Connect with Meredith

subscribe to Meredith's parenting blog Follow Me on Pinterest

Sunday SoulCollage® Workshops

Developing your creative intuition









In this nurturing workshop,
Facilitated by Meredith Mustard,
you will be led by your intuition
and your gut to select and arrange
visual elements in ways that
reveal personal significance. 

Materials will be provided.

Collage as Spiritual Practice Workshop

Delightful! Fun! Insightful! Revealing! Inspiring!

I can’t say enough about this simple creative process. Although I am a practicing artist, I have never been able to assemble a collage that made sense to me. Recently I made a discovery. In this workshop, I will share the magic element I discovered and immersed myself in over the past several months.

I have been madly clipping pictures out of magazines and amassed a treasure trove of images that I want to share with you so you can experience the richness of creating your own collages. With glue stick and scissors you will amaze yourself as you create compositions that speak directly to your heart.

I hope you will join me for this workshop. Click here for more details…

Collage as Spiritual Practice flyer


Wendy Merron explaining EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

Wendy Merron, Co-founder of The Center of Success in Wayne, PA and author of "Powerful Thinking on Purpose, How to be more positive and get more of what you want"



















I just shared an amazing morning with Wendy Merron learning to use simple tapping to change my thinking. As a parent, the value of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) tapping is enormous. I now see how the difficult experiences in my past are stored complete with the emotional storm that swirled around them. My family can trigger these memories and with the memories the emotional baggage. Tapping separates the storm from the memory. Wendy explained that when we separate the storm from the memory we are less reactive. This gives me hope. I like this idea. I am already experiencing more calm in what used to be triggering exchanges.


Hear Me Speak at the Pennsylvania Permanency Conference!

On Thursday, July 11th 2013 at 3:45pm I will be speaking at the 21st Annual Pennsylvania Permanency Conference at the Lancaster Host Resort & Conference Center. In just under two hours I will be tackling the subject of transforming difficult behaviors without employing rewards or consequences. Yes, indeed I shall! And, you should be there.

To give you a more thorough peek into my talk, here are some highlights that I’ll be sharing:

  • Brain sensitivity resulting from trauma
  • Amygdala reactivity
  • Link between feelings of shame and unworthiness & negative behavior
  • Building self esteem with encouragement
  • Strengthening the bond & building a secure base even with older children
  • The value of playfulness in attachment
  • Contol vs. influence-changing opposition to cooperation
  • parenting strategies that strengthen attachment

To register, CLICK HERE.


Two Imagine 2013 Whimsical ART wall calendar

It was incredibly fun to create this calendar with Judy Tollefson (in Maine) using “the cloud” . . . I’m in Pennsylvania using Wuala software.

We were fast friends, had an explosive misunderstanding/falling-out, and were unable to talk to each other for 16 years. That we have been able to reconnect and weave this calendar together of my paintings and Judy’s drawings is nothing short of miraculous. We hope you will take a look and share our delight.

It will be available to purchase online shortly for $25 (or 3 for $60). Watch for it at:

Makes a fun gift...

2013 Holiday Celebration & SALE

We are celebrating the production of a 2013 graphic artist’s dream CALENDAR designed by and featuring the art of Meredith Mustard & Judy Tollefson.

We (Meredith and Judy) were fast friends, had an explosive misunderstanding/falling-out, and were unable to talk to each other for 16 years. That we have been able to reconnect and put this calendar together (of Meredith’s paintings and Judy’s drawings) is nothing short of miraculous. We hope you will  take a look and share our delight. The calendar as well as beautiful knitted christmas stockings, fun earrings, paintings, and calligraphy will be available for sale.

We will provide an opportunity for you to make gifts with your children and learn a valuable parenting skill: How to encourage your child with words that build self-esteem.  

The sale will benefit Harambee Arts and Heifer International.

Holiday flyer

Save the dates: December 8th & 9th 2013

Finding Your Voice–Creative Workshop

In Terry Tempest William’s most recent
book, When Women Were Birds, she explores
the mystery her mother left her when she died …

“My mother had left me her journals, and all her journals were blank. I had hoped to find her deepest thoughts, her dreams, her struggles, alongside her wisdom. What she left me were her silences.”






What is written in the silent pages of your life? 


What are the thoughts, hopes and dreams that have never fully taken shape or been heard outside the silent chambers of your mind? What are the struggles, fears and wisdom that you have never voiced? What are your unique brilliancies – your gifts to share with the world?

Finding Your Voice: A Journey of Knowing
& Becoming Your True Self is an opportunity
to join with other women who are seeking…
seeking to know and become their true selves.

