with links so you can check them out for yourself. And then, I wanted to share with you a promise I wrote to myself, and invite you to make a promise of your own, if that feels right to you.

The first thing I want to encourage you to go and read is an essay by an Indian author Arundhati Roy in which she writes about how the coronavirus is an epic tragedy for her country and the world. But she also suggests that we not rush to a return to normalcy. In a powerful closing that had me catch my breath, she suggests that the virus is a “portal,” a gateway between one world and the next, and an opportunity to “break free from our current world and imagine it anew.”

Shortly after reading the essay, I watched a live video from my coach and mentor Lindsay Pera, herself trying to recover as she and her family have been sick with COVID-19 for over a month now. Lindsay referenced the idea that in this time of pause, for many of us, we are transforming, much like a caterpillar transforms inside its cocoon. She cautions against trying to break free from the cocoon too soon, before we have reformed, and invites us to create stillness and reflection in our pause.

And I read something from an anonymous writer who crafted a powerful metaphor about the virus as the storm we all find ourselves in, but the important reminder that we are not all in the same boat. We have very different circumstances, based on whether we are healthy, our profession, our family make-up, and our economic circumstances, among so many other factors,  that make our experience of this storm unique.

I’ve also found comfort in past podcast episodes.

From Avanti Kumar Singh’s episode, I’m reminded of the power of ancient traditions, like Ayurveda, that remind us to create daily rituals, and that we have so much power to heal within. My conversation with Avanti a year ago inspired me to start pausing in the middle of the day, to lay on my back, and look up at the sky from my bedroom deck. And so, several afternoons, when things feel like they are spinning, II find myself there, grounding myself literally.

My conversation with Jonathan Fields of the Good Life Project has had me thinking about my “sparktype,” that unique blueprint that can help me root into and reconnect to my purpose. Jonathan also asked me to slow down in our conversation, giving me a challenge to spend some time when I first wake up, with my hand on my heart, to ask myself “what do I most want today?”

And when I feel a sense of despair and fear amid the uncertainty for our future, I think about my conversation with Nikka Smith, about the power of connecting to the wisdom of our ancestors, and how they are always with us. I think particularly about my grandmothers on both sides, and the stories I’ve heard about their challenges and their resilience. And I commit to make time with my children to talk with my parents about their own stories.

And my episode with mindfulness expert Michelle Gale, reminded me of her powerful three breath practice, and how we can try to find our own calm amid the storm.

When I sat down to write, I found the threads of meaning and reflection from all these sources weaving together into something I’m calling a “Pandemic Promise.” Here it is: 

//A Pandemic Promise//

If the Pandemic is a Portal 

Then I commit to breathe more deeply while I wait inside this pause

When I wake, hand on my heart, I’ll ask myself the questions that matter.

I’ll find moments to lay flat on my back and look to the sky.

I’ll consciously create routines that will feed me and my family, all the while reaching for equanimity, a grounded calm to anchor me from the storm.

And I’ll remember I have a unique blueprint,

to spark and express my purpose in service of others.

When I feel most afraid, I’ll gather stories of resilience from my parents, mentors and guides.

This time in-between time is fleeting faster than I realize.

And though we cannot pretend that we are all in the same boat, *a storm of the same name rages around each of us and calls us to something bigger than ourselves.

So my wish is not to hurry it along so I can come through the other side of the portal unchanged.

But, instead to slow myself down within it and emerge transformed, even a little…

Less attached to material items and attuned to consume and more committed to equity

And to seeing the humanity in each of us.

This moment in time won’t come again this way I tell myself.

Seize it.

Reimagine.

And contribute to a better day.


What about you? What’s been grounding you during these times? What might you write in your own “Pandemic Promise?” Comment here or in our Mother’s Quest Facebook Group. I’d love to hear.

If you’d rather listen than read, you can also go straight to the podcast episode here.

