Declarations After Our Second Season

File_000 (7)Can you think of a time when you were living in the middle of conditions that were less than ideal? You might ask, “Why is this happening to me?” It can be very frustrating and somewhat depressing. Yet, here you are, you’ve pulled through! Do you now have insights that you might not have had if your situation were different?  

Less than ideal growing conditions that included the worst drought in over 80 years, as I’ve heard some report, led to a significantly low yielding apple crop. The contrast was further highlighted being that it immediately followed the super crop of 2015. Both extremes in just the two years of our tenure!

It takes being faced with what you don’t want, to know what you do want.  -Abraham Hicks

While a low yielding apple crop was being faced with what we don’t want, the contrast helped us define and declare what we do want:

We want to produce a lot of apples.

We want to utilize our whole crop in the most efficient way possible.

We want to expand our markets to include Common Ground Fair, a farmer’s market, and restaurants.

We want to add bees, berries, and other fruit trees to the orchard.

We want to include other value added products like fermented foods and drinks, juices/smoothies, and honey.

We want to thrive in harmony with the environment.

We want to thrive in harmony with our community.

Above all, we want to be happy!

(A little bit more about what I want particularly:  I want to create a retreat and wellness center at the orchard with a spiritual nature to it… I believe this will happen!)

While there were plenty of lessons learned as a result of our first season: Our First Year in Review, we believe it is important for us to continue to learn and grow. This is part of the process when you have insight and find value in the contrast.

Declare what you want, I’d love to hear!


Time to Make the Doughnuts!


If you are old enough to remember the commercial from the 80’s where the doughnut company’s employee wakes up early to make the doughnuts each morning, day after day. It’s like Groundhog’s Day where the same thing occurs over and over again. A merry-go-round of sorts. Can you relate?

Once my oldest started preschool, I began a daily drive to and from school. I would find myself saying, “Time to make the doughnuts!” every time my alarm sounded to remind me to pick up my kids. I would say it jokingly, but there was some truth behind the jest. When moving to Maine, our intention was to find a school we liked first and then a house nearby. It didn’t happen that way. We found our amazing old farmhouse and orchard first and then chose a school that now requires a 30 minute commute each way. A minimum of 2 hours each day, I am commuting to get my kids. It was difficult for some time, but I was committed to both choices and needed to find a way to come to peace with it all, for my own sanity.  

In searching for a solution, I realized that in order to be at peace with the choices I had made, I needed to find fulfillment in the mundane task of driving. With an adjustment in mindset, I now take pleasure in the hour I have with my boys (locked in a car with me!) where we have committed time to talk and go over life. I know they won’t be this young forever and it’s time I will no doubt miss in the future. And during the hour I have to myself, sometimes I just listen to my own thoughts or I enjoy listening to interviews, podcast, and radio that feeds my mind and soul.  It’s time I really look forward to now!   

Coming into Thanksgiving, it is a time for reflection as we give thanks for the blessings in our life.  I invite you to reflect – without judging yourself or others – on what situations, people, tasks, or other things that are not currently enjoyable and ways to shift your perspective that can actually make those situations more joyful.

Many blessings to you,


Giving Voice to the Inner Critic

file_000-4We all have an inner critic, often we have more than one.  Each one may say something different, but it’s the negative self talk and limiting beliefs that you use to define yourself.  Who you are and who you’re not.  It’s the voice that tells you, you’re not good enough.  It tells you, you need to keep working harder and harder, but you’ll never see any recognition or success from your hard work.  Do you see it’s the same scenario that plays itself out over and over again?  It’s the same play, just new actors playing the roles in a new scene, but it’s all the same.  Without understanding it as a voice outside yourself, you buckle down even more only to have it come up again… and again.  It’s exhausting, yet you don’t know what to do.  

First, know that the voice telling you these negative thoughts are not you at your core.  

You are more than the negative self talk.  Think of the child inside.  The joyful child that spun around like an airplane on the front yard… not concerned if someone was going to think you were autistic; ate snow… without a care of how dirty it could be;  drank from a cup your friend just sipped out of… who thinks of germs at that age?  That’s it!  Who thinks of these things at that age?  We are given “baggage” to hold along the way that was never ours to begin with.  Often it’s done with our best interest at heart, even to keep us safe and free from harm, but it’s just one bag being passed on from one to another.

What did you want to be as a child?  Is that who you are now?  Were you given the support and tools to become who you wanted, or who others wanted you to be?  Our current education system is an antiquated model serving an old paradigm that valued the creation of an obedient labor force.  It continues in its attempt to mold minds within a standardized format, limiting both teachers and students creativity.  

Side note:  I see a future in education where individual interests and talents are observed and cultivated, where creativity is valued above all else.      

In the meantime, we all have these bags we were handed.  They were given to us 30, 40, 50 years ago and have become a part of us for so long that we can barely uncover what’s beneath all the baggage.  Without a conscious effort to make a change, most people haven’t upgraded their definition of who they are… unless there is some sort of catastrophic event- an illness, an accident, the death of a close friend or relative.  Life says to you, “we can do this the easy way or the hard way… you decide.”  But do you really want to wait for a catastrophic event to happen in order to live your life?

