WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE MOR COMMUNITY IN NOV/DEC
FOR THE LOVE OF TEA - ESSAY FROM MEAGAN
SCENTS & SIPS
MAKING GRATITUDE A PRACTICE - Q&A WITH NANCY DAVIS KHO
GRATITUDE JOURNAL PAGE
OUT MY WINDOW - ESSAY FROM MEAGAN
MY HOLIDAY INTENTIONS JOURNAL PAGE
HOLIDAY TIPS FROM THE MOR COMMUNITY
ROASTED BUTTER SQUASH SOUP WITH CINNAMON, TURMERIC, AND GINGER - RECIPE
WHIPPED CINNAMON HONEY BUTTER - EASY GIFT IDEA
UNTIL NEXT TIME - NOTE FROM MEAGAN
Most of you know my online work, but my first love was the print publication. As a kid I’d pore over my parents’ magazines, absorbing tidbits that are still locked away in my memory today (by 13, I knew quite a lot about trans fats and the benefits of walking!) As a young mother, I turned to magazines like Mothering, Parenting, and Brain, Child for personal storytelling to help me feel not-so-alone - and later, I began writing for those mags myself. It was always a dream to one day create my own publication, and as my 40s seem to be all about checking items off my “life list”, I’m very excited to share this project with you. It’s my hope that many of you will print it out and pore over it the way a magazine is meant to be enjoyed. Smudge up the recipe and project pages (12 & 13), jot down your thoughts in the journal exercise (8 & 10)...the best magazines are a tactile, interactive experience and that’s what I’m hoping to offer. In the coming pages we’ll delve into our November & December themes at MOR: Nest & Nurture. To me there’s nothing quite as cozy - or perfect for a chilly winter day - as curling up with a magazine and seeing where it takes you. Enjoy this issue, from my hands to yours!
n a g a e M
Ready to dive deeper?
What does “Nest & Nurture” mean to you? Whether it’s enjoying simple pleasures, expressing gratitude, or finding joy in gift-giving, in this issue of REINVENT - and our activities in the MOR community throughout November and December - we’ll be exploring the various ways the concept of nesting and nurturing can be used to make our spaces more homey, simple, and functional - and how some of our natural nurturing energy can be turned in towards ourselves, in addition to caring for those we love.
HOW TO USE REINVENT ? If you’re already a member of the MOR Community, welcome! REINVENT was initially dreamed up as a companion publication for MOR members to help guide us through the bimonthly themes and activities taking place in the community. Use the QR codes sprinkled through the publication to help you locate resources, shopping guides, and links to resources that will make your MOR experience even richer. (And, if you aren’t a MOR Community member, no worries! Those QR codes will still help you navigate things like product and ingredient lists - though, of course, we hope you’ll join us at morcommunity.com!)
Just hover your phone’s camera over this QR code for a list of additional resources, like shopping links, book recommendations, and more.
I grew up loving tea: little cups of Lipton in the church basement or at the kitchen table. My mother let me add milk and sugar, and while she wasn’t looking I’d typically add more. By the time I got to the bottom of the mug, my “tea” was a tawny, syrupy sludge.
I brought this ritual forward into my own motherhood years (perhaps keeping a bit more watchful eye on the sugar bowl than my mom did), and as luck would have it, all five of my kids now love tea. They were all started on weak concoctions of mostly hot, sweet, milky water with a tea bag dipped in and out for only a few moments, but now that they’re ages 13 - 25, their tastes are more refined. My older boys like their tea black and bracing (Jacob uses several tea bags at once), and while Clara and Owen still go the milk-and-sugar route, they show impressive restraint.
When my kids were little, I’d brew up tea to accompany an after-school snack, to entertain a preschooler, or help a toddler feel like one of the gang. Now, I use it as a tool to keep my big kids coming back to my table. “I’m making tea!” I call up the stairs, hoping to entice my reluctant 13-year-old out of bed. “Would you like a cup of tea?” I ask, hoping to get a 16-year-old to linger longer at the table and tell me about his day.
Over the years, as my interest and
When my kids were little, I’d brew up tea to accompany an after-school snack, to entertain a preschooler, or help a toddler feel like one of the gang. Now, I use it as a tool to keep my big kids coming back to my table. “Here, I made you this tea,” I say to my adult kids, knowing that sometimes it’s the best medicine I can offer. In our family, no other beverage or treat has been as consistently appreciated as a cup of black tea. We go through boxes and tins at an amazing rate. The electric kettle is refilled many times per day and is almost always hot. (Clara, in a flash of 13-year-old contrariness, tried to switch to coffee. It didn’t stick.)
taste in tea has developed, I’ve added new varieties to my stash, mostly loose-leaf blends that the kids, for now, avoid. For them, the comfort of a cup of tea is still, I suspect, more about indulging in a familiar ritual and flavor than in experimenting and learning about the history of camellia sinensis (the tea plant.) But wherever form it takes, I love that the simple ritual of enjoying a cup of tea is still something my kids eagerly indulge. As any mom of teens and young adults knows, the older they get, the more limited your parenting tool box becomes. As it turns out, “I’m making tea” has been a tool with more staying power than most.
