living centerpieces

This is a guest post by Renee Tarantowski Baude.

When I look back I can easily see how I was practicing mindfulness.  I didn’t call it that? I used words like centering, peacefulness, beauty and ease.  This is part of a post that I wrote in 2013. Five years ago seems like forever and it feels like yesterday.  I will say my photography has gotten much better, IMHO. I’m even a little embarrassed!

So let’s go there for a minute before I tell you about an amazing idea.  Let’s go to 5 years ago for you, how have you grown? What has happened?  Close your eyes and think about who you were then and did you imagine you would be what you’ve become?  Are you surprised? Disappointed? Embarrassed like me? If someone told me then that in 5 years I would be doing what I’m doing, I would have laughed.  I could have never imagined my life the way it is. Is that the same for you? Even through heartbreak, failures, job losses, deaths, all the “bad stuff”,  we all will experience at some point, we find ourselves in an unimaginable place.

Now let’s take a look forward.  If we have found ourselves in an unimaginable present–what will the next 5 years look like?  What might we accomplish? It took me more than 5 years to figure out that I look at life in a certain way and I want to move forward in a particular way . . . what about you?  How will you set your intention for your next 5 years?

Let’s go back in time and read a blog post about:

Living Centerpieces

[When my son was just an infant a Mom friend came over to visit. We had just moved into a brand new house in California and I was so proud of my new home and my sweet smelling baby.  She looked with wide eyes at my smallish table with a centerpiece of freshly picked flowers in purples and blues from my garden in a pink thrift store vase, resting on a hand embroidered doily from my Grandmother–“you will NEVER be able to have a table like that when your kid gets older!”

That moment stayed with me. It worried me. Would I really need to give up a simple yet beautiful table when I had a house full of kids?

The answer is of course “NO.” What I discovered (after many years) is that she wouldn’t want to have a table like that. In my growing pains as a new mother, I learned not to let the style and choices of other moms influence my own.

If your kitchen is anything like mine, it is the center of all the activity. We meet for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, family meetings, unloading backpacks and organizing our schedules. It ALL happens in our kitchen.

Not only do I want my kitchen to be the center of all activity–I want it to be centering for me. The most logical place for centering is the “heart” of my table–the centerpiece. On some days I really need a visual reminder of beauty, calm and peacefulness.

Living centerpiece

Photo by Renee Tarantowski Baude

In Spring, I enjoy making a living centerpiece. I have used several different plants for the living centerpieces–celery, beets, sweet potatoes, a plate full of store-bought potted herbs, fennel looks awesome with the white bulb and willowy leaves. (A little water on the plate keeps everything fresh.)

The sprouts tied in a bundle is my current favorite–I love having the kids “harvest” the greens for salads and sandwiches from our kitchen table. The kids also enjoy watching the life cycle of the plants.

Living Centerpiece

Photo by Renee Tarantowski Baude

I often grow herbs in tiny planters or buy them at the grocery store and simply cover the black pots with scraps of fabric overlapped and pinned.  It doesn’t get much easier than this to create a kitchen garden that has beauty and function.]

I often times think about that Mom.  She has one kid and a multimillion-dollar home and I seriously doubt she has herbs growing on her table wrapped in ribbon.  It has been almost 17 years since that first conversation and I have never given up on my own version of how I want my home to feel like.  I want it overflowing with life, love and laughter.

I’m mindful AND stubborn.  It is possible to be love and hold to a personal standard.  It just takes a bit of practice. I invite you to take 5 minutes and look within yourself and honor the thoughts that come up.

When you think back five years or so, have you grown in mindfulness? Share your growth in the comments.

Renee Baude

Renee is an Essayist on Mindfulness, Motherhood and Menopause. She lives mindfully: a simple, soulful, sacred life. Visit Renee at