how i nurture my mothering spirit – nell

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It’s cold out. It’s winter. My children are both napping. I do what I always do to reconnect with myself and God: I sew. I’m sewing. I love sewing. I live to sew.

Instead of deep cleaning the kitchen or bathrooms, calling my sisters on the phone, or sitting online pinning things to my fantasy life (i.e., clean and organized) on Pinterest, I’m sitting in an old office chair, huddled over yards of fabric, muttering to myself while ripping out a seam gone awry.


It wasn’t always this way. I’m an attorney-turned-blogger. Before I decided to take a break from practicing law, I was balancing a small practice, one small sweet toddler boy, my blog on parenting, and a pregnancy that had me sick all day long. I was not sewing. I was mothering, lawyering, wife-ing, cooking, baking, cleaning, organizing, planning, and sometimes sleeping.

I took a turn toward sewing during my third trimester of my second pregnancy. I was inspired by wanting to make gifts for friends and their babies. I did not realize I would be giving myself a gift. The gift of space. The gift of time. The gift of making a little room in my life for me, and in turn, for me to connect with God.

I hadn’t realized that in my hustle and bustle, hurried night-time prayers and Sunday mass obligations, there was no place for God in my consciousness. I hadn’t cleared a chair off for Him, much less the entire room of my heart.

Now I’m busy busy¬†with two wonderful gifts of children, SuperBoy¬†and SweetPea as I call them on my blog. They are my sun and moon, my day and night (literally). But I still make the time–forget finding it because it’s never going to be there–to sew. I sew for my Etsy shop. I sew for my local shops (Peapods, Blooma, and Baby Banou) that retail a product set of mine (Organic Bandit Bibs & Contour Cloths). I sew for friends having children. I sew for my family. I sew for me. I’m still insanely busy running a household, being a wife, being a mother, sister, daughter, and friend. But I have a little more time somehow.


When I sit down at my sewing machine, frowning slightly at my troublesome project at hand, or flicking through my fabrics for the right one, I’m sitting down inside myself. I’m opening my hands and waiting for God.

And He comes for a visit, as He always is poised to do, just awaiting our invitation. And the repetition of the needle up down up down mimics the steady beating of my lub-dub heart as it simply sits in Him.

. . .

nell headshotNell is the founder of Whole Parenting Family and artisan of the shop Whole Parenting Goods. She lives in the grand city of Saint Paul with her husband, two little children, one dog, and two cats. When she’s not blogging or sewing, she’s gardening, reading aloud to her little ones from baseball cards, or burning pizza dough.

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7 thoughts on “how i nurture my mothering spirit – nell

    Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde said:
    January 2, 2013 at 9:00 am

    “I hadn’t realized that in my hustle and bustle, hurried night-time prayers and Sunday mass obligations, there was no place for God in my consciousness. I hadn’t cleared a chair off for Him, much less the entire room of my heart.”


      Laura @ Mothering Spirit responded:
      January 2, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Isn’t that great? When I first read this, I thought “she’s a theologian at her sewing machine!”

    […] to her blog, and like her on facebook. And read my guest post here. Thanks, Mothering […]

    Natural Mama Nell said:
    January 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you so much for having me at your wonderful site, Laura!

    Lauren L. said:
    January 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    A lovely post. I started quilting a little over a year ago. I’m a hand piecer and quilter, and the rhythm you speak of is so very present in the act of stitching together bits of fabric. I have not, unfortunately, picked up needle, thread, and fabric for several months. My hands itch for the feel of the fabric, the connection to my grandmother who lives many miles away, the serenity of picking up pieces.

    You have inspired me to do so again. Because the quilt I’m working on deserves to be finished. And I deserve the quiet. And God deserves the space. Thank you.

    […] And there are new items up on Etsy! Come and take a looksie. It’s been a fun start to the year with a big retail order (second-go-round!) from Baby Banou, a ton of Etsy orders, and fun projects for my family. Sewing really is my spiritual renewal in so many ways, as I guest blogged about over at Mothering Spirit. […]

    […] Nell shared a story of discovering sewing as a way to connect with God in the midst of parenting little ones. […]

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