As the days get shorter, there’s perhaps nothing as comforting as a hot cup of tea and a cozy candle. Here are some of my favorite blends to sniff and sip as I head into winter.
SCENTS OLD PINE CANDLE CO CLASSIC GIFT SET If you’ve ever wondered if you need a wick trimmer in your life, the answer is “yes.” This gift set includes everything you need to up your candle game. Available in several scents - I recommend Summit.
PUBLIC GOODS CEDAR & SUEDE CANDLE I love the warm blend of scents like sandalwood, amber, and Turkish rose in this candle. I’m a big fan of Public Goods in general: streamlined, minimalist design and a great business model.
SALKING AROMATHERAPY HUMIDIFIER While I adore candles, therapeutic essential oils diffused in soothing steam are pretty hard to beat - especially in the winter months. This ceramic diffuser is beautiful and functional, offered in several colors (I ordered in Matcha Green).
SIPS CHARLES DICKENS BLACK TEA BLEND by Simpson & Vail I saw S&V’s selection of Literary Teas Literary Teas at my local bookstore and had to pick up this yummy, smooth black blend. Perfect to sip while reading (or watching!) A Christmas Carol, right? CHRISTMAS TEA
I’ve amassed quite a collection
from Light of Day Organics
of mugs from DAVIDsTea, but
Orange, cinnamon, and clove add a
this color-changing fox mug may
festive hint of warmth to this black tea
be my favorite. The monochrome
blend. I visited this organic-certified,
fox and trees fill with color as
biodynamic-certified Michigan - yes,
the mug is filled with hot liquid!
MICHIGAN - tea farm last summer and
Includes a strainer for loose-leaf
was so charmed.
teas and a lid/saucer.
NORTH STAR BLEND by DAVIDsTEA With citrus and hazelnut plus sweet little stars, this herbal blend is as beautiful as it is delicious. A great gift!
FIRELIGHT CHAI from Good Medicine Tea Warming ginger and the sweetness of cinnamon and vanilla make this black tea extra-cozy.
SHOPPING GUIDE WITH LINKS HERE
Nancy Davis Kho is the author of The Thank-You Project: Cultivating Happiness One Letter of Gratitude at a Time (Running Press, 2019). In the book, she documented a year in which she wrote thank-you letters to 50 people who’ve influenced her life and what she learned about the art and science of practicing gratitude along the way. Here are Nancy’s thoughts on how - and why - to develop a regular gratitude practice in your daily life.
How can writing letters of gratitude to people who’ve impacted our lives help us build resilience?
How does practicing gratitude create a more positive outlook? We’re all born with both negative and positive
When you write to people who have helped you
recall bias. The negative is important - it’s
in the past, you are required to go over places
what stimulates your fight or flight mechanism,
where you’ve fallen short in your life. You’re
and it’s good that we notice these potentially
required to revisit times when you could not do
dangerous things around us. But a lot of times,
it all on your own. And by doing that, you are
we get stuck there. Scientists have realized
reminding yourself that, yeah, you’ve had some
that the way to quell the negative recall bias is
troubled times before, but look how this person
to supersize your positive recall bias, which is
stepped up and helped you, or that you knew to
just the flip side - your tendency to notice the
ask this other person for support.
good things that are around you. Every week when I wrote a letter, I spent the week thinking
What’s a lesson you learned through your letter-writing project? You don’t know when the people you love are leaving you. Six months after I sent my dad a letter, he was diagnosed with cancer, and six weeks later, he was gone. He had framed his
about what this person meant to me, and I was saturating my brain with all these positive associations and good memories. And in doing that, I was literally rewiring my brain to go to that positive place faster.
Want to flex your gratitude muscle? Jot
letter, which contained a lot of really specific
down a list of people and things you’re
examples of how he’d impacted me, and put it
grateful for on the journal page following
over his desk, so I know he knew exactly why I
this article. Could this be the start of your
cared for him. Knowing he’d had his letter for six
own “thank-you project”?
months before he died gave me a lot of comfort.
M O R E F RO M N A N C Y Listen to Meagan
Mark your calendar for a Zoom chat
FOLLOW NANCY ONLINE:
& Nancy chat on
with Nancy & Meagan on the evening of
@midlifemixtape on IG or
Wednesday, December 7. Keep an eye on
the MOR Community for more details!
the Mother of Reinvention podcast www.meaganfrancis.com/mor-ep4/
W H O A M I G R AT E F U L F O R ?
W H Y A M I G R AT E F U L F O R T H I S P E R S O N ?
W H AT ’ S O N E S I M P L E WAY I CA N L E T T H E M K N OW ?
