Stay Curious.
Dig Deeper.
Nurture What Matters.
Be BoldHeart.
Enjoy Your Life.

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The BoldHeartMama desires to enjoy living out the choices that she’s made for herself and for her family. She is a relentless learner: curious, inquisitive, and open to the possibilities of her life and of the human condition. She understands that there isn't one right way—she asks questions that dig deeper to make sense of it all and to find her own path.

She pays attention to and nurtures whatever it is she really cares about, letting go of the rest (for now) knowing she can't do and be everything all at once. She embraces her imperfections in favor of "good enough"—her imperfect self, her imperfect home, her imperfect mothering, her imperfect desires—and she never stops evolving as a woman and mother. She is a BoldHeart, authentic and true to herself.

The BoldHeartMama knows there is only this one life and she's all in. She is present and engaged and making things happen. Her intuition is her guide. She seeks to be inspired and relies on her creativity and her resourcefulness to solve the big and little challenges that she and her family face together as they navigate their relationships and their world.

The BoldHeartMama is willing to take calculated risks to make her biggest dreams come true. She is living out her BoldHeart in the moment, making small moves and taking little steps that add up, and she's cultivating a good life for herself and her family in the process. Read More!

Monday, January 16, 2017

BHM Storytelling Series: Suzanne L. Vinson Part II, Taking Care of the Mother's Soul & A Giveaway!

I have long been fascinated by the different ways that women, especially mothers, make decisions for themselves and their families about their work and home life. Equally curious is how their choices actually play out in the day to day, because there are so many ways to make it work. 

The BoldHeartMama Storytelling series offers a peek into the lives of mothers from all over, and highlights their unique BoldHeart stories, from struggles to triumphs in work and mothering and life.

This is Part II of a storytell by Suzanne L. Vinson, 39 year old artist, mother and minister living an intentional life toward wholeness, kindhearted listening, and compassionate care. You can read Part I here.

Today I also have a fun giveaway to share. Leave a comment to enter, see below for details. 

Suzanne l. Vinson, Richmond Virginia

Last week we discussed your business Silver Tree Art and how well your home and work lives are integrated, but also how you are learning to appreciate and set better boundaries around your work as an act of self preservation and care.  In the context of this sometimes delicate balancing act what is your best tip for other moms about carving out time for Self?

Hide in the bathroom. Take a good magazine with you. ((And i’m only half joking.)) Before I knew how to say to my love and children that I need time for me, I would just take my time in the bathroom, using it as my “office” for my own quiet time. Eventually I let it slip that no, I do not require so much time in that space, but I needed time to myself that was my own.

Now I schedule self care. My love and I have a good working arrangement, too, where if I seem a bit on edge or frayed or stressed, he gently suggests I take a bath. I know what that means— take time to care for yourself today/tonight. Not tomorrow, not next week; well, those, too. Take time to care for yourself in the here and now. The mom life/work life fully melds into my wholeness only where there’s an ease of being.

Share a fear you hold in your life right now. How do you overcome this fear and what might you share with another mama in your shoes?

Framed Watercolor Wisdom. Photo cred: Rebecca Brunson Studios

My fear is that something will keep me from my wholeness. That I’ll somehow get lost within myself and my children will miss out, with weeds entering their lives because I’ve missed teaching them how to pull themselves up from their roots. My fears include those we all face—that illness or trauma or injustice will harm those I love and hold most dear. So I attempt to face my fears, holding them in my cupped palms, noticing them. When I have a nightmare of some form, I have my coffee, eat my breakfast and ponder what my fears are trying to say. Sometimes I talk through my fears, as I have a fantastic therapist who uses mindfulness based stress reduction as a means to being present to what is true. Fear is there, but I will not be afraid.

