Being involved in the Abundant Mama Project is a true honor for me. I needed that village as much as the rest of the Mamas who have joined each class — and there have been three! I am happy to introduce Gina from Connecting Family & Seoul. Gina joined the very first AMP class and continues to amaze me with her passion for becoming a true, authentic mother. She does great work on her site for parents raising little children. Check her out!
How do you seek out meaningful moments in your everyday life?
I’ve always been the type of person that pauses to watch nature unfold outside of my window. I just love sunrises and sunsets, I’m in awe of clouds on a blue, sunny day, and I always think how lucky I was to be the only person to see that squirrel grab his dinner and scamper up the tree.
While I’m at home with my son, I try to help him become aware of those simple, magical moments that are happening all around us. We also usually let the day take us along at a slow pace. If we get up early and are ready for the day, we may go out and run a few errands every now and then, but most days are filled with playing, walks outside, sharing mealtimes, and having my little assistant help me with the chores. When Daddy gets home, my son runs to him and doesn’t look back.
There aren’t many days when dinner doesn’t consist of the three of us. Whether we’re in the dining room, sitting on a bench in the park, or cuddled up for a movie night, we always make it a priority to have our meal together and have a little fun! These precious moments together mean so much to us and I only hope that Grady is comforted by them as he grows up and eventually leaves the nest.
Ever since we were married, my husband and I always enjoyed a warm, home-cooked breakfast together on the weekends. As our family grows, we continue that tradition, lazily waking up in the morning and heading into the kitchen to whip up a batch of pancakes or waffles. We love to add a little bit of something special to them, whether it be chocolate chips, apple slices, or some whipped cream on top. Sitting down together and enjoying each other’s company with a no distractions, always set the mood for the rest of the day!
How do you take care of yourself so you can take great care of your family?
I am so blessed to have a husband that plays such an integral part in his son’s life and shares in the responsibilities of parenting with me. I absolutely love being a stay-at-home mom, but sometimes at the end of a long day, I could use some time to regroup and relax. While my husband bathes my son, I take a few moments for myself to read, write, or simply sit by the window and watch the world pass me by. Reading is my passion, so whenever I have some time alone, you’ll often find me curled up with a book and steaming cup of tea on my favorite chair in the living room.
What does living fully in the world mean to you and how does it impact your life as a Mom?
I often feel that if you truly want to be a living, active part of this world, then you need to attempt to create memories that will last a lifetime. I’m not talking about winning the Nobel Peace Prize or discovering a long anticipated cure for a disease (although those would be fabulous!). I’m talking about taking the time to really enjoy life with the people that you care about. As a mother, I am always trying to begin or continue a tradition that my son will remember fondly as he gets older. It is my hope that taking the time for those that you love, giving them your attention, and connecting as a family in all sorts of ways will help them remember that I was there for them and loved them wholeheartedly, without abandon. There are so many memories that I cherish as a child. Even though some of the people from those special moments during childhood are gone, I will always know that they lived fully in this world, as a part of my life.
What do you like to create and how in the world do you find time to do it?
There are two creative passions that bring me joy whenever I take the time to embrace them. The first, taking photographs, is a bit easier to incorporate into my daily life. I am behind the camera so often that my son has started to carry around his toy camera taking duplicate pictures of the ones that I have created throughout the day. There are pictures on each wall of my home, on any item that doesn’t move, and stuffed into the closets waiting for the day that I will finally get them into an album or scrapbook for display.
My other passion is baking and decorating cakes. There was never a time growing up that I didn’t have a homemade cake designed by my mother for my birthday. Any movie character or hobby that my sister or I asked her to represent on a cake, she made it happen. I’ve followed in her footsteps and am overjoyed to watch a cake take the form of whatever my imagination comes up with. They don’t get baked as often as I like, but you can be sure that my family will have a masterpiece for each birthday that rolls around.
Tell us something that you are so happy you said ‘yes’ to in your life.
By far, the best decision that ended up being a “yes” was the one I made to release my fear of flying two years ago. With that decision, my husband and I got to travel halfway around the world to meet our son. I’ve always been fearful. Discovering that a flight to Korea would take at least 13 hours to complete, it made me pause a moment during our plans to adopt. The moment passed quickly and was tucked neatly away in the back of my mind as we planned our trip to finally meet our son in Seoul. I can’t imagine our lives being complete without that little man and his huge smile lighting up our home, bringing joy to us each day.
How does your family live authentically?
We try so hard each and every day to live a life without regrets. Growing up with grandparents that lived right next door and short car ride away was an important part of my childhood. I wanted my son to have that same gift. That’s why, after Grady entered our family, we packed up our bags and moved back to my hometown so that he could get to know his grandparents and relatives…have roots. We live a very quiet life, doing the things that make us happy, and sharing it with the ones we love. We are working together, learning how to be a family, on a daily basis. It’s a lot of practice, but in the end, it is so worth the time and effort that it takes to bring joy and happiness into our lives.
Gina is a former elementary school teacher, turned stay-at-home mom to an adventurous 2 year old. She and her husband strive to create an atmosphere in the home that fosters strong family connections through guidance and inspiration. You can read more about their family fun at her blog, Connecting Family & Seoul or by visiting her on Facebook or Google+.