So, what do you do with all those bags?  Do you silence the inner critic or do you embrace it?  Where do I start?  First, as I said before, realize that the negative self talk is a voice outside of you.  I invite you to embrace the voice and confront her head on, giving her a name and personality.  The steps in this article are straightforward and help you dig deep into who you are and who you are meant to be.  To paraphrase:

  1. Understand the Role of the Inner Critic – What is the purpose of the negative self talk?
  2. Recognize the Voice of the Inner Critic – Learn to distinguish who is talking to you.
  3. Evaluate the Word of the Inner Critic – Is what the inner critic telling me true?
  4. Counter the Inner Critic – Challenge what the inner critic is telling you with a new perspective.
  5. Silence the Inner Critic – Limit the strong hold the inner critic has on you by taking it outside of you.  Use positive affirmations you design for yourself to replace the old ones that were given to you.

Another important step is quieting the mind to allow you to separate from all the should have, could have, would haves that go through your mind.   A good friend and mentor, Rachel Horton White has a guided meditation that works to get at the core of limiting beliefs the inner critic is telling you.

Need more help to recognize the inner critic?  This video by Rachel Horton White expands upon this concept.  I would also recommend reaching out to her personally!

Wishing you love on your own journey,

Ali 🙂

What Our Children Teach Us

file_000-3I probably have half a dozen posts I’ve started that remain unfinished.  I haven’t been able to commit to any one of them.  I’m guessing there will come a time when they will become relevant again and I can pick up with renewed insight and energy around them, but at this time a heightened sense of urgency is pulsing through my veins to write about my experience as a parent.  Moving to Maine was in great part due to the wholesome style of living I wanted to give my children.  The orchard, as I’ve said before, personified every reason I wanted to live here.  Brilliant stars at night free from the lights of a big city, small hometown values, people that are connected to each other and the earth with nature abounding everywhere.  My purpose has focused on my children’s needs above all others.

My story starts with the birth of my first child.  My pregnancy was picture perfect as I basked in the glow of anticipation of a first time mother.  It was the happiest time in my life where I felt in perfect harmony with my body, mind, and spirit.  My son was full term with no indications of distress during the labor; the birth seemed to go well until the point where he was to take his first breath.  He didn’t cry.  I questioned, “Isn’t he supposed to be crying?”  The delivery nurses did what they could to clear his breathing passages, but called in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for support.  He was placed in the NICU where I had no say in his treatment.  He was put on a breathing apparatus the night he was born and within a few hours was taken off because he was screaming.  They figured if he could scream, he could breathe.  After a short stay in the NICU, we were sent home with our son and a bidding of farewell from one of the nurses that went something like, “Good luck with this one!”  I was taken back and a little angry.  How could someone say that?  He just needs his mother, once he’s home with me he’ll be fine.  Well, it wasn’t fine.  He screamed from then on out.  Screamed, mind you, not cry.  He didn’t sleep or nap and neither did I… for the next 9 months.  I brought him to every medical doctor trying to understand what could be wrong, only to have everyone say there wasn’t anything they could find medically wrong with him.  A gastroenterologist said at 11 weeks, that his problems were “behavioral.”  I have a behavioral 11 week old?!  At six months the pediatric cardiologist “diagnosed” him with ADHD.  Teachers have subtly questioned me, making the assumption that I must be doing something that has allowed for a challenging personality.  This has been since birth and it’s a story I have been carrying around with me like a badge of courage.  But I don’t think that story line is my purpose or path and I don’t want it to be.

I have been guided to get off the merry-go-round of action and reaction, to look beyond the behaviors to find the hurt child that is crying out because he feels so deeply and doesn’t understand the big feelings he is experiencing.  In addition, I have to look at the bigger picture to understand how I play a part in all of it.  I believe children come into our life for a reason and have the ability to highlight long buried beliefs, feelings, thoughts, and emotions with the higher purpose of clearing them out, first by bringing them to the surface.  It can be a difficult process, no doubt, but if you pay attention to the signs that are presented, it can be less painful.  The signs become evermore loud and present when we are not in tune with them.  Albert Einstein is credited with defining insanity as, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  When a situation plays itself out over and over again, it’s a clear sign that the current way of dealing with it isn’t working and needs to change.  I am reminded:

You can’t change what’s going on around you until you start changing what’s going on within you.   

I don’t have all the answers.  I won’t pretend that I do.  And I won’t pretend that I could be a perfect parent that can keep it together all of the time.  But there are resources that are helping me navigate a new path and a new story. Aha! Parenting is one such resource that recently featured an article with tips and advice for anger inducing situations with your child.  Here, one recommendation is to take an adult “time out” to give you time to respond appropriately, rather than instinctively, in combination with a mantra like:

  • “He’s acting out because he needs my help with his big feelings.”
  • “Only love today.”
  • “When my child is at her worst, she needs me at my best.”

Another resource I was guided to and has helped wonderfully (when I remember to use it!) are the steps in 1-2-3 Magic.  Here, you clearly define your expectations and consequences.  The warnings 1-2 and resulting consequence after #3, are purposely short to avoid the draw of dramatic conflict and heightened emotions.

All in all, I believe there are lessons to be learned from our children if we are willing to listen to them and the signs presented to us from our interactions.  Children are meant to enhance our lives and there is nothing greater than experiencing that joy with them!

God Bless,