If I have any advise for mothers, it’s coming from the well within ::

1. Use your gentle strength. Be gentle with yourself and your young. Being gentle requires strength. When you lift your baby or child in your arms, you’re balancing gentle touch with the strength in your upper arms, back, and legs. Gentleness requires that balance between muscles and mind and hands. Thoughts require the same strength and tender touch. Our tone with our children requires the same mindful approach. I know that when I’m over-extended because I’m thinking about everything besides the moment I’m in, or when I’m exhausted from lack of sleep with a very sick or crying-through-the-night toddler—hence the dark circles under my eyes—my tone of voice needs work. I have to explain my tone to the nearly 10-year old so that he doesn’t turn it into something that isn’t true. Mom’s tired. Mom gets moody.

2. Care for your sacred self. Take the shower. Cheer when you have. Give yourself time to move your body, especially outdoors. Make time for what brings you joy and adds delight. If you love to read, read for even 2 minutes. All the self care steps, whatever the stride, matter to the wholeness of who you are and who you are becoming.

3. Mark mothering moments. When your babies have birthdays, you have a mothering marking moment to celebrate. You’ve been a mother for how many years? What’s taken place during that last year? What do you need to quietly celebrate with a hot cup of tea or a tall drink?

4. Live this moment. Mindful practices, deep breathing, asking yourself “What do i need, right now?” noticing—without judgement— the colors, textures, and objects that surround. Taking a walk and taking notice of all the things that catch your eye. Play with your kiddos rather than saying “just one more minute.”

5. Motherhood is ministry. I’m preaching to myself with this advice. I’ve had many other clergywomen tell me that they give so much to the world they don’t save as much for home. I’ve had fewer who could name that they were called to motherhood in the same way they were called to serve people. My own call is a triune balance :: I am called to gather women around the table. I am called to love and care for my family. I am called to make soul wisdom art.

Hand Painted Sign. Photo cred: Rebecca Brunson Studios

I'm struck by your intuition and self awareness, I love that you know what you need. What are some favorite ways you've built self care into your regular routine. Tell us all your secrets!

Near my 20’s I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. I’ve learned in the last 20 years that I need a different pace, a rhythm of work and life that needs to shift according to my body’s needs. I’m reminded again and again through health and wellness ((or the lack thereof)) what I need to maintain a healthy course. Most of the time, I want to pretend that fatigue isn’t there, that I’m fine. Then I over-do the work-flow and under-do the self care practices. I skip lunch or work through half the night. While my work gives me energy, avoiding meals and sleep isn’t sustainable for any of us.

Friendships are also foundational in my path to wholeness and healing. I seem to meet the right people at the right time. Friendships help me to survive the fatiguing moments of motherhood and life.

As for self care routines, here you’re touching on what I love talking about. I have quite a few, and will share some favorites with you.

1. Painting my nails. Painting my nails creates space. I sit down and paint, letting them dry. If I’m asked to do something, I can’t. If the phone rings or a text comes through, I let it be. It’s a sacred time of stillness, when I won’t always give myself the space to be still. The polish never lasts very long, though that’s not so much the point for me. I just paint them again.

2. Moving my body. When I make time to stretch and practice yoga, I feel better. when I’m exercising with regularity between the Y and outdoor movement, I’m feeling good. When I’m doing all of this with routine, I’m sleeping well and loving myself more.

3. Eating a rainbow. One of my favorite meals is a noodle-free thai noodle bowl. I love making these and adding all the colors, with cashews on top and the lime-fish sauce-cilantro-garlic goodness that is the dressing. When I make these, I’m saying “I love you” to myself and those around me. Making time to add the ingredients to the grocery list, to chop each vegetable, to make the dressing.

Make no mistake though, right this moment, self care is having a fine cup of tea and a gluten free canele from WPA. Not everything I eat is rainbow colored or raw, as I do love the foods that do not necessarily love me back.

What does intentional mothering mean to you? Share two ways that you feel you are successful. 

I have chosen motherhood. I am living motherhood as a woman who wants her children to know who they are: creative, lively, beautiful and whole. I’m honoring that by seeing myself in those ways and aiming to model well. In our home we aim to live our values through our financial stewardship, the language we use about ourselves and one another, the way we spend our time and energy, and creating adventure as a family, most often in nature. We want our children to have the opportunity to discover through play, exploration, and adventure.