A journey in two parts…

A One Day Retreat: Sunday, October 28, 2012 Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Location: 524 Sproul Road, Villanova, PA

Six Weekly Sojourns: Tuesday evenings November 6, 13, 20, 27 and December 4 & 11 Time: 7:00 – 9:30 pm

To get more information about the workshop and how to enroll click here…

Finding Your Voice flyer

Art SALE to raise funds for a trip to Nepal to work with traumatized women who escaped from human trafficking

Meredith Mustard Open Art Studio Sale

In June, I will be joining Gloria Simoneaux ( in Nepal to conduct a training for women who are survivors of human trafficking. They will be empowered to reach out to other women who have experienced the same trauma. I worked with Gloria in San Francisco as a board member and facilitator for DrawBridge, an arts program for homeless children. We share a similar approach to reaching and connecting with survivors of trauma; I, with attachment-challenged children and she, with traumatized women and children around the world.

Gloria spent the past five years doing this work in Africa and recently returned from Haiti where she trained adults to carry on her work.

Shakti Samuha ( is the first organization in Nepal established and run by survivors of trafficking. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to support these women and this organization.

I hope you will join me May 19th and 20th to have fun and support this vital work. Sunday afternoon we will be marbling paper and you will have an opportunity to try your hand at this amazing and magical process. I will also be showing calligraphy, earrings, and paintings for your enjoyment and for sale.

Handle with Care!

A friend shared this story with me: Terry was visiting her friend who has six children. We both marveled at a mom who could raise six children and maintain a sense of humor. Terry was chatting with her friend in the kitchen. They went together to check on the children in another room. The thirteen year-old-son was charged with watching his baby sister. When the moms walked into the room they saw the bare-bottomed baby propped in an upholstered chair watching the big kids play. The baby had wet the chair. Terry was horrified at the sight of the urine-soaked chair.  The mom on the other hand laughed. Then with a chuckle she corrected the teenager, saying, “Oh, honey you need to keep a diaper on the baby.” No drama no trauma. The son laughed too and then took the baby to diaper her.

Here is my story: My adopted son who was about 9 years old, had a habit of stealthily approaching us when we were absorbed in some activity. If I happened to catch sight of him and acknowledged his presence, I aroused his anger. If on the other hand, I didn’t notice he was hiding nearby, he became angry because  I wasn’t making an effort to find him. Either way I felt caught in a no-win situation.

A few weeks later. . .

I invited my son to accompany me into the garden one early summer evening to pick snap peas by flashlight. At first, I thought he would join me, but he refused. I ambled out to pick peas by myself. I got busy working my way down the row. Balancing my bucket and flashlight and pinching peas off the vine I heard a muffled sound and looked up. I called to my son, thinking he might have changed his mind. No answer. I resumed my task and when I finished I headed for the gate. Again I heard rustling nearby. I thought I saw a flash of light and called to my son again. Still no response. By now I was pretty sure he was in the garden not wanting to be seen and yet wanting me to discover him. I was getting annoyed. I barked at him, “Don’t be tromping around in the garden in the dark. You are trampling the fragile baby plants!”  With that he exploded and stomped out of the garden.

The next day he informed me that he didn’t step on any baby plants because even in the dark he could see the pattern in the straw mulch and he walked between the plants. It suddenly struck me that HE is my fragile baby plant and I need to take care not to step on him.

Delight (Positive Delusions)

There is a great deal of agreement among attachment theorists about the importance of positive feelings of interest/excitement and joy/enjoyment to facilitate attachment security in children.

Translated into everyday language, parenting a child with a sense of delight provides a kind of beacon, attracting the child to the light. Young children experience the world and themselves through their parent’s eyes.  When we delight in our children, they will see themselves as delightful.  A child who lives with a parent who is habitually depressed or angry will come to see themselves reflected in that light. When we pay attention to our children, they see themselves as lovable and worthy. How we pay attention influences the perception of themselves. Constant criticism, negative attention, harshness, judgment, and evaluation create an experience of un-worthiness and shame.

We, as parents, talk a lot about building self-esteem in our children, and we are often baffled by our unsuccessful efforts. Most effective communication happens at a non-verbal level. Actions truly speak louder than words. When we are living with a child who cannot regulate his emotions, we are in a position to help regulate. Every upset is an opportunity. How we influence our child’s dysregulated state is by first matching their “affect” (not their emotional state) which communicates that we are with them.  (“Affect” refers to the expression of emotional feelings displayed to others through facial expressions, hand gestures, voice tone, or body language.)  So if a child is angry, you would match the intensity of the expression rather than the actual anger. Helping regulate a child can only be accomplished by an emotionally regulated adult. When they are joined in this way, children are more able to feel validated and less defensive. They can receive comfort and reassurance. The act of joining a child when they are in a dysregulation state strengthens the relationship and calms their nervouse system.  You are creating a safe haven and a source of comfort they can reach for.

Children who have experienced early trauma often reject a comforting hand. Building and strengthening the connection with such a child requires patience, acceptance, and repetition.