As I’m writing this in mid-November, a glance out my window still reveals plenty of color. But soon enough - probably by the time you’re reading this - the trees will be mostly bare, the air chilly, windows frosty and - hopefully! - the ground will be covered in snow. I just checked the forecast, and the average temperatures are expected to drop a full twenty degrees in the next week. As Michigan winters often do, this one is
at the to-do list, I’m planning to take some
likely to show up in a hurry and leave us all
time over Thanksgiving weekend to focus
with a mild case of whiplash.
on the feelings I’d like to facilitate this holiday season. On the next page, you’ll
This time of year, the transition from the
find a journal page you can use to jot down
busy-ness of fall to the very different kind
some of your intentions - I’ll be using mine
of busy-ness that comes with the holiday
to answer these questions:
season can seem about as drastic and unexpected as that first day of snowfall when you realize you still haven’t located the bin of hats and gloves (just me?) Often, we simply aren’t ready to downshift, so we carry over the frenetic energy of back-toschool and football season and try to apply
- How would I like my home to feel this holiday? - What can I add to facilitate those feelings? - What will I need to limit? - What’s one simple way to start today?
it to a time of year that just feels better and more authentic when experienced at a slower pace and quieter volume. In the MOR community, I’m leading a 7-day challenge to help get ahead on some of the tasks that can add stress to the holiday season. But in addition to whittling away 9
I’ll be sharing my page in the MOR community and I hope you’ll do the same. Or, if you’re feeling shy, you can always take a photo and send it to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t wait to create a more intentional holiday with you.
In our message boards, members of the MOR community shared their best ideas for finding more satisfaction in the holiday season.
“I make time for what brings me joy: a day of carefully unwrapping and arranging my grandmother’s “II make sure my kids still have a Thanksgiving dinner, even if we do it on Sunday - it it’’ s a normal school/ school / work day in the UK for us.” us REBECCA, BORN IN THE US, LIVING IN THE UK
midcentury Christmas ceramics and putting the kids’ handmade ornaments on our tree; nighttime drives to see beautiful lights while listening to Christmas music; at least one good mug of peppermint hot chocolate.” KRI ST I N, NJ
“I’m holding on to our tradition of sending a photo holiday card. In many ways it is less fun now that I don’t have littles to dress up in matching pajamas, but with friends and family scattered all over the world it is so comforting to see the faces of our people on cheerful cards and I hope our recipients feel the same.” J AI DA, CA
“When we travel to others’ houses, I make sure to take a
Join the conversation at morcommunity.com
morning and hang out at a local coffee shop by myself and really savor a seasonal latte and some me time.’’ CAT, VA www.motherofreinvention.mn.co 11
A classic fall staple gets an extra boost of nutrition and flavor, and can be made Paleo-friendly, vegan, or dairy-free with a few simple swaps.
1 large butternut squash (3 lbs.)
1. Preheat oven to 425˚F. Line a rimmed baking
halved vertically, seeds removed
sheet with parchment paper. Place squash cut
1 tbs olive oil plus extra for drizzling 1/2 cup chopped shallot
side up on a rimmed baking sheet and brush surface with about 1/2 tsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
1 tsp. salt 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 tsp. maple syrup
2. Turn squash face down and roast until tender and cooked through (40-50 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg 1/2 tsp ground turmeric 1/2 tsp ground ginger Freshly ground pepper
3. In a large pot, warm 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add chopped shallot and 1 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring often, until shallots are soft and golden on the edges.
2 cups broth (I used bone broth but
Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, until
veggie broth works!)
fragrant, stirring frequently.
1 can coconut milk 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, to taste 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4. Use a large spoon to scoop the flesh from the squash into the pot. Discard tough skin. Add butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, ginger, and pepper. Add broth. Blend with immersion blender until ingredients are creamy and blended, then add coconut milk and blend again. Taste soup now and add more butter, broth, salt, or pepper if desired. 5. Serve with a dash of cinnamon. I also love to add diced pear or apple on the top. 12
EASY GIFT IDEA
Sweet treats are always welcome holiday gifts, especially when the giftee can use them to impress guests. This recipe, submitted by Sheri Tiernan, MOR Community Moderator, isn’t only tasty but super-simple, so it’s ideal for giving AND getting. Sheri says: “I love to give these as gifts for the holidays. I tie a ribbon or string around the lid and put a circular gift sticker tag on the top of the jar. They make great add-on gifts, and I have given them to teachers along with a gift card. You can fit this into more or fewer jars depending on how tightly you pack the butter.”
YO U ' L L N E E D :
4 sticks of unsalted, softened butter
Instructions: Mix all ingredients
1 cup of honey 1 cup of powdered sugar 4 tsp. cinnamon 4-ounce mini Mason jars Ribbon, twine, raffia or string and gift tags or stickers
with a beater until combined and fluffy. Recipe yields 32 oz. butter. Serve on warm dinner rolls, pancakes, French toast, or a toasted English muffin.
SHOPPING GUIDE & RESOURCES
Meaganfrancis.com email@example.com IG: @meaganfrancis 14