Suzanne with her Family on a Nature Hike

If you could go back in time is there anything you would do differently?

If I had anything to do-over again, I’d have learned to say “No, thank you.” much sooner. Many of the steps leading me to this beautiful moment would remain the same, but the internal turmoil of decision making and questioning decisions would have been much easier.

What is your sense of purpose right now?

Suzanne with her sweet pea and sweet boy

Right now I’m learning to accept myself fully as “good” and “beautiful” and “tender” and “strong” and all of the reminders I give myself through my wisdom cards and art. The words I use in art are the words that I find when I listen. I listen to wisdom, to intuition, the songs that come on the radio, the lyrics that land in my head, the poetry that pours through the creative flow. I listen to my friends and family. I listen to myself. I listen to the Sacred. By listening, I curb the busy “you should be doing something other than listening” thoughts and move into a place of inner peace. These Spirit whispers become “soul seeds” that are planted within. That newly planted space feels whole and good and true.

Echoes of the past, hearing negative words placed by others into my mind —negative words I believed as a young person—that i was “fat” and “stupid” and “unworthy” became trapped inside, and through some path grew alongside the positive words that I was “kind” and “beautiful” and “loved”and “here because I was meant to be.” The negative words became something of weeds aiming to choke out the positive truths.

These days I’m tending the garden of truth and clearing out the weedy mess. It’s a lifelong process: listening and learning and accepting and loving the self. Claiming wholeness and beauty and love. Sharing that wholeness and beauty and love. Creating safe spaces for the self and others.

More about Suzanne and where to find her:

Suzanne offers private "gather your tribe" mini-retreats, birthday celebrations, and day long or overnight retreats for groups. She's available for speaking engagements and workshops as well. Her art is made available through and she has in-studio shopping and pick up available. Locally, Orange carries a wide assortment of her work in Carytown, as well as Patina’d Grace, The Valentine Museum Shop, and soon to come Twig in the Northside. She wholesales her art as well and welcomes new shops into the fold. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Hand Painted Sign. Photo cred: Rebecca Brunson Studios

The Giveaway: CONTEST IS CLOSED, winner announced

I love love love Suzanne's Wisdom Card decks, which can be used as reflections, reminders, mantras, encouragements, blessings, affirmations, and more. Share them with a friend, hang them up where you can see them always, tuck them away for just the right moment.

Today I'm giving away a curated deck of Wisdom Cards for the BoldHeartMama, which includes: live this moment, practice self care, lean into your truth, start where you are, boldness becomes you, deep peace be with you, be your wild self, wisdom resides within, and the clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.

To enter please leave a comment sharing your current favorite self care practice. That's it! So easy. 

For additional entries please "like" Suzanne's Silver Tree Art Facebook page, and/or follow her on Instagram. If you already like of follow her feeds, that counts, so leave an entry!

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

The Fine Print: The BoldHeartMama wisdom deck giveaway will close January 20th at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be chosen via's random number generator and announced on January 21st. Winner will receive wisdom deck shipped to the location of winner's choice. All entries will be verified; comments that contain more than one entry will be counted only once. 

And last but not least!

The BoldHeartMama Storytelling Series is based on the BoldHeartMama Manifesto. Mothering demands BoldHeartedness from all of us. I want to help YOU share your story! If you are curious to learn more about sharing your story email me at


  1. Getting physical (run, walk, hike) outside!!! Preferably in the sun and if it's the ultimate care bear the river ❤️����☀️ Great post! Such a wonderful reminder for the selfless ministry of motherhood.

  2. My current favorite is crochet :). I've decided crafting in some form makes me whole! Liked on instagram and FB

    1. What are you crocheting!?? You are so crafty and I love that about you. <3

    2. Winter hats! I'm on hat #3 :)

    3. Congrats Jessica you won!! Please see the latest post for next steps.

  3. Exercising every morning and then being super positive to my girls so they feel good when their day starts (even though I'm exhausted- I feel that being positive will make their day better).

    1. I love that you make time for yourself every morning. You are a great mom, miss you guys!


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