Mark your calendar for the 3rd Annual Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge, starting on May 11th in the Facebook Group. Join here

Follow all the conversations at www.mothersquest.com/podcast

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

Women Podcasters in Solidarity Season 2 – The Intersectional Impact of Gun Violence on our Communities

Women Podcasters in Solidarity Season 2 – The Intersectional Impact of Gun Violence on our Communities

August 5, 2019

Almost two years ago now, I woke up to news of the events at the Charlottesville Rally and decided I could not be silent and do nothing. I decided I had a responsibility to use my voice and the platform I was building with the Mother’s Quest Podcast to shine a light on social justice issues. And, that if I could make that commitment, other women podcasters might too. Many of you said “yes” and those episodes recorded for the first season, on anti-racism and police brutality, are up at www.womenpodcastersinsolidarity.com.

A second season, still under way, focuses on the intersectional impact of gun violence. Tragically, there have been so many mass shootings since we made the decision to center this second season on this topic…I can’t count. And thousands of incidences of gun violence that do not receive news coverage,  disproportionately impacting communities of color.

Last weekend’s events, two mass shootings within 24 hours, blasted our consciousness with the work still ahead and urgency to fight gun violence. As importantly, they call us to address the racism and toxic masculinity that has been a consistent through-line between both seasons. This season, I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to speak with Gloria Pan of MomsRising, decades long gun safety advocate Lad Everitt, Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton who founded the Circle of Mothers and the Trayvon Martin Foundation after the tragic loss of her son, and most recently, Will Latif Little, who after taking the life of a young man through gun violence has transformed his life and answered the call to stop others from making the same mistake.

Though a few of these episodes are from a year + ago, and some of the resources and events are not current, the discussions are as relevant as ever. And, if you’re looking for deeper understanding and for some action you can take, I hope you’ll listen to one of these today.

Finally, if you’re a woman podcaster and you want to join Women Podcasters in Solidarity yourself, visit the website and come over to our facebook group. We’re still looking for more episodes on this topic and hope you’ll create courageous conversation of your own. We need your voice and to reach your audiences with discussions that can deepen our understanding and catalyze action.

Ep 37: Generations Rising for Gun Safety with Gloria Pan

In this episode, Gloria shares about her upbringing in an Asian-American immigrant family, the impact of her mother’s experience working in the UN during the Women’s Movement, and whether the idea of living an E.P.I.C. life is relevant for MomsRising mothers, many of whom are struggling to meet basic needs. We delve into the E.P.I.C. guideposts from the lens of gun safety advocacy, explore the ways in which we can broaden our lens to make that advocacy intersectional, and Gloria gives us specific actionable challenges to get involved and make a difference.

Ep 54: Superheroes, Fighting Patriarchy, and Courageously Defeating Gun Violence with Ladd Everitt

I was inspired by the example in Ladd of a white male leader, connected to his emotions, doing meaningful work, and looking for ways to share his privilege and influence with voices that should have more representation in the movement. Ladd and I both left the conversation feeling enriched by the opportunity to talk through complex issues. I’m excited to invite you in to listen with us and then move into action for gun safety alongside us.

Ep 55: From Grief to Advocacy and a Circle of Mothers with Trayvon Martin’s Mother Sybrina Fulton

This intimate conversation, over a year in the making, was a unique opportunity to delve into Sybrina’s own journey, how the E.P.I.C. guideposts show up in her life and in her activism, and to hear her powerful call to action to invest in mothers, by reaching out to mothers grieving in our own communities and by contributing to her “Circle of Mothers,” a labor of love that came to her in her dreams.

Ep 64: Fatherhood, Forgiveness and Redemption with Poet Will Little

Will Little

Will has a profound story to tell, one that began with an upbringing in a single family parent home with his four sisters in Philadelphia, PA. Without his father or a father figure, and impacted by his environment, Will began to venture away from the ideals he was shaped by in church, dropping out of high school in the 10th grade, and becoming involved in the Philadelphia drug trade and a shooting that resulted in the death of a young man. This ultimately landed Will in prison for a 10-20 year sentence on a murder conviction at the age of 19. Ultimately, this episode is about hope and transformation…And I hope you’ll be forever changed, as I have been, by your connection to Will and his story.

