Saturday, October 22, 2016

Get to Know Dawn Suzette Smith

hello there, friends, 

today i am thrilled to introduce you to dawn suzette smith. many of you might know her by her instagram handle as @mudtometeors_dawnsuzette. i can't remember when i first came across dawn's work, but i know as soon as i saw her images of sunrises and all things nature from her home in nova scotia, i became an immediate follower. i have always had a fascination with the outdoors and in particular getting children outside. i had no idea she had given a ted talk until just the other day when i went to her website! inspired by richard louv and others, dawn is passionate about spending time outside. dawn is a true creative, always curious about the world around her. i know you'll enjoy this interview!

b (+L)


NOTE: My bio photo is a funny outtake from when my friend, Tamara, was trying to get a good author photo for me to submit to my publisher. We were in the backyard when Leo came to visit us and well, had to take care of some business. He is the first cat I have ever lived with full-time and he brings so much to joy to our family. I am grateful that he chose to come live with us.  (Photo credit: Tamara -


Dawn Suzette Smith is a writer, photographer, naturalist, and homeschooling mama who is a California transplant setting down roots in Nova Scotia. She is often distracted by the sunrise and breakfast has been known to be a bit delayed are particularly beautiful mornings. She leads nature walks to help families connect with nature through inquiry-based nature study and blogs about nature study at She shares daily nature observations and explorations with her kids on her Instagram @mudtometeors_dawnsuzette. The book she co-authored, Whatever the Weather is available at booksellers everywhere. She recently gave a TEDx Talk called “Creating a Nature Habit."

What does a typical day look like for you?

Well, my typical day starts when my alarm goes off at 4 a.m. and I get up, make coffee, walk out on the deck to gaze at the stars, start a fire, then sit down at the computer to write and work. While it is not always easy, I cherish those early morning hours in the quiet house to be productive on my personal projects.

Once the rest of the house comes alive we make breakfast and read a bit, then I take my son to school and my daughter and I work on her homeschool lessons and projects. We try to fit a walk in most days. Sometimes in the morning and other times after school when my son can come with us. The afternoon is filled with time outdoors, projects, play, and the occasional meet up with friends.

Come dinnertime we all sit down to eat together as a family when my husband gets home from work and during that time we continue to catch up on the events of the day. We spend time after dinner reading, playing games, and sometimes watch a movie or documentary. Media shutdown is at 7:30 in the evening and we all start getting ready for bed at 8:30. We have made it a point to keep our family life slow and not fill our schedules to bursting. While we have classes occasionally thrown into the mix, or sports in the summer, we like time to sit and talk, take a walk, enjoy a book together, or simply all do our own thing in the presence of each other. We have a very small house so there is really no other way to be.

What does gratitude mean to you and how do you incorporate it into your everyday life?

Gratitude is a reminder. It is a reminder that whatever is going on in life the world keeps turning and as I may be experiencing pain, someone else may be finding joy, and round and around it goes and the joy will eventually find me again if it keep my eye out for it. If I embrace the pain and keep looking for the good, stopping to take notice when I see it, then the cycle will continue, as it should because everything is growth and life is both grueling and joyful at times.

I keep a bullet journal and I try to write at least one gratitude in my journal at the end of the day. I occasionally share gratitudes on Instagram, which is a big step for me since I am an introvert by nature, but I have had many people tell me they are inspired by the sharing of gratitudes there so I keep stretching myself in that respect.

How do you stay connected to those you love?

As I said above, we are not an overscheduled family so we have a lot of downtime together. We sit and talk a lot, take walks, read aloud, play games, watch movies and documentaries (which leads to lots of great discussions) and work on projects together. We also make it a point to Skype with my mom and dad once a week (they live in Colorado) and see my husband’s parents (who live 6 hours away) at least once a month. I did not have a relationship with my grandparents so building a bond between my kids and their grandparents is very important to me.

 What’s inspiring you right now?

A few things come to mind but at this moment fall is very inspiring because fall in Nova Scotia is over-the-top beautiful and just draws me outside. I get sucked in by all of the little details and colors that are highlighted by the golden light. And, it may sound strange but I am fascinated with the decay of fall. As colors grow vibrant, then fade, they hold a different kind of beauty and in so many ways, with all of the foliage and flowers returning to the earth, it is hopeful. It is a sign that the earth is renewable and abundance will come again after a rest. This is all quite in line with what inspires me most of the time, which is the natural world.  

What is on your bedside table?

At my beside you would find a collection of shells and other nature items that have been unloaded from my pockets (the kids are not the only ones who fill their pockets). There is also an old lamp, along with pen and paper. I often have ideas pop into my head when I am drifting off to sleep and found myself jumping out of bed to jot them down, until I finally got myself organized enough to put pen and paper right next to the bed where I could scribble some thoughts before letting go for the night. When it is time to turn in I also set the alarm on my iphone and place it on the table next to me. I have tried many different alarm sounds, mostly in an attempt to wake me and not my husband so early, but the latest, crickets, was a major failure. I slept right through those sweet little chirps.


please join us monday, when dawn will take over our instagram feed with her lovely images and words of curiosity and noticing. thank you so much, dawn for sharing here with our hello, there friend community! we are so grateful for you. xo.


  1. Lovely interview! I admire Dawn every day and live vicariously through her early mornings. She always inspires me to get outside. :)

    1. i completely agree with you... her posts are often the ones i see first when i wake up!

    2. Thanks so much, Tam & Beth! It makes me happy that I get to share those early mornings. How wonderful would it be to sit together over coffee and watch the sunrise together?

  2. dawn... thank you so much for your wisdom and your dedication to the natural world! you continue to inspire me in my life as a mother and as an observer, both. thank you so much for this post!!

    1. Thanks so much, Beth! I appreciate your words and was delighted to be able to share as part of this wonderful community. xoxo