The Mother’s Quest #oneminutemommanifesto

The Mother’s Quest #oneminutemommanifesto

Are you ready for a truly epic life?

I remember the day I created the E.P.I.C. framework with a napkin and a pencil at my kitchen table. It was midnight and I had been having conversations in a private group all day with Harmony of the Good Life Project team about what I was really trying to do with this vision I had for Mother’s Quest.

Harmony was reflecting back to me what she thought she heard…”You want to help mothers have more balance in their lives,” she said. “You want to help them live better lives.”

“No!” I remember typing emphatically in the comments, pounding the keyboard as I went. It’s more than that! I want them to live their version of an “epic” life…the kind of life filled with all the things that matter most. A life where when you look back, perhaps when sitting on a porch with your grandchildren, you can tell the ones you love stories about all the things you did in your life, the experiences that shaped you, the challenges you overcame, the difference you made.”

I decided “epic,” though not a perfect word, best captured what I was trying to express.

But, there was more to it than this idea of the powerful “story” of our lives. I wondered whether it could also act as an acronym for all the things I was most on a quest for as a mother…the things that I think help us to live an epic life when we are raising our children.

So, I sat down with a napkin and a pencil and wrote out the first letter of epic “E” and sure enough, “Engaged” mindfully with our children came immediately to mind. “P” passionate and purposeful, the impact we make beyond our family. “I” invested in our ourselves. And “C” connected to a strong support network, so we’re in community on our journey. They all came out, within a minute, with clarity and ease at long last.

Since then, what I now call the “E.P.I.C. Framework” has become a guiding light in so many ways. It’s become the content of my interviews on the podcast, and a focus of my coaching programs. It provides a touchstone for how I’m living my life each day; something I scan for and check-in with myself about during my morning practice. It’s a manifesto for living my life.

In an interview with Graeme Seabrooke on the podcast, in time for Mother’s Day, she and I talked about the importance of having a manifesto and decided together to invite other mothers to create their own. We wanted each mother to have something in written or visual form that can act as an anchor for what matters most to them. And we wanted to give them permission to have it come with ease, to be something that could be communicated in as little as one minute.

Years later… this invitation has become an annual tradition, and this last spring we created a week-long experience in the Mother’s Quest Group to guide you through the process and give you inspiring examples of what others have created. In that process for myself, I decided to expand a little more on the guideposts, and to include E.P.I.C. “Values” as well. I’ve included the writing and images from my latest iteration here. Would love to know whether this resonates for you.

I also invite you to say “yes” to creating your own “Manifesto”… you can follow along with what we’ve created by joining the group or just take this idea and let it flow on your own. I can’t wait to see what comes into focus for you!

What is a Mom Manifesto?

Personal Manifesto definition – A declaration of your core values and beliefs, what you stand for, and how you intend to live your life. It functions both as a statement of principles and as a call to action.

The Mother’s Quest
#oneminutemommanifesto

Motherhood is a transformational journey,
not a destination.
Along the way, we discover, grow and change
alongside our children.

In the unexpected challenges of motherhood,
I found parts of myself I never knew existed.
But, also lost parts of myself.
And sidelined my dreams.

Then one day, I could no longer ignore the whispers.
I opened my eyes and saw the signs all around…
challenging me to choose myself.

To step into the fullest expression of who

I’m meant to be.
To answer the call of my own hero’s journey.
To become the author of my story.

I paused for reflection in a “spark moment” as I stood
at the threshold of a new chapter.
I thought I needed someone to open a door for me.
Then, I realized that if I didn’t first open the door…
give myself permission, and say “yes” to myself,
no one would be able to do that for me.

Today, I’m on an ongoing quest
to live my own unique version of an E.P.I.C. life…
and to inspire and champion my children to do the same.
I know that the impact I seek happens
when I lead the way by my own example.

The E.P.I.C. Guideposts are my markers.
If I focus on these,
my life will be filled with what matters most.

E: Engage mindfully with my children
P: Pursue passionate and purposeful impact,
making a difference beyond my family
I: Invest in myself and
C: Connect to a strong support network
so I am in community on my journey

 

And I live by a set of E.P.I.C. Values.

 

Deeply rooted, with all of this as my foundation,
I choose center-stage of my life.
And one day, when I’m older,
perhaps sitting on a porch with my grandchildren,
I can tell them all of my stories,
and the moments, connections and impact that mattered most.
Inspiring yet another generation
to live their E.P.I.C. lives.

E.P.I.C. Values

 E.P.I.C. Values:
E: Engagement with kindness, authenticity and generosity
P: Pause to reflect and make meaning of my life
and learn with a growth mindset
I: Inclusion, especially those marginalized,
raising my own awareness and
moving into solidarity and activism
C: Curiosity in service of not only myself
but also others, honoring boundaries and confidentiality

Write Your Own One Minute Mom Manifesto

When you hear the word “manifesto,” you might picture imagine a long, time-consuming process. In reality, we want you to feel so comfortable and confident articulating exactly what you believe about motherhood that you can easily recite your manifesto in one minute or less.

If you’re feeling ready to commit, or recommit to yours, the Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge and creation of a #oneminutemommanifesto may be the spark you need.

Through a five-day series of reflective prompts, you will be able to define the current chapter of your life, consider what you have learned and what you want to carry forward, and name what you are ready to let go of before moving into the next stage of your journey.

Visit www.mothersquest.com/community to join our free Mother’s Quest group. Then go straight to the Mother’s Quest Manifesto “Unit” to find all the prompts. Once you’re created yours, share on social media with the hashtag #oneminutemommanifesto. 

I love Julie’s daily prompts and explanations. They are very simple, easy to follow and a great idea for mothers who are overwhelmed and want to create a more intentional experience for themselves in their motherhood and personal journey.

–Sneha Jhanb

The Power of Tapping Into Your Future Self

The Power of Tapping Into Your Future Self

Seven years ago, I found my first individual coaching client in Lisa Valerio, mindful mother to an autistic son.

I’ll never forget the day that I led Lisa through a future self meditation, inviting her to envision the most positive version of herself, and picture of her life, 20 years into the future.

Her connection to her future self was strong. And the vision powerful. She imagined creating a holiday resort in her husband’s native Philippines, one with a pool at the center, so her son could swim (his favorite pastime). The hotel would provide a source of ongoing income that could provide long-term security for her son and would also be opened up to become an anchor of support for individuals with disabilities in surrounding areas.

This year, Lisa and I reunited, and she told me all about what she had achieved in the years since we worked together. With tears in both our eyes, she told me stories of:
The beautiful resort, Punta de Gloria, she and her husband created
How much her son enjoys swimming in that pool in the center
About the families who come with their children on boats from surrounding islands to get evaluated by disability experts she brings in from the United States through Fenixia Foundation, Inc., the non-profit she since created and;
How Punta de Gloria has begun hiring and training adults with disabilities to work at the resort

Lisa made all of those incredible things happen by taking inspired action in her life. And she credits the investment she made in herself, through coaching with me, for planting the seeds of her vision and helping her connect to that part of herself that believed she could make it real.

Punta de Gloria Resort’s goal is to support, serve and employ those with all abilities. We are honored to be friends of those with Down Syndrome in Samal Island Philippines.

All these years later, Lisa is on the threshold of another new chapter, one she’s eager to define, and determined that she was ready to work with me again, this time in the community of other women, through my signature experience the Mother’s Quest Circle.

The Circle begins in April and I have a just a few spots still open. We start with the future self meditation and it sets the course for all that follows.

If you feel like you’re on the threshold of a new chapter, ready to envision and make real the dreams that live inside you, I encourage you to answer the call and apply for the Mother’s Quest Circle today.

Can’t wait to welcome you in if you’re ready!